Follow Us

Saturday, March 17, 2012

#323 - Milestones in Blogging


Book cover photo
Three years ago, a blog about American Indian Adoptees was a dream and the  history of the Indian Adoption Projects was buried.  Now it’s out there.  
Three years ago, this blog was born.  I set it up in 2009 but I didn’t blog much that year since I was just getting my feet wet - it seemed daunting at first. It was the technical parts of blogging that were new to me. But I had plenty to say and lots of research, news and history to share.

This is my 323rd post. It’s hard to wrap my head around that and how this one little blog has had over 43,000 visits.
The most important thing for me to say is this: Thank you. I don’t think I say it enough. That you all come back here week after week, reading, commenting, and sharing this blog means the world to me. That you’ve spent your hard-earned money on my memoir One Small Sacrifice, told your friends about it, talked about it on Facebook, visited my Book Page, you’ve taught me my vision for this history to be told - it was not wrong.

It’s not every day I get to say this  - thank you.
To recap the life of this blog, I thought I would highlight some of the biggest milestones of the past three years.

Top Search Engine: Google (they referred 4,500 people to this blog)

Most Searched Word:  Split Feather Syndrome

Most Page Views: Split Feathers Study (1,253 people have read this study on Native American adoptees called Split Feathers which is incredible!)

Most Visitors from another Blog:  Cassi’s blog “Adoption Truth” http://adoptiontruth-casjoh.blogspot.com/

Visitors around the world who regularly read this blog:  USA, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, Russia, France, Australia, India, South Korea, and the Netherlands.

 I could go on and on, but for now let me just say that you all are the best.  Thank you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Order a copy
Read an excerpt
Watch the trailer

Friday, March 16, 2012

Coerced Adoptions in Canada NEWS

‘You suffered just as much’: Adoptees gain new insight into parents’ choices as coerced adoption stories come to light... Read this news story from Canada here: http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/03/15/you-suffered-just-as-much/

Since a National Post investigation began uncovering stories about coerced adoption among unmarried women from the 1940s to the 1980s, several adoptees have contacted the newspaper saying the reports have validated their mothers’ accounts and helped prove that the choice to surrender was not fully hers. Some women had told their stories on the record for the first time, and they said their children have since expressed shock and compassion.

Friday, March 9, 2012

10 Things You Need to Know About Native American Women

February 5, 2012 by
It’s no exaggeration to say that American Indian women are missing from most media coverage, history books and classroom discussions. But at least journalism students, instructors and state educators in Nebraska are doing something to help end America’s ignorance of Native women and the contributions they make to their communities, their tribes and to the nation as a whole.
Last year, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications published the magazine, Native Daughters. With a grant from the Carnegie Foundation and under the guidance of five university professors, students spent 18 months reporting and writing about American Indian women who are artists, activists, lawyers, cops, warriors, healers, storytellers and leaders.
Now the Nebraska Department of Education has also released a companion curriculum for the magazine. You can download it for free here.
Can’t wait even one minute more to learn about Native women? Here’s a teaser of what you can learn more about in Native Daughters—and what you can share with your students via the new curriculum.
1. “A lot of people think that us women are not leaders, but we are the heart of the nation, we are the center of our home, and it is us who decide how it will be.”–Philomine Lakota, Lakota language teacher, Red Cloud High School, Pine Ridge, S.D.
2. The art forms Native women practice stand as reminders of cultural endurance. “Their crafts survived the Greasy Grass (Battle of Little Big Horn), Wounded Knee One (1890) and Two (1973),” writes Christina DeVries in Native Daughters. “Their spirits survived the Trail of Tears, the Relocation and Termination program and continued struggles against cultural annihilation.”
3. In 1997, Ms. magazine named Winona LaDuke (Anishinaabeg) Woman of the Year. That same year, the activist also debuted her first novel, Last Standing Woman.
4. Of nearly 2 million women enlisted in the U.S. armed forces, 18,000 are American Indian women. Their representation in the military is disproportionately high—and Native women are more likely to be sexually harassed, which increases their chances of developing post-traumatic stress disorder.
5. The number of Native women applying to medical school has increased since 2003, peaking in 2007 when 77 Native women applied nationwide.
6. In 2007, when Cassandra Manuelito-Kerkvliet (DinĂ©) was named president of Antioch University, she became the first American Indian woman president of a mainstream university. Not only that, but about half of the nation’s tribal colleges are led by Native women presidents.
7. Cecelia Fire Thunder (Lakota) became the Oglala Lakota Tribe’s first woman president. She has fought against domestic abuse, saying it’s not a part of traditional culture, and been a leader for women’s reproductive rights. In 2006, when the South Dakota state legislature prohibited abortion, Fire Thunder announced plans to build a women’s clinic on the reservation, and therefore beyond state jurisdiction. She was impeached by the tribal council, who said she was acting outside her duties as president.
8. Women lead nearly one-quarter of the nation’s 562 federally recognized tribes.
9. “Through the late 1700s, Cherokee women were civically engaged. They owned land and had a say during wartime,” writes Astrid Munn in Native Daughters. “But this changed after the tribe ceded large tracts of land to the U.S. government in 1795.” Since the mid-1980s, though, a generation of Native women activists, lawmakers and attorneys have been changing that history and working to empower women again.
10. Indian Country could never survive without Native women.

Photo of magazine cover. To order copies of the magazine, contact Joe Starita. You can also visit nativedaughters.org to watch video clips and extended raw footage of the interviews.


Link to Native Daughters: http://cojmc.unl.edu/nativedaughters/

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Adoptees deported by US? Yes

By Kim Sung-soo
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2012/03/137_106204.html

Until 2001, when Korean children were sent to the U.S. for overseas adoption, it was their adoptive parents’ responsibility to naturalize them as U.S. citizens.

In addition, adoption agencies both in Korea and the U.S. were responsible for post-adoption services that should monitor adoptees and their adoptive parents until the children are fully integrated into U.S. society. This is a key principle of overseas adoption.

However, the reality is not the same as the principle. The U.S. deports foreign adoptees aged 29 and older who haven’t been naturalized when they commit certain crimes. Washington must stop this practice immediately.

Unlike European governments, the U.S. government did not automatically grant citizenship to overseas adoptees until 2001. The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 came into force on Feb. 27, 2001, allowing all internationally adopted children under 18 on that date, and all those adopted in the future, to become U.S. citizens automatically. However, adoptees 18 or older on that date could not be covered by the act.

Many adoptees discovered, usually when applying for federal student loans or a passport, that they had never been naturalized by their foster parents. I know three Korean adoptees ― Monte, Tim, and Matthew ― who could not benefit from the act.

Monte was born in 1970 in Korea and was sent to the U.S. in 1978. Although he served in the U.S. military, he was deported to Korea in 2009. Monte claims that when he was arrested, he did not know that he had been set up by his truck driving partner to transport drugs. Like most other Korean adoptees sent to the U.S., Monte is culturally American and does not speak Korean.

Tim was born in Korea in 1974, and in 1977 he went to the U.S. as an adoptee. His adoptive parents cut their ties with him after he graduated from high school, so he left his home and wandered throughout the U.S. He became homeless and addicted to drugs for over 15 years. Ultimately he was arrested, imprisoned, and deported to Korea, where he became homeless again in April 2011. He has no trace of his birth family on his adoption records.

Matthew was born in Korea in 1978 and he went to the U.S. at the age of six months, but his parents did not naturalize him. He was not deported, but willingly returned to Korea in February 2011 to be close to his family and experience Korea as a young man.

When the Seoul government discovered that Matthew, technically an “overseas Korean citizen,” was back in the country, he received a compulsory enlistment notice from the Korean military. After a prolonged struggle over paperwork that reflected both his permanent residency in the U.S. and his Korean citizenship, Matthew was finally granted an exemption from military enlistment because he is also technically an “orphan.”

Matthew would like to have dual citizenship, just as other adoptees have that option. But because he received his Green Card only in the past few years, he would be in his 40s by the time he gains U.S. citizenship. In the interim, he would be required to live within the U.S. Meanwhile, adoptees with only U.S. citizenship may live in Korea indefinitely on an F-4 visa.

As the U.S. leads the world in terms of the numbers of children adopted from other countries, it should also lead the world in the humanitarian treatment of them. However, we are now seeing that adoptees from not just Korea, but many other countries, are being deported from the U.S. even on minor charges.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), amended and expanded by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA) of 1996, non-citizens may apply for “waivers” to deportations, based on factors such as length of residency in the U.S. and potential hardship if deported.

However, no such exceptions are available to “aggravated felons.” Aggravated felonies include crimes such as drug trafficking, but may also include misdemeanor charges. For instance, the IIRAIRA expanded the INA so a person may be treated as an aggravated felon for committing a theft punishable by only one year in prison. This opens up the risk of adoptees to be deported for petty crimes such as shoplifting.

While recognizing that non-adopted people who immigrated as children are also subject to this law, I believe that the U.S. Congress, through passing the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, has already shown its belief that international adoptees should be automatic citizens.

I urge the U.S. government to correct defects in the U.S. legal system by quickly passing an amendment that would allow all overseas adoptees ― even adults like Tim, Matthew, and Monte ― to rightfully receive their U.S. citizenship. This would stop the deportations and also give the benefits and protection of citizenship to all law-abiding international adoptees.

Dr. Kim Sung-soo is the author of a biography of Korean Quaker Ham Sok-hon and executive director of Transparency International-Korea. Reach him at wadans@empas.com.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Blog Week: Biological Curiousity

BLOG WEEK: What bothers you about the Adoption Establishment?

Excerpt from ONE SMALL SACRIFICE: A Memoir (2nd Edition)

Never before had I experienced such difficulty with one story.  I repeat: never.  I took to writing like a duck takes to water.  Most days, writing and doing research is like breathing.  This time was different.  I struggled.  I knew I’d hit something so I had to slow down, to process, to dig. This history, my history, similar stories, had to be somewhere.

How many countries do not allow adoption?  Several.  Iraq is one.  No children from Western Europe, Australia, or Canada are eligible for adoption by Americans right now.

Nonetheless, America’s adoption reach has been global, widely publicized, some insist saintly, God-like of those who adopt orphans, even if money is exchanged for babies.

International adoption really began after the Korean War, when American GI’s left numerous orphans with their poverty-stricken mothers; then Korean and American-Asian orphans were brought here to be adopted in the United States.  After that, Americans adopted thousands of children from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.  There is no bigger adopter.  In 2002 alone, U.S. families adopted over 20,000 children from various Third World nations. 

The overall topic of adoption begged one question for me. “Wait, how do adoptees feel?”  No one had asked me when I was young or old.  I wanted this answered so I dug in.

An adoptee movement makes headlines these days.  Adoptive parents are usually shocked to hear their adopted child say they need to know who they are and what happened.

My Alaskan Native-Celtic friend Anecia says, “The power of identity is stronger than fear.” That’s a powerful statement about adoption, yes.  Anecia went full circle as an adoptee and met her birth mom and dad.  Her adoptive dad helped her.

The reality is adoptees do have a strong biological curiosity. It’s awful scary not to know who you are.  My first goal was discovery how I lived a mystery and solved it, and I survived spiritually intact and remarkably well.  Other Split Feathers need to know how this is possible, even after our pain.

This memoir is not about my recovery from depression or addiction or self-mutilation or suicide attempts, not at all.  Apparently adoptees do suffer from these more than the rest of humanity.

Facing my own situation head-on, what choice did I have? I was an abandoned babyit was my initiation into being human.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Blog Week: Propaganda aimed at teens

Continuing with Blog Week: What bothers you about the Adoption Establishment?
I found a website (http://starcasm.net/archives/145898) that featured teens who used Bethany Christian Services. Teens are not educated about Birth Psychology or the life-long health effects of trauma on the infant who is given up for adoption. What bothers me? How the adoption industry plants propaganda to influence teens and we can see their profits are their priority, not keeping young families intact.

Excerpt:
Teen Mom's Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra Appear in Adoption Agency Commercial (VIDEO)  by
Catelynn Lowell and now-fiance Tyler Baltierra made the tough decision to give their baby daughter up for adoption. But in this commercial unearthed by Starcasm, they say the time was made easier by adoption agency, Bethany Christian Services.
At first, we were both really nervous," Catelynn says. But, "Bethany cares a lot about the birth parents ... they'll help the birth parents through anything."
 "When you walk into that office and talk to one of the counselors, the feeling you get is warmth and care," Tyler adds.

To see the commercial go to : http://starcasm.net/archives/145898

In Indian Country, young children are raised by aunties and grandmas if mothers cannot - that practice has been going on for centuries - Everyone is your relative in your tribe so kinship adoption was not destructive or disruptive to the child.
America's Adoption Industry cannot grasp the importance of keeping families intact....Trace

Thursday, March 1, 2012

BLOG WEEK: My beautiful sister Teresa

Teresa (1961-2012)
Meeting and getting to know my sister Teresa was the greatest gift in my life. I met her in 1994 when I met my dad Earl for the first time. She died yesterday at age 50.
I always wanted a sister and she was the very best for the past 18 years. I will be attending her funeral and conclude BLOG WEEK "Adoption Establishment" with this.

  1. Getting to meet siblings is life-changing.
  2. Knowing my first family and siblings helped me go full circle on my adoption journey to healing.
  3. Finding family who looked like me and loved me unconditionally was priceless.
I am glad I never gave up the search for my first family. My reunion happened 16 years after I started looking for them. I don't regret opening my adoption, despite the laws that prevented me and unwritten rules that said I should never search because it would hurt my adoptive parents.

Adoptees, please start your search if you haven't. FIND YOUR FAMILY! Write your legislators and tell them to open your adoption records. Contact Soaring Angels on Yahoo Groups and get your non-id paperwork. Don't wait, start today.

Trace/Laura Thrall-Bland

(I have a few more BLOG WEEK posts scheduled in the next few days)

Blog Week: Toxic Stress & Adoptee Health

patient rights
BLOG WEEK: What annoys me about the Adoption Establishment continues...

TOXIC STRESS is an integral part of adoption in my mind.  The Adoption Establishment doesn't mention effects on the baby who is orphaned and put up for adoption. That annoys me!
Being adopted affected my health as a child and as an adult. I call myself Super-Sensitive....the trauma of being abandoned is one of the greatest pains you will ever feel and impossible to heal...


ADOPTEE HEALTH
          Adoptees are truly a unique and diverse group. Some adoptees know they were traumatized as babies and now are plagued with emotional and physical problems...A few adoptees I know were adopted as children so they spent time with the natural mother, and many were breastfed.

          I did not spend any time with my natural mother and went directly to an orphanage. By the time I was adopted, I was a wreck. How do I know this? My parent’s memories and home movies. My immune system struggled continuously, and I struggle with adult allergies. You name it: weeds, grass, molds, dust, trees, and many foods.

          I admit I was running on high speed as a kid and taxed my adrenals to the max. When you’re in a heightened state of fear, in my case, this is called the fight or flight response. Doctors call it adrenal overload.

          In an earlier blog I posted information about the ACE STUDY and how childhood stress becomes an adult health problem.

          Now this: "Could your flight-or-fight response be giving you cancer?"

That question is answered by Alice Wessendorf on the
Healthier Talk website.

Alice: "When you find yourself in a difficult situation, hormones are released that up your heart rate, quicken your breathing, narrow your vision and, in general, prepare your body to clash or dash.

"This process, known as the fight-or-flight response, is supposed to save your life. But it turns out that it may also be giving you cancer.

"We already knew that this stress response could increase the risk for illnesses like heart disease. But now, new research out of the University of Texas points to stress hormones directly supporting tumor growth and spread.

"They do this by flipping the switch on the stress- activated protein known as focal adhesion kinase (FAK). FAK protects the detached cancer cells from dying. Allowing them to spread through your blood system finding places to re-attach and grow new tumors.

"And, as you may have already guessed, the higher your stress hormones are the higher your FAK levels become and the quicker tumors can grow and spread.

"So what can be done to stop the spread? Reducing the stress hormones circulating in your system is critical. You can't rid yourself of your natural fight-or-flight response. But what you can do is manage your stress levels."

The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health hosted an event to discuss the long term toxic stress consequences on children.

From the Summary: Evidence suggests that for the youngest children, prolonged or severe exposure to abuse, neglect and economic hardship – exacerbated by a dearth of stable, supportive relationships with adults – can provoke a “toxic stress response” with lifelong consequences. Such stress may influence brain development and increase the risk for illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. While efforts have been made for decades to intervene early in children’s lives, the results have not always been resounding.

Quotes: “What the science is telling us is that what happens early on affects lifelong health… So this is a game-changer for how the policy deals with toxic stress. This is for the health committees as much as it’s for the education committees. It’s as much for the Secretary of Public Health as it is for the Secretary of Education because what happens early on affects both, lifelong.” - Jack Shonkoff, Director, Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, and Professor of Child Health and Development, Harvard School of Public Health
“Rather than saying to the parents, ‘You are a problem,’ what we have to say to the parents is, ‘There are some things going on in your life that are having a tremendous effect on you and your child. Let’s see if we can figure out a way to help and make that situation better.’" - Robert Block, President, American Academy of Pediatrics
“There is no silver bullet solution here. I think it really requires us having a more systemic look at the well-being of our kids and putting that front and center. So our Administration is going to remain committed to that goal. “ - Roberto Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy, The White Houses
Link to videos: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/forum/toxic-stress-of-early-childhood-adversity.cfm

mp3 file: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/forum/files/audio/20120207_toxic_stress.mp3

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Blog Week: Returning Stolen Children

Continuing with Blog Week and "What Annoys You about the Adoption Establishment: this story tore me up about India's Adoption corruption and their Stolen Children.

Read this post:

http://fleasbiting.blogspot.com/2012/02/finding-truth-returning-stolen-children.html

Quote: Note that almost all adoption corruption -- whether coercion of first parents to relinquish, persuading non-infertile folks to become adoptive parents, or persuading the general public or anyone in particular of the absolute goodness of international adoption in spite of facts to the contrary -- involves persuading people of a strong belief system (whose foundations have been laid for decades in our popular culture) and then reinforcing that strong belief system. This belief system is often at odds with other knowledge, emotions, and values and often requires the suspension of the usual protections of questioning assumptions, and using research and critical thinking to evaluate truth claims.

About their blog: Why These Fleas Bite

Desiree: In 1998 my husband David and I adopted a sibling group of two older girls from India.
Within six weeks of their arrival, our new daughters, who were severely emotionally traumatized, told us they had been stolen from their birthfamily.
For six long and difficult years, our agency, though asked to do so repeatedly, failed to investigate our daughters allegations.
Finally, on our own with the help of an Indian activist for the poor, we found our daughters' birthfamily and confirmed their disturbing story.
Despite all this there has yet to be so much as an apology from our agency, and certainly no justice. Not for our daughters. Not for our daughters' first parents. Not for ourselves.
It seems that NO ONE CARES about this crime.
Our US agency--which has not disputed the facts of the case--says that it bears no legal responsibility even if, like we say, they helped place stolen children in our home.
Our pleas to both the Indian and US governments have fallen on what appears to be deaf ears, and therefore, we assume, uncaring ears. The state office which licenses our agency has a phone machine for complaints; apparently they do not return phone calls--at least ours was never returned.
Meanwhile, the Indian orphanage director has been jailed three times on child trafficking related charges. He is currently trying to be relicensed yet again.
We have been left to ask the questions:
1) How could this have happened? Was our case simply a rare happenstance or could there be specific flaws--specific or systemic--in the system that have allowed/caused it to happen?
2) Why is it that no one cares about this kind of crime?
This blog represents some of the answers we've found to these questions. It also is shares the ongoing answers as we continue to learn.
Flea bites are simply individual incidents of exposing the reality of international adoption practices--one example, one practice, one analysis, one real-life experience, one proposed remedy, and one "big picture" at a time.
If our insignificant flea bites can save other families the extreme pain that our daughters, our daughters' first family, and our own family have endured, these flea bites will not be in vain.
To find out more about Desiree's family's adoption follow the following link. NPR's" Adoption in America Series: An Adoption Gone Wrong, July 24, 2007
Their advice: Tell Bad Stories
http://fleasbiting.blogspot.com/2007/02/corruption-item-17-tell-bad-stories.html

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Blog Week: Who you need to read!

Participating in the unofficial "What Annoys you about the Adoption Establishment" Week - here are links to blogs who will be posting:
adoptionechoes.com/2012/02/27/why-the-adoption-establishment-annoys-me/

Now is the time to share these posts with your friends AND sign up and subscribe to these blogs (via email) - and the greatest thing you can do is retweet, share on Facebook and comment - every blogger LOVES that!
I love my readers very much - and you adoptees teach me every day and I appreciate you all! ...Trace

" QUOTE"
“My problem is secrecy. I believe that perpetually secret adoptions assure un-accountability and lack of transparency. And secret adoptions are only the tip of the iceberg. The secrecy permeates the process: secret identities, secret parents, secret records, secret foster care providers, secret social workers, secret judges and lawyers (all their identities are sealed, typically), secret physicians, secret statistics and, in the case of some adoption-oriented organizations, secret budgets and secret boards of directors. In any social practice, when people in positions of power hide behind masks, one can be pretty sure that they have something to hide.”
             -Albert S. Wei, Special Advisor to the Bastard Nation Executive Committee

Monday, February 27, 2012

Blog Week: What bugs me about the Adoption Establishment








SHOTGUN ADOPTION
http://www.thenation.com/article/shotgun-adoption?page=0,0
This article is from 2009 but offers an interesting insider view of the Adoption Agencies agenda and their role in coercion of young women to relinquish their babies, instead of supporting them so they can keep their child.

Excerpt:
Carol Jordan, a 32-year-old pharmacy technician, was living in Greenville, South Carolina, in 1999 when she became pregnant. She'd already decided against abortion, but she was struggling financially and her boyfriend was unsupportive. Looking through the Yellow Pages for help, she spotted an ad under "crisis pregnancies" for Bethany Christian Services.

Within hours of calling, Jordan (who asked to be identified with a pseudonym) was invited to Bethany's local office to discuss free housing and medical care. Bethany, it turned out, did not simply specialize in counseling pregnant women. It is the nation's largest adoption agency, with more than eighty-five offices in fifteen countries.

...instances of coercion in adoption stretch back nearly seventy years.

...CPCs (Crisis Pregnancy Centers) might persuade reluctant women by casting adoption as redemption for unwed mothers' "past failures" and a triumph over "selfishness, an 'evil' within themselves."

...CPCs were wary of looking like "baby sellers"...

Care Net runs 1,160 CPCs nationwide and partners with Heartbeat International to host a national CPC hot line.

... National Council for Adoption (NCFA), the most prominent adoption lobby group in the country, in the company of other benefactors like Bethany; Texas maternity home giant Gladney; the Good Shepherd Sisters, a Catholic order serving "young women of dissolute habits"; and the Mormon adoption agency LDS Family Services.

The federally funded NCFA has a large role in spreading teachings like these through its Infant Adoption Awareness Training Program, a Department of Health and Human Services initiative it helped pass in 2000 that has promoted adoption to nearly 18,000 CPC, school, state, health and correctional workers since 2002.

(Blog Week: http://landofgazillionadoptees.com/2012/02/22/secret-message-for-other-bloggers-about-the-week-of-february-26th-aka-why-the-adoption-establishment-annoys-the-heck-out-of-us-blog-week/#comment-1867)

I added the bold in the excerpt so you can notice the main players in the industry. Stay tuned to this blog - more of my rants coming this week...Trace

Sunday, February 26, 2012

BLOG WEEK: MY TOP 5

Kevin Ost-Vollmers and Shelise Gieseke at Land of Gazillion Adoptees Blog said Feb. 26th begins BLOG WEEK to answer this question: “Why does the adoption establishment annoy the heck out of us (adoptees)?” http://landofgazillionadoptees.com/2012/02/22/secret-message-for-other-bloggers-about-the-week-of-february-26th-aka-why-the-adoption-establishment-annoys-the-heck-out-of-us-blog-week/

MY MISSION today is to answer that question!  Ok, so why does the adoption establishment bug the heck out of me?

Here is my Top 5.

1- (Lack of) Disclosure - Old archaic laws are on the books in many states and it seems every state is having some kind of major meltdown or fiscal crisis. Adoptees who are fighting to gain access to our birth records can’t seem to grab their attention or warrant the lawmaker’s time or serious consideration - unless maybe the lawmaker is an adoptee.  

Yup, we know adoptees are low on the totem pole and status meter and that annoys me.

What are “they” thinking? Oh, it’s obvious - the status quo - let’s not rock the boat, just leave the law as is and let's not disclose information every adoptee needs and deserves, and definitely let’s not disturb the Adoption Industry who lobbies Wash. DC with fancy dinners and big campaign contributions. (Lack of medical history is a huge problem for many adoptees, including me)

I can hear the lobbyist pounding on their tables, “adoptees should be grateful they were adopted.” The adoption industry is a billion dollar business and they don’t want to lose a single dollar in profits. It’s about money. Even now, the adoption industry does not appreciate adoptees or ask how we feel or acknowledge what we endured. We are not invited to sit at their table or join in discussions. That really bugs me!

2- Secrecy - Over and over and over “they” claim our natural mothers demanded secrecy yet many mothers who lost children after closed adoptions are saying, “damn the secrecy, damn the laws, where are my children?”

Uniting all these mothers with all the adoptees on the same stage, fighting the discrimination, shame, secrecy and old laws would be powerful!

Sadly it seems both are on their own warpath to be heard.  Uniting our voices on this issue - especially natural mothers and adoptees who have been silenced for too long - is what is urgently needed. Big crowds marching on Washington DC would get "their" attention.  

Blogs (my favorites are listed in the right column) are enlightening the world to our plight. Using our voices, activism and blogging for change is good.

3- Identity - Adoptees are denied our basic human rights to the truth of our ancestry, our tribe(s), our birth name, our family names, our background (which is our identity), our medical history, our original birth certificate (OBC) and information about both our natural parents.

I noticed writing my memoir how adoptees will say they are looking for their mothers -- but we do have a dad somewhere and possibly siblings - and we do need to know who they are and where they are! Adoptees need to add “dad and siblings” to their list of needs when facing adoption industry discrimination and current adoption laws.

The bias in the adoption industry is to protect the adoptive parents and seal our identity so no one will ever find out the truth. That deeply annoys me.

If you are Native American, you cannot be enrolled without documentation and proof. If you are a Split Feather/adoptee, you not only lose your identity but your treaty rights and all that goes along with being an enrolled tribal member. Just remember your identity is Native American with or without tribal enrollment.  We must unite and form a national organization to teach about the government’s use of closed adoption to hurt and destroy American Indian families and cripple future generations.

4- New Identification Cards? Yup, as of 2005 more states will implement this new country-wide identification card. And guess what? Adoptees who cannot produce a real birth certificate (OBC) may (let me stress “MAY”) not be able to renew a driver’s license, vote, or apply for or renew a passport. That scares me and bugs me equally! Those ignorant lawmakers who wrote the Real ID Act of 2005 (and passed it) didn’t consider adoptees or how this would affect us? We pay them big salaries because they represent us. What were they thinking? They were not thinking of adoptees, perhaps 10 million of us in the USA.

5 - Gratitude - Over and over I hear adoptees say - almost by script - how grateful they were to be adopted by their parents. I call this our gratitude attitude. We get stuck there mentally and it’s hard to move on to empowering ourselves to regain our birth rights and identity. I know my gratitude silenced me. Gratitude meant I could not talk to my adoptive parents about anything - how I felt, what I planned to do, or even ask them questions about my adoption file. Laws prevented me from knowing anything about myself and my first family.

AND I found out my new parents were not really informed when they adopted me in 1957. They had basic information like I was illegitimate, how my mom was unmarried.

AND my adoption file didn’t include medical history. Really. Apparently the adoption industry didn’t think about the child at all when compiling information for the adoption hearing. It was about convenience and expedience for adoptive parents. Really.
Looking back the adoption industry should be so embarrassed and horrified they didn’t get our medical history when they “sold” us to our new parents.

So, what about the Adoption Establishment annoys you? Please leave a comment.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Indian Child Welfare, three interviews

Click here: http://stephaniewoodard.blogspot.com/

Indian Child Welfare Act, three interviews; part one

By Stephanie Woodard
Excerpt:
Native parents face extraordinary hurdles in keeping their children—including cultural misunderstandings and legal barriers that are unimaginable to many non-Native people. In this second decade of the 21st century, American Indian children in states across the country are still taken from their families and placed in foster care or adoptive homes at a much higher rate than other kids—just as they were before the passage of the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal statute intended to help keep Native families intact.
In Alaska, Native children make up 20 percent of the child population but 51 percent of those a state agency has placed in foster care; Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah, North Dakota and Washington also have highly skewed numbers. In Minnesota, the percentage of Native children in foster care isn’t just high, it’s gotten worse in recent years. “Disproportionalities exist nationwide at every stage in the process, starting right from the initial reports of possible abuse or neglect of a Native child,” says Kristy Alberty, Cherokee, spokeswoman for the National Indian Child Welfare Association.
As those who read this blog are aware, the removal of Indian Children was supposed to end with the ICWA of 1978 and sadly, it's still a crisis and unacceptable. Poverty is a powerful weapon and is still being used against Indian people.  Trace

Obama Unveils Plan To Help Young American Indians

Obama Unveils Plan To Help Young American Indians
click photo to read

Truth

Three Books on Lost Birds

ICWA headlines

ICWA headlines
click to read

Good Words

Mila @yoonsblur: What can non-adopted people do to help adoptees feel respected in our spaces? Remember that they are guests. Remember that they are visitors. Remember that they will NEVER know what it's like to live an adopted life. Remember that they are visiting our home, our land, our territory. And hence, they need to act and behave accordingly. I like to use the analogy of a heart transplant patient. A heart transplant patient is the only one who knows what it is like to undergo transplantation. They are the only ones who know how it feels to be a transplant patient. The doctors, nurses, family members, etc. do not know what it is like to live life as a transplant patient and none of them would insist that they know what it feels like. They can help take care of the patient, they may even have valuable knowledge that may be applicable, but they still have no clue what it's like to live life as a transplant patient. Even the doctors and nurses can only help if they listen to the patient. Assumptions are dangerous and could even lead to death. Hence, knowledge is never equivalent to experience. A White person who has a Ph.D in African American studies will never know what it's like to live life as an African American. That Ph.D does not make the White person an "expert" on being African American. Similarly, unless you are an adoptee--no matter how many books you've read, no matter how many adopted children you've raised--you will NEVER know what it's like to be an adoptee. So, respect that. Sit down. Listen. Acknowledge. Validate. Do not presume. Do not dismiss. Do not negate. Do not pit adoptees against each other by saying, "Well, I know this one adoptee who..." Turn your mouth off and your ears on. That's what non-adopted folks can do if they truly want to understand and respect adoptees in our spaces.
Lost Daughters Blog LINK

Search Safely

StartPage