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Standing Rock

Friday, May 28, 2010

One Small Sacrifice book review by John C. Hopkins

By John Christian Hopkins
Tuba City, Arizona (NFIC) May 2010

     The Beatles sang of a long and winding road, but they never set foot on the long, treacherous path of a Native American adoptee that is strewn with potholes, deadends and disappointment.
     Award-winning Native journalist Trace A. DeMeyer (Hentz) shares the heartfelt journey of loss, loneliness and finding love in her powerful, new memoir “One Small Sacrifice: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects,” an exposé on generations of American Indian children adopted by non-Indian families.
     One reader told DeMeyer it was like being “punched in the gut.”
     Pulling no punches, DeMeyer, who now lives in Greenfield, Mass., with her husband, Herb, rips away the illusion that adoption ends happily ever after as soon as the documents are signed and finalized.
     She delves into the dark world of doubts – “Why didn’t my mom want me?” – and the fear that asking too many questions would cause her adoptive parents to throw her away all over again.
     She suffered years of abuse – emotionally, sexually and physically – as pain became her constant companion and a pretend happy smile her childhood defense against the torrent of doubts in her life.
     DeMeyer has spent years meeting and talking with other “Split Feathers,” Native American children taken from their homes and placed in non-Indian families; she discovered that her experiences weren’t new or unique, that many other adoptees, just like her, had unanswered questions, mountains of sadness and, often, shattered lives.
     Conquering that tumultuous beginning felt like the easy part as DeMeyer attempted to find her birth family. Her first obstacle was that her adoption was “closed,” meaning sealed and she had no legal right to view her own file!
     A sympathetic judge in her Wisconsin hometown allowed DeMeyer to look at her file when she was 22; she found tantalizing clues about her birth family, and even more questions to haunt her as sought to come full circle and discover who she really was.
     “I read this powerful book cover to cover, Trace tells her story with such compassion and truthfulness;” Alutiiq-Cherokee adoptee and author Anecia O’Carroll wrote. “Her memories, feelings and facts are written with such unflinching truth, in my mind and heart she is a warrior and a hero.”
     Known for her exceptional print interviews with famous Native Americans, DeMeyer started research on adoptees in 2004, which led to this fact-filled, 227-page biography that includes congressional testimony, evidence of Indian Adoption Projects and how the Indian Child Welfare Act came to exist.
     Available as a download (e-book, $3.00) or in book form ($15.95) at: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/one-small-sacrifice/6242298, her jaw-dropping narrative of living as an adoptee, her search, meeting birth relatives, will surely raise eyebrows and question the validity of sealed records and the billion dollar adoption industry.
     Her journey takes her to Illinois to meet her birthfather in 1996 where she learns about her Cherokee-Shawnee ancestry.
     DeMeyer is former editor of tribal newspapers the Pequot Times and Ojibwe Akiing. She freelances for News From Indian Country, a national independent native newspaper.
     DeMeyer’s chapter on Sac and Fox Olympian Jim Thorpe won critical praise in the 2001 book Olympics at the Millennium (published by Rutgers Press). Her poetry was published in the spring 2009 edition of Yellow Medicine Review; and she has an essay in the upcoming Foothills Press book, “I Was Indian Before It Was Cool,” edited by Susan Deer Cloud.
     In the 1870s Ponca Chief Standing Bear had to take his case to court to prove he was a human being; but DeMeyer’s journey took her so much further as she tried to prove to herself that she was somebody, too.

Link: http://indiancountrynews.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9191&Itemid=1

Trace at the Jackson Hole Wyoming airport in 1983 with actor twins

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adoptees take back adoption narrative and reject propaganda

To Veronica Brown

Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.

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Customer Review

Thought-provoking and moving 11 October 2012
Two Worlds - Lost children of the Indian Adoption Projects

If you thought that ethnic cleansing was something for the history books, think again. This work tells the stories of Native American Indian adoptees "The Lost Birds" who continue to suffer the effects of successive US and Canadian government policies on adoption; policies that were in force as recently as the 1970's. Many of the contributors still bear the scars of their separation from their ancestral roots. What becomes apparent to the reader is the reality of a racial memory that lives in the DNA of adoptees and calls to them from the past.
The editors have let the contributors tell their own stories of their childhood and search for their blood relatives, allowing the reader to gain a true impression of their personalities. What becomes apparent is that nothing is straightforward; re-assimilation brings its own cultural and emotional problems. Not all of the stories are harrowing or sad; there are a number of heart-warming successes, and not all placements amongst white families had negative consequences. But with whom should the ultimate decision of adoption reside? Government authorities or the Indian people themselves? Read Two Worlds and decide for yourself.

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ADOPTION TRUTH

As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.”
The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.

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