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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.

4 comments:

  1. The identity issues strike deep. Catholic Charities literally whitewashed my biological father's information, changing it from "Metis" to "of English descent." I was lucky to learn the truth, but not until nearly 40 years old.

    Now, I know my heritage, but feel as cut off from it as ever... It's hard to recreate your identity from the truth, when you've grown up with lies.

    ReplyDelete
  2. All of your "annoyed" posts are great, Trace. It is really interesting to me to see the breadth of frustration so many people feel about the adoption establishment. But the underlying themes are really the same, and you nail them here. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Margie and I so appreciate your blog posts, too! If we continue, we might just see things happen! That is my prayer....

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, Carrie, forced assimilation (losing your Indian identity to be American or Canadian) was "their" intent. There were times when it was not safe to be or identify as Indian, as you already know. Reducing the numbers of Indians was about land and theft. Adoption ties into this with sealed records and lost identity. Sad to think it happened to your bio-dad and then you.

    ReplyDelete

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