It is a tragedy that a mother felt helpless when she was pregnant and 16 years old. It is a tragedy that she made the decision not to tell the father of her child that he was the child’s father. It is a tragedy that their son grew up without either one of his natural parents.
It is important to know that there should never be a need to separate a baby from his parents. A mother and her baby should never be separated. Not even when the mother is 16 years old. And the father should always be told he is a father.
When adoption separation does happen, the mother, father, and son live life without one another; until one of them begins a search and discovers the others.
What follows is a well-balanced reunion story. This adoption, and this reunion, was handled in the best possible way.
But keep in mind, the point is: the goal is to never be separated in the first place.
But since adoption separation happened, everyone involved here had the sincerity, the maturity, and the humanity to handle this reunion with grace and love.
In July, a huge family reunion in Youngstown brought McCullough, Briggs, Smith and Comer together for the first time. All of McCullough’s parents in one place, reflecting on nurture versus nature, what is inherited versus what is taught and the many different forms of parenthood. It was both the culmination of a journey and the start of something new for the families that the journey had introduced. A man found his parents, a mother found her child, and a father discovered a son he never knew he was missing. There is no jealousy, no resentment and no regret. There is just gratitude for the winding paths that brought them all together.
Well written, Gazelledz. I wish you had included the link to the post you were referring to as I’d like to pay a visit over there. The website seems to focus on pregnancy. Yes, I know adoptive parent wanna-bees hang out at places where pregnancy is the topic because, well, they covet what they can’t have naturally. That means, of course, that no matter how much any adopter loves their adopted child, they cannot replace what nature created.
Unless you share DNA/cMs, ancestors, extended family, etc. with a child your are NOT that child’s mother. NO judge, state, or country can change inmutable natural laws, and only in the west is ‘adoption’ considered , wrongfully, to be acceptable.
Paying any fee for a child is illegal and bribery is worse. We are NOT for sale, nor are we here for your convenience. We are also not responsible for the choices-good or bad-that you have made, make, or will make in your life time. We were not born to replace what you do not have. We were born to those preselected to be our parents, no matter how or when we were conceived or how we are separated from them. They remain our parents and we their children.
The ‘legal’ conscription of a child through adoption is odious and a crime against nature and humanity as…
In the first three months of 2011, I lost my natural father, my daughter’s best friend, and my adoptive mother, in that order one each month. That started the downhill trend of one or two deaths per month after that; my aunt, friends, parents of friends. By the time the summer of 2012 arrived, I was beyond depressed.
To relieve the stress, I re-joined the Y, hoping to firm up the flab while detoxing my mind. As I stared at my thighs in the mirror (why do they put mirrors in front of exercise equipment anyway?) I made a pact with myself to work out two hours a day until I can fit back into my jeans.
But I didn’t want to talk with anyone. At all. I just wanted to block out the world, hide and work my ass off. So I completed circuit training before moving on to a treadmill and an elliptical, saving the stretch mats for last. There were small groups of people chatting with each other, which made me feel even worse. They were happy; I was the one who didn’t fit in. I was afraid that if I interacted with them, then they’d see what a mess I was. Or, I’d prove it by crying. Even the slightest bit of interpersonal interaction frightened me. I managed to keep some sort of false-face with polite eye contact, nodding and smiling as it was unavoidable moving from machine to machine.
In the evenings, I drove around the neighborhood, pulling into parking lots of stores that I’d never been to. In an attempt for distraction, I walked up and down the aisles of colorful household items, looking for something interesting. When boredom set in, I left to find someplace else in which to escape.
A drive along the Niagara River brought me to Old Man River, a popular summer eatery, to watch little kids eat hot dogs and ice cream with their parents. Tears welled up as I remembered that Mom and I sat right over there at that table last summer. And Old Man River was the same place Mom and Dad, my adoptive parents, took me when I was a kid. Dad was gone now for 30 years. Realizing how long ago that was made me think of my natural mother who died when I was an infant 56 years ago. Then I thought of how I screwed up my relationship with my natural father the last few years of his life because I was upset over an insulting comment he said to me. With a little bit more patience, I could have saved our relationship. My thoughts spiraled out of control. All four of my parents were dead. I was alone and had no clue of what to do for the rest of my life. Would I ever be able to enjoy the river again?
What could I do? Drinking did not appeal to me, except for the occasional Guinness, so I turned to my next drug of choice. Hot fudge sundaes. Over a period of about two months, I hit every Dairy Queen in the Town of Tonawanda – Kenmore area, at least twice. I was in denial and grieving.
In complete contradiction, I dutifully held to my schedule at the Y each morning. The same people were there, day in and day out. I was fine as long as no one spoke to me. But we had eye contact. I certainly didn’t want friends. I wanted peace of mind.
One particular evening, I parked my car in the lot of the closest Dairy Queen, the one on Elmwood, and got out to order a hot fudge sundae, feeling guilty. What am I doing? This isn’t helping my thighs any. With the sundae in my hand, I went back to my car, defeated by my own self-sabotaging behavior.
I sat in my car with the windows open, mindlessly glancing in front of my car as the hot fudge and cold ice cream swirled on my tongue. A man got out of his car parked next to mine on the right side, walked up to the trash can directly in front and to the left of me and deposited his trash. He turned around to walk back to his car. Just as I lifted another spoon filled with the intoxicating sweetness to my hungry lips, he looked right at me. In an instant, we recognized each other from the Y! We both laughed. He caught me red handed, gorging on fattening delights at dusk. But he wasn’t innocent, either. I didn’t catch him in the act, but that didn’t matter. Sneaking away from the trash can was evidence enough. We were both parked at the scene of the crime.
He shamed me off of ice cream.
The next morning, I went to the Y, still hiding behind my defensive wall. As I strode on the treadmill, a hand reached out, waving a photo in my face. “This is me and my band in the 60s!”
I’m out of breath, bobbing up and down and this clown wants me to look at a photo? I tilted my head and lifted my eyes to see the guy who spotted me at Dairy Queen the previous evening. That did it. He just had to tell me stories of his band. Crap. Now I have to interact with him. He talked practically non-stop, one funny story after another. He said his name is Bill. Then he introduced me to his friend, Gary. Now I knew the names of two men who had secretly made me laugh inside as I listened to their conversations from my wall of silence. Bill and Gary broke me of my defensive wall. Over time, the two of them helped me realize that there was life after death. Whatever time I had left, I decided to make the best of it.
In the days that followed our initial meeting, we gathered like clockwork in the hallway leading to the exercise equipment room. One morning, as we passed Sam standing behind the staff desk eating his breakfast with a spoon, Bill saw a smooth creamy white substance in the bowl. He pointed at it and asked me, “What’s this?”
I didn’t even have to sniff it. “It’s yogurt!”
“You sure it’s not ice cream?” Bill turned with a grin and bounced off to hit the machines. Sam looked up from his bowl. “What’s that all about?”
I chuckled. “Just a friendly reminder that he caught me eating a hot fudge sundae at Dairy Queen the other day. And I caught him throwing away his empty dish!”
Sam shook his head with a smile. “You are both so busted!”
Part 2 – What’s Phillip’s First Name?
Bill, Gary and I have been hamming it up every day since we met in early 2012. During one particular gaggle of giggles, Bill wryly dubbed us “The Three Musketeers.” In answer, Gary howled, “No, we’re more like The Three Stooges!”
But it wasn’t just fun and games. We had shared interests, talked of our families, and were concerned when one of us had to take care of a hospital visit, or different problem.
Gary’s wife, Sharon, brought in their three year old grandson several times. Bill’s wife, Barb, came in to walk on a treadmill. Barb, Bill and I chatted about our favorite music venue, exchanged some emails, and ran into each other at the Scottish Festival.
But mostly, it pretty much was the three of us, Bill, Gary, and me.
When Bill didn’t show up for weeks at a time, Gary and I wondered if he had gone down South to visit his grandchildren without telling us. Sometimes, it was simply the time of day that we missed each other at the Y. I quickly tired of circuit training, so I joined exercise classes, which left little time together in the Wellness Center’s exercise machine room where we first met. If we didn’t see each other there, we caught up later in the morning in the member’s lounge.
In April 2014, Bill joined pickle ball. Gary took time out to handle medical problems. We didn’t see much of each other for long periods of time.
One day, when Gary was peddling on a bike before having coffee with The Old Farts, Bill stopped by to chat with me as I took a break in the member’s lounge. He poked fun at religious cults, and then prattled on about pickle ball. Usually quick witted, Bill paused as he tried to tell me something about someone. He looked at me with a grin and said, “For the life of me, I can’t remember the guy’s name! You know, what’s his name?”
“Bill, I don’t know the pickle ball people at all. You do!”
“Sure you do! You see him all the time. Oh, come on! I can see his face clear as day! He’s uhh, uhh…Oh Darn! Oh, what’s his name? What’s Phillip’s first name?”
As soon as he asked the question he realized how absurd it sounded. Slapping his forehead and slumping to the tabletop, Bill collapsed in laughter.
“You okay?” I smirked, trying to hold back a snort as I watched Bill’s performance.
“Yeah, yeah. I just figured out Phillip’s first name! It’s Phillip! Phillip is Phil. Phil is Phillip. I got it now! What’s wrong with me? One third of The Three Musketeers is losing his mind! ” Bill got up and laughed all the way down the hall to the gym to continue playing pickle ball.
When Gary showed up, I relayed the entire scene to him.
“Who is this guy Bill’s talking about? Do you know him?” Gary asked.
“Nope, don’t have a clue,” I answered as I looked at my coffee cup.
“It appears that Bill has an imaginary friend. Alright, then. Oh, wait, maybe he means me! My last name is Phillips. See, the name is embroidered on my shirt.”
“Oh, that’s great!” I said. “Here’s what we’ll do. When Bill comes back in here, we’ll sit straight faced and ask him, “Hey Bill, what’s Phillips’ first name?” At the same time, I’ll nod at you, and point, if he still doesn’t get it.”
“And I’ll just sit here. Maybe I’ll wave.” With a squeal of delight, Gary added, “I don’t think I’ll be able to contain myself! I can’t wait to see Bill’s face when it dawns on him that this Phillips’ first name is Gary!”
We waited over another cup of coffee. It was fast approaching high noon. Gary had to leave. Bill didn’t come back that day. I headed for the shower.
The very next day, I joined several new hires as Strength Instructors in a four hour job training at the corporate office. This was serious business, but I couldn’t get Bill’s antics out of my mind. As the Director of another local Y went over YMCA history, mission statement, and our function at the Y, I giggled to myself. The Director glanced at me several times in an effort for me to focus, but that just made the stifled giggles continue. I couldn’t get Bill’s question out of my mind. Each time I saw his face, I cracked up laughing.
Driving home that afternoon, I felt humiliated. I made a nuisance out of myself during my first job training. Once I reached home, I called that other branch YMCA to speak to the Director. I apologized and told her that I meant no disrespect, but there was this funny situation that I couldn’t shake from my mind. She understood. “That’s quite alright. We all have moments like that. I admire you for calling to talk with me.”
I was grateful that she wasn’t irritated over my rude giggles. I could have lost the job before it even started.
Back at the Y on Monday morning, Gary and I came up with more scenarios with the question, “What’s Phillip’s first name?” And each one was at Bill’s expense.
Reminiscent of Gary’s time playing the saxophone and clarinet in pit orchestras, he called out, “And that’s it, Ladies and Gentlemen! The evening is almost over. To conclude our show, here’s Bill with his rendition of “What’s Phillip’s First Name?”
It was the perfect set-up. Back in the day, Bill was the lead singer of his Beatles’ band in the 1960s. Now he could sing his own special song.
That image just sent the two of us into hysterics. Missing Bill, the two remaining Musketeers kept on goofing off.
Over time, the joke was lost. Bill disappeared into the netherworld of pickle ball.
Just two weeks ago, nearly three years after the incident, I asked Bill if he remembered that moment. “No, I don’t.”
That was such a good routine.
What is now lost to time is very fresh for me. Whenever I’m feeling down, I ask myself, “What’s Philip’s first name?” and I’m back into the giggles.
The Three Stooges indeed.
Part 3 – This is Good Bye
Gary, we buried you today. Tuesday, August 7, 2018. You died Sat August 4, 2018.
I’m glad I saw you one last time last Thursday. It was brief, just twenty minutes, but we saw each other again. Your eyes sure sparkled when I told you I’m taking up boxing! It was good to hear your soft voice, to hug you, to hold your hand, to tell you how much I love you.
I remember in the winter of 2016-17, when I caught that horrible sinus infection, the one that lasted two straight months. I coughed continuously, feeling as though I was choking to death, and feeling very weak. You kept me alive. It was you, no one else, who texted me all throughout the day, and most of the evening, telling me to breath, to not give up. You gave me encouragement. You cared. When the snow hit and it seemed that the area would be snowed in, you texted me, saying, “Gary’s Bingo Hall is now open.”
Then there was Christmas. “Happy Festivus!” you texted me. Because we are both atheists, Christmas didn’t mean much, but Festivus did.
I felt bad. I missed the holidays, and my birthday in January. But you were right there, cheering me on, keeping me going.
I can’t thank you enough. Even when I went back to work, I coughed for weeks.
But you weren’t there. Your health declined. And on the rare occasion that you came in, it was a treat to see you! Such a bright, warm smile! And when we asked how you were feeling, your answer was always, “So far, so good!”
So, I’ll pretend we’re talking in the member’s lounge…
Oh, hey, Gary, what’s up with that speech pathologist who says that your grandson has to go to speech therapy to unlearn your Providence, Rhode Island accent? Come on! That’s a lovely accent you have! Tell that speech therapist you’ll move Jackson to Providence where everyone talks like that! Then, you watch, Jackson will fail speech classes over there. They’ll send him back to Kenmore because he’ll be speaking with a Ken-moron accent!
Oh, hey, Gaarrreee, I got another one for you! See, this foot surgery I had in January, well, it’s healing up ok, but I walk on the side of my left foot still, which is knocking my right hip out of alignment. Let’s go dancing! I’ll hop around lopsided, and you can keep the beat by shuffling along with me. The two cripples will hold each other up.
By the way, thank you so much for singing Happy Birthday to me this past January. That was so sweet of you. And yes, just like your son said at the service today, I saved that voice message. I think I will email it to myself to listen to each year on my birthday now.
Did I ever explain why I stayed away from visiting you in the nursing home? I thought you didn’t want me there. I thought you were too depressed and didn’t want me to see you sick. I shouldn’t have stayed away. I thought of you every day. I missed texting “Good Morning Garreeee!” I missed your texts to me, “Good morning Dorrissssss!”
So good of us to find a way to keep your Providence, Rhode Island accent going through texting!
Oh, back to today’s Service. Yes, your family was there, Sharon, of course, and your sons, Gary and David. But, your daughter, Amy, wasn’t there. I think I know why. More on this later… Your friends from work were there. And from the Y, all except Bill. Bill hasn’t been the same since Barb died. So the Old Farts – Jim, Don, Guy, and the other Don – and their wives were there. Sandy from Zumba and Buff State, she was there, too. You would have loved the stories we told!
So, this is it.
After the service at Congregation Shir Shalom, we all drove to the cemetery. Everything was so very quick, no time to think. The funeral director ran out of roses, so I bent down and snapped off a small purple flower in the grass. I placed it on your casket, and said through my tears, “I love you, Gary.” Did you hear me?
Then, they lowered your casket.
One by one, we shoveled dirt on top of your casket. One shovel upside down, and then three more, to take responsibility in burying you.
My thoughts swirling in my mind…Gary, I’m sorry we had that falling out in April and May of 2016. That was such a hurtful time for both of us. I couldn’t believe you were so angry with me. You read my memoir and then wouldn’t tell me your thoughts. Why? Because you didn’t like how my life turned out? Because you didn’t understand my adoption? That day you made snarky comments at me in the Wellness Center, around Easter time 2016, you told me that I was too smart for you, that I knew big words, and that I knew more than you did. Gary, you didn’t make sense. Was that the cancer talking? Were you mad at me because you were jealous of me? Because I wrote a book? Because I am taking action against the negativity in my life by being a social change agent – being the social worker I went to college to be? Or, were you angry at me because you and your first wife adopted Amy? You kept saying that she has her original birth certificate, that she doesn’t want to search, and that she’s fine. I wish we could have talked it all out. It was so hard to see you every day in the Wellness Center after that and avoid each other. For six months. Or was it eight? I’m so glad that you timidly came up to me one day and asked if we could put the past behind us and be friends. You don’t know how much that meant to me, to have you back.
But then, I think you can. You once said, “I love you more than you know.”
It’s that rare friend who comes along and changes your life. You are that friend to me. I will love you forever, and, I love you more than you will ever know. I will see you on the other side someday, Garrreeee.
I say, “sort-of” because of the “birth” terms used repeatedly. When will reporters stop insulting families in this way? My father sired me, he did not birth me, therefore, he is not my “Birth father.” Stop it. Just stop it.
The research is good, interviews good, content and intent, all good. Go read it for yourself. If you feel compelled to subscribe, please do, because that is the only way you will be able to comment. I cannot afford to subscribe, so I will comment on this article here.
“…states refused to open birth records even when petitioned by adoptees who were searching for relatives because they needed organ donors. Only recently have states begun to reverse course; Massachusetts still doesn’t give all adoptees access to birth records.
But by now, it almost doesn’t matter.”
Ah, but it does matter.
Yes, adoptees and our natural blood kin are being reunited through DNA and social media, but adoptees’ birth certificates are revoked, sealed, and replaced by false-fact birth certificates meant to simulate our real births. Except that they don’t carry real facts. In some states, even birth dates and places can be falsified.
Think about it. My current amended birth certificate states that I, Joan Wheeler, was born to D and E Wheeler. Nope. Not true. I was not born as Joan Wheeler, nor was I born to the parents named. In reality, I became Joan Wheeler one year and one week after my birth when the final court order of adoption changed my name and finalized my adoption. Three months later, New York State revoked and sealed my birth certificate, the one that is the medical record of my birth, the one that names me as Doris Michol Sippel, the daughter of G and L Sippel. Upon my adoption, New York State issued a new, amended birth certificate in the name of Joan Wheeler. Sixty years later, I legally changed my name back to my name of birth, but my legal birth certificate remains in the name of Joan, and the adoptive parents of Joan. But no where in that birth certificate is the word “adoption.”
That does not sit well with me.
To some who are eager to reunite with blood kin, fine, if reunion is all you want, then by all means, seek out social media, order your DNA kit, spit in the tube, and get your DNA. I understand your needs and wants.
I also understand the push for legislative access to sealed birth certificate because that will give adoptees knowledge of who they were born as and to whom they were born.
But for those of us who are purists, we must fight to our dying breaths to end this oppressive system that annuls our birth certificates as if our births didn’t happen, seals these documents, and then replaces them with fabricated lies.
These amended birth certificates are the condition of adoption – today and decades past – that legally severs adoptees from our blood kin forever. We are, whether born bastards or not, legitimized through legal adoption by a married mother and father. The laws were written at a time in history in when babies who were born without a legal father were considered to be born illegally – illegitimately. What better way to hide that shame by creating a new identity for such an unfortunate child?
Trouble is, children who were born within a marriage were also adopted when one or both parents died. Or when grandparents adopted their grandchildren. Or when step parents adopted their step children. And older children were adopted out of foster care.
All adopted people suffer the same identity theft perpetrated by the State – and by adoptive parents.
The State then pretends that this horrendous secret must be kept from us. Our birth certificates continue to be revoked and sealed; no matter if we have been in reunion for decades, no matter if our natural parents (Please STOP using that disgusting word “birth” mother and father) give written permission to release the sealed birth record, no matter if all natural and adoptive parents are dead.
What’s worse, States will continue to do this to every new adoptee today and tomorrow, too. It doesn’t matter if we all get our DNA tested, if we all find close or distant relatives via DNA matching, or if we search on social media, or if we search in State registries or global registries. Annulling, sealing, and replacing our birth certificates with false-fact pretend birth certificates will continue to be the default of all adoptions – closed and open – unless we change the laws.
Adoptees of color were not born to their white adoptive parents, yet their legal birth certificates state that they were. Adoptees who were born in Korea or China or Africa are issued birth certificates that state false facts that they were born to white American parents in their country of origin.
Many white adoptees can “pass” as if they were born to their white adoptive parents because the race or ethnicity is not that far off. Sure, an adoptee with dark hair and eyes won’t fit in very well with blonde, blue eyed adoptive parents, but white is white. Adoptees can “pass” as their adoptive parents children.
But “passing” is not what we should be forced to do. We should not be forced to pretend to be someone we were not born to be.
Non-adopted people have rights to their factual birth certificates. Adopted people do not have those same rights. Our identities were changed for the sake of being adopted.
Legislation to provide access to our revoked and sealed birth certificates will only achieve access – and hopefully without compromising parental controls, permissions, and redactions. Access legislation will not stop the problem.
The problem is the law that continues to revoke, annul, cancel, rescind, invalidate and vacate the medical record of live birth. The law then seals the medical record of live birth, then refers to it as the Original Birth Certificate, and then replaces it with a piece of fiction created upon the finalization of adoption. Adoption is the process of legally appointing strangers as guardians who are assigned the title of “parents” by adoption.
Legislation must repeal, rescind, annul or replace the old laws from Victorian days with new laws that will achieve full equality of adoptees to that of non-adopted people: the right to one birth certificate, the right to name of birth, the right to parents of birth, and the right to extended family. Even when parental rights are involuntarily terminated, even when natural parents voluntarily sign surrender papers giving up their parental rights, the child has rights of identity. Adoption destroys those rights.
If three siblings are in foster care, parental rights terminated, and two siblings are adopted into separate adoptive families, the third child retains her name and birth certificate when she ages out of foster care. Meanwhile, her two siblings are required by law to be stripped of their identity rights when the State revokes and seals and replaces their birth certificates by adoption.
Three Identical Strangers – An Experienced Adoptee’s Review – Questions and Insights that Others Have Missed
Spoiler Alert: This Review contains some details of the documentary and the lives of Robert Shafran, Edward Galland, and David Kellman, so if you don’t want to know details before you see the movie, please avoid reading this now.
The three identical triplets – Robert Shafran, Edward Galland, and David Kellman – were intentionally separated at birth in 1961 and raised by three different adoptive families. Louise Wise Adoption Agency not only arranged adoptions for children “in need” and people looking to adopt, the agency went a step further to team up with a psychologist for a study on identical twins who were purposefully separated at birth to determine whether nature or nurture shapes personality. The adoptive parents were not told that the baby they received had an identical sibling, or, in this case, had two other identical brothers. Additionally, the separated twins and triplets were never told the truth. Furthermore, the natural parents who relinquished their twins and triplets at birth were not told that their infants would be split up by adoption (more on this later). When the truth comes out, the devastating effects of this manipulation becomes clear.
Triggering For Adopted People and Mothers of Adoption Loss
For adopted people, and mothers of adoption loss, this documentary is more than a shock that reveals the truth. It is downright triggering, reminding us of the trauma we survived.
I remember when this story broke in 1980. I had been reunited with my natural family for six years at the time and attended my very first adoption conference that same year. I devoured anything and everything on adoption, so, yes, when these triplets were in the beginning stages of their reunion, and made a splash on TV, I cheered them on. Like most of the country, I saw their successes as a positive in the bleak world of adoption.
Watching this documentary today, some of that joy came back. As the truth unfolds on screen, however, I became uneasy, twitching in my seat, turning away from the screen and curling my legs in a fetal position in the reclining theater seat. As an adoptee, I knew how it feels to be given up, to be raised adopted, to wonder, to reunite, and to face the joys of finding the similarities in my own siblings and our father. I also knew how it feels to be the target of watching eyes.
I was not part of a psychological study, but I was definitely the adopted one who was secretly watched by two families as I grew up. When the secret was revealed, I was devastated to be the unsuspecting target of spies. I had no privacy. Photos and stories of my childhood were passed back and forth between my adoptive family – aunts and uncles and cousins – who socialized with my natural mother’s siblings and their children (my mother died when I was an infant) – my flesh and blood aunts, uncles and cousins, and my own siblings. I was intentionally kept apart from my own blood kin, my own full blood siblings, my own cousins and aunts and uncles related to my deceased natural mother – all because I was adopted. When I found out the truth at age 18, that my siblings and our father and my extended family lived less than 6 miles from where I was raised, I was devastated.
Being adopted in the 1950s and 1960s means that you are never supposed to know the truth, you are never supposed to ask questions, you are there for the sheer entertainment of those who deem themselves more important to study your every move, your every mistake, and your every success. Being adopted means everyone else can scrutinize you, compare how you walk with this relative or that one, compare your physical features with this separated sibling or that one, and then analyze your emotions, your psychology in their own layman’s terms. That means – without the benefit of a real education into psychology.
Controlled By the Adoption Agency and Psychologist
As viewers will see in “Three Identical Strangers,” even real psychology can turn its ugly head upon unsuspecting adoptees, and in this case, even using adoptive parents. Each couple had been carefully chosen by the agency who had previously arranged adoptions of girls who were the same age, and each was then chosen by the agency to receive one of the three identical triplet boys. The agency then came by year after year, studying the boys as they grew to determine what shaped their personalities, their genes, or their environment. However, no one told the adoptive parents, or the boys, that there were two other identical brothers involved in the secret study. The adoption agency and the psychologist controlled the lives of children and their adoptive parents.
Experiments by a Jewish Adoption Agency Raises Questions
As the ugly truth unfolded on the screen, I cringed as I realized something else. This experiment was conducted upon Jewish triplets, their Jewish mothers and fathers, and their Jewish adopters, by a Jewish adoption agency (Louise Wise Services) twenty years after the holocaust. What? Jews experimenting upon Jews? Hadn’t we all learned from the horrors of medical and psychological experiments during World War II? Jews were the victims then, so how could they turn around to victimize their own people in the name of a cruel psychological study in adoption?
As often is stated – that was then, this is now. The dark days of the 50s and 60s, and earlier, paved the way for understanding today.
Mild Interest in Finding Their Mother
The triplets said that they had a mild interest in finding their mother, and for them, searching for her was simple. Because they were born in New York City, birth books were available at that time. They found a reference for their births and paid their mother a visit. They “weren’t particularly impressed,” so she was a one-time visit.
Yet, their mother had been following their story in newspapers, magazines, and TV.
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, in general, males who were adopted typically were not interested in finding their natural parents. Today, though, both men and women who were adopted as children have a healthy interest in where they came from and who their parents are, as well as the hope of finding siblings.
Natural Mother and Father
Getting back to the natural mother who relinquished her newborn identical sons to adoption in 1961, I’d like to know how she feels now after seeing this documentary. Did she give her permission to use her high school photo for this production? The father was mentioned as “a prom date knock-up.” Does he know the truth? Showing that high school year book photo could spark gossip and talk between the former students who could recognize the mother from that photo and deduce who the father is. What about the extended families of the two natural parents? Are the triplet brothers interested in knowing any other siblings they may have?
Their mother felt she couldn’t keep them. Why? The mother’s full story needs to be told. And the father’s story need to be told as well. Did the triplet’s grandparents had a hand in their relinquishment?
Since it has been adoption policy to tell young and naïve single mothers that adoption would provide “a better life” for their children than they can provide, if this mother had known that her identical sons would be separated at birth for the purpose of a psychological study on the development of personality, would she have consented to sign surrender papers? If the other mothers and fathers of the twins that were also separated at birth to be subjects in this study were told what would happen to their twins, would they have consented to sign surrender papers?
Issues Not Covered in This Documentary
Robert Shafran, Edward Galland, and David Kellman have wives and children of their own. There are generational effects of the trauma of separation and adoption.
What about the stress levels of the mother during pregnancy and birth? We know now that stress epigenetically affects unborn babies. Stress impacts gene expression in the developing fetus during pregnancy. The mother’s hormones, emotional state, nutrition, and drug or alcohol use all affect an unborn baby for life and even effect future generations. We now know that nutrition and stress levels in the father also affects sperm quality.
The bond these unborn babies had with their mother is vital to their survival and development. We know now that unborn babies also feel the mother’s emotions. When infants are removed from their mothers immediately after birth, the mother-infant bond is broken. The triplets, too, bonded with each other in utero. No doubt that these triplets suffered profound separation anxiety when they lost their mother, and each other, due to the forces of society that told this mother she could not parent her sons, and the controlling manipulations of the adoption agency as well as the psychiatrist who invented the secret study of identical twins/triplets separated at birth.
We now know that all adoptees suffer from pre-verbal trauma at the separation of our mothers. Even in the face of evidence, adoptees and our mothers are shot down by pro-adoptionists.
Another factor not covered in this documentary is that reunions between adoptees and their blood kin are increasing with the use of DNA testing in Ancestry dot com, 23 and Me, and other websites. The triplets say they have no interest, but their parents may want to connect now. They may have other siblings. Like everyone else, extended family is out there. None of us exists in a vacuum; we are connected to thousands of people through our DNA.
I understand the limitations of time constraints on making a documentary. In keeping with the premise that nothing else matters but their upbringing, and the separate, staged, environments they were deliberately placed into, I can see the necessity of narrowing the focus.
Still, the more I think about this, the more there is to discuss – and to question.
What about the triplet’s microbiomes? Where did they get their microbiomes from? Their mother, of course, as they passed through the birth cannel. Were these triplets born naturally, or by cesarean section? A sterile birth does not provide the infant to pass through the birth canal and therefor, the infant does not pick up the mother’s microbiome. Then where did these triplets receive their microbiome? They picked up microorganisms from the people who handled them – from nurses and doctors to the adoption agency workers and then, finally, each of their adoptive parents and adopted siblings. This created a vastly different microbiome in each of the separated identical brothers.
With what we are now learning, our guts hold microorganisms that influence our physical and mental health. The bio genomes of the gut bacteria growing in the mouths and intestines and bowels of these triplets as little boys, and as adults, play a big role in the physical and mental health of each one of these triplets. Isn’t it interesting that physical environments play a part in biology?
Life itself is a complex mix of biology and environment. Through the psychology of adoption and different parenting styles, and the individual’s inherited predisposition to personality types, it becomes clear that no one can say with certainty which is more important, nature or nurture.
In the end, though, what is medical history? Is medical history our environment or is medical history our biology? Did your parents die of heart disease or cancer? What you eat and drink influences your body. That’s biochemistry. Where does mental illness come from? Environment or heredity? Or both?
We know now that depression, anxiety, panic, and PTSD are due to stresses in home life, abuse, and socio-economic struggles. We also know that certain types of mental illness are inborn, genetically based. Personal choices can influence our mental and physical health; drugs, alcohol, diet, exercise, and clean living.
As I previously stated, for the purposes of time constraints, I see why the important factors in this documentary are the adopters who were deceived, and these triplets – and other identical twins – who were subjects of an unethical psychological study. This psycho-social experiment was cruel and inhumane.
The lesson learned here is one I hope psychologists and social workers will never repeat. Deceiving people is unethical. Separating identical siblings for the purpose of an unethical study is cruel. This should never happen again. Taking this further, separating a sibling group is unethical – something that is not routinely done in adoption today. Why, then, do we still consider separating newborns from their mothers at birth so the infants can have a “better life” in adoption?
Childhood trauma (Adverse Childhood Experiences – ACE) is now known to be the cause of varying degrees of emotional trauma responses in adoptees – and in our mothers and fathers. Separation from mother at birth is the single most detrimental aspect of relinquishment and adoption. Babies need their mothers – their real mothers. Nothing was said about the trauma these triplets suffered due to separation from their mother at birth.
Something else was not discussed. Their birth certificates. This point can never be brought up too much. In fact, it must be brought up in every single discussion of adoption. Why? Because it is part of the entire scope of lies, manipulations, and intentional deceit that continues in every single adoption – then and now.
New York State revoked and sealed and replaced Robert Shafran’s, Edward Galland’s, and David Kellman’s accurate birth certificates – the ones that were signed by the attending physician who verified their births.
On their accurate birth certificate (Original Birth Certificate) is a line with the question, “Is this birth a single birth, a twin, or a triplet?” and a check box “Single,” “Twin,” or “Triplet.” On each triplet’s birth certificate, is the question, “If Twin or Triplet, is this child born, “1st, 2nd or 3rd”? A check is placed for the corresponding answer.
This is a detail close up of my accurate birth certificate (Original Birth Certificate):
There is also a line with the question, “Children previously born to this mother – How many OTHER children are now living?”
This is a detail close up of my accurate birth certificate (Original Birth Certificate):
On my amended birth certificate, it is easy to answer simply, “This is a single birth” (Ignoring that fact that I was not born in my adoptive name to my adoptive parents. It is all a lie. All except my birth date, time, and place.)
This is a detail close up of my falsified birth certificate (Amended Birth Certificate):
Did the New York State Department of Health’s Vital Statistics Bureau in Albany intentionally check the “Single Birth” box for each of these triplets on their new, amended birth certificates created after they were adopted?
I can guess that the State did not want to indicate their true birth order, so the adoption agency lied and so did New York State by stating that each birth was a single birth. I’m speculating, of course, but remember, amended birth certificates issued after an adoption contain false-facts, so information is made up to suit the facts of the adoption, with the toss-in of the date and place of birth. Yes, for some, even the birth date and place are falsified. Add all of this up and the end result is a sea of disaster.
I am very sad to hear about Eddy Galland’s suicide in June of 1995. He’s another adoptee statistic.
In this article, Eddy’s “wife says that he was never able to get over the separation and the loss. … Nineteen years that he didn’t have with his brothers.”
As an adoptee who was separated from my four older siblings (not identical) for eighteen years, I can attest to the pain of that loss.
This article states that sometime in 1995, Texas Pulitzer-prize winning writer Lawrence Wright began writing an article on twins when he came upon an article on twins separated at birth. He eventually found that Doctor Peter Neubauer, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at New York University, started this study. An assistant, not the doctor himself, told Wright of the “size and complexity [of the study], and told him there was a set of triplets, which lead him to Kellman, Shafran and Galland.”
Another article (which I cannot find now – I know, a big mistake to lose information on source material) stated “At the time of his death, Eddy Galland was not aware that the three brothers were intentionally separated as part of a psychological study to determine how personalities are formed.”
Just when this story can’t get any worse, it gets worse. In this snippet from Edward “Eddy” Galland’s obituary published online at Find a Grave, a 1980 New York Times article revealed that the “Louise Wise Adoption Services reportedly confirmed that David Kellman, adopted by another family, is 3d sibling, 4th identical boy reportedly died at birth. (S) S 23, III.10:1.”
The documentary Three Identical Strangers did not mention this sad fact. They were four identical brothers – quadruplets – a natural miracle of conception in which one egg splits into four separate embryos. This unique wonder of nature would have been celebrated had these identical quadruplets been born to married parents. Tragically, they were born to a high school girl who was under society’s pressure to relinquish them to a closed and secret adoption. Her grief must have been overwhelming, particularly since one of them died at birth.
Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
One more not-so-tiny detail that certainly stuck out was Billy Joel’s 1977 song, “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant” that highlighted a fictitious story about “Brenda and Eddy.” The documentary suggests that Billy Joel wrote that song about the real Brenda and Eddy, but the names, in fact, were coincidental. A quick check on the Internet proves that the song was released in 1977. The identical brothers did not meet until 1980.
No One Should Be Faced With Integrating Nature vs. Nurture
Non-adopted people can walk away from this documentary; they’ll recover in a few hours. But it didn’t happen to them. This particular situation didn’t happen to me, either, but adoption did. The effects of adoption on adoptees is life-long. No one should be faced with the daunting task of integrating two identities – the one of nature and the one of nurture. The one in which you have a name and one set of parents and could have been raised with your siblings – and the other in which you have a new name and a new set of parents who were hand-picked by agency workers according to their wishes and the luck of the draw.
None of this is a feel good story.
Will society ever learn not to let this happen again?
Nope. Not a chance.
The same thing will happen again, and again, and again.
The Dionne Quintuplets – five identical girls – were born to married parents on May 28, 1934 in a small village in Ontario, Canada. The Canadian government took the five girls away from their parents and made a spectacle of them for show and tell, speculative and comparative analysis of their appearance and personalities, and circus-side-show gawking profit. What happened to them should never have happened. The parents and siblings left behind suffered. The quintuplets suffered; all for greed, profit, and curiosity of what these five identical girls would grow up to be. Yes, the world watched, like in the movie “The Truman Show.”
It happened to Robert Shafran, Edward Galland, and David Kellman, their parents, and their adoptive parents.
It happened to the sets of identical twins who were also subjects of this study.
We now have children being ripped away from their parents at our USA/Mexican border as punishment for their parents entering our country illegally.
But what of their humanity?
Every day, infants are stolen at birth from their mothers because of coercive tactics used by adoption agencies and adoptive parent wanna-bees who gloat as they wear T-shirts proclaiming “I’m paper pregnant” or “My son is in Nepal” (a slogan for gays who buy the rent-a-womb services of poor women in Nepal as surrogate mothers to bear their children).
Stupid people will come along again, and again, and decide what is best for parents and their children who are seen as lesser-than. It happened before, and it will happen again.
Laura Castillo, 33, left, was sentenced to 33 years in prison for forcing her adopted daughter to carry husband Eusebio Castillo’s children. Eusebio is awaiting trial in Bexar County. (Bexar County Jail)
A Texas woman arrested with her husband for subjecting their adopted daughter to more than decade of sexual and emotional abuse has been sentenced to 33 years behind bars.
Alvarado, now 28, told police the couple had been abusing her since she 9 years old. Around that time, she’d been taken away form her alcoholic mother to live with her relatives on an Army base in Hawaii. The Castillos would go on to legally adopt her.
In an interview with San Antonio-Express News, Alvarado recalled how Eusebio would climb into her bed and molest her in the middle of the night. When she turned 13, he started to rape her, she said.
Castillo initially dismissed the girl’s abuse allegations and would go to participate in forced threesomes with Alvarado and her husband, the victim recalled. The ongoing assaults resulted in three children, all of who were raised to believe Alvarado was their older sister, not their mother.
You can read the full article for the other details.
Now for what’s missing.
How were the births handled? Did Abigail Alvarado go in to the hospital alone to give birth? Did she name the father? Did she insist that the father is unknown? Was the young mother threatened by her adopters, Laura and Eusebio Castillo, to tell lies to the doctors as she gave birth, and on the children’s birth certificates?
The birth certificates of these three children should state the truth, if not naming the father, then the mother – the real birthing mother. If those children continued to believe the story that the older woman was their mother, by the time they become young adults and their birth certificates become known to them, they would discover the truth of who is their real mother.
And then there is DNA and medical necessity.
Then there is the age factor. Laura Castillo is 33 years old. Her adopted niece is now 28. That’s a close age range for someone so young to adopt a 9 year old child. That would have made Laura Castillo 15 years old when she and her older husband, Eusebio, adopted the niece of one of them. Which one is the biological aunt or uncle – Laura or Eusebio? How old is Eusebio?
But back to DNA. This case proves my idea that DNA testing of an infant at birth should become mandatory law – not mere hospital policy – but State and Federal law. If mandatory DNA testing is done on every infant born, then the identities of the mother, and father, will be confirmed.
But hold on. As I wrote this blog post earlier this morning, a friend in adoption reform called me about something else. I brought this situation to her attention. She told me that pharmaceutical companies own the DNA people willing give to online companies to trace DNA to provide information on from where a person’s ancestors originated, and to provide connections to close genetic relatives.
I did not know that our private DNA is not our own. I did not know that Big Pharma claims they own the DNA of individuals.
While I’m trying to settle that shock, I’d like to know the rest of this story.
Is the mother still the mother of her children, or did the State remove these children into foster care?
Are the victims (Abigail Alvarado and her three children) of these two master-minds of depravity (Laura and Eusebio Castillo) provided with therapy free of charge? Are the therapists competent?
The young mother, Abigail Alvarado, certainly needs help to cope, but her three children do as well. They will have to deal with this for the rest of their lives.
This will affect future generations, too – medically, socially, psychologically, emotionally and perhaps financially.
Another thought: Gotta love the role religion played in this. How ignorant people must be to believe such ridiculous crap as the dribble coming from the mouths of two people who started a church in their back yard? Who would believe that the first-born child is a healer? And who would be stupid enough to donate thousands of dollars to this church who uses a child in this way?
The family moved to Texas in 2001 before settling in San Antonio, where they established the St. Peregrine Chapel behind their home. They solicited thousands in donations from those who believed Alvarado’s first-born was a healer. … They duped dozens of people into believing the little girl was a “Miracle Child” with the power to cure cancer.
Obviously not much education, or common sense, in this community at all.
Is this entire situation the result of uneducated people, and/or the result of mental illness?
To me, this tragic situation is more evidence that adoption distorts people’s already twisted minds. If their niece at age 9 needed a home to be safe from her alcoholic mother, then there should have been safeguards to allow only temporary legal custodial guardianship. This would also include visitation with and knowledge of her mother.
It is unclear from the scant details if 28 year old Abigail Alvarado’s mother was able to become sober from alcohol and if she is in contact with her now adult daughter and her three grandchildren.
The whole thing is a sham from the start.
On that note, I’m wondering about the now-28 year old adopted daughter’s real birth certificate. Her name appears to not have been changed upon adoption. This is unusual. Was her birth certificate confiscated and revoked, sealed, and then replaced to name her adopters as if they actually conceived and birthed her? This is what happens, by law, in adoption. Did the adopters allow her to keep her own name while the State carried out the law to replace her birth certificate with a false one? That is what happens in adoption. The new, amended – falsified – birth certificate is proof that these court-appointed guardians are assigned as legal parents. But you wouldn’t know they were legally signed because the falsified birth certificate names them as parents by birth.
What does this lie do to the minds of people who adopt – especially ones with already twisted minds? These lies on a false-fact amended birth certificate perpetuates the belief that someone else’s daughter magically became their own child. The adopted niece not only has a false identity as the biological daughter of her adopters, this was an in-family adoption, so this means that her three children also have false identities as well. This is because their mother’s identity was officially falsified. If she were allowed to keep her full original name (and that seems to be the case), her parents’ names are falsified on the amended birth certificate issued after adoption. Therefore, the father of the children is factually Eusebio Castillo, but legally he is their grandfather. And, depending on who is the blood relative (Laura or Eusebio, the aunt or uncle by blood, one of the pair is the biological aunt or biological uncle of the adopted daughter/niece. This makes one of them the biological great aunt and uncle of the three young children.
If you are having trouble following this, so am I. If I somehow have managed to incorrectly map-out the relationships, will someone from my readership correct me?
I think you can see my point. Adoption distorted this family’s perception as to who is who in their rightful place on the family tree. A therapist will need to help them diagram this out on paper.
Problems started in this extended family long before this adoption and before its twisted forced rape and surrogacy occurred. Treatment for alcoholism in the 28 year old’s mother, temporary separation of mother and child may or may not have been warranted (not enough information here), but certainly, family reunification should have been the first priority.
The second priority should have been to prevent compounding the problem by allowing this adoption.
Then, if legal custodial guardianship was, in fact, needed, then safeguards should have been put into place to protect the now-28 year old niece from further harm. Did anyone conduct a home study on these two adopters before finalizing this adoption?
There is no remedy here. Prison time will only remedy the crimes. The victims will be addressing these issues imposed upon them for the rest of their lives.
The situation provides more evidence that Adoption Must Be Prevented.
At this point, I’m not sure if the children will be reunited with their parents. they should never have been separated in the first place. The lack of a database to keep track of the children and parents is appalling. Simple ID bracelets, DNA tests, photos were not part of this operation. These children were removed for no good reason.
She says: “Officials at the Department of Homeland Security claim they act solely “to protect the best interests of minor children.””
Hardly. Is it ignorance or malice? We don’t know, but the justifications sound both ignorant and malicious.
What ignorance are they displaying? Here is a short description:
Human children are not like other animals. They are born so immature they look like fetuses of other animals till about 18 months of age. In the first years of life, children co-construct their biological…
Earlier this morning I saw this on Yahoo News under a different title. But you know Yahoo, they allow you to read a snippet and then send you to another link. The yahoo title (which I forgot the exact wording) sent me to this on the New York Post:
Jaimie and Brian Dorn used social media to find a baby to adopt.
Last June, high-school English teacher Jaimie Dorn found herself facing down an unexpected challenge: how to make an Instagram profile that would convince a pregnant stranger that she and her husband, Brian, would make good parents.
The 39-year-old from West Islip, NY, created the account, @JaimieAndBrianAdopt, then began uploading cheery photos of herself, Brian and her two stepchildren (from her husband’s previous marriage) engaged in fun, family-friendly activities such as fishing and celebrating the Fourth of July.
“We were told [by friends in the adoption community] to post every day, because that’s what would keep you active and out there,” says Dorn. “And then I would just hashtag like crazy, things like #adoption, #adoptionrocks, #hopetoadopt.”
Just six weeks after she created the page, Dorn received an email from a 21-year-old woman in Kansas, who was then in her first trimester and wanted to place the baby with a loving family. After months of close communication, their son Christian was born in December 2017, and the adoption was formalized five days later. “Social media is amazing in this sense,” she says. “We completed our family because of it.”
Since the New York Post doesn’t have a comment section, I went back to the Yahoo article to post this comment:
In view of the forced separation of infants and children from their parents at the border, and the outrage over this, WHY is this adoption story, and the methods used to pry infants from their mothers, considered to be happy, normal and encouraged? I am beyond disgusted.
It is now about 4 or 5 hours after my discovery of this article. I can’t find the Yahoo article at all. My guess is that Yahoo realized their mistake and removed the article completely. But you never know. It could resurface there.
Maybe my complaint resonated with a Yahoo editor. I hope so.
Still, this piece on How to Advertise on Instagram and Other Social Media to Adopt exists over at the New York Post.
And stupid people will fall for it. They will think, “Oh yeah! I want to adopt! So, of course Social Media is the way to go to avoid the expensive traps of agency adoptions! Gee, private adoption can’t get any easier! Yeah! I DO want a child to raise! This’ll be so much fun!”
And these same people will later read the News, or watch videos, or hear it on the radio that thousands of infants, toddlers, and teens are separated from their parents at the border and shipped thousands of miles away. These are the same people who want to troll the Internet for pregnant women so that they, too, can “make an Instagram profile that would convince a pregnant stranger” that they will “make good parents” will be, or are already, outraged by this forced separation of immigrant children from their parents.
These are the same people who think adoption is so great and wonderful. And these are the people who expect adoptees to be grateful for losing their families because, damn it, adoption IS wonderful!
Cant’ you people think? Do you NOT SEE that border separation of children from their parents and trolling for pregnant girls and women on Instagram to adopt their infants at birth are exactly the same thing?
No, adoption is not wonderful. It is not fun. Advertising to adopt may be your game so that you can build your family on the pain and suffering of those less fortunate than you, but to the mother and her infant, relinquishment and permanent adoption separation will result in a lifetime of emotional and physiological trauma for them both. It will also be identity theft for the child.
Absolute stupidity is out there. And these people are out to get your unborn baby. Don’t be as stupid as these predators are. Don’t give your baby away. Seek help to keep your baby.
As for you baby snatchers – your time in hell will come.
We adoptees, are, indeed, traumatized by the forced separations of immigrant families. For me, I read, I weep, I cringe, I write. I’m even organizing a movie and educational church service in two weeks to show The Traffickers (Netflix) to a small congregation of liberal thinkers. I odn’t spend every moment on this. My life takes over. Bills to pay, laundry, work, rest, summer concerts. My TV has been unplugged for a few years now, so at least I’m not glued to the talking heads on cable news. Yet, I am glued to my friends on Facebook. And our blogs. It’s our fierce fighting back against the system that empowers me. I think back to the darkest times of my reunion when both adoptive family and natural family fought with me as I rose up against the machine. Yes, I felt alone in the days before the Internet. In many ways now, too, I am alone with no one to talk to in real life who really understands, well, very few people, that is. The general public, too, fights back even now. Especially now. I take comfort knowing we have now built a global community of adoptees. Thank you, John Raible, for reaching out to us.
We’re moving into the second week of Summer, at least for those of us here north of the Equator. So much is happening. It feels like something momentous is taking place. Does anyone else feel this, or is it just me?
Old issues are surfacing in new ways. People are trying to come together. It feels like communities are gathering strength and reaching out to other communities. In a few hours, I’ll be participating in one of the nationwide protests against family separation and the detention of refugees and migrant children and parents.
Our world spins in crisis. Trouble seems to be everywhere: Another black teenager has been murdered. Another Native woman has gone missing. Another youth is locked away needlessly, pointlessly.
Another grieving mother weeps for the loss of her child–to suicide, to drug overdose, to police incompetence, to deportation, to detention at the hands of so-called border protectors.
This is a public rant, set off by news of another 4 priests from the Buffalo, New York area who sexually abused minors.
At first, you may wonder why I’m posting this on my adoption blog. Well, read this and find out.
Here is my comment left in the Comment Section of the Buffalo News article:
The first published list named Monsignor Joseph Schieder who was Monsignor at St. Andrew’s Church in Kenmore in the 60s. I was in 3rd grade when he came on board. He was a bully who beat up on my class mates. When the news hit in March, I went to the church office, grief stricken. I praised Fr. Dan, who came into St. Andrew’s either in 1969 or 1970. He led our youth group, took us to see Jesus Christ Superstar and rock opera Tommy. He took us out for pizza and on weekend retreats. He brought in representatives from other religions who explained their religions and food and culture. Later on, when I married outside the Catholic Church, I asked him to officiate along with our minister. Ten years later, I asked him for advice on my broken marriage and divorce. With all of that on my mind in March, I asked if I could have his address. I wrote him a note to thank him for all he has done for me, my family. He wrote back.
Now, my shock and horror to see his name on this new list…
I left the Catholic Church in the late 70s for many good reasons. Now, I want nothing to do with this crooked establishment. My grade school years and high school years, and most of my lifetime, are now tainted by the revelation that two priests who shaped my life are sex abusers of children. I wonder: which one of my classmates were their targets?
Mitchell Garabedian, the lawyer who has represented 2,000 priest sex abuse survivors nationwide, and who was featured in the movie SPOTLIGHT, should receive an award for going after these men. And so should the lawyers here locally who are handling this. All of these priests belong in jail – and I don’t care how old they are. I’d also like to see exactly what the allegations are and when and what parishes are involved.
The Catholic Church has failed us. This church harbors hate towards many: the nuns twisting boys’ ears in front of us when we were in 2nd grade, treatment of women overall, the “othering” of any group the church deems unworthy (gays, immigrants), is disgusting. The church has a history of mistreating pregnant women particularly, and its disdain of people born as illegitimate bastards (the movie PHILOMENA and the Catholic church in Ireland’s horrendous separation of mothers and their babies, is but one example). The Catholic Church opposes adoptees’ access to our sealed birth certificates (because, don’t-cha know, the Church now must protect the reputation of these “fallen” women who gave birth out of wedlock, yet, the Church doesn’t care about adoptees’ civil and human rights to know the truth of our births. How many priests are actually fathers named on these revoked and sealed birth certificates?). The Catholic Church even had a hand in permanently separating me from my family after the death of my married mother when I was an infant. The priest told my father “the baby needs two parents…” and then my father gave me away to adoption.
I have zero respect for anything Catholic. I will never set foot in a Catholic Church ever again.
And now, a beloved priest who shaped my life has just been publicly accused of child sex abuse. Fantastic. Fr. Dan Palys – I am ashamed of you.
Here is a photo of Monsignor Joseph Scheider: may he rot in hell:
I hate that I was forced to go to Catholic school and church. Just minutes ago, local NPR announced your name, Dan Palys, along with the others released yesterday, is on its way to Rome. You deserve more than a leave from the church. I hope you go to jail.
Oh yes, one more mark against the Catholic Church. If lying is a sin, then why did a priest falsify my baptismal certificate? Oh yeah, I forgot. Because the priest answered the higher authority of the law. He followed the request from my adoptive parents’ attorney who wanted proof that I, as Joan Wheeler, was baptized. So, the parish in which I was baptized followed the letter of the law – not religion – to accommodate my name change via adoption so that my adoptive parents could send me to Catholic School.
Who told me that? Fr. Dan Palys. When my then-fiancé and I went to him for pre-marriage counseling, I asked him why a priest would falsify a new baptismal certificate for a child who had already been baptized. Fr. Dan asked me not to blame the priest. He said that the priest was under legal obligation to follow adoption law to provide a baptismal certificate in my new adoptive name. I insisted that the priest lied on an official church document. Well, that little white lie didn’t matter because adoption overrode the truth.
Not that I care about my baptism.
All I care about is that the facts of my personal history are not changed. But the lies that the priest certified as true on a new baptismal certificate for me changed the facts of my religious baptism. Joan Wheeler was never baptized. Doris Sippel was baptized. Yet, the new baptismal certificate said Joan Wheeler was baptized. This false document was to be proof that I, as Joan Wheeler, was sanctioned by god to attend Catholic Church and to receive the sacraments.
Please note: that the priest who baptized me is not the same priest who falsified the new baptismal certificate. You can see both documents here:
Several points of absurdity here: If I were to follow the Catholic religion exactly, I would be sinning by participating in the sacraments under a name in which god did not recognize me as. In baptism, a child is named and presented to god in a sacred ceremony. A child can be baptized only once, in the eyes of god. So I should have only one baptismal certificate, right?
Moving on. My adoptive parents sent me to the best Catholic grade school and high school in the area, or so they thought. In addition, when my father gave me up to them in adoption, he stipulated that both he and my mother were Catholic. I was baptized at my dying mother’s bedside. My father wanted me to be raised Catholic.
And I was.
Lotta good that did. Now, my grade school years and high school years are tarnished because of two priests who served back to back (maybe they liked it that way) terms of service, one right after the other.
I’m so glad my parents are dead (all 4 of them), so that they won’t have to know about this.
Oh, another thing. When I met my father for the first time, he introduced me to my dead mother through her photos and life on paper. One paper was her high school diploma. Guess who signed it? A new priest by the name of Joseph Scheider. Twenty-some years later, when he presided over my 8th grade graduation, he signed my diploma, too.
He never touched me. Did he touch my mother?
I’ll never know.
Child sex abuse. Two important Catholic priests who shaped my life.
Thank god I am an ethical atheist.
(The above was edited and expanded this morning, July 1, 2018, and again on July 3rd)