Family Histories Are Important to an Adoptee – Don’t Lie About It

TAO posted an interesting post today for National Adoption Awareness Month:

Adoption Awareness Month – Family History

When I wrote my comment, I realized it needs to be a post on my own website. So here it is.

Family History is very important!

I have an extensive family tree from my adoptive family, and then from my natural family.

I made charts myself to map out how my natural mother’s family married into what would become my adoptive father’s father’s family. No, my adoptive father was not my blood relative, but his two older brothers were! It’s complicated.

From my blood line… my natural mother’s grandmother’s sister (my great grand aunt by blood) married a man in 1897. They had two sons (who were my 3rd cousins by blood, or 2nd cousins, or 1st cousins twice removed). Then the wife died and the husband married a second time. This wife was the mother of 8 children, the oldest became my adoptive father. So, my adoptive father is my half 3rd cousin, or half 2nd cousin, or half 1st cousin twice removed. One of his two older half brothers once told me that, when he was a young man, he took my natural mother to an amusement park when she was six years old – so, yes, the older cousin loved his younger cousin.

I’d have to check the charts again to count it out. There are 2 different methods to chart relationship charts.

THIS was the true, big, horrible family secret that both families determined I must never know. It wasn’t the fact that my mother died when I was three months old and that my father gave me up.

I was found my full blood siblings in 1974. Various blood relatives gave me my natural mother’s family tree. They were apprehensive, afraid to tell me. My adoptive father was quiet, but his sister confirmed it all. I have the marriage certificate, and Victorian photographs, to prove this connection.

In a very distant way, my adoption was an in-family adoption, which was held against me for the first 18 years of my life, and really, for a good number of years after reunion. Why? Because the ones holding this secret lied to me. This includes my adoptive parents and my adoptive father’s sisters and brothers, their spouses, and their children. They were allowed to have cousin-to-cousin relationships, but I was not allowed – because of the belief that an adoptee must never know the truth.

To be fair, a few adoptive aunts and uncles did not agree to the holding this secret. They warned my adoptive parents that they should tell me the truth. My adoptive mother told my aunt, “Oh no, she’s mine! I don’t ever want her to know she has sisters and a brother.” My adoptive father went along with the lie. He didn’t know how to tell me the truth.

Oh, yeah. That was the other big secret: my full blood siblings.

Lying is something no adoptive parent should do.

Tell the truth. Hold no secrets. Give your adoptee as full of a family tree of both adoptive and natural families because both families matter. Tell the truth in the most loving and respectful way. Adoptive parents owe this to the adopted children in their care.

20 Law Suits of Sex Abuse filed Against Retired Teacher Arthur Werner in Ken Ton School District, New York State

Make this go viral.

Anyone who was a student of Arthur Werner’s 5th or 6th grade classes at Hoover Middle School in the KenTon School District in Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda, New York from the 1960s to the 1990s and has been a victim or has witnessed anything, please contact attorney Chris O’Brien ASAP.

Anyone who was a minor child as a member of The Buffalo Indian Dancers of the Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo, New York during the time when Arthur Werner was President and Dance Master, and has been a victim or witnessed anything, please contact the attorney ASAP.

Attorney Christopher J. O’Brien 1-716-907-7777

For the most recent information on the lawsuits, see this article:

Sixteen more lawsuits allege molestations by retired Ken-Ton teacher

 

See also: Child Victims Act

Accusation Against Fr. Dan Palys Substantiated

For the most part, I’ve been somewhat successful at leading my life since last year’s public announcement in March 2018 of sex abuse by over 100 priests in the Buffalo, New York area. I’m not a victim, but some of my grade school classmates were. Buffalo’s citizens have been waiting for the FBI and the Vatican to substantiate accusations against living priests on this list.

When I review where I was in the Catholic church and school in which I was raised, I was in close proximity with Monsignor Joseph Scheider (who has been dead for many years now) and was alone with him several times. I wasn’t his target. I shudder now to realize I was his patsy, his cover-up, when he picked me to attend his brother’s funeral. I sat next to him in his Cadillac and I represented the entire school of 1st to 8th grades at the funeral parlor. Back then, I didn’t know why he chose me, but now I know it was because I was an average kid, a girl, one who would not draw attention to his actions against the boys in our school.

I witnessed Monsignor Scheider’s violence toward one 6th grade boy. I witnessed his bullying and was a victim of his threats and his humiliation. Scheider instilled fear in students from 1st grade to 8th grade and high school.

Monsignor Scheider also signed my 8th grade gradation diploma in 1970.

When I met my natural father for the very first time in 1974, he showed me my deceased natural mother’s Christian Doctrine diploma from when she was 19 or 20 years old in 1944 or 1945. I was shocked that a priest by the name of Joseph Scheider singed it. Twenty five years later, that same priest became Monsignor and he signed my 8th grade diploma. Back in 1974, I thought that this was a coincidence and another link to my deceased mother. Now though, I feel sadness and regret that I cannot talk with my natural mother about this. Did Scheider show signs in his early years of priesthood of what he would become? What did my mother know? He didn’t touch her, did he?

Last June (2018), local News announced, in batches, the names of living priests. Again, I was shocked to see the name Fr. Dan Palys. He was a loved leader of our high school Youth Group, and again, I was alone with him on more than one occasion: counting donation money in Sunday envelope collections, youth activities, and later on, Fr. Dan officiated at my wedding. He even came to our house to give emergency food and food vouchers. He blessed our young children, hugged them. I look back at that and now cringe that Fr. Dan touched my children in seemingly innocent caring.

What did Fr. Dan know about Monsignor Scheider?

Since last year, I’ve been unable to visit aging Fr. Dan where he resides in a senior living residency. I’m shattered, sad, and filled with rage and disgust. One of my former classmates encouraged me to visit Fr. Dan to look him in the eye and demand the truth. But I couldn’t visit him for fear I wouldn’t be able to determine if he was lying or not. My emotions would win out. I loved Fr. Dan and trusted him.

And now this.

I will never visit Fr. Dan Palys.

News broke yesterday that accusations against him have been substantiated.

Why doesn’t the FBI charge the priests whose accusations have been substantiated?Why aren’t these priests in jail? Why is the Vatican seen as having the final determination?

Buffalo bishop returned priest accused of abuse to ministry after ‘thorough’ investigation. Others call it ‘a sham’

Bishop Malone returns one priest to ministry, two others remain on administrative leave
Posted: 3:55 PM, Jul 26, 2019
Updated: 3:55 PM, Jul 26, 2019

Diocese whistleblower says she would testify against bishop

Bishop Malone appeared in national interview on ABC’s Nightline
Posted: 6:33 PM, Jul 26, 2019
Updated: 6:33 PM, Jul 26, 2019

See also:

 

Two important Catholic priests who shaped my life accused of child sex abuse

New York State Passed Adoptee Rights Bill into Law

We Did It!

 

The New York legislature secured history on an extra day of the legislative session by reversing more than eight decades of discrimination against New York adopted people. With the bill moving through three committees on the final two days of an extended session, the Assembly Members voted 126-2 to pass S3419/A5494 and forward it to Governor Andrew Cuomo for signature and final enactment. If you have not been following this, the soon-to-be enacted law will:

  • restore the right of all adult adoptees to request and obtain a certified copy of the “original long form line by line, vault copy birth certificate,” otherwise known as the OBC, with no restrictions other than the adoptee is at least 18 years of age at the time of the request;
  • if the adoptee is deceased, allow direct line descendants or a lawful representative of the adoptee to request and obtain the OBC;
  • address issues related to people born outside of New York but whose adoptions were finalized by a New York state court. If a copy of the OBC from the other jurisdiction is not available from a New York registrar, then information that would have appeared on the OBC must be provided by the adoption agency;
  • address original birth certificates on file with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, an extremely important provision because New York City currently possesses many pre-adoption birth certificates;
  • address certain OBCs that may also be held by registrars in Albany, Buffalo, and Yonkers;
  • be effective January 15, 2020.

 

Now head on over to the full length post!

New York Adoptee Rights Bill S3419 passed today in the Senate

New York Adoptee Rights Bill S3419 passed today in the Senate!

Posted by New York Adoptee Rights Coalition:

 

Senate Votes Overwhelmingly to Pass S3419
June 3, 2019 By New York Adoptee Rights Coalition

The following is the text of a NYARC press release distributed after the New York State Senate voted 53-6 to pass Senate Bill S3419 on Monday, June 3, 2019.

The New York State Senate today overwhelmingly approved a bill that would end 83 years of iron-clad secrecy over the birth certificates of adult adopted persons. The bill, sponsored by Senator Velmanette Montgomery in the Senate, would restore a right that New York adoptees once had: the right as adults to request and receive their own pre-adoption birth records.

It is a right that advocates have been working across the country to restore for decades, going back at least to the beginning of the adoptee rights movement in New York in the early 1970s.

 

 

head over to the original post to read the rest!

Letter to Speaker Carl E. Heastie: I strongly support NYS A5494, an adoptee rights bill

May 30, 2019

Phone: (518) 455-3791
Emailspeaker@nyassembly.gov

 

Dear Speaker Carl E. Heastie:

Once again, the opposition to A5494, the adoptee rights bill, claims that mothers were promised confidentiality; therefore, birth certificates of all adoptees must remain sealed. That argument presumes that all adoptees were born bastards – the products of illicit sex – and all hell would break lose should the bastard adoptee get a hold of the birth certificate that identifies the fallen mother.

The current law was passed in 1936. It is antiquated and focuses on situations that do not address the majority of adoptions today.

My Circumstances

My circumstances tell of how the current New York State closed records law of 1936 is unjust not only to adoptees who were born as bastards, but to others who were not born bastards.

I am 63 years old; all 4 of my parents are dead and cannot write to you.

My natural father relinquished me in April 1956, one month after my mother’s death by cancer. I was 4 months old at relinquishment and 3 months old when my mother died.

My parents were married for 10 years and had 4 older children. My father did not want to give me away, but no other options or help was offered to him. The judge told him that he must stay away from me and my adopters. My father was not promised confidentiality, or privacy, or protection from the state, not verbally and not in writing, not ever.

Quite the opposite was true.

My father and the judge were not informed that my deceased natural mother was distantly related to my adopting father. This was a very large extended family who wanted nothing to do with my natural father. Once he was out of the way due to the nature of closed adoption, all of my natural mother’s relatives and all of my adoptive father’s relatives were one big family and had no intention of staying away from each other. They did not inform my father or the judge of this connection. Photos and stories of me were passed back and forth during my childhood. The two families – including my adoptive parents – knew they were going behind the judge’s back by breaking the “no contact” restriction of closed adoption. The court issued my Final Order of Adoption – and my falsified new birth certificate – under the belief that MY privacy would be protected and that I would grow up in a safe and secure home.

The reality was that all of my natural mother’s relatives and my adoptive father’s relatives deemed themselves authorities to invade MY privacy by gossiping about me while I grew up. Then these hypocrites held onto society’s belief that “adoptees must never be told the truth” and that there was some terrible secret that must remain hidden.

My siblings made contact with me in 1974 when I was 18 years old. My adoptive parents, extended adoptive family, and my natural mother’s family were horrified. Why? Because the secret that I was never supposed to know was now out in the open. Their little game was over. I was their pawn.

My father was not aware that communication had been going on for 18 years because he was told to stay away. Had he been kept in the loop, he would have received updates and photos of me – as in today’s open adoption (when it works). Meanwhile, I knew nothing of any of this activity. I was the victim of hundreds of adults, and many of my same age cousins, who took control of my life.

What My Father Would Tell You If He Were Alive Today

If my father were alive today, he would tell you, as he told me: he did not sign any paper that told him he would be promised confidentiality, privacy, and protection from the state. There was no contract of confidentiality. Instead, he was ordered to not interfere in my life and that is a very different message.

The Opposition and Rebuttals

Opposition to the adoptee rights bill A5494 is made under the presumption that mothers are in hiding and are in fear of their secret being exposed.

Opposition to our adoptees rights bill firmly believe that mothers can claim now, decades after signing papers given up their parental rights, that they now must be given the power to redact their names from the birth certificate, or that they must be given the power to say no to contact or to say no for the release of the birth certificate to the adoptee.

 Rebuttal:

When a mother and father sign relinquishment papers, they surrender ALL parental rights to that child. That means the adoption agency, adoption attorneys, the court, the adoptive parents — none of these people or agencies are under any obligation to inform the natural parents that their surrendered infant or child has been moved into foster care, has been adopted, or never has been adopted, is sick and dying, or has died.

When papers are signed giving up parental rights, all rights are terminated. The natural parents have no legal parental rights whatsoever.

No parent under any circumstances has the right to redact their name from their child’s birth certificate. Facts of birth are just that: facts.

Raped Mothers

 Opposition to our adoptees rights bill firmly believe that raped mothers must be protected from ever having their rape known to the adoptee.

Rebuttal:

Parents who sign relinquishment papers, or whose parental rights were terminated, give up ALL of their parental rights.

When a child becomes an adult, that person is an autonomous being who is not subjected to any parental authority; this includes natural parents who signed away their parental rights upon relinquishment.

A child’s birth certificate remains their birth certificate even after relinquishment. If a child remains in foster care or guardianship, the child’s rights to that birth certificate are never violated.

It is only upon adoption that the child’s birth certificate is revoked, annulled, canceled, and then sealed, and then replaced by a false-fact birth certificate created upon adoption.

If a child is relinquished but never adopted, they maintain their birth certificate – and the names of their parents – for life. The identity of the parents will always be known to the relinquished child, now an adult.

Opposition: Hiding the Identity of Criminal Natural Parents

There is an argument for not releasing a revoked and sealed birth certificate to an adoptee in search if the father or mother is a criminal who murdered or who are guilty of some other extreme crime.

Rebuttal:

While this seems logical to want to protect adoptees from a violent criminal father or mother, it must be stated that many non-adopted people also have parents who are criminals who are incarcerated. There are many non-adopted people whose parents are mentally incompetent and are institutionalized. These non-adopted people know the conditions that keep their parents in prison or in institutions, but they are not prevented from owning their birth certificates due to the crime committed by their parents or the mental state of their parents.

The Opposition

 In the end, the opposition wants us to believe that their concern is keeping the bastards away from their fallen mothers who must be protected and kept anonymous.

Rebuttal:

It isn’t about being born a bastard. It isn’t about protecting the identities of the “unwed” mothers.

The 1936 New York State law and social attitudes of those times may have implied that fallen women and their bastard babies must be hidden, but since that law was enacted, over the past eight decades ALL adopted people were, and currently are, included in the sealed records law:

  • children of divorce are sometimes adopted by step parents
  • grandparents adopt their grandchildren
  • aunts and uncles adopt their nieces and nephews
  • older siblings adopt the youngest sibling
  • half and full orphans born of married parents are relinquished and adopted

In ALL of these cases, the adopted person’s actual birth certificate is revoked, sealed, and replaced by a false-fact birth certificate naming the new legal parents as if they sired, gestated, and gave birth to the re-named child. This is fraud!

The Opposition

The opposition would like us all to believe that their fear of being found out should be used to prevent all adoptees access to our revoked and sealed birth certificates.

Rebuttal:

Their irrational fears have been interfering with the civil and human rights of all adopted people for far too long.

The answer to the oppositions’ cries of confidentiality, privacy, and the perceived need of protection is therapy, not punishing laws.

If the antiquated stigma continues to be used as an excuse to prevent all adoptees access to our revoked and sealed birth certificates, the law will continue to obstruct justice from adoptees, like me, who were born within a marriage and then adopted out. Or adopted by a stepparent. Or adopted by grandparents or other relatives.

I am a Half Orphan Not A Bastard

My mother DIED when I was 3 months old. She died knowing she was my mother. Adoption took official motherhood away from her, and took away my right to the truth of my birth. I am a half orphan, not a bastard! Give me back my authentic birth certificate! Stop playing games with the facts of life!

I Support A5494

I strongly support A5494, an adoptee rights bill that will finally restore equality to adult adoptees in New York. I ask you to bring this bill to the Codes Committee agenda as soon as possible. The bill has overwhelming bipartisan support in the Assembly and is awaiting a floor vote in the Senate where it is expected to pass. This bill is a direct result of the Governor’s veto of regressive legislation in December of 2017 and his subsequent mandated work group.

Please do not give the opposition any more stalling time. Adoptee activists and mothers-of-adoption-loss who are fighting with us have been working hard for many decades for adoptee justice to access our revoked and sealed birth certificates.

The time is now. Please move this bill forward to the enactment of A5494.

Please let me know your position on this issue.

Yours Sincerely,

 

Doris Michol Sippel

(formerly known as Joan Mary Wheeler)

 

“I know someone who’s adopted and they turned out fine”

How many people who blather on and on about the “one adoptee they know” will actually read this post? They are blind to critical thinking. And that is the problem.

IDENTITY

michael janson 001Michael Janssen

FOUR FLAWS IN THE “I know someone who’s adopted and they turned out fine” argument

“They turned out just fine” is a popular argument defending many beliefs, including in adoption. It relies on the personal experience of just one adoptee who the supporter of adoption claims is ‘fine’.

It’s an argument with fatal flaws.

ONE: It’s what’s known as an ‘anecdotal error’

This error, in simple terms, states that “one adoptee was not negatively affected (as far as I can tell), so it must be O.K. for everyone.” As an example: “I wasn’t vaccinated, and I turned out fine. Therefore, vaccination is unnecessary.” We are relying on a sample size of one. Ourselves, or someone we know. And we are applying that result to everyone. This argument also immediately dismisses any and all adoptees critical of adoption as not being ‘fine.’

TWO: It takes a shortcut relying on …

View original post 282 more words

Eight facts about adoption from Lorraine Posner Zapin

Eight facts about adoption from Lorraine Posner Zapin.
1: Infants are not “gifts” to bestow on people who cannot have them.
2: Waiting 10 yrs or 20 or 50 does not entitle one to a baby born to another or make someone more worthy to have that baby.
3: Most natural mothers have been subjected to some form of coercion.
4: When a child is lost to adoption it has NOTHING to do with God.
5: The only reason a baby is lost to adoption is that there is insufficient support of a mother in crisis.
6: The percentage of women who happily surrender an infant, experience no regret and peacefully zip along in life is less than 5 per cent.
7: The concept of an adopted child being “the same as” a natural born child is a myth.
8: Adoption is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

NEW BOOK PUBLISHED: Strangers by Adoption: 10 Adoptees Share Their Stories of Rejection or Abuse

Strangers By Adoption: 10 Adoptees Share Their Stories of Rejection and Abuse

by Doris Sippel (Author, Editor), Sandy Musser (Author, Editor), Patricia Yarrow (Editor)

This is a book about what happened to a handful of adoptees, relinquished for adoption as babies, during a time when society dealt with “unwed mothers” harshly.

Because of the religious mores of the day, it was unheard of for a child, born outside of marriage, to remain within their family. The days of “shotgun weddings” had passed and a new experiment was in the wind.

Young pregnant mothers were sent out of town, away from their entire families and friends. The shame they bore was unbearable, and giving birth completely alone was cruel and unusual punishment – normally one of the most important events in any young woman’s life.

How were those babies who were “given up” for adoption ultimately affected by being permanently separated from their families of origin? Was it an easy adjustment for them? Did they sense something wasn’t right? Did they wonder about the mother who had given birth to them?

It has always been believed that a newborn baby could be raised in the home of strangers and not be affected by that experience. This book offers a starting place in pursuing some of these answers.

  • Sandy Musser, author of I Would Have Searched Forever (1979, 2013), What Kind of Love is This – A Story of Adoption Reconciliation (1982, 2013), To Prison with Love: The True Story of Sandy Musser’s Indecent Indictment & America’s Adoption Travesty (1995, 2013), and My Last “Love” Letter to President Obama: Exposing an American Institution (2016).

The common narrative of adoption is that of the illegitimate baby born to a teen or young adult mother, but many adoptees were legitimately born to married parents. Some of us lost one or both parents to early death; we are full or half orphans. Some of us were removed from our married parents due to neglect or abuse, relocated to foster care, and then adopted. Some of us were children of divorce and remarriage who were then adopted by our step parents. Some of us were adopted by our grandparents or other family members. Some of us were re-homed and adopted more than once.

No matter the circumstances of birth and adoption, there are common threads that run through the lives of adoptees that are often ignored by society. Turn this book’s pages to read about the seeds of emotional and psychological stressors experienced by adoptees, including many types of rejection, physical and sexual abuse by natural parents, adoptive parents, extended family and others.

  • Doris Michol Sippel, author of Forbidden Family: An Adopted Woman’s Struggle for Identity (3rd edition, 2016). Since 1975, she has written numerous articles on adoption and adoptees’ revoked, sealed, and replaced birth certificates published in social work journals and newspapers. This is her second book.

SEE ALSO: Identity Press

 

Two Major Adoption Conferences This Weekend

There are two major adoption conferences held this weekend. Due to a combination of private matters, I’ve been unable to attend a conference since 2014.

I highly recommend that adoptees, natural parents, and adoptive parents, other family members, and spouses attend these conferences next year. Hopefully, both of these conferences will not be held on the same weekend again!

Here is a Facebook post by American Adoption Congress showing a photo of, and quoting, New York State Assemblyman Robert Carrol:

2019-4-6 Asbly Robert Carroll speaking about NYS Adoptee Rights Bill A5494

 

Keynote Speaker Assemblyman Robert Carroll speaking about New York Adoptee Rights Bill A5494

“This is about dignity, about allowing adopted people to self actualize.”

 

Here is a news article about this weekend’s conference hosted by The Indiana Adoptee Network:

The non-profit was vital in the passing of a law releasing adoption records in Indiana. They’ll help people working through the process of getting their records from the state.

The Indiana State Department of Health has received more than 4,200 requests for adoption records. The wait to receive records is more than 20 weeks due to high volume. Organizers of this weekend’s conference said they encourage people to remain patient and to contact them if they need help through the process.

“We’re going to help them here at the conference with their information and then once they get their file, we will help them with that, too,” Pam Kroskie, president of the Indiana Adoptee Network, said.

Adoption conferences are more than helping adoptees access their original birth certificates in their state (provided their home state has laws that allow adoptee-access). There are workshops on searching and reunions, adoption psychology, adoption research and family systems, state by state legislative efforts, networking, and learning in general why adoption as we know it, must change.

Many non-adopted people are not aware of how adoption affects adoptees throughout their lives. Many non-adopted people have mis-perceived notions about mothers of adoption loss. For this reason, I suggest that the general public attend these conferences as a learning experience.

You can contact The Indiana Adoptee Network at their website here.

You can contact the American Adoption Congress at their website here.