Three Identical Strangers – An Experienced Adoptee’s Review – Questions and Insights that Others Have Missed

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.

 

Background

The three identical triplets – Robert Shafran, Edward Galland, and David Kellmanwere 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

I hope.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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Birth Certificates

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.

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Suicide

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.”

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Identical Quadruplets

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Damn it.

 

 

My Response to Marci Auld Glass’s “Adopting a Child Mirrors God’s Adoption of Us All”

Dear Marci Auld Glass,

As promised, since you have deleted my posts that point to your faulty logic in your article published at The Presbyterian Outlook, I have turned my deleted posts into a blog post for all the world to see.

As usual, religious people boast their beliefs without backing up their statements. It is highly irresponsible of you to continue blathering on. It is my intent to show you, and others like you, how utterly ridiculous your beliefs truly are.

There is so much wrong here, in your essay, that I do not know where to begin.

Skipping through most of your religious gibberish, which is meaningless because it is all made-up nonsense, I will caution you to set aside religion to see the very real history of some of the words of adoption.

You said:

“Most people likely hear “gave him up” in reference to salvation. There is also a resonance with adoption. “Giving up” is adoption language. Children are given up for adoption. Adoption is not unrelated to God and God’s saving work in the world through the person of Jesus.”

Correction:

Most people who believe in the same religion as you do will see this in reference to salvation, and bla, bla, bla.

Again, put religion aside to pay attention to reality.

The history of adoption in America is plainly rooted in slavery. Slaves were PUT UP on the auction block. In the mid-1800s, when slavery ended, adoption began in America. Homeless children were swept out of New York City (at the beginning of my profession of Social Work – a sad, disgusting start) and put on Orphan Trains. These trains stopped in major cities heading West to farmland where the children were PUT UP FOR ADOPTION by being raised up on stages, platforms, auction blocks so that prospective adopters (purchasers) could better see the children and pick through them for the desired child of their liking. Adoption back then meant that the child was a helping hand, an indentured servant, not considered family, and some worked instead of going to school. Some were treated fairly well. Most weren’t.

This is history. Look it up.

My adoptive mother was born in 1916. Her mother died in 1918 of the Spanish Flu. My two year old future adoptive mother, along with her brothers, went to live in an orphanage. They stood on stages and platforms and sang for prospective adoptive parents who stared at the children. My mother was never adopted, and neither were her brothers, because their father paid for their room and board while he worked. The orphanage was torn down in the mid-1970s and the last residents were sent to foster care.

As for your comparing modern adoption to your religious beliefs, please don’t. This is going down a slippery slope. You are placing meaning where it doesn’t belong. Again, pay attention to reality.

So you see yourself (as an adoptee) as the solution to your mother’s unplanned pregnancy? Do you not see how hurtful (to your mother) that is? Your mother had to go through her pain in order for you to be adopted. It’s your god’s plan.

I see you begin to address your pain:

“The wound of my rejection exists alongside the gift of my adoption, and with my gratitude for my birth mother’s gift of releasing me to live my life. The many blessings in my life do not erase my wound.”

But you hide behind your religion without actually dealing with anything. You sing the praises of your god, say you are grateful for being a gift, but there is no substance to your words.

If I were to follow your logic, I should be grateful that: God knit me in my mother’s womb so she could die and leave behind 5 children – me being 3 months at the time – so that my adopters could adopt me, ending their 18-year dry spell of childlessness? Praise the Lord!

FUCK THAT SHIT!

My adopters continued to be childless – adopting me didn’t cure their infertility.

I lost my entire family because of adoption. I lost my name, my birth certificate, in order to gain a new name, a new birth certificate, and a new family.

According to your beliefs, those losses – and the converse (my father lost his newborn, my siblings lost their baby sister) – is perfectly okay because it was your god’s will.

Let me back up. My parents – NOT BIRTHPARENTS – were married for 10 years and had four children. Our mother was pregnant with me, her 5th child, when she became ill with cancer. She was x-rayed and the tumor was a big as me. I was born two weeks later at 32 weeks gestation. A preemie. My mother died three months later. That was in 1956.

Your loving god told a priest to tell my father to give me up for adoption. Instead of being helpful, like enlisting Catholic Charities to come over to help my father to take care of his children, maybe give some diapers and clothes, maybe arrange babysitters and people to prepare food, at least for a year or so until a more stable arrangement could have been made. But no. Stupid Catholic priest told my father to give me away.

I am not mad at my father. I detest the priest.

And then, a woman came up to my father to say, “I know someone who will take your baby.”

Both of these conversations took place at my mother’s funeral – in front of her corpse.

Yes, this woman arranged for her brother to adopt me. Right in front of my dead mother’s body.

I was raised an only child. Eighteen years of naïve love for the parents who loved me dearly. But their love was conditional. I was theirs, as long as I didn’t know the truth, but they knew the truth and did not tell me. They betrayed my trust.

I was found at age 18 while still in high school by my older siblings. My full blood siblings.

Don’t think we had a lovely reunion. It’s not about a happy, or sad, or traumatic, reunion. It’s not about Jesus placing me in this family to be found later (according to you). It’s about the injustices I suffered, the injustices my siblings suffered, and the pain our father felt. It’s about being needlessly, and permanently, separated from my own family.

You said:

“Ultimately, the wound of rejection is a wound for which I am grateful. My adoption has been a blessing. I’ve always experienced my birth mother’s decision to place me for adoption as an act of love, a recognition that in the difficult situation in which she found herself, this was the best she could do for me. I feel like she released me to live the life I was meant to live. I am so grateful to have been adopted, and the wound that comes with it is one I gratefully bear for the gift of my life, the gift of joining my family.”

How do you know for sure your mother chose to give you away? That she rejected you? Maybe you were stolen from her at birth? Ripped from her body with force?

This being grateful for your perceived rejection borders on mental illness. You want to be a glutton for punishment?

And you are grateful that you gave away your own child to adoption? Geesh, lady, get yourself to an adoption conference to be de-programed. Look up American Adoption Congress for starters.

You said:

“…illegitimate” is not a word to describe a human life…”

Well now. Are you aware that it was the Victorian thought process that resulted in the adoption and birth certificate laws we have today? Yes, illegitimate bastards were considered to be scum of the earth back in Victorian days. Religious zealots had to dispose of the slutty mothers and find a way to humanize the bastards so the invention of modern adoption began in the 1920s. Slutty mothers could be discarded, fathers not held accountable, and the bastards would be reborn to a mother who was married – the bastard child had a legal father through adoption! The child’s actual medical record of live birth – the birth certificate – was rescinded, annulled, canceled and then sealed, and then replaced by an amended birth certificate with the names of the adoptive parents as if they gave birth to the renamed child.

Does any of this sound logical to you? Is this truthful? Do you enjoy living lies? Does your religion condone this? Isn’t lying a sin?

As for the definition of REAL PARENTS is concerned, I suggest you study biology. DNA proves who your parents are. If that were not true, then millions of people wouldn’t be spitting into cups and sending their DNA off to labs to get back their genetic family trees.

As for being raised by loving parents. Well, they were assigned as parents, you loved them as such, as I did mine, but the truth is, there is a split when someone is adopted. Nature vs. nurture. The social parents do all the social and psychological parenting, and that is where the confusion sets in. Foster parents and custodial guardians can do the same thing – love a child and provide a stable home – without forcing identity theft on a child and without forcing permanent cut-off from family. With foster parents and legal custodial guardians, the care givers know they do not replace the biological parents. In adoption, it is expected that all who live this lie play the game of delusional denial of the facts.

I speak here as a social worker and a mental health worker. Adoption sets people up to believe in false facts. When people believe in false facts, they are delusional, not grounded in reality. When people are not grounded in reality, they are mentally ill.

Get your head out of religion and into reality. For your own good.

Oh wait, you said:

“A few years ago, I got my birth certificate and started meeting my birth family. It’s astonishing, really, to consider. Members of my birth family answered a phone call from a total stranger – -me – and from that call, managed to expand their definition of who was included as a part of their family. …”

It’s as simple as that? Really?

How did you get your Original Birth Certificate? Was it god’s will? It just magically appeared, or you had to go through some legal channels? Join a search group?

You gloss over your reasoning for getting your OBC and searching for your natural blood kin.

Why is it important for you to have your OBC, to search for and reunite with, your natural mother and extended blood kin when it was your god’s will that you were given up and adopted? I thought you were grateful to be adopted? If so, then you have no reason to want to own your OBC, to reunite with your mother, because the one answer in your religion is, as the title of your article states, “Adopting a child mirrors god’s adoption of us all”.

If adoption is so wonderful, and you are grateful to be relinquished and adopted, and happy to have given away your own infant conceived out of marriage, then why on earth did you want your Original Birth Certificate and to be reunited with your mother?

Seems very hypocritical to me.

Your essay glosses over the agony of adoption, and the real hard work that goes into the lives of activists like me who pave the way for other adoptees, like you and your son, to be free.

That should have a mention in your essay, but the glory goes to your god who saved you and your son via adoption.

You have done a great disservice and injustice to adoptees and our natural parents by focusing on your god and not reality.

Private Message from Jennifer Marsh about Jeremy and Jenny Advertising to Adopt in Yard Sales and Trades

Tucked inside my Private Messages on Facebook was a comment left on May 1, 2017 by Jennifer Marsh, a woman who was upset over my blog post about wanna-be-adopters, Jeremy and Jenny. Too bad I didn’t see this sooner as I would have published Jennifer’s comment back when she messaged me. Jennifer felt compelled to find my Facebook profile so she could write to me in a private message (we aren’t connected on Facebook, so she had to leave the message in my “Message Request” folder). However, Jennifer lacked personal conviction to comment on the blog post itself. So I will publish her comment here. Her words are in quotes; my responses are written after her words.

 

May 1st, 11:08pm

“Hey Doris, I understand you have had a bad experience regarding your adoption,”

No, Jennifer, you don’t understand my life at all. “A bad experience” implies only one such experience, yet, my life, just as yours, has been full of many experiences, happy and sad, easy and hard, traumatic and terrifying, wondrous and loving, and many ordinary experiences of daily life.

Are you referring to my reunion as a bad experience? My reunion has had many upsetting events, but also many positive experiences as well, including ones that are occurring right now and will be in the future. I’m still in reunion, still experiencing adoption, with a variety of relatives and friends. These experiences range from positive, negative and neutral. Just as your life experiences are to you.

First and foremost, if you read my original blog post at all, you would have read that my mother died when I was an infant. That is a tragedy, for me, for my four older siblings, for our father, and for my mother’s siblings and their spouses and their children. You did not acknowledge my mother’s death as a profound loss for me and my family. Instead, you lumped all of my life experiences into one big category: “I understand you have had a bad experience regarding your adoption.”

My mother’s death was, and still is, a major loss affecting me even now, 61 years later. Her death was not “a bad experience” equal to that of an argument, a bad day at work, or missing the bus.

Adoption itself is a traumatic event that permanently separates a baby (or older child) from her family, replacing family with strangers. Adoption changes the child’s identity, revoking and sealing her true birth certificate with a legally false one. Adoption is an irrevocable contract made over a minor child who has no say in the matter.

My life experiences of being found by siblings I never knew I had, facing cruel mistreatment by extended adopted family and natural family because of their misinterpretations of adoption and what they believe I should and should not do, led me to join thousands of adoptees and mothers of adoption loss in the adoptee rights movement. Adoptees and parents of adoption loss are leaders in educating the general public and trying to prevent yet another unnecessary permanent separation.

You, Jennifer, need to re-read my blog post to see the impact of adoption on the world’s adoptees, and the world’s mothers and fathers. We all have had “bad experiences” due to adoption. Our lives have been ruined because of adoption. That is why we work to end adoption as we know it.

If adoption is so wonderful, Jennifer, why don’t you give up your children for a stranger to adopt? Oh wait; you adopted “your” children. So what, that doesn’t’ matter. They need to be re-homed so someone else can raise them. You don’t need these children. Come on; give them up so that another waiting couple could raise them better than you can. And these kids don’t need your name as mother on their birth certificate. Re-home them so that another mother can be named on a new birth certificate. Who cares about facts when you have your lord and savior, money, and love.

 

“however this blog post is very harmful and threatening.”

My original blog post about Jeremy and Jenny Advertising to Adopt is harmful only because you claim it is. It is not threatening at all. It is, however, an educational tool for fools who will see it as harmful and threatening.

To those of us within the adoption reform movement (also known as the adoptee rights movement), see my blog post as a necessity that counteracts the stupidity, vulgarity, and ignorance of the two people who advertised in “Tri-Cities, TN, Yard Sales, Trades & Wanted” looking for someone’s baby to adopt.

 

“You are completely unaware and of the situation of these people, what they have gone through or what they will go through.”

Yeah? Really? From what they post on their websites

http://www.meetjeremyandjenny.com/

and

https://www.facebook.com/JeremyandJenny/

and online in this news article

http://wlos.com/news/local/state-forest-ranger-and-wife-set-up-easter-egg-hunts-to-raise-money-for-adoption?fref=gc&dti=10484382277

Jeremy and Jenny Graves do not seem to be suffering much at all. They have everything; the only thing missing is their dream child. (Look closely – Jeremy and Jenny are so desperate to adopt someone else’s child that published their own full names and address and phone number online, as well as publicize the adoption agency. But you, Jennifer, claim that I caused them harm by writing my blog post to educate them?

Jeremy and Jenny, and others like them, need to accept reality: they are infertile. Grabbing up someone else’s child will not cure them of their infertility.

“Not everyone has had a bad adoption experience. I can point you in the direction of many who have beautiful stories as well as sad ones.”

Yes, oh yes, I’ve heard these wonderfully happy adoption stories. For every adoptee who is blissfully happy, I can point to an adoptee who is living in denial, who buys into the legal lie, who is detached from acknowledging the truth  – that the unknown is a part of them, whether they admit it or not.

Keep in mind, for each and every adoption – including open adoption – there is a mother and a father who are legally stripped of their parentage as if they never gave birth nor sired their child. Their names are stricken off of their child’s medical record of live birth – the long form birth certificate verifying that the birth of their child took place. Removing the validity of this document and replacing it with a false-fact birth certificate is not something to be celebrated.

 

“It is not your place to judge someone else when you don’t know the whole situation.”

Judge Jeremy and Jenny? My dear Jennifer, I wrote my blog post based upon their own words and actions – advertising to adopt someone else’s baby in a classified ad for “Yard Sales, Trades & Wanted” and on their own website and Facebook page and online in a news article.

These people, and others like them, including you, are trolling the Internet, looking for pregnant girls and women for the sole purpose of taking their baby from them to fulfill their own selfish need of parenting someone else’s baby, and/or additional children. There is nothing holy, or kind, or humane about Jeremy and Jenny’s actions. They want to remove a baby from her or his mother for their own benefit.

Does Jesus condone this?

I don’t know, I’m asking you. And, I’m asking Jeremy and Jenny. And I’m asking all other wanna-be adopters. How do you justify begging for a pregnant girl or woman to give up her baby so that you can reap the benefits of parenting her child?

As an atheist, I’m repulsed by religious people claiming that Jesus calls them to adopt.

 

“Nor is it appropriate to assume that anyone who can get pregnant should raise their own child.”

Oh, there you go, telling me, a social worker, that there are women who shouldn’t raise their own children. I know perfectly well that there are women and men who are unfit to parent the children they gave birth to and sired. That does not change the fact that they are parents deserving of respect and caring. They are the parents.

Family Preservation and Adoption Prevention should be the first priority. All steps should be taken to help a family overcome poverty, and the other situations you imply: drug addiction, crime, etc.

Jennifer, you speak of stereotypes; and yet, Jeremy and Jenny’s website and Facebook page clearly do not mention unfit parents whose children are in danger. Jeremy and Jenny are looking for a pregnant girl or woman so that they can convince her to give up her newborn to them to adopt.

Infant adoption is child snatching. So is adopting an older from foster care.

In every single situation, adoption is not necessary. Legal guardianship can provide for a loving home to a child in need of care without destroying family in the process and without destroying the child’s identity.

And let’s face it, a newborn needs the mother she was born to, and suffers when removed from her mother.  But you, Jennifer, and Jeremy and Jenny, do not comprehend simple biology, psychology and human development.

 

“There are such things as open adoptions, ones where adoptive and biological mom’s parent together.”

Oh please, I know more about open adoptions than you do. Open adoption does not solve anything. In fact, open adoption results in: the child’s birth certificate revoked and sealed by the state government and a replacement birth certificate issued naming the adoptive parents as parents of birth. The child’s natural parents are relegated to legal strangers. No open adoption is legally enforceable. Adoptive parents can, and do, close the adoption and prevent any contact between child and their natural parents.

 

“My own family is like this.”

If you are satisfied in lying to yourself and to your adopted children, then I feel sorry for you. You can love a child without demanding that the child loses everything – family, name, birth certificate. But you want adoption to erase the truth. You want to live in your delusions.

 

“My kids biological mother is welcome in our home and is considered a part of the family.”

How very kind of you! But she must go home when it is time for her to leave. You are definitely in control of her child. Nice. How do you think she really feels? What about the father? Is he welcome, too?

I know all about advertising to adopt, not only by talking with mothers who have lost their children to open adoption, but my own research. I sat in on a workshop held by a lawyer here in Buffalo, New York who instructed couples how to put an 800-number phone in their home (this was in the early 90s when there were no cell phones). She said, “Don’t talk about the father, he’s not important anyway.”

Yeah? The father is not important to wanna-be-adopters, but the father is the child’s father. Like it or not, facts are facts.

Adoption – even open adoption – is nothing more that child trafficking. Adoption is a multi-billion dollar industry that lines the pockets of baby brokers by providing the product – a baby – to be bought and sold.

 

“What has this done for my kids, well they have more people who love them! They are spoiled with attention, love, and affection.”

Well, if it is only love you are concerned about, have at it! The more the merrier! Just wait until your little adoptlings grow up. They will ask questions. They will not feel loved when they develop their own brains. They will see the charade you invented for them. They will question the meaning of a false birth certificate and false family created by your greed and they will resent you.

 

“We do not keep secrets.”

Haa haa haaa! What do you think adoption is? Adoption is based upon lies – lots of them! Trickery to obtain the child, false identity for the adoptee, false hope and confusion instilled as the child grows up, and much, much more. Everyone believing in the falsehoods continues the game.

 

adoption schizophrenia - by Origins Inc

 

“I am sorry you had a bad experience but not everyone has had or will have the same bad experience.”

Jennifer Marsh, you are not sorry for anything. You left a Private Message in my Facebook Message Box. You didn’t even have the courage to stand up and claim your own message in the public comment section, so I made it public for you.

Yes, every adoptee has totally different life experiences than I have had. And all of us have come together to form organizations around the world to stand up against this glorification of adoption.

 

“Please consider removing this blog post, you have done so much damage to two people you do not know, and who do not deserve it.”

No, I will not remove my blog post. I have not done any damage.

Yes, Jeremy and Jenny do deserve to be told that advertising to adopt someone else’s child is morally and ethically wrong. They deserve to be told the negative consequences of adoption on the infant who is removed from mother for no other reason but the selfish motives of the adopters, and the negative consequences of adoption on the mother who then becomes a “birthmother” who is not her child’s legal mother. Let’s not leave out the fathers who may or may not be told that their infant has been given up for adoption.

If I can save just one infant from being adopted, if I can save one mother from falling victim to rich white people coveting her unborn baby, that is a good outcome.

And you, Jennifer, left a link in that Private Message to me to a YouTube video about a young mother who surrendered her son to adoption?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBraT8F4mQ0&feature=youtu.be

As if I need to be persuaded to your point of view?

Honey, I’ve been involved in the adoption reform movement since 1974. I see the light of hypocrisy and of religion used to justify “the will of god”. In reality, your religion is used as a weapon to guilt mothers into believing that surrendering to their god means surrendering their child to adoption.

As an adoptee who was given away, and from what other adoptees feel, I can tell you that there is nothing that can erase those feelings of not being wanted by your parents.

Yes, my father did want me, but a stupid Catholic priest convinced him, at my mother’s funeral, that giving me away was the best choice he could do.

No, the best course of action would have been for the Catholic Church, for Catholic Charities, to find a way to help my father through the rough times so that he could have kept his newborn after his wife died.

Go crawl back into your hole, Jennifer Marsh. If you feel the need to comment, do not hunt me down on Facebook to leave a cowardly comment. Stand up and be public in your convictions.

Dear Adoption, Do Not Tell Me How I Feel

As I reblog this by Elle Caurdaigh on Dear Adoption, I must tell you, my readers, that Elle’s words could be my own. Every single word resonates with me.

There are only three lines that describe a situation that do not match my feelings because these don’t match my life:

“When I say I long to connect with my birth family, you say “those people” mean nothing to me.
When I say I miss my original mother, you say I have abandonment issues.
When I say I mourn my bio-father, you say I cannot grieve someone I never met.”

Because I was found by my natural family so very long ago, these statements don’t exactly match up. For me, I was already in reunion (since 1974) when so many of my adoptive family, and so many strangers, told me that “those people mean nothing to me.”

For me, my natural mother died, for real. I spent the first 6 weeks of my life in an incubator. So yes, my abandonment issues are very real, felt on an instinctual, pre-verbal level.

For me, I never met my mother because she died. I only know of her from those 7 months (yes, only 7, not 9) while I grew inside her. And yes, I can, and I do, grieve for someone I have never met.

For me, I met my natural father and had an on-again, off-again relationship with him. Ours was a complicated father-daughter relationship. While many people love to blame him for “giving me away,” I never held that against him. How many times have heard from adopters that I SHOULD hate him for what he did to me?

Dear Adoption and Dear Adopters: Stop telling me how I SHOULD feel and how I SHOULD behave. You were never adopted.

One last thought on one last quote from Elle:

“You do not know my pain, Adoption, because you cannot admit you are the cause of it. You want to think you saved me – that I would have been an abortion statistic without you, that my mother and I would have lived on the streets unless you came along.”

For me, I would not have been an abortion statistic because abortion was not on anyone’s mind at the time my mother was pregnant with me. She was dying, Adoption! My married mother wanted to stay alive to raise her five children with her husband! How dare you, Adoption, assume that every single adopted person was “conceived in sin.” I am an orphan, Adoption, conceived in love. I would not have lived on the streets because I already had a home, a family, a name, and a birth certificate before you came along.

Thank you, Elle, for putting into words what so many of us have been feeling for so long.

IMG_1239Dear Adoption, Do Not Tell Me How I Feel

Dear Adoption, I need you to hear me – without interrupting or forming a response before I finish. I am adopted, not you. I have experienced it, not you. My entire existence has been shaped by the construct of adoption, leaving me incapable of imagining my life otherwise. You cannot imagine, so for once, just shut up and listen.

Dear Adoption, do not tell me how I feel. When I say anything concerning my families or my feelings toward them – or adoption in general – do not contradict me as if you know better. As if you have any idea the complex emotions and psychological mindfuck adoption creates. As if you have any basis of knowledge on the subject. You don’t.

Dear Adoption, you have no idea the harm you did, in the name of A Better Life. You…

View original post 516 more words

My Response to Jeremy and Jenny Advertising to Adopt in Yard Sales and Trades

Dear Jeremy and Jenny,

I saw your ad on April 24, 2017 posted in Tri-Cities, TN, Yard Sales, Trades & Wanted, with the title “Loving Couple Hoping to Adopt.” So good of you to include your telephone number, your email address, your website and your Facebook page. This is advertising to take another woman’s baby from her. Other words used to describe advertising to adopt are: trolling for children, child trafficking, kidnapping. You are instructed to use coercive language to convince a pregnant teen or young woman that she is not able to parent her own child.

Even though you say you know adoptees and see how they have bonded with their adoptive families, I thought you might want to hear from an adoptee to tell you the other side of adoption, the side you do not want to see.

The both of you may or may not be aware that there is such a thing as the adoption reform movement. We consist of mothers-of-adoption-loss and adoptees, lawyers, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, clergy and many of us are authors who have been rising up against the established adoption practices of modern America since our movement began in 1953.

But you don’t care, you just want a baby. Any baby will do. And while you are coveting someone else’s baby, these are the words of a friend of mine who posted a link to the following article just last night on Facebook: “So you think this is far-fetched? Does this not describe the adoption and surrogacy industry? To a ‘T’.” She is referring to this article: We Live in the Reproductive Dystopia of “The Handmaid’s Tale”  http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/we-live-in-the-reproductive-dystopia-of-the-handmaids-tale

I suggest you read this article as the both of you have a lot to learn. But I doubt if you will take the time necessary to attempt to comprehend the magnitude of what you want to do to destroy a family so that you could have that baby of your dreams.

Me, I am a 61 year old adopted woman. I was raised as an only child by a father and a mother who did not want me to ever know the truth. They willfully kept me away from my full blood siblings. Yes, they knew the whole truth, but they wanted a child all to themselves. They got what they wanted. I was the innocent child who knew nothing. I loved my parents with every fiber of my being.

Until I was 18 in 1974. That’s when I was found by my full blood siblings: three sisters and a brother. We also had two step brothers, two step sisters, and a baby half-brother. (The add-ons were from our father’s subsequent marriages.) My siblings told me that I was the youngest of five children born to our mother. Our father told me that his wife, my mother, was dying while pregnant with me. Her body tried to survive so I was born early at 32 weeks gestation. My mother died three months later.

A Catholic priest told my father to give the baby (me) to two parents. He did. He kept the other four children, and got married to a woman he knew in high school. I will believe what my father told me the day we met. He said that the priest told him “the baby needs two parents”. My father made the choice to give me to a married couple he chose because he was a very religious man and followed the advice of his parish priest.

I was in the middle of two families. Everyone had their own versions of what happened. To my extended adopted family, most aunts and uncles thought I was disloyal to my adoptive parents. A few of my adoptive relatives were kind and compassionate, comforting me as they could see how traumatized I was at learning the truth in the way it was presented to me. My natural blood family also did not know how to proceed with a reunion as there were no guide books back then. I was the one in the middle, caught in the crossfire. Both sides expected me to be what I was not. I have had absolutely no contact for nearly 40 years with the sisters who found me. I want it that way.  Not because I am against reunion, but because they are cruel, insanely vicious people. Today, there are only a few cousins from both families who truly love me, and I them.

Yes, my childhood was filled with joy, because I was a child. There were times, though, that I felt different. I was alone. Deep down, I knew I was not alone. But I was not allowed to know.

My innocent childhood was over the day I was contacted by my eldest sister who knew where I was for ten years before making that first phone call. I felt violated. I had no privacy. Everyone knew about me but I was the one who was not allowed to know the secret. No one cared how I felt.  They were all too busy telling me how to feel and what I should do.

As a direct result of my reunion and the shock of all the lies my adoptive parents told me, and of all the hate heaped upon me, I became an activist and have been one since 1974. I have fought ever since against the laws that stole my birth certificate. I speak out against social and legal prejudice that marks adoptees as ungrateful and allows people like yourselves to troll for babies to adopt by advertising to lure a pregnant teen or young adult into your clutches.

Jenny and Jeremy, you desire a baby. So what? You have each other. You are both alive. My mother DIED at age 30! My mother DIED so that I could make my adopters HAPPY. I would rather have had my dead mother back to life and my siblings and my father as a family than the life full of lies and deceit, scapegoating, and loneliness I was forced to live because of adoption.

My mother’s name was Genevieve. They called her Gene. (I also see Genetics in her name. How appropriate.) They also called her Genny.

Jenny, how does the similarity in names feel? Kinda gets ya, or at least it should, Jenny. If she had lived, my mother (not my birthmother, my MOTHER, Genny) would be 90 years old now.

And, for the record, with all the fighting my adoptive mother caused between us, she always spoke of my mother as “your mother” as a sign of respect. Never once did my adoptive mother utter the words “birthmother” or “birthfather”. She always addressed my father as “your father”. To me, my adoptive father was also “my father”, just as my adoptive mother was always “my mother”.

How old are you, Jenny? Can you comprehend the losses I had to live through in the first three months of my life to make it possible for me to make my adoptive parents happy? Isn’t that an incredible burden to place upon one tiny premature infant? And to carry that burden throughout my life? Just to fulfill the desires of a childless couple?

No, I didn’t need a new home. I already had one. I needed my family, not a new, fabricated, one. I didn’t need a new name, or a new birth certificate, I already had a name and a birth certificate.

How much reading have you done on adoption psychology, Jenny and Jeremy? Do you know who Jean Paton was? She was my friend. Do you know who Annette Baron and Ruben Pannor were? They were my friends and colleagues. Look them up. Do you know who Betty Jean Lifton was? She was also my friend and colleague.

Do you know who Joe Soll is? Do you know who Carol Schaefer is? Do you know who Lorraine Dusky is? Do you know who Lori Carangelo is? Why not? Do you know what Americans For Open Records is? Why Not? Do you know who Sandy Musser is? Why not? Do you know who Lee Campbell is? Have you seen her historical videos on YouTube when she appeared on Teh Phil Donahue Show talking about Concerned Untied Birthparents? You don’t? Why Not? Do you know who Mirah Riben is?  Why not? Look up her articles on Huffington Post. You will get a valuable education.

In fact, look up all of these names and you will see that they are authors. Some are adoptees, some are mothers of adoption loss. All of them are pioneers in adoption reform. And there are many, many others who have had the courage to speak out against the discriminatory system of adoption.

If you don’t know who these pioneers in adoption reform were, and are, then you know nothing about adoption. NOTHING.

Have you even been to an International adoption reform conference held by the American Adoption Conference? NO? How about Bastard Nation? NO?

I’ve been attending local and regional adoption support meetings for adoptees since 1975. How about you? I’ve been attending adoption reform conferences since 1976. How about you?

I know thousands of adoptees, mothers-of-adoption-loss from around the world. How about you?

Do you what the Baby Scoop was? Why not?

Do you know what the Stolen Generation was? Why not?

Do you know about the Magdalene Laundries? Why not? I know women who gave birth there, and women and men who were born there, survived, and are looking for their mothers. Do you?

Have you ever read any books on adoption social work and psychology? Adoption law? Have you read any books written by mothers-of-adoption-loss? By adoptees? By fathers? By therapists? NO? Why not?

Oh, yes, this is an important edit I am adding 24 hours after this post was published. Jenny and Jeremy, add this book to your reading list: The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption by Kathryn Joyce. You will really like that one!

Jenny and Jeremy, have you ever really talked with women who have lost their infants at birth through forced adoption? They describe the event of birth and the immediate taking of their womb-fresh newborns as being “de-babbied” and “raped of baby at birth.”

Have you ever thought about what it feels like to an adoptee to celebrate the day they were born by feeling a tremendous sense of loss? Do you know how it feels to know that the day you were born was the day you were removed from the only mother you ever knew as you grew inside her? This thing called adoption prevents the natural order of life itself.

Will the adoption you choose be opened or closed? Open adoptions close all the time because once the adopters get the baby, they run. All the legal papers say the baby is theirs now, by birth, no less, so they close the adoption and leave no forwarding address.

And the child’s birth certificate is changed.

Do you want to start your relationship with someone else’s child you will call your own based on dishonesty, deception, and lies?

Jeremy, you will have nothing to do with siring the child. Jenny, you will not participate in the conception, or pregnancy, or the birth. Therefore, neither one of your names belongs on a birth certificate. But, adoption will provide you that privilege of having your names on a birth certificate for a baby you did not create, but hope to adopt.

Why do you want to participate in government-sanctioned lies?

Does your church promote lies? Is lying a sin?

If you are both honest people, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves for contemplating placing false facts on a birth certificate of a child you did not create.

Jeremy and Jenny, please, turn your desire for someone else’s baby into kindness and sympathy as to what young parents are going though when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. Do they need help to keep their family together? Do you really need to pry them apart? Can you help out by being there as friends, as care givers? As legal guardians for a child while the parents figure out what they need to do to pull their lives back together? You can love a child without legally changing the child’s name and birth certificate, or without forcing a child to give up their entire family so that you can have the experience of parenting.

You are pleading for a mother to give up her baby to you. And for a father to be unknown to his child. That is selfish and cruel of you.

Stop. Are you Christian? Would Jesus want you to ask a mother to give up her baby? What kind of people are you? Are you people of faith or are you predators?

Adoptees and mothers-of-adoption-loss have no choice but to accept what was done to us. We work tirelessly, without pay, to make sure not one more mother or father loses their child to predators like you. We work tirelessly, without pay, to change the laws so that we may access the truth of our births that was taken from us.

For adoptees and mothers of loss, we must Radically Accept that adoption has negatively affected us.

Now I am asking YOU to take on what we are told by our therapists: you must meditate and go into full Radical Acceptance of your situation. You must Radically Accept that you cannot have children because of a medical condition. Grabbing up someone else’s child will not cure your medical condition.

Radical Acceptance might cure you of your emotional need to take someone else’s child and pretend that child is yours. You are infertile. Adoption does not cure infertility. Neither does a false birth certificate that declares you sired and gave birth to a child you know you didn’t.

Jeremy and Jenny, the two of you are married. You have each other. You love each other. Be grateful for what you have. Radically Accept your lot in life and face reality. Hold on to each other for the true joy that you have, and then you would not cause others multitudes of lifelong emotional pain. To covet another woman’s child and another man’s child is a sin. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife….

Think about it.

Change your ways.

Repent your sins.

Daniel, Ibn Bahija.

https://danielibnzayd.wordpress.com/2016/06/01/daniel-ibn-bahija/

“To those who arrogantly propose the “win-win” of adoption, I ask you now: Do you feel no duty, no compulsion, to take on this, the grief of a mother for the child she hardly knew? Now compounded by that of her son, grieving the one he never met? I will visit her grave on Friday, inch’allah, and I will place this crime on your shoulders as I place flowers at her resting place. Will you, at long last, include us in your horrid calculus of valid humanity? Do you imagine, after all this, I will continue to suffer gladly your sidewise glances, your sneers, your judgments, your backstabbings, your underminings, your euthanizing musings? “Paradise lies at the feet of mothers”: a succinct condemnation of your arrogance and disdain.”

 

 

Source: Daniel, Ibn Bahija.

The First Two Christmases of My Life

Today, two days after Christmas 60 years ago, my pregnant mother was taken by bus (my parents did not own a car) to the hospital. She was so sick that she was admitted. Tests were done and, though the doctors knew she was pregnant, they x-rayed her abdomen (so I received a full body dose of x-ray radiation). There, next to me, was a massive tumor. Mom gave birth to me on January 7, 1956, two months prematurely. Mom died on March 28, 1956.

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The following year, just a few weeks before Christmas 1956 and just before my adoption became final, the husband and wife who had custody of me since that April (and who would become my adoptive “parents”) felt sorry for my father and for my four older siblings. “We bought a Christmas tree and presents and drove them over to your father’s house when the kids were asleep, so they would not see us. We wanted them to have a Christmas,” my 89 year old adoptive mother said to me in 2005.

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When I heard this story for the first time in my life, I was seething with rage. While my adoptive “parents” thought they were being kind by giving these charity gifts to a family who was “less fortunate,” what they actually did was give gifts to ease the pain of taking away the baby to keep for their very own.

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Yes, my father relinquished me to adoption, but no one ever offered him help. No one ever thought that the baby might miss her family, or that the siblings might miss their baby sister. Just give the baby a new home and new name and be done with it. What counted most was to provide me with two parents, a new home, and a new life. And to provide a child for a childless married couple who desperately wanted a baby.

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I lived a sheltered life as an only child.

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To say that I felt betrayed when the truth was revealed, is an understatement.

Joan Mary Wheeler

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00X520CGW?ie=UTF8&tag=forbifamil01-20

 

Bless My Homeland Forever

This song,  Edelweiss, has many meanings for me. First, it is a bittersweet memory from my childhood. My adoptive parents frequently took me to local theater performances of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical plays. This song is from The Sound of Music. As a child, yes, this song made me sad.

But now, decades later, I am struck with sentimental feelings of longing to go back into time, a time when I loved my parents with the innocence of the child I was, long before I knew the level of betrayal that my adoptive parents – and most of my adoptive family – inflicted upon me. They knew the truth of my origins and willfully kept it all a secret.

I am also feeling nostalgic for the Homeland (one of many) of my German-Swiss ancestors, places I have never seen, and may never get the chance to see. I am homesick to know where my blood feels at home.

And finally, I want to send this song out to my many adopted friends who were taken from their homelands and brought here to America. I have grown up: Edelweiss now is a symbol of oppression of adopted people.

‪#‎NationalAdoptionMonth2015‬ ‪#‎NationalAbductionMonth2015‬ ‪#‎FlipTheScript‬ ‪#‎Adoption‬

If you think more positively you may find happiness

Earlier this morning, a dear older friend of mine slipped a note in my hand, saying that she had to leave church early but wanted to give me the note after reading the introductory papers to my memoir that I gave her last week.

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After reading her note, I wrote her the following letter:

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January 4, 2015

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Hi L,

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Thank you for your sweet note.

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Please continue to call me “Joan” since that is how you know me! “Doris” is the name I had at birth, and I use it to make the point that all adoptees lose the name they were given at birth. I know it confused you, for that, I am sorry. My legal name, Joan, has been the name I’ve had for 58 of my 59 years of life.

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Thank you for expressing condolences for my plight in life.

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However, I’m not bitter. I’m bitter for what happened to me, but I am neither angry nor bitter now. My writings express it to get the points across, but no, I am quite happy.

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In the last 4 years, I’ve been the happiest I’ve ever been because I no longer have to interact with hateful relatives. The last two of my parents died in 2011 and with that came relief – relief that their suffering was over, and relief that the negativity of the relatives associated with my adoptive mother and with my natural father was over for me. I no longer am forced to deal with people who have been cruel to me.

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There are positive relatives whom I miss, some I let go because I don’t want to interact with the rest of the relatives, and others are still in my life. Believe me, there are adoptive relatives who have never treated me cruelly, and there are a few cousins from my natural mother’s family who also have not treated me with cruelty.

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I surround myself with positive people. I have good friends at church, at the YMCA where I exercise daily, and at various live music venues where my musician friends perform.

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So, the papers I gave you explaining my life were meant to share with you why I joined the United Nations Envoy Team – where you and I met last year. With my knowledge, I want to join forces with existing programs to help make the world a better place for women and children, particularly poor women and poor children, especially women persecuted for giving birth to illegitimate children, and widows and orphans. I want to stop the trafficking of poor children in international adoption and to protect our own vulnerable pregnant women and their children.

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Yes, I’ve lived through unbearable trauma. But being in touch with adoptees worldwide through email and Facebook on the Internet, and with mothers (and fathers) who lost their children to adoption, I am contributing to make the world a better place. I am living our UU Principles of social justice! Networking with others to foster understanding of what each of us (adoptees and parents of loss) has lived through is energizing for me. We create legislation to change laws statewide, and we write books, we appear on TV and radio to talk about our lives with the goal of raising awareness of the realities of adoption. So you see, I am not alone in writing about my life.

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Yes, I do see the truth in your statement: “Who knows, behind every turn, life holds treasures that you can’t foresee at the present.” In what you perceive as bitterness in my papers on my life, please keep in mind that writing these specific pieces: “About the Author” and “About the Book”, are meant to be brief highlights of what my memoir is about and a short bit of what happened to me. It all happened in the past – being transferred from one family to another, I lost my family, and my name at birth and my true birth certificate.  Yes, the first years of reunion were filled with confusion and anxiety for me. But please do not believe I am not happy today. I am. It makes me happy to explain my life so that no other child – no other person – has to go through what I did. There are lessons to be learned – that is why I wrote my memoir. And as I said, it is currently being professionally edited and formatted and will be re-published this year.

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It’s amusing to me that you think I don’t accept the things I cannot change. See, I have been the only one doing just that: accepting all of my life. It is the rest of the people in my families (adoptive and natural) who have not dealt with the realities that created the trauma of all of our lives where my adoption is concerned. It is also the general public who does not want to hear the realities of adoption; they’d rather believe in the myths of adoption.

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It makes me happy to do the things I do. While you may not realize this, I am one of the pioneers in the field of adoption reform. I’ve been writing about adoption since 1975. I am one of about 500 to 1,000 activists around America and thousands throughout the world.

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It may seem to you that I am not happy since my story is tragic. I am, in fact, very happy inside myself, knowing that I am trying to change what I can to make this a better world.

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Blessed Be,

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Joan