Another father fights for his rights to his child

Please visit this Facebook Page to learn more:

https://www.facebook.com/events/290872121107148/

***We are in the 4th quarter at the 2 min warning*** Trent is in his final extension to file his appeal. He has been going at this alone. It has been a struggle to find an attorney to take his case but we have FINALLY found one. We have an attorney set up for him and we need to get this money to him ASAP so he can start working on what needs to be filed. Please…$1, $5, $10, $20…what ever you can donate to help would greatly appreciated.

PLEASE INVITE EVERYONE YOU KNOW…so another father does not lose his child to unethical adoption. He deserves the right to raise his daughter as he has fought so hard for!

Please…We can not let Trent and his daughter go down with out a fight!

My Response to Jayne Jacova Feld’s article on New Jersey’s Fight to Unseal Adoptees’ Birth Records

This undated article by Jayne Jacova Feld appeared in my email inbox on October 31, 2014: Opening Up – Bringing the fight to unseal adoption records to life.

This is my response:

Typically, this article confuses reunion with civil rights. The civil right to one’s sealed birth certificate is not the same as reunion or contact. A person who wishes no contact has a right to be left alone. A person who wishes to unseal their sealed birth record still must ask a court for permission, or abide by restrictive laws that allow release of uncertified sealed birth certificates under specific restrictions.

Closed adoptions are indeed performed today as many adoptive parents request no contact at any time with the natural parents of their adoptee.

Open adoptions do not mean open records.

Adoptees are not only illegitimates born to not-married parents. We are legitimates born within a marriage, half orphans, full orphans, adopted by step parents, and older children adopted out of foster care. To lump all of us under the umbrella of persons born to “unwed” mothers is to keep the stereotypes alive.

Except for Kansas and Alaska, every single adoptee in America suffers the injustice of their actual birth certificate automatically sealed at the finalization of adoption. Even in Kansas and Alaska, every single adoptee in America is automatically issued a new, amended, birth certificate indicating, falsely, that the new parents gave birth to the child named. Many adoptees’ actual birthdates are changed, as well as birthplace, and most adoptees’ names at birth are changed to reflect new identities picked by adoptive parents.

In the few states that have passed laws “allowing” adoptees “access” to their sealed birth records, these adoptees are not given certified copies of their actual birth certificates. They are given uncertified copies which are stamped on the front with one of the following in big bold letters: “VOID”, “Not For Official Use”, “For Genealogical Use Only”. While many adoptees jump for joy over the fact that they are able to unseal their previously sealed actual birth certificates, their elation over seeing their birth certificates for the first time in their lives should be tempered with the realization that their legal birth certificate (the one that was falsified at the time of finalization of adoption) overrides the uncertified birth certificate that they now have in their hands.

There is a big difference between a mere knowing the truth of your origins (by “winning” the right to an uncertified birth certificate that was previously sealed) and actually reversing the oppressive laws that instituted sealing and falsifying adoptees’ birth certificates around the USA beginning in 1930, state by state.

Many adoptees, like me, advocate for the total restoration of our civil rights. We want our actual birth certificates to be reinstated and certified by our government. And we want our falsified birth certificates to be rescinded. Some of us want adoption certificates to replace them, others want to rescind their adoptions altogether.
As for the Catholics who want control: I was conceived within a marriage, yet your one-sided attack on “unwed” mothers devalues my birth, and that of adoptees who aren’t in your narrow focus of being born bastards.

As for “birth” parents who want to redact their names from birth certificates: your name, whether you want it there or not, was recorded within five days of birth on a government document recording the fact that you gave birth. When you signed relinquishment papers in the courtroom, you lost all rights to the person you gave up for adoption. You did not retain the right to dictate to that person 50 or more years after birth. All persons over the age of 21 are of legal age and are not bound by parental authority.

Lastly, the first advocacy group was not Adoptees Liberty Movement Association, as stated in this article (Opening Up – Bringing the fight to unseal adoption records to life), but rather Orphan Voyage, founded in 1953 by adoptee and social worker Jean Paton.

I was very fortunate to have known Jean Paton. She was a delightful lady with a quiet sense of reserve. She deserves recognition as the one person who started the adoptees’ rights movement in America. Others followed and we now have a very extensive network of activists and organizations. Readers may be interested in reading about her life in a hardcover book written by historian E. Wayne Carp: Jean Paton and the Struggle to Reform American Adoption (January 2014).

 

 

 

 

Incorrect Medical Information Given to My Adoptive Parents in 1956

Lorraine Dusky’s post

“Who serves ‘Adoptees’ Best Interests’?”

spurred me to write this in response:

When my adoptive parents “got me” in 1956, my natural father told them that my mother died less than a month previously from uterine cancer. Because of this, as a teenager, I had twice yearly PAP tests, looking for uterine cancer.

 
I was reunited with my father and siblings and extended family (natural mother’s family) in 1974. No one talked about health issues. They were too busy comparing me to the others as to who I looked like, who I sounded like. Meanwhile, my father handed me my mother’s death certificate. Cause of death: cancer of the kidney.

 
My grieving father had given the wrong cause of death to my adoptive parents (I do not blame him in any way – he had just lost his wife of ten years and the mother of their five children). They (my adoptive parents) in turn, gave me the wrong information. I, in turn, had been tested for the wrong medical problem.

 
In college in the 70s, I developed very frequent bladder and kidney infections. I asked my gynecologist if it was possible that these were indications of cancer. That is why we petitioned the hospital for my mother’s records, and mine, at my birth and during the three months prior to her death. To my relief, no, my bladder and kidney problems were due to stress and not inherited tendency to cancer.

 
My full blood siblings, however, drilled it into me that I “did not have my facts straight”. They told me off, saying that Mom died of cancer of the uterus and that I was lying. Apparently, our grieving father had told them that our mother died of uterine cancer.

 

Apparently he had never given them our mother’s death certificate.
Additionally, the judge who presided over my adoption never bothered to ask my father for my mother’s death certificate. This was in 1956, a time when society believed that babies were “blank slates”. Environment meant more than biology.

 
My father was not required to fill out medical history forms during the months before my adoption became final. Nothing was mentioned about his medical history, nor of his parents, cousins, aunts and uncles. My father was not required to provide any medical history of his deceased wife’s family. My father finally told me in 2003 what his parents died of a few years after he relinquished me. His father had gangrene in his leg. His mother died of colon cancer.

 
Health care is vital. We adoptees need to know the truth.

FORCED ADOPTION APOLOGY DETAILS RELEASED for Australia

 

UNCLASSIFIED

Nicola Roxon 1.jpg

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP

Attorney-General Minister for Emergency Management

MEDIA RELEASE

22 February 2013

FORCED ADOPTION APOLOGY DETAILS RELEASED

On 21 March 2013, the Prime Minister, the Hon Julia Gillard MP, will deliver a national apology, on behalf of the Australian Government to people affected by forced adoption or removal policies and practices.

The event will commence at 10:30am with formal proceedings commencing at 11am in the Great Hall of Parliament House, Canberra. The apology will be followed by a lunch from 12:30pm on the Federation Mall lawns of Parliament House.

The national apology is a public event and will be open to all. Seating will be available for approximately 800 people in the Great Hall, with additional standing room.  Due to the large number of people expected to attend the apology, seating in the Great Hall will not be pre-allocated.  There will also be other vantage points within Parliament House for people to view the apology on broadcast screens.

 

The motion of apology will be moved in the House of Representatives and the Senate following the event in the Great Hall.

 

The apology will be offered as a significant step in the healing process for the mothers, fathers, and now-adult children who were forcibly separated, siblings and extended family members.

 

The Australian Government has provided $120,000 to support organisations to assist people affected by forced adoption practices to attend the national apology in Canberra.  Information can be found on the forced adoptions apology page of the Attorney-General’s Department website atwww.ag.gov.au/forcedadoptionsapologyor by calling 02 6141 3030.

 

People attending the apology are invited to RSVP for catering purposes. Please RSVP by emailingforcedadoptionsapology@ag.gov.auor calling 02 6141 3030.

 

For those who cannot attend arrangements are being made for the event to be filmed and a live feed made available to broadcasters. Proceedings will also be streamed live from the Parliament House Website at www.aph.gov.au/live

 

Contact: Attorney-General’s Office 02 6277 7300 or Attorney-General’s Department 02 6141 2500

 

You are receiving this email because you are on our list to receive notifications and updates of PARC events  – This  event might not be taking place in an area close to you – or be relevant to your situation – but  please feel free to pass it on to anyone you feel it might be of interest to.  Please let us know if you do not wish to receive further notifications from PARC and we will take you off the list.

KIND REGARDS FROM THE PARC TEAM

 

Elaine Bishop

Administrative Officer

Post Adoption Resource Centre

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T   02 9504 6788

F   02 9570 2699

 

Level 5

7-11 The Avenue

HURSTVILLE  NSW  2220

 

Locked Bag 6002

HURSTVILLE  NSW  1481

 

www.benevolent.org.au

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Re-Post from Daily Kos: Adoption Apologies Expected in Australia – Why Not in America?

This must be shared:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/03/13/1074096/-Adoption-Apologies-Expected-in-Australia-Why-Not-in-America

Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 02:46 PM PDT

Adoption Apologies Expected in Australia – Why Not in America?

by jdelbalzoFollow

Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 02:46 PM PDTIn recent weeks, the Australian Senate inquiry into past adoption practices urged the government to apologize for separating thousands of familiesin the decades following World War II.  The inquiry, which began in 2010, revealed that illegal and unethical tactics were used to convince young, unmarried mothers to surrender their babies to adoptive homes.  In some cases, mothers were drugged and forced to sign papers relinquishing custody.  In others, women were told that their children had died.  Single mothers did not have access to the financial support given to widows or abandoned wives, and many were told by doctors, nurses, and social workers that giving away their children was the right thing to do.Books like Ann Fessler’s The Girls Who Went Away and Rickie Solinger’s Beggars and Choosers remind us that the tactics used to procure adoptable babies in Australia were no less of a problem here in the United States.  Stories abound of young mothers who were sent to maternity homes, denied contact with their families and friends, and forced to return home without their babies.  Single, American mothers were also denied financial support and told that their children would be better off without them.  In some cases, they too were told that their babies had died.  Many signed away their rights while drugged and exhausted after child-birth.  Others were threatened with substantial medical bills if they didn’t surrender.  These unethical practices were used against an estimated 4 million mothersin the United States.Where is their apology?  Where is the apology for their children?

While it’s true that mothers in Australia fought hard for the recognition they’ve begun to receive, American mothers have organized similarly.  When I first began researching adoption fifteen years ago, mothers on both continents had already been working for years to gather information, raise awareness, and seek restitution.  Exiled moms in America vastly outnumber their Aussie counter-parts, and yet, their tremendous losses are scarcely acknowledged here.

There’s one very simple difference, however, between the two countries.  Though both have seen a drop in the number of infant adoptions taking place since the early 1970s, social and governmental attitudes toward adoption are quite different.  While some politicians have recently tried to revive adoption in Australia, infants are seldom adopted away from their families.  Young women not only have solid access to contraception and abortion services, but those who choose to continue unplanned pregnancies are encouraged to keep their children.  Welfare programs support this goal as well.  Adoption itself isn’t a big business in Australia.

The United States, on the other hand, continues to promote adoption.  In 2001, it was estimated that the business of adoption brought in $1.4 billion a year, with an estimated growth percentage in the double digits.  Maternity homes have made a sickening comeback, and anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy centers” (often affiliated with profitable local adoption agencies) promote adoption as “the loving choice” even over parenting.  Despite what professionals know about the negative psychological impact of adoption on surrendering parents and adopted children, Americans as a whole tend to view it as a positive institution.

Admitting that mothers and their children were wrongly separated in the decades preceding Roe v. Wade could, conceivably, open up modern adoption practices for public criticism as well.  Having worked with mothers and fathers who have lost children to adoption in the past ten years, I can confidently say that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Today, open adoption is commonplace.  Parents are assured that they can maintain some contact with their children over the years.  Some are promised pictures and yearly updates while others are told that they will be treated as members of the family.  Few are warned that open adoptions are frequently closed by the adopters in the weeks or years following finalization.  I’ve encountered more than a handful of mothers who say they never would have surrendered had they known this could happen.

In addition to false promises, other coercive tactics are still alive and well.  Some professionals – doctors, nurses, social workers, and even school counselors – advocate adoption even to clients who have expressed no interest in giving up their babies.  Young women are still told that if they love their babies, they will give them away.  Prospective adopters advertise for babies in magazines and online, and expectant mothers are encouraged to “make an adoption plan” and meet the would-be adopters before the baby is born.  In some cases, the adopters even join them in the delivery room.  None of this is done in Australia, where it’s wisely acknowledged as putting undue pressure on the mother to go through with an adoption she may no longer want.

If Americans admit that adoptions were conducted unethically or illegally in the 1950s-1970s, they may just have to admit that the industry is still as rife with corruption as it ever was.  The numbers may be lower now, but if anti-choice, anti-contraception politicians have their way, they will be on the rise again soon.  An apology for past practices is warranted, but what we need even more than that are safeguards for the future.

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Lawsuit Claims Birth Certificate of Schwarzenegger’s Love Child Was Falsified

The ex-husband of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s lover plans to sue claiming that “the birth certificate of the couple’s love child was falsified.” Details can be found here.

I’m not sure if Rogelio Baena stands a chance in his lawsuit against Arnold Schwarzenegger. While I agree with his outrage and the fact that his name is on the boy’s birth certificate as the father, it is pretty much a universal law that any child born within a marriage is considered the child of both wife and husband. The reason this is so is to protect the wife and child from the rage of the husband should he find out he is not the father and to give the child a name and inheritance rights.

But if Rogelio Baena is successful in his lawsuit against Arnold Schwarzenegger, he may well establish a president: “Rogelio Baena’s name appears on the birth certificate as the boy’s father, and attorneys have told him that if Schwarzenegger and Mildred Baena knew this was not true, they engaged in conspiracy to falsify a public document — a serious crime in California.”

Not only could this be a president-setting case for husbands of women who have children via affairs, but this could also be of benefit to millions of adoptees whose birth certificates are routinely falsified upon the finalization of adoption. According to Rogelio Baena’s attorneys, conspiracy to falsify a public document is a serious crime in California. I suspect it is a serious crime in all of the United States.

As those of us in the adoption reform movement have been saying for many years, why are our birth certificates amended — falsified — by our local Registrars of Vital Statistics? Why is this not a crime? Why can’t adoptees sue? We know our birth certificates were falsified because the parents named on our legal birth certificates did not sire nor give birth to us. Our legal parents became our parents by legal adoption, not biology and birth. When will the truth of our births be fully recognized?

I wonder if Rogelio Baena will win his lawsuit over the falsification of his son’s birth certificate. Perhaps he will be granted the removal of his name and the rightful father’s name will be placed on the boy’s birth certificate.

It is a shame that the 13 year old boy whose birth certificate is in question must go through this public humiliation. That, however, is another story.

Season of Sadness

With the recent passing of my adoptive mother and my natural father now four of my five parents are dead. Only my step mother survives.

Today marks the 55th anniversary of the death of my natural mother.

So I sadly mark their memories:

Genevieve Herr Sippel (natural mother) died March 28, 1956 at age 30.

Edward Wheeler (adoptive father) died February 15, 1982 at age 67.

Leonard Sippel (natural father) died January 11, 2011 at age 86.

Doloris Cannell Wheeler (adoptive mother) died March 12, 2011 at age 95.

The pain of loss is real. All four parents are real. All adoptees have two sets of real parents.

Truth in Adoption: How I Petitioned for My Adoption Files

I was reunited with my natural family in 1974. By 1981, I had petitioned Surrogate’s Court for my Final Order of Adoption, even though I already had a copy (see yesterday’s post).

In 1985, I petitioned Surrogate’s Court of Erie County, New York for all of my sealed adoption files. I wanted every piece of paper they had on my adoption: the signed relinquishment papers, petition to adopt, and any other paperwork. I wanted permission to seek my birth certificate, too, but was told that petitioning for the birth record was a separate process.

Being politically correct for the time period, I used the terms “birthparents” and “birth mother” and “birth father”. Today, I would use the terms “natural parents” and “natural mother” and “natural father” because those words accurately describe the relationship. Also, these are legal terms used to designate between the natural parents, foster parents, and adoptive parents of an adoptee, although, as you will see tomorrow, the term used in legal documents to describe my natural father is “father”. That’s because he is my father and was my legal father until after he signed relinquishment papers.

So, I began with the simple petition to the court:

With the help of a law student who gave me specific statements to use and a form to follow, I typed up the following (reproduced here minus specific identifiers and other information not releveant to the general public):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My request for sealed reports and documents from Vital Statistics Office, Catholic Charities of Buffalo, and Millard Fillmore Hospital were denied. With my natural father’s permission, I obtained my medical records and my mother’s medical records from her admittance to the hospital while pregnant with me until her death three months after my birth. Because the records that were released to me from Surrogate’s Court contained most of the information I sought, I did not pursue further petitioning to Catholic Charities. Dialogue between my natural father and I filled in the blanks of where I was from birth until placed in the custody of my pre-adoptive parents, a four month period not covered by documents held by Surrogate’s Court.

Tomorrow I will present the papers I received from Surrogate’s Court.

~ ~ ~ Joan M Wheeler, BA, BSW, born Doris M Sippel, author of Forbidden Family: A Half Orphan’s Account of Her Adoption, Reunion and Social Activism, Trafford Publishing, Nov 2009.