Truth, Honesty, and the American Way

When I wrote my letter to the South Dakota Senators (see previous post) asking them to vote yes to the Bill allowing access to adoptees for a noncertified copy of their original birth certificates, I couldn’t help but notice the following:

When a new certificate of birth is established pursuant to §§ 34-25-15 to 34-25-16.2, inclusive, the original certificate of birth together with the adoption information or other evidence upon which a new certificate is made shall be sealed, filed, and may be opened only upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction, or by the secretary of health for purposes of properly administering the vital registration system or for purposes of complying with section 2 of this Act.

 Pay attention. The existing law states:

When a new certificate of birth is established

That means, as I have stated in a previous Post, that all adoptees suffer the re-writing of their birth certificates as an automatic procedure as part of the process of finalizing the adoption. THIS PRACTICE MUST STOP!

I have been saying this since 1974 when I was 18 years old and was contacted by siblings I never knew existed. Three days after that shock, my adoptive mother dumped my birth certificates and adoption papers on the kitchen table in front of me. When I looked at my Birth Registration in my birthname and the birth certificate made with my adopted name, I was shocked into realizing that the FACTS OF MY BIRTH had been changed. This does not make logical sense. Why is this even legal? This is why I wrote my Idea For Change on the Change.gov website: “Make falsifying birth certificates of adoptees illegal”. See the Widgets at the left side bar…

Normal people – non-adopted people – and probably many adoptees themselves, do not understand the basic principles here. If we keep asking for ACCESS and ACCESS to UNCERTIFIED copies of our UNALTERED Original Birth Certificates, that is all we may get. THAT is fine, if you want to look at a copy of your birth certificate.

But why should we allow for the continuation of falsifying new adoptees’ birth certificates? Stop the cycle of re-written histories. Stop the fraudulent abusive attack on human infants and children who have no legal representatives to stand in their defense to say NO to “when a new certificate of birth is established…”.

The above referenced South Dakota Bill being voted upon today would give South Dakota adoptees the following:

Upon receipt of the written application and proof of identification, the department shall issue to the applicant a noncertified copy of the unaltered original certificate of birth.

Yes, by what we know of as “a clean bill”, this Bill will give adoptees exactly what is stated above. That is a victory, should this pass, for South Dakota adoptees: access to a noncertified copy of their unaltered original birth certificate. That would be a huge accomplishment, more than what the majority of states do not do for adoptees who want their original birth certificates.

For those purposes, this is a Clean Bill.

But it isn’t really a true clean bill. Two obstacles are still in our way: the assembly line manufacturing of millions more falsified birth certificates each time an infant or child is adopted, thus continuing the cycle of lies. This gives years of possibilities for adoptive parents to continue to lie to their adoptees when they are children and to continue to do so when they are adults. This needs to stop.

The OTHER obstacle is that adoptees who achieve access to noncertified copies of their birth certificates are still being discriminated against because receiving a noncertified copy IS still discrimination. Stop this charade.

The Netherlands gives us a perfect example of how to register the births and adoptions of all their adoptees: 1 birth certificate and 1 adoption certificate. That ensures the total security of the BIRTH CERTIFCATE of the adoptee; as in: a person is born only once — That is a fact of life. And, once a child is adopted, there is an adoption certificate with all the facts of the adoption stated clearly. The adoption facts and the birth facts are clearly defined. No adoptive parent in Holland gets away with the luxury and the falsehoods of having in their possession a “new” birth certificate that implies that they GAVE BIRTH TO A CHILD THAT THEY ACTUALLY ADOPTED.

These documents are open to the three parties: the adoptee, the natural parents and the adoptive parents. There is no chance that the adoptee will use their CERTIFIED birth certificate in fraud (by posing as another person) because both the birth certificate and the adoption certificate are needed for proof of identification and citizenship.

What is so difficult in America that our feeble-minded society cannot accept the true facts of life and the true facts of adoption?

Even lawyers in this country cannot wrap their brains around what I just wrote. Listen, it is simple: stop thinking like backward thinking Americans and start thinking like progressive people and get the job done right. Stop lying to adoptees. Stop fraudulently falsifying our birth certificates because THAT action is morally wrong and needs to be illegal. Stop patronizing adoptees by patting us on the head as if we are still little children, “Here Suzie, here’s your NONCERTIFIED ORIGINAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE, now go away.”

We are American citizens who deserve the right to ONE BIRTH CERTIFICATE and ONLY ONE BIRTH CERTIFICATE, and if we are adopted, WE DESERVE TRUTHFUL DOCUMENTATION of our ADOPTIONS, not a NEW BIRTH CERTIFICATE that is FRAUDULENT.

I’ve been saying the same thing for 36 years. I said it when I was 18 and I am saying it now at age 54. Stop this nonsense of altering our facts of life. No other class of people is discriminated against like this. No class of people is set apart — segregated — from the rest of a free society in the same way adoptees are.

These laws were written at a time when being born illegitimate was shameful. More unmarried couples are co-habiting now and are having children together without the legal binds of marriage. Single women who are lesbians are having children via anonymous sperm donation. (That signifies yet another injustice not covered in this blog post). More single men who are gay are having children via an egg donor or a surrogate mother. (These kids also do not have true birth certificates because it is easier to leave off the name of the missing genetic parent, but again, that is the subject for another discussion).

But all adoptees are not illegitimate. And for the ones who are, they still have one mother and one father who created them and those are the facts of life. If adoptive parents don’t like that, too bad. YOU were lucky enough to be raised by the parents who gave you life, so don’t be smug by withholding the truth to your adoptees. Only when adoptive parents realize that they are part of the problem by not standing up to the government and saying “No, do not issue a falsified birth certificate, issue an adoption certificate instead”.

I am a half orphan born to married parents. Yet, my birth certificate was seized by my government and sealed from me. A new birth certificate was then issued, as if I were born illegitimately and must be segregated apart from the rest of society. Both of those indignations must be addressed by a repressed society that still abuses adoptees.

What does CNN News anchor Anderson Cooper say when he opens his show? He says, “Keeping them honest”.

I’d like to see the entire United States kept honest by changing adoption and birth certificate law to represent the true facts in an open, honest government, federally mandated, not state-run, because adoptees are denied federal civil rights by the current system.

Joan M Wheeler

author of: Forbidden Family: A Half Orphan’s Account of Her Adoption, Reunion and Social Activism, Trafford Publishing, Nov 2009.

If you have any comments on this post, please send an email, with your full  name and reason for contact, to: joan@forbiddenfamily.com.

ACTION ALERT! Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization

SOUTH DAKOTA –SB 152 – Unconditional Access to OBC’s   – Vote Yes

 

SB 152, a 100% unconditional open records bill, will be voted upon on the floor of the South Dakota Senate on Tuesday, February 16th.

 

Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization, urges everyone to write to the Senators of South Dakota immediately and ask them to vote YES on SB 152, which will give all adoptees equal rights.  SB 152 will allow any adoptee 18 years or older to obtain a copy of that person’s original birth certificate upon written application, with no conditions or restrictions.

 

SB 152 is sponsored by Senators Adelstein, Jerstad, and Merchant and Representatives Lederman, Feinstein, Lust, McLaughlin, and Sly

 

The bill was heard first by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The only change made in committee was omitting a contact preference form in the bill. It was felt that this form was not necessary to the bill. The Senate committee passed the bill with a vote of 4 to 2.

 

Help make 2010 the year South Dakota goes over the top! Please bombard the senators with your letters of rousing support!. You can read the bill at:

 

http://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/2010/Bill.aspx?File=SB152SHE.htm

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

 

South Dakota has made it very easy for everyone to write.

 

 http://legis.state.sd.us/email/LegislatorEmail.aspx?MemberID=30s:

 

Go here to get started:  Start out with first Senator on the list.  Put SB 152 in your email subject line. Write your letter or attach it, click Send, and then in the Drop Down Box, choose next Senator in line and click Send, etc…  It’s like an easy cut-&-paste arrangement. All you need is one letter.

 

PLEASE FORWARD FREELY.

~~~

NOTE: Even though the above link “Start” does not work (blocked from their site), go to the link above, or here:

http://legis.state.sd.us/email/LegislatorEmail.aspx?MemberID=30s: and create your letter. The drop-down list is easy to follow to click and send your email letter. I just did it and sent my letter to all the Senators on the list. Took about 20 minutes. Do it. Do it NOW.

~~~

Here’s the bill:

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY, 2010  

 

823R0481  

SENATE HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES ENGROSSED    NO.  SB 152 –  2/10/2010  

 

Introduced by:    Senators Adelstein, Jerstad, and Merchant and Representatives Lederman, Feinstein, Lust, McLaughlin, and Sly

 

 

        FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to provide procedures by which adopted persons may obtain their original birth certificates.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:
    Section 1. That § 34-25-16.4 be amended to read as follows:
    34-25-16.4. When a new certificate of birth is established pursuant to §§ 34-25-15 to 34-25-16.2, inclusive, the original certificate of birth together with the adoption information or other evidence upon which a new certificate is made shall be sealed, filed, and may be opened only upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction, or by the secretary of health for purposes of properly administering the vital registration system or for purposes of complying with section 2 of this Act.
    Section 2. That chapter 34-25 be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:

    Any adopted person who is at least eighteen years of age and who was born in this state, such adopted person’s attorney, or if such adopted person is deceased, any descendant of such

adopted person may obtain a copy of that person’s original certificate of birth from the Department of Health by filing a written application with, and providing appropriate proof of identification to, the department. Upon receipt of the written application and proof of identification, the department shall issue to the applicant a noncertified copy of the unaltered original certificate of birth. The department may charge the same fee as provided pursuant to § 34-25-52. The Department of Health may promulgate rules, pursuant to chapter 1-26, for the administration of this section.

Stop the Cycle, Stop the Loop of Lies

Cully Ray posted the following today on the Change.gov website:

http://www.change.org/ideas/view/return_adult_adoptees_the_right_to_their_original_birth_certificates_2

                                                                                                                

The end of this round will be this Thursday (the 18th) and then the Final round will begin on Monday the 22nd… THIS IDEA WILL BE IN THE FINAL ROUND!!  Thank you all so much for your support and All the Information that has been shared in your comments.

The Final round will be from Feb 22 thru Mar 4th.  There will be 60 ideas presented and the Top Ten vote getters will be presented in Washington DC.  As many of us know the amending/falsifying of Original Birth Certificates can and has caused problems, not only on a personal level but on State and Federal levels as well.

Please help get out the vote for the Final round, and again Thank You for everything you’ve done to get this idea to the Final Round!!!

love and hugz to all.

posted by Cully Ray

 

While the ideas presented by Mara and myself drew considerable less votes, I attribute the reason is because we were short-sighted in our wording. Cully Ray said it best, thus her idea got the most votes. In her above follow-up discussion comment, Cully links the two causes together with a slash: “amending/falsifying of Original Birth Certificates…”

Still, 457 votes for “Return adult adoptees the right to their original birth certificates” is a huge jump from the low-count of 43 for “Make Falsifying birth certificates of adoptees illegal”, and 71 votes for “Release Original Birth Certificates to Adoptees”.

Pay very close attention. I will add this word: CERTIFIED to the idea of “Return adult adoptees the right to their original birth certificates”.

There is no use to the release of UNCERTIFIED Original Birth Certificates to adoptees because that is another CONDITION that the government sets up to perpetuate the infantile treatment of adoptees who were factually born of one set of parents and adopted by another.

To release UNCERTIFIED copies of our true birth certificates is to continue the official lie in presenting our falsified birth certificates as true. Do not let the State and Federal governments get away with this! We know that our falsified and fraudulent birth certificates issued to us at the time of our finalization of our adoptions do not accurately state the facts of our births. THESE documents should be declared NULL AND VOID because of the official lies they uphold. We need to call an end to the issuance of such documents, and call an end to our dependence of the false legal need to have such documents as our legal identity papers!

The message really needs to reach the general public as well as drilled into the heads of adoption reformers: adoptees not only need to demand our civil rights to our true birth certificates, but we need to stop the legal practice of falsifying new adoptees’ birth certificates. We need to create the issuance of an official ADOPTION CERTIFCATE to REPLACE the falsified birth certificate.

Why? Because without stopping the falsifying of adoptees’ birth certificates, the system creates thousands of FRAUDULENT birth  certificates for American citizens each and every day. This horrendous civil rights violation clearly must end.

If this practice does not end, 30 years from now, we will have witnessed yet another generation of adoptees fall victim to fraud and identity theft for the benefit of adoption. Thirty years from now, these fresh-faced adoptees will take over our activism and the right to unseal their (and our) true birth certificates. I don’t want to be fighting the same fight when I’m 84 years old.

We see it happening today. Those of us who are old enough to have been around 30 and 40 years ago at the start of our fight for Open Records know all too well that we have witnessed — and were powerless to stop — another generation of adoptees locked into the falsified birth certificate loop of lies.

Stop the cycle. Vote for the “Return adult adoptees the right to their original birth certificates” in this first round of votes in President Obama’s Change.gov’s website under the Human Rights Ideas for Change. Let the voice of the American people be heard by President Obama and his cabinet. Vote for this idea in the 2nd Round and make sure it reaches the final count to be sent directly to the President. The release of our birth certificates to us is our civil right AND it is our civil duty to prevent the falsifying of new adoptees’ birth certificates. STOP THE CYCLE. STOP THE ABUSE. STOP THE EROSION OF ADOPTEES’ CIVIL RIGHTS.

There are at least 6 to 7 million adoptees in America, yet obviously they are not stepping up to the plate to make their voices heard. Many adoptees still don’t rise up to political action. When adoptees themselves are so worn down by adoption’s dirty little secrets, we cannot stand up to fight the injustices perpetrated upon us. Therefore, it is up to us who do see the connections and injustice to keep shouting our cause loud and clear.

Adoptees … there are millions of you out there! Get off your duffs and vote! Get your pens and pads of paper. Get your computer keyboards tapping. Get to the post office and send your letters to President Obama yourselves. Tell him: Stop the abuse of adoptees. Slavery should hit home to Barak Obama. Slavery is alive and well in the American Adoption System. End adoption abuse now!

Parents of adoption loss also need to get off your butts and take action. Your rights are also being abused by the present adoption cycle. Put an end to it. Fight with all you’ve got.

TRUTH is on our side!

We know who our parents are!

We need to put the emphasis on truth: 1 birth certificate and 1 adoption certificate = Adoption Truth.

See it clearly and get the job done.

 

Joan M Wheeler

Author of Forbidden Family: A Half Orphan’s Account of Her Adoption, Reunion and Social Activism, Trafford Publishing, Nov 2009

The above ideas are laid out in finer details in my book.

Guest Post – Kinship Bonds, Adoption and Discrimination

Kinship bonds cannot be diluted by the sealed original birth certificate. States began passing laws forbidding marriage between those males and females who were bound by close family ties such as father/daughter, mother/son, brother/sister, and first cousin/first cousin. The reason  given was that it was more likely that undesirable traits would be passed on to the resulting offspring between closely related parents. While the genes were not always recessive, these inherited DNA traits were not to be desired…. Any adopted persons, now adult age, have no evidence of existing kinship bonds to anyone whom they  would meet and could marry – – if their adoption was finalized in a state whose adoption records, including the original birth certificate, is sealed for life. Thus, it is legal for any of them to marry kin even though the law of the land forbids this – – for good reason (to protect the offspring). Adopted persons who live under this condition of the sealed record/original birth certificate, for a lifetime, are defined by the law, by implication,  of having a separate status. The blood tie is simply not in existance for them. Separated from the rest of the non-adopted population, these adults suffer discrimination.
 
Mary L. Foess
AAC, CUB, ORIGINS,Am-FOR, A.I.M, Truths in Adoption Triad, and Bonding by Blood, Unlimited

Racist Comments on Haiti Prompt Re-Post of Statement by Adoptees of Color Roundtable

As the title of this blog post states, some very rude and ignorant racial slurs were left in my inbox this past weekend. I have closed all sections to Comments as a result. Also, though I am of mixed white ethnic groups, I fully support adoptees of color. Here is a re-print of their excellent statement on adopting Haiti’s earthquake victim children:

http://www.adopteesofcolor.org/?page_id=14

Statement on Haiti

Jan 25, 2010

This statement reflects the position of an international community of adoptees of color who wish to pose a critical intervention in the discourse and actions affecting the child victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti. We are domestic and international adoptees with many years of research and both personal and professional experience in adoption studies and activism. We are a community of scholars, activists, professors, artists, lawyers, social workers and health care workers who speak with the knowledge that North Americans and Europeans are lining up to adopt the “orphaned children” of the Haitian earthquake, and who feel compelled to voice our opinion about what it means to be “saved” or “rescued” through adoption.

We understand that in a time of crisis there is a tendency to want to act quickly to support those considered the most vulnerable and directly affected, including children. However, we urge caution in determining how best to help. We have arrived at a time when the licenses of adoption agencies in various countries are being reviewed for the widespread practice of misrepresenting the social histories of children. There is evidence of the production of documents stating that a child is “available for adoption” based on a legal “paper” and not literal orphaning as seen in recent cases of intercountry adoption of children from Malawi, Guatemala, South Korea and China. We bear testimony to the ways in which the intercountry adoption industry has profited from and reinforced neo-liberal structural adjustment policies, aid dependency, population control policies, unsustainable development, corruption, and child trafficking.

For more than fifty years “orphaned children” have been shipped from areas of war, natural disasters, and poverty to supposedly better lives in Europe and North America. Our adoptions from Vietnam, South Korea, Guatemala and many other countries are no different from what is happening to the children of Haiti today. Like us, these “disaster orphans” will grow into adulthood and begin to grasp the magnitude of the abuse, fraud, negligence, suffering, and deprivation of human rights involved in their displacements.

We uphold that Haitian children have a right to a family and a history that is their own and that Haitians themselves have a right to determine what happens to their own children. We resist the racist, colonialist mentality that positions the Western nuclear family as superior to other conceptions of family, and we seek to challenge those who abuse the phrase “Every child deserves a family”  to rethink how this phrase is used to justify the removal of children from Haiti for the fulfillment of their own needs and desires. Western and Northern desire for ownership of Haitian children directly contributes to the destruction of existing family and community structures in Haiti. This individualistic desire is supported by the historical and global anti-African sentiment which negates the validity of black mothers and fathers and condones the separation of black children from their families, cultures, and countries of origin.

As adoptees of color many of us have inherited a history of dubious adoptions. We are dismayed to hear that Haitian adoptions may be “fast-tracked” due to the massive destruction of buildings in Haiti that hold important records and documents. We oppose this plan and argue that the loss of records requires slowing down of the processes of adoption while important information is gathered and re-documented for these children. Removing children from Haiti without proper documentation and without proper reunification efforts is a violation of their basic human rights and leaves any family members who may be searching for them with no recourse. We insist on the absolute necessity of taking the time required to conduct a thorough search, and we support an expanded set of methods for creating these records, including recording oral histories.

We urge the international community to remember that the children in question have suffered the overwhelming trauma of the earthquake and separation from their loved ones. We have learned first-hand that adoption (domestic or intercountry) itself as a process forces children to negate their true feelings of grief, anger, pain or loss, and to assimilate to meet the desires and expectations of strangers. Immediate removal of traumatized children for adoption—including children whose adoptions were finalized prior to the quake— compounds their trauma, and denies their right to mourn and heal with the support of their community.

We affirm the spirit of Cultural Sovereignty, Sovereignty and Self-determination embodied as rights for all peoples to determine their own economic, social and cultural development included in the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the Charter of the United Nations; the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The mobilization of European and North American courts, legislative bodies, and social work practices to implement forced removal through intercountry adoption is a direct challenge to cultural sovereignty. We support the legal and policy application of cultural rights such as rights to language, rights to ways of being/religion, collective existence, and a representation of Haiti’s histories and existence using Haiti’s own terms.

We offer this statement in solidarity with the people of Haiti and with all those who are seeking ways to intentionally support the long-term sustainability and self-determination of the Haitian people. As adoptees of color we bear a unique understanding of the trauma, and the sense of loss and abandonment that are part of the adoptee experience, and we demand that our voices be heard. All adoptions from Haiti must be stopped and all efforts to help children be refocused on giving aid to organizations working toward family reunification and caring for children in their own communities. We urge you to join us in supporting Haitian children’s rights to life, survival, and development within their own families and communities.

……………….

49 Comments follow on their website: http://www.adopteesofcolor.org/?p=6#respond

This one is my favorite:

“Comment by Leanne LeithJanuary 27, 2010 at 12:20 am”  

“Acts of benevolence by the color-blind privileged add yet another layer of violence to the personhood of vulnerable little people, compounding their losses. The redistribution of children of color is rooted in the marginalization of ethnic groups and the propensity to make fetish objects of their children. It is no charity to exploit a time of tragedy – or any time – to take a nation’s most valuable resource for personal gain.

It is a sad statement when those that capitalize on tragedy pat themselves on the back for their charity. The truly charitable would offer to help victims to help themselves. This feeding frenzy we are witnessing today by would-be child importers truly reveals the darkest aspects of man’s ability to rationalize the ugliest of acts.

It’s high time we respect the humanity of all peoples by preserving families and allowing them the dignity to build their own strong societies without the intervention of self-interested parties. THAT would be the action of an enlightened, advanced, civil society.”

And this one is second runner-up:

Comment by United Adoptees InternationalJanuary 26, 2010 at 9:10 am  

“…It is time that Adoptees all over the world become active and participate in the international and national adoptiondebate at all levels of society and decision making government bodies and show that the time of Infantilization and the monopoly on adoption by adopters and their politics is over.

The adoption triangle starts with the (intersts of) parents, not the adopters. It seems that everyone in the adoption debate forgot that. Including the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption.

We can change the world. Not by sitting down and wait, but to feel the power flowing within in us and everyone who is capable to understand what is really going on.”

 

Vote for Adoptees’ Civil Rights at Change dot gov

I’ve been reunited for 36 years and in the adoption reform movement for the same amount of time. We march on Washington, carry picket signs, send letters, write books, conduct research, cry, organize conferences, organize state legislative lobby groups, get side-swiped, start over, sign petitions, blog, start new groups, over and over and over again. 

Other countries are 40 years ahead of America in terms of equality for adoptees and their parents of birth. 

What is America NOT doing right?

We are not demanding to stop the nonsense at the heart of the problem: stop falsifying birth certificates for adoptees. Repeal the law that started the whole mess in 1930. Go read the books. I’ve quoted them in  my book, and in this blog. The authors have been pointing out the history of the heart of the problem for many years. Yet we keep circling around the issues. The people with the money, and their god, rule over the people with no money and no power. 

Stop it. Just stop it! Put an end to seizing birth certificates and falsifying them when a child is adopted. Stop it. Don’t do it. End this barbaric practice of fraudulent birth certificates of adoptees —now.

I, and other adoption reformers, have called for an end to the practice of adoption itself.

In the place of adoption, we need to strengthen families in crisis so that they can stay together. If a child cannot be raised by the parents of birth, kinship care and guardianship must be the final options presented. Both closed and open adoption has been proven over and over again to be detrimental to the adoptee and to the families that get left behind.

Please see the Widgets at the left Side Bar to vote at the Change.gov website for adoptees’ civil rights under the general topics of Human Rights and Human Trafficking. Add your comments to these pages. Even if you are not an American, leave a comment and vote.

End adoption slavery now.

California’s Relative CareGiver Law Recognizes Guardianship Over Adoption by Non Family Members

Even though this was made public in 2007, this bit of legislation – now is California Law – has just come to my attention (bold emphasis added): 

 CALIFORNIA STATUTE PUTS EMPHASIS ON PLACEMENT WITH EXTENDED FAMILY

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed the Relative Caregiver Bill (AB298) into law, allowing foster children greater access to permanent placement with extended family members. The statute allows for extended family members to be given legal guardianship as a preference over adoption by non-family members. In addition, the law – enacted in October – requires relative caregivers to be given information regarding the options of legal guardianship and adoption, including the long-term benefits and consequences of each option. To read the law, go to: http://www.legislat ure.ca.gov/ port-bilinfo. html and search by bill number.

            When I searched for the Bill under the above number, I could not find it. Fellow adoption reformer, Cully Ray, confirmed the correct Bill name and number to be Relative Caregiver Bill AB12 (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/asm/ab_0001-0050/ab_12_bill_20100128_history.html).  

             There have been recent amendments made to his law (269 pages can be found at: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/asm/ab_0001-0050/ab_12_bill_20100125_amended_asm_v95.pdf).

            There is even a newsletter. Again, I am late to this, but the information, though late to me, is valuable: Kinship Quaterly: A Resource Newsletter for Relative Caregivers in LA County Written by Relative Caregivers in LA County (PDF – Issue 1 Vol 1 Year 1).   http://dcfs.lacounty.gov/kinshippublic/documents/kinshipquarterlyvol1.pdf.
            This is hope for the children NOW who are faced with temporary family crisis of poverty, job or home loss, parental death of one or parents, or foster care placement, to not only stay together as a sibling group and a family, but to have the decency and respect of care-giving adults to acknowledge that a child’s family of birth comes before ANY consideration of coerced relinquishment to adoption, ANY “placement” for adoption, and that LEGAL GUARDIANSHIP is preferred BY LAW before adoption by a stranger is even considered.
            Imagine that: human compassion, respect, dignity for children who suffer family stress and loss, especially children who have lost one or both parents by death. Real, domestic, half and full orphans in California (USA) from the legal separation by adoption, and protected from the seizure and seal of their birth certificates, and protected from the falsification of facts on a “new” and “amended” birth certificate issued upon the finalization of every adoption.
              If the adults involved in coercing my father (in 1956) into relinquishing me, a newborn infant, to a closed adoption of distant relatives of my deceased mother, had been faced with a law to prevent such coercion, I would have been raised perhaps by my father, or by the distant cousin and his wife who actually adopted me — in a totally open and honest relationship with my father and my siblings.
             Instead, the resulting trauma of losing my mother of birth to her early death was compounded by my loss of my father and my full blood siblings because people thought that they were doing the right thing by: taking me off of my father’s already full plate of worry and obligation, giving me to a loving married couple who were childless for the first 18 years of their married life.
            My idylic childhood of 18 years as the only child of these loving parents in no way is a fair trade-off of the losses I, and my siblings and our father, had to endure for the sake of closed adoption. The love of my adoptive parents and most of my extended adoptive family, was conditional: I was never to know I had siblings, or blood kin, living in the same city. And to be socially shunned and mocked because because I accepted a reunion with my natural family…to this very day…
            Thank you, California, for officially recognizing the sanctity of a child’s family and birth identity.
           Added Information: NOTE — Bill number is AB 12, not AB 298:
           http://www.actnowinc.net/AMUSTREAD.html

ASSEMBLY- MAZE BILL AB 298

ASSEMBLYMAN Bill Maze, R-Visalia, has heard too many disturbing stories about relative caregivers being “strong armed” by social workers to either adopt a child — or risk having him or her taken away.

It’s not right.

“Relative caregivers should be our first line of placement,” said Maze.

The source of these horror stories is no mystery. California judges who are determining the fate of a child are guided by state law to give preference to adoption by a stranger over guardianship by a relative. Also, the federal government rewards the state with a $4,000 incentive payment for each adoption of a foster child above a baseline rate.

“Given the difficult task of finding adoptive homes for the many foster children who do not have a relative caregiver, it is hard to understand why we would want to threaten to remove a child rather than accepting a relative guardianship as a permanent plan and placement … yet existing law allows this exact scenario to arise on a daily basis,” the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles, which represents 20,000 abused and neglected youth, wrote in a recent letter to Maze.

As the law center noted, there are many reasons why a relative caregiver may prefer legal guardianship over adoption. “A grandmother or aunt might view adoption as ‘taking the child away’ from her own daughter or sister,” the law center wrote.

The law center is leading the push for Maze’s AB298, which would adjust state law to make clear that a child living with a relative guardian should be allowed to stay in that home when possible. The best interest of the child should be the guiding principle of these often excruciatingly tough custody decisions — and AB298 helps advance that goal.


 
           

Call for Signatures — Letter to President Obama, et al, From Family Preservation Advocate and The USA Adoption Community

Re-post with permission from Family Preservation Advocate Blogspot, at: 

http://familypreservation.blogspot.com/2010/01/call-for-signatures.html

Saturday, January 30, 2010

 Call for Signatures

 I am hoping to get individuals and organizations to sign on to this letter. 

To sign, please send an email to email@AdvocatePublications.com with your name, connection to adoption, location and a brief comment, if you’d like.  Please pass the word via email lists, blogs, Facebook…

TO:        President Barack Obama
              First Lady Michelle Obama
              Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton
              Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius

RE:        Adoption Practices

FROM: The Adoption Community

Now that Haiti has declared a moratorium on the post quake rush to adopt its children, we must continue to protect the Haitian children from any continued hasty removals by predatory groups who might fly in once the airports re-open to scoop up children, no matter how well-intentioned, as we reflect on the course of future adoption practices.

Those of us whose lives have been irrevocably shaped by adoption offer our personal insight and ask you to listen to our voices and painfully gained wisdom. Adoption can provide a caring and safe home, but must always put the best interests of children first. Adoption should always be about finding homes for orphans and children who have no family members able and willing to provide safe care.  Unfortunately it has become more focused on finding babies or children to fill a demand of those able to pay high fees to obtain a child. Thus, for the sake of all children:

* We beseech lawmakers to not be influenced by lobbyists for the multi-billion-dollar adoption industry or by the religiously based organizations and agencies, no matter how well-intentioned, who wish to use the redistribution of children for financial gain or to recruit members of their faith. Follow the advice of child welfare experts and NGOs with no motivation other than what is truly best for children.

 * We call for an end to federal programs that promote and encourage adoption, e.g. tax credits,  Children in foster care are being used as pawns to get such laws enacted and renewed and then be left behind while prospective parents use tax credits to adopt from elsewhere.

 * We encourage the formation of a federal department of Family Preservation that would allocate funds to help families in temporary crisis, whether financial or otherwise, receive the assistance they need to remain intact. Programs such as in-home care have proven highly successful and more cost effective than foster care removals which put children into high risk situations. 

 * We seek federal protection of the constitutional right to parent one’s own children that are currently being violated by state laws such as Putative Father Registries.

 * We insist on restoration of the rights of all adopted persons in regard to the discrimination they face in accessing their own birth certificate. We demand that the Federal government prevent states from issuing falsified birth certificates that state that adopted children are born to their adoptive parents, and that often change not just their names but their date and place of birth. This is state committed fraud and violates the basic right of every human to their identity. 

Signed:

Signed:

1. Mirah Riben, mother who lost a child to adoption, New Jersey

2. Gaye Tannenbaum, New York adoptee

3. Caroline Collins, adult adoptee currently living in Texas

4. Aileen Brown, Mother that lost her baby to the adoption industry at 16 years old and ignorant of the effects adoption would do to herself and lost child, who would like to prevent it from happening to other families, Wisconsin

5. Rosalind Maya Lama, Lost a child to the foster care and adoption industry in New York
currently reside in California

6. Cathi Robinson, Natural Mother, Missouri

7. Roe Ruggerio Callahan, Philadelphia, PA

8. Amanda Woolston, Tennessee Adoptee residing in Pennsylvania

9. Bonnie Taylor, WV. Birthname (Teresa Elaine McKinsey) Born in York PA, adopted in Baltimore, MD Found birthfather (Gary Lee McKinsey-deceased), still searching for birthmother (Juanita Carson-McKinsey-Dunkelbarger-?Brashear).

10. Hannah Hope, natural mother, Essex, UK

11. Amy L. Loring – Lima, NY – Natural Mother

12. Celeste Billhartz, adoptee, Ohio

13. Samantha Franklin, Reunited Adult Adoptee, Oklahoma

14. Janet Sousa,  adoptee and search angel.  Owner of The Eyes Wide Open Registry, an online Emergency Medical Locators for Adoptee’s registry – Tampa, FL

15. Robert Wilson Harrington McCullough Haight, adopted person, Missouri, still denied access to his Original Birth Certificate

16. Lorraine Dusky, reunited natural mother in New York

17. Sandy Blais, Adoptee – Canada – please it is time to stop repeating the mistakes of the past that we should have already learned from.

18. Susan Gill, reunited natural mother, Nebraska

19. Laurie Staley, Michigan adoptee, adoptive mom

20. Alyce M. Jenkins, adoptive mother and adoptive/family rights advocate , NJ

21. Mari Steed, Intercountry adopted adult (Ireland, reunited); Birthmother, Pennsylvania sealed-records system (reunited)

22. Rupert Wolfe Murray

23. Dana Lowrey, adopted person, mother to a son lost to adoption, Reunited with all family members, Roseville California

24. Theresa Hood, Pennsylvania-born adoptee residing in New York, denied access to my original birth certificate

25. Barbara Pasternak, CT. I’m a Mother who had no choice when I lost my son to adoption 50 years ago. An adoptee is not, should not, be a commodity.

26. Bonnie Parmelee, mother to a son relinquished in late 80’s, happily reunited. NY

27. Julie Kelly (reunited adult adoptee) Vancouver WA

28. Lori Trevino, reunited natural mother, Wisconsin

29. Ibbaanika Bond, a natural mother of a child on which an adoption was unsuccessfully attempted.
Kansas City, Mo.

30. Joan M Wheeler, birthname Doris M Sippel, New York Adoptee reunited 36 years,  I’m a half orphan, but sealed and amended birth certificate laws are meant to hide illegitimacy. I did not need to be “legitimized” by adoption. I needed to be raised with full knowledge of, and socialization with, my siblings, and father. Guardianship, not adoption; Family Preservation, not family separation.

31. Mara Rigge, Trinidad, California, Adoptee, Reunited With Natural Mother.

… … … … … …

As the author of this blog, Forbidden Family, and the author of the Book by the same name (see Widget at the Left) in which I state very similar legislative proposals on a Federal Level, I, Joan M Wheeler, suggest to add the following (no, this is not a contest as to who gets the prize for “winning” — this is to say that many of us have been saying the same thing for decades, without being heard). My proposals for Federal Legislation or a Constitutional Amendment are paraphrased from my book:

 –         to the proposed Federal Department of Family Preservation: whether financial or otherwise, Please add: “to protect our own domestic half and full orphans…”

 –         after Putative Fathers Registries, Please add: “and federal guidelines to discourage religious and social service programs (Crisis Pregnancy Centers) that encourage the relinquishment of infants from young mothers.”

 –         after, We seek federal protection of the constitutional right to parent one’s own children, Please add: “We seek federal protection of the constitutional right to our name at birth and our birth certificate at birth, and the right to be raised by our parents with our sibling groups intact.”

 and

–          “We seek federal protection to promote legal Guardianship instead of adoption to protect a child’s right to her name at birth, birth certificate at birth, and the legal right to continued social contact with parents, siblings, and extended family.”

 It might be helpful to add that the Amended Birth Certificate issued at the finalization of adoption should be an Adoption Certificate that details facts of adoption.

Guest Post- HAITIAN ORPHANS, ADOPTEES & THEIR UNKNOWN U.S.BABY BROKERS & TRAFFICKERS

by Lori Carangelo of AmFOR – Americans For Open Records.

http://www.amfor.net/babybrokers/#haiti

     Haitian born adoptees currently being adopted in the U.S., Canada and France will have a difficult time when they begin searching for answers to “Who am I?” and “Are my parents looking for me?”  On 1-7-10, a 7.0 earthquake destroyed Port-au-Prince, Haiti, killing an estimated 200,000 inhabitants and leaving [at least] tens of thousands of children assumed orphaned, in addition to about 380,000 pre-earthquake orphans (estimates are by UNICEF).  American would-be adopters, the Catholic Church, international adoption agencies and independent adoption facilitators applied pressure on the Haitian government in order to airlift the alleged orphans before anyone could confirm whether their parents or relatives are still alive — At this writing, the first 500 or so alleged orphans were airlifted to the U.S. (according to the U.S. State Department)and 900 children were in process of being adopted from Haiti and placed in U.S. homes.
     According to The Toronto Star (in “First Haitian Orphans To Arrive Today” by Allan Woods, 1-24-10), “In all, 154 Haitian children were approved in a fast-track adoption process, agreed to by the Canadian and Haitian governments…  Officials suspect many orphans, either given up for adoption at birth, or those who lost parents in the earthquake, are being illegally spirited out of their homeland by childless families or organized traffickers [or sexual predators] hoping to profit from Haiti’s administrative chaos… making it difficult to say how many children may have been snatched from hospitals, streets or orphanages in this battered city, or where they are going… The earthquake brought down the government building that housed all those records; it also killed the judge responsible for giving final approval to adoptions.”
    It is known that 53 children were airlifted to Pittsburgh (ABC World News, 1-19-10) and Catholic leaders pushed both Haitian and U.S. governments to airlift [an unknown number of]children to South MiamiHaitians have long been frustrated by what some call a “double standard” that allows Cubans who touch dry land [Miami] to stay in the U.S. while Haitians who came illegally must hide in the shadows or face deportation. “Haitian parents with American-born children have been deported, even if there is no other parent in the country to care for them,” said the Rev. Roland Desormeaux of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a Delray Beach church with a large Haitian membership. Children born [or adopted] in the United States are automatically U.S. citizens, so they get to stay.  [AmFOR Note:  At this wriing, Haiti has halted the “free for all” airlifting of children for U.S. adoptions but given the high numbers of unattended children, they will continue to be taken whether Haiti approves or not.  

The U.S. is the largest market for stolen children in the world [as reported by the United Nations Rights of the Child Project].  One wonders whether the same number of Haitian children would be stolen for “legal guardianships” that would allow future changes and are not as profitable or as politically correct as the “done deal” of permanent, sealed adoption.]

Email from Lola – An Adoptive Parent Repulsed by This Blog!

Lola writes:

I would be ashamed to post the awful things you have on your blog.  I hope you get flamed constantly!  There are orphans in this world that need homes.  Why don’t you adopt some and stop whining?!  Learn what it’s like from the other side as an adoptive parent!  You make me sick!  You need therapy, not a blog.  Being so anti-adoption may be good for your mind, but it certainly hurts all those kids in foster care.  Don’t they deserve a home away from the abusive people that gave birth to them?  Those kids are taken away FOR A REASON!  Hello! Get a clue!  You may be unthankful for being adopted, but ask a 10 year old in the foster system or in an orphanage if they want a Mom & Dad…ask a kid waiting to come home to the US in Haiti right now where they would rather be!  I think you would be surprised by the answer!

Dear Lola,

Getting flamed is not an issue for me since I am paying for this website and am in constant contact with my webhost tech support.

I lived a life of torture and still am — at the hands of my adoptive family and natural family, too, not all, but enough to cause me considerable pain and anguish. Read my book for full details of the crimes committed against me by my adoptive family and others.

Lola, you are the one who is having an emotional reaction to my life. If you can’t take reading the terrible things done to adoptees (I’m not the only one) you are the one who needs therapy. There are thousands of adoptees and our natural parents who have been organizing since 1955 in America and around the world to expose the disgusting treatment we have received: examples: Adoptive parents who are lawyers have destroyed paperwork on their own adoptee’s birthparents. That’s a crime against that lawyer’s own adopted child! Adoptive parents who treat their adoptees like slaves and sex objects – like the rich couple who imprisoned a girl from a foreign country to do their household chores like Cinderella, and the Russian girl, Masha, was adopted by a pedophile and repeatedly raped and then she was freed and adopted by another woman who gave up on Masha and voided the adoption. So much abuse in adoption.

Lola, criticism from people such as you does not bother me. You only have an opinion of what you read. You do not know me personally and you do not know how this adoption has affected me and my children. They were also abused and mistreated by the relatives who mistreated me. The destruction of adoption lies and discrimination and prejudice scars adoptees and their children for life.

Lola, you can attack me all you want, but remember: in my book, I have published proof that our government has defrauded millions of adoptees by the practice of seizing our birth certificates, sealing them permanently, issuing materially false statements on a new, amended Certificate of Live Birth in the new adoptive name and naming the adoptive parents as parents of birth. This is fraud and perjury. If that happened to you, you might feel a tad bit offended, pissed off, and disgusted.

I was 18 years old when I had the shock of my life, and then my adoptive parents yelled at me, threw pots and pans at me, and acted as if I had done something horrific. No, I was found by siblings that they knew I had and they prevented me from a continued and meaningful relationship with them because my adoptive parents wanted me all to themselves. Any parents who would do that today would be up on child abuse charges. The only reason they got away with that is because my father signed relinquishment papers.

Do not blame my natural father for it, either. He was used, first by the good old Catholic Church and then by a child-stealer who was procuring a baby for her brother. No one helped my father in his grief that he lost his wife to an early death. No one helped my father keep his kids together. And all you, Lola, can think about are the so-called orphans in orphanages.

I have said this before but it needs repeating: Children who need homes can very easily have those homes through legal Guardianship and not adoption. Guardianship provides a legal guardian (a single person or a couple) who provide a safe, loving, and permanent home for children who need a home. If children cannot be raised by their natural parents, this is a far better alternative than total and complete adoption. Even “open” adoption is not a safe alternative due to the sealing of the child’s birth certificate and a replacement, “new” birth certificate in the child’s new adoptive name and adoptive parents named as parents by birth. Adoptive parents cop an attitude of ownership over the child and see the parents of birth as inferior.

With Guardianship, a child’s legal birth name, legal birth certificate, and status as the child of one and only one set of parents is protected. The legal guardian is under legal obligation to act legally and lovingly for the child as a parent would, as foster parents do, and as adoptive parents do, but they do not have the “advantage” of the law sealing the child’s birth certificate, replacing it with a new one with the guardians’ names on it and changing the child’s name and identity for all eternity.

In situations where the safety of the child is concerned, better to remove a child from the danger, but retain the child’s identity and relationships with that parent or parents. Adoption erases the existing problem as to why removal of children seems necessary, but, the adoptee faces lifelong harm from adoption and must face those issues later in life.

Yes, I am completely anti adoption. No adoption under any circumstances. Not even to save the Haitian children from starving to death after the earthquake. Good grief I hear that refrain already…Family Preservation at all costs, even if their parents are dead, there are other relatives who would be lost to them in adoption by foreigners.

I am not ashamed for anything I write. The only people who are flaming me are my own stupid family members who do not want me to write about my life. Foreign governments and Social Service Agencies throughout America and other countries are reading my website: Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, to name a few. Why? Because there are active adoption reform movements in those countries who have achieved what America needs: drastic reform in adoption.

I worked in foster care and in homeless shelters where I have seen kids removed from their parents solely due to poverty, not abuse. Even in the cases of abuse, those parents are still parents and those kids were born of those parents. By your way of thinking, Lola, adoption should totally erase the past and give these poor kids a new and better life. Wrong. Kids do not forget what has happened and they must cope with it all. Subjecting kids to the total identity change of adoption and forbidding them any knowledge of or contact with their own blood kin is child abuse. I’ve been at this adoption reform activism and advocacy for very near 36 years. I’ve worked in and around foster care, troubled youth, homeless families, crisis centers and disadvantaged families for my entire adult life. I went to court with an 18 year old that aged-out of the foster care system and went out on his own because he had no family. He bought me a rose from a street vendor because I cared enough to see him through that last year. He faced the reality of his life and was a strong young man. I did the same for an 18 year old young woman. She was all alone at the end of the court proceeding. Both of these kids went through foster care with their parents in what-ever state that left them incapable of taking care of their children, but both of these young adults had their birth identities intact, had their personal histories, had the rough experiences of foster care, but they also had a determination to press forward and do something with their lives. They also were free to establish some type of relationship with their parents, which they said was important for them to figure out. And they both thanked me for being at their sides when they stepped out of that court room to face the world. Adoption would have stripped them of their names, their birth certificates, and their families. Guardianship would have provided a home and loving family while giving them the right to their own birth identities. Guardianship conveys freedom, adoption conveys possession.

Oh yes, and lets all go over to Haiti to adopt all those poor orphans! That will solve these black kids’ problems, right? No it won’t! Being adopted by foreigners of a different race is an inner struggle for Transracial Abductees: go see their website under my Links page and here. They will face prejudice in this lily-white biased country of ours who hates Obama for being a “light-skinned black man”. You prospective adoptive parents who think it is the loving thing to do to go to Haiti and adopt their children — do you know what emotional damage that will do to these children who have lived through the trauma of an earthquake? They have seen their parents and other relatives die and you want to put a band aid on that by taking them away from that devastation? Do you not see that taking care of them in their own country is the best solution? I suggest you read some other blogs about taking kids for adoption out of Haiti. The Daily Bastdardette: HAITI: OPERATION PIERRE PAN POSTPONED; POLITICIANS PANDER. In that blog post alone, Bastardette has many links to a wealth of information.   You will be shocked by what you read. World organizations are advising against adopting kids out of Haiti for the very reasons I have just stated, and more.

Lola, be thankful that you have led a most comfortable life. Do not suggest that I adopt! I wouldn’t do such a horrible thing to a child! My life was ruined because of adoption.

My goal is to change adoption laws and social policy so that what happened to me will never happen to another child, ever. To be lied to, to be prevented from knowing my own siblings, to be forbidden to grieve the death of my mother, to not ever be taken to her graveside — those are crimes of child abuse perpetrated upon me by my own adoptive parents. That is sick perversion and possession of a human being.

My adoptive mother is dying in a nursing home right now. She has not once acknowledged the damage she caused me. But she is happy that I used a photograph her brother took of me as an infant for my book’s cover. She gets tears in her eyes because she is happy that I have reached my goal of publication. Maybe she cannot accept the horror of the crimes she and others committed against me, but she is happy for me to be published and encourages me to attend the next AAC Adoption Conference. Mom has realized the importance of the falsified birth certificate as being fraudulent. She has realized that her actions and that of other adoptive relatives and my dead mother’s relatives “were cruel” to my natural father, she said so this past summer. My mother now knows the destructive words said to me by my loving adoptive cousins: “Joan, you OPENLY declare you have two fathers, so you must not love this father. We don’t want you here…” at my adoptive father’s funeral in 1982. I had been in a reunion with my natural father and many other relatives for nearly 9 years at that point. The hate directed at me from prejudicial relatives was their inability to let me live my own life.

My adoptive Mom has also lived the destructiveness and spiteful hate from my own full-blood sisters who not only attacked me because they (like you) did not want me to write anything about my adoption (see my horrible articles in the Buffalo News in MY ARCHIVES page) that they repeatedly abused my mother and my kids and my ex-husband by hate phone calls and hate mail and false child abuse charges. Normal people will let go and let the other person live free from contact. Continued harassment because I am an adoption reformer is completely out of line. There is no reason for my sisters to attack my adoptive mother, but they have. My mother is dying. We need to resolve what we can and live in peace, yet, my sisters are still out there harassing me. I have no contact with them for a number of years into our reunion, and do not want contact from them because of their destructive behavior to me, my children, my adoptive mother, and my ex-husband. Why would I want to build relationships with people who have mocked me for decades and now want in on the action because my book is published? Or because they now want to be a part of adoption reform when they mocked me for being in adoption reform since I was 18? They are filled with nothing but malicious slander and defamation toward me. Every word I write is the truth. Even my ex-husband and my young adult children will attest to the hateful behavior of my relatives toward me and to them. Even my adoptive mother deserves respect as my mother, instead, she was mistreated by my blood sisters by false child abuse charges claiming she was sexually abusing her own grandchildren! Adoption and its aftermath has negatively-affected entire family systems — but you, Lola, want to sing adoption’s praises!

Adoption, in its present form, has been and is, a destructive social and legal device that splits up families.

Lola, are you under 36? If so, I have lived more trauma since 1974 than you have as a non-adopted person. You sound like a young kid who does not know beans about adoption reform. Keep reading. Visit other adoption reform blogs. See the kinks on the side bars. These links will lead you to other links in adoption reform. Better yet, show up to our Conferences and really learn what it is like to be adopted and to lose your child to adoption:

American Adoption Congress

Adoption Crossroads:  Adoption Healing, Baby Scoop Era Research Initiative, Origins Inc. Australia, Origins Canada are proud to announce: Shedding Light on the Adoption Experience VI an Educational Conference About Realities: The Lifelong Effects of Adoption and the Need for Family Preservation.

Lola, you are living in a fantasy world. You need to wake up and smell the coffee. It is people like you who make me sick.