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…

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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

 

Do You “Believe” in Adoption?

That was the question put before me from the hairstylist as she cut and styled my hair yesterday.

I answered, “No, I don’t.”

She was surprised.

I told her my story, and especially highlighted about the unwarranted government sealing and falsifying of my — and all adoptees’ — birth certificates. This got her attention. She did not know this about adoption.

So, her “belief” in adoption had changed from one conversation. By telling her the facts about adoption’s dirty little secret, I influenced her perception that adoption should not be “believed”.

But what does “belief” in adoption mean?

Adoption is not a religion. There is no creed, no doctrine, no holy book. There is only individual and group thinking that adoption is a “good thing”.

What is a “good thing”? Does that mean that if one “believes” in adoption, that one believes that the adopting parents are the saviors of a poor, wretched child who will live a life of hell until she or he is saved by adoption? By believing that adoption is a good thing, what is the “thing”? The act of adopting? That’s not a thing, but an action. Why is the general perception of adoption as a “thing”, a noun, a tangible object? Is the object the adopted child?

Or is the belief in adoption seen as an act of charity? Is the act of adopting a good act? Is that why adoptees are expected to be grateful for the handout of being adopted? Did our adoptive parents actually save us from a life of hell? Is adoption as we know it a part of a religious way of life? Is this why do-gooders rush to the aid of earthquake or other disaster child-victims? Why the presumption that children are in need of rescuing? Why are the parents of children-in-need seen as unworthy to raise their own children? Why are the children seen as gifts of life to the adopting set of parents but not to the set of parents who actually gave them life?

In my correspondence with European adoptees, I see language use as different. Europeans say “wish parents” for people who wish to be adoptive parents. But would that wish to be parents change if the world would see adoption for what it really is?

My belief, my opinion, my perspective on adoption takes into account the realities before me. Before any “better life” of being the “adopted child”, the “rescued” child, and even before records are sealed and falsified, is the act of convincing parents that they cannot and should not take care of their own infants and older children. For brevity’s sake, I’m not addressing all possibilities here, but you can see the philosophy at work. For adoption to begin, a parent or two parents must be convinced that they cannot or should not raise their own child.

Once the convincing takes hold, the relinquishment papers are signed. That starts the events in motion to “free” the child from being in the legal care of one set of parents to an agency or directly to another set of parents who are then considered to be in the process of adopting. The child is not perceived by society as ever growing up.

So, the hair stylist’s question, “Do you believe in adoption?” is indicative of society’s lack of awareness of what actually happens in adoption.

After hearing how my family of birth was destroyed by adoption, the hair stylist now understands that the glorious accolades bestowed on adoption are biased. She now understands that we — society —are influenced by by what we hear, and what we hear influences our perceptions of the world around us.

How did the two of us get on the topic of adoption as I sat in the chair getting my hair cut? By conversation. The question was put to me, “What do you do for a living?”

My answer, “I’m a published author beginning to do public speaking and promoting of my book on my adoption”, prompted the question, “Do you believe in adoption?”

The moral of this story is: the more we talk about the realities of adoption, the better chances of changing public perception and beliefs. People believe that adoption is 100% good, but when adoption reformers tell of what adoption actually is, then the general public can see that adoption is not a thing, but an act. Slowly, the general public will begin to see that our (adoptees) things — our birth certificates — were unjustly taken from us and replaced by falsified birth certificates. Our families were unjustly taken from us. Belief and opinion can be swayed by what we say.

Adoption reformers: Get out there and do some more one-on-one conversations about the realities of adoption. Promote family preservation, not destruction by adoption. Promote intact identity, not destruction by falsified birth certificates causing a lifetime of identity issues for adoptees. People who want to adopt will then see that guardianship is the only option for a child who absolutely cannot be taken care of by her family of birth, if that is the case at all. Chances are, if people really try, adoption is not really needed, nor is it wanted by the family being destroyed by the belief in adoption.

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

 

 

Shame on the British Parliament for Upholding Gay Rights as the Political Correct Action on Birth Certificates for the Donor-Conceived

There’s a new article published in United Kingdom’s Daily Mail: Mothers and fathers disappear from birth certificates to allow homosexual couples to be named as parents, article by Steve Doughty, 29th March 2010.

This story differs from the American story of two gay men being named on their adopted son’s birth certificate. That was a “victory” for Gay Rights in the USA for one couple, but, as I’ve previously stated, this is a stunning defeat for the real focus of the boy who lost his right to a truthful birth certificate.

No, this story in England isn’t about one gay couple, this is about the entire county of England going ga-ga over being politically correct, rather than factually correct for the children whose births will now be recorded falsely on official documents.

The article begins:

The words ‘mother’ and ‘father’ are to disappear from birth certificates to allow homosexual couples to be named as ‘parents’ of surrogate children.

The switch means the biological parents will no longer necessarily be identified on the certificates that provide a legal record of a child’s birth.

In England, registering births on birth certificates is a practice that began over 170 years ago. But that doesn’t matter now as the change in the law will now mean that gay men who hire a surrogate can now be named as the only parents of the child. It is not clear if there will even be a formal adoption.

There is still opposition to this as

The move has been questioned by fertility experts and lawyers, who believe it means birth records will be effectively falsified.

The new law also makes provisions for two lesbians:

In the case of two women who register as the parents of a child, there will be no record on the birth register of who the biological father is.

There is much more to the article which reflects more the British way of handling these terms, so you’ll have to read it for yourself. Even so, a few quotes are noteworthy:

… gay pressure groups have welcomed the move. …that lesbian and gay couples no longer have to go through the unpleasantness of an adoption procedure.

The unpleasantness of an adoption procedure? What? It’s unpleasant to adopt a child but there’s no uncomfortable feeling that lying might not be a good idea?

There’s more:

…two men who have a child by a surrogate mother will be able to apply to a family court for an order making them the legal parents. The court will rule on whether they are fit to bring up the child.

In this case an original birth certificate naming the mother will exist. But it will be replaced by a new document naming the two men as parents if a judge grants a parental order.

Wow. I am stunned into jaw dropping open, stunned. This is just two stupid.

A child will be able to trace the original birth certificate once he or she is 18 years old.

Just like a sealed record in an adoption. The adoptee loses rights to the truth of her birth just for the sake that two gay men or two lesbian women can be named on a birth certificate, even if the truth indicates otherwise.

Lady Deech, a senior family lawyer, said the rule allowing two parents of the same sex to appear on birth certificates gave her ‘unease’.

She said: ‘There is an issue of principle here, which is the truth.

‘It puts the demands of the adults ahead of the rights of children to know and benefit from both sides of their genetic makeup.’

I’m standing firm right with Lady Deech. There’s someone who knows the gut-wrenching truth, that it is the children who will be paying the price of their selfish gay and lesbian parents. I say, accept reality, people, because the reality you push upon the children you are forcing to be your children by your out-right lies, will suffer because of the decisions you make. And, in this case, the decisions of the British government.

But I wrote about all of this in my book, Forbidden Family, page 603:

Chapter 42: British Birth Certificates for the Donor-Conceived:

~ In the end, they voted for the wrong solution

~ focus belongs on the child created, not the parents

And on page 606, I wrote:

It appears that British legislators have completely missed the point. In Britain, it would seem that it will be okay to lie on birth certificates. We’ll have to see which way the House of Commons will vote in the future.

As I stated in my closing remarks:

At a time when the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute urges all American States to grant adoptees unrestricted access to their original birth certificates (For the Records, 2007), the British parliament seems to be going backwards. Children need to be told the truth, especially about their conceptions and birth.

It is a tragedy that the British parliament voted down with truth and up for gay rights.

As I’ve said before, when one minority group tramples on the rights of another minority group, the rights that are considered a victory are actually a travesty for the truly oppressed group.

Gays and lesbians and the British Parliament: go sit in the corner until you can adjust your thinking. Shame on you.

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

Congrats to Mara for Publication of “Sealed Away” Article Highlighting The Census’ Discrimination Against Adoptees

Mara’s tenacity paid off.

I’m glad to re-print her published letter in the Times-Standard (serving Eureka and California’s North Coast) here. It is a testimony as to the generational effects of adoption’s sealed and falsified birth certificates for adoptees. Coincidentally, Mara’s article  was published previously here as “Guest Post: Census Rant”.

http://www.times-standard.com/letters/ci_14754681

Sealed away

Letters to the Editor

Posted: 03/25/2010 02:10:17 AM PDT

Recently, I found the 2010 Census form hanging on my door. As I began filling it out, I came across a dilemma. The U.S. government wants to know if my children are adopted or not and it wants to know what our races are. Being adopted myself, I had to put “Other” and “Don’t Know Adopted” for my race and “Other” and “Don’t Know” for my kids’ races.

Can you imagine not knowing your ethnicity, your race? Now imagine walking into a vital records office and asking the clerk for your original birth certificate only to be told “No, you can’t have it, it’s sealed.”

How about being presented with a “family history form” to fill out at every single doctor’s office visit and having to put “N/A Adopted” where life saving information should be?

Imagine being asked what your nationality is and having to respond with “I don’t know.”

It is time that the archaic practice of sealing and altering birth certificates of adopted persons stops.

Adoption is a $5 billion, unregulated industry that profits from the sale and redistribution of children. It turns children into chattel who are re-labeled and sold as “blank slates.”

Genealogy, a modern-day fascination, cannot be enjoyed by adopted persons with sealed identities. Family trees are exclusive to the non-adopted persons in our society.

If adoption is truly to return to what is best for a child, then the rights of children to their biological identities should NEVER be violated. Every single judge that finalizes an adoption and orders a child’s birth certificate to be sealed should be ashamed of him/herself.

I challenge all Times-Standard readers: Ask the adopted persons that you know if their original birth certificates are sealed.

Mara Rigge

Trinidad

~ ~ ~ posted for Mara by “halforphan56” Joan M Wheeler

Vote Today For Adoptees’ Civil Rights to their Original Birth Certificates, Even if You are Living in a Foreign Country

 

This Idea for Change in America: Return Adult Adoptees the right to their Original Birth Certificates, is now down to 13th place. We need to be in the Top 10 for this Idea to be presented to President Obama and his administration. We have until Friday March 12th at 5pm to vote.

Click the link below to VOTE YES and to read the discussion comments.
http://www.change.org/ideas/view/return_adult_adoptees_the_right_to_their_original_birth_certificates
Even if you live in a foreign country, please vote for American adoptees to have the right to receive a Certified copy of their Original Birth Certificate! I know my readership is worldwide, so come on folks! All it takes is a personal conviction that adoptees deserve the same civil rights as non-adopted people do! Vote today! Many countries worldwide have what we need in America!

Thank You!

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

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.

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.