Tag: adoptive family systems
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).
|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:
Saturday, January 30, 2010
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.
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.”
– “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.
Press Release: Layers of Trauma for Haiti’s Orphans: A Webinar featuring Dr. Bruce Perry
Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute
Layers of Trauma for Haiti’s Orphans: A Webinar featuring Dr. Bruce Perry
Monday, February 1st, 2010 from 7:00 to 8:00 PM Central Time
(a recorded version will be available subsequently)
This free webinar features Bruce D. Perry M.D., Ph.D., the Senior Fellow at The Child Trauma Academy. He will discuss the likely impact of the many traumas children coming home from the orphanages in Haiti have experienced.
The webinar will help prepare families who are now awaiting or have already received placement under the United States’ expedited program.
Dr. Perry will cover the impact of the multiple traumas on this group of kids, explain what parents can expect, and give advice on how they can ease the transition for their child. The webinar will have practical advice for adoptive parents, adoption professionals, and interim caregivers.
Please forward this invitation to any family awaiting a placement from Haiti as well as staff and/or interim caregivers for these children. In order to give priority to families who will benefit the most from this live webinar, we ask that you refrain from inviting those who are just starting to explore the option of adopting from Haiti.
Dr. Perry will address specific trauma-related questions from the audience as time allows. We ask that you submit questions in advance through the registration form.
PLEASE NOTE: this session is intended for those families who were in process of adopting from Haiti prior to the earthquake and are therefore receiving an expedited placement of their child. The Haitian adoption process itself as well as advice for those looking to start the process of adopting from Haiti will not be covered.
This webinar is brought to you by Adoption Learning Partners, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, the Joint Council on International Children’s Services and Heart of the Matter Seminars.
To register, please click the register button below:
Email from Lola – An Adoptive Parent Repulsed by This Blog!
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!
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:
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.
Happy Adoption Day 53 Years Ago Today
Happy Adoption Day, my eyeball. The only ones happy were my adoptive parents.
Fifty three years ago, today, at age 1 year, I lost my legal right to be a part of the family I was born into. I lost my legal right to have the birth certificate that documents my birth. I won the legal right to own a birth certificate that says I was born to a woman who factually adopted me: that is misrepresentation of material facts, which is fraud.
Fifty three years ago, today, my dead mother lost her right to be my legal mother. Bad enough she faced dying knowing that she’d leave behind five children, one of whom was a newborn, but she did not know that adoption would not only take away that newborn, but adoption would prevent her from forever being named on her child’s legal birth certificate.
Fifty three years ago, today, my father walked away from Surrogate’s Court in Erie County Hall, Buffalo, New York, a defeated man. He did what was told to him. He gave away his newborn because a Catholic priest said these words to him at his wife’s funeral ten months previously: “The baby needs two parents.” On top of that, a woman whom he did not know came up to him at his wife’s funeral and said, “I know a couple who will take your baby.”
And to this day, there are members of my dead mother’s family who believe that my father “didn’t want” me.
My father gave me up because he believed I would have a better life with two parents. At the time he relinquished me, he was a single father of five children. There was no help to keep his family together, only vultures swarming to descend and take away the children. “I’ll take the boy”, said one brother of my dead mother. But my father said no. My mother’s brothers got mad at him. My father was an only child. He had his sickly aging parents to help him. His own cousins had children of their own and did not help him keep his family together. Relinquishing me, letting me go, was his only option to save the rest of his family, and himself.
To expect a man in deep, profound grief to make life-altering decisions for his child and himself at a point of personal crisis is cruel. If he had been told the truth: that his dead wife’s family would hold this against him for eternity, that they would spread filthy rumors about him, that the adoptive family into which he relinquished his child would continue ongoing relationships with select members of his dead wife’s family and continue the gossipy rumors, all the while HE was told to stay away, he would never had agreed to relinquish his child to such an adoption. If my father were told that relinquishing his daughter to this permanent adoption would result in the utter destruction of his daughter’s personal papers, personal identity, emotional and psychological well-being, and that adoption would destroy her birth certificate, he would never have agreed to relinquishment and the adoption of his child. My father does not understand the true depth of destruction that adoption has caused me: he does not want to know because the pain is too deep.
That pain is what the adoptee experiences. That pain is not worth the benefits of Happy Adoption Day.
I am a defeated person, a shell of what I could have been. To live my life each day knowing that the very people who professed their love for me, who devoted their lives to me as my adoptive parents, loved me so much that they willfully and knowingly kept me apart from my own father and my own sisters and brother, kept me apart from my own cousins and from even knowing where my dead mother was buried, just so that they could have the luxury of raising a child “of their own”, knowing that my adoptive parents told so many lies to me for the first 18 years of my life, to know all of this was done “for my benefit” makes me so sick I want to vomit.
My adoption wasn’t love. It was possession.
I am supposed to feel grateful. I am supposed to feel happy that I wasn’t raised with my father and my siblings because “what kind of life would you have had with them?” This is the indoctrination said to me, the adoptee, by my adoptive parents and believed by extended adoptive family and the general public’s accumlated “knowledge” of adoption.
The adoptive cousins with whom I have had meaningful relationships in childhood have been what I cling to. Though we are not blood, we know each other as cousins. There are blood cousins with whom I share closeness also.
But there is also this pervasive undertow of deception, rumor and gossip. What was it that my adoptive mother said to me just a few weeks ago as she lay in her nursing room bed? “Oh, by the way, there are people who believe that you had affairs with two of your adoptive cousins.” What? Who the hell is spreading this filth around? Again? Still? Many people in my extended adoptive family and natural mother’s family, that’s who. They are the ones who are sick. Manipulative. I want no part of perverted minds. I am tired of being the brunt of their jokes.
While Jaycee Duggard has had the unfortunate experience of having been raped repeatedly by her abductor, having two children by him, she is not alone in her captivity. How can I possibly cope with the misinformation and gossip that is said for decades among family members because they “think” or “believe” something is true?
I was raised in a beautiful middle class home in the suburbs of Buffalo, an only child, with all the attention my adoptive parents could give me. It was conditional love: I was never supposed to know my own siblings and certainly not my own father and I should never know about the truth of how my mother died. My happy childhood memories come with a price: no childhood with my own siblings. Yet my adoptive parents had theirs. I loved my parents. I loved my extended adoptive family. Only to find out at age 18 that my life was one lie built upon another. After my Reunion, a shock that sent me into oblivion for years, I was expected to bounce back, to recover, to build my life as an adult as if this shock did not “bother” me. I was accused of “living in the past” and “being obsessed with adoption” and “pulling that stunt” and “knowing my siblings all along”. The ones who “pulled that stunt” were my adoptive parents and extended adoptive family. The ones who were mad that I “was living in the past” had the luxury of knowing their own personal histories while growing up. The ones who accused me of “knowing my siblings all along” were guilty of preventing me from knowing my own flesh and blood: my adoptive parents and all who backed them in their secrecy and deception.
What is it that the psychologists say that Jaycee Dugard must undo? Is it called “Stockholm Syndrome”? Perhaps other adoptees have not had a life so entrenched with turmoil as I have had, but other adoptees sure do have sealed and falsified birth certificates. Many adoptees and adoptive parents will be screaming: “What? She can’t be comparing adoption to what Jaycee Dugard experienced!”
Oh, yes, I can.
I was held prisoner in my sheltered home for 18 years in an idyllic life away from the “crappy” life my siblings lived on the opposite side of the city. (again, indoctination from my adoptive parents against my own family of birth). I should feel grateful I didn’t live with them because they had rags for clothes, or so I was told by my adoptive mother after I was found by siblings she so intensely did not want to me ever know. Who gets to torture an adoptee like that? I feel very much that Stockholm Syndrome fits my life, too. I was abducted from my own family by adoptive parents who selfishly kept me to themselves, knowingly and willfully depriving me of relationships with my own siblings. That is nothing less than child abuse. Beyond the mixed feelings of love for adoptive parents who “took care of me”, there are a myriad of conflicts I must cope with on a daily basis: the circulating rumors of sexual misconduct, feelings of being tricked by so many people whom I am supposed to love, feelings of wondering what other misconceptions people built up around me because they knew my blood family and I did not, feelings of shame and guilt because other relatives do not approve of my life.
There was a definite rift in my life when I was found by siblings I never knew. Certain members of my adoptive family sank away from me as if I were a leper. I am one person, people. If I am as bad as my relatives say I am, then I surely do deserve the hate mail and the obscene phone calls that have permeated my life since 1974 because I dared to accept a reunion with my father and my siblings. Form my point of view, this is gang-mentality against one adoptee.
Check out the Page on this blog “My Archives” to see the “dreadful” adoption reform newspaper articles I wrote. These articles are my way of defending the rights of adoptees, the rights of the donor-conceived, and the rights of our natural parents. I stuck up for Mary Beth Whitehead, the infamous surrogate mother, and her daughter. I got hell for that from my family members, people who are not in my direct social circle. I wrote against sperm donation. I got hell for that, too, again from family members who did not approve of my public statements against procedures that harm the chidlren created by these means. The general public’s stupidity is to be expected, but to be mistreated by my own families in the form of hate mail and hate phone calls and whispers behind my back and dirty looks and snide comments — all from my own families because I did what was right for me. This is the life of an adoptee well hated for being who she is: an adoptee advocating for humane change in the restrictive, discriminatory and de-humanizing adoption practices in America.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: for all the hate and disrespect I have been given because I was born to a woman who died and then relinquished to adoption, was found by siblings I never knew and was hated for that, endured criticism because I was slow to recover or did not do what other people wanted me to do: get over being adopted, I would have rather been born a bastard. Bastards get more respect than this adopted half orphan has ever received.
Happy Adoption Day — Fifty-three years of hell.
Are you catching the drift as to why I am anti-adoption?
California Bill AB 1325 (Beall & Cook) Discriminatory To Non-Native American ADOPTEES
This came to me via an email. Sender is protected by no name indicated. —–
Yes, please share this Bill with everyone you can. This bill can BE USED TO FURTHER OUR CAUSE IF USED OFFENSIVELY. IT REALLY IS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FAILING TO STAND BY ALL ADOPTEES AND LETTING THE STATES PICK AND CHOSE HOW THEY ARE GOING TO TREAT US. I say this over and over… But there is NO “except for adopted persons” clause in the US Constitution. This could be an issue that would go all the way to the Supreme Court if argued properly.
… … …
Letter to the California Legislators:
Sent: 1/10/2010 11:26:56 AM Pacific Standard Time
Subject: AB 1325 (Beal & Cook) Discriminatory To Non-Native Americans
Dear California Assemblymembers:
It has been announced that AB 1325 (Beal & Cook) will go into effect in July, 2010. This bill will allow adoptions to occur without the termination of parental rights for Native children.
Why is it that Native American children relinquished for adoption are treated BETTER than non-Native American children relinquished for adoption in this State?
Why is it that ICWA protects their rights to their identities via their original birth certificate and their rights to Tribal membership? Why do they get to know who their biological parents are when they turn 18?
Now, AB 1325 takes this preferential treatment for Native American children relinquished for adoption one step further. Why is it that MY representatives in the Assembly refuse to release MY ORIGINAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE TO ME? I am 40 years old.
Please explain to me how my civil rights are less important than the civil rights of Native Americans. I look forward to a response from at least my representatives in the 1st District.
Thank you for your time,
(Name Withheld From this Post)
Here is the Tribal Alert:
Birthday Vandalism, President Millard Fillmore, and Adoptees
I just got back from a very unusual birthday celebration at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York: US President Millard Fillmore was born this day 210 years ago. I attended a memorial service at his gravesite to honor him.
There was a wreath presented by the current US President’s Representative, and other government officials, as well as dignitaries from educational institutions that owe their beginnings to Millard Fillmore. Since Millard Fillmore was a Unitarian, the minister of the Buffalo Unitarian Universalist Church gives the invocation prayer. Today’s service was not as cold as in other years. There was no bitter wind or snow falling. TAPS was played by a lone trumpeter and a military flag guard opened and closed the ceremony.
The first year I attended was 21 years ago. I brought my toddler daughter. A TV camera took her picture as she played in the snow. Then, the TV reporter asked the guests why they were there. The usual important people gave their usual official comments on this President’s contributions to end slavery and start hospitals and the University of Buffalo just 13 years after the British burned the village of Buffalo to the ground in 1813. In 1989, I was trying to duck the reporter, but he caught me and asked me why I was there. I said, “I share Millard Fillmore’s birthday and I was born in the hospital named after him. I am also a member of the church he belonged to. I came here to honor a man who became the 13th President of the United States”. The reporter thanked me.
I went home and watched the News at dinner time. Less than 5 minutes later, the phone rang.
“Hello, Joan. You pig! What the hell are you doing, talking to a News Reporter and plastering your face on TV?! You are an ego-maniac and have no business showing off!”
That call came in from an adoptive cousin. She and her sisters and their mother have hated me for “OPENLY declaring you have two fathers” since 1974.
This is the kind of stuff that makes me want to die. Because THEY out number me, they have the power. I am alone. Can I not celebrate my birthday in the way I choose? Who are THEY to judge me? What harm have I done to THEM? THEY do not approve of my reunion with my father — a man THEY have never met — a man THEY hate because, according to THEM, he gave me away so he does not qualify to be honored by me as my father. BUT HE IS MY FATHER. Without him, I would not be alive.
So much for family values – so much for adoptive family values. The adoptee only has value if she honors and obeys the adoptive family’s rules and ignores from whence she came.
My MOTHER gave birth to me today 54 years ago in Millard Fillmore Hospital in Buffalo, New York. Her name, and that of my FATHER, is on my hospital records, my hospital birth certificate, and my true birth certificate. But the State of New York seized that birth certificate in January of 1957 and by March of 1957, the State of New York BASTARDIZED my legitimate birth by issuing a falsified, certified as true, Certificate of Live Birth with a raised State seal and a stamped signature of a City of Buffalo Registrar of Vital Statistics. This fraudulent piece of paper is my legal birth certificate. It desecrates the honor of the woman who gave her life so that I may live.
Thank you, New York State, for dis-honoring my birthday.
I will fight till my dying breathe to avenge the violation of my MOTHER’s honor as the woman who nurtured me in her body and then died so that I may live. I will fight to my dying breath to win back my birthright and re-build after the destruction by State-sanctioned vandalism of my true birth certificate — the official documentation of my actual birth.
HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER, so says a Catholic Commandment.
Where is the honor befitting my father and mother of conception and birth?
A Catholic nun in my Junior High School used to say, “Look ashamed!” when she caught some unruly student misbehaving.
I say to all who violate adoptees’ sacred bonds of birth: Shame on all of you who mock adoptees and our natural parents!
Thanks for a wonderful life, you lousy relatives. I am ashamed to have been adopted into YOUR clan. Family values, indeed. The values you proliferate certainly are not Christian values of love. Only a few of you are worthy of my love.
I take away valuable lessons from President Millard Fillmore. He had the tenacity, strength and the personal integrity to stand for honor and justice, to stave off the American Civil War for a few more years, and to stand up to end slavery.
There is a quiet civil war going on right now: the US and State governments are imprisoning all adoptees by seizing our birthrights and birth certificates by forcing us to live lies every time we are forced to present fraudulent birth certificates as the real documentation of our births. Stop the vandalsim of adoptees’ true birth certifcates.
Poll Started by Mara – Should Kids Given Up for Adoption Have Their Rights Defended in Court?
WOW! Best Birthday Present EVER! Thanks, Mara!
First, take the poll:
Should Kids Given Up For Adoption Have Their Rights Defended in Court? (CASA)
Then, leave a comment.
I was the first to do so on my BIRTHDAY, thanks to Mara!
Here’s my answer: YES!!!
And my Comments, spelling mistakes and all:
If my rights had been defended in court by an independant attorney who was looking out for my true “best interest of the child”, my adoption might have been handled diffeerently. One solution to my pre-adoptive parents’ petition to adopt me could have been to totally negate their petition on the grounds that it would be illegal and immoral to remove an infant from an existing sibling group and change her name and her identity to conform to what the adoptive parents want for “their” adopted child. Another solution could have been was to modify the petition to adopt by restricting the pre-adoptive parents to Legal Guardians. That would have kept my legal and my birth name one and the same (thereby preserving my Birth Certificate), and at the same time, given my Guardians the joy of raising a child with the knowledge of and visitation with that child’s one remaining parent (mother died) and visitation with her older siblings. The third option — which is what actually happened — to sever the ties completely with the father and siblings of the adoptee and raise the child 100% as the “only child” of the adopting parents which completely cut off my ties to my natural father, wiped out my chance for a timely and appropriate grieving of my MOTHER’s death, and wiped out any relationship that could have developed with my full blood siblings. It is a crime what happened to me! NO CHILD SHOULD BE PERMENTENTLY SEPARATED BY ADOPTION. This is cruel and is child abuse!!!! I blame the adoptive parents and the adotpive family for lying, manipulating the system and lying to the relinquishing natural father who was vulnerable at age 31 because he was grieiving the loss of his 30 year old wife who was the mother of five children.
Oh, yes, another solution would have been to compelety restore my father AS my father, restore my siblings AS my siblings, negate 100% the Petition to Adopt by my pre-adotpive parents and provide emotional and financial support for this FAMILY to stay together.
Still another solution would have been to give me back to my father, but, since my pre-adoptive parents had taken care of me for 10 months prior to the Final Court Date securing my closed and sealed adoption, that would have been cruel to them. This last option would have validated those legal guardians’ rights to have contact with the child they had grown to love.
These situations happen all the time. Played out quite well in extended family within my adoptive family: my adoptive parents took care of a number of sinling groups who did not have a father (he ran off). But, my adoptive parents (years before I was born and adopted) had respect for the remaining parent, knew their own boundaries and limitations as Parent Figures, and loved the children anyway.
Love is best when it is honest and respectful. Closed and sealed adoption destroys family relationships for generations.
Children who are Relinquised for adoption and who are being Petioned to be be Adopted, SHOULD have legal cousel to prertect their best interests.
Had my legal rights been protected from the very beginning, I would have had a happier life.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak.
Joan M Wheeler of http://forbiddenfamily.com .
Now, all you good little adoptees, go raise some hell on this fabulous poll started by MARA!!!!
Guest Post – ONE LIE = MANY GENERATIONS LOST
This post is written by Lori Carangelo founder of Americans For Open Records, and submitted by me, legitimatebastard, via email:
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