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.

Stop the Cycle, Stop the Loop of Lies

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

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

                                                                                                                

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

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

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

love and hugz to all.

posted by Cully Ray

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRUTH is on our side!

We know who our parents are!

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

See it clearly and get the job done.

 

Joan M Wheeler

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

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

Guest Post – Kinship Bonds, Adoption and Discrimination

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

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

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

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

Statement on Haiti

Jan 25, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

……………….

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

This one is my favorite:

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

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

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

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

And this one is second runner-up:

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

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

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

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

 

Vote for Adoptees’ Civil Rights at Change dot gov

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

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

What is America NOT doing right?

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

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

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

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

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

End adoption slavery now.

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

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

 CALIFORNIA STATUTE PUTS EMPHASIS ON PLACEMENT WITH EXTENDED FAMILY

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

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

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

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

ASSEMBLY- MAZE BILL AB 298

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

It’s not right.

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

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

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

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

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


 
           

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

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

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

Saturday, January 30, 2010

 Call for Signatures

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

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

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

RE:        Adoption Practices

FROM: The Adoption Community

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Signed:

Signed:

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

2. Gaye Tannenbaum, New York adoptee

3. Caroline Collins, adult adoptee currently living in Texas

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

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

6. Cathi Robinson, Natural Mother, Missouri

7. Roe Ruggerio Callahan, Philadelphia, PA

8. Amanda Woolston, Tennessee Adoptee residing in Pennsylvania

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

10. Hannah Hope, natural mother, Essex, UK

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

12. Celeste Billhartz, adoptee, Ohio

13. Samantha Franklin, Reunited Adult Adoptee, Oklahoma

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

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

16. Lorraine Dusky, reunited natural mother in New York

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

18. Susan Gill, reunited natural mother, Nebraska

19. Laurie Staley, Michigan adoptee, adoptive mom

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

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

22. Rupert Wolfe Murray

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

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

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

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

27. Julie Kelly (reunited adult adoptee) Vancouver WA

28. Lori Trevino, reunited natural mother, Wisconsin

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

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

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

… … … … … …

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

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

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

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

 and

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

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

Press Release: Layers of Trauma for Haiti’s Orphans: A Webinar featuring Dr. Bruce Perry

PLEASE FORWARD TO APPROPRIATE PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL CONTACTS
Adam Pertman, Executive Director

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:

click here 

 

Local Woman and Pre-Adoptive Son Survive Earthquake; Boy and 5 Other Orphans Arrive Miami

Buffalo, New York, USA

1-28-2010

The experience of surviving the earthquake in Haiti is indeed traumatic. I’m glad she and her soon-to-be-adopted-son are alive. They will be coping with that horrendous experience for the rest of their lives.

But that’s not the whole story.

What troubles me is the unsettling details of this boy’s journey from Haiti, to Miami, Florida and then to an undisclosed location, and soon to be in my home town. The pre-adoptive mother is a teacher for a school just down the street from my home. The pre-adoptive father is a lawyer (go figure). They live in a southern suburb of Buffalo.

No indication of where the other 5 children are going when they leave Miami.

One of the Pod-casts below states that there are 254 US families in line to adopt Haitian children. Does this mean these adoptions were already in process? Or are these new families who rushed in immediately after the earthquake?

With all the coverage of adoptions that were in the process before the earthquake, and after, I find this story troubling. Local media sensationalizes and glorifies this couple. Comments of “how wonderful of you to adopt…” and, strangers saying “thank you” to them as if this couple is protecting the larger society’s interests somehow. This just adds more fuel to the fire – to the myths of savior adoptions – that we in the adoption reform community must dispel.

This couple, indeed, had developed a relationship with this three year old boy over the course of several visits and extended time. Links to the pod-casts and newsprint article below tell their story.

It is clear that they had “attached” to each other — not “bonded”as so many people say. Bonding is actually a scientific term. Bonding ONLY happens between a pregnant mother and her child. Bonding is the reciprocal relationship between that mother and her child and NO ONE else. Bonding continues through pregnancy, the birth process, breastfeeding, eye contact, body smells and touch, and continues for about three months. Socialization with the father and other siblings and other family members BEGINS while the infant is in utero as the sense of hearing familiarizes the pre-born infant with voices. Socialization and attachment occur AFTER birth. (Ken Watson, lecture at an American Adoption Congress circa 1989).

So, now, we have a little boy called Geoffrey by his adopting parents. We don’t know anything about his name at birth, the name he went by before his adopting parents came along and spotted him in an orphanage. We don’t know anything about his parents of birth; if he has any siblings nor do we know if he has any extended blood kin family, as in cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents. Nothing is said about his birth certificate in Haiti. Nothing is said about what the adoption process does to his personal identification papers, or his loss of connection with any of his blood kin family, or his loss of his native culture and language. Instead of being a Haitian citizen, he will now be erroneously be identified as an “African-American” by sight-analysis alone.

It is simply assumed that Geoffrey is his American name.

But what happens with his Haitian birth certificate? Is that placed under seal, as any domestic adoptee’s birth certificate is sealed forever from all domestic adoptees? From what I know about foreign-born adoptees, a “new” birth certificate will be made in his new adoptive name, and his parents of birth will be replaced, legally, by the names of the two people who are adopting him.

Something is wrong with that picture.

Should anyone be allowed to alter the material facts of life for a minor child? This is stealing his right to his name, his country and place of birth, his true blood parentage, and his human right to his name at birth and to his parents and family of birth.

We, in America, still hold onto the myth that adopting parents replace the parents of birth. In reality, they do not.

Other countries, such as The Netherlands, recognize the importance of a child’s birth identity. While the child still loses her legal right to her birth name, and takes on the legal right to be given a new adoptive name, such an exchange is legally documented with an Adoption Certificate, not a NEW “Certificate of Live Birth”, as we do in the United States.

One cannot, or should not, tamper with anyone’s facts of life and papers documenting birth, adoption, marriage, death.

The adoptee must cope with the realities of a dual identity in the face of legal documentation that proves she, or he, has only one set of real parents. The legal paperwork contradicts what each and every adoptee must emotionally deal with every day for the rest of her life after being “rescued” by “wonderful” and “generous” adopting parents.

The United Nations Rights of the Child states:

  • Article 7 (Registration, name, nationality, care): All children have the right to a legally registered name, officially recognised by the government. Children have the right to a nationality (to belong to a country). Children also have the right to know and, as far as possible, to be cared for by their parents.
  • Article 8 (Preservation of identity): Children have the right to an identity – an official record of who they are. Governments should respect children’s right to a name, a nationality and family ties.
  • Article 9 (Separation from parents): Children have the right to live with their parent(s), unless it is bad for them. Children whose parents do not live together have the right to stay in contact with both parents, unless this might hurt the child.
  • Article 10 (Family reunification): Families whose members live in different countries should be allowed to move between those countries so that parents and children can stay in contact, or get back together as a family.
  • Article 11 (Kidnapping): Governments should take steps to stop children being taken out of their own country illegally. This article is particularly concerned with parental abductions. The Convention’s Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography has a provision that concerns abduction for financial gain.
  • Article 16 (Right to privacy): Children have a right to privacy. The law should protect them from attacks against their way of life, their good name, their families and their homes.
  • Article 20 (Children deprived of family environment): Children who cannot be looked after by their own family have a right to special care and must be looked after properly, by people who respect their ethnic group, religion, culture and language.
  • Article 21 (Adoption): Children have the right to care and protection if they are adopted or in foster care. The first concern must be what is best for them. The same rules should apply whether they are adopted in the country where they were born, or if they are taken to live in another country.
  • Article 22 (Refugee children): Children have the right to special protection and help if they are refugees (if they have been forced to leave their home and live in another country), as well as all the rights in this Convention.

It is interesting to note that the United States has NOT ratified the international treaty of The United Nations Rights of the Child. Could it be because we Americans profit by the multi-billion dollar adoption business that deals with the trade of human children from one family to another, from one country to another, without giving FULL consideration and respect due to the rights of the very children Americans are so quick to snatch up?

I urge all people who read this post to read the very important statement issued yesterday by Adoptees of Color Roundtable. This is clearly an appeal by adoptees of different races who oppose the rush to adopt Haiti’s children by white, affluent people. There IS racial discrimination in America, and these Haitian children, whether we want to admit it or not, will face the indignation of racial tensions even with the best of intentions of their adopting parents.

Now, here is the information on the couple from Buffalo, New York (USA) who is in the process of adopting a Haitian toddler:

 Series of 3 NPR Pod-casts tell their story:

 A print story appeared 1-27-2010 in The Buffalo News online, Comments needed.

BASTARD NATION STATEMENT ON HAITIAN ADOPTIONS AND “BABYLIFTS”

http://bastardnation.blogspot.com/

http://bastardnation.blogspot.com/2010/01/bastard-nation-statement-on-haitian.html

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 

BASTARD NATION STATEMENT ON HAITIAN ADOPTIONS AND “BABYLIFTS”
Please distribute freely

For the last week, Bastard Nation, like the rest of the world, has been watching the devastation of Haiti. The images are frightening, sad, and heartrending, especially those of the children.

We have also watched with alarm the rush to rescue Haitian children by adoption. Within three days of the earthquake, Catholic Charities of Miami had set up a scheme modeled on Operation Pedro Pan, a joint State Department-CIA-Miami Diocese project in the early 1960s to separate children from their parents, creating young pawns in the US war against the Castro government. Although “Operation Pierre Pan” in Haiti is on hold, at least for now, numerous evangelical churches and ministries, adoption agencies, secular organizations, unfinalized adoptive parents and other individuals–many with conflicts of interest–have joined the rescue mission call to remove children immediately, no matter what their family status, to the US for the purpose of adoption.

Haiti is still under rubble. Aid is slow to arrive. Survivors are spread out in shelters and camps, or live in the streets. The dead are unnumbered, unknown, and unnamed. Family members continue to search for each for other, and it will take weeks or even months for final conciliation.

The rush to relocate orphans, quasi-orphans, and potential orphans internationally is ripe for coercion and fraud. Adoption agencies, church agencies, and ministries especially–along with fraudulent and predatory “child welfare” agents–have much to gain from fast removal. The trafficking of Haitian children for sex, servitude, and adoption operated in Haiti before the quake. It certainly operates now. The unethical and possibly unlawful mass transfer of traumatized children, many with family status unknown, to foreign shelters, foster care, and adoption agencies, removed from their culture and language, with little hope of family reunification cannot be allowed or tolerated. We urge US State Department and other US authorities in Haiti to (1) remove private special interests and those with conflicts of interest, such as adoption agencies and ministries, from the child welfare decision-making process and (2) halt the evacuation of children and their placement for adoption in the US.

We also urge the State Department to suspend pending adoptions. Haitian paperwork is lost or destroyed. Rock Cadet, the judge most responsible and knowledgeable about pipeline cases, died in the quake. Though the US Embassy survived, US paperwork is probably unavailable for some time, if it still exists. Without proof of Haitian court or Embassy status, any adoption removal from the country, without thorough background investigation and due process, is illegal and not in the best interest of the child

Needless to say, no new adoptions should be processed.

In the post-quake chaos, children need protection from predatory snatchers. Bastard Nation, therefore, supports the expedited removal of Haitian children, orphans or otherwise, to credible and documented parents or family members in the US for temporary or permanent placement depending on the circumstances. These children must not be assumed adoptable and scooped up for fast-track adoption. They should be a top priority. We urge the State Department or other government or credible private and disinterested agencies to assist Haitians in the US to locate child kin and bring them to the US.

We understand why people want to open their arms and hearts to the children of the Haitian earthquake, but adoption is not emergency or humanitarian aid or a solution to Haiti’s ongoing problems. The immediate rescue effort in Haiti should focus on emergency services, individual and family care and family reunification, not family, community, and cultural destruction and the strip-mining of children.

This statement has been faxed to the US State Department.