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:
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:
“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:
“…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.”
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.
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.
Buffalo, New York, USA
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.
- 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:
- Lancers reunited with adopted child 2010-10-27
- Lancers await adoption of Haitian child; Haitian orphanage low on food & water 2010-01-19
A print story appeared 1-27-2010 in The Buffalo News online, Comments needed.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
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.
by Lori Carangelo of AmFOR – Americans For Open Records.
Haitian born adoptees currently being adopted in the U.S., Canada and France will have a difficult time when they begin searching for answers to “Who am I?” and “Are my parents looking for me?” On 1-7-10, a 7.0 earthquake destroyed Port-au-Prince, Haiti, killing an estimated 200,000 inhabitants and leaving [at least] tens of thousands of children assumed orphaned, in addition to about 380,000 pre-earthquake orphans (estimates are by UNICEF). American would-be adopters, the Catholic Church, international adoption agencies and independent adoption facilitators applied pressure on the Haitian government in order to airlift the alleged orphans before anyone could confirm whether their parents or relatives are still alive — At this writing, the first 500 or so alleged orphans were airlifted to the U.S. (according to the U.S. State Department)and 900 children were in process of being adopted from Haiti and placed in U.S. homes.
According to The Toronto Star (in “First Haitian Orphans To Arrive Today” by Allan Woods, 1-24-10), “In all, 154 Haitian children were approved in a fast-track adoption process, agreed to by the Canadian and Haitian governments… Officials suspect many orphans, either given up for adoption at birth, or those who lost parents in the earthquake, are being illegally spirited out of their homeland by childless families or organized traffickers [or sexual predators] hoping to profit from Haiti’s administrative chaos… making it difficult to say how many children may have been snatched from hospitals, streets or orphanages in this battered city, or where they are going… The earthquake brought down the government building that housed all those records; it also killed the judge responsible for giving final approval to adoptions.”
It is known that 53 children were airlifted to Pittsburgh (ABC World News, 1-19-10) and Catholic leaders pushed both Haitian and U.S. governments to airlift [an unknown number of]children to South Miami. Haitians have long been frustrated by what some call a “double standard” that allows Cubans who touch dry land [Miami] to stay in the U.S. while Haitians who came illegally must hide in the shadows or face deportation. “Haitian parents with American-born children have been deported, even if there is no other parent in the country to care for them,” said the Rev. Roland Desormeaux of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a Delray Beach church with a large Haitian membership. Children born [or adopted] in the United States are automatically U.S. citizens, so they get to stay. [AmFOR Note: At this wriing, Haiti has halted the “free for all” airlifting of children for U.S. adoptions but given the high numbers of unattended children, they will continue to be taken whether Haiti approves or not.
The U.S. is the largest market for stolen children in the world [as reported by the United Nations Rights of the Child Project]. One wonders whether the same number of Haitian children would be stolen for “legal guardianships” that would allow future changes and are not as profitable or as politically correct as the “done deal” of permanent, sealed adoption.]
Email received today: Date: Wednesday, January 20, 2010, 5:22 PM
SOS believes that brothers and sisters should always stay together.
Nature was cruel enough to turn children into orphans in a matter of minutes. But mere minutes cannot determine the future of these orphaned children. The global community must now be responsible enough to take the time to determine these children’s fates.
You may have seen in the last several days a planeload of orphans from Haiti making their way to Pennsylvania, undoubtedly to be adopted by parents in the U.S. This is a wonderful story of survival, rescue and adoption. But it’s not the whole story…
These particular children already had adoptive parents waiting to raise them with love and security. They presumably had been through the process that determined that no close relatives existed to take them in. Haitian children who have just lost their parents in the earthquake have not been through any such process.
In the weeks ahead you will see many stories about what should happen to these children. This is our position.
Our Position on this Sensitive Issue:
* SOS Children’s Villages believes in the rights of every child, including orphaned children.
* We believe that a coordinated approach needs to be taken by relief agencies in Haiti to identify, register and document unaccompanied children as quickly as possible.
* We believe in the earliest possible reunification between children and their families.
* We caution ALL ORGANIZATIONS working in Haiti against making premature decisions on permanent care (adoption) of orphaned children.
* We believe that siblings should always stay together.
* We believe that a parental figure should always be present.
* This is absolutely a sensitive and complex issue … but decisions made now will impact these children for the rest of their lives. Shouldn’t the first consideration be family ties — brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles? If there is a chance at reunification with parents or close relatives, isn’t that the best option?
If there is a chance that siblings could stay together and grow up together, isn’t that better than being split apart?
SOS Children’s Villages will remain in Haiti for the long-term. We will provide secure, stable homes for orphans as they mature. We will prepare them for lives as independent adults. Please support SOS as we pave the way for a brighter future for these orphans. Sponsor a Disaster Orphan now.
SOS Children’s Villages – USA
1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 1 888-SOS-4KIDS or 202-347-7920
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, 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?