Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Year in Review

2007 has been an exciting and busy year for Origins-USA!

Origins-USA is one of few organizations advocating to stop adoption coercion. In April, we organized a "Blogger Blitz" to build support for Stephanie Bennett, a young mother who was recently coerced into surrendering her daughter for adoption. We also issued two press releases about our support for Stephanie, when no other organizations would support her. Although Stephanie and baby Evelyn are still apart, our efforts helped increase public awareness of coercive adoption practices. As a result, Origins-USA was contacted by People
Magazine about a potential story on the issue.

In September, an Origins-USA press release led directly to Jayni Anderson being reunited with her sons who had been separated by adoption for nearly three decades. Her son Joshua told Origins-USA: “I have to tell you that I am very grateful for organizations like yours, for if this story had never occurred, I would never have met her. Thank you so much.”

During Adoption BEWAREness Month (November), we were especially busy, educating the public about the need to “beware” of family separation and adoption. Five Origins-USA representatives participated in the Adoption Ethics conference in Arlington, Virginia. Before the conference, PR Chair/board member Mirah Riben wrote a letter to the sponsoring organizations that resulted in them revising the language in the conference program and removing terms that were offensive to mothers. Mirah also presented at the conference, speaking about Alternative Routes to Permanency: Is Adoption Always the Best Option?". Three Origins-USA mothers--Mirah, Claudia Corrigan D'Arcy, and Suz Bednarz--discussed their blogs at the "Meet the Bloggers" reception.

Our intern, Emily Ryan, and I also attended. Throughout the conference sessions, the Origins-USA contingent frequently stood up and voiced our opinions and experiences as mothers who lost children to adoption. Although it was emotional at times, we reminded ourselves of Maggie Kuhn's words, "Speak your mind, even when your voice shakes." We displayed and handed out Origins-USA brochures and membership applications, and four people I met or talked with at the event soon joined as members.
Link
We were pleased to find that conference attendees frequently agreed with our ideas. Subsequently, Ethica wrote a letter of support for the mission and goals of Origins-USA, after board members from the two organizations met and talked at the event. The Adoption Ethics conference was just one of many times that Origins-USA represented the voice of mothers during the year. In July, Vice President Sandy Young gave a one-hour presentation about Origins-USA and our mission to a group of about 20 community activists at a meeting sponsored by St. Mary's University in San Antonio. In February, Claudia appeared as guest on the Montel Williams show, discussing her views as an activist for natural family preservation. Claudia also spoke about "Universal Motherhood, Universal Loss" at the Korean American Adoptive Family Network conference in July. In March, I discussed the results of the recent Origins-USA's study of adoption coercion and the effects of adoption separation on mothers at the American Adoption Congress (AAC) conference.

We also worked to help keep families together. This summer, Sandy assisted in organizing a Teen Mothers' Conference, to show high school students that they CAN continue their education, even with a baby. To provide an alternative to adoption-industry marketing, we produced a booklet for expectant mothers on the “Realities of Adoption” and compiled a growing list of resources on sources of assistance for expectant parents and mothers.

During Adoption BEWAREness Month, we were also busy educating the public and helping families separated by adoption by hosting or co-hosting 8 RegDay sites in 6 states, resulting in four newspaper articles about adoption separation issues and Origins-USA. Sandy exhibited about Origins-USA at the Adoption Knowledge Affiliate’s 15th annual conference on adoption in Austin. We also released our first video on YouTube, "Motherhood, Adoption, Surrender, & Loss." I was interviewed on two adoption-related radio programs.

Mirah wrote an article on "Adoption and the Role of the Religious Right" that was published on CounterCurrents.org. Claudia wrote an article for DivineCaroline.com titled "The National Council for Adoption: Mothers, Money, Marketing, and Madness." We also had a few letters to the editor published in newspapers. In December, Adoption Today magazine published a cover story article by Claudia about her experiences losing her son to adoption.

2007 was also the year we held our first election and Annual Meeting for members, became incorporated, obtained 501(c)(3) non-profit status, and began our newsletter. We nearly doubled our membership, to over 80 members in 21 states, with a total of nearly 150 people on our email list.

Also this year, we developed our positions on many key issues in Position Papers. We advocated for our positions by sending letters to legislators and issuing press releases and Action Alerts on proposed legislation, including the Kinship Caregivers Support Act and an ill-conceived proposal to honor women who surrender their children to adoption.

To help guide our work for 2008 and beyond, we recently emailed a member survey to all members. Please complete it if you have not already. We will share the results in January. The Board and Committee Chairs will use the results to help plan the future of Origins-USA and ensure that we remain responsive to members.

After a brief break for the holidays, the Board and Committee Chairs will travel, at our own expense, to Texas to meet in person for our very first two-day Retreat and Strategic Planning Meeting. We will come back even more invigorated with even more ideas to grow Origins-USA and further our goals of keeping families together, ending corruption and exploitation in adoption, promoting healing for family members separated by adoption, and seeking justice for those injured by illegal and unscrupulous adoption practices. We will send out a report of our plans and, as always, ask you to dig deep and help us finance all of our projects to help keep mothers and their babies together and support families separated by adoption.



I wish you a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year.
Yours in family preservation,
Bernadette Wright President, Origins-USA

** What has YOUR adoption related group done recently...or ever? **

Friday, December 28, 2007

Mother Can You Hear Me?



Betty Allen is an adoptee and activist friend from NJ. I haven't seen her in years but she remember her best for her guitar playing and singing folk songs...especially the clever ones she made up about open records she played at some demonstrations such as this one, to the tune of Mr. Tambourine Man:

Hey, Mr. Legislator, pass a bill for me.
I'm adopted- I don't know my own birth history.
Hey, Mr. Legislator, pass a bill for me.
Give me access to my name and my reality.
I just finished re-reading her book, after buying a copy online - used - for a friend who I know would like it. I was so glad to read it again. It was every bit as good the second time around - no far better. Warm and sensitive.

Mother Can You Hear Me?: The extraordinary true story of an adopted daughter's reunion with her birth mother after fifty years of separation by Elizabeth Cooper Allen is one of the best written and most sensitive memoirs of an adoptee search and reunion as ever has been written before or since.

Find it online used...it's a good read even for someone with no connection with or interest in the subject of adoption. It resonated with me on many levels.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

BOOK REVIEW

Insights, Vol. 20 No, 2, Nov, 2007
ARCS Adoption Research & Counseling Services, Western Australia


The Stork Market. by Mirah Riben (2007)

The foreword in this book is written by Evelyn Robinson of SA, author of Adoption and Loss, and Adoption and Recovery, also two excellent books. Evelyn has outlined the reforms which have taken place here in Australia. Evelyn also congratulates Mirah for exposing the tragic outcomes for children who have been failed by a government who turns a blind eye.

Back to me, I believe the title of the book is apt. It has become just that, A Market Place.

To me it is nothing short of Slavery. It seems anyone in USA can start up shop, hunting down vulnerable pregnant woman to try and pry their babies off them. This book is full of abuse stories. There are numerous cases - many adoptees have already died, some even murdered by adopters. Some Natural mothers have suicided. The abuse is rampant.

The USA supposedly knows how many hogs they have in that country, but no idea on adoption numbers? Obviously adoption reform needs to happen in the USA as soon as possible, for all those people whose lives have already been deeply affected by this life altering event. So that they can begin the healing process. I am appalled knowing many people there cannot have access to information, which could help set them free.

My final conclusion is that adoption must be abolished world wide. There is no other solution. And only we who have lived this can and should testify, and say NO MORE ABUSE.

I can't commend and thank Mirah enough, it takes a lot of courage, to write and expose the truth. That saying 'You shall know the Truth and the Truth should set you free', is apt I feel.

Hopefully the readers of my book review will not take offense. But rather be as outraged as I am. And we could and should stand united in this saying; Worldwide; There is No Excuse for Abuse.

Judith (W A)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Seven Sceanarios

ABAGAIL is a 36 attorney with an up and coming law firm in Des Moines. She would love to be married, but has not found the “right” guy. Desperate about her time slipping away, Abby has decided to go the route of anonymous inseminations. She considered other options: a one night stand, or asking someone she knew to “donate” sperm but decided she trusts the fertility clinic to screen applicants better and thinks it best not to get entangled with a man who might want to be involved in ways she’d not be happy with.

BEATRICE, 34, has been married ten years and has four kids: 9, 7, 5 and 2. Bea’s husband Joe was a local trucker just outside of Baton Rouge until he lost his job after a serious accident that left him disabled. Bea works nights at the WalMart. Things have been very tight and they have had to accept food stamps to supplement their income. They are hard working but poor. Pregnant again, abortion is not an option, but she wonders how they afford to feed another mouth and what they will do about medical expenses since they have no health insurance.

CHARLEEN is a 17-year-old high school senior. She is on the honor role, popular, active in sports and college bound. She just found out that she is pregnant by her long-term boyfriend. Her parents – and his - love her (and him) and want what is best but are confused. They are being told that she will ‘ruin their lives’ to keep this child and that there are so many moving couples who have so much more to offer.

DIERDRE is a 44 schoolteacher in Portland. Marriage and family has been her life’s dream, but it hasn’t happened after years of marriage. She and her graphic artist husband have weighed the costs and success rate of fertility treatments and find it too risky a financial investment. They’d rather use that money of a college fund and have decided to adopt. Research into that has led Deirdre to decide upon international adoption as a better option as there seem to be more babies available that way, and the bonus is not having to fear a mother changing her mind.

ELAINE is a 54-year-old CEO of a publicly-owned corporation in Westchester, NY. Married for two years, she has tried unsuccessfully to conceive a child and has spent more than $40,000 on fertility treatments. It has been determined that she does not produce viable eggs. Egg donation is an option, but Elaine is reluctant to take the time from her career as she is aware that at her age a pregnancy might mean time off her feet, etc. Adoption seems risky in regards to the genetics of the child and her husband has admitted not being able to bond well with a child that was not “his.” They are looking into hiring a surrogate.

FRANCESCA, 42, and her partner co-own a very successful import-export business in Dallas. They met an expectant mother on the internet and paid her medical and living expenses for four months. They were in the delivery room, signed papers and flew home with their son, delighted. Then the baby’s father turned up. He had been deployed in Iraq. Now both the mother and father are joined in fighting to overturn the adoption. The mother claiming she was pressured, and the father never signed anything.

GLORIA, is 32 and delighted to be expecting their first child. She is thoroughly enjoying decorating the nursery and supervising the addition on their estate home to house a nanny. She is very dutifully and carefully pre-screening nannies and aupair agencies and has already investigated nanny-cams to ensure that her precious child receives nothing but the best care.

-----------------


All of these women want to be Mommies. Each one believes that they could be a good, loving, caring mother. Each one believes beyond a doubt their love can concur any obstacle.


Questions:

  • If each outcome is as the mother wants it to be who will be the most content with that choice in the short term?
  • The long term?
  • Who receives the most support from family and friends to become a mother as planned?
  • Who will be dissuaded the most as it being a bad idea?
  • Who’s child will be happiest, and best adjusted?
  • Will any choice guarantee a better life for the child or the mother than any other?
  • Which of these women will hear that she “selfish” and her child better off with others?
  • Which are told that their desire to mother this child, is not in her child’s best interest?
  • Which would never hear any such things?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Adoption Pits Women Agaisnt Women

Delayed childbearing and infertility increase the demand of healthy infants and pits women against women over who deserves and is entitled to raise them. Can we increase compassion and end the cycle?

http://www.opednews .com/articles/ opedne_mirah_ ri_071222_ adoption_ 3a_pitting_ wo.htm
Feminism has done little to decrease women's desire to become mothers, other than delay it. The problem is that feminism convinced an entire generation or more of women to delay those urges until after they had their education and careers, thus missing their most fertile time in life.

Sadly, there are too few feminists allowing women to embrace their femininity and unique ability to procreate when they are most fertile and pursue career later in life. Life is quite long; there is time to do it all - in the right order.

Rosie the Riveter convinced women to leave their kitchens and children and go to work during WWII. They were then convinced to leave their jobs and return home when the war ended and men needed the jobs. Women have been directed and engineered as society needed them to be.

Women who now see a strong need for a career need to consider the pros and cons and recgonze that social engineering is at play for society’s benefits:

1) two spendable incomes instead of one by having them hold high-powered careers

2) support of two multi-billion- dollar industries: the reproductive technology sector ($3 billion) and the adoption sector ($2-3 billion a year in the U.S, and $6.3 internationally) .

Other trends such as breast and bottle feeding have gone back and forth in popularity. Women were convinced to give up what was natural and free to support the formula industry - which is part of the huge pharmaceutical industry. Used. Harmed; mothers and their children for the sake of profit; pawns in a greedy capitalistic society.

Greed is also what contributes to competitiveness between women over the scarce prize of a baby. They are fighting so hard to have what they want, they are able to ignore the harm they cause another. Like women fighting over a blue-light special at bargain basement annual bridal gown sale!

There are also factors of human nature. One is something called "fundamental attribution error."

When we are trying to understand and explain what happens in social settings, we tend to view behavior as a particularly significant factor. We then tend to explain behavior in terms of internal disposition, such as personality traits, abilities, motives, etc. as opposed to external situational factors.

This can be due to our focus on the person more than their situation, about which we may know very little. We also know little about how they are interpreting the situation.

Western culture exacerbates this error, as we emphasize individual freedom and autonomy and are socialized to prefer dispositional factors to situational ones. International adoption increases the gap and distances the oppressed from the oppressor.

When we are playing the role of observer, which is largely when we look at others, we make this fundamental attribution error. When we are thinking about ourselves, however, we will tend to make situational attributions. International adoption increases the gap and distances oppressor and those who profit.

Women are judged most for their maternal/parenting skills/ability and are harshest on and most judgmental of one another when they perceive a lack thereof. Parenting skills hold less expectation of perfection in men, so they are judged much lighter. That is why our courts - and the public - are very unmerciful on mothers who abandon, kill, abuse etc.

Men compete in sports and business. Women, traditionally, have this one area of comparison, pride and judgment.

As most of you have read, Britney Spear's 16-year old sister is pregnant and not married. The reactions have been interesting. Older folk are no doubt shocked that she is not hiding in shame, as even married women once did when they were in a "family way."The Christian right is hailing it a victory over abortion!

The uncle of the baby's father was interviewed. An older Southern gentleman, he was calm and soft spoken saying it's not the best that could have happened, but it's also not the worse. He said he hoped they would take the responsibility seriously and receive help from their families.

Perhaps, as odd as it sounds, this latest Spears - opps - may serve as a role model for other families to handle these situations in the same calm, sensible and supportive manner, allowing for family cohesiveness and intergenerational connectedness.

Adoption is a last resort for children with no families to care for them safely. It is not a solution to youthful parenting, nor for infertility which requires more emphasis on preventative education. Starting in high school level health classes tens need to be aware that decisions they make can lead to STDS and abortion which in turn contribute to infertility.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Baby Jesus Stolen

It happens almost every year; someone steals a baby Jesus from a nativity scene. This year, it happened at a church in Pennsylvania.



Father Aristotle Damaskos says he noticed the baby Jesus was missing from the township display last weekend.

A tipster led police to the adoption ring as they were trying to sell the swaddled babe to a couple from DesMoines.

Monique, 54, and Kash, 62, Hamilton are devastated. They deny any misdeed.

"We were assured the adoption was perfectly legal," said Mr. Hamilton as his wife sobbed about the nursery she had all fixed up at home and her broken heart.

Police report that a young woman named Mary had gotten in touch with the Hamilton's through a PennySavior ad by the Christ's Mercy Adoption Agency in Tallahassee, Florida.

The Hamilton's reported that they had been sending Mary money to stay at the Manger Inn in Bethelham, PA. Mary had left her home town and her boyfriend Joey.

The Hamilton's kept in touch all throughout her pregnancy via phone and email.

Then, last week, Mary asked the Hamilton's to come to the Inn and take custody of the male infant.




"Will we get our money back?" asked Mr. Hamilton.

Mrs. Hamilton said she would fight to keep the baby as she knew Mary was an unfit, and far too young to be a mother. She was sure she was far more deserving and would not give up the child they planned to rename Abraham Levee Hamilton III.

Mrs. Hamilton also commented that her three year old daughter, Grateful, adopted last year from Sears China Doll department would be very disappointed.

UPDATE:

Mary Virgina's boyfriend, Joseph has come forward demanding a paternity test.

Meanwhile, Mary's Father has said he will save her and help her raise her infant son.

Mary told reporters that she was threatened to have to return the fee for staying at the Inn if she tried to keep her son. The Hamilton's attorney, Theo Maggi states,
however, that everything they gave her were just "gifts."

Mary further reports that three attorneys from the law office of King, Weissman, and Wyse were at her side even before the baby was born and had pressured her, taking the babe right from her arms.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Origins-USA President Elucidates Orgnazation's Stance


Bernadette Wright, Ph.D., President of Origins-USA says:

"The things that Origins-USA advocate for -- preventing unnecessary family separations, ending falsified birth certificates, basic human rights and protections for mothers, stopping coercive and exploitative adoption practices, justice for victims of illegal and coercive practices, and ending profiteering in adoption -- these are all mainstream, common-sense ideas, even if we are one of very few organizations advocating for them. These ideas are supported by the United Nations and are the law in most civilized societies. Motherhood is a traditional American value, and we support motherhood (it's forever).

"Our enemies -- the radical religious right extremists and anti-motherhood adoption agencies who want to further erode mothers' rights and make it even harder for families to stay together -- THEY should be considered the fringe groups, not us. It is a fringe, extreme, un-American, anti-family idea to say that we should allow profiteering baby brokers to trick, deceive, exploit, and coerce mothers and to sell their babies, just because the mother is single, young, or having temporary financial difficulties."

Monday, December 10, 2007

Angelina Jolie

"In Touch" magazine reports the tale of Mentewah Dawit Lebiso, 24, the mother of Zahara with a stunning photo of the young woman in which anyone can clearly see that mother and daughter are almost identical.


The article tells how a middleman lied to authorities that Mentewah was dead and is now threatening her and her mother for revealing the truth.

Jolie's supporters quickly point that she truly believed the lies told to her, though they reported as lies almost immediately. Does it exonerate purchases of stolen merchandise if they believed the merchandise was not stolen? Furthermore, they neglect to mention that Jolie was adopting from people who were later charged with fraud. Did she lack the resources to check and be sure she only dealt wit reputable adoption agencies?

Nor was this the first time. Lauryn Galindo, who helped Jolie adopt her Cambodian son, Maddox, pleaded guilty to visa fraud and money laundering as part of a ring that paid poor Cambodian women as little as $100 or less for their children. The agency which handled hundreds of such adoptions charged fees of $10,000. In that adoption, too, she feigned shock to find out that Maddox's mother was also not deceased as had been reported.

Coming to Jolie's support are such notable adoption "experts" as Rosie O'Donnell and people such as Bill O'Reiley quotes as saying: "I would not give the baby back" when that is not even the issue at had.

The issue is quite simply allowing each of her chidlren to visit their families as they have requested and were promised. The only dingbat with anything sensible say on the subject odd;y enough, is Joan Rivers who laments all the US kids going ignored as people "shop" overseas for their souvenirs.

Actually, it's not too surprising that of all the children in all the world that Angelina Jolie chose to adopt, two - at least - were not orphans. Worldwide 8-0% of chidlren in orphanages have family who visit and hope to be reunited, as was the case with Madonna's adoption of David Banda. People who cannt read and or write and who's language does not contain the word adoption as we know it - are easily convinced that their chidlren are being taken to the US to be educated and returned. Their ignorance is thus exploited by those who pat themselves on the back for "rescuing" them...claiming them to be AIDS orphans, or starving, or whatever...

And, to add salt to these open wounds, Angelina's brother, James Haven lets all the world know that only of Angie's kids is his true niece, sporting a license plate with Shiloh's name!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

MOMS LIVING CLEAN - Documentary

Good News: The documentary MOMS LIVING CLEAN has just received a small grant from the Open Meadows Foundation toward completion. I am also pleased to tell you that steady progress is being made with editing this feature length film.

MOMS LIVING CLEAN chronicles the two year journey of six moms in a women and children’s residential substance abuse treatment program as they transform their lives and re-enter the community. Their stories unfold against the myth that they are untreatable, and America’s war on drugs, which has sent record numbers of women to prison and their children into an overburdened foster care system. The film reveals the women’s childhood exposure to drugs, alcohol and domestic violence. These intimate portraits explore the challenges of addiction and recovery, economic hardship and motherhood. Through group work, writing assignments and the rehab program’s 20 concepts for living, the moms gain confidence, pride and integrity, develop parenting skills and become self-sufficient. This groundbreaking film makes the case for whole-family treatment, where mother and children stay together, as an alternative to incarceration and breaking family ties. For more information visit: http://www.momslivingclean.org

Our goals are to combat the stereotypes and stigma surrounding mothers with substance abuse issues, promote more whole-family residential treatment programs, and inspire women and men in recovery. There are less than 40 programs like this in the U.S. today. That’s not even one per state.

“I have viewed a rough-cut of MOMS LIVING CLEAN and am moved by the deeply personal and engaging stories of vulnerable mothers powerfully committed to their sobriety and to their families. The film shines the light on effective interventions for parental addiction. MOMS LIVING CLEAN will help turn the tide of stigma and punitive laws by generating community support through education and understanding about the real lives of mothers in recovery. Public opinion is critical to influencing funding of programs for family-oriented treatment, as an alternative to sentencing mothers to prison and their children to foster care.”
Malika Saada Saar, Executive Director
The Rebecca Project for Human Rights
Washington, DC

Please help us finish MOMS LIVING CLEAN in 2008. We are currently seeking $30,000 to complete editing and prepare the film for public television broadcast. While I continue to research and apply to foundations for funding, they are limited in number and very competitive. So individuals like you can make a significant difference to keep the project moving forward. A donation in any amount will go a long way.

With a $100 donation your name will be in the credits of the film. You can make a donation right now on the film’s website at http://www.momslivingclean.org . Just click on the Donation button and type in the amount you want to contribute. You will receive a Thank You letter for your generous donation from the filmmaker, Sheila Ganz.

The non-profit fiscal sponsor for MOMS LIVING CLEAN is Film Arts Foundation, San Francisco, CA. http://www.filmarts.org If you want your donation to be tax-deductible make your check out to “Film Arts Foundation” and send to:

Sheila Ganz, Producer/Director
Pandora’s Box Productions
1546 Great Highway, Suite 44
San Francisco, CA 94122

A few facts: Since the 1986 federal government ‘war on drugs’ mandatory sentencing, the number of women in prison has risen 400 percent and 800 percent for African American women. Most of the women and mothers incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses are suffering with substance abuse issues. The underlying reasons for addiction in 97 percent of women with substance abuse problems are untreated post-traumatic stress and/or depression precipitated by sexual and domestic violence. When a newborn tests positive for drugs they are taken away from their mother and put in foster care. Termination of parental rights has outrun actual adoptions, creating a generation of legal orphans. The children bounce from foster home to foster home, with no ties to their birthparents and no hope of adoption.


Mothers in a similar rehab treatment program attended a recent work-in-progress screening. I have a note on my computer which says, “Make them feel like they can do it.” In the written feedback from the women… four out of nine wrote that if the women in the film could do it, stay clean, then she could do it, too. The film isn’t done, yet the message is getting through!

People ask me, why am I making this film? In 1969, I was an ‘unwed mother’ and resident in a home for unwed mothers the last two months of my pregnancy where I was given no choice but to relinquish my daughter for adoption. For years I wondered, “Why can’t there be homes to help mothers keep their children?” So, after my first documentary UNLOCKING THE HEART OF ADOPTION launched on public television, I decided to find a program that does just that. Since it was completed UNLOCKING… has been distributed to adoption agencies and colleges worldwide, screened at numerous conferences around the country and changed many people’s lives. I hope that MOMS LIVING CLEAN will be even more successful. For info visit: http://www.unlockingtheheart.com .

Experts now agree that the most productive way for society to deal with substance abuse is to treat it as a health issue rather than punitively. By helping the mother to stay in recovery and become self-sufficient, she will be able care for her children and end the cycle of abuse and neglect. We hope you will join us in supporting whole-family treatment programs for mothers who want a chance to make a better life for themselves and their children. Thank you!

Wishing you and yours Healthy and Happy Holidays!

Best wishes,

Sheila Ganz
momslivingclean@att.net
http://www.momslivingclean.org
http://www.unlockingtheheart.com

PLEASE FORWARD FREELY. THANK YOU!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Compassion: Part II -- Caring About Crack Whores

This is a follow up to my Nov. 29 Post. It focuses specifically on women's meanness to women.

“Mean girls don't stay in high school forever. They're at college, at work, and even at church. The hurt from gossip, insults, and cutthroat competition doesn't stop after high school, either. In fact, the kind of meanness experienced by adult women can cut to the core just as quick, if not quicker, than it did when they were teenagers.” From the description of Mean Girls all grown Up: Surviving Catty and Conniving Women by Hayley DiMarco.No longer online is a column from the Orlando Sentinel (Jan 05) "Cliques not Just for Kids: Being Snubbed Hurts Women." But you can still access: “From Mean Girls to Mean Women: 5 Tips to Surviving an Impossible Work Environment: Dealing with Female Coworkers”

Although geared to the work place, meanness, competitiveness and jalousies have no limits. “Woman's Inhumanity to Woman” by Phyllis Chesler makes it clear that women can be vicious tone another in families, and betray their friends. Chesler draws on the most important studies in psychology, human aggression, anthropology, childhood developmental theory, primatology, evolutionary theory, psychoanalytic theory, myths and fairy tales, literature, plays, biography, autobiography, memoirs, and studies of revolutionary movements, including feminism. She also shares the findings of hundreds of original interviews conducted over a period of more than twenty years.

As I mentioned in my previous blog on this subject, it is human nature to look around and say to oneself: "I'm not like him; he has had dozens of DWIs, I've only had one." "I'm not like her, she has slept with so many men she can't even count them" or "I've never had an STD." We do this almost instinctively to feel better about ourselves.

And so -- sadly -- even among mothers who have been so denigrated, shamed, put-down, humiliated, and totally misunderstood by the general public...that mothers put one another down whether overtly or covertly.

Who amongst us has not whispered to a friend, "How could she have..." about some aspect of a mother's story that was not within the typical stereotype? Who amongst us have not said or heard it said that someone was not a good candidate for as campaign to help someone in a contested adoption because her boyfriend was in jail or because she had other children taken from her?

Amazingly, even those working toward family preservation...which by definition means helping families in crisis are picky and choosy about what types of crisis we will dirty our hands - and soil our "reputations" by associating with. Secind to poverty, drugs is the biggest cause of mothers loosing custody. And yet many small trial programs have proven successful in helping such fmailies. Family Preservationists need to let go of their haughty attitudes and embrace our sisters who need our support. Instead, we label mothers "abusers" though many are just as victimized as any mother who "voluntarily relinquished." But our need to feel better about ourselves causes us to categorize and make ourselves "better" than "others."

And our final insult is to call a mother a "Crack Whore" even while we get hysterical if someone else does!

So, as Bastard Nation has taken the worst thing said about adoptees and wear it proudly...as gays have taken queer as their own...I too embrace all so-called "Crack Whores" and beseach my sisters...she amongst us who is without sin, let her cast the first stone. For myself, I spent the 60's doing what most young people alive then did...guess that makes me a Crack Whore!


If you want to celebrate you inner crack whore with me, you can get groovy tee shirts and other goodies at Cafe Press.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Broken Family Leads to Murder Once More

In 2002 he was made a ward of the state and later bounced from foster care to his father’s home to jail. Last year state supervision was terminated by agreement of the court, the state, his therapist and his father.

His foster parents threw him out, he was fired from his job at McDonald's and his girlfriend broke up with him.

One report described him as "a young man facing depression, alienation, abandonment, rejection."

His name is Robert A. Hawkins. He was 19 when he shot and killed eight people in an Omaha mall, and himself.

His suicide note sad “he was sorry for everything, that he didn’t want to be a burden to anybody, he loved his family, he loved all of his friends. He was a piece of shit all of his life and now he’ll be famous....

"I'm so sorry for what I've put you through. I never meant to hurt all of you so much and I don't blame any one of you for disowning me," he wrote.

His friend's mother, Debora Maruca Kovac, told the Associated Press news agency that when he first came to live with them, "he was introverted, a troubled young man who was like a lost pound puppy that nobody wanted".


“The tragedy was not a failure of the system to provide appropriate quality services for a youth who needed it,” said Todd Landry, director of the Division of Children and Family Services.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

No End to "Legal" Abandonment

Just in case there's not a firehouse or hospital near you - not to worry...as long as you've got a computer.

Now it has been deemed NOT illegal to post unwanted tots on Criagslist!

"This beautiful newborn baby boy of age 9/10 months old, is reported as healthy and calm, A family with approved home study is preferred but all others are accepted on a case by case basis."

Reported healthy? Who is advertising the infant?

State child welfare officials say they’re not investigating a Central Texas family who put their child up for adoption on the Internet. But according to the AP report, "While officials say it’s a risky move, it’s not illegal unless the couple was soliciting money."

Why is snot abandonment if it is in fact the child's mother, or kidnapping if it's not?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Compassion

May we see through the eyes of the Buddha that God is
everywhere: "God is asleep in each stone, God dreams
in the plants, God awakens in the animals and God
becomes conscious in the human form."

Buddhism teaches that all living things are
interconnected. The joy and suffering of others is our
own, just as our thoughts and feelings touch everyone
else. With this understanding we can embrace all
living things in the manner that we desire to be
embraced. When we are one with all, we are one with
God. This is the true essence of compassion. Let us
all follow the example of the Buddha, and may we
dedicate ourselves to being compassionate in this
world.

Loss is anger producing. Whether you've lost your keys and are storming around the house cursing and beating up yourself or blaming someone else for having moved them...or whether a loved one has died. Hurt is also at the base of most anger. Hurt and loss are deep emotions and no matter how much we 'deal' with them, they resurface.

Self-doubt, criticism, and control - or feeling lack thereof - are likewise universal triggering emotions.

To judge is inborn. We need to make judgments all the time to survive. Is it safe to cross the street? Is that pill gonna help me or hurt me more? But we get into splitting hair judgments like the lyrics of the Rolling Stone: "He can't be a man 'cause he desn;t smoke the same cigarettes as me."

All of these are issues for those who have experienced adoption loss, and all are anger inducing. Some of us have better coping skills than others. Some of us keep them bottled up, or even in total denial for years, decade, or all of our lives. Many of us are very acutely in touch with our anger just below the surface.

It never ceases to sadden me when our anger gets let loose on one another - on our sisters and brothers who have suffered the same or similar loss as we have and instead of being able to get in touch with our compassion - we lash out with anger instead.

It's a constant struggle, but one we must never give up on.

Divided we FAIL.

There are far too few of us on the side of adoption reform and family preservation. We cannot afford in-fighting to divide us and reduce our numbers further.

In the 1960's I was involved a therapeutic group situation in which one of our many mottoes was "act as if until the act as if becomes real." This is the basis of behavioral modification. If we meet someone who's situation or circumstances are different from our own and we do not fully understand that person, act as if we do and remember that they too deserve COMPASSION. part of being compassionate is taking people on their word, believing the best of them rather than the worst.

Sometimes asking, in itself, can feel like a judgment or a challenge, as opposed to just taking the time to get to know someone who's life experience is different from your own. Just listen and learn with an open mind, looking for the similarities, and not pouncing on the differences.

I have also learned that it is common in self-help and 12-step groups which are the coming together of people with "issues" - that it is human nature to look around the room and say to oneself: "I'm not like him; he has had dozens of DWIs, I've only had one." "I'm not like her, she has slept with so many men she can't even count them" or "I've never had an STD." We do this almost instinctively to feel better about ourselves.

This happens all the time in face-to-face support groups. Now, in 2007, so much of our "interpersonal" communication is neither interpersonal nor communication. It's letters and words typed by our fingers and sent through cyberspace without the benefit of voice or facial expression...devoid of 85% of what communication is. This adds yet anothe layer of difficulty. Instead of feeling oneness with our sister and brother in the same boat with us, we are fighting with them for the oars and life preservers and the right to even be in the boat!

All of that triggers the anger that brews and stews so close beneath our surface at all times; like a tiger ready to ounce at any given second....and you have a very explosive situation that leads to more misunderstanding and divisiveness than cooperation.

It's a challenge. I know it is for me! I have often gone back and re-read something I had initially reacted to and saw things I did not see it in it at all. I have also re-read my own replies and seen how they were misinterpreted.

Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.
If we are to use these means of communication, we need to be hyper vigilant to try not to interpret everything in a negative way and allow it cause divisions between us when we share a common goal.

We get so much misunderstanding and judgment from "others" it is epsecially cruel to feel as if we are getting from one another...

'Tis the season...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The WHOLE Truth

I have read several articles lately blasting Reuters for revealing that Angelina Jolie's adopted daughter Zahara's mother was raped. the writers of these blogs and letters claim that the child will be scared by this revelation. That is was an invasion of her privacy. That she would be "taunted" because of her mother's maltreatment.

The belief that lies are better than truth...that we need to be "protected" from our own reality never ceases to amaze me.

Zahara will be far more scarred knowing that her mother and grandmother were victimized, not just by her mother's rapist...but by the cut-throat baby brokers who stole her form her family when they sought help.

there have been lies and counter-cover-ups from the day Zahara was adopted. Now, the Mail, the UK newspaper that first revealed the lie that Zahara's mother was alive not dead ahas gone back and filled in all the details with the whole truth in the article: "Why did an adoption agency tell Angelina Jolie I had died of AIDS when they gave her my baby?"

It has likewise been revealed that 1,000 of the 3700 Guatemalan adoption in 'the pipeline" by US prospective adopters...are "questionable" in the dame way...mothers lied to, duped, babies kidnapped against their wishes...

The question begs to be answered: If people like Angelina Jolie and Madonna with all their wealth and reosurces believe that they are ding good by being the recipients of stolen babies...albeit unbeknownst to them at the onset...how can anyone be sure that thy are doing good in internationally adopting?

And...with all their wealth and resources why have neither of these women brought their babies back to visit the family who begs ot see them? Or even sent photographs?

Those concerned about what Zahara will think when she grows up ought to ask how she will feel about those questions.

Friday, November 16, 2007

UNICEF SAVE KIDS

Unicef says 232 children have been freed from a rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The UN's children's charity said it had secured the release of the children from Mayi Mayi forces in North Kivu over the past few days.

It said many of them had been put in temporary care facilities, to await reunification with their families.

But Unicef said hundreds of children remain in the hands of armed groups in the DRC.

It said a recent surge in the conflict in North Kivu had led to a rise in the number of children being recruited by such groups. It said their average age was 14 years.

Unicef said it won the release of the children with the help of the charity Save the Children, and the collaboration of the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC, but it did not say how their freedom was achieved.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

AJ: Womb Warrior

Ethiopian Mentewab Dawit Lebiso, the woman claiming to be the natural mother of two-and-a-half-year-old Zahara, claims she never signed adoption papers to give up her daughter. Jolie adopted Zahara over two years ago, who at the time was believed to have been orphaned by AIDS at just six months. Despite this, Lebiso and her family claim they were misled into giving up the child and told they could maintain contact with the baby. However, the adoption agency involved said Jolie had no obligation to keep in touch with Zahara’s blood family.

The woman claiming to be the mother tells In Touch, "I want my daughter to come home to see where she is from.

"Her grandmother and I both tried very hard to raise her, and I want her to come home to regain her identity." And little Zahara's aunt, Zinash Haile Yenero, is upset that Jolie didn't make sure the child's paperwork was correct before adopting her, and she's angry the actress hasn't brought her daughter back to her homeland.
She rants, "My mother was very sad. At one point she was even thinking of trying to find a way to bring her grandchild back, but she has no money, so she can't." The new article is sure to upset Jolie and partner Brad Pitt, but friends insist the actress will stand firm.


News? Not!

Zahara's mother first turned up two years ago, as I reported in The Stork Market. The news story, "Angelina Jolie To Face Adopted Baby's Mother?" dated 23-09-2005, still online at: first.co.uk/entertainment/Angelina+Jolie-9464.html stated back then:
"The Sun has tracked down 18-year-old MENTAWEB DAWIT, who claims she's the little girl's mum."

At that time, it was reported that Dawit's mother ALMAZ BLFNHE told adoption authorities that her daughter had died in childbirth and that Angleina had to refile the adoption paperwork and the child's mother had to sign.

And that's not all:

In 2004 Angelina Jolie was reportedly shocked to hear that Maddox might not be an orphan whose mother had died, but rather may have been sold by his mother in a desperate attempt to escape a poverty-stricken life. The FBI closed down Seattle International Adoptions Inc., used by Jolie to adopt Maddox, after its former owner Lynn Devin pleaded guilty to false claims that some children the agency handled were orphans. Lauryn Galindo, who helped Jolie adopt her Cambodian son, Maddox, pleaded guilty to visa fraud and money laundering as part of a ring that paid poor Cambodian women as little as $100 or less for their children. The agency which handled hundreds of such adoptions charged fees of $10,000.

Celebrity media reported then that the actress allegedly said: “I will never give my little boy back. I’ve given him a home, I’ve given him love and he’s mine.”

Angelina...neither you nor any other ABDUCTOR can hold their head high and expect to be ennobled as a savior when you refuse to acknowledge th truth of the origins of your chidlren.

GIVE THE CHILD BACK! If there is any doubt that the mother who has come forward since 2005 is really the mother, a DNA can definitively clear up any and all such questions.

Apply public pressure for her to do the right thing. Keeping a child from family who wants her is nothing to be proud of.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

National Adoption Month

It's November...National Adoption Month.


In honor of this month set aside to extol, pay homage and glorify adoption as the best thing anyone can do... I have come up with the ultimate Adoption Celebration Event!

GIVE-A-KID!

If you truly support and advocate for adoption, prove it. Be a positive example. Put your money where your mouth is...or, if you've already spent all your money on your kid...put a KID of yours where you mouth is!

Everyone who believes in the positive aspects of adoption - hand over one of your kids!!

Do the right, noble, honorable, loving thing. MAKE A LOVING SACRIFICE! Don't just ask others to do what you yourself wouldn't do! Give...give till it hurts.

The latest report by the NCFA "Birthmother/Good Mother" concludes: "Birthmothers who make adoption plans in the best interest of their children are indeed good mothers." Don't YOU want to be a good mother too??

Why deprive someone else of a child? You can always get another! There are so many people DESPERATE to be parents...good, loving people who can give any one of your child a safe,loving home.

Just look at any website and you will find bios and photos of couple after couple...and singles and gays vying for one of YOUR children! They wouldn't lie, would they? Some even say the adoption will be open! You believe, them, don't you?

And, as a bonus...besides making someone else happy...you can also help add to the wealth of some untrained adoption practitioner or sleazy lawyer who will more than glad to assist you for a fee! After all, baby brokers have to feed their families, too, don't they?

MORE ADVANTAGES!

It is universally known that adoption provides less advantaged children with more advantages. So, take stock of yourself, your friends and neighbors.

If they are driving their kids to school in a Chevy mini van...those kids deserve a "better life." Every child deserves to be taken from them and placed with a family who can take them in style...in a limo. And if the school you or they are taking the kids to is public...well, there are plenty of waiting families that can send them to private school. No child should be deprived as long as there is someone else who is better than you!

And, if you divorce...better get those kids placed immediately in a TWO PARENT home...because very child deserves both a Mommy and a Daddy (except of course if you are rich or famous).

International Adopters:

Be sure to send a child to a far off land where they don't know the language or the culture! I hear Africa is the latest hot spot. If no one there is willing to take on the responsibility, just assure them that it's only temporary...that you will reclaim your child when he's done with his education. They'll believe you.

LET'S NOT STOP until every single child is redistributed to a new family! That should be the goal of every red-blooded, upstanding, pro-adoption American.

After all - Adoption is a LOVING OPTION! Why deprive ANYONE of the JOY!

Know of a family with a multiple birth?

Please remind them of their moral obligation to give AT LEAST one to someone deserving! And of course, stress how much easier would make their lives...how much kinder to each child they give to have the special attention they deserve instead of of having to share their time, attention, love and resources amongst so many!

They or you can simply drop your kids at your local baby dump site - look in your local yellow pages under "Safe Havens"!

Think your spouse won't agree? Don't tell him or her! No one's approval is needed at these convenient sites! You could even take your neighbors kids and drop them off - safely and lovingly...knowing they will only go the finest loving WAITING families.

DO IT TODAY!
DON'T DELAY!
YOUR CHILD WILL THANK YOU!

Monday, November 5, 2007

REVISED: News on the International Front

PREFACE: If you followed a link here -- or just stumbled here -- this post has been altered from it's original content after being informed that naming my "sources" could result in very serious harm to them. All names have been removed.


As many of you may have read, Adoption Awareness Month was marred for those who use it to promote infant adoptions by two events:

- The arrest of 6 alleged “do-godders’ from Zoe’s Ark for taking 103 children from Chad. Through their website Zoe's Ark received more than a million euros in donations allegedly to save the starving war orphans of Darfur. Instead they took children from the Chad/Sudan border region, that were neither orphaned nor starving and wrapped them in bandages to appear war-torn.

- British Foreign Secretary Milliband and his wife adopted their second newborn infant in just over two years – both FROM the US...confirming the US as the only nation that both imports and exports babies – anything for a buck! The infant was taken from the delivery room, in Texas...very likely Gladney. Miliband’s wife, 46, said: "It was just like doing it myself without having to go through the whole pregnancy and labour...It was our baby from the word go. It was a perfect scenario - an easy and pleasant experience." It was also,she said, "very, very expensive.”

For quite some time, I’ve been corresponding with Roelie Post, author of Romania - For Export Only: The truth about the Romanian 'orphans'. Her latest blog deals with the issue of US exports: The Market of Adoption. Roelie reports that 60 babies have been adopted from the US to the Netherlands.

Through Roelie, I have begun also corresponding with "someone" from Germany who pointed me to emmas-adoption blog with the story of a baby born in Philadelphia and adopted in Germany. All of this is a violation of the Hague, which of course the US has yet to ratify. Will it stop once they do, or just go further underground?

It is believed some of the babies adopted to Germany may be coming from adopt-abroad.com, but that is speculation, although there website does state they will help US citizen who are living abroad adopt US babies.

My German friend asked if I would also speak with "someone else" from India. This person works with unmarried women who are very stigmatized in India. However, as bad as they have it they are given 60 days to decide on relinquishment! Far better than any state here! Once again the US is the worst of the worst. Michael Moore, if you want another documentary on shameful acts of the US, how about: we sell babies...import and export them.

The US, which had to go to war once to stop the practice of buying and selling human beings is back at it in full force. While not as out in the open as slavery was in this country, and most children adopted are treated well or decently – with only a minority of them abused and even killed - we continue to not just look the other way...but to actually exalt adoption as a fine and noble thing. We promote and encourage it with tax incentives and employment benefits and a whole month to "celebrate" it. Adoption is so glorified that people who buy babies talk about it with pride and expect nothing but praise, even though in doing so they turn their back on the more than 100,000 children in foster care who can never be returned to family. Parenting a foster child is noble...buying infants is not. But adoption is so ennobled, such a sacred cow it’s hard to get the truth in print or believed by legislators, many of whom are themselves on the receiving end or know someone who is...just as it was with slave-owners. And both are good for the economy, or at least some segments of the economy, though no one admits that adoption.

I am hopeful that with the Internet bringing together a worldwide community of adoption reform activists, secrets can no longer remain secret. Hoping the truth will set us free, if we shout it loud enough and consistently, unrelentlessly. With the power of all of us together, we will get the word out and expose the corruption and exploitation...the human trafficking. But make no mistake...this too will require a war. Perhaps a war of words, but a war none the less. A war with many casualties -- wounded and dead.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Adoption And The Role Of The Religious Right

Adoption And The Role Of
The Religious Right

By Mirah Riben

04 November, 2007
http://www.countercurrents.org/riben041107.htm

November is National Adoption Awareness Month: time to take stock and rethink our adoption practices and goals.

Recent headlines reveal such contradictions as:

- 3,700 U.S. families in the process of adopting children from Guatemala are concerned, upset and unsure about their pending adoption because of Guatemala’s crack down on child trafficking.

- British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and his wife are joyously celebrating their second adoption: both adopted as newborns fresh from American delivery rooms.

- Six French “child rescuers” are among sixteen jailed for illegally taking 103 children from Chad who were neither starving nor orphaned.

Adoption Awareness Month was intended to increase the awareness of the needs of US orphans in foster care who could benefit from adoption. Today, such children number in excess of 100,00 of the half million children in foster care, while we promote and encourage adoption without distinguishing these children from infants who are sought after.

The U.S. imports more infants for adoption that any other nation, while also exporting Black children to Canada and white infants to the wealthy in Britain, Mexico and elsewhere in a seeming endless redistribution redistributing these marketable commodities as private entrepreneurs profit from their demand with little to no regulations.

L. Ann Babb, author of Ethics in American Adoption. reports that American adoption “[professionals] have yet to develop uniform ethical standards… or to make meaningful attempts to monitor their own profession … In other professions and occupations, licensing or certification in a specialty must be earned before an individual can offer expert services in an area. The certified manicurist may not give facials; the certified hair stylist may not offer manicures ….Yet…individuals with professions as different as social work and law, marriage and family therapy, and medicine may call themselves ‘adoption professionals’.”

Babb continues: “There remains no national professional organization for adoption specialists, no professional recognition of adoption practice as a specialty of any discipline, no established education and training requirements, and no regular professional meetings and forums for adoption ‘professionals'.”

Brits are lauding America’s lax regulations that allowed the Miliband’s to twice adopt an American infant. The British media articles bemoan the fact that Britain does not allow such exploitive measures, as if adoption was about providing babies in the quickest way possible with the least amount of red tape, eliciting comments such as:

American websites currently offer mouth-watering
incentives to would-be buyers. "Delivery within four
months", "Discounts of up to $19,000", they proclaim.
If it were cars they were selling this would not seem
odd, but it's babies that are for sale – bright,
smiling newborns to tempt the childless into parting
with about £20,000.
There is no shame in treating babies like any other
purchase in America, where the adoption industry is
largely privatized… (“Why adoption is so easy in
America” Telegraph.co.uk 10/31/07)


Is there no shame?


Why are infants such as these are leaving the US while US couples are traveling half way around the word to meet their desire for a baby when both countries have children in foster care?

The answer is that adoption is far from an altruist social program to care for needy orphans. Instead, adoption is a business; babies are priced based on age, race, ethnicity, health, and physical ability. It all sounds vulgar because it is.

“It feels harsh to use concepts like supply and demand when talking about children and obviously it’s wrong to say that international adoption is just a trade in children,” says Riitta Högbacka, University of Helsinki, Finland, reporting on the global market for adoption . “But if we look at the direction of this human flow—which countries are sending children, which countries are receiving and who is doing the adopting—then it is very clear. It goes from the South to the North and from the East to the West. The recipients are always the richer countries in North America, Europe, and Australia.

Evan B. Donaldson Institute for Adoption, Anaheim Conference “Money, Power and Accountability: The ‘Business’ of Adoption” summary: No., 1999, concludes:“Thinking of adoption in economic terms is an uncomfortable reality. There has been a deterioration of the constraints once put in place to protect members of the triad from exploitation, with market factors such as inflated inventories, scarce commodities, demographic trends in the marketplace, products in oversupply, and the principles of supply and demand affecting adoption services.”

“Profit-based motivation in child placement [that] is … loathsome” and “largely driven by money… Money has become the critical variable for determining who gets a child….” according to L. Anne Babb: The fees western adopters are willing to pay to obtain a child often support a lucrative black market coercing mothers, stealing and kidnapping babies and children that are sold to orphanages to be internationally adopted.

International adoption has become an unregulated “entrepreneurial venture,” according to Debra Harder, network director for Adoptive Families of America. (Laura Mansnerus, “Market Puts Price Tags on the Priceless” New York Times, October 26, 1998)

Högbacka additionally finds that internationally, as well as domestically: “Demand is focused on quite a small group of under three-year-olds, where the number of potential parents far exceeds the supply of children.” (Feb 22, 2006 “The global market for adoption.” SixDegrees cover story)

Child trafficking for adoption is an issue of concern addressed by UNICEF and other non-profit watchdog agencies throughout the world. Sandra Soria, executive director of Peru’s nonprofit Institute for Infancy and the Family said: “It’s a situation that favors the proliferation of these trafficking rings and creates the markets and conditions for these international networks to operate,” said. Soria notes that it is impossible to know how many children are sold each year, for adoption, forced labor, or the sex trade. (Rick Vecchio, “Pregnant Teen’s Murder Shocks Peru.” Associated Press, March 13, 2006.)

The recent incident in Chad illustrated the fact that worldwide 80% of children targeted for international adoption have parents. Even those in orphanages have family who visit them and use these institutions for temporary care. Such was the case with the family of David Banda who Madonna adopted. Children who are truly orphaned, could be adopted within their own nation if not for the competition of foreign fees to orphanages.

Program director of International Social Service, Chantal Saclier is responsible for the United Kingdom’s ISS Resource Centre on the Protection of Children in Adoption. Saclier finds that although inter-country adoption is intended to find stable homes for children who do not have the opportunity for a loving family environment, many of the children being adopted have a family that could have been preserved. Factors such as pressure from wealthy adoptive families, and the selfishness and greed of officials, have created a situation in which economically disadvantaged children are exploited and sold. (Chantal Scalier, “In the Best Interests of the Child? International Resource Centre for the Protection of Children in Adoption.” In: Selman, P., Ed.)

Peter Dodds, author Outer Search\Inner Journey: An Orphan and Adoptee's Quest finds: “International adoption isn't the answer to improving the overall plight of children in developing countries. Even the strongest supporters admit the movement of adoptees across international borders represents only a tiny fraction of the neglected, abused and abandoned children in these countries. And supporters of international adoption are quiet about the children who are not adopted and left behind.”

The stripping of children from eastern Europe, Asia and South has been called colonialism and cultural genocide. According to Ethica, thirteen countries have suspended or ended their adoption programs in the past fifteen years. Another half dozen countries have temporarily stopped adoptions to investigate allegations of corruption or child trafficking, the latest Chad.

Jane Jeong Trenka (jjtrenka.worldpress.com)is a Korean born adoptee whose Korean mother searched and found her after she was sent to the U.S. and before she was legally adopted. Trenka was raised in rural Minnesota by white American parents, and has been going back and forth from Korea since 1995 maintaining continuous contact with her Korean family since 1988. She writes extensively about the need to end exporting children from Korea. Other Korean born adoptees are returning to their homeland, and some are filled with pain and anger that they were torn from their rich cultural heritage. (Vanessa Hua, “Korean-born in U.S. return to a home they never knew Many locate lost families, others work to change international adoption policy” San Francisco Chronicle. September 11, 2005)

Trenka says, “South Korea’s dependence on the international adoption program has stunted the growth of more appropriate government-funded social welfare programs, as well as delayed the social acceptance of single-parent families….International adoption is NOT the solution. Instead, the South Korean government must find its own solution by investing in sex education, supporting single parents and creating incentives for domestic adoption.” (Adoption from South Korea: Isn’t 50 Years Enough? Jane’s Blog, June 27th, 200)

Jae Ran Kim, a South Korea-born/American raised adoptee and social worker in the field of adoption and child welfare laments: “It is ethnocentric and arrogant to think that the United States has any business telling another country how they should manage the problem of orphaned, abandoned or relinquished children. We can’t even solve this problem within our own shores.
(http://harlowmonkey.typepad.com/harlows_monkey
/2006/08/adoptee_vs_adop.html)

Maureen Flatley political consultant and media advisor specializing in child welfare and adoption, observes: “Our national policy allows large sums of cash to leave the country in an entirely unregulated system and browbeating foreign governments into surrendering children in a decision-making process for their foster children that none of our fifty states would permit for America’s waiting children….Lacking training in foreign policy or a sound regulatory framework, would-be adoptive families and their adoption agencies are encouraged to navigate the increasingly complex and treacherous geopolitics of countries around the world with virtually no training and in many cases a vested self interest. The result has been diplomatic and emotional chaos.” (“Federal Regulation of International Adoption,” Decree, American Adoption Congress, 1999. www.childlaw.us/2005/05/federal_regulat.html)


Who is behind it all?



The Brits have also rightly pointed to U.S. restrictions on birth control and abortion as a contributing to “marketable” infants in the U.S. The religious right’s imposed morality is perfectly partnered with those whose livelihoods depend upon the redistribution of children.

In May, 2007 Evangelical Christians organizations such as Focus on the Family and pastors from across the nation held a three-day summit in Colorado. members of to promote adoption via a media blitz.

Focus on the Family founder James C. Dobson, a major player in this new path of evangelism, and present at the summit, expressed concern that foster parents typically are permitted to take children to church but cannot force religion on them. They must adhere to other state guidelines as well, some of which may contradict their faith such as parents “disciplining” their children physically with switches as taught by Dobson, a child psychologist.

While some of the flock may in fact adopt children from foster care, concern for orphaned and abandoned children is a smoke screen to use adoption as a tool against abortion, against single parenthood, and for evangelism. That is why, among those present at this event was Tom Atwood, president of the National Committee for Adoption, the largest lobbying organization of adoption agencies, primarily those of the Later Day Saints. The NCFA is also the major opposition to legislation aimed at restoring adoptees’ right to their own true identity.

The NCFA web page purports to be about finding homes for children in foster care, yet their mission page shows in black and white their first and foremost agenda item: “Train pregnancy counselors and health care workers in infant adoption awareness, so women and teens with unplanned pregnancies can freely consider the loving option of adoption.”

And, contrary to promoting the adoption of U.S. orphans, on the NCFA agenda is “Work[ing] with the U.S. and foreign governments to establish sound policies for inter-country adoption, so foreign orphans can be placed with loving, permanent families.”

The NCFA and the religious right are partners in a full-fledged propaganda war being waged to recruit Christian soldiers through adoption. With all the ingenuity and marketing skills available to them, the NCFA and the religious right couch their pro-adoption stance as a noble plan to help the hundred of thousands of children in foster care, using these kids as the foot in the door by both to get tax incentives and other benefits for their clients who seek to adopt primarily infants. All good social engineers know the advantages of starting with a “blank slate.” (For more on American adoption as social engineering see Barbara Melosh, Ellen Herman, and E. Wayne Carp.)

Ken Connor, the attorney who represented Governor Jeb Bush in the Terri Schiavo case and Vice Chairman of Americans United for Life, reporting on the pro-adoption summit (A Selfless Choice: In Celebration of Adoption, Townhall.com May 12, 2007) calls abortion big business and extols the “virtues” of adoption—a far bigger and corrupt—multi-billion dollar industry.

Connor goes on to tout infant adoption as a win-win for everyone including the mother who suffers a lose-lose: the irrevocable permanent loss of parental rights, her child, and her relationship with him.

Lost in the dogmatic rhetoric being spewed by both ideological extremes among pro-choice and pro-life proponents….is pro-family. UNICEF’s position is that adoption should be a last resort. “Families needing support to care for their children should receive it, and that alternative means of caring for a child should only be considered when, despite this assistance, a child’s family is unavailable, unable or unwilling to care for her or him.”

The only reason to encourage and promote more relinquishments and more adoptions is to fill a “demand” for healthy white infants, which, in fact, is counter to a goal of finding homes for older, non-white, or physically challenged children being supported by state funds. It is uncharitable and un-American. The same is true for supporting and encouraging international adoption.

Other items on their agenda list include the promotion of anti-family, anti-parenting programs such as so-called “safe havens” that allow for the legal abandonment of infants and putative father laws to speed relinquishments of newly born babies, causing one to ask if the real reason is to maintain the supply of “adoptable” [read acceptable] babies for their contributors, cronies, constituents or clients.

Pro-life organizations can be known by whatever family-orientated, all-American cutesie “baby saving” and “hope-filled” names…they may even invoke the name of, or believe that they are doing the work of, God…. but their tactics are all counter to true Family Preservation as spelled out in the constitution of the United States which protects parental rights; the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; and message of Judeo-Christianity. Being pro-family means being supportive of all families…not judging who has the necessary finances or marital status.

Worldwide 80% of children in orphanages have families, most who visit them and hope to regain custody. Poverty is the major cause of children needing adoption, not abuse, neglect or abandonment. Removing children from impoverished families does nothing to ameliorate the plight of the family, village or nation from where they originate.

Not all international adoptions—nor all domestic infant adoptions—support corruption, but there is no way to distinguish which do or to determine the accurate source of children offered by international orphanages. We thus need to rethink our romanticized view of adoption as a “rescue” mission as well as ethnocentric international adoption policies that in many cases support black market trafficking operations. We need to rethink our child adoption policies that ignore the needs of hundreds of thousands of children in domestic foster care who cannot be reunited with family and might benefit from caring homes, and reduce tax loads, while we continue to import children for placement with families ill-equipped to handle their special needs.

Only when adoption puts the needs of orphans first before the demands of those seeking to be parents, can it be “celebrated”, encouraged and promoted.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Roelie Post talks about International Adoption

By Ashleigh Elson
http://www.radionetherlands.nl/thestatewerein/otherstates/tswi-071102-intnladoption

Click here to listen to the report.



Roelie Post holds a baby in a Romanian baby home that housed 300 infants. The home has scince been closed down with EU funding and the children were re-integrated into their own families, placed in foster care, or adopted by Romanian families. So, what rights do children caught up in crisis situations have? We asked Roelie Post. Post worked for the European Commission on the reform of Romania's child protection for many years and is the author of Romania: For Export Only.

Port wasn't surprised to hear about the Zoe's Ark situation and compared it with the international adoptions that happened during the tsunami crisis in 2005. She says children should be helped in their own country."

Many people believe that Zoe's Ark has the best of intentions, but Post says she's heard this argument before:


"NGOs create this wrong image of children in poor countries, saying that they are abandoned orphans and that they need to be rescued. Most of the children - including in Darfur - have at least one parent, have extended family, and are part of a community. They are not orphans, they are not abandoned and therefore they should not be rescued."

According to Post, there aren't actually many true orphans. In cases where war and HIV/AIDS have left children without parents, the children are usually looked after by relatives and by their community.


"This is where the support should go - to helping local communities look after the real orphans. And not what a lot of NGOs are doing, setting up orphanages and taking children out of their communities and villages. That makes children vulnerable, it isn't a good way to live. And from there often comes the suggestion that children would be better off in another country in a nice family. But experience worldwide has shown - and the international community has always agreed - that children are best off in their own surroundings."

Post says, based on her experience in Romania with people who were involved with international adoption, she's not optimistic that the Zoe's Ark people are as naive as they might seem.

"One must not forget that there is an enormous demand for children in the western world by people who want to adopt. And this market is demand-driven… One should really wonder if this is the right way to go and how far people are innocent."


Give your reaction

Saturday, October 27, 2007

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Rights and Responsibilities of Adopting Parents

As I wrap up all my post-conference thoughts, I was sorting through the materials I brought home. One was a flyer from PEAR: Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform, “a grassroots group of adoptive and prospective adoptive parents” concerned about “the lack of a unified voice for adoptive families” and “meaningful ethical adoption from the adoptive parents pint of view.” They formed together because they felt a lack of representation of “the people most impacted by the system.”

My work in adoption began in NJ in the late 1970s. As I was a part of the formation of Origins: An organization for mothers who lost children to adoption, another group was simultaneously being formed. APFOR: Adoptive Parents for Open Records. Their president, Carol Gustavson and members such as Sue Wright, Jane Nast, Alyce Jenkins are women I have laughed with, cried with, embraced and are still dear friends of mine to this day as many of them continue their work with the AAC.

More recently I have had the extreme pleasure of meeting Margie Perscheid, David and Desiree Smolin, Rick Boas... some of whom I had “known” via email and their work for some time now.

I have also met some closed-minded adoptive parents and some with attitudes of entitlement, superiority and down right nastiness...one who insist on laughing at child trafficking and slandering me for saying it exists! I also know some mothers who have lost children to adoption who I am not too fond of either. I judge each person for themselves, not their title, and try to approach the issues as objectively as I can, from my personal perspective as a mother who was on the loosing end of this alleged “win-win” process of adoption. My first book was reviewed positively by RESOLVE and Families Adopting Children Everywhere (FACE) for its toughness but fairness. I trust my second one meets he same criteria, though I did go one step further in writing The Stork Market and state that parents seeking to adopt, and those who have…can chose to be part of the solution or part of the problem. I stand by that statement. The parents I have named above have chosen the former.

Rights and Responsibilities

I believe those planning or considering adoption have a responsibility first and foremost to recognize that their joy in adopting is another’s tragedy and irrevocable loss. As historian and author Rickie Solinger says: “adoption only exists on the backs of resourceless women”

No one owes another a child and no child will resolve that loss. Loss of fertility is no greater than one’s loss of sight or limbs, or need of an organ transplant and people with such disabilities do not expect another to fill their need through sacrifice, and payment for such is recognized as exploitive and is thus illegal. Adoptive couples and individuals need to understand that every child has a right to remain with his family and that poverty is not a cause for family separation. No one has a “right” to adopt.

At the recent Ethica/Donaldson conference on ethics and accountability in adoption, the question regarding when a family is in poverty, is taking the child and placing the child for adoption with a financially better-off family "helping"? In response, David Smolin said "A child is only available for adoption when all efforts to keep the family together have been exhausted. That's basic social work. If a doctor saves your life by amputating your legs, but antibiotics could have fixed the problem, that's malpractice."

I believe that those seeking to adopt have a right to:
- fair and honest adoption practices from licensed, trained, registered professional social workers
- receive honest and fair counseling to help them have realistic expectations; to learn that adoption is not the same as birthing a child.
- understand and accept that unlike having a genetically connected child, adoption means parenting the child of another, and being able to embrace that fact and help their child with his/her issues around loss.
- get as much medical background as is possible before deciding if thy are able to handle a specific child
- maintain an open and free ongoing relationship with their child’s family of origins to the extent possible and to the extent such family members are able to - practically and emotionally, and to respect their decision not to if it is too painful

I believe that those seeking to adopt have a responsibility to:
- educate themselves about adoption practices and practitioners here and abroad. To understand that most are entrepreneurs and some are scammers and others slipshod. To know that – in the words of Kellly-Kiser Mostrom (The Cruelest Con) “if it sounds good true to be true, it probably is.”
- ensure that the child they are parenting has been freely and willingly given for adoption by his mother, father and extended family; that thy were not coerced or lied to in any way and that they fully understand the definition of American adoption – that it is FOREVER
- respect and honor their child’s heritage and his/her feelings of loss, rejection and abandonment in the most sensitive and real ways
- respect and honor members of their child’s family if they are able to maintain contact
- keep any and all promises made to that family, even when doing so is trying or difficult – as many family interactions can be, recognizing the extra difficulty of contact with people of different culture and styles, and with an awareness of their pain

I believe that if adopters want adoption to be ethical, they need to act ethically and demand ethical treatment and practices. I would be proud to work with the people of PEAR toward those goals. I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them in accomplishing their goals of creating uniform standards for adoption agencies and practitioners and developing an enforceable code of ethics of enacting the standards set by the CWLA.

Such standards need to begin with the goal of finding homes for the more than 100,000 children in this country who have no families to return to and could benefit from stable, loving family care. I share with PEAR and all seeking ethical adoption practices to pressure the US to ratify the Hague – and also UN CRC - and to follow the basic tenants of both and respect the autonomy of countries struggling to find ways to care for their own, instead of practicing hat has been called “patronizing colonialism(1).” To put the rights of children first and center is to protect their right to remain in their families fist, and in their nation. Though difficult for those seeking children to accept, according to UNICEF, the adoption should always be last resort, and international adoption the last of the last (UNICEF Press Release, March 2007).

Making adoption ethical is in part removing the scammers, the baby brokers, the untrained facilitators, the traffickers so that people who wan to provide alternative care for children in need are not ripped off. . .but mostly it is so that children are not wrongfully taken for adoption and that those who need it are. I go beyond PEAR’s goal of “addressing fees in domestic adoption” to removing all profit from adoption everywhere over and beyond basic filing fees and actual costs. Money, greed, supply and demand are the root of all corruption.

Together, we can accomplish all of these goals.

(1) Christopher Bagley with Loretta Young and Anne Scully, 1993. International and Trans-racial Adoption: A mental health perspective. P. 155

RussiaToday Apr 29, 2010 on Russian Adoption Freeze

Russi Today: America television Interview 4/16/10 Regarding the Return of Artyem, 7, to Russia alone

RT: Russia-America TV Interview 3/10

Korean Birthmothers Protest to End Adoption

Motherhood, Adoption, Surrender, & Loss

Who Am I?

Bitter Winds

Adoption and Truth Video

Adoption Truth

Birthparents Never Forget