Sunday, April 27, 2008

What Do WE Want people to Know About Adoption?

Since the good people who posted what "they" want people to know adoption are not open to comments from mothers or adoptees...

I decided we need to start our own list of things WE want to know about adoption and post on our website!

So...I invite you all to check the link and see what these aps have said, and then post your replies HERE!

Following are my comments (that "they" deleted):
  • We did not "chose" or “decide” to lose our children. Most of us,wish we would have gotten support to keep them.
  • Few were ever overtly coerced by adopters, but MANY are coerced every day by adoption agencies, facilitators and adoption practices that do not provide adequate option counseling, legal counsel, and allow adopters to enmesh themselves with a mother while she's pregnant till she feels an obligation to go through with the adoption, especially when they are with her in the delivery room and don't give a chance to really make an informed decision after the baby is a reality.
  • We want you guys to know that yes you missed morning sickness, and labor pains - be we miss their whole life!
  • We want you to know that we ARE their mothers! We are VERY REAL and our blood ties to our children is VERY NATURAL. There is nothing UNNATURAL about us our our connection to our children. Don't deny us that - you already have the prize!
  • PLEASE don't ever tell me that what I did was brave because I was a coward not to fight harder to keep my daughter. Don't tell me I was unselfish, or how grateful you are, or that I gave you a gift. It was not my intention at all for you to benefit from my grievous loss. I was not your surrogate!
  • Most of all "I" want to know why it is that people who do not get pregnant by accident, but who intentionally go through all the redtape to adopt sometimes terminate adoptions...give up on kids that are difficult..."return" kids who don't meet their expectations.0 Act as if they paid for a healthy child and are "not prepared' fr one that is not, as if you could have been guaranteed a healthy child if you were able to conceive and carry your own.
  • I want to know why some people who are so motivated and wanted a child so badly can abuse them and even kill them.
  • More than anything I want people to know that adoption should always be a last for children and that financial ability should not be the criterion for parenthood.
  • I want people to know that 80% of the children in orphanages worldwide are not orphans but have family who visit and hope to be reunited, as was the case with David Banda adopted by Madonna.
  • I want people to know that adoption should always be about finding homes for children who need them - and that there are more than 100,000 children in US foster care who could possibly benefit form a family while the US imports more kids through international adoption than any other nation.
  • I want people to know that adoption is not about filling anyone's need for a child, because that creates a demand that creates the worldwide corruption and trafficking in children in the name of adoption.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Activist: Part II

I found my daughter when was only twelve years old. Many of us were doing that at the time.
Once you found a "source" you weren't about to wait until they were 18 and risk the source no longer being there. Many of us found and just drove by to get a glimpse, needing to at least confirm that they were alive, and waited and waited...

I had also been hearing by that time of more mothers than I care to recall who found their child in far less than an ideal homes, and some found graves of children who either died in infancy or as teens. How could I wait? What is she was in a bad situation and needed me? One of the mothers in our group, when she approached the adoptive parents of her pre-teen son, was told "If you want him, you can have him." They had virtually abndoned him at boarding school. Julie regained custody and her story was in one of the women's magazines at the time. How could I wait? My daughter might never even have been adopted since I left her foster care for six months trying my best to get my life together and keep her.

I didn't wait too long before contacting her a-parents and making myself available to them if they needed or wanted medical information, etc. I met her a-parents perhaps a year later. But they were never very interested or receptive and told me that my daughter wasn't interested either. I discovered otherwise, and proceeded to meet my daughter when she was 16.

We met about 3 times and spoke on the phone perhaps twice as much, sometimes for more than an hour, during her H.S. years. After she graduated, her a-parents found letters I had written her and freaked out. She subsequently went to college and we lost contact. While I sent letters and gifts to her in college, we spoke once after she graduated college and she told me she never received them.

In 1990, my life was to change yet again, very drastically. I made the decision to end loveless marriage to a workaholic/hoarder. I never imagined what the man who had far more interest in work than in any personal relationships - even with his kids - would do. How could I have ever guessed that the man to whom my first book is dedicated because of his 18 years of living with my pain, his support of my work in adoption reform, my search etc...would turn on me and go after custody of my three kids, now 12, 15 and 17, accusing me of being unfit because I had "sold' my firstborn! I was in shock and at the pits of suicidal depression at the thought that iIcoudl lose my kids to the man who had all the money and I, none. During the years of continued court battles, he even attempted to remove my visitation rights! This then took precedent over all adoption work and any contact with my daughter.

Because my husband out earned me 3 to 1, and because the kids were teens and had a say in custody, their father persistently brainwashed my kids against me and successfully bribed them. My divorce was finalized in 1992, and I moved from my four-bedroom house in 5 acres to my one bedroom apartment - alone.

My mother died suddenly in March, 1995, while I was still alone with just my daughter now visiting on a fairly regular basis, my sons still alienated. Two weeks later I learned - by chance - they my eldest daughter took her life at the age of 27 two weeks before my mother died. There are no words to describe it, but in many ways it was very surreal as I heard about after the fact and was denied (intentionally) knowing of her funeral, etc. How do you mourn a child you had - and didn't have? How do you bury the hope of what might have been?

Pictures are some of the many memorial attendees (l-r: Janet, and Origins co-founders Evelyn, Allison, MaryAnne, Lucy, and me)

I was comforted by all my (birth)mother friends and others who came from as far as Maryland to a graveside memorial service. I am forever indebted to those who got me through my darkest times for their compassion and understanding. I later made her an online memorial.

While reeling from that, my father died eight months later after a brief bought with acute leukemia.

Although 1995 ended with my moving into a 2-BR townhouse so my daughter could live with me (my sons were on their own by then) it was the worst and most stressful year in my life, topping even 1968. I took a ten year or so hiatus from all adoption issues. When I returned, I was devastated to find that the Internet had not brought us all together, but actually do just the opposite. It had become increasing easy for anyone to start their own group online. Email lists abounded. People were talking but not many were doing much. Anyone could start a blog and become an instant expert! But few seemed to know about who others were or what they had done. There seemed far more divisiveness than ever existed before. there was much anger expressed not only between by mothers who surrendered aimed at aps, but at one another!

And, adoption had actually worse not better. It was far more privatized and the entrepreneurial moneyed aspect of it was is far more abhorrent to me than any error of judgment made by society and/or workers. I was horrified and began work on my second book and simultaneously tried to create civility between bickering factions.

I wrote several blogs. Two years ago, almost to the day, I wrote: Monday, April 24, 2006, “Adoption Langauge and DisUnity: Response to ‘Why Birthmother means Breeder’” followed by Thursday, April 27, 2006 “A Plea for Unity”

Since then, I continued to grow and learn and came to the very clear decision that all prefixes - whether natural, real, original, first or whatever - are unnecessary! I then wrote "Motherhood is Forever."

To this day, I am called too anti-adoptionist by some CUBers and accused of using the "B" word and other "sins" by the anti-adoptionsist!

But I have not given up and will not! Some famous Rabbi said: “It is not your duty to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.”

The Birth of An Activist

My "professional" bio states that I am author of shedding light on...The Dark Side of Adoption (1988) and The Stork Market (2007). I am former Director-at-Large of the AAC and currently Board member of Origins-USA. I have been keynote, presenter and panel facilitator at innumerable local, state and national conferences. I have done two radio interviews and several national television shows, appearing as an adoption export in the case of Joel Steinberg.

On a personal note, I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and have lived in NJ for more than 35 years. I came of age as did the "psycho-delic" 60's and was just a subway ride to Greenwich Village, the mecca of "free love" and folk music. I left home at 17 and also spent some of my hippie days in Haight Asbury, or more accurately the Fillmore District of San Francisco. Back in NY I birthed a love child who was to be lost to adoption in 1968 - recently called "The Year That Rocked Our World" by AARP. Who would have ever imagined that that one singular event would rock my world in ways that still reverberate to this day and have sent out ripples to every aspect of - and everyone in - my life.

Despite having been married to, and separated from, my baby's father, my parents came to the hospital and my Dad told me that my daughter would be a "ball and chain" that would prevent any decent man form marrying me. I was told to put the past behind me. I knew I had "made my bed" by leaving home and never expected any help from them.

I remember signing papers I barely saw through a haze of tears. I spent the year or so under a HEAVY fog fog of drug-induced numbness. But it seemed there were no drugs strong enough, so I quit. By late '71 I was at work when the headlines broke of the firts major baby tug-of-war case: Baby Lenore. The mother, Helen Scarpetta fought to reverse the adoption. people were openly scornful saying things like: "Any dog can give birth." I learned to slither past them and kept my mouth shut as my stomach tightened. I was a leper in the vie wof society. "Who gives away their own child!" "And the nerve of her to want it back!".

Three years later I was married, moved to Jersey, and on my way from flower child to earth mother. I spent the seventies barefoot and pregnant - or breastfeeding. I became "super mom"
eventually to three children: homebirthing (photos), La Leche League Leader, assistant scout leader, PTA the whole suburban nine yards. To say I was full-time, at-home mother was an understatement. My first son was born in 71, second son in 76 and my daughter in 79. These were the best years of my life!

Soon paths collided. Through La Leche League, I met a friend who's husband was about to fly to California to meet his mother - for the first time! I was blown away! I blurted out: "Why would you want to meet her? Don't you hate her?"

My friend's husband told me about ALMA (which met in NYC) and one other "birthmother" he knew - MaryAnne Cohen. I was no longer alone!! I had someone with whom I could share my awful secret with. How freeing! We both knew there so many others - feeling all alone. The butterfly was growing in its cocoon and getting ready to spread its wings and fly!

In 1980 MaryAnne and I, together with three other women, co-founded Origins, an signalization for mothers who lost children to adoption. Headquartered in NJ, where we held monthly support meetings, our newsletter was national and at its height had several hundred subscribers. I attended a fairly early CUB retreat run by Carole Anderson.
Origins and CUB members had one singular goal - to find our kids and help others do likewise. CUB had done a great deal of publicity in magazines and national TV.

In 1980 I also found my daughter and proceeded to help thousands of others do likewise. It amazes me now to think of our networking skills with no Internet! Yet we worked with local groups of mothers and adoptees - and some adoptive parents - all across the country establishing reliable searchers.

Kids were now all in school and I was at one of the first computer/word processors out: a Kaypro (?!) writing my first book. I had collected a pile of clipping about abused and even murdered adopted kids and knew that the general public still believed that adoption was always the best, win-win, option. I felt compelled to set that record straight.

And together we marched - adoptees, adoptive parents and mothers - shoulder to shoulder from NY to Washington. Five Hundred of us in 1989 with no Internet. Joe Soll organized the march and I organized the rally and SpeakOut in DC. Ah...the good old days! That same year I also orchestrated a march in NYC in memoriam to Lisa who was murdered by Joel Steinberg. We got lots of press and made the NY nightly news. There is more about my personal involvement in that case in The Stork Market.

to be continued....

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Adoption: The New WHAT?!

And the "new" pregnant has no morning sickness, no swollen ankles, and best of all not messy broken water or barbaric painful labor!! (That's like so "yesterday.")

But if you're fond of the sympathy and attention those things yield, not to fear.

Prospective baby abductors now claim that they experience "paper pregnancies" and even "Post Adoption Depression" need to let those fat fornicating pregos get attention for months afterward!

You can have the best of both worlds!!

Please watch for the release of our "Surrogacy is Hot" tees inspired by Dennis Quad and his wife, Kimberly. Quad told reporters they came up with that slogan because surrogacy allowed he and Kim to continue their sex lives unhampered by the nuisance of pregnancy.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

JCCA Update

I wrote again asking the following questions:

Ms. Ferrer,

Could you tell me, please, how long you have been Disclosure Coordinator for JCCA?

It would seem that such a position would require knowledge of disclosure laws.

Why then did you ask me my daughter's name before informing me that the law prohibited release of surrender papers? Would not the same laws apply no matter who was asking? Or is my case red flagged for some reason?

Why is it that so many other mothers who have surrendered children for adoption have their surrender papers if it is unlawful?

How does the law that seals identities in adoptions apply to redacted and/or blank copies of a form, which I have requested?

And finally, back to my original inquiry – how does any of this fit within the framework of ethical adoption practices as set for the by the CWLA and E.B. Donaldson Adoption Institute?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Calling All NY Mothers

Are you a mother who lost your child to adoption in New York?

Do you have a copy of your surrender papers?

If so, I would greatly appreciate hearing from you.

My agency - Jewish Child Care Association of New York (JCCA aka AMETZ) - has steadfastly, for the past 41 years, refused to give me even redacted or blank copies of the forms I signed! This, even after being informed that I had found my daughter and been in touch with her adoptive parents. And, still, years later, after being informed of the death of my daughter.

I recently wrote to Leona Ferrer, Disclosure Coordinator for JCCA:

Ms. Ferrer,

I am requesting a meeting to discuss the agency’s policies and ethical responsibilities in regard to the mothers they serve in general, and in particular the agency’s persistent refusal to give me even redacted or blank copies of the forms I signed. The fact Ametz/JCCA has a close working relationship with Adam Pertman and other representatives of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute who are speakers at your conferences, informs me that the Ametz/JCCA is well aware of their positions on ethical adoption practices in the 21st century. It might even suggest that Ametz/JCCA is in agreement with those ethical adoption practices.

I am a bereaved mother who would cherish any connection to my deceased daughter. How does such refusal fit within the agency’s ethos and decency? Who at this point in time and under the circumstances could possibly be violated by my seeing what I signed? The adoptive parents had access to information about me all along, and I have been in contact with them, as you have been made aware.

Her initial email response:

"Will you give me your daughter's name and birth date? Is it the surrender you want a copy of? Please let me know and thank you. Leona M. Ferrer"

I was quite hopeful and immediately replied back with my daughter's name. The response quickly became:

"Our attorney has advised that while we may not by law send you a copy of the surrender, you should be able to get a copy from the clerk of the court in which it was signed. Leona M. Ferrer"

Sooo, if you have received your papers from a NY agency, I need to hear from you!

ALSO SEEKING: A NY attorney to handle a wrongful adoption lawsuit.

Thank you!

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