I write to implore you to use your position to give back. Give back as only you can.
Cancer has Lance Armstrong and Katie Couric, Sheryl Crow, Melissa Ethridge, and so many, many more spokespersons who - out of personal loss - have become heroes; who because of their own pain, work to help reduce the numbers of people who will suffer similar pain and loss of a loved one.
We need you, Joni, because no one speaks for us. Like you, we all suffered alone and in silence. Help us break that silence: speak up and speak out for us. Be the voice of your sisters.
Come full circle Joni. You've suffered the loss, and the years of not knowing. You dealt with being "outed" by the media. You then courageously stepped into the limelight and used that same media power to seek and find your daughter. Now, the scared young women who couldn't afford to raise a child sends a limo to pick her up from her first class flight! You've come a long way, baby.
You and Kilauren could speak for all of us who suffered the same indignities: the fear, the hiding, the not knowing. The worry about who would know and who we should tell; the seeing our counterpart in the crowds; not fitting in; the shock of discovering at 26 that your whole life is a lie...the not knowing.
Sheila Weller who wrote your biography in a trilogy with Carole King and Carly Simon writes of approximately 1.4 million American women who lost their children in maternity homes between 1945 and 1972 and more in Canada. (And that doesn't count the ones like you and I who toughed it out without a maternity home, and the others who stayed hidden in their own homes or their "aunt's" house. Other statisticians quote figures as high as up to four million mothers in the United States surrendered newborn babies to adoption between 1945 and 1970; two million during the 1960s alone.)
Weller quotes Sandra Jarvis of Canadian Birth Mothers: about how social workers "were just promoting adoption...in the hospitals, counseling girls that it 'wasn't really your baby', that it was in the /best interest of th baby., to have it adopted, and that 'of you love your baby', you'll give it up; the baby will be 'illegitimate' if you keep it." Like all of us, you were traumatized . It caused you, you've said to identify with the women of the Magdelene Laundries, of whom you sang on your 1994 Turbulent Indigo album.
I was an unmarried girl I'd just turned twenty-seven When they sent me to the sisters For the way men looked at me Branded as a jezebel I knew I was not bound for Heaven I'd be cast in shame Into the Magdalene laundries
Most girls come here pregnant Some by their own fathers Bridget got that belly By her parish priest We're trying to get things white as snow All of us woe-begotten-daughters In the steaming stains Of the Magdalene laundries
Prostitutes and destitutes And temptresses like me-- Fallen women-- Sentenced into dreamless drudgery ... Why do they call this heartless place Our Lady of Charity? Oh charity!
These bloodless brides of Jesus If they had just once glimpsed their groom Then they'd know, and they'd drop the stones Concealed behind their rosaries They wilt the grass they walk upon They leech the light out of a room They'd like to drive us down the drain At the Magdalene laundries
Peg O'Connell died today She was a cheeky girl A flirt They just stuffed her in a hole! Surely to God you'd think at least some bells should ring! One day I'm going to die here too And they'll plant me in the dirt Like some lame bulb That never blooms come any spring Not any spring
No, not any spring Not any spring
Sing out for ALL of us, Joni! We've been fans of yours since hearing "Little Green" and knowing - really KNOWING - it's meaning! It didn't end when the laundries closed. It didn't end in Canada or the US. Adoption today is a multi-billion dollar a year business worldwide. Every day women are suffering the pressure and coercion you and I suffered...and worse!
Globally, chidlren are being stolen off the streets, kidnapped, or their mothers duped into believing their children are coming to the US or England for an education. Papers are forged and chidlren are being SOLD onto orphanages where orphanage directors turn a blind eye to the corrupt child trafficking in adoption because the fees to obtain a child internationally are enormous.
Sing out for us all, Joni. Help us to help mothers and their chidlren stay together! No one speaks up for them. We are a candle in the wind and we need you, Joni. We are David fighting a huge moneyed baby-brokering industry and we need you Joni. We need your voice, your power and your sense of righteousness, Joni.
All over the world mothers and their babies need you to save them from lives of agony - wondering...from unnecessary and unwarranted separations. Marital status, financial problems, age are all temporary problems that can be fixed and need not be exploited, except for the fact that babies are an in-demand commodity. Help us to stop the carnage, Joni.
You and Kilaruren are two of the lucky ones. You have each other back on your lives. I, and others, are not so lucky. Some of us don't survivie the loss, Joni.
Origins-USA needs you to help us fulfill our mission of advocating for mothers' rights and keeping natural families together. Be the spokeswoman for every young woman still afraid to tell her mother...or being pressured by her mother. Be a spokeswoman for all the babies who suffer a life of not fitting in and/or not knowing they are adopted. For all the adoption separated families who are denied the same human rights as non-adoption separated families to have a copy of their own original birth certificate! read the stories of mothers spanning decades from 1956 right up until 2004, of pressure to permanently surrender their rights to the children they bore. See them and hear them tell their stories.
Or, just donate quietly, without fanfare, as Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam has done, in honor of the sister he lost to adoption when his mother was young and alone...
Yes, listen again to Eddie's "daughter" - written for his sister:
Don't call me daughter, not fit to The picture kept will remind me Don't call me daughter, not fit to The picture kept will remind me Don't call me...
and listen to the live version of "Daughter" he does as a medley with "Rockin' in the Free World":
I see a woman in the night
With a baby in her hand
Under an old street light
Near a garbage can
Now she puts the kid away,
and she's gone to get a hit
She hates her life,
and what she's done to it
There's one more kid
that will never go to school
Never get to fall in love,
never get to be cool.
You, too, have sang it out...but now raise your voice publicly for all of us, Joni. Those who have already lost, need you. The mothers of the world need you! The strruggling expectant mothers; new others...they need you.
Cancer has a multitude of star. Flesh peddlers are spreading adoption spreading like a cancer across the globe, seeking out poverty, war, unrest and strife - any weakness it find - even natural disasters - to exploit for profit! Children are redistributed around the globe in reverse Robinhoddism - taken for the poor and sold to the wealthy! It is happening in South America (particularly Guatemala), Asia (Vietnam and India, are current hot spots), and eastern Europe (Russia and the former Soviet Union) and now Africa (particularly Ethiopia) is the new go-to hot spot for those clamoring for babies - other people's babies..at any price!
Here at home women are promised "openness" - more often than not an unfulfilled promise. Help us start a legal fund for mothers fighting to regain custody of chidlren that were taken from them fraudulently with broken promises.
Help us in any way you can....I am begging you!