Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Help Requested

I am posting to solicit your concrete suggestions as well as moral support.

Tomorrow night I will be attending:


For those looking into adoption: In this time of economic worries and limited adoption options, Ametz rolls back the cost of attending out initial HOW TO ADOPT DOMESTICALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY MEETINGS. Come to these FREE sessions to learn the ins and outs, and possible options of domestic and international adoption, without committing to the process or JCCA. Co-Presenting: Ametz partner agency, Children's Home Society & Family Services.

Kathy Brodsky, LCSW
Director, Ametz Adoption Program/JCCA
120 Wall Street - NYC - NY - 10005
NY and NJ licensed agency
Full Hague Accreditation through 2013

WHY Have I Registered to Attend? 

Ametz, aka JCCA which stands for Jewish Child Care Association, was "my" agency.

My daughter, Alicia was born July 15, 1967.  I refused to sign papers and Alicia was placed with a foster family while I tried to get my life together - without the help of my parents who wanted me to relnquish.  I was able to visit her in a sterile room at the agency -- picture an interrogation room on any CSI show: table, two chairs and a huge two-way mirror occupying almost an entire wall. I knew they were watching to see if I would harm my daughter in any way. It was too awkward and surreal to imagine.

I never saw the foster mom and she never saw me. She handed "the baby" to a social worker and disappeared. Then "the baby" was handed to me in this room.

It being 1967, I was told repeatedly -badgered - that if I did not sign papers by the time she was 6 months old she become "unadoptable." And so on the day she turned 6 months old I finally caved. I have no idea what I signed because the papers were drenched with my tears that blurred my vision and I was never given a copy of what I signed. I left the agency in the same zombie-like state I entered and proceeded to medicinally numb myself for the next year or so...

Fast forward ten or twelve years. Late 70s, early 80's.  I co-founded the original Origins.   We held monthly support group meetings and as a result I began to see some mothers' relinquishment papers.  It became very clear very quickly the wde variation of wording. Some stated that the mother agreed never to have any contact with her child. Some said she agreed not to have any contact during his minor years. Some said nothing about the future or any contact whatsoever.

So...wanting to find my daughter ad planning to initiate a search as soon as humanly possibly, I wrote to "my agency" and told them that having seen these varied agreements, unless I had a copy of what I had agreed to - how would I know if I was in violation of that agreement?

I was seeking a copy of my relinquishment papers - papers that preceded any adoption and had nothing that could identify her new identity or the adoptive family.

I was denied.

I wrote again and again over the years.  I was told that the freedom of information did not apply to non-governmental agencies.

In 1982 I learned her new identity and wrote to her parents offering any medical history or anything else they might need.  Sometime after meeting her aps and then my daughter, I wrote again to the agency naming her aps and saying that since I already knew who they were, could I now have  a copy of my relinquishment papers that do not identify them anyhow. Still no.

In meeting her aps, I also found out that despite the pressure on me to relinquish by the time she was 6 months old, she remained in her foster home until she was a year old and calling her foster mother "Mommy" and then was suddenly removed when an appropriately approved adoptive family - with 3 biological sons - appeared.

In 1995, when I found out accidentally that my daughter took her life at 27 years of age I wrote yet again to JCCA. I was STILL denied even redacted copies - or even a BLANK FORM so that I could see the wording used in 1967 and thus know what I had agreed to or not.

So, why am I going?  What do I hope to gain?

I want to  pubkically confront Kathy Brodsky who refused me in writing in recent years.

I am VERY OPEN TO SUGGESTIONS. The following plan came to me while presenting at the ARM conference because I was on a panel with mothers who had lost children to death at birth or later.  They made the connection and were very receptive to the loss we experience in adoption. So, I thought I would use that connection and empathy...

My plan is to wait until Q & A and then stand up say the following:

Most of us here in this room have experienced loss: loss of the dream of a pregnancy, misscarriage, possibly still birth.  We know the pain of loss and want to maintain memories of our lost babies in any way we can. No longer are mothers told not to hold their babies who have not survived. We know now that mothers need remembrances.

Yet, I who have lost my daughter am denied any semblance of any shred of evidence that she was ever born to me and existed. (Not really true, as I DO have both her original and amended BCs).  But I will let all in the room know that Kathy Brodsky and JCCA have denied me a copy of a "contract" I signed - something that is unacceptable in any other legal agreement.

What does that say about the ethics of Ametz?

Your thoughts, feedbacks and prayers encouraged...PLEASE!


maybe said...

Excellent idea - confront them directly in front of an audience. Although I suspect they will have a standard BS answer, such as, "you agreed" or "that's how it was then, but things are different now." But I know you won't take any of those BS answers!

Good luck to you, I'll be anxiously awaiting an update!

AdoptAuthor said...

If they say things are different now - then I want MINE!

BTW, I was told I needed to hire an attorney.

*Peach* said...

Thank you for having the courage to do this.

Anonymous said...

How did it go?

AdoptAuthor said...

Thanks for asking.

First off, I was the only one there other than the two social workers running it.

I told them all I wanted to say, after which i said that i regretted that no one else was there to be forewarned what an unethical agency they would be dealing with.

At that point, the workers from JCCA who had been silent, said: "Why would you want to hurt other families?"

I then lost it. I asked how she DARE accuse ME of causing harm to anyone?! I reminded her that all I said I wanted to say to others, had they been there, was to warn them against dealing with JCCA. I said: "There are plenty of other agencies, so how would that be hurting anyone?"

She said she'd follow up and did call me the following day with the name of someone to contact - whom I had already contacted previously. However, I sent an email and cc'd this new worker so she could also see the reply.

Will keep all posted on the NOTHING that will happen...

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