Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pieces of Alicia...

Facebook has many failings. Many a day I curse it with frustration or sheer confusion.

But on days like today, I bless its creator.

I used Facebook to set up a memorial page for my daughter, Alicia and through it, she sends angels to me who each provide a piece of the puzzle. Friend after friend writes how shocked they are to hear of her untimely death and the fact that it was self inflicted. They all knew the Alicia's public persona as a very happy-go-lucky, cheerful, friendly person.

Today is a red letter day! I was contacted by a young man who had dated Alicia shortly after college graduation for several months. He is, as Alicia called him, a "mensch" and is trying to help me find more of her college friends by tagging her photos, and he is also going to try contact her brothers!

Straws, I know...but I grasp then fondly.

A "Win-Win"!! is offering college scholarships in exchange for your baby! I believe this is the same organization I wrote about a couple of years ago thats offer cash that has gotten a bit more savvy about it.

This is such a great offer, I am only sorry I am unable to get pregnant to partake in it!

Listen to their appealing - and shameless - come on:

We proudly offer educational scholarships in deep appreciation to birthmothers who have chosen adoption for their children. They have enabled others to experience the joy of becoming parents and created futures, not only for those families, but also for their children, for a lifetime.
I wonder if extra consideration is given to those who promise to get their degree in social work to continue this fine legacy of helping mothers create an abundant supply of unwanted "orphans" so everyone in the world can have one or more of their own!

The vileness and ignorance of the schools to go along with this and not provide at the very least - for any woman struggling to parent!

Please look at the list of schools and write to as many as you can - especially state run colleges - and tell them how misguided and coercive this program is. The only winners in this are religious fundamentals who get newborn converts and the adoption practitioners who profit from the exchange. That's the "win-win" in this!

While visiting their website - be sire to know the AAC logo/link they proudly bear.

(Thanks to Osolomama for sending me this link).

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Guatemala: A Unique Opportunity

I am very pleased to announce that I have been invited to join a Human Rights Delegation: "For Women's Right to Live" sponsored by the Guatemala Human Rights Commission, August 1-9, 2009.

The broad focus is violence against women. This annual delegation focuses on women’s rights and the ongoing efforts to end discrimination and violence against women in Guatemala. We meet with individuals and community groups that have courageously spoken out against gender-based violence, as well as explore the broader context in which this violence takes place. Through meetings in the major cities and travel to rural communities, we see how Guatemala’s history and current human rights situation affect these efforts to secure women’s rights.

The delegation will meet with leaders in the Guatemalan women’s movement, including organizers, lawyers, survivors, and family members, working for both immediate security precautions and long-term systemic change in Guatemala. We will also visit one of the only domestic violence shelters in Guatemala and learn how women’s rights groups are empowering women in rural areas. We explore the wider socioeconomic and political contexts in which gender-based violence takes place, learn about the country’s complex history and ongoing efforts to end impunity, hear from leaders in the human rights movement about their work, and meet with government officials charged with monitoring human rights.

In conjunction with this, Karen Rotabi is integrating some adoption-specific visits to non-governmental organizations to hear about the violence and coercion used against birth mothers. We will visit Norma Cruz recipient of the U.S. Secretary of State's 2009 International Women of Courage Award. Director of the NGO Survivors Foundation, Ms. Cruz provides emotional, social and legal support to hundreds of victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse and to the families of murdered women, combating the widespread impunity that too often accompanies the endemic violence against women in Guatemala. The NGO runs a victims’ shelter — one of only a handful in the country — and also fights to protect mothers whose babies are stolen as the first link in an illegal and lucrative supply chain for international adoptions. Cruz and her organization staged hunger protests of these mothers.

I will be joining adoptive parent members of PEAR such as Jennifer Hemsley and several social workers including Kathleen Leilani Ja Sook Bergquist from the Univ. of Las Vegas who she has written in her scholarship about the Hague Convention.

I will be the only mother who lost her child to adoption member of the delegation and am honored to represent our unique perspective.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Judgment and Discrimination

Some say obesity discrimination is "accepted' when no other forms of prejudice are tolerated. Big and beautiful organizations strive to counter the snickering, snide looks large and rude comments large people endure, and help rebuild their self-esteem and dignity.

It appears however acceptable to launch public tirades of judgment against "unwed mothers" - aka mother who bear children"out-of-wedlock" (per the NY Times) and even to suggest that stigmatizing them for their marital status is not only fair game and justified, but should be increased! How about stoning or tar and feathering, perhaps being shackled in the public square or the wearing of a letter around the neck would be helpful...while, of course the men who impregnate them walk scott free!

Karen Gail Lewis, ACSW, Ed.D., wrote "With or Without a Man: Single women taking control of their lives" in which she states:

A single woman is "unmarried." The negative prefix implies a deviation from the norm - marriage. A single woman, then, is often described by who she isn't. Yet, if we extended this to its logical conclusion, this means a woman is a "non-man"; a short person is "non-tall" [ed: or "untall", as compared to unwed unwed].

Lewis points out that when checking boxes on forms, a woman who lives with her partner must check the "single" box while a woman who is separated for years but not divorced must check "married."

When we extend the topic to single moms, not just single women, the same label applies to divorced as well widowed women, and those who are single moms by choice and even have adopted.

It all leaves me to ponder:

- Why are some women "unwed" and other never marrieds, single mothers? Seems of a bit of age- and classism makes the determination of nomenclature.

- Why is it that the same people who proclaim a child is not a choice prior to birth, want mothers "chose" adoption and support adoption as a nobler, brave "choice."

(Pondering a bit off the topic: Why is that that when animals are in danger of extinction, we work to improve their environment and protect them in their habitat. We do NOT "rescue" them and put them into zoos or relocate them to other parts of the world.)

Back on track...we know that a good part of the prejudice against so-called "unwed mothers" - which is not so subtle code for young and poor mothers - is financial. After ll, the vast majority of hullabaloo about Nadya Sulman (the OctoMom) was not about her poor decsion-making, or the welfare of her children, but about the possibility of her being a "drain" on tax payers.

Does stigmatizing the poor end poverty?

Does labeling children born "out of wedlock" to their "unwed mothers" bastards or illegitimate help by stigmatizing them?

Note that despite all the hype about rising rates of babies born to unmarried women in the United States, it's way behind Northern European countries, where it also far more accepted and tax benefits aren't dependent on marriage.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Invaluable Resources: Bookmark This Page!

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Hague Convention on International Adoption. Both of these instruments recognize the priorities of family preservation and extended kinship care, then domestic adoption only when those options have been exhausted, and international adoption as a LAST RESORT.

Here are some resources collected by myself and Linh Song of Ethica. This list will continue to be updated. It is highly recommended that you bookmark this page:

1. Child Trafficking and "Child Laundering and the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption: The Future and Past of Intercountry Adoption", by David Smolin

2. Romania for Export Only by Roelie Post

3. The Lie We Love by E.J. Graff

4. "Red Thread or Slender Reed: Deconstructing Prof. Bartholet's Mythology of International Adoption " by Johanna Oreskovic, University at Buffalo Law School, SUNY and Trish Maskew, Ethica, Inc. This article is a must read for anyone who believes that international adoption rescues or saves "unwanted" children because of over-inflated or alleged numbers of "orphans" tossed about, despite 88.7% of them not being eligible for adoption because they are not orphans but have at least one living parent,

5. Jae Ran Kim and Jane Jeong Trenka adopted from Korea as children express eloquently their ambivalence about having been taken from their culture. Their voices - representing so many to filled with obedient gratitude to speak out - must become are a vital part of future international adoption:

6. Indigo Willing was adopted from Vietnam and is a researcher at University of Queensland. She's written a paper, "The Celebrity Adoptions Phenomenon: Emerging Critiques from ‘Ordinary’ Transnationally Adoptive Parents." Indigo's observations are dead on and her work with international adoptees has been invaluable.

7. Jini Roby is a researcher at Brigham Young University author of a paper on the perspectives of international birthfamilies, "If I Give You My Child, Aren't We Family? A Study of Birthmothers Participating in Marshall Islands-U.S. Adoptions." She
also has worked in Cambodia and Uganda.

8. The Stork Market: America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry which details international child trafficking and brings it home with a shocking look at the coercion of American mothers past and present

9. Read about the Hemlseys and Tracy Manzeur who refused to be part of the problem.

10. Read about Desiree, who was told be her adopted daughters that they were stolen from their mother and see how it feels to know you were unknowingly and unwittingly a party to something that despicable in the name of doing good.

11. "Meet The Parents: The Dark Side of International Adoption" MotherJones

12. Karen Rotabi, PhD, MPh, LMSW and adoptive parent with vast knowledge and expertise in international adoption has written about the remarkable ability of Guatemala - once THE "hot spot" for child trafficking - has been able to turn itself around. By policing baby brokers and putting the priorities of family preservation and kinship care above adoption, with a priority on domestic adoption when all else fails, they have come as close as Australia in eliminating international adoptions.

13. The Orphan Trade: A look at families affected by corrupt international adoptions bLink

15. “Crossing Bodies, Crossing Borders: International Surrogacy Between the United States and India” by Usha Rengachary Smerdon PDF

16. “Sold Into Adoption: The Hunan Baby Trafficking Scandal Exposes Vulnerabilities in Chinese Adoptions to the United States” by Patricia J. Meier and Xiaole Zhang PDF

17. “Inside Story of an Adoption Scandal” by Arun Dohle PDF

18. Debunking the Orphan Myth: Responses to Criticisms

19. Small Commodities: How child traffickers exploit children and families in intercountry adoption and what the United States must do to stop them. Journal of Gender, Race and Justice, 22-SEP-08. COPYRIGHT 2008 University of Iowa

20. Adoption Checklist

20. Why I am Going to Guatemala: See video and learn about children kidnapped for adoption

updated 6/23/09

Thursday, May 7, 2009

2009 Hero of The Year Award: Tracy Mazuer

Tracy Mazuer is a TV producer/writer and creator of "for professionals who need professional help." She and her husband John have been married for 23 years and live in Playa del Rey with their 2 dogs, Hankie and Lizzie. Tracy also blogs at

I hope that Tracy is indicative of a pivotal point in adoption. On one hand we have the arrogant entitlement of Madonna, who took David away from his father and family and has fought fiercely to do the same to acquire Mercy.

Lest I get discouraged and believe that Madonna is typical, I happened upon a human being who chose not be part of the problem.

Tracy is such a person. She is honored because not all are so selflessly caring.

Five years ago social worker Meredith Resnick went to Russia to adopt after deciding that she preferred an international adoption to avoid the ties of birthparents. When she arrived, she discovered that the girls she planned to take home, ages 10 and 13, had two grandmas and a half brother. As she reports in Newsweek, her plans to adopt them was undeterred (though she did take them back for a visit).

Tracy arrived in Russia and discovered the nine-year-old she had come to claim had an 18-year-old brother who had to give permission for the adoption. She was angry but her concerns for the well-being of a scared little child were of greater concern than her onw disappointment as she left empty-handed.

Some people are heros for what they do not do.

Tracy joins:

2008 Heros Jennifer & Todd Hemsley
2007 Hero Richard Boas

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Latest on Madonna

As Mercy's "putative" father slams her for dressing like a slut - again (most recently at the Costume Institute gala last night. wearing in a navy blue wench-inspired mini, kinky thigh-high PVC boots)...

James was not alone. NY Magazine: "Madonna shows up looking like a cleaning lady moonlighting as a stripper who washed her Xanax down with one too many margaritas before she changed outfits."

Mind you, none of her outrageous costumes are part of a script for a move. These are the 50-year-old mum's own choices for public attire...

....the attire of a woman who allegedly plans to launch a campaign to help single mothers adopt children from foreign countries - if legal officials in Malawi block her bid to take home three-year-old MERCY JAMES again.

A source tells The Sun newspaper, "If she fails on the grounds of her divorce she will be absolutely livid. She is already talking about starting a campaign for single mums to be allowed to adopt the world over."


1) you weren't turned down because you are single Although, one can only wonder how bad it was being married to Guy Ritchie - who is still supporting her adoption bid - that she couldn't postpone divorcing him until after she completed the adoption .

2) will your group support the rights of pole dancers, strippers, and sex workers to adopt s well?

3) will you be advocating breaking laws, bribing, coercing...and taking children away from parents who WANT them?

5) what about the rights of women old enough to be grandmothers parading around like sluts who have a A STRING of men in their past?

6) why not try to support the rights of children in your homeland?

and finally, the biggest news flash of all:

7) NO ONE has a "RIGHT" to adopt (not even you!)

Least of all one who flaunts herself publicly in an outfit James Kambewa called a "slutty cleaning lady."

The ‘Daily Star’ quoted him as saying.

“A woman is supposed to be a role model for her daughters. What morals can a woman of 50 have, who has no qualms in showing her delicate parts and displaying herself like that in front of her children"

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The World Watches: Ethnocentric Cultural Genocide

With the entire world watching, Madonna - hell bent on getting what she wants, reportedly "beefed up her legal team" with constitutional scholar Modecai Msiska, who argues:

"I concede that the petitioner is not a Malawi resident, but I urge the court consider the best interests of the child. … If residency were a requirement, it would be unconstitutional as it would negate certain rights of the child."

This is a bizarre claim as the residency requirement is in place to protect children form baby brokers and child traffickers. Team Madonna has claimed it is an "outdated" law having been out in place 50 years ago. Unlike sealed records in the US, however, which also came about over the same time period, the logic behind the residency rule is more needed now than ever before as child trafficking has escalated in the interim years.

The three-member panel of Supreme Court judges presided over by Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo has indefinitely "reserved judgment" hopefully while they seek to determine paternity of James Kambewa who Madonna's lawyer called an "opportunist."

The Pressures of Greed and Demand

Mercy James' grandmother, 61-year-old Lucy Chekechiwa, is reportedly against Madonna's decision to adopt. "Why doesn't this singer pick other children?" she allegedly told Britain's The Sun. "It is stealing. I want to go to to court. I won't let her go."

Yet, in a statement we can all relate to Grandma Lucy tells The Early Show that she feels bullied into the adoption, saying: “I did not want my granddaughter to be adopted. But because they have been persistent enough, I have been forced to let my granddaughter go."

Shame, shame, shame on Madonna for bullying people into tragic losses like this! The world is watching and whatever the outcome, you will be branded for life as a callous BE_ATCH who wants what she wants and pays off everyone to get it. It diminishes all her charity work to totally disregard people and their rights and heritage like this. What is she role-modeling Lourdes and her son...that might makes right and money can buy ANYTHING or ANYONE?

Attorneys representing children's rights groups also offered submissions in regard to the 50-year-old singer's bid to adopt Chifundo "Mercy" James. One can only assume that in addition to - openly questioning her lifestyle, this is a concern as well, though bn one in power in malawi wants to raise it as an issue and insult (read bite) the hand that is generously offering to build a school. Her giving with one hand and wanting to take something as precious as a human being with the other puts Malawi in a very difficult position and is in itself immoral, selfish and corrupt IMHO.

The NY Times reported that Lawyers for Malawi's Human Rights Commission and the group Eye of the Child - who supported last month's High Court decision - briefly addressed the hearing as friends of the court.

"Our contention is that the issue of residency is of paramount importance in the determination of this matter. The courts should make inter-country adoptions an option of last resort," Jones Gulumba, the attorney for Eye of the Child, told the court. "In the absence of regulation, inter-country adoptions should be decided based on the best interests of the child - and should be carried out under all applicable laws and procedures," he said.

Maintaining international adoption as a last resort is not just a Malawian law – it is the ethical standard of all international adoption set by the Hague convention and the U.N.

Will Madonna become the poster-girl for all who wish to buy the kids they want? I pray the song Madonna will be singing when it's all over is: "You can't always get what you want" -- but we wait the final act of this real-life drama.

The focus on this case is not unfounded or merely about star gazing. The world adoption community is watching this as a microcosm of world child supply and demand - emphasis on demand, which leads and trumps all else.

Adoption today is a bizzaro upside world of reverse Robinhoodism in which those with "means' TAKE from those of lesser means. It is done not only with impunity and justification, but is praised as rescuing "unwanted" children. It is done with arrogance and entitlement; with the power of privilege and with the ethnocentric belief that the material end justifies the means and the tragedy of familial separation.

Motherhood, once revered because upon it depends the future of the human race, has become a “class privilege in America, and much of the industrial world,” a matter of who can afford to have children. For the rich, “today it is possible to order babies from a menu of convenient options,” including purchased eggs and sperm, gene selection, or renting a womb—options obviously not available to the less wealthy. Entitlement to a baby—even one’s own—is often based on financial ability or the advantages one has to offer.

The Stork Market, Page 18

Poor and resourceless mothers, instead of receiving the support they need to keep their families intact, are often exploited instead for a coveted and much sought-after commodity: their children. Historian and author Ricki Solinger found that “adoption only exists on the backs of resourceless women.” It is a relatively recent shift, notes Solinger—since the Reagan administration—that Americans have begun thinking that unless a woman has enough money and resources, she has no business being a mother.

The irony of it all is that she wants Mercy as a sibling for David - so that he can look into the face of someone who looks like him yet she blindly rips them both from all else familiar.

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