Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Adoption Induced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Mothers of the Baby Scoop Era

has written an article on the post traumatic effects of losing a child to adoption.

The 21 page article details how unwed motherhood came to be viewed as a neurotic problem by social workers, saying "Exiled mothers began their journey as pregnant, unmarried women in America" and then discusses "incarceration" and brainwashing, and coercive practices as well as legal and civil rights violations.

"Before WWII," Butterbaugh points out, "an unmarried expectant girl would likely have been sent to a maternity home where evangelical Christian married women would have helped her keep and raise her baby" citing maternity homes stating that was their goal - as agencies and adoption crisis centers claim to do do today.

Unfortunately, as far as I am concerned, she limits these ill-effects to those who lost their children between 1945 and 1973 -- as if it's just been a JOY for those who experienced the same loss before or after that select time period, or as if the entire issue magically ceased to exist at the stroke of midnight December 31, 1973 and all mothers got to keep their babies and live happily ever after.

The well documented article is a valuable contribution as it contains a wealth of information on PTSD and the lifelong effects of loss of a child to adoption with 4 pages of references.

However, it saddens me that some find it necessary to time-limit this issue as if it occurred ONLY during specific years which, seems to throw other mothers under the bus. Every point about "BSE Mothers" not making an informed choice can too easily be read as if other mothers ARE able to do so!

Every statement such as: "Legal protections afforded every other United States citizen were ignored or denied to unmarried American mothers by adoption workers, adoption agencies, and lawyers (often in revenue inducing business partnerships with agencies and maternity homes) who obtained the mothers' so-called 'adoption consent'" [emphasis added] makes it appear to the reader that this no longer applies to mothers today. That all the problem of the past, are past history and have been resolved now that single parenthood is no longer stigmatized.

In fact, I am in the process of investigating the issue of medical histories taken on and about mothers (and fathers) prior to relinquishment that are shared with adoptive parents and given to returning adoptees upon request labeled "non-identifying" because 20 page histories do not include the mother or father's names. While these detailed forms produced by the Dept of Licensing - those who license adoption agencies - contain a waiver of the adoptive parents as RECIPIENTS of the information, obviously to protect the agency from a wrongful adoption law suit...what they do not include is a release for the information to be shared, in violation of the mothers right to privacy and confidentiality. And right now, today, legislators in the state of NJ are considering adding more onus on mothers to produce yet more medical history, treating mothers who relinquish with far less rights than any other citizens.

Butterbaugh's article is well worth reading and keeping for reference, however, it hurts me to my core that many who read it will be grossly mislead into beleiving these issues no longer exist. It is, for me, analogous to writing about cancer as if it ONLY effected millions of people during the period of time when cigarette smoking was far more prevalent than it is today and not including one single word to say that people today still suffer and die from many forms of cancer - whether they smoked and quit, or never even lit one up ever. It's a poor analogy, however, because the general public is well aware that cancer is still a very real threat. Not so adoption, making it a far more harmful omission.

The total lack of hint of any currently existing issue is not an oversight either. it is quite intentional. Butterbaugh, in conversations we have had, expresses an unwavering belief that those who lost children during select specific years, were treated far worse than mothers are today. She has steadfastly rejected the cries of mothers from the late 70's, 80's 90's and today who tell of harrowing treatment and who were every bit as victimized because of being minors with no rights, their parents' religious beliefs, or any number of other conditions that effect one's disempowerment. According to Butterbaugh, even if you were drugged and forced to sign papers but it occurred subsequent to her arbitrary 1973 cutoff...then you and your loss don't count. You had "options", she believes, that she didn't and thus her pain is greater than yours.

For me, that's like a mother whose child dies at birth arguing with a mother whose teen is killed which loss is worse.

For me, loss is loss is loss.

I feel the pain of those who truly voluntarily without any pressure made chose to place their child and later felt the impact of that decision. I know that many such mothers are suffering every bit as much as someone who had no options. In fact, in many ways the pain is greater when there is no one to blame but yourself.

The reality is that the pressures may be different and less direct, but to believe they are not there today is to believe in the tooth fairy.

This is why, my upcoming presentation at New England's Adoption Conference,
"Identity in Adoption: Glimpses Beneath the Masks" Saturday, April 17, 2010 Bellingham High School, Bellingham, MA. is on Lifelong and Universal Grief of Mothers Who Lose Children to Adoption. If you are planning to go, please let me know. My presentation shows how loss of a child to adoption universally effects mothers in all parts of the world TODAY regardless of their age, religious, social pressures etc. I believe this is a message that is vital to creating change, especially today as distance adds to the ability to dissociate from and dehumanize mothers in crisis as "other."

As long as demand for babies and falsified birth certificates exist - there are still battles to be fought.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Tyler Adoption Abuse TRAVESTY Leaves Children in Harm's Way!

Liberian sisters to stay with Oklahoma adoptive parents
Judge makes ruling despite son’s claims of abuse

Published: March 30, 2010

FAIRVIEW — Four Liberian-born sisters will remain with their adoptive parents who were convicted in February of abusing a fifth adopted child.

Home of Penny and Ardee Tyler on US 60, about 13 miles west of Fairview. The couple is accused of abusing one of their adopted Liberian daughters. Ardee Verlon Tyler, 51, and his wife, Penny Tyler, 46, are charged with felony child abuse. Their son, Ashton Malachi Tyler, 20, is charged with rape by instrumentation. Their daughter, Nathania Dellare Tyler, 21, is charged with misdemeanor assault and battery. .Photo by Jim Beckel

In a closed hearing Monday, Major County District Judge Vinson Barefoot ruled the children would remain with their adopted parents despite testimony from their 28-year-old son that he too was abused by the couple as a child, said the girls’ attorney, Melvin Johnson.

Johnson said he will appeal the decision, and has plans to investigate the couple for adoption fraud.

"These children should not be living with convicted, longtime child abusers,” Johnson said.

The child welfare case is linked to a criminal case involving the abuse of the second-oldest of five sisters adopted in 2005 from an orphanage in the African nation of Liberia.

The girl, now 13, endured abuse from her entire adopted family, according to court records. She is living with relatives in another state.

Her adoptive parents, Ardee Verlon Tyler, 51, and Penny Sue Tyler, 46, were convicted of felony child abuse and received 10-year suspended prison sentences. The girl was tied to bedposts, forced to sleep outside and denied food for several days as punishment, authorities say.

She also was abused by the Tyler’s biological children. Ashton Tyler, 21, was convicted of sexually assaulting her and sentenced to two years in prison with eight years probation. Nathania Tyler, 20, was convicted of misdemeanor assault and battery and was given a 90-day suspended jail sentence.

Son claims past abuse
Jeremy Tyler, 28, from Kansas, said his parents never should have been allowed to adopt the children.

"My childhood is riddled with abuse and reasons why,” Jeremy Tyler said in an interview after Monday’s hearing.

He said his stepmother was explosive and constantly degraded him, both verbally and physically.

She washed his mouth out with soap until he’d vomit, hit him with wooden kitchen tools and beat him with belts until his body welted, Jeremy Tyler said.

Jeremy Tyler said he gave the judge school records from when a school nurse was notified about welts that Penny Tyler had left on him after a beating when he was 11.

He said social service authorities were contacted, but nothing ever happened to stop the abuse.

Johnson said the Tylers’ abusive past should have been found by investigators during the impartial home study required for them to adopt the girls.

The Oklahoman has a copy of a report by Oklahoma Home Study in Edmond stating Jeremy Tyler was "very positive about his parents and about them adopting children from Liberia.”

Jeremy Tyler said he was never contacted.

Johnson said the study also reveals the Tylers claimed their annual income exceeded $87,000 and personal assets exceeded $363,000. During the criminal proceedings they reported their annual income as $20,000.

Calls to the Tylers’ attorney were not returned.

During the criminal proceedings against the family, a state Department of Human Services social worker testified it was in the girls’ best interest to remain with the Tylers.

Birth father is concerned
James Andrews, the girls’ biological father, said Monday the news that his four daughters would remain with the Tylers is "distressing.”

"I am suffering. Their family here is suffering, because we have so little information,” Andrews said.

Andrews said when adopting the girls, the Tylers promised him his daughters would be allowed to contact him and there would be regular reports of their life in the United States.

Since the Tylers left Liberia with his children, he’s gotten no word from them. He repeatedly telephones their home, but no one answers, he said.

Andews said he’s begging the Tylers to allow his oldest daughter, Mary, to speak with him.

"I feel helpless. I’m praying for all of them,” Andrews said.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Utah Adopters Nearly Kill 5-Year Old by Strangulation and Blunt Force Trauma

An Eagle Mountain, Utah woman is behind bars charged with brutally beating and strangling her adopted 5-year-old daughter. The injuries were so severe, investigators say that the girl barely made it through the night, "they did have to remove a portion of her skull in an effort to relieve some of the pressure from the brain swelling," says Spencer Cannon of the Utah County Sheriff's office, "they weren't sure she would survive the night at that point," says Cannon.

Cannon says it all started Sunday morning when Leslie and Gary Erickson brought the badly injured girl to the Eagle Mountain Fire Department, "(the couple) told them (emergency workers) their daughter had fallen and hurt herself," but according to the sheriff's office, it didn't take long for doctors to determine that something very different had happened, "the injuries, the doctors say she sustained blunt force trauma to the head and had injuries that were consistent with strangulation," says Cannon.

Deputies went into the couple's Eagle Mountain home where, we are told, two of the couple's other children displayed signs of abuse as well. Seven of the Erickson's eight children were removed from the home and are in the care of DCFS.

Deputies say other charges are possible, the little girl remains in critical condition at Primary Children's Medical Center.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

When is Payment For Human Life OK?

Egg donors offered up to $50,000

Fees far exceed ethics guidelines, study finds

Fertility companies are paying egg donors high fees that often exceed guidelines, especially for donors from top colleges and with certain appearances and ethnicities, a new study finds.

The upshot: Parents with infertility problems are willing to pay up to $50,000 for a human egg they hope will produce a smart, attractive child.

While there are few government regulations controlling the use of this technology, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), a professional organization, has issued guidelines. The ASRM ethics committee recommends limits on the amount of money egg donors should be paid, saying "sums of $5,000 or more require justification and sums above $10,000 are not appropriate." Yet the recent study found that out of more than 100 egg-donor ads from 300 college newspapers, about half offered fees above $5,000, with a quarter of the ads touting payments exceeding the $10,000 limit.

SAT scores matter [a good reason to get those kids to study harder!]

The study also found that the advertised fees correlated with the average SAT score (standardized test used for college admissions) at the college where the ad was placed, which suggests agencies are paying more to donors who appear more intelligent. This too is a violation of the guidelines, which state that compensation should not vary according to donors' "ethnic or other personal characteristics."

The guidelines were set up to avoid ethical dilemmas associated with putting a price on the seeds for human life, according to the ASRM. And scaling that price based on certain human genetic material that is considered superior is especially worrying to some.

"Commodification is a concern when­ever any monetary value is placed on human oocytes [eggs], but particularly when high values are placed on hu­man oocytes from donors with spe­cific characteristics — a practice that also raises eugenic concerns," wrote the researcher, Aaron D. Levine, a professor of public policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, in a paper in The Hastings Center Report.

Yet most of the ads Levine found in his study contained appearance or eth­nicity requirements for donors.

The problem is that there are few oversights to make sure fertility clinics and egg donation agencies obey the guidelines, and there are few serious consequences for those who flout the rules. [NO DUH! - same is true in adoption! "Ethical guidelines" with no accountability of enforcement.]

...only about half of the ads offered $5,000 or less — within the guidelines. Advertisements in the Harvard Crimson, the Daily Princetonian, and the Yale Daily News offered $35,000, and an ad in the Brown Daily Herald offered $50,000 to "an extraordinary egg donor." Many of these high-end fees were promised on behalf of particular couples using agencies to recruit a donor. Other objections to such high fees for egg donors rest on the worry that the money could induce women to overlook the risks or drawbacks of donating, potentially creating a situation in which women are being exploited.

"It may lead some women to become egg donors who would not otherwise do so, but that does not mean that they have been exploited, much less unfairly induced," wrote law professor John A. Robertson of the University of Texas in a related commentary in The Hastings Center Report. Robinson is a previous chair of the ASRM ethics committee, and was not involved in Levine's study.

He pointed out that banning payments to egg donors would drastically reduce the number of donated eggs available, presumably because the financial compensation is a large part of the motivating factor for egg donors. [And this is a problem because?....what about all those "unwanted" "orphans" "languishing" in orphanages? Not to mention the 129,000 kids in U.S., foster care who could be adopted -- who prompt tax credit increases every year!]

Friday, March 26, 2010

The NJ Legislation May Have Wide Spread Effects

I met today for three hours with a representative of of NJCare (who prefers not to be named and will thus be referred here as THE REP) to discuss my concerns about this proposed adoption access bill, and discovered more reason for concern. This post is long - but read to the end and find link to a shocking document.

THE REP talked about being excited about the possibility of the NJ bill finally going through after 30 years of trying. He sees the one year veto period as negligible and feels that when all is set and done, this eighth state will be a model for others, particularly NJ and PA.

The bill approved by the Senate gives original parents one year from the date of enactment of regulations to contact the state registrar and opt for non-disclosure. The bill requires the state to conduct a national media campaign to spread awareness of the new law. [At what financial cost?]

After the opt-out period, parents will be required to fill out a form declaring whether they wish to be contacted directly, through an intermediary or not at all. [More costs.] However, parents who tell the state they don't want to be contacted will still be required to submit nonidentifying information about medical, cultural and social histories.
My original concerns follow:

5. (New section) a of the proposed S799 which hs passed the Senate.

An adopted person 18 years of age or older, a direct descendant 18 years of age or older of the adopted person if the adopted person is deceased, or the adoptive parent or guardian of a minor adopted person may obtain from an approved agency or the attorney who facilitated the adoption any family history information concerning the adopted person that is contained in that person's adoption file, upon submission of a written, notarized request to the agency or attorney....As used in this section, "family history information" includes medical, cultural and social history information provided by the adopted person's birth parent and maintained by an approved agency or attorney who facilitated an adoption.

In addition, I am also concerned about:

Page 9, line 10, section 10 (a) An adopted person 18 years of age or older, a direct descendant 18 years of age or older if the adopted person is deceased, or the adoptive parent or guardian of a minor adopted person, may request the approved agency or intermediary that placed the child for adoption or conducted an investigation pursuant to section 12 of P.L. 1977, c.367 (C.9:3-48) to provide any available non-identifying family medical history information concerning the adopted person contained in that person's adoption file.

b. Upon receipt of a request pursuant to subsection a. of this section, the approved agency or intermediary shall provide the requester with a detailed summary of any available non-identifying family medical history information concerning the adopted person contained in the person's adoption file.

A similar provision exists in the bill on page 7,line 7.

Reasons for concern and supporting evidence:

1. Mothers who relinquished their right to raise their children relinquished no other rights as citizens and are thus entitled to the same protection of the law as all other citizens. We have a constitutional right to privacy and to be "secure in our persons" and "our papers" and "effects" from access to our confidential medical/social files without our consent.

2. Relinquishing mothers shared information – at a time of great stress - with social workers, clergy, and other adoption agency employees who were providing health counseling to them. As such, it is confidential and covered by HIPAA’s clear intent just as a psychiatrist's patients' counseling would be.

3. Mothers were not specifically asked nor did they agree to provide this information for the purpose of it being shared with their children at a later date – unless a mother returns to her agency and signs a waiver of release.

4. The law does not provide the right of mothers to their OWN agency records.

5. Section 5A, ironically, calls for the adoptee to submit a "written, notarized request" to obtain this information, but does not require permission of the mother whose records are at question.

6. The usefulness of such information is medically is minimal at best. Mothers are relatively young at the time of relinquishment and cannot tell anyone what their parents would die of or even of diseases they themselves might develop later in life.

7. Mothers have an equally compelling need for medical information to be shared reciprocally with them, as it could be crucial for a mother deciding to have subsequent children, or life saving for any other children she might bear.

8. Mothers were asked personal details about their sexual life (first sexual intercourse, number of partners, number of pregnancies, abortion, attempted abortions). Revelation of such inflammatory information is not only an embarrassing violation of confidentially to the mother, but could be very harmful – rather than helpful - to the adoptee, especially being shared by a stranger.

9. Agency records routinely contain judgments about mothers. If she cried too much she was labeled "hysterical" or "out of control." If she didn't cry "enough", she was often labeled "cold" and "callous"..."uncaring."

10. Adoptees have a right to their OBC, to know the names of their progenitors. Any further information needs to be gleaned from those persons, not from those person's confidential files, just as all non-adopted do.

Adoptees justify their “right” – or need – for additional confidential medical and social records due to the possibility that they mother is deceased or unable leaving them without medical vitally important history. The fist concern is mediated by the fact that access to the OBC would secure access to a death certificate which in turn would reveal grandparents names. These are emotionally compelling arguments but gain, looking at adoptees rights in terms of equalizing them with non-adoptees, we see that many people have one or more parent who is unknown to them, has deserted, is mentally incapacitated to the point of being able to reveal accurate or useful medical history. Additionally, religious beliefs or simply very secretive persons may be inclined not to reveal their history to an offspring.

It is time for NJCare to recognize what Adam Pertman testified to, that it was time to see beyond simply thinking adopted people only want or need their medical histories, adding that having their original birth certificate and the names of their biological parents represented a much deeper need and should be their right, not only for their psychological health and sense of well-being, but also making them equal to the rest of us who always had this information.
At this meeting today I discovered that NJ has has a form that has been in effect since 1977. The form is entitled Adoption Medical History and is a 19 page form that exacts the most detailed medical history I have ever seen in my entire life for both the relinquishing mother and father, and is routinely given to adoptive parents to ensure the "pedigree" of the child.

The form is NOT completed by the mother or father, but rather by a third party - physician or other. We are trying to research this.

On the final page, there is a section for adoptive parents to sign an understanding of receipt of the information that seems to be a release of liability against the adoption agency.

No where on the form however is there any place for the mother or father to sign a release of this information which covers all possible genetic diseases, and also non transmittable or genetic facts such as abortions, having smoked pot, and STDS such as chlamydia. We are also attempting to ascertain whether there is any separate release form for relinquishing parents to sign, giving permission for this information to be shared.

I scanned the form as a PDF and uploaded it at Look for PDF icon in upper right.
THE REP assured me that once the bill passed, there was ample time during the regulations portion to make adjustments. I was not sold, especially when he suggested regulations could define vague terms such as "social history" and could even select between vital medical information and less vital and non genetic or transmittable facts included all on the same form. I saw no possibility of that as the form is already in use and being to adopters.

Read the form. I believe you will share my concerns about this violation of the privacy and confidentiality of mothers (and fathers.)

I fully support access to BILATERAL access to the OBC.

I also fully support and encourage mothers to go their agency and sign a waiver or release to revel any and all information they saw fit to share.

I also support adoptees having access to their PEDIATRIC hospital birth records, again just as any non-adopted person might have access to their own hospital birth records...but not that of their mother.

I FIRMLY OPPOSE, however, the violation of our confidentiality and privacy by revealing any medical, social or cultural information without our specific permission -- anything beyond ethnicity and age.

In cruel and ironic twist, this letter was printed in a major NJ newspaper Monday, March 22 by a "coalition" of all opposed to the bill.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Once a Mother

...I’m everything you lost. You won’t forgive me.
My memory keeps getting in the way of your history.
There is nothing to forgive. You can’t forgive me.
I hid my pain even from myself; I revealed my pain only to myself.

There is everything to forgive. You can’t forgive me.

if only somehow you could have been mine,
What would not have been possible in this world?

Agha Shahid Ali in: The Country Without a Post Office
quoted in

Once a Mother:
Relinquishment and adoption from the perspective of
unmarried mothers in South India, by PienBos

Corrupt Adoption Attorney, Kevin Cohen UPDATE

Follow-up toNY the "ponzi scheme" adoption lawyer story.
Lawyer Arrested in Adoption Scam Is Offered Plea Deal

March 25, 2010

A possible plea deal for a Long Island, N.Y., attorney charged with running an adoption scam could land him behind bars for up to 20 years. Kevin Cohen, who was indicted in October on charges that he stole more than $300,000 from couples looking to adopt by promising them children who did not exist, has until April 23 to decide whether to take a plea of 7 1/3 to 22 years, which under statute is capped at 20 years.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Help for Tennessee's Most Vulnerable

Yesterday we won an extraordinary victory for abused and neglected children — and vulnerable kids throughout the state of Tennessee are safer as a result.

When the state passed a law that compromised the fairness of kids’ hearings in juvenile court, it was fought in to federal court.

Last night, the state legislature voted unanimously to repeal a part of the law that interfered with the decision-making of juvenile court judges — and retained a provision aimed at keeping families together and children safe at home whenever possible.

For Tennessee’s abused and neglected kids, it’s the best of both worlds — protecting their rights to fair hearings and preserving safeguards aimed at keeping them safely out of foster care.

Children’s Rights is still involved in a massive effort to reform the entire child welfare system of Tennessee — a successful campaign that has kept children across the state safer and brought increasing numbers of kids home from foster care to loving families and permanent homes.

Good news? NOT!

Good news for adoptive families from the health care bill signed into law. The adoption tax credit has been extended until the end of 2011 and increased from $12,170 to $13,170 for adoptions occurring after January 1, 2010 (it’s retroactive). The credit is also now refundable.
You can read the bills text on page 903 of 906 here.
USA Today’s brief analysis:

“Taxpayers who adopt children: Effective in 2010, the bill makes the adoption credit refundable, increases the credit by $1,000 and extends the increased adoption credit through 2011.”

This was included - amazingly - in the health care bill as part of the Bob Casey from PA amendment.

He's a pro-life Democrat.

It also included money for Pregnancy Assistance Funding for expectant and new mothers - albeit a lot less than committed to the tax credit for adoption, of course.

Additionally, Senator Casey was successful in adding two significant provisions to the Senate language that will help reduce the number of abortions and support adoption:

• Creation of a Pregnancy Assistance Fund that will be initially funded at $250 million over 10 years, providing states with funding to help pregnant and parenting teens and college students with assistance for such basic necessities as child care, housing, education and more. Funding will also assist pregnant victims of domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault and other sexual crimes;

• The Adoption Tax Credit is increased by $1,000 for the next two years and is refundable. This increases federal support for adoption by $1.2 billion over the next two years.

For more on the Adoption Tax Credit see this blog post.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Universal Health Care Helps Families in Crisis

Starting 2014 insurers will be barred from turning down people with pre-existing medical problems, and the government will provide tax credits to help millions of working families buy coverage they can't afford now.

Tax credits to help pay for premiums will start flowing to middle-class working families, and Medicaid will be expanded to cover more low income people. Households making up to four times the poverty level - about $88,000 for a family of four- will be eligible for assistance. But the most generous aid - including help with copayments and deductibles - will be for those on the lower-to-middle rungs of the income scale.

When all is said and done, the majority of working-age Americans and their families will still have employer-sponsored coverage, as they do now. But the number of uninsured will drop by more than half. Illegal immigrants would account for more than one-third of the remaining 23 million people without coverage.

Coming soon: Roughly a third of people in their 20s are uninsured, so allowing young adults to remain on their parents' plans until 26 would be a significant new option for families. This may help some expectant mothers avoid being at the mercy of adopters to pay their medical bills.

Starting this year would prevent insurers from canceling the policies of people who get sick, from denying coverage to children with medical problems, and from putting lifetime dollar limits on a policy.

Not soon enough for all the family struggling to survive - the families losing their homes - or children - or going bankrupt because of one major illness.

I am proud to be an American today for the first time in a long time! I agree with Nancy Pelosi who said: "It's on a par with passing Social Security and Medicare." Ted Kennedy's dreams have finally come true!

What is hard for me to understand are protesters with signs calling this legislation "UnAmerican!"

Jane Trenka on International Adoption

Structural Violence, Social Death, and International Adoption: Part 3 of 4

Why International Adoption From Korea Doesn’t Make Sense (and Why Korea Does It Anyway)

Follow link to comlete article

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Adoption Access Laws and Policies are Upside Down and Backwards

I want to suggest that the conventional understanding of adoption
should be turned on its head.
Rickie Solinger, Beggars and Choosers

Everywhere in In most of the world births are documented. One’s birth certificate is the basis for all identification and benefits within one’s jurisdiction and the ability to travel outside its borders. Whether publicly accessible or not, it is the property of those named on it - the child and the parents - who have unfettered access to it.

When people are adopted in America and other industrial nations, they are issued not a document stating that they have been adopted, but rather an entirely new “certificate of birth” as if “born again” to their new legal and entirely different set of parents. This “certificate of birth” called “amended” replaces the original birth certificate (OBC). It changes to whom the child was ”born”, the child’s given name and cal often changes the place and date of birth as well as in some cases his race, becoming a state committed fraudulently issued document that one’s entire life from that point forward based on.

In the post WWII era, when thousands of babies were placed for adoption to protect mothers’ reputations from the stigma of having birthed an “illegitimate” child outside of marriage, it became common practice state by state for the OBC to be sealed and secretive even to those to whom it would otherwise belong. The intent was to make the adopted child “as if born” into his adoptive family in a way that he never had to know that he was adopted, which it was felt might make him feel “different.” The child was at the behest of his adopters to reveal the truth, or to live out his life falsely believing that his psychological parents are in fact his genetic progenitors.

The result has been that instead of preventing stigmas for relinquishing mothers and adopted persons, it legitimized them. Adoption became a legalized “dirty secret” not just from the public, but for the parties to the adoption itself.

Mothers who lost children to adoption had to add the agony of not knowing if their children were alive and well cared for to the trauma of their loss and feelings of shame and guilt foisted upon them for having soiled their parents’ good names. They coped in various ways, many doing as they were told and maintaining the secrecy – never telling anyone – living silently with their unrecognized, unmourned, limbo loss and irrevocable lifelong grief.

Some adoptees have lived into adulthood not knowing they were adopted. Others are told that they were adopted and born to “another woman” and nothing more. They too are thus consigned to silence and secrecy – often feeling a sense of rejection and fearing being rejected again if they asked too many questions about a verboten subject. Amidst a national fascination with genealogy, adoptees report being told their natural curiosity about their heritage is indicative of a lack of “gratitude.”

Beliefs about secrecy are changing. Recognizing that secrets are almost revealed creating feelings of betrayal, current thinking in adoption practice is for more openness. As newly occurring domestic adoptions are often open from the start today, states deal with reversing draconian laws which sealed the OBCs from adoption separated persons. Six states have various degrees of access, some with stipulations such as providing mothers an opportunity to “veto” their child’s access to their own OBC or contact, or requiring intermediaries for contact, thus keeping this population infantilized and marginalized.

State legislators struggle with what seems to be a balancing act between the rights of the adoptee to his own birth certificate, and the alleged right of mothers and fathers to anonymity. Lacking any documentation of any such promises made to mothers at the time of relinquishment, proponents of continued secrecy claim it was “assumed.”

The absurdity of this claim that OBCs remains sealed to protect mothers privacy is glaring when one recognizes that everything short of her identity is exposed, including things that are far more delicate, private, and potentially devastating in a day and age when people are able to find one another, circumventing the sealed record. Adoptive parents are routinely given medical, social and cultural history as are returning adult adoptees. While such information redacts names – which the adoptive parents may have on an adoption decree – it contains information gathered via confidential counseling sessions between the expectant or new mothers and social workers, clergy or their representatives. As such, this information should be protected under HIPAA’s health information privacy rules. Ironically, many adoption agencies deny mothers who relinquished access to such files about themselves. And no other persons have access to their parents’ medical or confidential counseling files without their permission.

Adoption files routinely contain women’s gynecological history including age of first sexual relation, number of partners, STDS, number of pregnancies and number of pregnancy terminations, spontaneous or otherwise. Such information is not genetic and of no value for the health of the adoptee and would not be accessible by a non-adopted person about his or her mother. Also included are psychological evolutions of women at a time of great stress with judgments such as “hysterical”, depressed, or “ flat” and emotionless.

It is absurd and preposterous that this personal and confidential information contained in adoption agency records is routinely sought and provided – while at the same time alleging “protection of mothers’ privacy.” Parents who relinquished their children, relinquished no other rights or protection under the constitution. Yet the birth certificates, which should be the property of the parties named therein, is denied to the adoptee and often to the mother as well.

Such practices are uʍop ǝpısdn and backwards and treat adoptees and their original family members in ways that no other citizens are treated, discriminating against them and denying them rights equal to all others. They are simultaneously denied the right to access and the right to protection of confidential records.

There is no justification in U.S. law to mandate laws that apply only to certain people based on their birth status. The only fair, just and equitable solution to equalize these populations is for all states to cease withholding original birth certificates from the parties named therein and to stop the practice of releasing confidential information intended to placate curious adoptees while further violating their mothers.

Testifying at a recent legislative hearing about proposed NJ bill regarding adoptee access to records, Adam Pertman, adoptive father and executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, said that it is time to see beyond simply thinking adopted people only want or need their medical histories. Having their original birth certificate and the names of their original parents represents a much deeper need and should be their right, not only for their psychological health and sense of well-being, but also making them equal to the rest of us who always had this information. (

Other than a right to privacy of health records, and confidential counseling conversations with social workers and clergy, there is no other law that protects anyone’s secrets or lies. Every day past affairs and out-of-wedlock children come back into people’s lives with no law to prevent it from happening. Adoptees and their original families need to be made whole and treated with the same respect – and face the same consequences – as all others and not have laws that apply only to them.

Most mothers who placed children for adoption long to know they are well. Adoptees who find their mothers are welcomed approximately 90% of the time. In the first year that records were opened in Oregon 5,318 requests were made by adoptees for records and only 58 birth parents did not want contact. In Delaware there were 414 requests for records by adoptees and only 14 birth parents did not want contact. Laws protect the majority, not the few. Those who do not want any intrusion into their lives have every right to say no if and when a child comes calling. Sufficient legal protection exist to protect all citizens from unwanted intrusions if they become harassing.

Legislators and grassroots reformers need to remove all language that is vague in reference to access of adoption agency “files” or “records” and become clear, concise and explicit in requesting access to the original birth certificate to all parties named therein as a restoration of denied human rights. Even Bastard Nation, which began with a strong theoretical differentiation between one's right to their OBC and search and "medical and psychological need to know" does not maintain that distinction in their mission and blurs the lines by using the term "records."

Equality very simply means “the same as” – not less nor more than any others have legal access to. Any and all medical and social history can be acquired the same way all other non-adopted people acquire theirs – by asking their parents. And all mothers and fathers have every right to reveal as much or as little as they see fit to reveal, thus balancing everyone’s rights. The alternative is for original parents to voluntarily sign a waiver and or to file updated medical information.

Mothers who relinquished have long been oppressed and silenced by society, or simply concerned with reunification to ease their concerns for the well-being of their children. They are now becoming increasingly aware of and vocal about their rights. In a climate where mothers’ rights have long been pitted against adoptees rights, keeping the issues clearly defined in this manner will defuse opposition from mothers who oppose violation of their HIPAA rights.

Clarifying the vagaries of terms such as “records” will likewise help legislators, reformers and the public rights and also help assuage opposition of some state ACLU branches. Reformers and legislators need to get back to basics, keep it simple, and keep the focus on equality, something all Americans can understand and support and legislators are wont to deny.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Quotes For Today...

Because you cannot know who you are until you know where you come from. ~ Catch shrase NBC's Who Do You Think You Are?

The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for. ~ Maureen Dowd

You've got to rattle your cage door. You've got to let them know that you're in there, and that you want out. Make noise. Cause trouble. You may not win right away, but you'll sure have a lot more fun. ~Florynce Kennedy

You always miss 100% the shots you don’t take. ~ Gretsky

If you do not speak up when it matters, when would it matter that you speak? The opposite of courage is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow. ~ Jim Hightower

Every great achievement was once considered impossible. ~ H.J. Brown

You must do the thing you think you cannot do. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope. ~ Robert F. Kennedy

First they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. - Gandhi

The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not deter us from support of a cause we believe to be just. ~ A. Lincoln

Rebels and dissidents challenge the complacent belief in a just world, and...they are usually denigrated for their efforts. While they are alive, they may be called "cantankerous", "crazy", "hysterical", "uppity", or "duped". Dead, some of them become saints and heroes, the sterling characters of history. It's a matter of proportion. One angry rebel is crazy, three is a conspiracy, fifty is a movement. ~ Carol Travis

You do not become a "dissident" just because you decide one day to take up this most unusual career. You are thrown into it by your personal sense of responsibility, combined with a complex set of external circumstances. You are cast out of the existing structures and placed in a position of conflict with them. It begins as an attempt to do your work well, and ends with being branded an enemy of society. ~Vaclav Havel

For the QUOTRS link above, under the masthead

Thursday, March 18, 2010

NY/NJ Event

"Mother and Child" sneak preview- women affected by adoption.

Monday, April 26, 2010
8:00pm - 10:00pm
Count Basie Theater - to benefit Theater Restoration
99 Monmouth Street - Walking distance from NJ Transit
Red Bank, NJ


View the film and take the opportunity to distribute educational literature from our organizations. We have been given the privilege to set up an educational literature distribution table inside the Count Basie, set up is at 6:30, the film is at 8:00.

Tickets are $5.00 group rate. Message me if you want Cathi to buy your ticket. Message her privately if you have literature to distribute.

Sneak Preview before U.S. release!

Film stars: Naomi Watts, Annette Bening, Kerry Washington, Jimmy Smits & Samuel L. Jackson

Three women's lives share a common core: they have all been profoundly affected by adoption. KAREN (Annette Bening) had a baby at 14, gave her up at birth, and has been haunted ever since by the daughter she never knew. ELIZABETH (Naomi Watts) grew up as an adopted child; she's a bright and ambitious lawyer, but a flinty loner in her personal life. LUCY (Kerry Washington) is just embarking with her husband on the adoption odyssey, looking for a baby to become their own.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


FirstMother has an interesting blog post expressing her annoyance with adoptees who express interest in obtaining "information" without the need to search or meet their progenitors.

She suggests that the cause for this phenom may be fear of rejection and loyalty to their adoptive family.

In addition, I see two major contributing factors. First is adoption agency policies of offering non-identifying information as if these crumbs - often untrue - will satisfy the itch and the adoptee will go back home and resume his role of being the good adoptee and stop upsetting his parent with his ingratitude and disloyalty. This aspect we have little to no control over except to get the word out that such info is so often false. So, being overjoyed at finding out you are of Irish descent, for instance, may be in fact a sick joke.

This leads to the second contributing factor which puts the blame squarely on US...OUR movement. Our lack of focusing clearly and loudly enough on the HUMAN RIGHTS aspect of a group of people being discriminated against and denied the same rights as others in regard to access to their own birth certificate.

The fears FirstMother addresses are both associated with search and contact.  Focus on the human rights aspect and separate it from search, reunion, ethnic and medical info and you eliminate the fears of rejection and being disloyal.

Thinking as I often do about why gay rights movement is more successful than we are, and why they are less afraid t stand up for themselves...I think that P-Flag has had a hand in that. It has helped to educate the parents of gays to better understand that they (the parents) did nothing wrong; that it's no one's "fault" that their kid is gay, and it's nothing to be ashamed of - or evil!

The more parents of gays came to accept their children, the easier it is for the offspring to stand up and shout for their rights!   The more they speak out for the RIGHTS, the more the public understands and separates the human rights aspect of the issue from the uncomfortable - to some - sexual aspect of homosexuality.

This, is a workable model for us: helping adoptive parents and the public understand that the issue of equal access has nothing to with GRATITUDE or loyalty or a shortcoming of them or or their paenting. It would help, I believe alleviate adoptive parents' fears of alienation of affection...or being relegated to "glorified baby sitters."

Alleviate adopters fears and you eliminate a great deal of the adoptee fears.

Leave search and reunion out of the conversation and eliminate fear of rejection. Leave medical and other records out and you have a pure human rights equality issue that everyone can understand without being labeled psychologically unbalanced.

CONTEST: Come up with a rally cry. A brief - catchy - phrase that gets across the point above in red.   Something on the order of "I'm here, I'm queer, get used to it!"  That phrase seems to me to have been a critical turning point in the gay rights movement (although surprisingly I found no info on it in Wikipedia or otherwise on the Internet).

The winner gets a better shot at obtaining his or her OBC!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

UPDATE And Video of Russian TV Interview Re: Latest Adoption Child Beaten to Death

Evidence has emerged that the parents, Nanette and Michael Craver, who have been charged with killing their 7-year-old son, Nathaniel, born Ivan Skorobogatov, in Russia and adopted in 2003... forged their documents.

This kind of fraud is just the tip of the iceberg in the international adoption industry which pits wealthy American parents against impoverished local officials.

I was interviewed on Russia-America TV about this latest victim of abuse at the hands of his adopters.

LINK to the the RT TV Inteview

See comments at YouTube for this video.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Should adoptees get a first mother's medical, cultural and social history?

A excellent piece on an issue I first brought to you here on March 5, and March 6...

an issue being heatedly discussed on Facebook: Adoptee access to agency files.

I encourage you to read the post and comments on BirthMother/FirstMother

Russian Adoption Horror Stories Coverage

I am heading to NY for a live broadcast of Russian-American TV where I am being interviewed regarding the enormously disproportionate number of U.S. adoptions of Russian children viciously abused or severely neglected, more than twelve resulting in murder convictions.

The latest: Nathaniel Craver, born Ivan Skorobogatov was adopted by an American family from Russia's Chelyabinsk region, Nanette and Michael Craver with his twin sister, Dasha (Elizabeth) in 2003; called the 15th or 16th victim of his "rescuing" "forever family" in recent years.

Russia-America TV focus on adoption and the child abuse. See it on Time Warner TODAY at 45 PM ch. 135...or at click "America" for a LIVE STREAM.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Lessons Learned From Hindsight and Defeat

We did not make the top ten competition. Perhaps it was just a case of American Idol syndrome in which it is not necessarily the most deserving who wins – but the one who has the most friends to keep voting multiple times.

We gave it our best. I sent and received DOZENS of email reminders to vote. But perhaps we preached too much to the choir and not enough outside “our own.”

On Facebok, blogs, conferences…we talk to ourselves!  Are we reaching and educating the public or even the vast numbers of adoption-touched persons?

We reached under 3,000 votes. This, in a country with a country with a 2.5% adopted population, a nation in which adoption touches nearly everyone in one way or another, with the Adoption Institute's Public Opinion Benchmark survey finding that 58% of Americans know someone who has been adopted, have adopted a child, or have relinquished a child for adoption.

We need to look at the latest defeat not in isolation, but rather in conjunction with the history of attempting to allow adoptees access to the truth of the birth…you see little success. It is approximately SIXTY YEARS “we” have been fighting this battle beginning with Jean Paton in the 1950s – almost immediately after they were sealed. In those six decades we have succeeded in getting a handful of states have some form of openness” averages out to one per decade.   If we continue at the same pace it will take us 460 years to be successful in al states – or never in our lifetimes!  Seems it is time to rethink our strategies and try something different.


•    Drop Out Rate
For the thirty plus years I have been involved in adoption reform< “open records” etc., we have been plagued by the “Join, Search, Find, Reunite, Quit” syndrome among our members. Our retention rate is pitiful!

•    Lack of Finances
We are a frugal group. Members too often ask “what’s in it for me” before paying member dues. We are failing to make it clear that we need the member NUMBERS to effect change. Groups struggle to stay afloat, even when holding costly conferences which are choir preaching events in any event. On top of all of that, we have struggles with misappropriations of funds and embezzlement

•    Overcoming Fear
I see our movement as comparable to the very early years of the civil rights movement. Back to the Rosa Parks and Martin Luther king, Jr. days.  At that time in history average Black Americans were still afraid to speak out. They feared retribution. They were thankful to no longer be enslaved and didn’t want to make waves and disturb the small taste of freedom they had.

Many adoptees are totally convinced – without reunion – that they are “better off’ having been adopted and are grateful.  The fear rocking the boat, biting the hand that feeds them, being ungrateful, finding themselves rejected – again.

Recognizing this, it al the more behooves us to keep the message very simple and NOT about search, reunion, or even medical need to know. Keep it purely a RIGHTS issue.  

•    Lack of National and International Focus
Yes, adoption laws and policies are under state auspices. But we need to create  a strong national organization to represent our common/mutual goal; to get the word our to the general public and complacent “grateful” adoptees.

Bastard Nation came into the game with the goal of focusing on the RIGHTS issue and moving us away from search and reunion. They correctly new that keeping reunion out of the mix made it less threatening for adoptees harboring strong loyalty and concern not to hurt their adoptive parents. I love, admire, respect and have the highest regard for Marley. But she cant do it alone!  BN suffers the same lack of personnel and lack of money, not even able to put out their quarterly newsletter right now. BN chose their name intentionally for its shock value, however it seems contrary to meeting the needs of the “closeted” adoptee. BN does not have the manpower to be a cohesive national voice for the state efforts, including necessary training for state activists.

The AC was intended originally to be an umbrella organization for the myriad of state and local search and support groups. It has however weakened its mission, IMHO, in order to court the finances of adoptive parents.


II was asked recently if I thought petitions worked. I also noted that Joe Soll, bless his soul, is asking if there is interest in yet another march on Washington.

I personally think that marches and petitions are a total waste of time (and the later a lot of effort) only if they reach a participation level of TENS OF THOUSANDS and grasp media attention. Thus, now is not the time for such efforts. We need to increase our base first.

I suggest a new national organization with a name the likes of the NAACP and a clear simple focus to galvanize us and recruit. Our message and focus must be clear and simple:  Adoptees deserve the same rights as non-adopted persons regarding access to their own OBC.   

I see the MAJOR purpose of this organization to be EDUCATION and ADVERTISING. The counter NCFA disseminating op eds, articles, press releases, interviews etc, to educate the public and adoptees about the discrimination and denial of rights. A long-term goal: the possibility of a class action suit.

I suggest a powerful non-offensive or cutsie name such as:
•    National  International Adoptee Human Rights Association, or
•    National International Association for Adoption Human Rights, or
•    Association for Equal Rights for Adopted Persons

It will take a group of committed people who are willing to put in time and money to get it off the ground.


WE need to understand the simplicity and focus of our message.

Keep It Simple. It can be flushed out of course with an explanation of the issuance of a falsified birth certificate and the sealing of the original certificate; the history of sealed records; etc.

The Southwest Florida Chapter of ACLU adopted the following on April 21, 1987: The Rights of Adult Adopted Persons, Policy Statement (excerpt)

"Numerous states have laws or procedures which impede the ability of adopted adults, their birthparents and other relatives to ascertain each others' identities. The ACLU believes that so long as state and/or local governments choose to maintain birth records, such records must be maintained and accessible without discrimination by virtue of adopted or non-adopted status.

"Toward this end, the ACLU believes that laws suppressing information about adoptees and/or their birthparents, and laws allowing access to such information only upon consent or registration, or laws allowing access to such information only upon court order, deny adopted persons, their birthparents, and their relatives equal protection of the laws and constitutes unwarranted interference by the government with the right of people to choose whether to associate.

"The political debate on the adoption issue has tended to be framed in terms of psychological issues; emotional issues; medical and sociological issues. The above policy confines itself to a civil liberties analysis."
Sadly, some sate reformers seek access to “records” which muddies this clarity.

The original birth certificate is the property of those named on it. Denial of that access is unique and no mother was never promised her child would not know t whom he was born. 

Yes, adoptees are at risk medically not knowing their family history. This disparity is equalized by allowing them access to their OBC and then leaving it up to them if they want to pursue finding and asking their birth family medical or any other information – THE SAME AS IS DONE BY NON ADOPTEES. 

Other records such as medical, or agency files are confidential and are protected by HIPAA law. Such records are not available to non-adopted adult children so their access dos not come under an equality agenda.

Agency records contain information that was given IN CONFIDENCE to social workers, they and may or may not be true, and are often filled with judgments of mothers in a state of stress. In terms of their medical worth, they can only contain what was known to YOUNG mothers – not what their parents may have subsequently died of, or any illness they themselves my have subsequently been diagnosed with.

Mothers who was raped, or committed adultery, or had tried to abort, would be horrified to have such facts revealed by strangers rather than being able to share them herself with her offspring as she would with any child she had not relinquished.  No citizens have access to their parent’s medical records or any other such personal files told in confidence to a counselor. Access to them is a violation and is not consistent with simple EQUALITY to non-adopted citizens.

It muddies the issue, gets it off equality and a human rights issues, and losses the support of the ACLU and many mothers who otherwise support adoptee access to their OBC.

UPDATE 3/18: Any newly formed org should be INTERNATIONAL, not national. It has occurred to me since writing this that there is a very large of transnational adoptees, mostly Korean right now, who we need to embrace. This community is growing rapidly and in the not to distant future domestically born adoptees will be the minority. We need to help them with their issues and have them come on board and support us on access to the OBC, even if it would not directly effect the, But if we build solidarity we add strength in numbers and help al of us.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dead Person Adopts from The Grave

In the Matter of W.R. and L.R. for the Adoption of S.W.
FAMILY LAW — Adoption
The court grants the final legal adoption to both prospective adoptive parents, including the deceased adoptive parent, effective the date of the filing of petition for adoption, crafting a four-part test designed to protect the best interests of the child and the adoptive parents.

The court may, for good cause, direct the entry of judgment of adoption nunc pro tunc (now for then) as of the date the petition for adoption was instituted

I/M/O W.R. and L.R. For The Adoption of S.W., __ N.J. Super. __ (Law Div. 2010), FA-06-08-10A, March 2, 2010:

Adoption was not recognized at common law and it is a creation of a statute. N.J.S.A. 9:3-37. The New Jersey Adoption Act, which governs adoption is liberally construed so that the best interests of the children are promoted and due regard is given to the rights of all persons affected by an adoption. N.J.S.A. 9:3-37. More directly, N.J.S.A. 9:3-50(b), states that the court may, for good cause, “direct the entry of judgment of adoption nunc pro tunc as of the date the petition for adoption was instituted.” N.J.S.A. 9:3-50(b). The statute also gives the adoptive child the same rights of inheritance as a child born in lawful wedlock of the adopting parent. N.J.S.A. 9:3-50(b).

If the child sought to be adopted is of the age of ten years or over, the appearance of the child shall be required at the final adoption hearing, unless waived by the court for good cause shown, and the child’s wishes concerning the adoption shall be solicited by the court and given consideration if the child is of sufficient capacity to form an intelligent preference regarding the adoption. N.J.S.A. 9:3-49.

New Jersey recognizes the doctrine of equitable adoption as a theory of inheritance under intestacy. Burdick v. Grimshaw, 113 N.J. Eq. 591, 596,168 A.2d 186, 188 (N.J. Ch. 1933). Equitable adoption is a device which can be used to support a claim for benefits which would be available if a legally recognized parent-child relationship existed, such as claims for an intestate share, workers’ compensation benefits, social security benefits, and life insurance benefits.” In the Matter of the Adoption of Baby T., 311 N.J. Super. 408, 416, 709 A.2d 1381 (App. Div. 1998).

The Adoption Act has undergone major revisions in the past twenty years. The legislative history reveals that the revisions were intended “to simplify and clarify the provisions governing adoption proceedings” to promote adoptions. See statement to Senate Judiciary Committee, accompanying S. 1631, 197th Leg., 1st Sess. (N.J. 1976). In 1977, the Legislature included a broad statement that the Act should be liberally construed to promote the best interests of the adoptive children involved and that “due regard shall be given to the rights of all persons affected by an adoption.” L. 1977, c. 367 § 1 (repealed 1993 and recodified as amended at L. 1999, c. 53, §1). As such, when the court is considering an adoption the best interests and welfare of the child should be the paramount consideration of the court…” In re Adoption of G., 89 N.J. Super. 276, 281, 214 A.2d 549 (Cty. Ct. 1965).

N.J.S.A. 9:3-50(b) states that the court may, for good cause, direct the entry of a final judgment of adoption nunc pro tunc as of the date the petition for adoption was instituted. The statute permits the granting of an adoption going back to the date of filing. The date of filing is important because it will permit the court to grant the adoption even after the death of a prospective adoptive parent and may provide the child with the opportunity to enjoy certain benefits from the deceased parent. For example, the child may be eligible for social security survivor benefits, life insurance benefits, veteran’s benefits, immigration status, medical insurance and other benefits that arise from the death of a parent.

Before granting an adoption nunc pro tunc, after the death of an adopted parent, sufficient evidence must be presented to support a finding that: (1) there was an agreement to adopt, (2) the nature of the relationship was that of a parent-child, (3) the intent of the deceased parent was to adopt, and (4) granting the adoption is in the best interests of the child.

Coercive Adoption Practices

I was recently asked: What percent of domestic infant adoptions do I believe are coercive. The following is my (edited) reply:

A great deal depends on the definition of the word "coerced" (not to sound like a politician). But we know that during the 40's, 50's 60's and into the 70's white single mothers had no other options but a shotgun wedding or relinquishment. There were certainly social PRESSURES and then and now there were and still are financial pressures. If you define coerce as to "bring about with force" then I would say virtually none. However, if you define it as "to dominate or control, esp. by exploiting fear, anxiety, etc." (both definitions found at for coerce) than I would say virtually all during that era. A choice without options is not a choice. What is being told you cannot come home with that child? Pressure or coercion?

[As an aside, I can tell you that right now there is a great deal of chatter on Facebook - adoptive parents, adoptees, and birthmoms - in an uproar about Marie Osmond calling her adopted son a "gift." Gifts are given freely and willingly and this is striking a chord with many who feel it was NOT the case.] 

Another factor is the amount of hindsight time of the mothers being asked. This is true for myself and for many, many others. There was a time during the first decade or so after my loss, that I described it as a "loving sacrifice" because we had to believe what we were being indoctrinated to believe: that it was for the best; that our child deserved better; that not to let go was selfish" and that we'd forget and have other children. Had we not "bought" into that denigrating rhetoric, we never would have relinquished. We were verbally beaten into submission. Is that coercion?  Today, having read Wake Up Little Susie and recognizing the larger social dynamic into which my personal experience was played out, I find "pressured" far more accurately describes my experience.

Many mothers remain in states of denial for decades or even for life. I have known of mothers who never told their husbands, or their therapists.  Others engage in behaviors, such as adopting or becoming a social worker, that seems to justify that what they did was in fact right and good in order to live with the horror, pain and shame of having given away their own child.  (Many adoptees likewise engage in similar justification behaviors to assuage their hurts and feelings of adoption as a rejection.)

It is not unlike defining rape and date rape and what the victim (and even some perpetrators might) think of it immediately after it happens, as compared to reflecting on it years after with education of the nuanced differences between informed consent and not. We know that in past generations, and still today in many parts of the world, women do not report rape because they know that they will blamed as causing it to happen -- being willing participants. It is the same with adoption loss for many mothers. The pain of being accused by others and even themselves is so great they simply remain silent.

Today, mothers are being convinced that they can have open adoptions and not suffer the pain those of past generations did. This too, is often coercive as they are not informed that promises of openness are unenforceable, and have no attorney truly representing their rights to inform them of such things. In some cases of legally defined coercion and fraud, there was no intent to keep the unenforceable promises of ongoing contact. Mothers who have been deceived by such false promises or promises which failed to be ongoing and are left with no recourse, describe their experience as betrayal.

Other coercive practices in current adoption practice include moving expectant mothers and keeping them isolated from their support system, as well as adopters paying medical and housing expenses, etc. for a particular expectant mother. this has been reported to create feelings of indebtedness in the mother and crates false expectations for the adopters.  Living expenses and legal fees need to come from a general pool paid into by adopters with fees tacked on to their adoptions.

IMO, any adoption in which the relinquishing parent does not have legal representation to ensure she has received impartial option counseling and knows all of her rights - an attorney NOT paid for by the adopting parents or an agency whose livelihood depends on adoption placements, or their agents...are ALL coercive adoptions. Mothers who voluntarily relinquish have less rights in this regard than those accused or felony crimes who are appointed legal aid.


From Grown in My Heart, the blog of an adoptive mom comes a long post but a MUST READ reprinted from First-Moms, Issues — By FauxClaud on March 9, 2010.

The following are just a tiny few excerpts to wet your appetite:  

By 2012, Adoption Will be a 5 BILLION Dollar Plus Industry 

Even the banking and insurance industry has more regulations applied to then than adoption and we know what they do to try and make money at all costs.

An industry analysis of Fertility Clinics and Adoption Services by Market Data Enterprises of Tampa, FL, has placed a $1.4 billion value on adoption services in the US back in’ 99. No other government or private agency has bothered since then. With a projected annual growth rate of 11.5% to 2012, this makes adoption the largest unregulated industry in the US.
Do the math; even if we follow those conservative projections, because the market has exploded since this last study was done making 11.5% is very mild of a percentage, we have a number that is in excess of 5 billion dollars by the end of 2012 with a growth rate of at least a half billion a year and growing.
adoption industry facts

Adoption Laws In the USA are Antiquated

Birthmother Grief is Real and Traumatic and Lifelong

Many, many mothers did indeed lose their children to adoption and suffer what can only be described as a real diagnosis of “birthmother grief”.
Whether they were downright forced and given no choice, or if they were made to believe they had a choice, but still felt they had no other options, or whether they felt they had options, but were not really given the accurate information regarding long term ramifications of relinquishment for them and for their child. These are women who are and could have been good parents. These children were in no danger of being bump around in foster care for years. No threat of abuse. If it was not for the happy adoption seduction dance of coercion, these families would just be. They would have parented. Maybe they would have had a few first years of lean times, maybe it would have been hard, but look at us now? Suz, Jenna, PoorStatue, Barb for example; all hard working, goal minded, strong willed ladies. I doubt any of us would have sunk to child beating, crystal meth, stripping, and getting beaten by our men just because we had a baby in tow. In fact, I dare to say that we would be more apt not to, because of the need to love and provide for our kids.

Note: An excellent point made is that along with everyone else who turns a blind eye and doe snot want to face the truth about adoption are some birth moms :

Many do not want to look at it deeply and fully. It really can hurt emotionally, in a way that is completely indescribable and words could never do justice.  Often, by the time we do allow ourselves to feel deeply regarding the relinquishment of our children, we have years invested in self denial.  Because it cannot ever be undone and all we can do is live though the time, mothers and fathers who relinquish their child to adoption have a great resistance as well and often, anger, at seeing adoption in a real light. This is especially true for newer first mothers who still must function at a level for survival as they work through their grief.

There is a huge difference between child protection and child surrender.

One of my favorites lines from this excellent post is this one:

Don’t Dismiss The Adoption Message with Generalizations: I may generalize and state that “adoption is bad”, BUT I don’t mean YOUR adoption necessarily.

It is excellent! An article to be passed around widely. It’s only a shame that this was not published in a “real” magazine where it would get wider readership. I will share it with my press colleagues in the hope of getting some of the really juicy quotes “out there.”

Excellent delivery of FACTS and excellent portrayal of the emotions behind the issues and why the facts are kept hidden. KUDOS!!  Here again is the link.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Michael Blosil's Birth Mother at His Funeral

Marie Osmond said today at Michael's funeral:

"I'm proud of my son and I honor his birthmother 

who's here today, 

who gave me the greatest gift. 

Thank you for those beautiful 18 years."

UPDATE 3/10/10: A discussion has ensued on Facebook as a result of my posting this news tidbit and the issue of "the gift" and whether Marie deserves any kudos for just doing what she SHOULD have done. 

This is my reply:

"Should she get a pat on the back for doing what is decent and civil behavior under "normal" circumstances? Nothing is normal about adoption! I have known birth moms whose child had died before they ever met and were denied so much as a photograph of their child when they contacted the a-family! My daughter's adoptive family has been less than kind or considerate to me - FAR LESS! They have never given me one single photo either, though I met my daughter and have some photos.

"So, yes, whatever crumbs she gives are better than none and she she not only had her there, but publicly recognized her as being there. And Marie is not just an ap -- she LDS!!  This is HUGE!
"It serves as a model for other adoptive parents. Birthparents don't bite; we're not a threat. We don't have horns on our heads or all wear fish net stockings with a cigarette hanging from our drug-addicted lips. We are human beings.  This is a good step for mankind!

"It is far better to be invited to and share our children's wedding, is a step to show this kind of solidarity of two mothers of the same child."

Seems, however, I was on an unusual optimistic, hopeful cloud there for a small time. Very soon my comment above was replied to by Marsha Rains Roberts who said that:

"[A]s an adoptive parent who is a part of many aparent circles, I don't know how educating really this is. I can just see most of the clueless ones going "oh well isn't Marie so wonderful for inviting that birth lady to the funeral? I hope they had security watching her so she didn't steal anything while she was there. I couldn't do it, but that's ... See Morenice she let that woman come, at least she could see what wonderful people her son was given to so she'll know what a good choice she made. I hope the woman doesn't start trying to get money out of Marie now. Tsk tsk, I bet the Osmands didn't think about that. It's probably a scam. She wasn't his mom anyways. She didn't want him, she's lucky Marie did. Imagine the nerve of her even trying to show up there. Marie is a much better woman than I am!"

Karl Rove Was Adopted

In anticipation of the release of his memoir, Courage and Consequence, Karl Rove opened up about his political and personal life to Matt Lauer this morning on the Today show

Rove descrined his family as adoring and kind despite never telling him he was adopted (his aunt “let fly” the fact over dinner once when he was 19). !

He had thought that Louis Rove was his father, but he then at 19, discovered that the man he believed to be his father was actually his mother’s second husband and had adopted Karl. The timing of the couple’s divorce coincides with the time when it was said that Louis Rove was gay.

But Rove says: “I don’t know whether my [step] father was, at the end of his life, gay or not. I just don’t. I don’t think so, but I don’t know.”
Rove denied anything to do with the dirty campaining against John Mccain that suggested his daughter who was adopted from Begladesh, was an illegitame interracial child.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Reversing Adoption of 17 year old?

Okay, so, this isn’t an easy ask, but I am the end of my rope! My husband and I had adopted a girl (14 at the time) that we were told definately didn’t have reactive attachement disorder (RAD – look it up if you’re unfamiliar). She also has ADHD. Nevertheless, we have done attachment therapy for three years and tried over and over with this child. She is fully disruptive and mean to us and the other kids in the home. Now she refuses schooling and anything else that will prepare her for the world. My question is, does anyone know how to start the proceeding to un-adopt her? Not what I want to do as a mother of 6adopted children, but I really don’t know how I can live one more day with this child in my home. I am fully aware of the moral obligation that we have taken on, but in reality, we really didn’t want this type of responsibility of anyone that it is impossible to attach with. Please help with PRODUCTIVE answers. Thank you.

Read it for yourself and be sure to also see the comments which include things like: 

  • All I can say to you though is try to just adopt her out, or put her under care of the government 

  • Give her $500 and kick her out of the house 

  • She’ll be 18 soon. Just wait til then. Then she won’t be your problem. 

    The general public - to whom this moron went with this problem - seems to adoption as an easy to dispose of situation. So much for 'forever families."

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