Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Demons of Adoption

Fourth Annual Demons of Adoption Award Nominations

In 2007 Pound Pup Legacy instituted the annual Demons of Adoption Award to raise a voice against adoption propaganda and the self congratulatory practices of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's annual Angels in Adoption Awards TM.

Until September 30 you can nominate candidates here for the third annual Demons of Adoption Award, after which we will put up a poll to vote for the nominees. Please add a comment to this post with your nominee and a short explanation why this candidate has the dubious honor of winning the award.
Previous editions:

First Annual Demons of Adoption Awards (award went to the National Council for Adoption)
Second Annual Demons of Adoption Awards (award went to the makers of Juno)
Third Annual Demons of Adoption Awards (award went to Bethany Christian Services)

US International Adoptions Dropped Drastically!

Although there were still an enormous 12,753transnational adoption last year by Americans, that number is almost half of the previous year's 21,449.

It's not that less people ar wanting and trying to adopt kids from abroard. However, the numbers of orphans in many countries began to decline as parents in wealthier Western nations chose international adoption as a route to complete their families.

Another reason is tighter restrictions due to revalations of improprieties including child trafficking and kidnapping along with alarming reports potining to too llosley regulated adoptions that terminated or allowed children to be put in harm's way - even killed by ther adopters.

Full story here.

What Will the Future Bring?

Another reaosn for the slwodon, may well be what is causing a decline in US births - the economy. It is htought that less babies are being born because people are thinking more carfully of having or expanding families with unemployment so high and many people's future's in question.  
The economic downturn, the worst since The Great Depression of the 1930s, may have caused the number of births in the U.S. to decrease for the second straight year, as more women chose to delay pregnancy and motherhood.
Even as the total population rose slightly, the number of births dipped 2.6 percent to 4.14 million in 2009, according to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Birthrate dropped to 13.5 per 1,000 people, up from 14.3 in 2007 when sub prime loans collapsed which led to decreased home prices and over 8 million jobs were lost. Source.
If there is a later upswing in the economy, will those who have put of fhaving a baby increase the pool of potential adopters?  Where will all the babies come from to meet the demand?

We can only hope the reprpductive medical science will keep up with all the demand and create ways for thes epeople to have babies in their aging years...because to hope they would just simply accept childlessness as their true destiny and a speople in days gone by did, seems an impossible dream.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Forced Adoption as a Political Tool: Germany Tore Families Apart

The German Democratic Republic muzzled its people by using vague socialist guidelines to break up families, writes Marten Rolff. 
It took exactly four minutes to steal Andreas Laake's baby son - the length of the court hearing that swept away his paternity rights. Some 26 years later, Laake recalls every detail of the trial: his aching wrists cuffed behind his back; the musty smell of the courtroom; the steely voice of the young female judge. Then there were the vague words of the social worker who said that, after his attempted escape from the German Democratic Republic, ''We do not believe Mr Laake has the ability to bring up his son for the purpose of socialism.''

Laake was not even allowed to defend himself. In court, he said just four words: ''I do not agree.'' Several weeks later his son, Marco, was adopted by people who were considered, in ideological terms, much more reliable parents. ''Since then, I've spent half a lifetime searching for him,'' Laake says.
It took a matter of minutes for Katrin Behr to be separated from her family, too. It was a cold winter morning in 1972 when three men in long dark coats knocked on the door to arrest her mother. Behr was 4½ years old and can still remember the panic in her mother's voice as she urged her daughter to get dressed quickly. But Katrin was left behind. The last words she heard were, ''Be brave. I'll be back tonight,'' before her mother was spirited off to a socialist boot camp. It would be 19 years until they saw each other again.
Separated from her mother at the age of four-and-half ... Katrin Behr. Separated from her mother at the age of four-and-half ... Katrin Behr.
Stealing children was one way the GDR muzzled its people - Behr and Laake belong to an estimated 1000 families torn apart by the socialist authorities. Forced adoptions were a tool that the regime ''could impose on virtually anyone who was considered suspicious'', Behr says; all it took to be judged a bad parent was to infringe on vague ''socialist guidelines''. In Behr's case, her mother, a single parent, was arrested after she had lost her job and decided to stay at home to care for her children - a major transgression in the eyes of a state that believed in compulsory labour.

''I desperately tried to cling to a positive image of her,'' Behr says, ''but any abandoned child would start to doubt that love after 19 years.'' She was granted limited access to her adoption file after German unification, learning her mother never had a chance to get her back and spent several years in prison. Still, it took Behr a year to get in touch.

Three years ago, Behr set up a support group for the victims of forced adoptions and since then the 43-year-old has been contacted by hundreds of people still searching for their children, parents or siblings. Most of them feel betrayed twice over. The GDR destroyed their families and the unified German state did nothing to redress the injustice.

Walking through the dismal Leipzig suburbs feels like being transported back 20 years. Laake, a slim, frail man of 50, has tried everything to find his son. He has posted notices on the internet. He has sent letters to politicians. He has recruited lawyers and private investigators. And he has continually been reminded that although times and political systems change, his situation has not.

He is eager to tell his story, he says, despite the intimidation he has experienced. Laake and his family have been attacked by a man in the street; his car has been damaged twice; someone broke into his cellar; the only photo of his son as a baby has disappeared. But Laake says he is not afraid. ''I am certainly not going to be paranoid. Not after all these years.''

Laake's career as an ''enemy of the socialist state'' was never political. It started as a harmless teenage rebellion. He refused to join the youth organisation of the ruling Socialist Unity Party and at school in the 1970s he often wore a faux stetson and a black denim suit he'd made himself. This provocatively ''western'' outfit made him a target for his teachers' criticism. ''But my mother always supported me,'' Laake says. ''Our family agreed on the importance of personal freedom. As long as I can remember I wanted to get out of East Germany.''

Early marriages were common in the GDR and so, at 19, Laake proposed to his childhood friend, Ilona, who came to share his dream of life on the other side of the Iron Curtain. Three years into their marriage, when she was expecting a baby, they decided to flee. Their idea was to cross the Baltic Sea overnight in an inflatable rubber boat. ''But when you are on the run, you stop thinking,'' Laake says. ''You are in a sort of survival mode. It's all about: get on the water. Cower down in the dinghy so you're not shot. Then paddle for your life.'' They did not even make it to the water. ''You can't describe the pressure you feel when there are five Kalashnikovs pointing at you.''

As an ex-prisoner and attempted refugee, Laake is officially acknowledged as a victim of political injustice, and he has even been granted a small monthly pension by the German government. But as a betrayed father, there are no documents proving his case. The GDR authorities effectively covered their tracks. Laake never received any official papers about his trial and because of privacy laws his son's adoption file is closed to him for 50 years. The only person who has limited access to the file - other than the case officers - is Marco and there's no way to know whether he's even been told he's adopted.

Marco was born and put up for adoption while Laake was under arrest; his wife had buckled under the massive pressure to give up their child. ''She was only 21 years old, she was afraid, they threatened to make her life hell, they mentally broke her.'' Laake knows she had no real chance to prevent the forced adoption but the couple nevertheless fell out over the loss and are now divorced. ''In the end I simply couldn't forgive her,'' he says.

Telling his story, Laake shows me a number of photographs of Marco: in a rowing boat, aged eight, and as a teenager at a party. They were given to him just a few months ago, as a result of his persistent campaign, by a social worker who is apparently in contact with Marco's adoptive family. She also read out a short letter, supposedly from Marco, now 26, who said that he has a good life and does not wish to get to know his natural father. Laake was not allowed to see the letter himself. ''His language sounded clumsy and strangely impersonal,'' he says. ''As if someone had desperately tried to put himself into Marco's position and then made the whole thing up.''

Laake knows that ''there is no law that could turn around my situation''. When the unification treaty was signed in 1990, the new German state had not distinguished between legal and illegal adoptions, so every case today is dealt with according to the old West German law, which prohibits natural parents from finding out about children they voluntarily gave up. The builders of the new German state 20 years ago either forgot to classify ''adoptions against the will of the parents'' as a violation of human rights or, as the historian and GDR expert Uwe Hillmer suggests, they simply were not interested. ''Even members of the Kohl government admitted internally: forget about the past,'' Hillmer says.

Laake refuses to accept that the data protection law is the only reason he is prevented from contacting Marco; he suspects Marco's adoptive parents don't want their son to know the circumstances of his adoption. ''If they told him,'' he says, ''it could destroy their family.'' He keeps turning questions over in his mind: what if Marco's clumsy letter was written by someone else? What if old Stasi networks are still operating in Leipzig? What if Marco's adoptive parents are former party officials trying to hide their past?

Behr is helping Laake with his investigation and worries about his safety. Until recently, she didn't believe the rumours about Stasi networks being operational but ''looking at Laake's case with all its dodgy incidents made me change my mind'', she says. After Laake was attacked in the street, police advised him to search for a new flat for his own safety.
Behr has another concern. Many victims of forced adoption build up high hopes that things will change for the better once they find their natural family. ''They focus on a happy ending that is never going to happen.''

Laake knows there may be no happy ending for him and the problem of East Germany's lost children ''is probably not solvable''. Nevertheless he will carry on searching for Marco. He has started to call the adoption office twice a week and he is also planning a sit-down strike outside the office, ''with a sign around my neck: Give me back my son!''

He says he doesn't expect anything from contact with Marco. ''I could even understand if he didn't wish to meet me.'' But he wants to hear that for himself. Laake is tired of all the threats and delays. ''All I want is certainty. That's the minimum a father can expect.''


Two PBS Documentaries to Look For

Wo Ai Ni (I Love You) Mommy by Stephanie Wang-Breal

Tuesday, Aug. 31 at 10 p.m. on PBS; Streaming online from Sept. 1 - Nov. 30 at www.pbs.org/pov/video

What is it like to be torn from your Chinese foster family, put on a plane with strangers and wake up in a new country, family and culture? Wo Ai Ni (I Love You) Mommy is the story of Fang Sui Yong, an 8-year-old orphan, and the Sadowskys, the Long Island Jewish family that travels to China to adopt her. Sui Yong (now Faith) is one of 70,000 Chinese children now being raised in the United States. Through her eyes, we witness her struggle with a new identity as she transforms from a timid child into someone that no one — neither her new family nor she — could have imagined.

Wo Ai Ni (I Love You) Mommy is an intimate account of a global phenomenon — transnational and transracial adoption. Little Sui Yong’s adoption takes place against a background of more and more Americans adopting overseas, especially in China. Since the Chinese opened their doors to foreign adoptions in 1992, some 70,000 Chinese children have been brought to the United States, making China the top choice for international adoptions by Americans. 

In this film, a Jewish family adopts an eight year old girl from China. They already have two biologically born sons, (one of whom is prepping for his Bar Mitzvah) and one daughter that they adopted from China a couple years earlier.
In “Off And Running,” a Jewish couple in Park Slope / Brooklyn have several adopted children of various backgrounds. In the documentary, their daughter, an African American young woman, who had attended a Jewish day school, decides to search for her birth mother.

To further explore the issues in the film, POV will host a live chat with filmmaker Stephanie Wang-Breal and Donna (mother) and Faith Sadowsky on Wednesday, Sept. 1 at 2 p.m. ET on www.pbs.org/pov.

In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee by Deann Borshay Liem

Airing Tuesday, Sept. 14 on PBS; Streaming online at www.pbs.org/pov/video Sept. 15 - Oct. 15

Her passport said she was Cha Jung Hee. She knew she was not. So began a 40-year deception for a Korean adoptee who came to the U.S. in 1966. Told to keep her true identity secret from her new American family, the 8-year-old girl quickly forgot she had ever been anyone else. But why had her identity been switched? And who was the real Cha Jung Hee? In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee is the search to find the answers, as acclaimed filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem (First Person Plural, POV 2000; encore POV Aug. 10, 2010) returns to her native Korea to find her “double,” the mysterious girl whose place she took in America.
The films will be airing on PBS starting August 31 through September 14. Check your local listings

Tighter Rules for Adoption from India

MUMBAI: Foreign adoptive parents may soon have to seek permission from the Indian government before they can put their adopted children in another home or with other foster parents if any problem arises. They may even have to spend some time with the child in India before taking him or her abroad and have to agree to set aside $5000 as defray costs of a failed adoption, in case the child has to be sent back to India.

In a slew of recommendations that are going to be finalised by the Bombay high court next week, the Government of India and the Central Adoption Regulatory Authority have imposed obligations on foreign adoption agencies, while laying down the formalities to be followed for inter-country adoptions. Once the guidelines are finalised, agencies specialising in inter-country adoptions will be made more accountable for their act than they are now.

During a hearing in a case of a 14-year-old girl who was adopted by foreign parents only to be abandoned later, Justice D Y Chandrachud had initiated the process of framing guidelines to ensure a safety net for all international adoptions. During a series of hearings, the judge had earlier expressed its displeasure at the Centre for not acting in a responsible manner. The government finally has now come out with draft guidelines which additional solicitor general Darius Khambata read out in the judge's chamber on Friday.

The guidelines state that in case of children with special needs, the adoptive parents must spend at least two weeks with the child in India prior to adoption. They should also be prepared to shell out more than $5000, so that in case of a failed adoption, the child can be looked after till he or she turns 18. If a child is sent back to India, $5000 must be sent immediately, the draft guidelines stipulate.

As I read this, my first reaction was of course, good. Clamp down. make it tougher to adopt transnationally.

But when I completed the article i was left thinking how bureaucrats see things incorrectly in several major ways:
First they try to patch holes in an already patch-ridden ship instead of ditching it and considering taking a plane to get to where they want to be...or better still, consider staying right where you are and improving life there!
Secondly, from their standpoint its all about finances. If a child being returned then costs them dollars to support, the adopters who committed to the child's care should bear the burden, not he state. I agree. I have stated many times that Torry Hansen, for instance, should pay support for the life - or minor years - of Artyem, just as a parent in a divorce does.
However, no amount of money will repair the damage done to a child who is tossed aside, unwanted in the most blatant way that is unexplainable in terms of his family's poverty.  

I see nowhere in these plans to provide increase screening and pre-adoption education.

And, I see no effort on the part of India to care for their own and set aside funds to encourage domestic adoptions.

Only punitive emasures, after the horse is out of the barn.

Sad. Very sad.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Adoption Destiny?

"It is a particularly generous kind of parental love that embraces a life one did not give."

"It is one of the noblest things about America that we care for children of other lands who have been cast aside."

These ignorant words appear in a Washington Post OpEd/book review in which Michael Gerson gushes over the book with a title that makes our skin crawl: "Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other" by NPR's Simon Scott. The column is has the equally nauseating title:  "From a broken bond to an instant bond."

I use the word "ignorant" because it seems Scott and Gerson are unaware that 90% of the children in the world living in orphanages and labeled orphans have at least one living parent or family member who visits and hopes to be reunified.  Was it generous or noble of Madonna, for instance, to take two children from families who did want them adopted? If adoptive parents are generous and noble does that not mean their children must forever feel grateful to them for their generous nobility?

What is generous or noble about wanting a child so badly you'd pay any price, usually after jumping through every possible hoop and going through thousands of dollars and a good deal of pain, time and mental and physical energy to try all methods of conception?  What is generous or noble about ignoring hundreds of thousands of children in U.S, foster care and traveling around the world to find a child whose parents are less likely to "interfere"?

Gerson, Scot and others who buy into this sappy nonsense are either unaware or turn a blind eye to child trafficking for adoption in which mothers are drugged, held at gunpoint or otherwise intimidated or deceived as their children are stolen or kidnapped by baby brokers who sell them to orphanages with falsified papers.  They ignore case after case that has been reported in Guatemala, China, India, Nepal...as well as contested adoptions right here in the U.S. many of which involve fathers' constitutional rights being totally denied.

Defying all logic, they chose instead to believe that the theft and kidnappings of children or the dire poverty of their families were all "meant" to be in order to fill their need and make them happy? How egocentric can people be?    

They only see adoption from their perspective and wear impenetrable eyeshades to block out anyone else's feelings - most of all the child who is expected to feel the same "instant bond" they do - with zero consideration for the child's need to mourn what they have lost...even if that is only the familiarity of an orphanage and their native tongue.

The book review/op ed goes on to say:
International adoption has its critics, who allege a kind of imperialism that robs children of their identity. Simon responds, "We have adopted real, modern little girls, not mere vessels of a culture." Ethnicity is an abstraction...
Adoptive "generosity" and "bond" are the real abstractions!! "Modern' children? What does that mean? They were created to be exported?

Adoption suspends all truth, reality and logic and turns it into lies and fantasy while recasting lies as pseudo-truths. It has to make sense of such a totally UNNATURAL phenomenon.

In order to accept the premise that a child half way around the world was "meant" or destined or fated or that it was God's will that they become part of your family, you need to accept that it was fate or destiny or God's will that his or her parents were "meant to" suffer a grievous loss, as was the child who suffered being institutionalized waiting for all your dollars to clear and papers to be filed properly. That her family was "meant" to be simply breeders for your happiness, your generosity and nobility in stripping them of their child; that a mother was "meant" to be used as a vessel or conduit just for you.

You need to believe that your happiness and the fulfillment of your desires to "complete" you and create your family is worthy in the eyes of God - or whomever controls our fate and destiny - of all that suffering. A bit pompous? Arrogant?

Can you imagine for a moment the recipient of a donor organ calling themselves the generous or noble ones in the exchange? Imagine them thinking - much less saying - that their new body part was "meant for them."? The narcissism, and disrespect overflows. Bad analogy? I agree. An organ - human tissues - do not have feelings of loss, do not grieve, do not wonder who they look like or where they got their musical talent from, or why they were given away.

Even people like Sandra Bulluck who tried for four years and had several hoped-for adoptions not come to pass, and says she never thought it would be a boy....yet she still believes it was "destiny" that she wound up adopting after her marriage feel apart. In an interview with the Today show she said: "Everything works out the way the universe wants it to work out." (Give me a break!) The mother and father of the boy she calls Louis might not agree. It's like people who get cured of a horrible disease and credit their belief system...does that mean that those who don;t get cured didn't "deserve" to? It was their "fate" to succumb?

Plus, if it is all destiny and we have no control of this higher force, then what makes it "noble" or "generous" to adopt?  Isn't that having it both ways?  Especially when the truly "noble" and "generous" way to help impoverished children - and their families - is through programs such as Save The Children, UNICEF, SOS Children's Village. Adoption does nothing to ameliorate the poverty of the family, the village or the nation...it just exploits their hardships to meet a demand. And those who create the demand create the market.

Scott's book title and notion is an arrogant, self-absorbed and quite frankly offensive and insensitive display of entitlement. As if the whole word revolves around them and their child exists to please them. What a weight that is to the child!

What is noble or generous about benefitting and meeting your needs and desires by being on the receiving end of others' hardships because you feel entitled to do so?  Before we sing the praises of those who create the demand which creates the market and the feeds the baby brokers' greed, we need to see:

The book is also being discussed at FirstMother Forum, Third Mom and Adoptiontalk as well as on NPR.

UPDATE: AdoptTalk says:
Yep, another old white guy heard from, to tell people of color that "ethnicity is an abstraction." Another non-adopted person telling adoptees that their loss of culture doesn't matter compared to what they gained. A white non-adopted person telling adoptees that the bonds of adoption create ties "stronger than race or tribe." Another Westerner extolling Americans for rescuing "children of other lands who have been cast aside." Another ignorant person calling adoptive parents saints, praising us for our "particularly generous kind of parental love that embraces a life one did not give." 

A whole host of distasteful and uninformed international adoption themes is presented here -- the superiority of receiving countries to sending countries, the superiority of adoptive parents to birth parents, the need for adoption as "rescue," a preference for assimilation into dominant culture to maintaining a distinctive racial identity, the "othering" of foreign people who "cast aside" their children, the complete sufficiency of the adoptive family so that knowledge of the biological family ("tribe") is unnecessary.

And this is what passes as a feel-good piece on international adoption. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Leaning on her Adopted Sons...

40-year-old Umnuayporn Tongprapaiat 603 pounds needed a fork lift to help hr get out of her partment for the first time in three years to have treatment for a leg tumor.

Seated on the floor of her modest third-floor apartment on the outskirts of Bangkok, Umnuayporn told reporters she could only walk a few feet (meters) on her own and was confined to her studio apartment where she ran a laundry service with the help of her two adopted sons.

"I've been living in this room and have not gone outside for three years," said Umnuayporn, whose weight is roughly the equivalent of a grand piano. "I can walk a little, just enough that I can go to bathroom. But I have to cling to my son the whole way."

MTV: 16 and Pregnant

The following is a second-hand description of updates on the two couples who relinquished, I apologize for inaccuracies. If you've seen it, please correct or add to these descriptions:

One case involves and adoptee whose adoptive parents deceived her and the baby's father and forced her into adoption against her will by her adoptive parents who show visible signs of total inability to deal with her being pregnant.  She is seen telling all her friends that she wants to keep her baby but has no other option. They badger her and her boyfriend until finally the baby's father tells her parents that he will sign if she agrees to. Then the adoptive parents are televised as they lie to both their daughter and her boyfriend telling each that other has agreed!

The other case involves a couple who decide together on an "open" adoption and wind up with one set of photos of their newborn. They are devastated. They complain to the adoption practitioner who arranged the adoption who NOW tells tells them, to get used to it because they will suffer this pain for the rest of their lives! She puts them in touch with another father who is dealing with the loss of his child but makes no attempt to help them get any additional contact with their adoptive parents or their child.

I am told that the pain these kids are suffering over their loss is palpable and heart wrenching and the producers are airing it raw in all its glory!

Hopefully young people will see this and it will help prevent more such catastrophic losses.

UPDATE 9/3/10:

"Teen Mom" star Catelynn and her mother, April had a vicious spat during Tuesday's all new episode airing on MTV.

According to Us Weekly Catelynn and her mother April got into a nasty argument over everything from household chores to Catelynn's decision to give up her daughter Carly for adoption.
April calls Catelynn, 18, a {explicit} a** hole," telling her to go, "sit in your {explicit} room and rot."

When Carly's adoption was brought up April yells,"You didn't ask me!"

It's clear that Tyler and Catelynn's choice to give Carly up for adoption was not supported by their parents. In fact, it seems that Catelynn's mother and Tyler's father (Who met and married after their children began dating) are the main reasons Tyler and Catelynn chose adoption for Carly.

Both Tyler and Catelynn have revealed they wanted a  better life for Carly than what they had. Tyler's father Butch has been in and out of jail for most of his life, and while Catelynn hasn't gotten into the specifics of her mother's issues, she's revealed that April has had "a lot of problems" in her life.
It seems that Carly's adoption is still a sore topic of conversation for the family, not to mention Tyler and Catelynn who both still have trouble dealing with their feelings of guilt from the adoption.
Catelynn and Tyler were forced to grow up way too fast and make a life altering decision.  

While they handled it maturely, it seems that giving up Carly was harder than they ever thought it would be.

wish she was here!

Concerned Grandma-to-Be

Question: My daughter is 24, one semester away from her degree, and pregnant. She went into deep denial for almost seven months. At 27 weeks, she came to me with her suspicion. There were no options but to have this baby.

She has stated emphatically that she does not want to keep the baby. I am very sad and wish she would not do this, but I have committed myself to supporting her. Father is not involved, and she has very negative feelings about him. He will sign off his parental rights immediately.

She and I have met her chosen adoptive parents, and they seem lovely. My daughter likes them a lot. Otherwise, she has chosen to go this alone. She has told none of her friends. She has made up excuses why she is not around, and confined herself to my home.

I do not feel she has thoroughly examined this. She has detached. I don't think she has thought that maybe this is what her life was supposed to look like.

I don't want to add stress, but I really want to ask her these delicate questions. She just says she does not see herself as capable of being a mother yet, and does not want this at all. Am I out of line?

Answer of Carolyn Hax, Philly.com: I can think of one argument in favor of pressing her to reconsider: She probably has detached, and hasn't thought that maybe this is what her life was supposed to look like. Those 27 weeks of denying her own body make a persuasive case.
But here are the arguments against pressing her:

She's 24, not 14.

You've clearly already pressed; otherwise, how would you know what "she just says"?
You have a raging conflict of interest. I'm confident you want to shield your daughter from regrets - but I'm positive you want to keep your grandchild close.

Your daughter has talked to you, accepted her pregnancy, chosen adoption, apparently secured the father's cooperation, chosen adoptive parents carefully, introduced them to you, decided not to involve friends, and executed that decision consistently. These aren't the disjointed motions of a sleepwalker. They're the responsible actions of someone who knows what she wants.

These acts may bear no resemblance to what you'd do. Still, we're not all wired the same. If it's in your daughter's nature to tailor her emotions to meet her logistical needs, and to fly solo on big decisions, she's making the right choice in the right way for her. It's not your place to say otherwise, your real pain notwithstanding.

Should she come to regret her decision, she'll need reminders that she did what made sense to her, not that she failed to do as you hoped.


As someone who has researched this field and worked with mother pre- and post relinquishment for more than 30 years, I can assure that her daughter most definitely *IS* still sleepwalking and may continue to for DECADES. The unnatural trauma of the loss of a child will do that to people.

Her reluctance to let anyone know is a major indication of the guilt and shame this process is wrapped in for her and how she feels about herself doing this. It is a harbinger of her life going forward carrying this load of shame. It will destroy her self esteem and all future relationships, living under such a dark could of regret, lies and secrets.

She went from total denial to allowing herself to be convinced by those who have a great stake in obtaining her child for themselves or to make a fee. She is being convinced - by the adoption agency - that she will be able to "put it all behind her' and "get on with her life." Unfortunately, studies indicate just the opposite. No mother can ever forget. She will think of him and wonder how her child is doing at every milestone. Regrets will haunt her. And, in today’s’ day and age no one is safe form being found eventually by a curious adopted out offspring!

You tell the mother of this young woman “I'm positive you want to keep your grandchild close.” And that is quite normal, natural and healthy as well!

It may be ugly for a while, but I encourage this grandma-to-be to demand some rights. If she cannot dissuade her daughter to wait until she sees and hold this child before making such an irrevocable life-long decision that effects so many people, then she should at the very least request that the adoption be open so that she might have updates on her grandchild, and also to leave that door open in the event her daughter changes her mind and regrets closing it so tightly. It is likewise best for the physical and emotional health of the child to be able to keep that door open.

Add your comment here and here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Adoption Truth Video

The Sister They Sent Back

Anyone thinking of terminating an adoption needs to read this and know the long term effects on their other children: How I Lost My Sister:

"I was ... three and a half? Four? They adopted a baby. I remember her name. Beverley Henderson. 'This is your new sister,' they said. And then after a few weeks – I don't know how long in reality – she was gone. They sent her back. I never saw her again."
...the signing of the papers is not a happy ending but a beginning which can go either way, or any way in between....
My father said: "But you were only a toddler yourself; we imagined you wouldn't even notice." But I did notice, and – glib though this may seem – I can trace so many aspects of my own behaviour which puzzle or sadden me to the moment when Beverley was sent back. 
I spent most of my life afraid that I too would be sent back into some unknown exile; that one day I would do something which would cause me to vanish. 

The Kids Are All Right - Or Are They Really?

Annette Bening is at it again. Looking totally different than the haggard look she wore in Mother and Child, she is convincing as half of a lesbian couple in The Kids...along with Julianne Moore.

Like Mother and Child, both films are about reproduction and parenting in the 21st century. And both have their fair share of gratuitous sex scenes.

The Kids, however begins when the kids are 15 and 18 and jumps right into their meeting with Paul, "the sperm donor" who is never called anything BUT Paul or "the sperm donor"...or "our sperm donor."  It is a far cry from the reality that offspring of artificial insemination go through to locate their genetic heritage. In the movie, it happens magically by simply making just one phone call to the clinic, which the daughter conveniently finds amongst her "moms" papers.  If only!!  Doesn't even mention that the vast majority never find the truth.

There's a twist in the plot (which I will not reveal for those who want to see it) that veers the plot - and the family dynamics portrayed - totally off course in a way Juno almost did.

That aside, Bening's character sums up her fears and annoyance at having to "share" a moment of her kids lives with this man when she shouts: "This is not your family. This is my family and you a fucking interloper!"...a comment which hit me in the gut as it probably summed up what any family formed with the child of another - or another's genetic material - feels.

The film-maker has succeeded in creating a bit of humor while trying to "normalize" the life of kids growing up with two Moms...but the failed horribly at any attempt to bring attention to the vast majority of Donor Inseminated children who suffer never knowing half of their genetics, a point that could have been touched upon instead of making it appear that any child could pick up the telephone, make one call, and find their biological father - a feat in itself - not to mention that that he would be willing to know them.

They cheated on their research and as a result cheated audiences.

Mirah's Reflections on Adoption and Adopters

In the world of technology, they are called "early adopters." The ones that have to have every new gadget as soon as it hits the market. The one's who wait on line all night to get the first iPad and had a GPS when the prices were sky high. And they will be the first on their block to have a 3-D TV before the kinks are worked out, too.

But kids? Do we adopt that way too? Do we chose countries that are "in"?  Is that how Torry Hansen and others feel about bringing a child into their home? Is it stylish, "hip"...yet not so very well thought out?

Like some iPhone users, do they expect a fix for anything wrong with their acquisition and a return policy? Indeed, many have sued agencies for lack of sufficient information, or "wrongful adoption." You know, the ones who say: "We never would have adopted him had we known." or: "We made it very clear what disabilities we could handle and which we could not."  (Unlike, of course, those of us poor primitive individuals who get pregnant the old fashioned way and take what we get.)

Think about the commitment we make to spouses in marriage, a voluntary choice made by most in this country by two willing, consenting adults. Each person takes a vow to love, not to be loved. We promise to love one another through sickness and in health.We are expected not to bail on our partners if and when they are ill or incapacitated in any way.  The commitment to care for a child - who is not consenting - should be taken far more seriously.

On the other end of the spectrum is one of the great lines from the movie "Eat, Pray, Love." A new mother friend of Liz tells her: "Having a baby is like getting a face tattoo. You have to be committed,"

You also have to expect to get pooped and peed and spit up on. And don't get one of these little critters - newborn or older - for "it" to love you.

Young adult and teen moms are chastised for wanting a baby to love them.  They are told how immature that attitude is.  They are clearly children having children when they think like that and babies are not dolls, after all.

Yet read the blogs of adoptive mothers and you hear it all the time from women well into their forties. They not only want a baby or child to love them, they expect it, demand it, and feel short-changed if it does not happen almost instantly.  "He didn't bond with me" is part of the litany of every failed adoption, putting the blame clearly on the innocent child and not them. The child was defective and the agency failed to disclose the truth. They of course were the victims in their description of their failure to meet their commitment of "forever."

Children are taken from half-way around the world, from institutions, and are expected to have no feelings of loss, no grief, no language and cultural re-adjustment issues...nothing but love and gratitude for being taken away from everything they've ever known.

Of course, when the shoe is on the other foot and a domestic adoption is contested, then the story reverts to NOT separating a child from "the only mother she or he has ever known." Amazing isn't it how the general public can change it's sympathies to and fro, but always to favor the adopter over the natural parents.

Why? Because they chose to identify with the savior, not the loser. The noble one, not the one who, after all, must have been defective in some way to have chosen to give away her child in the first place, or worse still had it taken from her. Add to that newer mother in open adoption who are so beholden to their child's adopters and so in throes of Stockholm Syndrome, they sing the praises of their "choice."

Torry Hansen was the first to have gotten mixed reviews because of the way in which she went about ending her adoption, not because she chose to end it. Torry Hansen received little support from the adoption community because they feared she had screwed it up for those who want to adopt from Russia in the future, not so much because of what she did to poor Artyem. As far as her expectations and inability to deal with behaviors common to institutionalized children. she was flooded with compassion from many who said they know what it is like and feel for her.

And that's the difference. there are many adopters now speaking out publicly who do identify with her struggle. Too few voices of mothers who are pressured to relinquish, or who think they are making a good "plan" for their child through adoption being heard in main stream media to remove the stigma and have the general public "get it" and IDENTIFY with us.

While all things adoption have become fashionable and very public to speak about, that once were secretive...not so the "giving up" part...the loss.  We still remain the shadowy figures...the bad girls. The ones no one wants to think about because to accept our pain adds to their guilt of taking our children.  The ones who are feared will be better liked than they by "their" children. The ones who are able to give their children "advantages" no amount of their affluence can: a blood line connection, the roots of their talents and quirks...and the truth of their origins and heritage.

Like lower class women who clean the homes of their wealthier, some are "gracious" enough to invite us to stay for lunch, so that like our children who they have taken from us, we too can be grateful for the crumbs of photos or visits they "allow" us in return and are commended and applauded for by their peers - those who are equal in social stature to them in ways we - the handmaids who bear their children - will never be.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Twins Separated at Birth: A Ghost Reunion

The NY Times provides a heartfelt, moving, teary-eyed and goose-bumpy story of a man who always felt like a piece of him was missing. he began searching at age 11 and found out at age 50 he has a twin brother - each adopted by separate families - possibly an identical twin. Read it through to the end.

"It was not about being unhappy with my family so I was going to find another one; it was about wanting to know my history.”

"The search for birth relatives stems from the desire to replace fantasy with reality"

His brother's adoptive mother felt as if he deceased son had returned to her...

Healing can occur for many affected by the ripples of adoption, even after death has taken someone from us...

Natural Parents are BEST

Lord Templeman in the House of Lords in a pre-Children Act case (Re KD [1988] AC 806) compares
English law with The Convention for the protection of Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms and concludes they both are agree: 
 Since the last war, interference by public authorities with families for the protection of children has greatly increased in this country. In my opinion there is no inconsistency of principle or application between English rule and the Convention rule. The best person to bring up a child is the natural parents. It matters not whether that parent is wise or foolish, rich or poor, educated or illiterate, provided the child's moral and physical health are not endangered. Public authorities cannot improve upon nature. Public authorities exercise a supervisory role and interfere to rescue a child when parental tie is broken by abuse or separation. ... 
From "The Child Protection Handbook" by Kate Wilson, Adrian L. James here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Remember Missing Baby Gabriel?

In January, I first reported the case of missing Baby Gabriel. A strange case of Elizabeth Johnson who, in the midst of a custody battle with her estranged boyfriend and father of the baby, Logan McQueary  drove to San Antonio with her son in mid-December.After claiming she killed the child, she claimed she handed the child to "a Texas couple who approached her in a park" to be adopted by someone whose name she didn't know and against Logan's wishes. 

Tammi Smith, 37, who with her husband had temporary custody of the child while the couple was debating an adoption (and perhaps being pressured) was charged with conspiracy to commit custodial interference, custodial interference and forgery and is considered a "person of interest" regarding the missing eight-month old.

Smith told police that she and her husband planned to adopt Gabriel from his mother, Elizabeth Johnson, but that the boy's biological father, Logan McQueary, would not go along with it. Police say Smith provided wrong information on custody paperwork, falsely identifying Gabriel's father.

Gabriel's mother, remains in jail. She has pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping and custodial interference. Police say she told them she gave the boy to a couple she met at a park in Texas.

Logan may not have been the only father whose rights Tammi Smith and her husband Jack Smith stomped on.

The Smiths adopted a girl named Hannah Grace, who is four-and-a-half years old. Hannah is Jack's daughter Nicki's child. Her father may be Travis Warford but his paternity is in question. He says that he is Jack's son-in-law having been estranged from his wife, Nicki for years. Allegedly, Tammi put Nicki up to getting pregant and not naming the father. 

Travis comments on the blog Framed Fathers:
"I've found out the Smiths adopted Hannah in Tn, not Az. It was my assumption after I found they moved. This is a copy of the email I sent to Tammi's biological daughter, who contacted me fuming over what they've done.

"I'm raising Hannah's 2yr sister, Abby Jo, in Dallas. I'm a good daddy. Jack Smith scares me, has threatened me and I'm not sure he didn't put the person up to frame me in Nashville so he could get Hannah. Nicki was in rehab, where we put her, I was in jail, and he got what he wanted. It's a documented fact that the state dropped three unbelievably serious charges against me when they had no witness. That is, the person who fabricated the charges disappeared.. a distrought woman living in her brother's apt with 7 other people. Jack met her, they lived across from Nicki and I. He offered me 5 grand and to pay for my divorce if I'd leave town, which I refused. Afew months later I was jailed on boguss charges with with a pitifully low bond and Jack wouldn't bail me out, it was convenient. Nicki fell off the wagon when she got out and signed custody to Jack when put back into rehab. Noone contacted my family, though they knew how to. I went by their house and he let me see her for afew minutes, but not hold her. Told me to leave and not come back. He's a mean, calculative human being. I met him in court several months later. I filed a petition for custody and for visitation in the meantime. He claimed he spoke with my family in Texas and they "didn't give a damn", so I tried to put him on the phone with my mother to explain that to her. We had afew hearings and a mediation, then work moved me out of state. The lady from the state blew me off when I called and couldn't make the next date. I finally get back to Nashville and knock on his door.. some guy says he's bought the house and the Smiths moved to Az. I then get online and find adoption photos on Tammi's Myspace. That's how I found out. I've had it out with Nicki two dozen times about me never going away like they want me to. She's as evil as he is and it worries me to no end that he'll mangle my little girl's reality as he has Nicki's. They're hateful to me and deny my existence. They have to deal with me now. I'm not out to destroy anyone. I only want to help restore two families and see justice served with Jack, Tammi and Nicki."
For another story about Travis Warford, click here.

Warford claims that Smith offered him money to sign over his custodial rights. He says of Jack and Tammi Smith re Gabriel, "I think what they've done is wrong. They've manipulated the system and lied and I wouldn't mind seeing them face charges." However, Warford's credibility is hindered by his criminal history of kidnapping and aggravated assault. Warford also said, "I'm angry. And the first chance that I have any opportunity, I will do as much as I can to gain not only visitation, but ultimately custody of my daughter." His public statements re Hannah are a from of custodial interference since her adoption was a closed one with sealed documents.

Tammi Smith is friends with Janet Morris of The Adoption Place located in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. While Elizabeth was on the run, Smith asked advice from her attorney Ken Schutt. When he was unavailable at one point, Smith called Morris who advised that Johnson return immediately to Arizona with Gabriel.

At the time that Johnson offered Gabriel up for adoption to the Smiths, the Smiths were about to adopt a newborn boy but the adoption fell through. They and their daughter had been bonding with the baby in its mother's womb. The year before, Tammi was was searching for surrogate moms on Surrogate Mother dotcom.

MEANWHILE...Elizabeth Johnson, who has been in jail on a $1.1 million cash bond on charges of kidnapping, child abuse, custodial interference and conspiracy to commit custodial interference - bevause the father, Logan was granted custody - has been decalred competent to stand trial.

Torry Hansen/Artyem Savelyev Update: "Fudging" of Falsifying Pre and Post-Adoption Reports?

The Times-Gazette (T-G) calls the falsification of dates ad other information "fudging." Within the unregulated wild-west framework that is U.SA. adoption practice, anything goes.

Documents 'fudged' because of concerns about Russian response
Sunday, August 22, 2010
By BRIAN MOSELY ~ bmosely@t-g.com

E-mails between adoption workers involved with the case of a Russian boy who was sent back to his homeland alone by a former Shelbyville woman appear to indicate that reports about the placement of the child to Russian officials may have been "fudged."

In April, adoptive mother Torry Hansen sent 7-year-old Justin, also known as Artyom Savelyev, back to Moscow without an adult escort, triggering an international uproar over the adoption of Russian children.

The boy had been placed with the Hansens by World Association for Children and Parents (WACAP), a Renton, Wash.-based adoption agency, and the family had been investigated by Adoption Assistance Inc., an agency based in Danville, Ky, on behalf of WACAP.

The adoption had been finalized last November, when Torry Hansen received the official certificate, but the boy was returned to Russia on April 8 by Nancy Hansen, the boy's adoptive grandmother.

Justin was placed on a Moscow-bound plane alone with a note that described him as "violent" and "psychopathic."

However on March 29, a little over a week before the child was sent back to Moscow, an e-mail conversation was inadvertently forwarded to Torry Hansen by Janet Anderson, the Family Finders Program Information Specialist for WACAP, which suggested that adoption workers alter information in the post-placement report that was to be passed along to the Russians.

"Fudge" visit dates

An e-mail to Lisa Mosley of Adoption Assistance from Anderson dated March 18 dealt with "the edited version of the Hansen post--placement report," with Anderson saying they "need to stick 'exactly' to the template and cannot add or subtract any categories."

Anderson stated that a work or business phone was needed for Torry, but she told Mosley that "(w)e also need to fudge on the visit date, because it's too early by Russian rules."

"Visits can't happen any sooner than 30 days before the due date," Anderson's e-mail to Mosley reads. "The Hansen's due date to our office is 3/29/2010, and that would make the earliest date the 1st of March."

Anderson also said that "(w)e had to take out the last sentence where you were describing discipline, because it wouldn't translate well."

"The sentence describing talks and verbal reprimands is enough," she wrote. "Russians are very different disciplinarians (by Western standards) and we don't want any misunderstandings."

Anderson explained that they had "edited the sentence at the beginning of Family Unit/Family History," asking Mosley to confirm if Torry owns or rents her home.

"We also edited the portion where it states the extended family, 'live outside the home,'" Anderson wrote. "When translated, this might mean that they live in a tent or something..."

When the Hansens lived in Shelbyville on Highway 41A North earlier this year, their property consisted of several homes and a horse barn that were joined together by a fence.

Home school concerns

Anderson also told Mosley to "(p)lease be extra cautious" about future reports "for any family with a Russian adoptee with regards to the family homeschooling children."

"Russia really frowns on the concept of homeschooling," Anderson wrote, pointing out that a homeschooled Russian adoptee living in Pennsylvania "was murdered by his parents this year."

"If it is mentioned, you need to elaborate that the homeschooling curriculum is being administered by the state/school board/etc., and that the child gets to socialize with other children or is enrolled in sports/activities with peers." Anderson said. "Russia does not want to see the child(ren) isolated at home, and neither do we."

Anderson concluded the e-mail stating that when the final version of the post-placement report is submitted to them on letterhead, "we need to have the notary date and signature date match the date that the report was written."

"I know that this isn't best practice, but it is Russia's rule," she wrote, adding that if Tennessee required "any extra text or questions, you'll need to leave those out of this one and create another version (sorry)."

Mosley replied to Anderson three hours later, saying "I totally understand, you know best what Russia will want to see." Mosley said she would add "the highlighted info into the report and then print it off and get it to Torry to have apostilled."

Wishes the best

On March 29, Mosley e-mailed Anderson to say that she mailed copies of the post-placement report on the 19th to Torry, adding "I have not heard from her, but she is very responsible and I am sure she will get you the report as soon as possible."

Anderson then e-mailed Torry Hansen, asking if the report had been mailed yet, but when she did this, the entire electronic conversation between the two adoption agency workers was forwarded as well.

Speaking to the T-G about Justin earlier this week, Nancy said they still care about him and that they don't want him exploited, but the Russians have taken guardianship of the boy.

The Hansens no longer live in Tennessee, Nancy said.

She said it was her belief that a suit filed in Bedford County by the WACAP was an effort "to please the Russian government so that adoptions can continue."

WACAP filed a petition in May requesting that the county's Circuit Court appoint the agency as a temporary guardian for the child at the center of the controversy. The case has since been transferred to juvenile court following an agreed order, but no court date has been set as of press time.

Nancy said she wasn't going to get into the details of the case, but said "we know what happened."

"We don't care what people think about us," Nancy told the T-G. "We do what God thinks is right."

She also said the family "wants this to go away" and wishes the best for Justin.

Bedford County investigators have not charged the Hansens with any crime due to the fact that they have not been able to speak to the boy to learn what happened, or if he had been abused.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bragging About Paying Cash for a Child

On a blog about family economics, a couple demonstrate a total of sensitivity, instead bragging: We Paid Cash!

Their post was commented on with joy and happiness for their success!

I commented (twice) and got no message that my comment was being saved while it was reviewed, so no way to know if it will be accepted.

I pray you will post this comment:

This post - especially the title - is unintentionally ( I assume) offensive.

Adopted persons suffer from stigma. They are teased in school. Many express feeling rejected and as if they hatched, not born.

Speaking about paying for a child in cash exacerbates their feelings about themselves and fortifies the concept of adoption being a supply and demand business transaction and the child being a commodity.

I cannot encourage all of you, and especially David and Melissa to look at adoption not juts from the joy of acquiring the fulfillment of YOUR dreams, but from the perspective of a child and the family from which he or she was torn.

I urge you to develop a sensitivity and compassion for adopted separated kin and the losses they suffer and also I hope everyone can develop a awareness to the harm of speaking about how much their children - or obtaining them - cost.

I hope that David and Melissa will educate themselves by reading the writing of those who have been adopted, and perhaps meeting some adopted people to be able to know what it feels like.

I hope they, and all who adopt, learn as much as they can about their daughter's family of origins in order to be able to fill needs he will have emotionally and physically as she grown into an adult.

I hope they will be able to allow their daughter to grieve her loss and someday to reintegrate lost pieces of her self and her heritage without putting their own fears before their child's needs.

UPDATE: Comments are closed.

Comment policy:

"I moderate comments on my blog for one reason–to keep MoneySavingMom.com an upbeat and encouraging blog. Comments I deem to be rude or sharply critical, questioning another commentor’s ethics, or those which could... very easily spark a firestorm of debate on couponing ethics or which appear to be left solely for the purpose of advertising will very likely be deleted.

Yes, I know I sometimes upset or offend people by taking this hard stance on comments, however, there’s enough negativity and infighting in the world without this blog contributing to it, so I’ve decided to do something different and keep things positive here. I hope you’ll be kind enough to understand and accept this. If not, you are more than welcome to find another blog more suited to your tastes; I won’t be offended."

Here's the site's owner from WHOIS info:

Paine, Jesse jesseandcrystal@juno.com

You can also let David and Melissa know directly how you feel about their article about how they paid cash for a baby: http://thegaffords.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 20, 2010

The "Horror" of Facebook Reunions

Time Magazine article focuses on the joys, concerns, misconceptions and stereotyping of reunification of families separated by adoption.
"But the methods Lowrey used could just as easily be employed by a curious adopted teenager or a birth mother who regrets giving up her child....Contact can be made, often suddenly, without the guidance of parents or adoption professionals."
"Most kids and adult adoptees have been told or can find out the names of their birth parents." OH REALLY?!??0
The article refers to adoptions in the U.K. which are "more often contested' and mother's whose children were taken involuntarily into forced adoptions are locating their kids on Facebook. Maybe if the UK tried to do more to help families in crisis instead of remove so many kids this way, there'd be less of a problem.

Martha Henry,  director of the office of foster care and adoption at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, provided more in the way of solution than Adam Pertman who joined the hysteria.

Adoptive [arents of teens - who of course see this as an issue about them - ought to, IMO be a lot more concerned about normal teen problems like pregnancy and sex, than with him or her finding another extended FAMILY member! AND, they gotta get over their fears and possessiveness!

Read full article here, if you haven't yet.

Ailing Window's Child Adopted Without Consent

A woman from Pune, India, has approached the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), alleging that her 11-year-old child was given up for adoption from Preet Mandir even as she had not relinquished the child. The CWC will submitting the affidavit to the CBI for further investigation. The woman said she had given her child for institutional care and not adoption.

The woman approached Childline last week. “In her statement she has said after her husband’s death, as she was found to be HIV positive she put her child under institutional care in 2005. She was under the belief that her child was still there. When she heard the news of the arrest of Mandir managing trustee J S Bhasin, she approached the institute. She has found that her son was given for adoption even though she had not signed any relinquishment paper,” said Childline director Anuradha Sahasrabudhe.

Meanwhile, CWC members said since the case was in High Court and the CBI was handling the investigations of the institution, they would hand over the affidavit of the mother to the CBI for further investigations. “The mother has alleged that this is an illegal adoption and she had only kept the child for institutional care. We will let the CBI handle it,” said a CWC member on Thursday.

Even as managing trustee of Preet Mandir J S Bhasin was granted conditional bail on Wednesday, the judge ordered him to furnish a personal bond and surety of Rs 2 lakh. The judge ordered him also not to tamper with evidence or threaten witnesses.

CWC members said they cannot shift the children to other institutes as they are awaiting the High Court order.

Preet Mandir on Thursday appointed D P Bhatia, a trustee with the Balwant Kartar Anand Foundation for the last 10 years, as the new managing trustee. A 1952 graduate in electrical engineering, he belongs to the Indian Inspection Service and has worked with the Indian High Commission in London.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Congratulations, Arun!

Arun Dohle is a colleague working at Against Child Trafficking, which I sponsor through donations. This is his story which appears in The Times of India, with the negative title, "I'm not interested in my biological father."

MUMBAI: A day after the Supreme Court allowed him to see the original adoption record which the Pune-based adoption agency was guarding fiercely, Arun Dohle was heading back home to Germany and to his own seven-year-old twin boys.

However, he made a quiet resolve to come back again "to find answers to the several questions that are still unanswered. It is not really my biological father that I am interested in,'' says the 37-year-old who was adopted as a month-old baby from Kusumbai Motichand Mahila Seva Gram (KMMSG) in Pune by the Belgium-based Michael and Gertrud Dohle, on recommendation by Pratap Pawar, brother of NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

His habeas corpus plea to have his biological mother produced in court was dismissed by the apex court. But 17 years of legal struggle after he first made the innocuous request to Mahila Seva Gram to be shown his adoption file, his wish was finally granted by the Supreme Court on Monday. He now knows that his mother was a 20-year-old Hindu Maratha, a Std X graduate who resided at the agency during her pregnancy after her "friend's brother'' refused to marry her.

The adoption file was slim, just a few handwritten pages, which the bench headed by Justice Markandey Katju handed over to Dohle's counsel and him in court to read without hurrying them up. According to the judges, it is not a national secret that will cause a `maha yudh', adding that "nothing is private here'' when the agency tried to prevent showing of the file citing "mother's privacy''.

Dohle is married and runs an NGO called Against Child Trafficking in Germany, which he says aims at "tackling a money-and-demand-driven market in adoption of children that should be labelled as child-trafficking.'' His battle may bring hope to many other children given up for inter-country adoption, who once they grow up, wish to find out the identity of their biological parents.

"The "child record'' that the adoption agency maintains may contain information about the biological parents if their identities are known,'' said advocate Jamshed Mistry, one of the counsels for Dohle in SC. He added that Monday's order will now ensure that adoption agencies will maintain authentic records as mandated by law in case of foreign adoption and by the landmark SC verdict of 1984, in the case of Laxmi Kant Pandey.

Dohle, hours before his flight out of Mumbai while speaking with TOI, recalled how he had first launched his quest to find his biological mother in 1993. "I first came to India in 1993 and asked Mahila Seva Gram to show me the file. They refused. The game being played is just cruel. Had they

shown it then, so much time, trouble and trauma would have been saved on both sides,'' he said. "There are still details that need to be verified. The police did not investigate properly.'' Though he was born in Pune's Sassoon hospital, the police report said there is no record of the `relinquishment deed'. "The question is `why'?'' said the bespectacled Dohle who still wonders where and how his mother might be. His case was that the Pune agency asked his mother to leave and handed him to the German couple. The agency said as an "unwed mother'' she had relinquished her rights and abandoned him.

The case, took a controversial turn, when he said that former Maharashtra chief Minister Sharad Pawar's brother might be linked to his birth. The police report, however, categorically denied any links to the Pawar family. But as Dohle pointed out, Pratap Pawar in October 1973, while recommending the Dohles as adoptive parents had written: I am a member of Association of Friends of Germany and Mr & Mrs Dohle are friends...They stayed with us and selected Arun Swanand as their adopted son.''

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Muslim Denied To be Foster Parent

Watch this Daily Show video for the ultimate in stupidity and discrimination within the adoption/foster care system.

I bethcha good Christian American foster parents are accepted every day who serve their foster kids diets of Twinkies and Coca Cola!

Reinstatement of Korean Citizenship for Adoptees Born in Korea

A Korean adoptee organization, GOA’L (Global Overseas Adoptees Link), hosted a seminar on July 31 to introduce adoptees interested in acquiring dual citizenship to the details of the process.

They weighed both advantages and disadvantages of reinstating their lost Korean citizenship, which will be possible beginning Jan. 1, next year.

Participants at a conference on dual citizenship

On April 22, the National Assembly passed a revision to the Nationality Law that allows dual citizenship in a bid to buoy Korea’s declining population and retain talented citizens who are being lost due to a brain drain.

The inclusion of adoptees in the revised Nationality Law is thanks in large part to GOA’L’s Dual Citizenship Campaign, which began lobbying as early as fall of 2007 to grant adoptees the right to dual citizenship. Cha Kyu-geun from the Ministry of Justice, Kim Jung-hwan, a National Assembly member who also sits on the GOA’L Board of Directors, and Dr. Lee Chul-woo, a professor at Yonsei University, were also instrumental to the process, working together with GOA’L to be included in the revisions.

Dae-won Wenger, 43, an adoptee from Switzerland and former secretary general of GOA’L, said that one of the main reasons he will register for dual citizenship is to obtain more rights. Specifically, the right to run for public office, which says he is a possibility in the future. Wenger, who has been in Korea for seven years and is fluent in his native French, as well as Korean and English, was a driving force behind the Dual Citizenship Campaign.

“It’s a fundamental step in the improvement of adoptee rights. We didn’t have a choice. Having the right to choose now, I believe it’s a correction of the mistakes of the past. I think it’s an issue of human rights, to strip a person of their nationality without asking.”

He also believes that adoptees’ inclusion in Korea’s Nationality Law revisions will have positive effects on other countries as well. “This step will certainly have a global impact on international adoptees from other countries.”

While Wenger has already decided to claim dual citizenship, most adoptees said they wanted to wait to see how things develop first before applying to reinstate their Korean citizenship, in order to get a clearer idea of what exactly dual citizenship would entail.

Adoptees from Denmark, Luxembourg, and Norway are currently not eligible for dual citizenship due to citizenship laws in their respective countries. 

Among the benefits of dual citizenship is the right to vote, run for public office, and also easier access to credit or financial services in Korea.

Among the disadvantages is the loss of eligibility for scholarships aimed at foreign students, restricted access to foreign schools in Korea for those with families, and restricted access to embassies of their other nationality in Korea. Finally, for a number of cases of male adoptees under the age of 36 who still appear on their birth family’s hojuk, or family registry, some military service may be required. While they will not be forced to serve the normal two year term, they may be required to serve in “civil defense exercises” that Korean males typically continue once a year for seven years even after the completion of their military service.

Historically, dual citizenship hasn’t been possible in Korea either. Technically, children who obtain foreign citizenship before they are 20 carry dual citizenship until the age of 22, when they must then renounce one of their two nationalities. If they do not specifically claim their Korean citizenship before this age, it is automatically forfeited. In other cases, if Korean citizens gain another nationality, either through marriage or merit, their Korean citizenship is simultaneously forfeited.

Ambition Over Motherhood...and Murder??

Keli Lane, 35, is accused of murdering her two-day-old daughter Tegan in 1996
Keli Lane, 35, is accused of murdering her two-day-old daughter Tegan within hours of leaving hospital in 1996 because of her Olympic ambitions.

A Sydney court heard accusations that the athlete had the birth induced after telling hospital staff the child was overdue. 
Dr Gregory Jenkins, who was on duty around the time Tegan was born, says the birth was induced after Lane told them the baby was overdue.

He said Lane told hospital staff she had booked a midwife for a home birth, but they were unable to contact the midwife on the number she gave them.

The doctor said hospital records show no family or friends were present for Tegan's birth.

Ms Lane said she was determined to represent Australia in water polo.

But she is also "on trial" for doing what so many us were told was a loving thing...

Just as in many murder cases, people's pasts - their infidelities and such are brought into the case to indicate their character - previous abortions and relinquishments before and after this child dies are being brought up in her court case...

The NSW Supreme Court heard yesterday that Ms Lane, who has pleaded not guilty to murdering her second child, Tegan, was "teary and upset" after giving birth to a baby in 1995 -- the year before Tegan was born.

"She was uncertain if she wanted to parent her baby that she had just delivered," social worker Deborah McCauley told a jury yesterday. "I remember she said . . . she had certain goals that she wanted to achieve.

"She told me that she was a champion water polo player and that her ambition was to compete in the Sydney Olympics and she did not feel in a position to parent a child."

The court heard yesterday that Ms Lane gave birth in 1995 to her first live baby after terminating two pregnancies during the previous three years, one at 20 weeks' gestation.

Prosecutors have alleged Ms Lane hid five pregnancies over seven years from her family, friends and lovers, spinning a complex web of lies surrounding each pregnancy.

Ms Lane has also pleaded not guilty to three perjury charges.

The court heard yesterday that Ms Lane rushed to a Sydney hospital in 1995 when she was 39 weeks' pregnant after her waters broke.

Prosecutors allege that on the night of the birth Ms Lane had earlier been socialising with friends -- who had no idea she was pregnant -- at a Balmain pub.

After the baby's birth, Ms Lane breast-fed and cared for the child for several days before relinquishing the baby for adoption.

Just a day after giving birth, Ms Lane requested a "gate pass" from the hospital, ostensibly to meet the baby's father to discuss adoption plans, the court heard.

Ms Lane left the hospital at 3.10pm the day after giving birth, and did not return until 6.20am the following day, leaving the baby in the care of nurses.

Prosecutors have alleged she did not meet the baby's father, but instead -- intent on keeping up the ruse of living a normal life -- attended a planned celebration for her own birthday.

The crown contends Ms Lane found the adoption process for her first child so traumatic that, when Tegan was born the following year, she did not want to go through it again, and instead chose to kill the baby and dispose of the body.

Judge Anthony Whealy issued a direction to the jury yesterday, urging them to keep an open mind and cautioning that the fact Ms Lane may have told lies about her pregnancies did not necessarily mean she had murdered Tegan.

"People can lie about one thing but be very truthful about other matters," Justice Whealy said.
"You must not fall into the error of thinking that if a person has told a lie, then that lie in itself can prove guilt -- it cannot."

It is also true that placing a child fro adoption and committing murder are totally different things.

The trial continues.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Please Participate in Dr. Samuels' Article

During this coming academic year, law professor Elizabeth Samuels will be able to write up an article about the surrender documents that (birth/first) mothers from around the country have so generously shared with her during the past few years.

In the article she wil describe the legal language and meanings of these documents, trying to place their contents in the context of claims made in current access legislation battles about promises or guarantees made to birth mothers. So far she has 60 documents executed from 1939 through 1990 in adoptions in which the birth and adoptive parents did not know one another (4 from the 40s, 6 from the 50s, 31 from the 60s, 13 from the 70s, and 4 from the 80s).

The states represented so far are Calif. 4, Colo. 2, Conn. 1, Fla. 4, Haw. 1, Ill. 3, Iowa 2, La. 1, Mass. 1, Mich.3, Minn. 4, Neb. 3, N.J. 10, N.Y. 6, N.C. 3, Ohio 2, Okla. 1, Ore. 1, Penn. 1, R.I. 1, Tenn. 2, Tex. 2, Vt. 1, Wisc. 1.

If you have a surrender document you would be willing to add, with or without names redacted (no names will be needed to be used in the article), please send a copy of it to :

Elizabeth Samuels, University of Baltimore School of Law,
1420 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-5779. 

Understanding The Difference Between Confidentiality and Anonymity and Treating Our Mothers with RESPECT

Governor Pat Quinn today presented a 73-year-old Illinois adoptee with the first non-certified copy of an original birth certificate made possible under a new law which Quinn signed in late May.
"When I was born in 1937, adoptees' birth records were never sealed," said Joel Chrastka of Berwyn. "But, by the time I was an adult and had learned about my adoption, my original birth certificate had already been retroactively sealed for 100 years."
“I feel like today is a part of history,” Quinn said. “And a very special part of history. This new law is making a difference for families everywhere.”
The magical moment was captured on video and put up on YouTube. The link got sent out on a number of adoption listserves and was hailed as an emotional appeal for access....watching this elderly man well up with tears as he discovered at long last who HE really was!

I saw that emotional impact, but any and all joy of the moment was instantly shattered as he went on to read, not just his own name...but his mothers full name AND ADDRESS!!

I was dumbfounded! My immediate thought:  So much for his mother's confidentiality ... announcing it on the Internet for all to know before she is contacted and asked how she feels about it. 

I quickly dashed off my concerns to the list and was immediately hit with rebuttals there (and on my now deleted blog post about the video) saying: "He's 73. She's probably dead."

And yet, she also might still be alive!  And she may also well have family who had no idea, including other children. What a way to find out that your mother had a child she never told you about!

Others, on Facebook, pointed out that "he was born before records were sealed so HIS mother never expected privacy/anonymity/confidentiality" again, as if they were all one and the same.  And AS IF any woman while losing her child and making the hardest "choice" ever knows - or is told - anything about the laws!

I was also immediately struck by the double standard hypocrisy of the use of the mother's confidentiality as THE major excuse to keep this information from adoptees and this public outing being sanctioned by some adoptees. Seems like total ignorance and an inability to understand the difference between confidentiality and anonymity.

This should be a private, family matter.

Fortunately, Jean Strauss was on the list and she understood my concerns.  She agreed that it could not only hurt the individuals involved in this one case, but it could cause many other mothers to be less inclined to release their information for fear of being treated this way.  Jean said the footage was shot by someone who was not personally involved in adoption and she herself had not thought of the consequences of that public revelation when she viewed the footage and made it public. She thanked me for pointing it out.

Jean immediately pulled it from YouTube to be edited.

It is sad and shocking that enlightened adoptees could be so wrapped up in their own side of the search that they totally disregard the human person who is at the heart of their efforts. So absorbed in THEIR rights being taken from THEM that they see THEIR birth certificate and all of the "files" as THEIRS and theirs alone -- just names and dates...pieces of paper...facts, data...

This is seen in the way some adoptees find their mothers, dragging little old ladies out of the peace and tranquillity of their denial, having them reveal their deepest secret to their husbands and children..and then disappear as suddenly as they appeared, leaving a heartbroken, outed mother filled with a flood of old memories long held in subconscious abeyance... and now rejection on top of that...all left behind in the dust after obtaining "their information." And we see this over and over.

WE are human beings, not file cabinets any more than we were incubators for your adoptive parents!

Many adoptees think they have a RIGHT to all of OUR medical information and the file of private counseling sessions we had while in the throes of crisis and still trying to decide what to do; hoping we'd be rescued by parents or boyfriends. PRIVATE counseling that under any other circumstances would remain private. But adoptees think it is all part of THEIR file...something any child we birthed and raised does NOT have a right to.  It's outrageous how we are treated in this equation.

Canadians are cannot understand the one-sidedness of the adoption reform movement in the US. Theirs has always been bilateral. Rights for BOTH adoptees and their mothers. By presenting it that way - unilaterally and together - there was never an us against them dichotomy that we have allowed the NCFA to create and play upon...blaming mothers for wanting our privacy and wanting the records to be kept sealed from our children, while all the while most adoptive parents knew our names.

It is viewing it all as an adoptee issue that has once againdehimaized us in the issue. We are nothing but a source of information. Feelingless creatures with no rights of our own - after all, bottom line, we got what we DESERVED! Whores and wanton girls that we were...

We deserve nothing because we signed away our rights...and we should willingly accept being treated badly as our adopted-out offspring spew their passive aggressive behavior on us for rejecting them.

This view is NOT universally accepted.  It is a uniquely American view. It is not so in Canada or Australia.  Just in the US... land of the free...free to be hated and mistreated. What is it about this country that allows us to be less humane and caring human beings? Could it be years of unending war? Our capitalistic upbringing that teaches us that people are poor because they are lazy? Something is a askew here...But I digress.

If those of us active in "the movement"- touched by adoption personally - cannot understand the difference between wanting soem level of confidentiality in the public arenawhile not wishing anonymity from our children...

If WE cannot understand wanting, expecting some respect and privacy, from public scrutiny of our lives...some huamn decency... while not wanting to deprive our children of the "better life" we were promised they'd have and want for them by depriving them their own original birth certificate and the right to know us if they chose to...how can we expect anyone else to?

If we have no respect for one another as human beings, how can we ask others to?

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