Monday, August 27, 2012

Speaking Truth to Power

 African-American poet laureate Natasia Threthewy wrote:

Southern HistoryBefore the war, they were happy, he said.quoting our textbook.  (This was senior-yearhistory class.)  The slaves were clothed, fed,
and better off under a master’s care
and better off under a master’s care.I watched the words blur on the page.  No oneraised a hand, disagreed.  Not even me.It was late; we still had Reconstructionto cover before the test, and — luckily –three hours of watching Gone with the Wind.
History, the teacher said, of the old South –a true account of how things were back then.On screen a slave stood big as life: big mouth,bucked eyes, our textbook’s grinning proof — a liemy teacher guarded.  Silent, so did I. 
Reminds me of the quote by pastor Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the socialists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

Silence is a prison ... our voice is the key that sets us free!  Speak up. Speak loud and proud. Speak even if your voice shakes! Speak not just for yourself, but for all who cannot...the casualties of unnecessary loss and separation; the collateral damage, like my daughter...
"....replace the voice that only whispers about your pain and loss with a strong and unwavering one, and be prepared to tell your story with courage and conviction, to add your voice to all the others, never to be silenced again." Pemina Yellow Bird (2000)  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bananas: Transracial Adoptees Speak in Documentary

Somewhere Between: A Documentary
Four baby girls are born in China to families who are unable to keep them, largely because of China’s “One Child Policy.” Instead of being raised by their biological parents, the baby girls are raised in orphanages, and then eventually adopted by American families to be whisked halfway around the world to the United States. There, they grow up with Sesame Street, hip-hop, and Twitter. They describe themselves as “bananas”: white on the inside and yellow on the outside. All is well, until they hit their teen years, when their pasts pull at them, and they begin to wonder, “Who am I?”
All four know they were probably “given up” because they were girls (they are understandably uncomfortable with the word “abandoned”), and grapple with issues of race, gender, and identity more acutely than most their age. 
Documentaries have been made before about international adoption, but they have always been from the point of view of the adoptive, Caucasian parents, or the adult adoptee. Young women’s voices are rarely heard—especially young women of color. SOMEWHERE BETWEEN lets four teenaged girls—Fang, Haley, Ann, and Jenna—tell their own stories, letting the film unfold from their points of view and shedding light on their deepest thoughts: about their families, their feelings of being “other,” and their powerful connections to a past that most of them cannot recall. 
The film captures nearly three years in the lives of these four dynamic young women. 
The screening schedule is here.  Trailer here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

SHAME on the Social Work Profession

An Open Letter to Joshua John, MSW at USC:

Shame on the profession of social work, on the school that are teaching false information and those practicing who are spreading FALSE information!  Your adoption info-graphic contains so much incorrect and false information it should be called a misinformation-graphic.

Read on below the graphic...

Adoption in America

Let's start at the top.

The first thing you say is that adoptions "have given many people the opportunity to have a family" as if that is the first and primary goal of adoption. That a child MIGHT find "happiness" is secondary and highly speculative.

Are you aware that this is WRONG thinking? Adoption should never put the needs of those seeking a child first and foremost. Doing so immediately commodifies children as "necessities" to create families for others. It places them in a position of needing to fill others wishes and desires instead of it being about finding homes for children in need!
“Regrettably, in many cases, the emphasis has changed from the desire to provide a needy child with a home, to that of providing a needy parent with a child. As a result, a whole industry has grown, generating millions of dollars of revenues each year . . .” The Special Rapporteur, United Nations, Commission on Human Rights, 2003.
You then tell a blatant out and out LIE that children of the poor are orphans!  What a HORRIBLE thing to say!  If parents lack the resources to financially support their family -- instead of being a decent, humane social work and seeing these as families in need of social services -- instead you kill them off with your incorrect use of language and label their children orphans and thus "available" to make some family happy?  Exploit poverty to meet a demand -- is that what they taught you in social work school? is that the purpose of your profession in 2012?

Shame, shame, shame.

The same is true for parents who are "too young."  Age, marital status and finances are all TEMPORARY problems that do not require a permanent, irrevocable and life changing loss and familial separation to SUPPLY an insatiable demand and fatten the pockets of the baby brokers and all who rely on the redistribution to earn a livelihood.  Reprehensible.

By your own order of things, truly orphaned children - those who have no living parents - are listed last because they make up the smallest number of adoptions worldwide, and fewer still of those within the US.

Now lets talk about the biggest most blatant LIE in this graphic: the number of orphans. The figure of 145,000 touted by Elizabeth Bartholet and other pro-adoptionists has been PROVEN INCORRECT!

This figure only applies using your false standards and mis-use of the word "orphan."  It includes terms coined by the pro-adoptionists in order to intentionally inflate this figure to induce sympathy and thus increase adoptions and money made from them. It includes "social orphans" and "half orphans" - all newspeak for mis-labeling children to make them "available."  Another most disgraceful term used is "fatherless children" totally disregarding paternal heredity and rights. This practice is disgraceful and totally disrespectful of the children and their families. It creates situation such as the adoption of two children by Madonna - to name just one of thousands - from families who cared for their children but like many worldwide use orphanages to provide temporary care in crisis or as a boarding school. people who had no idea of the permanent concept of adoption and did not want them for the kin.

Nearly NINETY PERCENT of the children in orphanages worldwide HAVE FAMILY! They are NOT ORPHANS. You either know that and choose to ignore it or are ignorant of the true facts. Either way, shame on you!

You also fail to mention:
Although the number of adoptions has risen, the adoption rate per 100,000 adults in the United States has decreased. The adoption rate per 100,000 adults (i.e., persons aged 18 and older who became adoptive parents) in 2000 was 61.5, and the adoption rate was 58.3 in 2008—a 5-percent decrease. 
You also neglect to mention that your numbers of domestic adoptions include a large number of step-parent adoptions.In 2007, 63,775 children (47 percent of adoptions) were adopted through other sources [which includes step-parent adoption], and in 2008, 63,094 children (46 percent of adoptions) were adopted in this manner. In 2000, they accounted for 47 percent (59,775) of all adoptions. 
I BEG you to listen to the words of a venerable social worker who devoted her life to making adoption practice more humane and child-centered. Did you learn the name Annette Baran in your classes on
adoption in social work school?  She co-authored the Adoption Triangle and spent her life dedicated to reforming American adoption practice. Please, please, please listen to the videos she made before her death: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.

Listen and learn. put the caring back into your profession. Stop being Reverse Robinhoods and taking babies from the poor to supply the wealthy!  Stop believing the nonsensical fairy tale pie-in-the-sky myth that adoption is a win-win! It is very much NOT. Every adoption begins with a tragedy of a family that failed to receive the resources necessary to remain intact, and it remains a lifelong tragedy for the mothers who grieve. And even if children are provided more material advantages and opportunities through adoption it is at best a trade-off. they loose a great deal in terms of truth, heredity, ancestry, medical history, culture - in many cases  including their native language.  The vast majority of these are UNNECESSARY tragedies.

In the vast majority of adoption that occur as a result of poverty - domestically and internationally - you are "saving" or "rescuing" ONE child while leaving their family, their village, their nation behind in the same destitute conditions; leaving their brothers and sisters still in poverty. How is this within the realms of human social care?  And how can you condone paying tens of thousands of dollars  - and your figures are very LOW, the AVERAGE is now $40k and above - to "save" one child when that same amount could build a well or provide needed medical supplies or books for an entire village? How is that sound social services?

Why do you think South Australia has issued an apology for policies that encouraged adoptions on families in crisis, mothers who were simply too young, unmarried or too  poor? Adoption loss and separation is NOT the solution for poverty!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fate, Destiny, and Adoption Justification

We've all heard it... adoptive parents believing that their child was "meant to be" theirs ... that God Himself had ordained it so!  A recent NY Times Motherlode blog, Adoption, Destiny and Magical Thinking by Matthew Hutson says "most" adoptive parents believe it was destiny.

It's been reported that Rosie O'Donnell told one of her adopted children that God had put him in the wrong woman's tummy! Imagine that. Apparently God makes mistakes that adoption adoption corrects.

But, alas, Mr. Hutson provides two very perceptive explanations:
  • Narratives of destiny provide a sense of legitimacy. 
  • Fate is a really useful way for adoptive parents to entitle themselves. 
And there it is. Fate and destiny take what is wrong and feels guilty, unnatural, and exploitive of another's pain and sanitizes it. I didn't do it...I didn't pay tens of thousands of dollars not knowing if it paid unscrupulous child traffickers to steal this child on my behalf, or that my money may have helped another child be stolen for someone else... no, I was the recipient of the fates and thus "I deserve" this to happen to me. 

Hutson speaks of adopters who turned their infertility pain into part of what they were "meant" to endure in order to be the mother of a child that was "meant" to be theirs!

All of the randomness of where kids wind up when they get adopted - is all part of a bigger plan. And all the suffering of the childless and those who suffer the loss of their children is all willed by a higher power. Wow! That requires a belief in a very sick God... a God who even let's some children be kidnapped, or stolen and trafficked to get to their destined homes. 

Surely the Monahans who keep their kidnapped Guatemalan daughter must believe that  God loved them so much he allowed a child to be stolen just for them and "fate" allowed them to defy International treaties and not return her when ordered to do so by the Guatemalan government. How very convenient for them. I wonder how the poor little girl will feel when she grows up and reads her life story in the media. What "narrative of destiny " provides legitimacy to them? God wanted us to be your parents so badly, he sent bad, evil men to kidnap you from your loving mother and siblings? Nice bedtime story, eh? And even after she tried and tried to get you back, God let us keep you, because that's the way it was meant to be. And I guess God or the universe wanted the baby brokers to profit from it, too.

But then doesn't every adoptive parents have a similar tale to tell: God wanted us to be your Mommy and Daddy so much that he first made me no able to have any children and then he made your natural mother and father too poor to keep you with them and your brothers and sister. Isn't God great?  What's that you ask? Why didn't God just help my real Mommy?  Oh, but honey I am you real Mommy now! 

 "Magical"? How about the two words Hutson omitted:  JUSTIFICATION and RATIONALIZATION. There's nothing magical about it.

Over at landofaGazillionAdoptees, this was written about the same subject:

"Destiny?  God’s plan?   Give me a break.  Admit that your adoption agency is a business with a clear seller, buyer, and product.  You’re part of an industry."
Yeah, looked at in the stark daylight of reality without any magical bullshit... the child you adopted  was no more DESTINED to be yours than the car in your driveway!

What About Me?

One adoptive mother in the story, while in awe of what she calls the "alchemy" of it all, recognizes that thinking of is as having been in the stars "seem(s) like a slap in the face to the sacrifices of their birth parents, as well as turning a blind eye to the losses my children may (or may not) feel about being adopted as they grow up." Ya' think?

Yes, if all adoption are "meant to be" than all of us mothers were meant to loose our children and all of our children were meant to suffer a traumatic separation.

I can actually accept that. I accept that my purpose on this earth was to loose my firstborn so that I could use my life's energy to be a spokesperson against such future pain and suffering. Don't then be dismayed by my's all part of what was "meant to be." If was pre-destined to be a vessel for a child who was to be adopted and then kill herself, I was just as surely fated to scream about it till my last dying breath.

Odd, isn't it that South Australia felt the need to issue an official governmental apology for some of the acts of fate.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Adoption Haves and Have Nots

Having coined the term "reverse Robinhoodism" to describe adoption, and authored an article with that title, here are some new reminders of the concept of adoption TODAY being totally about the haves versus the have-nots, and an epiphany on the subject (see below).

My esteemed colleague, Lorraine Dusky, over at FirstMother Forum seemed incredulous at the glaring  disparity between the good life of adoptive mother, Elizabth Foy Larsen, conpared to that of her adopted child's Guatemalan mother as described in the New York Times article, "Untying a Birth Mother's Hands."

That Larsen mistakenly and unfortunately paints domestic infant adoption as a magical happily-ever-after wonderland compared to international adoption was most unfortunate. I wrote a letter to the editors to the effect  and wrote to Laresen, with whom I have had previous communication, and we discussed the issues at length. She told me that she regretted some of the words used and tried to edit them out but it was too late. So all of those criticisms of the piece were well-founded and deserved in what I found otherwise to be an articulate and heartfelt portrayal of reunion from an adoptive parent's perspective.

Dusky seems troubled - not just by the misinformation in the piece - but that is an article that "portrays the anguish and pain of a woman who surrendered her child because of poverty and shame." A true and accurate description of this case and of all adoption. Would it have been better if Larsen ignored or glossed over these harsh realities, I can't help wondering? 

Down in the eighth paragraph Dusky writes: "To her credit, Foy Larsen is grappling with the realities of adoption in ways that a great many adoptive parents ignore because they can."  But not after making the catty supposition that Larsen's bathrooms no doubt having "lots of marble."  

I guess it just struck a nerve with Dusky, but this is nothing new. I've been writing about this dichotomy for decades. Adoption takes from the poor and gives to the rich! (Though, I guess the Larsen piece really did - albeit perhaps unintentionally - seem to flaunt it. I get an "out of touch" feel, like hearing Mitt Romney speak (with his Dressage horse and his friends who are Nascar OWNERS!). I don't think it occurred to her that even most who adopt might not be able to easily affords to take such an entourage back to Guatemala.)

Recently another adoptive - or prospective adopter - wrote the following about a planned domestic adoption of a mother's third child: 
"I mean, if you can care and provide for your kids financially, there is really no need to offer them up to another, is there? ...You become, in effect, the haves and the have nots.  They have a baby.  They have no money.  We have money.  We have no baby.  You see what I'm getting at?  If you want a crash course in American poverty, go through the adoption process.  It will wake your eyes up and fast."
If you can provide for your kids financially, there is really no need to offer them up to another.

That says a mouthful, doesn't it? And so too does:

If you want a crash course in American poverty - look at adoption!  

Money talks. In this blog post she describes how she paid for her attorney and one to "represent" the expectant mother's interests. As if! As if he who pays the piper doesn't get the tune THEY want played in perfect sweet tones where and when THEY want it!  Just a tiny but of conflict of interests in that common private adoption practice?  No, how about a whopping bit: like having your husband pay your divorce attorney up front.

Back to Dusky who notes correctly that Larsen - like all who adopt - are part of the problem by creating the demand that is met too often by unscrupulous baby thieves, kidnappers, and child traffickers. This is something Elizabeth Larsen is not unaware, and addressed in detail in her 2007 Mother Jones article, Did I Steal My Daughter? 

Dusky notes, quite correctly:
"The amount of money spent [by Larsen] merely getting everyone down there and in a decent hotel--adoptive mother, adoptive father, their two biological children, the two adoptive grandmothers--(unless they used frequent flyer miles, of course) would have undoubtedly lifted the natural mother from the crushing poverty that kept her powerless to keep her daughter."
YUP! And so too could the tens of thousands EVERY adoption costs be better spent to feed an entire village, buy life saving mosquito netting, books, wells, schools, medical supplies.... I've been saying this too, ad nuseum.

Survivors Guilt?

The one new epiphany that came to me as a result of these two pieces focusing on money, money, money and the harsh contrast between the haves and have-nots of adoption... the gross exploitation of poverty... is this:

It's all justified because adoption takes these kids out of poverty and gives them "a better life." Adoption affords them "opportunities" otherwise unheard of for them, out of the scope of possibility for their natural families to provide. I have long put forth the question, why then don't we take every middle class kid and place them with the Bill Gate's of the world, the Mitt Romney's. After all that too would give them "better lives" and provide opportunities they could not have in middle class suburban American. Why be ride a school bus or be driven to school in a Volvo when you could be at private boarding school your chauffeur takes you to?  Isn't that "better"?  What about the "trade off" of knowing one's heritage, culture, in some cases language, and FAMILY and not feeling rejected or abandoned?

But here's a new question about all of this redistribution of children from the poor to the wealthy and I really hope some adult adoptees would let us hear form them on this): 

How does it feel to grow up knowing you were singled out for this better life, leaving your family behind? How does it feel being taken back - or going back later on your own - and seeing the orphanage you were left at, or meeting family and seeing the stark differences in cultures and how they have struggled while you were plied with amenities they cannot even dream of?

Is it painful? Do ask yourself "WHY ME?" - not unlike someone who survives a tragedy in which their family is killed?  Do you feel "guilty"? Why did I get to live in the lap of luxury and my sisters and brother, mother, father, aunts, unless and grandparents were left broken-hearted and bereft?

Do any adoptive parents consider this might be occurring to their children as they show them the squalor from which they were "rescued"?  Are they aware of the double-edged sword that in patting themselves on the back and taking credit for "saving" them, they also left the others?  Or do they appease their consciences, some of them, by tossing them a couple of bucks from time to time, like we do when we pass a homeless person on the street... even if THIS one is your child's brother or mother?

As the divide between the haves and have-nots continues to widen, do we just continue to strip mine the poor of their children?  Use them as Handmaids, breeders for the wealthy? Buy their eggs and rent their uteruses and put them on TV reality shows that further exploit their pain? The Handmaids Tale and the Hunger Games are fiction. "I'm Having Their Baby" and the blog quoted and Elizabeth Larsen's adoption and all others like them both - domestic and International - are REAL...all too real, and all too exploitive.

We disallow the selling of organs to prevent the exploitation of the poor, but we allow the (in the U$) the anonymous creation of life for a fee. We allow the selling of the genetic material of life: sperm and eggs. We label it "donation" to gloss over the ugly truth. We allow women's actual LABOR, and life-risking delivery - to be bought.  And we allow babies to bought by calling it "paying for expenses" - expenses that could be provided by welfare, food stamps, and Medicaid.

We have restrictions on the funeral industry to prevent the exploitation of recent widows and widowers, but allow women just coming out of anesthesia to sign irrevocable replinquishment papers, not to mention how we totally mistreat fathers and their rights!

And, we entice mothers-to-be with the prospect of "open adoption" proclaiming that it's enforceable, when in reality it is merely recognized by the courts (in most states, but not all) for the purpose of mediating problems. If the problems cannot be mediated, tough! There is no enforcement and can't be, because - unlike in divorce custody - one set of parents has ALL the legal rights to make all decisions for their child and the other is a legal stranger to the child and has NO RIGHTS WHATSOEVER to enforce any promises.

How is any of this ethical or moral?

Adoptees, how do you feel?  Do you question "why me"?  Why was I "saved" and the rest of my family not?  And, why then am I expected to be "grateful" for your choosing to just pluck me form my nest and leave the rest behind?

And ya' gotta love the religious restrictions on birth control and women's right to choice and control over reproduction... for helping to keep the poor baby breeders of the world popping out those babies for the wealthy!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Creating Life, Anonymously

Today there are many choices available to people - a plethora of ways create life outside the traditional  man/woman procreation. Many involve anonymous so-called "donations"... the buying of egg, sperm or the renting of a womb. And many create children who grow into adults with anonymous DNA and missing medical history.

A mega-billion dollar industry serves the every desire of those who can pay the price tag. It allows for
total and complete selfishness and complete lacking of foresight for the well-being of a wanted and planned child as he or she grows and needs VITAL information.

The infertility industry - which also serves same sex couples - encourages only the consideration of the paying customer in the here and now. It feeds on those who want what they want, and feel entitled to it, as long as they can afford it, even when that "it" is a human life.  It is an industry that carters to the creation of human life, without any thought or care of that child growing into an adult human being with rights, wants and NEEDS of its own, separate from their parents need to be a parent.

It puts such anonymously created persons in danger of unknowingly committing incest, as in some cases men have made upwards of hundreds of sperm sales, all in one geographic area.

Donor Inseminated offspring are desperately searching for their siblings and fathers. many are being helped and supported by parents who now regret having made the choices they did.

When will we ever learn?  

Please read:

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Finding Jamie

If you read the original post, Adoption Possessiveness: Looking For Jaime or Jamie, May 2 please jump tot he updates at the bottom of this one!

One again the strong possessive arms of those who adopt has struck out and slapped me in the face. swatted away attempts at telling an adoptee she is loved because of feelings of ownership shrouded in the politeness of "protection." This is a story of a family adoption of my best friend's child.

The Back Story

In the 1980s I lost my best dear friend Ellen. Ellen and I met upstate New York on a camping trip in the 70s and formed a close bond because of both being Brooklyn girls.  I was newly married and she dating.

When she met "the one" my husband and I were among the very first to meet Barry. Barry and Ellen were a "cute" couple - one of those couples who could pass for brother and sister both having curly dark blonde hair.  Barry also gave us reason for concern from the start because of his "partying" ways - code for drugging. But when your best friend is in love,  and says, "I know, BUT..." he's stopping, etc.. etc. all you can do is continue to be there for her and so we all accepted "Barry and Ellen" as an entity among our friends.

ABOVE: Barry (shirtless with beer) and Ellen, pregnant with Dayla
That's me in the red shorts and Afro!

Barry and Ellen wed and their first child, Dayla, was born three months after my daughter.

They called us from the hospital with the proud parent news. But a second call followed closely behind. Dayla was born with a heart condition and needed open heart surgery. We waited and prayed. We would do so several more times over the course of Dayla's too short life as she endured several operations and procedures. She was beautiful and petite (frail really) and so when she was well Ellen began to pursue a modeling career for the precious little angel.

LEFT: My daughter, 3 mos. RIGHT: Dayla, 6 mos. 

Barry was not coping so well. He claimed that Dayla's precarious health brought up old fears for him. Apparently he had a younger brother who was very ill and he was told that as the older brother he had to watch out and take care of him. His brother died and Barry blamed his drug use on that and said that Dayla's condition brought it all back up and so his attempts to quit using reversed and his drug use escalated from recreational to heavy use.

Dayla's first birthday. 
Ellen's mother is holding Dayla and my daughter. Stuart's sister on the left.

Ellen and Dayla

Dayla was about 2 or 2-1/2 and Ellen, pregnant again, began sharing with me tales of Barry's overdoses. Their second child Jamie (or Jaime) was born - healthy - but Barry's drug use remained serious. And the day came when Ellen phoned to tell me her "good news."  Barry had at last agreed to go into rehab and the family was taking one last weekend away before he went.

I was alone. My husband was out of the country with the National Guard when I got the call from Ellen's mother. I was so stunned I actually said: "That can't be true" when she told me that Ellen and Dayla were killed in an automobile accident. Barry was driving, and he and Jamie who was in her car seat behind him were OK. They had been hit on the right side as they made a left turn into a Wawa. I couldn't believe it! I had just spoken to her the day before. For the first time ever, I enlisted my mother-in-law to come and stay with my kids, so I could go to the funeral.

Their funeral was the worst funerals I will likely EVER attend if I live to be 100!  Ellen's mother had to be physically restrained from wanting to jump into the grave into which her only daughter and beloved granddaughter - who had endured so much to be alive - were being lowered. Her pain was palpable. In the days following their funeral, Ellen's father asked me about Barry and I protected Ellen's secrets, and protected her very elderly, aging parents from having to deal with any more.

Ellen and Barry who visited my family often, also visited Barry's Aunt Loretta and her family, who lived not far from us and we all had met on several occasions.  Barry's aunt was not much older than we were and so we all got along. And Aunt Loretta "knew." She knew about his drug use and about the times Ellen had to frantically rush him to the ER because he had passed out from an overdose - more than once. I was petrified for the safety of Jaime, now with just Barry as a parent, and I was not about to hold my tongue.  I spoke to Loretta and offered to raise Jaime and keep her safe while allowing Barry and Loretta's family to be a part of her life.

To my great shock, Loretta, though she "knew" seemed to be in denial of the seriousness and was more concerned with Barry's job finding out he went to rehab than him getting the help he needed and had promised Ellen he would get. And, she said, if anyone would adopt Jamie it would be her BUT she would NOT "do that" to Barry! I was dismayed, alarmed, angry and felt helpless by choices she was making that did not seem in Jaime's best interest. I feared for her safety but Loretta insisted that Barry could care for her. She eventually got angry with me. In the end, what could I do? They were family and I was nothing - "just" a friend.

I kept in touch. I learned that Jamie did go to live with Loretta's family at some point and then Barry remarried and moved out of state and took Jamie with him to their devastation. They had never legally adopted her and had no way to stop it from happening, had they wanted to.  Again, I lost touch this time for many years...... decades.

I searched the Internet, Facebook and such for Jamie who is now 30 or close to it.  I racked my brain to remember Aunt Loretta's last name but don't know if I ever even knew it.  But I knew that her husband owned a local exterminating business and tracked that down. I sent an email though the company website.

Today I Got A Phone Call

ME: "Oh thanks so much for calling. I wanted to know if Jamie is OK and to let her know I knew her mother and she was loved...."

Stuart - who identified himself as Jamie's "brother": "She's fine"

ME: "Where does she live?"

I then learned that Barry had died "a long time ago" of AIDS and Jamie was then adopted by Stuart's family (Aunt Loretta).

And that's where the niceties ended and the gloves came off. I was told I had no right to know if she was on the West Coast or East. It was none of my business.  Nasty accusations followed which I bit my tongue and ignored. I told him I just wanted her know she was loved and I never forgot her.

Stuart: "How can you love someone you haven't seen in all these years?" etc., etc. "You don't even know her. How can you claim to love or care about her?"

ME: "Because I loved her mother, that's why."

Stuart: "Ellen is dead and Jamie is loved by all of us!" he assured me and that was that. She needed no more additional love or words of care. Berating me very angrily, I know not why.

"Where were you all these years. Why weren't you at Ellen's parents' funerals?"

I tried in vain to tell him that I had no idea where Jamie was and that it was his family that chose not to tell me or keep me in the loop. No one had told me of Ellen's parents passing and that was on them, not me and with that, I finally blew it and could no longer remain calm in the face of repeated insults hurled at me. I tired to tell him that you don't stop loving someone after they die. After all, do I not sill love my daughter who is dead?

But is was all useless. I was talking to a well-programmed robot who kept repeating that I could not possibly care about someone I did not know.  I hung up in utter despair.

Why does love have to be so possessive? Why the anger and MEANNESS at someone else who cares for a loved one of yours??? What was so terribly wrong with inquiring about the well-being of a friend's daughter? I don't get it at all.

Jamie - if you find this blog post know that I never stopped caring...and that I have photos to share with

I'm here for you and always will be...You were ALWAYS in my heart.  I hope you are happy and healthy and wonder if you are the Jamie Lenner who was an attorney in Denville, NJ.

Poor young Stuart has likely never had anyone he loves die. If he did, he would know that you never forget and your love doesn't end when their life does.  Neither my former husband nor I could remember or ever knew my friend's husband's aunt's last name. Sue me!  I also never knew her parents names either and met them only once or twice after her death.

UPDATE: I went back to the business website through which I had located this young man, Stuart, and sent the following message:
I have no idea what I did to cause you be so angry and rude to me. What is so terribly wrong with inquiring about the well-being of a dear old friend's daughter???
I did not know when Ellens's folks passed away. I met them and her brother for the very first time at her funeral and knew none of her family. I was not a childhood friend of Ellen. I knew since the 70s. But we were close. I was one of the first people she called when Dayla was born followed by the second call about her heart condition. And she confided me about Barry's drug problems. I spoke her just days before she died. We were close friends. Why else would I have even thought of raising her daughter? I have many pictures of Ellen, Barry, Dayla and of Ellen pregnant with Jamie. Why is any of that threatening to you or to her or cause for you to have been mean and nasty to me on the phone??? I have no clue.
You don't stop loving someone when they die, Stuart. Perhaps you are too young to have lost someone you cared about. My daughter is dead 17 years, and I still love her. Ellen was a dear friend and I think of her untimely death and Dayla's - poor tiny thing -  often and wonder about Jamie. What is wrong with that? 
I hope your mom and dad are well and hope that I am not infringing on any boundary to say that. Perhaps you might tell them I send my regards if that is not offensive or wrong to do.

UPDATE 7/22: I believe I have located Jaimie Lenner. She is 31 and an attorney! this is who her brother Stuart thought needed protection from a dear friend of her mother! I am haunted by over-protective big bothers! What did his mother, Loretta, tell him to make him treat me as he did? Did she lie and say or infer I was part of Barry's druggie life???  In any event, I have written her a letter and hope to hear back...

UPDATE 8/9/12: Jamie got my letter and emailed me!  She is DELIGHTED that I found her and looks forward to seeing any photos i cna share with her!  

She writes; "I wanted to thank you for your letter I was touched to hear such warm sentiments about my mom.  It is very nice of you to think of me all these years later.  I would love to have some additional pictures of my Mom, Dad and Dayla." 

Why wouldn't she be?  How selfish of her "brother" to want to keep this from her.

Don't ever let anyone tell you your reaching out with kindness and love would be unwelcome!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Feminism and Adoption

I have been engaging in  discussion is currently going on at Alas: A blog, entitled: Adoption is not a woman’s soled decision with some interesting back and forth on how much rights fathers should or shouldn't have. I have hopefully added tot eh subject with a reference to the list of fathers fighting for custody per PoundPuppy Legacy.

One of my latest comment follows:
None of this serves the children who should have an inalienable right to be cared for a loving, responsible parent who wants to care for them before being placed with strangers.
The reason our laws are set up this way is because the adoption lobby is very powerful and that is because there is are BILLIONS of dollars in separating families and very little to no funds to help families in crisis.
Public opinion too often sides with the desperation of those wanting a child and favor laws that sever parental rights as quickly as possible (the whole gist behind Utah’s laws). But it is the demand that creates and feeds the baby market industry and often encourages corruption, exploitation and even human trafficking for adoption (see works of David Smolin).
As feminists, it is important that we see not just women who WANT babies to adopt, but also women (and men) who are unnecessarily loosing their families because of laws that favor adoption over family preservation. South Australia recently issued an apology for what it called ‘forced’ adoptions back prior to the mid 1970s. The US still engages in many practices that S. Au. apologized for!
See, for instance Elizabeth Samuels article: “Time to Decide? The Laws Governing Mothers’ Consents to the Adoption of Their Newborn Infants”
Also PLEASE READ: “Reverse Robinhoodism: Pitting Poor Again” by Mirah Riben, et al.
AND: Feminist Lens on Adoption by Katie Leo
Feminism has a history and reputation of being by for and about the needs of the wealthy and a bit out of touch with the needs of lower class women and mothers. The only feminists who have approached adoption from the perspective of the underdog mother loosing her child to meet a demand are Phyllis Chesler and Ricki Solinger. We need more scholarly work and efforts toward legal changes to protect the rights of natural mothers – and fathers from the huge demand for their children, turning them into handmaids.
I have been fighting this fight for nearly 40 years. During that 40 years there has been a decline in adoptions because of social changes, but the demand is still there and the acceptance of same sex marriage adds to the demand by infertile hetero couples. That demand fuels corruption to obtain babies at any cost, both here and overseas. Women are being used as brood stock, they are being lied to and deceived – told their children are being brought to the U$ for an education, etc. Some are having their children stolen at gunpoint. And in one case in which the child was kidnapped from her Guatemalan mother the US adoptive family, the Monahans, were NOT made to return her! Read the book, Finding Fernanda by Erin Segal. Babies are being stolen in China, India, VietNam, Russia and Ethiopia, just to name a few hot spots.
Babies are big business and mothers are fathers collateral damage.
Please join the conversation. I have not seen so much misinformation about adoption in a long time. Not mythology, just total misconceptions and misinformation about relinquishment, mothers and fathers rights!

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