Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Holiday Giving: Preserve Families and Prevent Unnecessary Adoption Loss

Every year at this time we are inundated with donation requests. I know I am.  I have in the past used this forum to recommend some good charities like SOS for Children, Feed the Children, UNICEF who help provide for families in crisis and thus avoid them being snatched by baby brokers or "well-meaning" missionaries.

This year I am very pleased to share a very special and unique giving opportunity that will help support 5 mothers and 16 children who have been saved from the adoption industry....and hopefully provide 
enough funds for Lynne Johansenn to continue this most valuable work.

Every year (as applicable) I also award a Family Preservation Hero of the Year Award. And this year it goes to Lynn Johansenn:

I commend Lynn for putting her beliefs into action!  I personally housed two moms keeping them and their chidren from becoming victims of adoption rhetoric. Their stories are told in The Stork Market, chapter 9: Preserving Parenthood, pages 163-170. Also on those pages is my most proud "save" - the rescue of the toddler found in the squalid Steinberg NYC "house of horrors" where illegally adopted Lisa was murdered after years of abuse. In addition to reuniting hundreds of families, these are my proudest moments!

Not all of us are blessed with the opportunity to be able to physically rescue families in needs, but we 
can give $5, $10 or $100 to help these families and others like them.

Please donate as you are able. It will make YOUR holidays brighter as well as theirs.

Pro Adoption = Family Dissolution

The adoption reform community is well aware of - and grateful to - the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute (EBDAI) for their support of open adoption and equal access for adult adoptees.

Most (some?) are also aware that besides fixing those two issues and giving lip service to ending corruption and exploitation that is endemic in adoption, EBDAI is totally pro-adoption.

The American Adoption Congress (AAC) is likewise pro-adoption as long as it is open and adult adoptees get their birth certificates. Both organizations rely heavily on the financial support of adopters.

The AAC holds warm-fuzzy support groups workshops at all its conferences, which along with membership are the source of the organization's self-sustaining existence. Such support groups are very helpful and always needed as long as there continues to be a steady flow of new adoptees, new LDAs and new birth parents, siblings etc.

Both EBDAI and AAC are very good ambulances at the bottom of the cliff....there to dry your tears and bandage you up after you were torn apart by the very thing they promote.  Just like adoption agency businesses who also provide fee-paid post adoption support, preventing the tragedies, the loss, the grief, the guilt, the shame, the lack of self-esteem...would put them out of business.

They are both as disingenuous as BP oil company which runs TV ads on how they are restoring the Gulf - without mentioning that it was they who destroyed it!  They are analogous to cigarette companies running anti-smoking campaigns and state lotteries adding a note at the bottom of their ads that if you have a gambling problem call 1-800-GAMBLE!

The facts are very clear and they are not hidden. Donaldson Institute owes its existence to Spence-Chapin Adoption Agency which founded the "think tank" and is still a partner along with the Cradle adoption agency. See "History" under "About":
The Adoption Institute was established in 1996 through the initiative of the Board of Spence-Chapin Services to Families and Children, which saw a need for an independent and unbiased adoption research and policy organization. 
Evan B. Donaldson was a member of the Spence-Chapin Board of Directors continuously from 1977 on, serving as president from 1986 until her death in 1994. She was energetically involved in the planning of the Institute. Dedicated to the value of families, Evan Donaldson worked tirelessly to enable infants and children to have permanent loving homes.
 All EBDAI partners here.

(A bit less transparent, is the story of EBDAI's  Executive Director, Adam Pertman's personal adoption journey. Read on...)

But first, be aware that EBDAI also receives support from Hugh Jackman and his wife, the Aussie couple who adopted from the US and are well known for trying to overturn Australia's family Preservation policies:
HUGH JACKMAN's actress wife DEBORRA-LEE FURNESS is challenging politicians in her native Australia to relax adoption laws so more prospective parents can take in orphans
Jackman's wife, Deborah-Lee Furness serves as executive director of the Worldwide Orphans Foundation in her native Australia, and wrote an opinion piece for CNN.com, detailing her frustration at the "global orphan crisis." 

Of course the real crisis is the FAMILIES failing to receive the support and resources they need, whether it is a single Mom of three in California (see below), an AIDS victim in Africa, or street urchins in Mumbai. But why prevent a "crisis" when it can be exploited to the advantage of so many "deserving" couple and those who earn their livelihood in transferring kids...and come off as saviors at the same time? What a win-win adoption is -- for all but the children and their families -- for whim its a trade off a material possessions and advantages for heritage, truth....
Click "Adoption Gear" tab above to get your own sticker and more.

How does a mother of multiple children - or her other children - benefit from losing one of their kin? One less mouth to feed in exchange for a lifetime of guilt and grief?  And the public applauds the Jackman's and the Pertmans (read below) and the Joneses and the Smiths as "heroes" and "rescuers" for nobly snatching a child they covet, lust after and feel entitled to because they are somehow judged as "better."  And our laws continue to promote and encourage more and more family deconstructions and recreations.

What Has EBDAI Done?

Adam Pertman has been quoted as calling American adoption practice "The Wild West" referring to the lack of governmental oversight and regulation. Ann Babb, in her book The Ethics of American Adoption, states that adoption agencies in the US are less regulated that nail salons. What has the Donaldson Institute done or suggested be done - as think tanks do - to change this?  What does EBDAI suggest needs to be done and by whom?
Why is it that Real Estate brokers and agents have a code of ethics, but none exist for child adoption agencies and their employees and contractors as well as adoption attorneys who are adept at finding loopholes and state-directing clients? What has EBDAI to SUGGEST any such ethical guidelines within the adoption industry?  

How is it ethical for adopters to pay the attorney fees of the mothers whose babies they seek?

Adam Pertman's reaction to the recent Reuters report on re-homing was to call for more help for families who adopt troubled children. Again - attempting to "fix" life altering problems rather than prevent them. Why did was not more and better vetting beforehand suggested?  Does not having adopters pay for their own home studies create a conflict of interest? Why has EBDAI not set guidelines for adoption agencies to ensure that prospective adopters understand the difficulties they may face? And why were no penalties suggested for those who re-home?

There is also a conflict of interest - and distorted expectations - in domestic adoption when adopters pay the legal fees and expenses of expectant mothers. Could this not be resolved by having such funds held in escrow or in state repositories rather than used to intimidate, coerce and instill feelings of indebtedness?  

Who protects the best interests of the children being transferred via adoption that is entrepreneurial and caters to the one paying client? Does EBDAI see a need for more protection for the children? What are they doing in that regard?

The EBDAI supports adoptee access to their original birth certificate, but the institute has been silent on the falsifying the vital record of their birth in the first place. When a child needs extra-familial care, is falsifying their birth certificate - sometimes changing date and place of birth - in their best interest or should that practice be stopped as well?
The institute favors open adoption but are not open adoptions in most states  a disingenuous promise to make to an expectant mother since there is limited enforcement in a limited number of states? Does EBDAI support enforcement of such contracts?
Where was EBDAI stand on cases of fathers' rights abrogation such as Baby Veronica and now Deserai? Why have they not submitted briefs to the courts denouncing these practices?

FINALLY, what is the relationship between the Evan B. Donaldosn Adoption Institute and Spence-Chapin Adoption Agency, and The Cradle Adoption Agency?  Do these relationships not create a conflict of interest for this "think tank"? Is Adam Pertman, the Exec Dir of EBD, a paid spokesperson for the adoption industry and its member agencies? 

Adam Pertman the Executive Director of EBDAI: 

With all due respect for the venerable top US media go-to "expert" on adoption today - with no training or credentials in social work or anything related... The following were his thoughts, his words, in 2001 when he adopted his second child - taking her from her Mom and two siblings in California, and leaving her to explain to explain their baby sister's disappearance from their family: 
"...after bonding with a pregnant Erin in 1997, the [Pertmans] leaped at the chance to attend Emmy's birth and spend a week with Erin and her two kids. "Zackie played with his sister's siblings, who aren't his siblings," says Pertman. "It's a modern American family."
Pertman was one of the early "open" adopters in what seems to be - or were - in actuality identified adoptions.
"We can now tell him things about her." 
Read it all in "One Big Happy Family" by Joanne Fowler in People, June 18, 2001, Vol. 55, No. 24.

The justification for taking a child such as this from a family is that if they don't, someone else will. NOT if the family was fostered. All they need is a year or two help. It's so doable.  See Sponsor a Family.
  • Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But, conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because his conscience tells him that it is right. ~ Martin Luther King
  • All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ~ Unknown
  • I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. ~ Elie Wiesel, Nobel Price for Peace, 1986

We all have to chose to be part of the problem of part of the solution. Holding hands and lamenting is not a solution.

It's amazing how when adoptees or birth parents speak out we are called bitter or it is noted that we have an agenda.  But adoptive parents such as Pertman - with credentials no different from mine - personal connection to adoption, passion about it, and an ability to write articles and a book (or two)...is given a title and a salary and backed by an "institute" as their paid spokesperson.... and the media looks to him as "THE expert" on all things adoption! Just a guy who got two kids he wanted and made a career of it.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Truth About Veronica Brown Capobianco and her Daddy Dusten Brown

As if they have not caused enough harm, Matt and Melanie Capobianco have named 4-year-old Veronica - the child they took from her loving father - as defendant in their million-dollar lawsuit.

They - incredibly - seek repayment of legal service that were reportedly performed pro-bono, and child care costs for the period of time Veronica was in her father's custody!

I am told that Veronica is named tin order for the Capobiancos to get a judgment against her estate
to control any money due her in the future as a movie about the case is likely.

I encourage all bloggers to share this link and expose this injustice to show these people for what they are and to leave a trial of their unending vengeance for Veronica to find.... these people who sat on Dr. Phil saying that they were all getting along and having visitation now that it was all over.

UPDATE: Ya' gotta be kidding! Reportedly the Capos are trying to get all social media to remove all photos of Dusten and Ronnie. What a joke. The photos are in the media which covered this story. And,    they are on Google Images!!!  Good luck with all those lawsuits to have them taken down.


And Dusten's website, Keep Veronica Home has ALL their photos
and I hope it's never taken down! 

This blog post will FOREVER be here for Veronica to find. 
I used her adoptive name to help her find this page.

Other resources with details of the case:

Share the link to this page and feel free to REBLOG!!! PLEASE!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

National Adoption AWARENESS Month: Myths and Facts

Lauren Casper is an adoptive parent whose National Adoption Month blog post, It All Starts With Ashes, exhibits her sensitivities to the losses that precede adoption.

Recognition of the loss, pain and trauma that precedes every adoption is a very good FIRST STEP. Reunification with original family, whenever possible, is a far more important step for adoptees and the families they are born into. 

But, we cannot simply recognize the losses of adoption and continue to perpetuate them. All of us who have become enlightened have an obligation, I believe, to educate others to PREVENT as many future losses, pain and suffering as possible. 

We can either be part of the solution or part of the problem.  To see wrong and not do right is to be party to that wrong.  Far too many adoptions begin with good intent on the part of the adopters, but are accomplished with corruption, coercion and exploitation on the part of those meeting the demand for children for adoption - unbeknownst to well-intentioned adopters.

We who are enlightened about the truths of adoption need to educate those who are still in the dark. 

What better time than National Adoption Awareness Month to help dispel the myths and bring light to the lies perpetrated by the adoption industry and its practitioners whose livelihood depends filling a demand for children. Adoption is romanticized and glamorized (as smoking once was in our society!).  It's encouraged, promoted and supported by laws and policies including tax breaks. Yet, by and large the children used as the face of those in need are left behind as adoption serves its paid clients' desire for young babies, or children from overseas. 

MYTH: Adoption is a win-win. It matches unwanted children with families who want them.

FACT: Unplanned is not unwanted, nor is being pressured to relinquish your rights, or coerced to.  No woman - American or foreign born - dreams of conceiving a child, carry and birthing that child, and giving it away. The vast majority of adoptions are a result of the exploitation of a temporary crisis, most often poverty that could be resolved in ways that help the entire family and allow them to remain intact.
“Unwanted” is a euphemism applied to children and their families who are too poor and have too few social supports. The making of money as a prerequisite for parenthood in a society that privileges the White heterosexual individual is a key component of the continued disenfranchisement of the least powerful. Trading in Babies by So Yung Kim, Aug. 13, 2009, Conducive Magazine
FACT: Worldwide adoption exploits natural disasters, war, and unstable governments.
“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.
On an individual basis, adoption exploits poverty and ignorance, taking advantage of people's inability to read or understand english to even the concept of adoption as permanent. Parents are lied to and deceived to believe their children are coming to the US for an education and will be returned to them.

Domestically, mothers are given unenforceable promises of open adoption and are pre-birth matched getting them enmeshed in relationships with those vying for their child in ways that make them feel indebted and obligated.

MYTH: There are 140-150,000+ orphans available for adoption.

FACT: Nearly ninety percent (88.7%) of the children in orphanages worldwide are not orphans but have at least one living parent and/or extended family.  Families in many nations use orphanages to provide services for their children such as education and medical care that they cannot afford but have no intention, however, of having their child taken for permanent adoption. Nor are these children available for adoption.

"...95 percent of orphans are older than 5. In other words, unicef’s “millions of orphans” are not healthy babies doomed to institutional misery unless Westerners adopt and save them. Rather, they are mostly older children living with extended families who need financial support." E.J. Graff. The Lie We Love, Foreign Policy, Nov./Dec. 2008

The numbers of 'orphans' are intentionally inflated by the adoption industry which uses terms such as "half orphan" or "social orphan" to tug at heartstrings, and encourage religious and humanitarian adoptions.  A half orphan in the industrialized world is a single parent, who ironically can adopt!
"Defining the child as an orphan is frequently done by people who have a vested interest in the final outcome." In an Era of Reform: A review of social work literature on Intercountry adoption, Rotabi and Bunkers
FACT: If there were truly so many children in real need of adoption placement, why do nations such Guatemala, Vietnam, Russia, Nepal, Ethiopia stop International adoption (IA) because of corruption, specifically child trafficking for adoption to meet a demand? Worldwide, babies and children are abducted by child traffickers and passed off as abandoned to foreign orphanages. Consumers - and even reputable US adoption agencies - have no way of verifying that children being offered for adoption have not been stolen, kidnapped, or coerced from unwitting parents.
"Over the past 30 years, the number of families from wealthy countries wanting to adopt children from other countries has grown substantially. At the same time, lack of regulation and oversight, particularly in the countries of origin, coupled with the potential for financial gain, has spurred the growth of an industry around adoption, where profit, rather than the best interests of children, takes centre stage. Abuses include the sale and abduction of children, coercion of parents, and bribery." UNICEF's position on Inter-country adoption.
FACT:  When nations have shut down their IA programs the number of orphans has not increased indicating clearly that demand creates the "supply." Adoption is market-driven and serves those who are willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars for a child, not the children in need who remain behind in orphanages and US foster care.

FACT: The average cost of an adoption is $40,000. If your goal is altruism, there are many better ways to help orphans rather than plucking them one at a time from their homeland, their culture and heritage while leaving their siblings behind in the same conditions. Donations to organizations such as save the children, Christian Children's fund and UNICEF provide much needed medical provisions, wells, schools and school books.
"...overseas adoption is a kind of child abuse by the state. ....Overseas adoption is the forced expulsion of children from the society where they are supposed to live. In this sense, overseas adoption is a social violence against children. As humans, we exist as part of a gigantic ecosystem. The existence of the biological parents of adoptees can never be annihilated nor denied."Overseas adoption is a forced separation of children from their natural ecosystems, as well as a way of forcing them into compulsory unity with settings different from and unnatural to their genetic and original social systems. Through this forced separation and compulsory unity, not only the adoptees, but also their biological parents, adoptive parents and their family members suffer trauma." Pastor Kim Do-hyun, director of KoRoot 
MYTH: Children who could be adopted from foster care are likely to be "damaged" in some way.

FACT: There are half a million children in US foster care. More than 100,000 of those have no identified family to be reunified safely with and could be adopted. While these are in fact "older" children and some may have disabilities, the same is true of children adopted internationally although the truth of IA child's developmental problems are far more likely NOT to be revealed truthfully or fully.

Many development delays and behavioral problems are not evident until after international adoptions have been finalized. Any child who has been institutionalized is "damaged" and many of the children form Eastern Europe suffer fetal alcohol syndrome. Utilizing foster-to-adopt programs prospective adopters can live with a child before making a lifelong, permanent commitment and it is also easier to obtain family medical histories which are non-existent on children claimed to have been abandoned.
"There is an almost inexhaustible demand for very young children to adopt. People looking to adopt are generally looking to adopt children under the age of three, and preferably under the age of one. That's your essential problem. In America, which is the biggest importer, if you like, there are 23,000 children in the foster system waiting for adoption, but most of them will be aged five to 16. There's a very rich, powerful and well-resourced inter-country adoption lobby in the United States."  Andy Elvin, of Children and Families Across Borders
MYTH: Adoption is the same as if the child were born into his family.

FACT: While the system was aimed at creating and perpetrating this myth, even falsifying birth certificates to list adoptive parents as parents of birth, it is not the same. Adopted children have their own heredity and genes that effect their physical appearance and health as well as their psychological development.

Even legally, adoptees are not equal to children born into their families as the vast majority of US states deny adopted persons access to their own birth certificate for all or part of their lives.

MYTH: Adoption provides children a better life because those who adopt are highly motivated, of higher socio-economic status and better educated, etc.

FACT:  Adoption is a trade-off which usually provides more material "privileges" in exchange for a loss of heritage and genealogical connectedness, often with feelings of abandonment and rejection.
"Adoption Loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful"The Reverend Keith C. Griffith, MBE 
FACT: Adoptive parents die and divorce at at least the same rate as all parents and this often leaves a child in a single-parent home with the same disadvantages that brings.

FACT: Because adoption in the US today is privatized, and entrepreneurial, home studies are paid for prospective adopters and are less than thorough. Children have been adopted by pedophiles and other abusers. Children have been beaten, caged, burned, starved, tortured, sexually abused and murdered by adoptive parents.

FACT: Adoptees suffer a disproportionate rate of substance abuse, are disproportionately seen in all types of treatment facilities, and suffer a higher rate of suicide than non-adoptees.

Read about "Post Adoption Issues" in Impact of Adoption on Adopted Persons from the US government's Child Welfare Information Gateway here.

FACT: Approximately 10-25% of adoptions fail and adoptees are abandoned or given to total strangers as detailed in a 5-part Reuters investigative report, Sept, 2013.

The FACT is that every adoption starts with a tragedy - a family who failed to find the resources they needed to remain together.  To promote or encourage more loss is immoral. Chemo helps many people survive cancer, but we don't stop seeking a way to prevent this horrible disease and simply put more and more people on harsh drug, and radiation therapies or expose them to surgeries.

Humane societies need to regulate adoption so that it is safe for the most vulnerable of their citizens and enact Family Preservation measures to reduce the number of children redistributed.
"The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which guides UNICEF’s work, clearly states that every child has the right to know and be cared for by his or her own parents, whenever possible. Recognising this, and the value and importance of families in children’s lives, UNICEF believes that families needing support to care for their children should receive it, and that alternative means of caring for a child should only be considered when, despite this assistance, a child’s family is unavailable, unable or unwilling to care for him or her...." UNICEF's position on Inter-country adoption
The FACT is that adoptions based on lies and government committed fraud to promulgate those lies in the form of falsified birth certificates and denied access to the accurate vital record of the birth, are a violation of human and civil rights and need to be outlawed.

How can any society promote what amounts to indenture and laws that discriminate, applying only to SOME citizens and not others, based solely on what was done TO these people without their knowledge or approval? 
"It should matter to everyone that adopted people, on reaching the age of majority, cannot automatically obtain their own original birth certificates like the rest of us. We should care, and we should feel outraged, for the same reason so many men supported suffrage for women and so many white Americans joined the civil rights struggle -- because we should find it offensive when any minority group in society is deprived of equal rights." “A Civil Right: Adoptees Should Have Access to their Birth Certificates” by Adam Pertman, The Huffington Post, 1/12/11 

  • Profit, not care: The ugly side of overseas adoptions  
  • Adoption as Supply-and-Demand for Infertile Couples  http://www.americanmamacita.com/blog/adoption-as-supply-and-demand-for-infertile-couples/
  • Profit not care: the ugly side of overseas adoptions  
  • Orphaned or Stolen: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/schuster-institute-for-investigative-journalism/orphaned-or-stolen-the-us_b_825451.html
  • Duped by Indian adoption agency, US family cautions couples. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/
  • Julia Rollings story at: http://bittersweet-story.blogspot.com/
  • The Lie We Love by E.J.Graff http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2008/12/11/the-lie-we-love
  • The works of David Smolin on child trafficking: works.bepress.com/david_smolin/1/
  • The Child Catchers by Kathryn Joyce
  • Finding Fernanda by Erin Siegal
  • Romania: For Export Only by Roelie Post
  • The Language of Blood by Jane Jeong Trenka
  • Outsiders Within by Jane Jeong Trenka
  • Fugitive Visions by Jane Jeong Trenka
  • The STORK MARKET: America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry by Mirah Riben
Many good articles exposing the underbelly of adoption are published at DissidentVoice. To see a complete list, use this link.










Inside Ethiopia's Adoption Boom  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304811304577368243366708110.html
"To focus on these children without focusing on their families or communities thus becomes an ignoble hypocrisy; as if to say, 'give us your huddled masses–but only if they are cute children and can be indoctrinated from an early age'.” 
Nineteen Russian children have been MURDERED by American adopters.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Language of Respect

But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.                          George Orwell, 1984
As a nation, among the many things we are divided on is "politically correct" language. Some feel it is being shoved down their throats and it makes them defensive. We saw this in the Paula Dean bru-ha-ha.  I like to say to those opposed to "political correctness" that PC stands for POLITE and CONCERNED. I think it's all a matter of respect.

When I was told that referring to human beings as "Orientals", as had been accepted in the past, was no longer so...that rugs are oriental but people are Asian... I simply changed my wordage so as not to be offensive, albeit unintentionally. Others balk and act as if the mere suggestion of being respectful of how people wish be defined and addressed is a violation of their free speech.

My Grandma felt she was too young to be a grandmother. We were asked to call her Molly and did. It never confused our relationship with her. If a neighbor's child tells you that it hurts his feelings to be referred to as retarded, would you persist in doing so?  Bigoted slurs in conjunction with a brawl can change the legal dynamic of a simple assault into a federal hate crime.  In the workplace as well discriminatory or sexist language can rise to a legal offense, civilly if not criminally. Obviously the language we use is important and there ARE limIts on our freedom of speech.

Speaking of Adoption

Within the adoption community labels have always been contentious.  A young child, upon learning a playmate is adopted, will nine times out of ten blurt out a very simple and logical follow-up question: "Do you know who your real parents are?" It's as innocent and natural a question as asking a resident new to your community or a new classmate where they moved from. yet for adoptive parents - and adoptees - it raises issues and the hair on the back of their neck.

If you are living with and being raised by people who ADOPTED you, then you were not born to them and obviously have some genetic roots elsewhere. Ten-year-olds know this quite naturally. yet adoptive parents get bent out of shape when adults ask them the same question, even when asked about their very obviously, racially different, child. Many adopters report finding the question invasive and offensive. Mostly it is the use of the "real" - as in "do you know your child's 'real' parents?" that is troublesome for adopters.  They object to biological creation being - rightfully - described as "real" and "natural" thus making adoption unreal and unnatural, which it is is.  Many say they respond to such questions with a quick: "I am his REAL mother!" which of course is legally true and verified by a falsified birth certificate that says so. Step parents, it seems, even those who have raised a child since infancy, are far less defensive in revealing their step-parent relationship.

The problem with this and so much sensitivity in adoption language is taking a real fact of the PROCESS of adoption and making it personal. Adopters take the fact that they are not the real or natural parents of their child as a slight against them, as if it makes them "lesser" instead of just having created their family differently. The roots of this defensiveness lie in unresolved feelings of inadequacy of having not been able to conceive and birth a child of their own...or, in other cases from wanting to paint a "color blind" attitude that portrays just how much they love all of their children - home grown and adopted - equally.
"Adoption is not identical with producing one's own child into one's own family.  Not to recognize this reality is to romanticize adoption, and adoption literature abounds in such pretense." John Triseliotos, author of In Search of Origins.

"The traditional blood-kin family is composed of one mother, one father, and their child or children. The adoptive family is composed of two mothers, two fathers and a child common to them. Although society, and to some extent adoptive parents, would like to pretend that it is exactly like a traditional family, it is the differences that are extremely significant in each member's life." Dr. Herbert Wieder, Pyschiatrist with decades of experience working with adoptive families, testifying for Assembly Bill 2051 (Adoption) in Trenton, NJ, December, 1981.
It is recognizing these differences that are crucial to healthy inter-family relations in adoptive families.  The reality that the world sees is that every child is born to a set of parents with whom he or she shares DNA that makes that connection very real in a way that cannot be denied by thought, wishes or language. The connection is one formed in nature and is thus natural as opposed to legal arrangements made for the care of children subsequently.

The Flip Side

Another aspect of hurtful language is the use of the term "bio."  While I have never objected to being referred to as a birth mother, I find "bio" extremely and intentionally COLD and distancing. Recently I heard a euphemism that was new to me: LIFE GIVER.  It doesn't seem too bad except that it was said repeatedly as LIFE GIVER - in caps - and never "my life giver." And, in context, it was clearly the female form of SPERM DONOR which was used in the same piece, also in caps.

As my Mom used to say: "It's not what you say, but how you say it." You be the judge at this link, to what is for me a clear case of she doth protest too much about not caring. (Note, too that as a child this woman yielded to her a-mother's tears and then in true "good adoptee" behavior she learned as a child, "obeyed" her husband's wishes as well to leave it all alone.)

Some adoptees on Facebook were quick to defend that this is how they feel and thus they should be able to use language that expresses how they feel. Even if it is hurtful or offensive, I ask. Some defended it because they had never met LIFE GIVER.We all have ancestors we've never met.  Some may be perfectly lovely folks and others may be horrid. But we don't disdain them. Others have met and dislike their original parents, for whatever reasons. Is it even then necessary then to use demeaning language to identify their connection to you?

If I decided to refer to my firstborn child as GIVE AWAY, and said and wrote things about having met GIVE AWAY when she was sixteen and that then GIVE AWAY attended Syracuse university.... would adoptees not find that cold and a tad offensive???  What does it say about me? Does it indicate some unresolved issues? What if I called her DISCARD? or, "unwanted"?

For some mothers, the child they lost or who was taken from them for adoption is their "kidnapped" child. Many feel very strongly that their child was abducted, not adopted.  How would referring to their child as ABDUCTEE fly? "ABDUCTEE and I were reunited last year and I got to meet ABDUCTEE'S spouse and children." Does it sound warm and friendly, or as harboring of some UNRESOLVED ISSUES?  If you were left with the task of writing an obit, or purchasing a grave marker for the person from you are adopted-separated, would you want it to read: here lies LIFE GIVER..perhaps next to a stone marked "SPERM DONOR."

How about if mothers, not only spoke about our children this way, but addressed our children with these labels? Is it not depersonalizing and dehumanizing on the level of A Boy Called It?

Adoptive parents, and adoptees, can call us "birth parents" or "biological parents" and we may feel like or be strangers, but we maintain a unique blood and genetic connection to our children that makes us REAL and related in a way that adoption does not replicate. This reality must be recognized and dealt with. 

There is a balance between our individual and personal right to express how we feel toward others in our lives and simple respect. It is also incumbent upon us to recognize and work on the damage and in some cases havoc adoption has created in our lives; the deep irresolvable hurt.

What a nicer world if we each did our work and tried to be respectful.

RussiaToday Apr 29, 2010 on Russian Adoption Freeze

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