Sunday, September 30, 2007


I hate the word choice.

I hate it with a passion.

Because as an adoptee, concept of choice has always been held over my head, from those on both sides.

And I hate it, I do.

I hate the fact that it is the year 2007 and there is even a need for such a thing as choice. I hate that any woman in this day and age needs to have that heart-stopping moment when she realizes, “I’m late” or watch the calendar in fear and dread waiting for the day to come.

Nothing scared me more than the thought of getting pregnant. I used to think about my mother hating me while she was pregnant with me. I thought of myself as a parasitic blob of misery. I used to imagine my mother trying various folk methods to try and get rid of me. Chugging Lydia Pinkham by the gallon. And me, still implanted, refusing to budge, insisting on ruining her life.

I was told the standard BSE “nursing student” lie about her. I believed it growing up – why wouldn’t I? And on the tales of the nursing student came always the follow-up. She came from a wealthy family. She came from a medical family. They would have had access to terminate, like wealthy families did in those dark years before it was legal. But she didn’t because she was Catholic. Be grateful, you life destroying mass of unwanted cells.

Hating myself for ruining my mother’s life kept me intact, so to speak, much longer than any of my friends. There are those who would argue that’s a good thing. Being on the tail end of raising teenagers, yeah, I’m not overly enamored of the idea. But the fact remains those in love, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, will do what those in love will do, no matter what the age. The decision to be active or not to be active should have come from a sense of security, self-worth and commitment, not out of abject heart stopping blind terror fear.

Of being stuck like her. Of growing something evil like me.

So I was the last. But the fear of something implanted in me took root, and grew in my brain, blocking out normal thought processes and turning it into something twisted, warped and, to be brutally honest, fucking loony tunes.

Megadoses of Vitamin C daily, the right kind not the wrong kind, mind you, to maintain a hostile womb. A window shelf garden box containing a holy trinity of abortifacient herbs, mature plant roots and flowers constantly hanging and drying, ground up, packed into jars, huge cup nightly, resultant headaches be damned, all in the sake of avoiding a demon child like me. Oh you're so cool, you have such wisdom, friends would say, hippie chick me with my long skirts and ankle bells and vials of herbs for whatever ails you. If they only knew the truth.

Three forms of birth control, because birth control fails, you know. Taking pregnancy tests days before my period was due. And repeating. And repeating. And repeating. Because sometimes these things give false negatives. Repeat it the next month. Repeat it even when menstruation comes, because sometimes you can be pregnant and still get your period. Repeat it even on months when your sailor lover was out to sea, when there was no chance of being pregnant, because sometimes it takes a while for hCG to build up.

Repeat, repeat, repeat, so you don’t.

The fact that years later, I got pregnant the very first time I tried, only validated my prior neurosis.

See? Told you.

So the post-loving loving choice sets my teeth on edge. As does the post-loving informed choice. I hate the thought of any woman carrying to term a pregnancy she does not want. I hate the thought of any woman deciding between an invasive procedure or pharmaceuticals. I hate the rhetoric. I hate the politics. I hate it all.

Because all of it makes me remember, that once upon a time, doom came to a pretty tree lined street in Philadelphia, and my family hated me.

Choice: True Stories of Birth, Contraception, Infertility, Adoption, Single Parenthood, and Abortion will be released October 19, 2007. I’ve pre-ordered.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How come

it's OK for real kids to say this to adoptees?

Can you imagine saying this to anyone else?

I dare you, dare you, double dog dare you, say that to a real kid the next time they say ANYTHING about their parents or their upbringing.

You just recoiled a little bit didn't you?

Of course you did. What an atrocious thing to say to anyone.

Except adoptees.

I can't count the number of times I heard that statement. And you know what's so sad? After you hear it for the umpteenth time, sometimes you say it too.

I know I did.

I always feel so sad when any adoptee makes that statement about themselves even the famous ones. Especially the famous ones; the media eats that up. Because it reminds me of all the times I did (and do) feel so worthless, that I don't even deserve to be alive.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A few quick tidbits....

A bulleted series of random thoughts, because I'm short on time...

  • Via Mia comes the announcement that Las Hijas is now available on DVD.

  • Wes Unruh has posted an interview with Jessica DelBazo over at alterati

  • Have you noticed yet the static post at the top of the page, that will remain up until RegDay? Wanna come chill with us? You know I'm going to keep nagging you.

  • Take a quick peek off to the right. I've been adding links like a crazy adoptee. If in my haste I dropped you, yell at me. If you were there before, but you're not now, it wasn't intentional.

  • Have you registered for ARP08 yet? You know I'm going to keep nagging you about that too, right?

  • While commenting over at Joy's today, it dawned on me that Debbie Harry is 62. I can't get over that. Can you believe it? Damn. Here's an interview with her from 2003. We bastards and the ocean, we're just inseparable.

  • I really miss iBastard

  • ANOTHER Myspace reunion happened just today! I don't know if she wants her page linked so I'm not going to link it now, but this makes Myspace:3 / Facebook: 2 since I've started this blog.

  • DMC: My Adoption Journey won an Emmy! Way to go! The show will re-air this Saturday, September 29th at 10:00 PM EST on VH1


Monday, September 24, 2007

Speak up. Pass it on.

Via AAAFC. My only suggestion is there needs to be a survey for adults from foster care as well.


Adult Adoptee Survey
Do you think the adoption system puts the needs of the children first? Please share your views.

Birth (first) parent survey
Do you think the adoption system serves birth (first) parents well? Are changes needed? Let us know.

Survey on agency oversight
Do you think there's enough oversight of adoption agencies? Do we need stronger regulations? Share your views.

Foster parent survey
Share your insights about foster parenting and how you think the foster care system could improve.

Adoptive parents survey
How do you feel about the domestic adoption scene? Does it fill your needs? How could it be improved? Share your opinions.



Reprinted with permission. I'm currently working on a new template design for this blog, this poem moved me so much, I want this to be on my sidebar.

I have not met mothers who do not want to reunite with their children, taken from them, years ago. Their stories are not in The Mothers Project.

I learned about them -- the lost mothers -- from their children ... the adopted babies who grew up, looked for their mothers, found them ... and were sent away. Several, literally, had the door slammed in their faces.

My poem, "Lost", is about those few mothers who do not want to reunite with their children and about their children who cope with that rejection in the only way they know.

I believe we -- mothers and adoptees -- owe each other reunion. We owe that to each other! It is wrong to withhold reunion, under all circumstances. At the very least, we deserve to know who each other is and where we are. It's ok to choose no further contact, but it is not ok to refuse to meet at least once. We owe that to each other. We, surely, do.

©2007 Celeste Billhartz

Some mothers are lost
To drugs, alcohol, prostitution, ignorance, selfishness, greed

Others are lost to nothing sordid
They just move through superficial lives
In denial of their motherhood

These lost mothers
Turn away their now-grown sons and daughters
Will not meet them, will not touch them
Say they did not/do not love them

These adopted ones
Had filled themselves with so much hope --
How do they survive?

Most have borne their loss
With more dignity than despair
Still, they hold a sadness in their eyes
And they do not understand --
Will never understand --
Such cruelty

A few turn mean
They push kindness, love away
Because HER door slammed in their faces
Long ago, or yesterday

And some ... so devastated
They shallow-breathe each moment
Of their Mom-forsaken lives


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Making a sisterly connection

Got this news story off the PAFind list.

Siblings seem to be the focus this week in adoptionville.

Woven through this beautiful story of reunited sisters Sharon and Marybeth are so many tragedies, staring with a scared young mother trying to work out a way to keep her baby.

Second, I believe it is so wrong for adoptive parents to withhold information. In this story, Marybeth's adoptive parents had her file. Why should she have had to pay the state hundreds of dollars for her own information?

Most tragic, Sharon was eight months too late to find her mother, who spent her entire life missing and mourning her loss.

Look at this picture. This is what those who oppose equal access are fighting against:

Photo/Tom Lynn-Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

I'm thrilled for these women and I wish them many years of reconnection and happiness, but....

There's always a but with me, you know that, right?

How many years could have been saved?

We have official state policies for finding our missing families, but they are full of failure and unreasonably expensive. We are forced to abide by the whims and wishes of county judges who are allowed to interpret state law as they see fit, and state personnel who throw their own personal biases into reunion.

On top of that, the system fails so many, by both human error and erring humans. I've heard so many stories of separated families who both have registered at official state run registries, only to be told that neither party registered. There are mothers who have filed notarized court papers waiving the confidentiality they were never promised, only to have their searching sons and daughters told their records are sealed to protect their mother's privacy.

And that's for those who even know how to jump through the hoops and navigate between the loops of adoption law. Without the internet and experienced searchers, adoption law is beyond baffling. For those who have neither, the chances of reunion are slim to none.

Heartfelt gratitude to Jim Stingl of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for writing this fantastic article without throwing in hysterics and hyperbole of the confidentiality mothers never asked for, and to photographer Tom Lynn for capturing in a split shutter second what words cannot describe - the look of love on a sister's face.

Making a sisterly connection

Sharon Ulicki put it best:

"To think I lost a sister and gained a sister."

Sharon's younger sister, Cynthia Rash, 50, died of a drug overdose last December in Ohio, where she was living.

And this week - a surprise, to say the least - Marybeth Neinast called Sharon to say you don't know me, but I'm pretty sure we're sisters.

On Wednesday, Marybeth traveled from Mauston to Sharon's home in Milwaukee's Washington Heights neighborhood, and the two women met and embraced for the first time.

"How cool is that? Sixty years is a long darn time," Sharon said.

"It feels comfortable," Marybeth sighed as the women swapped stories and photographs, compared notes on heart problems that run in the family and agreed they look alike right around the eyes.

This story actually starts 63 years ago when a 20-year-old woman from Neenah, Betty Schroeder, was intimate with a man she met at work.

She didn't know until after she got pregnant that he was married and had two children.

"I was illegitimate, and it was hush-hush. My birth certificate doesn't have a father's name on it," Marybeth said.

Betty came to Milwaukee and gave birth to a baby she named Jacqueline Marie.

She signed away her rights to the child on March 26, 1945, after one last talk with her parents about the possibility of keeping her and raising her.

It was an ache that would stay with Betty throughout her life, which ended in January when she died here of natural causes at age 82.

Jacqueline was placed in a boarding home and then adopted by a couple from Plymouth, Raymond and Lenora Weber. They named her Marybeth and raised her lovingly along with an older adopted son and a second son they had naturally seven years after adopting Marybeth.

The Webers told Marybeth from the start that she was adopted. What they didn't reveal - and what Marybeth just discovered in her search this summer - was that they had been given copies of all the documents from her adoption file. Except for telling her she was born Jacqueline Schroeder, they did not share the details with her. Raymond and Lenora have both passed away.

Meanwhile, Betty remained in Milwaukee, where she met and married Joseph Krohelski and had three children - Sharon, Cynthia and a son, Stephen, who lives here in Milwaukee but has not had a chance to meet his new sister yet.

Sharon, 61, said their mom told them that she had given up the baby when she was young. Sharon has one memory in particular from when she was about 6.

"My mother came home from work, and she was crying. She wanted my dad to go get a private detective and find this child," she said.

It wasn't until Sharon was about 16 that her mom told her in more detail about the baby. Then it seemed to her like a cautionary conversation about the perils of being single and sexually active.

There were times when Marybeth wondered about her birth mother and whether she had siblings linked by blood. Twice she made half-hearted efforts to find out, but this summer she got serious about it after two of her adopted cousins told her how they had found their birth families, and she formally requested her adoption records.

Sadly, she learned from a caseworker with the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services that her birth mother had died just eight months earlier.

"It broke my heart. I spent the whole day crying," Marybeth said.

A thick packet of records from the department arrived in the mail at Marybeth's home in Mauston this week. Because Betty had died and could not give the required consent, a judge reviewed and approved the request.

The best contact was Ralph Milkowski of Franklin, whom Betty had married in 1967 after divorcing Joseph. When Marybeth called him this week, his first impulse was suspicion.

"I'm thinking it's some scam," said Ralph, who joined in the reunion at Sharon's house Wednesday.

But Betty had told Ralph about the baby she gave up, and everything Marybeth said matched up with what he knew. Then he put Marybeth in touch with Sharon, which led to another stunning phone call.

"I always knew you'd call," Sharon told Marybeth on the phone.

"I was so happy," Sharon said, "but I'm thinking, 'Oh my God, if only Mom and Cindy could have been here to witness this. Why couldn't this have been a year earlier?' "

"I would have liked to have heard her laugh and look into her eyes," Marybeth said of her mother.

Not about to let the what-ifs ruin the moment, Marybeth and her husband, Dale, spent the day with Sharon and met her daughter, Adrean, and her kids, and Sharon's son, Jeff, and his adopted son. Marybeth has one grown daughter, Stephanie.

Marybeth said she plans to go one step further and contact her birth father if he's still alive. Small clues to his identity are in the records, and Ralph knows a little from what Betty told him. Marybeth will proceed with caution, though, because it's entirely possible that his family still doesn't know about her.

"He would be regarded as handsome," the adoption papers said of the father. He was athletic and had "fine teeth." He was concerned about his "misbehavior" and wanted to keep the secret from his wife.

Someone might be in for a surprise.

The Department of Health and Family Services helps facilitate 500 to 600 reunions like this one each year.

The past catches up to the present, and families make up for lost time.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

The wants of the few

outweigh the needs of the many.

More on the sad state of affairs up north. Separated families in Ontario have nothing but my deepest sympathy this week.

The way some of these news articles carry on, you'd think there was a huge Times-Square-esque billboard in the center of Ontario broadcasting the names and addresses of every adoptee and mom, as well as random dudes who might be dads.

This is the worst part of it. This law was overturned based on 4 PEOPLE - three adoptees and one guy who might be a natural father - that's it!

Want to get angrier - two of the three adoptees have their freaking identifying information.

Joy Cheskes, who is so protective of her right to remain private she has appeared with her full name, location and occupation on every single news article and TV broadcast, as well as Denbigh Patton, another scared and frightened baby tom quivering in her benedict bastard boots while she allows her name to be plastered all over the news --- both of these women were born prior to 1970. This means they have not only the original surnames of their mothers, they can receive their adoption orders on request.

Wow, who do these two remind you of?

Read it and weep friends. When separated families overwhelmingly support their names being released to relatives, and all it takes is four people to overturn that, there's something very fishy in Denmark.

Ontario ruling shuts door on adoption records

9-23 Correction: Patton is a guy


Demons in Adoption Award

And after you vote, why not damn them to hell for added fun!

On October 4th the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute will hold their annual Angels in Adoption gala, where several people will be honored with the Angels in Adoption Reward.

To raise a voice against adoption propaganda and this self congratulatory practice, Pound Pup Legacy is proud to introduce the first edition of the annual Demons of Adoption Awards.

This years nominees are:, for systematically banning voices that oppose current adoption practices

Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute for awarding persons and organizations that promote the one sided point of view of the adoption industry.

Council on Accreditation for having fierce adoption lobbyists in their board of trustees, making the accreditation process a dubious conflict of interest affair.

National Council for Adoption for pushing the adoption agenda in pregnancy consultation.

National Safe Haven Alliance for promoting legislation that promotes child abandonment.

NYC Administration for Children’s Services for not checking up on Judith Leekin.

By voting you can help decide who will receive this award.

go here to vote:


Friday, September 21, 2007

Two faces of adoption


Long-Time Friends Discover They're Brothers

Long-Time Friends Discover They're Brothers

Alex Aggar, left, and Bobby Malone, right, had always been told they looked alike. They discovered they are brothers when Alex contacted his birth mother. She turned out to be Teresa Malone, center, Bobby's mother. (MyFoxTampaBay)

MyFoxTampaBay reports

BRANDON, Fla. - Alex Aggar and Bobby Malone have always been told they looked alike.

The two have been friends since childhood, playing on the same baseball teams, graduating from the same Tampa high school, and now playing baseball together in college.

Each with a secret of sorts.

Alex knew he was adopted; Bobby knew he had a brother out there that his mother had given up for adoption.

One day after baseball practice, the two got to talking, and started comparing notes. From there, the coincidences started piling up.

"We started talking about it, and he said he had a brother that just graduated from high school, and I graduated," Alex said.

"He said he was born in Orange County, and I was like yeah, my mom lives in Orange County," Bobby said.

Alex had been given up for adoption as a baby because when he was born, his mother couldn't provide for him.

He got a new family, and as a child, met Bobby, who lived about five miles away in Brandon.

"We started playing baseball, little league right up the road from here. We started playing baseball together and then we became friends, and he use to spend the night all the time," Alex said.

Alex's birth mother, Teresa Malone, wanted her child to have a life that she knew she could not provide.

"I wish I could have taken care of him, I wish I could have been a mother for him all these years," she said.

About two months ago, she contacted an attorney to find her long lost son, but the search went nowhere.

Then out of nowhere, she got a phone call from a young man claiming to be her son.

He told her he had a couple of questions to ask her, and she said OK.

He said, "you gave up your son for adoption, do you know what the date was?"

Teresa told him, "November 17, 1988."

Was his name Christopher Lee? She said yes.

He then said to her, "I think I could be your son."

It turned out that Alex, his adopted name, had been best friends with Teresa's son, Bobby Malone. The two boys grew up together in the same town, played little league baseball for many years together, went to high school together, and now go to the same Christian College.

"It was shocking," Alex said. "It still hasn't hit in yet."

Friday afternoon, surrounded by family, Alex and Teresa were reunited. With his best friend and new-found brother there beside him, Alex also met his biological grandmother, and two aunts.

"It's nice that they finally get to meet each other and see each other," Bobby said.

"It's just shocking how I've known him my whole life," he added.

Teresa smiled through her tears of joy.

"I see now that he has had a good life, and I want to start fresh," she said.


Stamp of disapproval

Isn't this beautiful?

You can't have it though. A certain online custom postage printing shop says so.

You can't have it because it's a policy violation. They refuse to sell you things that violate their policy.

Policy Violations:
--- Incorporates material that is primarily partisan or political in nature.
--- Incorporates material the primary purpose of which is to advocate or protest any particular religious, social, political, legal or moral agenda of any person or entity.

So that means there's no way they would sell you custom postage that look like these, because none of these advocate any religious, social, or political agenda:

Oh wait, sorry, they do sell them. So actually the unnamed custom postage store's policy needs to be amended a bit. Like a birth certificate.

Policy Violations:
--- Incorporates material that is primarily pro adoptee rights.
--- Incorporates material the primary purpose of which is to advocate adoptee rights.

That beautiful design was created by an extremely talented bastard at an extremely wonderful support group I frequent. I'm not naming names, and you'll know why in a moment. Orders were being collected, and we were going to buy 100 sheets in bulk. I placed an extra early bird order of 1 sheet on my own so that I'd have them in time for RegDay.

And I got bitchslapped by some bastard-hater, who won't sell any type of design that promotes any type of social agenda, as you can see from the images they sell in the picture above.

Julie made a really incredible point on her blog about it. Real stamps are for real kids. Not us.

But hey, that's OK. Not everyone loves bastards. We're so embarrassing. We represent sex. We represent being unwanted. They don't want our dirty bastard money. We probably got it from stealing and murdering someone anyway, right? Everyone knows adoptees are so disturbed.

But whatever. I tried another site. And got no love from them either. A few hours later, they rejected the design as well. This second site also had another nifty difty little thing in their clause. If they deny you, you can't talk about it. Because then they could sue you about it.

Yes, that is correct. If they deny you, and you kvetch about it, they'll sue you.

Which brings me to the second thing I loved about Julie's post.

There is no one who would speak up for us.

If we were gay or African American or pro-war or christian or environmentalists -- you name it -- and someone denied our design, there not only are a host of organizations we could turn to to publicize this, but in the event we were sued for talking about it, we'd have a host of organizations that would defend us.

There is no love for bastards of this world, once we outgrow that cute and cuddly stage.

Neither online custom postage printing service returned my emails asking for clarification. Another round of appeal letters will be sent, not so much to change their minds, because there's no changing someone's mind when it comes to angry, disturbed adoptees who have the audacity to want their birth certificates. They'll say they have no choice. They'll turn down a $1,399.00 sale because, hey, they are bound by the post office, who won't allow them to print anything related to adoption.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

New Jersey's "Let's Talk Adoption" Conference

New Jersey's
"Let's Talk Adoption"


November 3, 2007
Rutgers University, Busch Campus
Piscataway, New Jersey

Some of the listed workshops are triggering, but there are some that look interesting. In the first one, I'm not sure if they are laying the negativity on the front steps of the school experience, but teachers are a powerful force. I had teachers who were amazing in their adoption knowledge, and some that were true monsters. But definitely I do have memories of early school years, and yeah, there's some negative there. I don't blame the school though. Entering school just coincides with an increase in awareness.

Many parents report that their child’s first negative feelings about adoption happen when they enter school. This presentation is designed to assist school guidance counselors and social workers in navigating the potential additional complications adoption may bring to school interactions. Issues such as negative remarks from classmates, making school assignments more inclusive, language issues, and understanding how separation, loss, attachment, identity & transracial issues can have an impact on the adopted child all will be addressed. The presenter has done extensive training for guidance counselors and teachers throughout NY and NJ. She has over 20 years experience working in the educational and the foster care systems and is currently the director of post adoption services for Spence-Chapin. Rita Taddonio, LCSW.

Adopted adults (both domestic & international) share reflections on adoption related conversations in their families – those they had and those that would have been helpful. Moderated by Pam Hasegawa.

The presenter will share her personal story as an adoptee – her childhood feelings as well as her search and reunion, and becoming a mother herself – with all the issues that arose during pregnancy, birth & parenting. Included will be her research with other adoptee mothers. Zara Phillips, author of “Chasing Away the Shadows: An Adoptee’s Journey to Motherhood.”

There's also this:

The challenges for many foster and adoptive children are worsened by negative relationships at school. In this workshop, Dr. Kunstal will look at the personality, behavior & relationship issues of school bullies, outcasts & loners. Ways to help children change their roles, lose their reputations & get along better with teachers and peers will be examined. Frank Kunstal, Ed.D, PC, keynote speaker.

I was talking about this earlier tonight. A few years ago, my husband had a foster child in his class who had one of those adoption profiles on the web. Some of the other girls in the class had found it and printed it out. They wrote nasty things on it, and then even worse, took her picture from the web and made a fake myspace profile about it. Kids can be very cruel to children who are fostered or adopted, even in this day and age.

Speaking as a former bullied kid, bullying hurts any child. But bullying an adopted or foster kid, especially about being adopted or fostered, that's it's own special kind of hell.


Pa. Caregivers of 7 Held in Home Charged

In addition to the news story reprinted here, WGAL-TV has a video online.

Pa. Caregivers of 7 Held in Home Charged

The Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Five children and two disabled women were locked in a basement cell, fed meager food and rarely allowed to bathe, by a couple facing criminal charges over their care, authorities said. The couple were paid $9,000 a month to care for the seven.

The unlit 4-foot-by-5-foot cinderblock cell was called the "toy room," according to a police affidavit.

One of two 14-year-old boys spent more than 20 hours a day there, sleeping on a concrete floor with only a blanket, authorities said. Others were sometimes locked into the cell as punishment, police said.

The five boys, two of whom have disabilities, were adopted by James and Stephanie Dickinson starting in 1998. All seven were removed from the Dickinsons' home last October while police investigated.

Dickinson, 61, and his 57-year-old wife were charged Tuesday with false imprisonment, recklessly endangering others and endangering children's welfare. Stephanie Dickinson also was charged with witness intimidation.

Stephanie Dickinson said she was innocent while being led away by police on Tuesday.

"I love my children very, very much," she told WGAL-TV. "I did not do the things they said I did."

Police described three of the children and both adults as having "mental/physical" disabilities. The boys ranged in age from 6 to 15. The women are in their 50s and were placed with the Dickinsons in 1992 and 1995.

Breakfast for the seven consisted of peanut butter sandwiches and dinner was a crock pot meal prepared by Stephanie Dickinson, including a dish known as "doggie dew stew," police said.

Only two of the victims were allowed to shower about once every week or two. The others would wash or be washed in the basement sink. Two older boys took care of everyone when they were not in school, according to police. During the day, one of the women was in charge.

The seven victims had unsupervised access to prescription medications and rat poison, and one of the older children was forced to empty the basement's portable toilet daily by hauling a bucket upstairs, according to the affidavit.

The Dickinsons' house rules kept the seven from the basement refrigerator without permission, required them to drink water from the sink, limited radio and television to Christian stations, banned going outside without permission and punished noisemaking with spankings using a spatula or wooden paddle, police said. In general, they were not allowed upstairs.

During a supervised visit the Dickinsons were allowed after the five boys were placed in foster care, Stephanie Dickinson allegedly told the 15-year-old boy that "he needed to make things right, that if the family got broken, it would be his fault and he would have to deal with the weight of that on his shoulders."

The Dickinsons remained in custody Wednesday in lieu of $500,000 bail each. A court spokeswoman said they were not represented by lawyers.

September 19, 2007 11:39 PM


Oh for pete's sake

A little histrionics here. Check out the video. Sheesh.

A superior court judge has struck down a controversial law which would have seen Ontario's adoption records opened to the world.

This calls for a blast from the not so recent past. When someone writes something so dumb, only one thing comes to mind:

The adoption disclosure act would have made it much easier for birth parents and the children they gave up to reconnect.

But as Scott Miller reported on A-Channel News at Six today's decision says doing so would---

violate their privacy.


Monday, September 17, 2007

14,000 glowing reviews

And of course I have to be the grumpy one.

I, for one, don't believe I'm looking forward to it. It appears like I'm the only blogger who feels this way. Yay for individuality.

But that's OK because there's like 13,842 people who are looking forward to it very much.

I'm all about the comedy, but only when it's coming from those who know. Otherwise, it sets my teeth on edge.

Maybe because I read a spoiler review over at the imdb database. And I read the ending from someone who had seen it at a film festival. Now unless that person is a liar, I'm really dismayed at what those who've seen it consider to be a 'heartwarming ending'.

Probably because I've had just about all the adoption heartburn I can handle.

I don't see anything heartwarming or funny about a young mother facing future PTSD.

I don't see anything heartwarming or funny about a future adoptee.

I'm really scared, because I think this movie is going to be very good and very popular, hell, if it's managed to get close to 14K in blog posts just a few days after the trailer is released, can you imagine what kind of attention this movie is going to get. Roger Ebert practically had a coronary from love over it and has already declared it the second coming of Christ. OK not really, but close enough. Anyway I just can't help associating December releases with pregnant teenagers.

Can you imagine what the official film website is going to look like as it gets closer to the release date? Will be a link there to somplace like Bethany or Holt or Gladney? Will the film's myspace page suddenly be deluged by myspace baby trollers?

I'm not even putting the name of the movie in my blog post, lest someone else blogsearching the movie name comes here and tells me how whacked I am for not thinking adoption is a beautiful loving choice or it's just a movie.

I know it's just a movie.

But you know, it's not going to be 'just a movie'. It's going to be a GREAT movie. It's going to be really, really good if you don't know diddlysquat about adoption. It's got a great writer. It's got a great director. It's got a great cast. It's got a great soundtrack.


I just wish the great writer and the great cast and the great director and the great soundtrack could have made a great comedy about something else.




Friday, September 14, 2007

Pro Busqueda

If you have a little time, Physicians for Human Rights has posted three very important videos.

Direct link to videos:

You can visit Pro Busqueda at


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Genetics is about to get personal

Snagged this interesting little blurb from Mashable:

23andMe definitely looks to be an interesting project. Once you send in your DNA (from your saliva in most cases–just use a Q-tip), Illumina will process it and spit back all kinds of information. What Illumina does is make DNA chips, or SNPs (pronounced snips) when lets the company tell of the hundreds of DNA variations for each sample provided. This information can be used to help find ancestral information, or for medical purposes.

Your 23andMe account is kept private. 23andMe isn’t quite ready for public access, but Illumina has indicated that the service will be free. And what’s cool is that Jeff Flately, chief exec of Illumina, has saved slides of his own genome on his iPhone, meaning there’s a lot that you’ll be able to do with your DNA very soon.

You can read the rest of the post here

You know what scares me about this... the fact that they are doing this for free. There are lots of DNA services out there now with varying pricetags, but to turn a swab of your cheek cells into data costs money.

There's only one way this can be free.

In spite of my paranoid conspiracy theory, you know I signed up for the announcement list, right?

You can bet your lack of medical history I did.

Here are people much more educated and less silly than I discussing 23andMe. This is very, very interesting:

The Genetic Genealogist

I'll be back later... I'm off to watch the Illumina webcast on this.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Lifelong Impact of Adoption

The Lifelong Impact of Adoption

This class is for adult adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents, those considering adoption, therapists, attorneys, the media, and anyone interested in the emotional and psychological aspects of adoption.

Marlou Russell, Ph.D. is a psychologist, adoptee in reunion, and the author of Adoption Wisdom: A Guide to the Issues and Feelings of Adoption.

For more information contact:

Marlou Russell, Ph.D.
1452 26th Street, Suite 103
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone (310) 829-1438

Santa Monica College - Bundy Campus
3171 S. Bundy Dr.
Los Angeles, California
Registration link


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

This is an invisible post for invisible adoptees only

Is it just me, or does anyone else find it TYPICAL that at a Meet the Adoption Bloggers panel, there are no freaking adoptees?!!!???!!!???!!!!???

Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet... invisible as always.

Seriously I wish I could go to this and I'm thrilled that some of my favorite bloggers are going to be there and everything, but man. I just think it's so typical.

Especially when, in the context of a conference on... what was it again? Oh yeah, adoption. Does that involve us at all, I can't remember.

There was a great thread over at AFC (which I wimped out on answering but completely agree with the consensus) about who people consider the best, most informed bloggers. But I can't remember what it is they blog about. I don't think it's about adoption. Adoptees don't know anything about that. I think they blog about scrapbooking.

Now someone tell me I read the brochure wrong and I missed someone who actually is an adoptee and I'll totally claim mea culpa and everything. Or more likely - blame it on my bad eyes.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Oh, Toronto folks.....

Anybody go to the film festival this weekend?

Anyone see "Then She Found Me?"

I was hoping to see some reviews....


Saturday, September 08, 2007

I am sick

It's a beautiful weekend and the bulk of the tourists are gone, but I'm too sick to go outside.

All my lymph nodes are aching and I'm drop-dead tired.

I'm positive it's emotional. I've been running non-stop at work. It's a real pressure-cooker of a project with a looming deadline, and I'm claiming 60+ hours a week stressing over being perfect and making the customer love us forever and ever and ever. Sound familiar?

Even more likely, I got confirmation via a friend late Thursday night that my mom really was the person I spoke with on the phone. I think I had been holding out hope that maybe, maybe, just maybe, she wasn't the person I had spoken with at all. That maybe, maybe, just maybe, my mom was still out there someplace wishing that one day I would call her. Maybe, maybe, just maybe, she'd acknowledge me as her daughter when I did.

I think that's too sad for me to feel sad about, so right now I feel nothing. Therefore, I'm sick. I think if I could cry I'd feel better. Or even if I felt something. But right now, I'm just numb.

Or who knows. Maybe I really am sick.

I had wanted to go to Sunken Forest today, but I can't stay awake for more than 30 minutes at a time. I'm going to force myself to go tomorrow morning though, no matter how bad I feel. Being on the beach never fails to make me cry. If I could only get upset, I think I'd feel better. Also, I really, and when I say really I mean really, need the exercise.

I logged off my computer two hours early yesterday because I couldn't keep my eyes open. I meant to log back on later Friday night but I was still dragging. I had a dream about one of my natural aunts that I've been thinking of calling. I dreamt she and I were sitting on the edge of a big water fountain at a mall in Philly. We were talking about my mom and what she did to me when I called her. All I could see was the back of her head though. Then she turned to look at me and I saw she was just a teenager, just 16. I realized I was seeing her at the age she was when her older sister was pregnant with me. I remember thinking about how pretty and kind and gentle she was, and hoping she was still kind and gentle now.

I want to call her so bad, but I'm scared. She's a real kid. I'm scared of real kids. Sometimes they can be so cruel to bastards. I think I can't stand anyone being cruel to me right now. I think I'd break into a million pieces and disappear.

So tomorrow it's the beach and the forest and then the city. Out of all of it, I still look forward the most to the water taxi. I've been here for years but I still can't get over the novelty of the idea.

But for right now, I'm going back to bed. Good night.


Friday, September 07, 2007

Mom, son reunited after 45 years

Mom, son reunited after 45 years

Alan Sorensen Havre Daily News

A Havre woman was recently reunited with a son she hadn’t seen since shortly after giving birth to him 45 years ago.

On Aug. 11, Flo Washman and her husband, Ken, met and had dinner with Chuck Walters and his girlfriend, Wynnde, at Walters’ home in Pevely, Mo. “We were there until almost 11 o’clock in the evening,” Flo Washman said. “We just kept exchanging stories back and forth. There were so many things that just came up that blew my mind, certain things that he likes and I like. He loves bread and I loved it all my life. It must be hereditary, because my mother loved it, too. He’s a diehard St. Louis Cardinal fan and I am, too.” Ken Washman was equally enthused. “It’s been really neat the way it’s worked together and the way they got to meet,” he said.

Flo Washman was 16 years old in February 1962 when she delivered Walters, who was conceived during a sexual assault in her hometown of Webster Grove, Mo. Washman said there was never any doubt that she would have the baby and give it up for adoption. “Abortion was not one of my things,” she said. “There were others that I knew of that were, but my mom and my sister and I lived with my grandma. And because of that, back then, you just didn’t do that.”

Washman was issued a birthing card with the time and date of the birth and the boy’s weight, which she has kept all these years. It contained a handwritten red letter inscription at the top: Do not show.

“I did not see him until five days later,” Washman said, “when they were dressing him to leave the hospital. And I didn’t leave the hospital until he was gone. I just saw him for those 10 or 15 minutes while They were dressing him and that was it.”

Washman said she kept her pregnancy secret from everyone up until the day of the delivery. “My mom didn’t even know until the night I delivered,” she said. “I shared it with my cat and that was all — somebody who couldn’t talk.”

When she could keep the secret no longer, whatever decision she might have made alone was removed. “I was told that I was going to give him up, that was all there was to it,” Washman said. “And you know that you’re not just going to walk out on the street. What are you going to do? It wasn’t that they didn’t love me, but they knew that it was what was best for him and best for all of us at the time.”

The baby was born in the county hospital in Webster Grove and the Family Court of St. Louis County handled the adoption, she said. Because of Missouri state law, she was told that even when he turned 21 she would not be allowed to look for him, let alone contact him.

Washman moved with her family to Los Angeles in June 1962. In the end of June 1962, she met Ken Washman at South Hollywood Presbyterian Church. They began dating in August and were married in December. “I told him about the adoption when we started dating,” Washman said. “He’s known all along.”

The couple, who will be celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary this December, have three daughters, all of whom have known about their half-brother for years. “They’ve all known when they were 10 years old,” Washman said. “The two oldest were just a year or two younger than him. I didn’t want them, not knowing where he might be, maybe dating him later in life. The two older ones knew, so I wasn’t about to hide it from (the youngest).”

Two of her daughters live in California and the third is Virginia. She has told all three that he has been found.

The process of being reuinted with Walters was an extremely slow one and took several years. “I found out that (St. Louis County Family Court) were the ones that had his paper, and I gave them all my explanation, name, address and phone number and all that stuff,” Washman said. “They kept it on file. They didn’t go looking for him, either.”

She said Missouri law was changed last year to allow adoptees to get permission to look for their birth parents with the permission of their adoptive parents. Until last year, the law said an adoptee couldn’t get permission to look for their birth parents with the permission of their adoptive parents.

In October, her son, Chuck Walters of Pevely, Mo., took advantage of the new law. “All he was doing was trying to find out medical information,” Washman said, “because he was under the impression that I was killed and that was why he was given up for adoption.”

In early December, Washman received a phone call from the St. Louis County Family Court. The caller asked her why she had not sent in a notarized statement saying that her information could be released. She told the caller that she had requested the release form in March 2005 but had never received it. “She said, ‘OK, I’ll send you another one.’ I was really confused, wondering why they would call me and ask,” she said.

Washman said that upon receiving the form on Dec. 20, she immediately went to her bank in Havre, had the form notarized and mailed it right back to Missouri. “They actually called me on the phone on Jan. 22 saying that they were releasing my information to him.” The information, of course, provided Walters with Washman’s current address in Evergreen, about four miles southwest of Havre along U.S. Highway 87.

“That shocked him to death,” she said, “to find his mom was alive.” Washman had never given up hope of finding her son. “From the time I conceived him, I prayed for him every day, and had just about given up any thought I would ever see him,” she said. “But one thing that kept me going, one of the pastors we had in Tulare, Calif., was an adoptee and he finally found his biological parents when he was in his 40s.

“So on April 3, when I got the phone call from my son, I was out at the computer, my husband was asleep in his chair and started talking because he thought I was gone. He said, ‘She’s not here right now,’ and I heard and walked through the doorway as he said, ‘Oh, you’re her son. She’s been waiting for your phone call.’

And we talked for over an hour that first call.” Washman asked Walters where he was living and learned that his home was in a town about 25 miles south of St. Louis. “I said, ‘We have tickets that we got to the Dodger-Cardinal game in August. Are you going to be around then? Maybe we could meet.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, maybe we could,’ and we kept talking and stuff. And later in the year, we ended up talking with each other a couple other times, and he called me for Mother’s Day. I wasn’t home, but he called and left me a message.” The two made a phone connection a short time later. “He said, ‘Now, my mother is the woman who raised me,’ and I said, ‘Fine, call me Flo, that will make me happy.’ But I thought that was cool that he called me on Mother’s Day.”

The reunion took place early last month. “We got to St. Louis Aug. 8, and on Aug. 9, I talk to him and we set up where we would ride out to his place and he would fix us dinner on Saturday, Aug. 11. We got out there just before 5 (p.m.) and we met him and his girlfriend, Wynnde.” Washman has no doubt her prayers were answered.

“It’s just amazing what God has done,” she said. “He’s blessed me with such a neat guy after 45 years.” Washman’s mother died in 2004, but her sister is still alive and living in Ramona, Calif. “My sister was really happy for me,” Washman said.

So is her birth son, both for her and himself. “I’m still in a little bit of shock,” Walters said in a telephone interview Thursday. “I was told my entire life that my parents were killed in an automobile accident. I was told that when I was 10 years old and I lived with that my entire life.”

Walters said that he contacted the adopting agency to try to track down his parents’ medical histories and was asked if he would like to inquire if there were an living family members. He said yes. He said he was “pretty much floored” a couple months later when he was told by the family court that he had living relatives.

“Several months later, I received a call back from the secretary of the court” about living relatives, Walter said. “She said, ‘Well, your mom is,’ and I about fell out of my chair. “It’s kind of different from my end, I never knew I had a mother, sisters. They knew all along.”

Walters said he enjoyed his time with the Washmans and hopes to have time with them down the road. “The time I spent with Flo was marvelous time,” he said. “I look forward to years of inquisitiveness. There’s all kinds of questions. I spoke with her youngest daughter, Kendra, a couple of times. So it’s really amazing, just amazing.”

Walters gave advice to others in situations similar to his. “If you have a feeling that there is a family member out there,” he said, “don’t stop looking.”


I can't say it any better than this

I can't even think of anything to say. But this is how I feel and it says it so damn well.

I'm sorry seems to be so lame. But it's all I can think of saying.

I feel so useless, so helpless, when you were there for me, I want to do something, to change something, to make it all right, to make it all go away. And I can't. And I'm sick about it.

I just hurt. And Addie I'm just sorry. I have no words. Just love.


Yeah, it's another one

This adoption agency sounds familiar - Family Adoption Center? In Pennsylvania? Yeah it's a real generic name, but it's not this agency is it? No, it couldn't be. No way they're still in business, right?

So if I'm reading this right, all it takes to terminate your parental rights is a wrong address?

Butler Co. Man Fights For Biological Daughter

A man from Butler County is fighting for the custody of his daughter.

Cletus Miller didn’t know about 15-month-old Kiley until her mother put her up for adoption.

Now Miller wants the adoptive parents to give up the child.

For now, the only thing he can cling to are pictures of his daughter who he sees just one hour a week in a supervised visit.

“It’s very stressful, just wondering where your child is, wondering, wanting to feed her, wanting to change her diaper, wanting her to fall asleep on your chest,” Miller said.

Miller says a series of lies stripped him of his rights as a father.

“It’s amazing what people can do to other people. I didn’t do anything wrong and I want my daughter, that’s all. And it all started over a lie,” he said.

Miller claims Kiley’s biological mother Georgette Fleeger initially told him someone else was the baby’s father. She then claimed she aborted the baby. In truth, she put the baby up for adoption.

Miller’s troubles continued when an adoption agency, Family Adoption Center, couldn’t find him. They had the wrong address and went to court to involuntarily terminate his parental rights. Now Miller is fighting back with attorney Jack Haller.

“I’s were not dotted and T’s were not crossed,” Haller said. “And there was a cavalier attitude toward my client and his rights in this matter.”

DNA tests have since proven that Miller is the father. Now a fight is underway over custody of Kiley in two different courts. In Washington County, it’s the fight over parental rights. In Butler County, it’s a fight over custody.

Neither the adoption agency nor the adoptive parents Scott and Rebecca Zinsmeister would comment on the battle over Kiley.

There’s a hearing in October over Miller’s parental rights. After that, another court will decide who should have legal custody of Kiley.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Two more jobs for you!

Trying to get some more time-sensitive stuff out of my inbox

#1 - Bastard Nation Action Alert - Veto MA SB63- Oh it's that blasted Angel of Implied Confidentiality rearing it's ugly head again! I hate these kind of bills. Go tell Massachusetts to get with their smart neighbors up north in Maine, already.

#2 - Unlocking the Heart of Adoption on PBS - Take a sec to write to your local PBS station and see if they'll run this in November. It would be a great prequel the week before RegDay, don't you think? PBS makes it simple to write to the station, just ten minutes could get this movie aired. Writing PBS - so easy a caveman could do it. Just enter your zip code in at the station finder. I wrote to channels 13 and 21 here. You can too!

Dear Friend,

The documentary UNLOCKING THE HEART OF ADOPTION first aired on national public television in January 2005 and my three year contract is nearly up. This is our last chance to have the film air on PBS. If you would like to see the film air in your area - now is the time to call your local public television programmer. They are putting their schedule together for November right now.

It's easy to do. Just call your favorite PBS station and ask to speak with the Programmer. Then let them know that airing UNLOCKING THE HEART OF ADOPTION in November for National Adoption Awareness Month would be an excellent way to honor adoptees, birthparents and adoptive parents.

You will probably get their voice mail, so leave a message with the details. You could also ask for their email address. And you can mention that this was a NETA feed, National Educational Telecommunications Association.

If you are a member of the station let them know this and if you are not, tell them that this is a program you will watch. Thank you!

This 56 minute documentary bridges the gap between birth and adoptive families through diverse personal stories of adult adoptees, birthparents and adoptive parents in both same race and transracial adoptions. They stirringly reveal the enormous complexity in the lives of normal people when impacted by adoption. In the process, they explain what the universal issues of loss, identity and needing to know the truth mean to them. Many candid snapshots touchingly enrich each story. Historical footage is threaded through the film and serves as an illuminating background. UNLOCKING THE HEART OF ADOPTION gives the viewer a powerful way to understand what 'adoption as a lifelong process' means today.

Filmmaker, Sheila Ganz is a recipient of the 2006 Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's Angels in Adoption Award. For more information and to purchase the DVD visit:, click on Buy the Film.

Here is what a few people have to say about the film:

"A powerful and honest look into the lives of adoption triad members. UNLOCKING THE HEART OF ADOPTION captures the essence of adoption issues as adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents tell their stories as only they can. Moving, poignant, and enlightening."
Marlou Russell, Ph.D.
Psychologist, adoptee and author of "Adoption Wisdom"

"Sheila Ganz's UNLOCKING THE HEART OF ADOPTION is a superb teaching tool for courses on adoption. This elegantly constructed documentary film introduces U.S. adoption's recent history and basic themes and provides a dramatic and moving perspective on the powerful emotions adoption can arouse. Tracing several adoption stories among triad members and across the life-span, through interviews that honor all points of view, the film leads viewers into a richly dimensional understanding of the conflicts, joys, and sorrows of adoption. My students were very glad to have seen Ganz's film; it launched a fine discussion to which we will return again and again."
Margaret Homans, Professor of English and of
Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Yale University

"Sheila Ganz's excellent film gives us a window into the emotions of adoption without drawing conclusions. Starting with her personal journey, she takes us along a path where we meet others who are processing their feelings and ideas in front of us about what adoption means to them. I recently introduced this film to 234 health class students at a local high school. They were drawn into the stories where they witnessed the raw emotions of real people. The comments from the students were all positive and confirmed my suspicion that this film is not just for members of the adoption triad, but for a wider audience."
Cynthia M. Savage, Executive Director
Adoption Horizons, Eureka, CA

Let me know how it goes. Thank you for helping me to bring UNLOCKING THE HEART OF ADOPTION to more people around the country!

Best wishes,

Sheila Ganz




The description.... ummm...

Insert bemused-I-don't-understand-the-writer's-intention-here face.

Social commentary, yeah, OK, but, umm, well, umm, errrr........ scathing social commentary, ok that could be, in which case, yeah I get it, but, well....

I dunno. I can't figure it out. What do you think? Personally I think I should leave off checking email during lunch breaks. I lose my sense of the absurd during working hours.

I'll be back later. Tell me what to think of this, would ya?


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

First Nations Orphan Association (FNOA) - Adoptee Welcome Home Gathering!

Got this in my email and wanted to post quickly as this is coming up soon. One in four babies... my god. Click on image for full size

Please repost -- thanks!

Greetings all,

I am forwarding an ad for an adoptee Welcome Home Gathering. This gathering is a first in Indian Country where a tribe is formally welcoming home their adoptees.

White Earth along with Red Lake reservation had the highest rates of removal in the state of MN where 1 in 4 babies were removed from their home before the passage of ICWA in 1978.

Since adoptees are scattered across the country I am asking if you could help in posting this ad.

For more information contact:

Sandy White Hawk


Help! In-person support group in Massachusetts?

Quick one here - does anyone know of any really good in person support groups for first moms and adoptees in Massachusetts, preferably in Worcester or Middlesex county?

I know there are lots of lists online of support groups, but you know how it is... these things unfortunately fade out sometimes. Also not all support groups are created equally. I'm looking for the type of support group you'd send someone you really care about who was waking up.



After decades, family whole again

Oh this one is another real tear-jerker. It's got a video that goes along with it too. Unfortunately I can't embed it here, so either go to the news link or click here to view it. It's a must see though.

After decades, family whole again

Donald and Andrew embrace.

TAMPA - Jeannea Beaumont could hardly wait any longer. She had already waited 26 years.

"I've been a nervous wreck," she explained.

Saturday evening, she was waiting to finally meet her oldest son Andrew, the baby boy she gave up for adoption more than two decades ago.

"I saw him when he was 3 days old. That's the last time I saw him," she explained.

"It's a blessing that we've found him. And I can't wait to see him," added sister Rachael Beaumont, who was standing in TIA's main terminal with her mother and dozens of family members -- including Andrew's father.

"I'm just gonna give him a great big hug and a kiss and tell him I love him," Donald Hill offered.

Jeannea spent years searching records and the internet for her first-born child. Three weeks ago, she finally found him.

It led to Saturday's family reunion like no other -- tears and hugs for Andrew Makoid, all grown up now.

Andrew has a lifetime of catching up to do. His family just got a whole lot bigger.

"A whole lot bigger, a whole lot. I love it. It's a blessed day today. A blessed day today," he observed.

"It's a miracle. For 26 years I waited for this, and now its finally happened," Donald added.

Andrew now has five sisters and a brother, along with dozens of cousins and extended family members. They're all getting a chance to know each other for the first time.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Making Natalie Grateful

Holy smokes - who remembers this??? Baby Scoop Era fictional adoptee Natalie wants to find her mom. How does 1980's TV handle this... let's watch!

Part 1 - closed records ate my homework

Direct link:

Part 2 -Molly Ringwald gives a shoutout to ALMA

Direct link:

Part 3 - Chosen babies and heartworms

Direct link:

Spoiler here for those not lucky or special enough to be a teenager in the '80's and see Facts of Life --- was anyone else really pissed at Natalie for not picking up the phone? I couldn't believe that this was on TV. I actually didn't like this show but was home the night it aired. Right away the family tree thing got me watching..... intently. I flipped out watching it. I think I was either 16 or 17 when it was on. I remember screaming PICK UP THE PHONE at the TV set. But that made my adoptive mom mad and I got the stiffened back / pursed lips /big eyes trifecta of despair for the rest of the night and a while afterwards as a result.

It's funny they have that horrific heart poem in this episode but I didn't remember it. Probably PTSD blocked it from my memory. That is one god-awful poem. But this is what's weird too... I've heard other people talking about the 'adoption episode' on Facts of Life but never remembered watching it, until I saw it on YouTube. Then I remembered !!crap!! I did see this! That's odd. I must be getting old.

I read that in 1982 there was a followup episode where Natalie actually did meet her mom. Did anyone see that? I couldn't find a video on YouTube for that one.

I wonder if my other mom saw this too. And my half-siblings. My brother would have been 12 and my sister 11. I wonder if they watched it with our mom. I wonder how she reacted to it. I wonder if I'll ever find out.

Update - Dan is the Man! The follow up is called "Dearest Mommie"

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


Adoption is a loving choice

School rape victim suing for damages now center of guardianship battle

Ofelia Madrid
The Arizona Republic
Aug. 30, 2007 06:36 PM

SCOTTSDALE - A former Saguaro High School student who initially sought $20 million from the Scottsdale Unified School District after her 2006 rape on campus, is also the subject of a guardianship battle, according to court documents unsealed Thursday. The girl, 15, had been cared for by court-appointed guardians after her adoptive mother forced her out of the house and onto the streets at age 11, where she at least one time had sex for money, according to a Scottsdale Police report and other court documents.

The girl's adoptive parents, who are divorced, petitioned a Maricopa County Superior Court judge Thursday to terminate the guardianship, said Charles Bruen, an attorney representing Eula and Robert Franco, who adopted the girl in 1998.

Bruen would not say why the Francos want the guardianship terminated.

It is unclear when the girl was placed under the guardianship of Josephine Gortarez, but the Francos consented to it, he said.

The girl filed a $20 million notice of claim against the district Jan. 24, but her attorney Craig Knapp sought to keep its content secret.

Knapp is also representing the girl in her May 21 lawsuit against the school district and its janitorial service and asked for unspecified damages and punitive damages. Knapp asked for the lawsuit contents to be kept secret.

In past interviews Knapp said he was representing the girl's family, but Bruen said that is incorrect.

"The parents are frustrated that Craig Knapp says he represents the family. It's gotten to a point that it's time to correct it," he said.

Knapp was not available for comment Thursday.

Details about the girl's past emerged from her statements to police after the sexual assault, which occurred during the first week of school in August 2006.

This is the pictured painted by the court documents unsealed Thursday:

The girl told police she was adopted around the age of five.

When she got older, she and her adopted mother began arguing frequently. At one point, her mother called Child Protection Services and asked what she should do with an adopted daughter she no longer wanted.

The girl was placed in a shelter and attended the Thomas J. Pappas School for homeless children. Her mother took her back and but later kicked her out and told her never to come back.

The girl was 11-years-old and living on the streets for about two weeks.

One night while walking to McDonalds, a man in a car pulled up to her and asked whether she needed a ride.

She agreed.

The man asked if she needed money. She told him she didn't need money because she was living on the streets.

The man asked if she had ever tried prostitution.

She said no.

He told her that it was easy money and that she could try it one time and if she didn't like it she didn't have to do it again.

The man bought her condoms and the girl had sex with an unknown man. She didn't understand the first man was a pimp and wanted all the money.

She gave him $40, kept the unknown remainder and fled the car.

That was the first and last time she had sex before the rape, according to the documents released by

Commissioner Lindsay Ellis.

The Arizona Republic won a February appeal to open the girl's lawsuit and the notice of claim.

Republic attorney David Bodney said Thursday's release of documents allows the public to monitor claims against the school district.

"Any other outcome would leave the public completely in the dark and unable to monitor either the court or litigant's claims against a public school district. These are fundamental rights of access to court papers and proceedings."

The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled in June that the claim is a public record. The Republic does not identify the girl, 14 and a freshman at the time of the rape, because she is a minor and victim of sexual assault.

The Arizona Republic filed its lawsuit in February after Knapp, the girl's attorney, asked a lower court to seal the notice of claim to protect the girl's privacy. The claim was the first step in filing a lawsuit against the school district.

Knapp later filed a lawsuit against the school district and its janitorial service, ABM Janitorial Services.

The girl testified in open court at the former school janitor Roberto Lemus-Retana's trial that she put up no resistance when she was sexually assaulted by Lemus-Retana after school because she feared harm.

Lemus-Retana, 27, an undocumented immigrant, was sentenced in July to 80 years in prison. He was convicted of six felony counts, including four counts of sexual conduct with a minor, one of public sexual indecency and one of sexual abuse stemming from the August 2006 attack.


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