Friday, November 30, 2007

Adopted: The New American Family

The trailer is out.

If you haven't seen them already, there are more film clips at their YouTube page.

The film's website: Adopted: The New American Family

I'm hoping that different versions of the trailer will be released; maybe with more of the clips of adoptee's voices.

Does anyone know when in 'early 2008' this will be released, or what the distribution will be? I really want to see this if it's playing in NY.


It's a Strange and Mournful day when

  • people refer to a painful loss in your life as beautiful

  • you contemplate the possibility of no one in your family wanting to get to know you

  • you run so hard to keep one step ahead of the pain, you're in a perpetual state of exhaustion

  • you think secretly, all real kids hate you, because they know if they were born at a different time, they could have been erased like you

  • trust is a dirty word

  • the current lead you're working on dad-wise is really nasty

  • you're me

I'm so glad this month is over. Not that it makes much of a difference, come December 1st I'm still a second class citizen, but I'm just so sick and tired of seeing the original purpose of this month take second fiddle to the zipadeedooda ain't adoption grand folks.

When you're on the losing end of adoption, every day is strange and mournful.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Please read this

The National Council for Adoption:


The Adoption Mystique Award Winning Finalist

November 2007

RES Marketing Alliance
Request a Review Copy
Contact: Reina Santana

The Adoption Mystique Award Winning Finalist
In the
USA Book News 2007 National Best Books Award

Kissimmee, Fl - November 2007 - On November 1, 2007,, the premiere online magazine and review website for mainstream and independent publishing houses, announced the winners and finalist of the 2007 National Best Books Awards. Winners and finalists traversed the publishing landscape. They included publishing houses like Simon & Schuster, Penguin-Putnam, HarperCollins, Random House, and McGraw-Hill. Amongst the winners, The Adoption Mystique: A Hard-hitting Exposé of the Powerful Negative Social Stigma that Permeates Child Adoption in the United States was a finalist in the social change category.

Listed as recommended reading by The American Adoption Congress (AAC), The Adoption Mystique, written by Joanne Wolf Small, M. S. W., is a well researched book that questions and challenges the stigma that permeates the many readily accepted and rarely questioned social norms and myths that continue to support adoptee and adoptive family intolerance, and hinder efforts to make positive and healthy changes that would help to bring adoption policy and practice into the 21st century.

Midwest Book Review says, "The Adoption Mystique is not a general book about adoption, but rather a focused, politically-minded call for the civil rights of adoptees" as it "examines bias against adoptees in the media and society." Carrie Craft from Adoption writes, "author Joanne Wolf Small, M.S.W. just doesn't break the adoption myth, she shatters it with her compilation of various research studies, essays, and personal knowledge on the subject of adoption...The Adoption Mystique is respectful and not at all anti-adoption, just pro-truth and openness." It is a useful proven resource for all whose lives have been touched by adoption.

"Your essays are so thoughtful - and so rich in conveying the historical context for adoption in general and the policies and practices surrounding information sharing, in particular, and in conveying the critical psychosocial issues that lie at the heart of adoption. I am certain that your book will be viewed as a critical resource for policy makers and practitioners seeking to better understand adoption." - Madelyn Freundlich, Senior Policy Analyst, and former Executive Director, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joanne W. Small, M.S.W is an adopted adult, adoption rights activist, author, and psychotherapist. She was executive director of Adoptees in Search (AIS) and served as the first and only adopted person on the Model Adoption Legislative Procedures and Advisory Panel. Her 30 year professional experience includes a post-adoption clinical practice, clinical supervision, in-service training and seminars, lectures, publications, and interviews with over a thousand adoptive family members. Visit her website at



The Adoption Mystique: A Hard-hitting Exposé of the Powerful Negative Social Stigma that Permeates Child Adoption in the
United States, Hardcover, $28.95, is available via, Barnes & Noble, and Ingram. To request a review copy please contact Reina Santana at


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tales from the BSE: Improper or Illegal child adoptions cause heartaches, problems

County welfare unit helps deserving couples.

Improper or Illegal child adoptions cause heartaches, problems

New Castle News, New Castle, PA. Friday, November 11, 1966

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the fourth and final article in a series about the county Child Welfare Department. It deals with the most controversial of all child welfare topics—adoption. It includes case histories (with names of families altered) of heartbreak and questionable legality that have resulted from "gray market" adoptions in Lawrence County in the recent past. It also tells how local couples can now apply through the reorganized department to receive one of the greatest of possible blessings—an adopted child.)

Adopting a child can and should be a deeply rewarding experience for county couples. The only sadness it should produce is the normal heartache that comes with raising any child: the worry over a child's illness, performance in school or application of discipline. But there are special and deeply sorrowful kinds of heartache reserved for some couples who choose to adopt children in an unapproved way, according to county officials.

The case of the Greyes in Neshannock Township is an example. Mr. and Mrs. Greyes adopted their child through a friend. The friend knew an unmarried girl who was pregnant and made arrangements for the baby to be turned over to the Greyes as soon as it was born. In return, the Greyes agreed to pay the girl's prenatal medical expenses.

The important element the Greyes never considered was a medical and psychological examination for the infant — a standard Child Welfare Department procedure. Six months later, a growing fear of the Greyes' was confirmed in an examination that should have been performed at the baby's birth: their new child was severely retarded.

It has lived in a state institution ever since. And the Greyes have faced the daily doubts common to all parents of retarded children. Had they done the right thing for the child?

Adrian J. Turowski, county Child Welfare director, feels such a situation is not likely when adoptions are made through his department.

Private Adoptions
"Private adoptions (also called independent or gray-market adoptions) are entirely legal," Turowski is careful to point out. "But we are required by law to be more thorough than individuals who arrange for adoptions. We place babies who are offered for adoption in a temporary foster home for three months before they go to their adoptive parents. This prevents any distasteful contact between the natural mother and the adopting couple and it gives us ample time to secure careful medical and psychological checks on the child," he says.

"After the baby goes to his new parents, we must wait six months before we seek final court approval of the adoption. That provides enough time to study the relationship between parents and child." The Child Welfare Department is charged by state law to operate always in the best interests of the child.

This charge is also carried out by painstaking investigations into the background and suitability of couples who apply to adopt a child. Then, an attempt is made to match the expected characteristics and mentality of each child to those of a couple which has applied. The system takes longer than a private placement, but it is cheaper (since the couples do not pay pre-natal care for the natural mother-only a $25 application fee) and it is almost certain to be more successful.

Success of Adoption
The success of an adoption can also depend on its legal aspects. Consider the sad case of Mr. and Mrs. Lynda on the east side. The Lyndas adopted an infant through a doctor in another country. The adoption was made final in court and no snag developed for a year. But then the baby's natural mother came to the house one day and demanded her child's return. The Lyndas were especially alarmed because they were told by a friend of the mother, who had allegedly witnessed her signature to the adoption consent paper, that the young woman had gone onto the West Coast. Now the mother claimed the signature was forged. The woman hired a lawyer, took her case to court, and won return of the baby.

Now, under a new rule for adoptions, the Lawrence County Court adopted last month, a natural mother must appear in court at the adoption hearing for her child and testify that she will forever relinquish parental rights to the child. Only then can adopting parents be protected from seizure of the child, unless the adoption is handled by the Child Welfare Department.

Under state law, signed relinquishment papers secured by a licensed agency and an approved professional worker such as one from the county department will be honored as if they were testimony taken in court from the natural mother.

Laws Complicated
The adoption laws are admittedly complicated, but they are concise and, if carefully obeyed, assure protection for defenseless children. The need for that principle, too, has been demonstrated through failure in Lawrence County.

A tavern keeper with a police record for gambling and his wife applied to adopt a child in 1960. The baby of a local woman was placed in their home and, after the required six-month waiting period, the court was petitioned to make the adoption final.

A former judge asked the former Child Welfare Department direction at the hearing if an investigation into the case had been conducted. He was told “yes”, then asked if the man’s gambling record had been considered. The welfare direction replied that only one conviction had been reported, though court records at the time showed several The judge said he recalled more than one conviction, and added that he would not approve the adoption of the child into the home unless the record improved. Nothing further was done, and now the court record shows several new convictions and arrests.

Investigators from the reorganized Child Welfare Department report observing the child, now six years old, cavorting behind the bar in the tavern. They say the child appears well-kept and happy, but deplore the unfortunate legal status which has left the child with no legitimate family. Department personnel vow that such an indecisive vase will never be repeated.

New Approach
Their new professional approach should be encouraging to local couples considering adoption. Successful results are the rule with the steps that are now followed.

Couples are asked to come into the department offices when they make an appointment to apply. They provide information for a comprehensive form and their names are placed on a waiting list for study. The investigation which follows includes an evaluation of their home, their personal references, their health and finances. If they are approved, they are placed on a second waiting list and the department begins comparing their qualities with those of children who are offered for adoption. Some placements are made within a few
Others take years.

The six month waiting period before adoption is made final is filled with supervisory visits by caseworkers to the home to determine the child’s normal development and to asses his adjustment to his new parents. The parents are probably the key factor to success.

Turowski says, “By this time in the adoption process, we have analyzed the couples, marital status, the reasons they want the child, their flexibility and open-mindedness, their past and present relationships with everyone (including neighbors and fellow church members and employers), their age, health and education, their financial ability to provide for the child and the kind of home they have to offer. If they have passed that grueling examination, they are fairly well assured of success.

Adoption Rules?
Who can adoption children in Lawrence County? A policy statement awaiting final approval now by the county commissioners says nearly any mature couple is eligible. Children under two would not be given to couples over 43, if the policy is approved. And no children could be given to couples under 22 weeks. Couples should be married for 30 months before applying and should live in the county.

“There should be some indication of religious belief on the part of the adoptive parents,” the policy states. “Attempts will be made to match religion.

“No working mother will be given a pre-school child. Applications for inter-racial placement will be accepted.”

The least statement leads to an interesting revelation from Turowski. He says seven children from other areas of the country will have been placed in county homes before the year is done – including three American Indian children. Two white, inter-racial children are now waiting adoption, he adds. He hopes some local couples will be moved to ask for them.

The final statement in the policy declares, significantly, “No dealings between the natural parents and the adoptive parents are allowed under penalty of removing the child from the home.”


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tales from the BSE - CAS helps ease mothers' torment

CAS helps ease mothers' torment
The Pocono Record - Tuesday, October 12, 1965 - Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

Our society makes the unwed mother distraught with shame in order to protect the family structure. Your Community Chest gift can help with adoption of the children, and with setting the mother back on her feet.

STROUDSBURG — A 17-year old high school girl finds herself pregnant- She is unmarried, and her parents are very upset and hurt by the discovery. What can she do?

Charles Jones, director of the Monroe County Children's Aid Society, said that many girls with this problem find help through the Children's Aid Society. The CAS is a Community Chest agency.

He reported that last year there were eight cases of this type that came to the Monroe County society office in Stroudsburg.

The Children's Aid Society can arrange for the girl to receive prenatal care, and have her baby delivered at the Booth Memorial Hospital in Philadelphia. The Booth Hospital is a Salvation Army maternity home and hospital, which is available for the referral of unwed mothers from other service organizations such as the Children's Aid Society.

Jones said that there is usually a waiting list for admittance to the Salvation Army hospital. Then, said Jones, "We talk with the girl and her family before the child is 'born, and establish a working relationship with them."

Adoption procedure
When, as in most of the cases Jones handled last year, the young mother does not wish to keep the baby, arrangements are made for her to relinquish it for adoption outside Monroe County.

After the infant has been born Children's Aid workers take it from the hospital to a pre-adopt which at time the legal responsitivie study home. (yeah I know that doesn't read right, that's the way it scanned.)

"We continue working with the girl toward securing a legal relinquishment of the child, at which time the legal responsibilities and rights of the mother are turned over to our agency," Jones said. "Later we can place the child in a final adoption home through our regional adoption program."

He said that when a couple applies for adoption of a child, the baby is first placed in the new home, under supervision of the Children's Aid Society, for six months. Only after the six month's trial is the adoption made final. 'During that time a regional adoption staff tries to discover how stable the husband and the wife are as individuals, and as a couple. 'We are interested in the atmosphere in the home," he said, "and their relationship to other couples, and to their work.

"Every couple is different, even in its reasons for wanting a child. "Normally we favor couples who have been married from three to five years, and who are over 21 years-old." He said that there is no financial requirement for couples wanting to adopt a child. "The income level is not important as much as is the way in which a family handles the money it has- Again, we are interested in stability."

Jones said that not all children born to unmarried girls are given up for adoption. Decision is mother's "The decision is always up to the girl," he said, "and to her parents when the mother is a minor."

"We try to point out the problem if she does keep it, to inform and prepare her better." He said that sometimes girls believe that if they and the father of their child marry, they will solve the problem, "but sometimes this just compounds the problem."


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Atypical Mole Syndrome

If I could:

straighten my curly hair
and dye it a different color.
Have laser surgery on my eyes
or get tinted contact lenses.

Get a nose job
and throw in a jaw job too.
Braces to correct
that one crooked tooth.

The moles on my neck removed,
the ones on my arms too.
What the hell, get rid of the ones on my back
and my legs. I always hated them.

Would I stop looking in the mirror
and trying to figure out
which one of you gave me these things?

If by reinventing myself
I could erase them all,
the way she erased me,
could I possibly stop loving them
as irrationally as I do?

Two new biopsies done.
They're painless and quick.
Two less family heirlooms.
Anesthetized, incised,
cauterized and bandaged.

The scars they leave behind
look like faint cigarette burns.
After a while, they fade to white.


Monday, November 19, 2007

And that's that.

I took the week off from work to get the house ready for the Thanksgiving migration. But so far have not done one bit of house readying stuff.

This morning I was all emotional and weepy.

I wrote three unsent letters to my mother and deleted all three immediately after writing.

And then I read this, so I sent this to the library branch closest to my mom's house.

Not that I think she'll see it, mind you. If she's anything like me, she's been banned for failure to return overdue books. I'm a wanted woman by librarians in many states.

But someone will. And they need it too. The Philadelphia library has like 50 branches, but only 3 copies of the book in the entire system. Now that's scary.

So even if my mom never sees it, someone will. Maybe a mom like mine.

Maybe it will make a difference in someone's life.

I'll tell you though, I'd really like it if someone would make a difference in mine.

This just sucks.

But anyway I can tell you it did make me feel a little better. Just a little. So, thanks Cookie for that post.


Sunday, November 18, 2007


Yanno, when I'm wrong, I'm really, really wrong.

A while back a made a wishful little musing in comments that because of the gobs of funding and attention 23andMe was getting, the consumer release might be reasonably priced.

Ha. Ha.
Ha. Ha. Ha.


So 23andMe will be for really, really lucky bastards.

Not even so much as free shipping or a $10.00 off coupon code if you fall into the "I don't have any medical history and my mom won't talk to me" category either.


Scary things about adoption #11: How do your parents feel about you reading my blog?

Is it a coincidence that on hip hip happy happy National Adoption Day, I had one of the most groundbreaking, earth shattering, soul-killing, eyes blinding, hide under the covers and even one tiny sound makes my ears bleed migraine of my life?

I think not.

I have a migraine hangover now, the kind where the migraine is gone but there is this weird outline of where the pain was. I also feel like my head is full of cotton. But at least the pain is gone.

The only thing worse than hip hip happy happy National Adoption Day is the fact that it leads up to my least favorite time of the year, the grand trifecta of all family events, the unholy trinity of Thanksgiving/XMas/New Years.

I love my in-laws so much, but I hate this time of year.

Here's a new video blogger on YouTube, vlogging about adoption. He only has two up right now but I'm hoping there will be more. Vlogging is cool, you get to see the person behind the ingratitude. I'd never do it. I hate my face and my voice.

Anyway the first one is something that really irritates the hell out of me, and that's the old "How do your adoptive parents feel about you searching?" It's pretty damn scary to me to think that people think it's ok to ask someone in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, whatever, how their parents feel about them doing something.

It scares me because it undermines that forever child view in people's eyes.

And you know what, there's no good way to answer that too.

Why don't you ask them?
Too evasive.

Why do you ask?
Too defensive, oooh scary, angry adoptee.

My adoptive parents support me entirely.
Yeah, it's ok then, I've just re-established myself as a forever child. Can't say that.

On the surface she's supportive but then she'll withhold vital information and throw in zingers and invalidation because it triggers her defensiveness and insecurity as a woman and a mother.
There's the truth that I'll never say.

It would be fun to go around asking real kids how their parents feel about them doing something for a day, just to see their expressions. Maybe I'll do that on Thanksgiving. It would give me at least one reason to look forward to Thursday. God I hate holidays.

Direct link:


Friday, November 16, 2007

Two new BSE resources online

First, via Adoptese comes news that as of October, Wikipedia now has a Baby Scoop Era entry.

Second, via Celeste:

New Organization to Probe Adoption Abuses

The Baby Scoop Era Research Initiative, also known as BSERI, was founded in October 2007 by two mothers, Karen Wilson-Buterbaugh and Barbara Franks-Morra. Both lost newborns to adoption during this period.

Franks-Morra explained that maternity homes radically changed after 1945. As social workers took over management from altruistic religious organizations, homes that had once sheltered single mothers and prepared them to raise their children began instead to promote closed, stranger adoption.

Wilson-Buterbaugh stated, “The social work profession brought a psychological bias to their work with single mothers. They introduced the untested notion that single mothers were ‘neurotic’ and could be cured by taking their babies. This idea radically altered the outcomes for single mothers during this period. These practices persisted through 1972, when the number of domestic adoptions began to drop dramatically.”

“These homes, which were sometimes little more than reformatories, often used coercive practices such as shaming, blaming, and removing or withholding babies from new mothers to force adoptions. Mothers were then told to ‘go on with their lives’ as if nothing had happened. Obviously this was impossible for most of them.”

Franks-Morra said, “We demand acknowledgement of the historical truth surrounding past adoption practices in the United States. We demand recognition for the millions of women who were systematically denied their inalienable right to raise their infant sons and daughters.”

“The Baby Scoop Era has become a footnote in American social history, except to the mothers who survived these practices. These women have carried into their adult lives burdens of worry, grief, pain and a corrosive secret. The lifelong consequences of these forced adoptions are still operating in the lives of millions of American women.”

For more information, or email


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Got Records?

Direct link:


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tama Janowitz, let me introduce you to

yourself, as seen through the eyes of google:

Way to go!

You don’t care, right? You’re a big girl. You’re rubber; we’re glue, blah blah blah.

But here’s the bit that you overlooked.

Your daughter.

Who, if she’s anything like my kids were, is probably pretty darn internet savvy. And if she’s not, chances are, one of her friends is.

I made a little post a while back about kids and ego surfing. Kids not only ego surf themselves, they surf their friends names too. Just out of idle curiosity, sometimes out of less than idol curiosity.

Way to go.

I don’t know your daughter, so I can’t speak for her. All I can speak is for me, and how I felt about my adoptive mom. I spent a lot of time being pissed at my adoptive mom at Willow’s age. Sometimes justified, sometimes not so justified.

But here’s the rub: no matter what I said about her, no one else could. If anyone said anything about her, my defenses were up. In spite of arguing, I loved her. And I also tried my hardest to identify with her, to the point of over-identifying with her, because that’s what some adoptive kids do. So if someone said boo about my adoptive mom, it hurt, it hurt so bad. Even if someone said boo about my adoptive mom about something that she said or did that was wrong.

My mom sometimes said things about adoption that hurt me. I wouldn’t call her on it. I’d act out in other passive aggressive ways, I might have saved it up and thrown out a "not my real mom" comment to her a few weeks down the road, but to expose the rawest, most vulnerable part of myself, even if I didn’t have the words to know what that even meant, would have been forbidden. And I wasn’t supposed to hurt at the things she said. If she said something, and I reacted in any way other than the way she thought I was supposed to react, then I was the one who was wrong. So I learned to react the way she expected me to.

Why? Because I loved her.

So someday, maybe it’s already happened, maybe it will happen tomorrow, or next month, or next year, Willow will read all this, and will hurt. Because you’re one of her moms, and people are calling you an asshole.

I spend a lot of time looking through old newspaper archives of the ‘60s and ‘70s. And I can say now, as a 44 year old woman, if I came across an article written by my adoptive mom saying something half as assholeish as the statement you made, and then came across oodles of letters to the editor saying my mom was a complete and total moron, it would still hurt me. Even if she wrote something outrageous. Even if I agreed 100% with what every letter to the editor said – it would tear at my heart.

Why? Because I love her. And to her face I might just defend her and dismiss her critics, while hating myself for lying.

Validating her feelings on adoption was very high on my list of priorities, even when I acted to the contrary.

Yeah even now, I’m ashamed to say, I might just lie to her and not tell her my true feelings. My feelings aren’t her feelings, and therefore they are wrong.

One of the many gifts of adoption.

So you and the New York Times can go ahead and and refuse to publish the comments of adult adoptees. We’re used to it, especially with the condescending attitude of upper class liberals who smile when they stab us in the back, or tell us to get a sense of humor. God we’re so sensitive, can’t we take a joke?

Here are some jokes:

How many New York adopter assholes does it take to screw over their daughter for the sake of their ego and career?

Why did the clueless entitled white woman who grew up in a family of her own race, knowing her own culture and roots, cross the road?

Knock knock
Who's there?
Hero rescuer adopter in search of non-fetal-alcohol-at-risk baby
Hero rescuer adopter in search of non-fetal-alcohol-at-risk baby who?

I don’t have a punch line though. But that’s OK; maybe you can make one up at the expense of your daughter and her country. That’s what real moms do, right?


Prayer for Truth

Thank you, Celeste

Direct link:

There are some familiar faces here.

Please do the whole YouTube Triad thing - rate, favorite and comment?


Credits for Prayer for Truth

"Prayer for Truth"
from The Mothers Project

"Prayer for Truth" and "Celeste's mother, Marcella"
©Celeste Billhartz

"Little Joe"
©Joe Soll

"Karen and Michelle Renee" & "Karens's senior photo"
©Karen Wilson Buterbaugh

"Salvation Army officer consoling unmarried mother"
©Salvation Army Archives and Research Center

Media production by Storytellers Media Group, LTD

Bring The Mothers Project to your area!


LOL NPR (aka Scary Things About Adoption #10: When pplz speaks 4 us)

So pertman an atwood went hand 2 hand combat ovar teh rights ov adult adopteez.

Oh noez theresa y r u so upset?

Cud it be dat compromize principals wuz brought up? Cud it be dat teh focus wuz moar on reunion an les on discriminashun?

Cud be.

Cud be moar dat teh nachural pplz members voicez wuz relegatd 2 call-in censord bits. Maybe next npr show will has sum voicez frum, i dunno, peeps liek bastard nashun or origins.

But ungrateful kitteh iz not holdin her breath

lolcat translator courtesy of
lolcat web page translator courtesy of
ungrateful attitude courtesy of adoption. i'm in yr dinner hour, telemarketin mi reunion

For non-lolcat analysis of the broadcast please see the following. I'll update with more links after work today. And by the way, The New York Times - you're next

BB Church: Adoption as Melodrama, Pertman v Atwood
Judy: Riddle Me This
Claud: NPR, the EBD and making waves


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

"Talk of the Nation" today at 3:00 PM EST

Via my inbox...

Adam Pertman of Evan B. Donaldson Institute will be on NPR's "Talk of the Nation" today at 3 p.m. (Eastern). Also on will be Tom Atwood of NCFA and someone from the ACLU, so it will be sort-of two versus one. Please get word out immediately about the show so that people can call in to provide their comments, support the Institute's work, and comment on whatever the other two guests have to say. Call-in number is 800-989-8255.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Unseal adoptees' birth records, report urges

Yeah, I blew NaBloPoMo. I was so exhausted by the time I got home yesterday I couldn't even turn on the computer. Maybe next year. Anyway, interesting stuff below, please head over to the news site and leave a comment if you have time.

It's been picked up everywhere, but the biggies so far are MSNBC (link below), as well as CNN

Unseal adoptees' birth records, report urges

Associated Press

NEW YORK — It's among the most divisive questions in the realm of adoption: Should adult adoptees have access to their birth records, and thus be able to learn the identity of their birth parents?

In a comprehensive report being released Monday, a leading adoption institute says the answer is "Yes" and urges the rest of America to follow the path of the eight states that allow such access to all adults who were adopted.

"States' experiences in providing this information make clear that there are minimal, if any, negative repercussions," said the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. "Outcomes appear to have been overwhelmingly positive for adult adopted persons and birthparents alike."

Opponents of open access argue that unsealing birth records violates the privacy that birthmothers expected when they opted to give up their babies. They raise the specter of birthparents forced into unwanted relationships with grown children who have tracked them down.

But the Donaldson Institute says most birthparents, rather than being fearful and ashamed, welcome contact with the children they bore. Its report says the states with open records have found that most birthparents and adoptees handle any contact with maturity and respect.

Kansas and Alaska never barred adoptees from seeing their birth certificates. Since 1996, six other states — Alabama, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon and Tennessee — have decided to allow access to all adult adoptees.

However, the progression has been slow, and open-records legislation has been rebuffed in many states by a determined and diverse opposition.

Opponents in Connecticut, where bills have failed in each of the past two years, included the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. It depicted itself as a voice for birthmothers who opposed the measure but were reluctant to speak out publicly.

In New Jersey, where a long-running campaign to pass an open-records bill was derailed again this year, the opposition includes New Jersey Right to Life and the New Jersey Catholic Conference. They argue that eliminating the prospect of confidentiality might prompt a pregnant single woman to choose abortion rather than adoption.

Marlene Lao-Collins of the Catholic Conference said she knew of no data supporting the concerns about abortions, "but even if it just happened once, that would be one too many."

Nationwide, one of the major foes of open records is the National Council for Adoption, which represents many religiously affiliated adoption agencies. Its president, Thomas Atwood, says any reconnection between an adopted adult and a birthparent should be by mutual consent — which is the policy in most states.

"I empathize with anybody who feels the need to know their biological parents' identity," Atwood said. "But I don't think the law should enable them to force themselves on someone who has personal reasons for wanting confidentiality."

The Donaldson report says evidence from the states with open records rebuts every argument against the concept. Notably, it says there is no proof that abortions rise, that adoptions decline, or that birthparents are harassed following a switch to open records.

"There has been no evidence that the lives of birthmothers have been damaged as a result," the report says. "In the states that have amended their laws ... few birthmothers have expressed the desire to keep records sealed or the wish not to be contacted."

The most recent state to opt for open records is Maine; a law signed in June will allow adult adoptees to access their birth certificates starting in 2009.

One of the bill's main sponsors was state Sen. Paula Benoit, an adoptee who personally lobbied all her colleagues. While working on the bill, she uncovered her own biological background and learned, to her amazement, that two Democratic lawmakers she was working with were her nephews.

"There are so many adoptees who want to know who they are," she said. "Can you imagine being denied your identity?"

Among the many birthmothers grateful to have been found by children they relinquished is Eileen McQuade of Delray Beach, Fla., who is president of the American Adoption Congress and a fervent advocate of open records.

"Secrecy was the way it was done at the time — it was not a choice or a preference on the part of the mothers," McQuade said of the 1960s, when she placed a daughter for adoption. "We treat adoptees as if they're forever children — it's absurd."

The Donaldson report depicts adopted people as the only class of Americans not permitted to routinely obtain their birth certificates.

Giving them full access "is a matter of legal equality, ethical practice and, on a human level, basic fairness," the report said. "It is an essential step toward placing adoptive families, families of origin, everyone connected to them and, indeed, adoption itself on a level playing field within society, without the stigma, shame and inequitable treatment they have experienced in the past."

"The mythology around adoption is based on the notion that you should be protecting someone from something," said the institute's executive director, Adam Pertman.

"But that's not the reality," he said. "Adoptees are not behaving poorly, they're behaving very respectfully, and birthparents do not appear to be a frightened class that wants to hide."


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Exhausted RegDay Wrapup

I’m STILL on a crappy dialup connection here, so if you’ve sent me an email since Friday afternoon I’m not ignoring you, it’s just that it’s too painful for words to sit and wait wait wait wait for the page to load.

Anyway, now that that’s out of the way, I can’t believe how fast today went.

It was fantastic, just wonderful.

If you were at a RegDay table of your own, I’m toasting you right now. If you weren’t at one, next year I hope you can be. The high is just indescribable. We had so much fun.

My pictures won’t be ready until I get back because I dumbly forgot my digital camera, but I’m sure Claud will get hers posted. The only problem is when she took pictures some fat bitch sat in my seat so there are no pictures of me anywhere to be found.

It was amazing to meet her, really, I was star struck. Face to face with the woman who sat so calmly next to Montel William’s WHERE CAN I GET A FREAKING BABY baby lust tantrum, and lived to tell the tale, wow.

And yay yay yay yay to see Stewie from AAAFC again yay yay yay. If you're not a member of AAAFC, you need to be.

It was a fun table, totally. It was a first for all of us so we’ve got some lessons learned and plans for next year. Here are my thoughts and memories on the day, rambling, incoherent, unedited and unspellchecked, and in no particular order

- I made enough copies to staff every RegDay table across the country, plus everyone who considered doing a RegDay table. Good thing is, next year there won’t be as many copies to make. But that brings to the next point:

- Stuff I left out. I didn’t have enough stuff with New York resources. Considering it was a NEW YORK TABLE y’think I would have, but noooooooooo. D'uh. Also I should have had more resources for International Adoptees. More about that later.

- I was too conservative with what I did print out. I used a lot of the material from the RegDay site as well as the coordinator’s list, but there was some stuff in retrospect that I could have included but didn’t. Next year.

- The location at the mall was great, near two heavy hitter stores (Target and Best Buy). Even better, directly ahead of us was a mall post office. How awesome was that.

- RegDay technology needs to be created to allow table volunteers to see thought balloons over the heads of passer-bys. The expressions on some of the faces were soooo interesting but sooooo hard to read. It provided a great mystery all day. Why is that pregnant woman looking so pained when she walks by us? Is she an adoptee who is afraid to search? Is she a mom who lost a previous child to adoption? God forbid, has she been snatched by some agency and is planning on adoption? If only thought balloon technology were in effect, it would make the tables much easier to manage.

- No one as much as looked at our books. Oh well. At least we were able to plug Girls Who Went Away to a few.

- We got signatures for Unsealed Initiative! Alright!!

- Some radio station, I don’t know which, played the 60 SECOND NATIONALITY PSA – WOW!! That’s where the majority of the visitors to the table came from. It was so weird. I wrote to a zillion stations but never heard back from one of them. Claud is pretty sure she knows which station ran it so she’s going to send out a thank you note.

- I didn’t cry as much as I thought I was going to, but I’m crying now. Good tears for a day well spent, but also identifying tears, for everyone who sat down with one of our forms, looked over the ISRR application and said, “I don’t have the answer to any of these questions” I know, god I know.

- The playlist I made got lots of looks and attention, that was good. Unfortunately I had the CD burned so far in advance I missed out on lots of great new videos, but all the better for next year.

- It will be a hard decision on next year. Do we all reconvene at the same location, or do we branch out to other locations with what we’ve learned? It’s really a decision of selfish versus practical. More practical to do our own tables to get more registrations, but damn, it was a fun day with the three of us.

- I wasn’t prepared for the authentic joy from some of the visitors to the table. Most notably two sisters who were searching on behalf of their father who was adopted, and a dad with a son who was adopted in Hungary. Even better – this adopted dad came back to the table a second time with a friend of one of his kids who was born in South Korea. Awesome awesome awesome.

- We did get plugs in for Unsealed Initiative, AAAFC, Adoptee Rights Demonstration, Origins-USA, Adoption Crossroads, Bastard Nation and KAAN. We also had a blog list printed out, thanks to Possum, so send some gratitude her way.

- I really want next year to also have a bit of preventative stuff as well, to hopefully keep a future registration from ever happening.

- I really need someone to pay me to do this as a full time job. I need comprehensive dental and medical, at least as long as my son is in college. Write to me about my salary requirements privately. Because my current employer has been good to me, I want to give them at least 2 months notice, so I can start working for you in January.

-I am actually really tired, I expected this but still it’s surprising just how bone weary exhausted I am.

-There are far too many separated families in this world. Today I hope that number became a little less and we gave a few folks their first glimpse of light outside the fog.

I'm heading to bed, I'm beat. Thank you Claud and Stewie, it was a killer day.


Scary things about adoption #9: After all this time, we still need a RegDay

DEAR ABBY: I have always thought your advice to be very sound until I read the answer you gave "JUST CURIOUS" who was adopted in her infancy had grown up and married, and had finally tracked down her real mother. She asked you if she should go to see her real mother, and you advised her not to?

Abby, how could you! I gave my baby up for adoption 29 years ago not because I didn't want her, but because I had no husband, and could not afford to keep her. And everyday I pray that my doorbell will ring and she will be standing there. A MOTHER

That letter was published in the Indiana Evening Gazette from Indiana Pennsylvania on Tuesday, September 06, 1966

How long do we have to keep saying the same thing?

I'm in Kingston, NY, on a medieval dialup connection I wouldn't even wish on a Holt International spy, getting ready for bed and the big day tomorrow. Truth be told though my heart is in Philadelphia . There hasn't been a RegDay location in Philly since 2004. In 2008 maybe I'll have more free time and host one there.

So my heart is with all those searching, but most particularly, those from my home town. I'll hold out a good thought that we'll all find our way home, and head down to the corner Irish bar to celebrate. Sounds like heaven. As we would say, Akshlee, that would be a toadalee beeyoutiful dey.

If you're up Kingston way today, why not swing by the Mall and give a shout to me, Claud and Stewie? We'd be glad you came.

Hey PS, toadalee not adoptee related but appropos to the scary theme this month, is anyone else toadalee psyched that Mark Fusetti won the Ghoast Hunters contest? Is that a beeyoutiful accent or what? Click and turn up yur vayoom. I swear to gad, no one outside of Fldelfya knows howda taulk.


Friday, November 09, 2007

Scary things about adoption #8: Those who most should be, won't.

Just writing that title made me cry.

I've tried 3 times since writing that to get my thoughts into words, but I can't.

So I'll leave you with a number and a link -

The approximate number of United States children in foster care who need a home: 114,000

What will happen to them when they don't get one: Aging Out

And after that, I can't write any more.


Thursday, November 08, 2007


I'm shamelessly leeching Gersh's image to share with you.....


Scary things about adoption #7: Benedict Bastards

I can't remember the first time I read the phrase "Benedict Bastard". I googled and the earliest reference I could find was Father Jack Sweeley in the December, 2005 Bastard Nation Byline. I know didn't read it then because December, 2005 I was fogged up heavier than Stephen King's new movie, after withdrawing from adoption land from another failed search attempt.

But I love that phrase. It's so apt.

I find Benedict Bastards terrifying. Benedict Bastards set us all backwards proclaiming it's OK to accept some civil rights violations to keep our eyes on the prize in the future or slamming the door on all of us all together. Benedict Bastards in many cases could give two hoots about the prize in the future because more often than not, they either have their information or fall into a select group who will, so pfffftt to the rest of you.

Benedict Bastards occasionally will not be able to coherently describe the difference between a disclosure veto and a contact preference form while fighting the bad fight for us all. I will readily admit up until last year I couldn't describe the difference myself, but at least I wasn't spouting nonsense on behalf of closed records.

Benedict Bastards sometimes also are employed by large adoption organizations, and they've got a great job. Their job is to spy on other adoptees and maintain databases of their activities and talk about how grrreeeaaattt!! adoption is. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, some do the clandestine spy bit better than others.

Benedict Bastards are so ensconced in the role of the forever child, they gravitate towards the power symbolized by the adoption industry in a sick Stockholm Syndromesque dance, still desperately needing that approval from mommy and daddy. Love me, love me, love me, I'll do anything to make you happy, because that was my job in the first place, to fill the needs of someone else.

But still, Benedict Bastards, in spite of their naughty behavior, they are still my people, and one or the other may defog one day. Defogging is extremely painful to begin with. It becomes a little more painful when you look back on your past behaviors and see reenactment of trauma at different stages of your life. I'm ashamed of many of my past behaviors, but I'm still grateful that none of them included shitting on my brothers and sisters.

It would be really scary to wake up to that.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Scary things about adoption #6: Adoption Websites

Anyone can make a website about anything they want, this is true.

But when it comes to the selling of human beings, I dunno, call me a fascist, it just irks me.

There are tons of adoption websites out there put up by individuals who have absolutely no connection to adoption whatsoever. They're in it for one thing: $$$$$

Once you've set up your adoption website using purchased templates and free articles from website content sites (again, usually written by people who have no personal connection to adoption) then you can market them.

Again, nothing wrong with making a few bucks online, right?

It's only teh intraweb, am i rite guyz? Huh? Huh? It's not like they are saying anything wrong.

Although even scarier, is that graphic in the upper left hand corner. The hands with hands growing out of them, holding a uterus with an embryo inside that has a weed growing out of it.



Tuesday, November 06, 2007

People Magazine seeking recent victims of unethical adoptions - PLEASE FORWARD!



I talked with a reporter from People Magazine who is preparing a story on recent coercive and unethical adoption practices. She would like to speak with a parent who recently lost their child to adoption coercion or fraud in the United States. She specifically requested to speak with parents who:

* Lost their child very recently, preferably within the past year

* Are willing and able to speak on the record and have their story published in People Magazine

* Have a compelling story that can be fact-checked

* Do not have a history of child abuse or anything else that would have led to them being accused of being "unfit" parents

She is also interested in talking with people who adopted (either domestically or internationally) and later discovered that the child they adopted had been obtained by kidnapping or coercion.

Her deadline is open, but she would like to have an update on Wednesday Nov 7 if possible.

If you or anybody you know might be able to help with this story, let me know and I will pass on your information to the reporter. She is a real reporter using a real People Magazine email and mailing address and phone number.

This could be a great opportunity to increase public awareness of coercive and exploitative adoption practices. Thank you for your help!

Bernadette Wright
President, Origins-USA


Scary things about adoption #5: Yahoo Answers

Click for full effect. You know you want to.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Scary things about adoption #4: Dr. James Dobson is a total tool

.... when the foundation has been laid and the issue is defused, then forget it. Don't constantly remind the child of his uniqueness to the point of foolishness. Mention the matter when it is appropriate, but don't reveal anxiety or tension by constantly throwing adoption in the child's face. Youngsters are amazingly perceptive at "reading" these thinly disguised attitudes.

I believe it is possible, by following these common sense suggestions, to raise an adopted child without psychological trauma or personal insult.

This jackass has been spouting this same crap for decades, in spite of all evidence to the contrary. And how do you like that idea of neutralizing competitiveness between real kids and their adopted siblings by having two parties a year for the bastard? Yeah, that'll work.

That's the ticket though, don't constantly throw adoption in your kid's face. It's not like their lack of genetic mirroring won't do it for them anyway. Just pretend they're not adopted, except for that second birthday party, they won't even notice at all.

Focus on the Family is broadcast in more than a dozen languages and on over 7,000 stations worldwide, and heard daily by more than 220 million people in 164 countries. Lots of people take his word on adoption at face value.

For more on Dr. Dobson and others, view here: Adoption and The Role of The Religious Right in Adoption.

That's scary.


Sunday, November 04, 2007

Scary things about adoption #3: How hard it is to get it

I find it frightening how difficult it is to get real kids to 'get it' when it comes to equal access to our original birth certificates.

Even real kids who think they 'get it', some of them, they don't. They are trying real hard, I know, I can see it.

But they don't.

Case in point: following is a very common real kid statement. It's paraphrased, but it's one I've seen countless times on forums and blogs:

Secrets and lies in adoption are the reason I chose open adoption. I have my child's original birth certificate and will make sure it stays safe so s/he will always have access to it.

I know, I can hear you now, OMG Theresa just how ungrateful can you be? What's wrong with that statement?

Plenty. But I hope I can articulate this clearly enough to make those who've said it understand. Let me try this scenario

Prior to the 1930's, divorce and marriage records were kept open in all states. If a couple should get a divorce, either party would still be able to get access to the original marriage certificate should they want it for whatever reason. After this time, however, marriage records in all states but two became sealed for a number of reasons. It was seen that sealing the original marriage certificate would save a remarried adult from the stigma of divorce. Also, some new spouses did not like the idea that their spouse would want a copy of the marriage certificate.

There has been a growing movement to open sealed marriage certificates, and several states have passed legislation to allow citizens to receive copies of their original records. In the majority of states though, records remain sealed. This is seen as a way to protect the privacy and confidentiality of those who do not wish their former spouse to track them down and intrude on their lives. Occasionally second spouses would keep a copy of the original marriage certificate and ensure it was kept in a safe spot so they could give it to their spouse at their discretion.

Please try and understand, my original birth certificate is no one's business but my own. It is a government record about me that by my status as a taxpaying citizen, I should have access to. No one has the right to determine if I should have access to it at their discretion. Not my adoptive parents, not my natural parents, not the State of Pennsylvania, not Catholic Charities, not the NCFA - no one.

It's mine, and I want it.

So when I see adoptive parents - or, on second reading of this post, even natural parents for that matter, speak of keeping their child's original birth certificate safe for them, I'd like to ask: how would you feel, now, as an adult, knowing your own parents had access to a record on you that they could determine if you could have or not? How would you feel if your spouse, or your parents, no matter that it was the best of intentions and done with a totally open heart, had access to any information on you, that you as an adult did not have access to?

You really want to give up your power that much? To allow another adult to make decisions for you?

I know it's difficult to believe, but in the blink of an eye, before you know it, your child will be an adult. Trust me on this one. Just yesterday my kids were screaming and crying and throwing temper tantrums because they were only allowed to get 1 movie at a time each from Blockbuster. But today they are adults. I don't know how it happened so fast, when just yesterday I was like, 30, but it happens.

No one should have the right to label anyone as a perpetual child needing protection from their past when they are legal adults and of an age to make that decision on their own. I'd urge anyone who has made the statement above to wipe it out of their mind, and instead of advocating open adoption, advocate equal access. Please, for the sake of your child who will one day be an adult, don't allow state governments to treat them as that forever child.

Unless you are in an open records state, the state you live discriminates against your child and considers them a dangerous second class citizen. Your open adoption will not change this, nor will it ease the anger and frustration your adult child will feel when this reality sets in. Knowing their natural parents will not take this away.

This is not about reunion - this is about their civil rights. Discrimination hurts.

And no matter how old your kids are, things that hurt them, will hurt you. I know. Anything that causes pain to any of my adult kids hurts me, because I love them. If my kids were being discriminated against, I'd go nucking futs.

I don't need my original birth certificate. I know my history.

But I want it. It's mine. And no one has the right to it but me.

Please try and understand.

In spite of this, many won't. They haven't lived having their own country and fellow citizens discriminate against them by nature of their illegitimacy, so they just won't.

For every adoptee that wants their records, there is the potential to have the four most important people in their lives advocating for them. But how many do?

And that scares me.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Scary things about adoption #2: MySpace Baby Trollers

Q. Hey, where do young women hang out?

A. MySpace!

Q. And what happens to young women sometimes?
A. They get knocked up!

So what better place to post your Hoping To Adopt or Adoption Agency shingle than MySpace?

Yep they’re out there with their boilerplate enticements for scared young women, they know this is a difficult decision for you (actually, they wouldn’t have a freaking clue now, would they?), they’re honored (not really, because at their core, they feel they’re better than you) you would consider them, they’ll love (covet) your baby, they promise letters, phone calls and visits (for a while, until they determine it’s not in their child’s best interest to continue contact with you), they have galleries of their suburban McMansions (because obviously you could never afford to give your baby all this, right) and details of all their fun trips to cool places like Belize and Seychelles (ditto on the you can’t afford this stuff)

I know what you’re saying, c’mon Theresa, MySpace has millions of users, so what’s wrong with a few fun loving couples desperately hoping to be parents placing their ‘Dear Birthmother’ letter where all the kids hang out? After all there can’t be that many of them right? So what’s so bad about that?


Including MySpace’s Terms of Service

Section 8.3 prohibits profiles that exploit people in a sexual manner. If you think calling an expectant mother a birthmother and preying on her fear and vulnerability isn’t at its core the sexual exploitation of women, there’s something seriously wrong with you.

These vultures break all barriers. Lust for another woman’s baby or the desire to make a profit off her body is the great equalizer. Gay, straight, 20-somethings, 30-somethings, 40-somethings, Liberals, Conservatives, Republicans, Democrats, Christian, Pagan, you name it, they’re out there in unity hoping to inflict PTSD and a lifetime of identity issues, either out of God's calling or their own desire. And no one blinks an eye.

Now that's scary.


Friday, November 02, 2007

Scary things about adoption #1: Discount Sales

Get a Toddler, get a Newborn, get two! Get 'em now! Because Crazy Jane can't be beat with prices so low, she's practically giving them away! And act now during the National Adoption Awareness Month Crazy Jane Kiddie Blowout, where she's slashing prices by 20% - prices so low it's practically child abuse!

Shop around - get the best price you can find, then go to Crazy Jane's and she'll BEAT 'EM. Remember Crazy Jane offers you the best prices, the best selection and a guaranteed cure for your need to be a hero!

Crazy Jane's November Kiddie Blowout - 20% off - Her prices are so low they're insane


It's very scary that this is seen as OK


Thursday, November 01, 2007

November is National Adoption BEWAREness Month

OK yeah I know already, starting off NaBloPoMo with a press release doesn't bode well for the remaining 29 days but give me a break. I'm going to be gone 'till late tonight.

From OriginsUSA:
Some "celebrate" National Adoption Awareness Month in November.

Adoption, however is not a "win-win" for all. For every family added to by adoption, another experiences an irrevocable and painful loss.

OriginsUSA, an organization dedicated to Natural Family Preservation and justice for families seperated by adoption, cannot "celebrate" adoption as a "positive way to build families."

For members of OriginsUSA, November is a time to call attention to the need to prevent unnecessary adoptions by providing families in need the resources they need to remain intact.

We thus declare November as National Adoption BEWAREness Month.

  • BEWARE of claims that surrendering a child to adoption is noble or selfish or best; that it will guarantee your child a "better life" or afford you an opportunity for a better life.

  • BEWARE of those who tell you that adopting a child is "the same as if" you gave birth.

  • BEWARE of those who tell you that your child will go to a "forever family" as the national divorce statistics hold true in adoptive families as well, and a high percentage of children are victims of "failed adoptions", a phrase the industry coined to cover children returned to the agencies.

  • BEWARE of those who speak of your current situation as reason to surrender your child to adoption. You will get older, you can get work, colleges are full of non-traditional students, and your current situation is temporary, but loss to adoption is forever.

During this month, on November 10th, we will participate in Reg Day to bring awareness to the loss suffered those adopted by the denial of their truth with the issuance of a false birth certificate.

The month will culminate on November 30 with Strange and Mournful Day! Wear your Strange and Mournful Day ribbon on that day and throughout the year, to recognize the sadness of mothers losing their children to adoption.

Using a phrase taken from the "Mother and Child Reunion" by Paul Simon, the name of the occasion is intended to stress both the unnatural (strange) nature of adoption separation and the accompanying "mournful" grief.


I'm a Fan of Adoptee Rights

I Digg Adoption News

All adoption news

Adoption news RSS feed

Don't like feeds or widgets? Rather read the news in a blog format? Here you go.

Who I'm Stalking

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP