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Saturday, August 8, 2020

My Friend Jeff


Avon man receives long-awaited answers in search for biological family

Jeff Hancock finally received information he'd waited a long time to see: Information in his search for his biological family (WHAM photo)
Avon, N.Y. - An Avon man’s lifelong search has finally come to an end. His long-sought answer came in the mail, and 13WHAM was there to see it revealed.

The letter to Jeff Hancock held the answers for a man whose journey began as a boy, a foster child adopted when he was four.

“When I first found out I was adopted, I felt like a guest at my own funeral,” he said. “The person I had known my whole life was dead. I felt like my whole life isn’t valid to this point, because I wasn’t who I always thought I was.”

Hancock was 42 when he went to apply for a passport and realized he did not have a required birth certificate.

“I said, ‘Mom, I need my birth certificate,’” he recalled. “I actually had never seen it. And she goes, 'Oh, I don't have that anymore.'"

That was when Hancock’s search for his biological family and his original birth certificate began. He joined a group lobbying to unseal state adoption records, giving adoptees access to their birth certificate.

“We just want what everybody else has,” he said.

In 2019, adoptees won the fight for adoption rights. Immediately, Hancock applied for his birth certificate. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed it for months – but, finally, the day Hancock received his letter finally arrived.

“I was five pounds, seven ounces when I was born,” he said, looking over the papers. “I was little.”

“This is something I’ve been wanting to know for a long time: I was born at Booth Memorial Hospital in Buffalo, New York,” he said. “...I learned something today, and I also have confirmation that’s my mom.”

Now, because of the work by Jeff Hancock and others, adoptees in New York no longer have to wait a lifetime for the paper that's a birthright.

“I felt complete for the first time since discovery,” he said.




Ed. Note: Jeff is an LDA - late  discovery adoptee, one who didn't get told he was adopted until he was an adult.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

How Native Tribes Started Winning at the Supreme Court

(excerpt) The Tribal Supreme Court Project is already working on a Firth Circuit case concerning the Indian Child Welfare Act, which Hedden-Nicely calls “the single most important issue for Indian Country today.” Brackeen v. Bernhardt asks whether ICWA, through which Congress granted tribes priority in deciding foster care placements for Native children, violates an alleged Constitutional restriction on “racial preferences.” A judge ruled in 2018 that overturning the law would violate tribal sovereignty. Hedden-Nicely thinks the case isn’t really about children but is just one of many “unrelenting attacks on the idea that Indians have any special status under the law.”
He doesn’t expect the Supreme Court, which has already twice upheld ICWA, to hear the Brackeen case. And if it did, given recent trends, it’d be unlikely to decide against tribes.“At a time where Congress is not being particularly helpful on Indian policy, and the executive is being actively antagonistic, it’s very comforting to have at least one branch of government acting in a way that’s consistent with their trust responsibility to Indian tribes,” says Hedden-Nicely. When the court sides with Congress and the president in ignoring tribal sovereignty, “bad things start to happen.”

GOOD READ: How Native Tribes Started Winning at the Supreme Court – Mother Jones

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

60s Scoop Adoptees: Where Do We Fit In?

Stewart Garnett, 41, was adopted by a San Francisco family as a kid, but has come back to Manitoba to try to retrace his heritage. (Erin Brohman/CBC)

Stewart Garnett

Stewart Garnett was born in Winnipeg and is from Long Plain First Nation, but he grew up in California after being adopted by a white family during the Sixties Scoop.
Garnett said he struggled with questions of identity growing up and was frequently confused by the way people would label him.
He returned to Manitoba about a week ago in attempt to regain a sense of his culture.
"It's been rough. I see people who do know who they are and they're comfortable in their own skin, but me, no," he said.
"You try walking in the non-aboriginal world, you don't fit in; you try and walk in the aboriginal world and you don't necessarily fit in, so you're on this fence of 'Where do we fit in?'"


Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger apologizes for Sixties Scoop

Manitoba Sixties Scoop apology moves indigenous families to tears


Maryland Laws affecting adoptees : HB1039 Overwhelmingly Passes Full House


HB1039 Overwhelmingly Passes Full House

The Maryland House of Delegates overwhelmingly passed HB1039 on March 11, sending the equal rights bill to the Senate for final consideration.
The vote, initially reported as 130-8, became official later at 131-7. Two delegates who are adopted spoke strongly in favor of the bill: Republican April Rose of Carroll County and Delegate Courtney Watson, Democrat of Howard County. HB1039 is sponsored by Republican Michael Malone, and it has now moved to the Senate, where its companion bill is already under consideration in the Judicial Proceedings Committee. Senator Susan Lee is the sponsor of the Senate bill.
“We are pleased that the overall response from our legislators has been positive and very supportive,” said Susie Stricker, the founder of Maryland Adoptee Rights, a member of the Capitol Coalition for Adoptee Rights. “We have cleared a huge hurdle, but need to keep the momentum moving forward by urging our lawmakers to vote for the HB1039 as it is written and keeps it equal.”
“Moving this legislation along has been a dream of mine for over 10 years,” said Peggy Klappenberger, a Maryland adoptee and advocate with Maryland Adoptee Rights. “To be sitting where we are today is surreal, and I know it couldn’t have happened without Susie Stricker and all the hard work she put in to get this bill written and into both chambers. It also wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the adoptee community both nationally and here in Maryland. Everyone has been amazing.”

Equality for All Adopted People

We are a coalition of organizations and allies in the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland, working to secure equal rights for all adult adopted people who were born or adopted in the region.
Join Us  More Info

Monday, August 3, 2020

Indigenous children for sale: The MONEY behind the Sixties Scoop #HumanTrafficking

Adoptive U.S. parents paid thousands for Indigenous Manitoba children

Carla Williams was adopted by a Dutch family during the Sixties Scoop. (CBC)

Marlene Orgeron recalls the day her adoptive Louisiana parents told her they bought her for $30,000. Her brothers, they told Marlene, were "freebies."
It left her feeling worthless.

"They told me I should feel grateful they paid anything for me at all," Orgeron said. "I felt so guilty."
Marlene Orgeron was taken from her home in Shoal Lake, Man., in the 1970s and adopted by a family in the U.S. (CBC)
It's the latest revelation in a story survivors say has haunted them for decades: the money behind the Sixties Scoop.
The scoop, as it is called, refers to the era from the 1960s to the 1980s, when child welfare authorities scooped up Indigenous children and adopted them out to non-Indigenous families.
Those placed in homes outside the country weren't just adopted out of their Indigenous homes and into mostly white American families — they were bought and paid for.
"It hurts so much, but I have waited so many years for someone to finally talk about this," said Dianne Fast, whose brother Willy was seized from their Eriksdale, Man., home and adopted by a couple in Indiana.
His value? Fast said her brother went for $10,000.
"His mother used to say she owned him."
Carla Williams, also from Manitoba, was adopted by a family in Holland for $6,400.
Manitoba twins Alyson and Debra ended up in Pennsylvania. They said they were valued at $10,000 as a pair.
Wayne Snellgrove calls it human trafficking.
"[My adoptive parents] paid a lot of money for me," said Snellgrove, who started out in foster care.
"They farmed us out to an [American] adoption agency and then they sold me."

'It sickened me'

Williams said the thought of the transactions is revolting.
"It sickened me," she said.
Barbara Tremitiere was surprised to hear this. Now retired, during the 1970s she was an adoption worker with the Pennsylvania-based Tressler Lutheran Home for Children.
They worked hard to find homes for children with "special needs," she said. Canadian Indigenous children were deemed special needs.
"Because you didn't want them," Tremitiere said. "I was once told by a native person from [Manitoba], on one of the reservations ... 'We passed on to you what we didn't want.' And they were probably right."

Keep Reading 

The Promise Not Kept

Prof. Matthew L.M. Fletcher

Prof. Matthew L.M. Fletcher | The Promise Not Kept

“I grew up surrounded by adults talking about federal recognition and the promise of ‘Indian money,’ compensation for lost treaty rights.”
I come from Anishinaabe communities, the Grand Traverse Band Odawa and Pokagon and Gun Lake Bodewadmi, who signed numerous treaties from 1795 to 1855 that suffered through administrative termination from the 1860s through the 1980s and 1990s. I grew up surrounded by adults talking about federal recognition and the promise of “Indian money,” compensation for lost treaty rights.
My relatives had nothing, no reservation, no tribal government, no HUD money for housing, no IHS, no BIA, but they still ended up getting removed to boarding schools and foster care with white families, going to jail, and dealing with suicide and addiction. I went to law school and chose to work with tribes to be a part of the restoration of Anishinaabe government and culture.
A friend once asked me what standards apply in tribal courts when a prosecutor moves to charge a juvenile as an adult. I was taken aback. No Anishinaabe tribal judge I know would ever agree to that. Indian children are special, considered by some to be supernatural creatures, deserving respect and deference. The word in Anishinaabemowin for child is benodjhen, which loosely translated means spirit coming forth.
As a policy matter, the last thing a tribal judge would want to do is sentence a child to a jail where they could be brutalized and converted into a hardened criminal. Tribal communities already struggle with the reintegration of our adult prisoners. It would be so much worse for our children.
Matthew L.M. Fletcher is professor of law at Michigan State University College of Law, director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center, and editor of the leading blog on Indian law, Turtle Talk. He is a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Ivanka Trump’s Empty Spectacle on Violence Against Native Women #MMIWG

 July 29, 2020

The picture tells a nice story: Ivanka Trump—smiling with a big golden key in hand—stands alongside assistant secretary for the Bureau of Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney, Lower Sioux Indian Community Vice President Grace Goldtooth, and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. They are there to mark the opening of an office in Bloomington, Minnesota, dedicated to cold cases in Indian Country. Specifically, the office is designed to address the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, or MMIWG, crisis, and is one of seven such offices that the Trump administration has said it will open across the country, each the result of an executive order the president signed last November.  On its face, it’s an urgent commitment in response to years of federal neglect. 
But in typical Trump style, it was little more than a P.R. stunt, just another branding exercise for Ivanka and a weak attempt by the administration to gin up some short-lived goodwill in Indian Country.


Sunday, July 12, 2020

Adopters, Blogging and Privacy for Adoptees

There are many adopters who are blogging about their adopted child.  THIS MUST END NOW!
Looming hot issue concerning "privacy" for minor adoptees

By Trace L. Hentz (Blogger- Adoptee) (repost from 2014)

I am an adoptee, well past the age of majority, and because of my closed adoption, I had to climb a mountain and claw my way up to discover any details about who my natural family was. Records were sealed in Wisconsin. Growing up, I had no medical history. I did not share my adoptive parents blood or ancestry. Mine, on paper, didn't exist.

Even recently I told a surgeon I am not sure about most of my birthmom Helen's medical history, though I do know she died from complications of diabetes.

I have not stopped thinking about the post I wrote on the LOST DAUGHTERS BLOG that APs need to stop blogging about adoptees. This is a looming hot issue concerning "privacy" for minor adoptees. At the MIT adoption conference, I heard it loud and clear.  I'm sure many adoptive parents had not considered the ramifications of blogging about their children's lives, especially when adoptees are still minors. The dangers of sharing on social media and blogs are REAL yet being ignored.

APs are, in my opinion, in essence creating an "unsafe environment" for their child.* 

A toddler cannot consent to having his or her life experiences documented on public spaces. (I predict some day some clever lawyer will take this on and attempt to sue an adoptive parent for publicizing and publishing an adoptee's early private experiences, albeit from the APs perspective.) (There might already be stalkings and kidnappings due to the increased use of social media. You can find anyone with the click of a mouse.) (There was already one lawyer in CA suing adoption agencies for damaged goods - when an adoptee is ungrateful or not what the APs expected. This is what lawyers do!)

If someone must blog, then private password-protected blogs, shared between family members, is the only way to protect any child. Parenting blogs are one thing; blogging about the children you adopt is another.

Many adoptees have told me and related on social media, much needs to be changed about "adoption" - ending the lack of access to our own adoption files, having a copy of our real birth certificate, knowing our ancestry, our medical history and so much more....including an understanding of birth trauma, anxiety and stress disorders in adoptees.

My goal as a writer/adoption author/adoptee is to advocate for adoptees too young to advocate for themselves. I will do whatever it takes to make this issue understood from the adoptee perspective. (Add to this I taught blogging and a course on social media.)

In my foster care training in Oregon back in the 1990s, there was no mention of protecting a minor child's privacy but people were not blogging and tweeting and Facebooking back then!

Yet there was plenty to read about confidentiality for birthmoms - if they chose not to tell anyone and gave a baby up for adoption - adoption agencies like Catholic Charities assured them no one would ever have to find out. The child (like me) would have a new identity and the records were sealed permanently.

This created a fantasy I had to deal with and live with as an adult. Until I met my dad Earl, I had no medical history or ancestry.

So much needs to change about adoption. It's a complicated mess. For 10+ years, I've done research on adoption as a topic. I am not a lawyer. More and more is coming to light that "adoption" is not at all what we thought.  Much of what we read is/was created by the billion dollar adoption industry so it's their sale pitch, aka propaganda for adoptive parents (APs) and potential APs.

I am old enough now to advocate for those adoptees who can't.  And I will.

If I run into APs and lawyers who get upset with me (or my blog) for voicing my opinion, get in line.


Here is a very revealing post from Jason on his blog concerning failed adoptions and the practice of advertising adopted children you no longer want: REHOMING:

Children For Sale: Get 'Em While They're Hot

His post
Hi Anonymous, Thanks for taking the time to comment. You've raised an important issue: every child should have a safe and supportive home. Do you advocate that only adoptive children who are in homes with parents unable or unprepared to raise a child be taken away? Should parents of biological children who are unprepared, unwilling, or unable to raise their children be allowed to offer up their children to better homes?

As we consider posting pictures or information about the lives of children on the internet, we must also consider the impact on the children (you are considering only the needs of potential adoptive parents). Does the internet have a right or need to know any information about these children? How might the children be impacted in the future with their personal and private information being shared with any stranger that comes across it?

What baffles me--and endangers children--is when adults think of their needs and fail to reflect on what children need. In this case their is an enormous impact that you are failing to consider.

and:  Hi Anonymous, you've raised some important concerns about the foster care system, which is a different issue than what this post is about. I'm deeply concerned about what happens when the private and personal information about children is shared publicly. Children can have safe, secure, and supportive homes without their backgrounds being put up on the internet and shared with the world

I will end with Von's comment on Adoptive Parents blogging about adoptees: The full exposure some adopters give to adoptees is seriously wrong and abusive. Some of you might remember the 'Potty Wars' and the 'Slant Eyes Fiasco' when adoptive mothers were adamant that their right to write whatever they wanted trumped the rights of children. Many claim they are not racist or abusive and that adult adoptees are over-sensitive and need to get a life, be prayed for or learn to be grateful. They pretend to pity us for our sad lives and state that their adoptees do not suffer and will not as we have. They know so little of the trauma of adoption and do so little to protect those they have adopted from further trauma. Anything posted is forever available and will undoubtedly be used by someone somewhere to bully, castigate, abuse etc because that sadly is the down side of our social media. Anyone who overlooks this is either naïve, stupid or deliberately abusive.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

How the ‘only family’ argument is used against Indigenous families

Fletcher: “How the ‘only family’ argument is used against Indigenous families”

by Matthew L.M. Fletcher

In High Country News, here.
There’s a powerful dog whistle attacking American Indian families and tribes who assert their rights to keep Native children with Native families under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Increasingly, foster and adoptive parents are fighting those families and tribes who seek to reunite with their children by claiming to be “the only family the child has ever known.” It was the racism in the child welfare system against Indian families that initially compelled Congress to establish ICWA in 1978. Now, as America continues to grapple with its racist history and systems of white supremacy, it’s time for courts to see through racist dog whistles and prioritize families of color.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

What can an adoptee do? I want my #OBC

These adoptees are Native Americans and opened their adoptions. That should give you hope.
By Trace Hentz (blog editor)

As adoptees, we all face the same questions: How do we open our sealed files and how do we find out who our tribal nation is and when can we meet our relatives?

The first place to start: KNOW that state where the adoption took place. What is their law governing your rights to your own adoption records? LOOK

Second: Get your non-identifying (Non-ID) from the state where you were adopted. Non-identifying information includes birthparents age and (in recent years) medical history at the time of the child's birth; their physical description (height, weight, eye color); heritage (religion, national origin, race); number of other children, and whether they’re adopted. More detailed data is collected describing your birthparents, not adoptive parents. 

Do not be discouraged if you will need to get a court order and pay to get your adoption file, in many states this is the law... The states that are closed do not make it easy.

I found out in my own search that none of this is easy -- but it can be done. 

Adoptee Rights Law Center PLLC
Gregory D. Luce
PO Box 19561
Minneapolis Minnesota 55419
T: (612) 221-3947

Luce has created an Adoptee-Driven Law Center:
Original Birth Certificates
Some states recognize adult adoptees' unrestricted right to obtain a copy of their own original birth certificates. I represent those who are denied that right.
Intercountry adoptees may not have received United States citizenship—or may have trouble proving it—even after being adopted in the U.S. decades ago. That's wrong. I advocate to correct it.
Personal Information
Adult adoptees are entitled to their own personal information, which may include information that is in an agency, court, or other locations. I help adoptees get what's rightfully theirs.

The OBC: Data, Information, and Maps

51All 50 States + DC

Crosscut Article on Greer Case

Crosscut Article on Greer Case

by ilpc

This court case could weaken Washington’s Indian Child Welfare Act

The law protects Native children from being taken from their homes without tribal involvement. The case before the state Supreme Court could tighten those rules.

The law protects Native children from being taken from their homes without tribal involvement. The case before the state Supreme Court could tighten those rules.

READ: This court case could weaken WA’s Indian Child Welfare Act | Crosscut

ICWA was thereafter applied to the case, but the damage was done — the children were placed in foster care without the normal protections the law would have offered them. Now, the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska are challenging the decision in the Washington State Supreme Court. If the court’s decision is upheld, advocates say the case could significantly weaken the use of ICWA in Washington by raising the bar for what qualifies as a “reason to know” that a child is “Indian” in the eyes of the law.
Kathryn Fort, director of Michigan State’s Indian Law Clinic, who is arguing on behalf of the tribes in the case involving Greer and Graham, says that it shouldn’t be so difficult. The burden of checking in with a tribe is low, she says, but the outcome has immense implications for the family, children and tribe.
Briefing and oral arguments here.

Monday, July 6, 2020

News from Twitter #NoDAPL

Monday, June 29, 2020

Indian Lives Matter | The "Indian Problem"

Stanford Law Review Online Publishes “Indian Lives Matter — Pandemics and Inherent Tribal Powers”

by Matthew L.M. Fletcher

Fletcher's paper, "Indian Lives Matter -- Pandemics and Inherent Tribal Powers," is now available online (PDF).

The1918 and 1919 influenza pandemicdevastated American Indian communities.In several states in the west and southwestArizona, Colorado, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Utah4%to 6%of American Indian people died.35“Among Alaskan Natives, entire communities were stricken, and some towns were abandoned.”36Nearly 3,400 Diné (Navajo) people walked on during this time.37Overall,2%of American Indian people walked on because of the pandemic.3

Support them!

What our Nations are up against!

What our Nations are up against!

To Veronica Brown

Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.

Generation Removed

Did you know?

Did you know?


Help in available!

Help in available!
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Diane Tells His Name

where were you adopted?

where were you adopted?