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Monday, December 19, 2011

ONE SMALL SACRIFICE 2nd Edition coming soon


I have retired the first edition of One Small Sacrifice and will no longer be using (Your 1st Edition paperbacks will be collector's items!)

The Kindle version of the 2nd edition of One Small Sacrifice: A Memoir (Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects) should be up in a few days.

The book will also be uploaded to Nook on Barnes and Noble in January.

The new paperback will be available in January 2012 on using Create Space on! This is better!

The 2nd Edition has been reformatted with chapters and additional writing.

Look for more ebooks and paperbacks from Blue Hand Books in 2012! 

2018: One Small Sacrifice was retired.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

More than that! Indian Country responds to Diane Sawyer

Students respond to ABC's "Children of the Plains"
Posted: 13 Dec 2011 10:02 AM PST

"I know what you probably think of us...we saw the special too. Maybe you saw a picture, or read an article. But we want you to know, we're more than that...We have so much more than poverty."
I know many of you saw the Diane Sawyer 20/20 special "Children of the Plains," and I let it pass by without much comment on the blog. I had plenty to say, but I knew a lot of folks from the community, and some of my friends, thought it was great--so I let it go, and didn't think it was really my place to barge in with my super-critical lens on the whole thing.

But some awesome kids from Pine Ridge put together this short, but powerful video in response to the special, which I love:

Reminded me of this quote from Adam Sings in the Timber: "It often seems as if America has only two frames through which to view its Native culture: ceremony and pageantry or poverty and addiction."

There's a lot of power when we get to represent ourselves.

Youtube: More Than That
Send this video around the globe... SHARE

If you're interested in some of the criticisms of the special:
Indian Country Today: Children of the Plains was little more than "Poverty Porn"

The actual special:
ABC 20/20: "Hidden America: Children of the Plains"

Between Pageantry and Poverty: Representing Ourselves

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

NEWS and UPDATES from Trace

Ellowyn's Lakota doll
I thank everyone for reading this BLOG and for signing up to get it via email (on the right side bar).
Experts say you need to ASK your readers to "Like" your Facebook page - so please visit my book page:!/Splitfeathers - and I ask you to please click LIKE.  I thank you for this.
"Like" helps with Google rankings and will help others find this blog, this history and me.
On average I hear from three new adoptees each week. That is good. That was and is my prayer. That is why I am a journalist who blogs about adoption news and being adopted. I will help anyone who contacts me and I will get them the help they need if I cannot do it myself.
I have been working all year on a brand new second edition of ONE SMALL SACRIFICE and it should be out in a few weeks. It's the same book with a few more chapters. It has two prefaces, four major chapters and an epilogue.  Also, there is a new WARNING to readers that this is NOT a chronology but written as I was learning and remembering my own childhood and doing the search for my family.  My book has Indian history born of pain and experience, history you won't read in newspapers or mentioned in North American classrooms.
One of the best comments I hear is I did a lot of research. Yes, indeed. Over five years and counting and I am still learning.
Book 2: SPLIT FEATHERS: TWO WORLDS is ready and we are looking for a publisher. This new anthology goes further and tells individual adoptee stories, in their own words. This book will change hearts and exposes more of our history! I will let you know when we do get it published.
The ultimate goal of this blog is to find new adoptees (Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects) and to have a group of adoptees testify before Congress to expose how we were adopted and erased from our tribal nations - deliberately.  Some of us were physically and sexually abused (YES) and in many states we are STILL denied access to adoption records so we cannot go home to our tribes and families.
A few days ago I made a new relative in South Dakota, Evelyn Red Lodge, also an adoptee and a journalist at Native Sun News. Evelyn is working to make these hearings happen, in the not-too-distant future. She helped NPR do their three-part investigation (posted on this blog in November) which made headlines across the globe. 
Adoptees like Evelyn and Sandy White Hawk at First Nations Orphans Association are rewriting history and helping others to heal with their activism. Here is a link to Evelyn's story on
Evelyn is helping to organize a rally for residents in South Dakota to stop the adoptions of Indian children in her state. More happen each day, in violation of the Indian Child Welfare Act. 32 states are in violation of the Indian Child Welfare Act, according to recent NRP reports.
As I wrote on this blog, our goverments in North American made us orphans and sealed our records so we'd disappear completely. But they can't erase our blood or our memory.
If erasure was the intention of the Indian Adoption Projects - to separate families and ensure adoptees would lose contact with their tribal relatives - in many ways they succeeded.
Now, today, our major task is to expose this attempted ethnic cleansing and rejoin our families and our nations.
Until all adoption records are open, in particular the Indian Adoption Projects and Indian Programs, conducted secretly in many states, I will not rest.
And neither should you...

Trace A. DeMeyer

Read more about First Nations Orphans Association here:
Sandy White Hawk is writing her biography now.

I will be back after the holidays...Blessings to everyone...Happy New Year 2012...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dark Side of Adoption: 'Steve Jobs' and 'Blue Nights' #adoption

'Steve Jobs' and 'Blue Nights' Reveal Dark Side of Adoption

ABC News – Wed, Nov 23, 201
(ABC News)

Quintana Roo Dunne, the adopted daughter of writer Joan Didion, had frequent nightmares about "The Broken Man" -- an evil repair man in a blue shirt with a L.A. Dodgers cap and "really shiny shoes" who told her in a deep voice, "I'm going to lock you here in the garage."

"She described so often and with such troubling specificity that I was frequently moved to check for him on the terrace outside her second-floor windows," wrote Didion, 76, mourning the death of her daughter in the memoir "Blue Nights."

Quintana died of acute pancreatitis in 2005 at the age of 39, only two years after the death of her adoptive father, writer John Gregory Dunne, who was the subject of "A Year of Magical Thinking."

Didion agonizes about her parenting and Quintana's recurrent fear of abandonment and a failed reunion with her biological family. "Adoption," Didion writes. "I was to learn, though not immediately, is hard to get right."

Such fear also haunted Apple founder Steve Jobs, who died last month at the age of 56. In numerous interviews with family, friends and lovers, biographer Walter Isaacson unveiled the dark side of adoption in his life.

Jobs ultimately formed strong bonds with his sister, author Mona Simpson, but he refused to meet his biological father, despite the lifelong sense of loss.

More than 1.5 million Americans are adopted, about 2 percent of all children, according to the New York City-based Evan B. Donaldson Institute for Adoption.

Both bestsellers, "Blue Nights" and "Steve Jobs," expose an unspoken truth in the adoption world: Fear of abandonment is universal.

"Attachment and abandonment issues are part of every adoption. It's just a matter of how much," said Marlou Russell, a Santa Monica, Calif., psychologist who works with adoptive families. She, too, was adopted.

"In the best-case scenario, everyone is on board," she said of adoption. "But you cannot separate a child from its mother without an impact. There is always an impact."

Parents of an earlier generation told their children, "You're adopted and you were chosen and very special," said Russell, who is author of the 2002 book, "Adoption Wisdom."

"The problem with that," she said, "is that, "If my adopted parents chose me that means there was someone else who didn't choose me.'"

Such was the thinking of young Quintana Roo Dunne, according to her mother's account in "Blue Nights."

When her beautiful little girl was born at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica in 1966, friends told Didion, "You couldn't possibly tell her."

Many viewed adoption as "obscurely shameful, a secret to be kept at all cost," according to the author.

But Didion said they never thought to do otherwise. "What were the alternatives?" she writes. "Lie to her? Leave it to her agent to take her to lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel?"

Quintana was baffled by their explanation that she was "chosen," according to her mother: "What if you hadn't answered the phone when Dr. Watson called?" or "What if you hadn't been home, what if you couldn't meet him at the hospital, what if there'd been an accident on the freeway, what would happen to me then?"

Psychologist Russell said she advises adoptive parents to say, "Your birth parents were unable to take care of you at that time and that covers every situation, even if they go on to parent other children."

"When you get the story line that you were adopted because you were very loved, that sets up love to mean leaving, and you might leave them, too," she said. "I tell parents not to use love and money or poverty. ... If you are in Toys R Us and say you can't buy something because you can't afford it today, they might think you can pack your bags and go."

Quintana had a fascination with meeting her "other mother." She wondered what she looked like and when her father asked what she would do if she met her birth mother, the girl replied, "I'd put one arm around Mom and one arm around my other mommy and I'd say, 'Hello Mommies.'"

In 1988, a letter arrived from Quintana's full sister, who was one of two siblings born after their mother and father married. "They were "strangers," according to Didion, who "welcomed her as their long lost child."

A reunion was arranged, but it was a weekend of "willed excitement, determined camaraderie and resolute discovery," Didion writes. Soon, Quintana seemed distraught and "on the edge of tears" when her birth mother wanted to explain why she gave her baby up and kept calling.

Eventually, Quintana backed off from her newfound relatives, telling them it was "too much to handle" and "too much too soon" and she needed to "step back."

Her birth mother disconnected her phone and cut ties, Didion says. "She didn't want to be a burden."

The two sisters sent flowers when Quintana died.

Steve Jobs knew from a young age that he had been adopted and had a similarly conflicted relationship with his biological family.

When he was 31, his adoptive mother was dying of lung cancer and he peppered her with questions about his past. "When you and Dad got married, were you a virgin?" he reportedly asked her, according to his biography.

"It was hard for her to talk, but she forced a smile," Isaacson writes. "That's when she told him she had been married before to a man who never made it back from the war. She also filled in some of the details on how she and Paul Jobs came to adopt him."

In the early 1980s, Jobs had hired a detective to look for his birth mother, but found nothing. Until then, he had been hesitant to tell his parents about the search, afraid he would hurt their feelings. But when Clara Jobs died in 1986, he told his adoptive father, Paul Jobs, and began a search in earnest.

Jobs learned the name of his mother -- University of Wisconsin graduate student Joanne Schieble -- and through her the name of his sister. Mona Simpson was a full biological sibling, born after his mother married his biological father, Syrian academic Abdulfattah "John" Jandali.

Jandali left Jobs' biological mother and daughter when Simpson was 5 and she went on to remarry and divorce.

Jobs eventually arranged a reunion, hoping to tell his mother she had "done the right thing."

"I wanted to meet [her] mostly to see if she was OK and to thank her, because I'm glad I didn't end up as an abortion," he told Isaacson. "She was 23 and she went through a lot to have me."

Both mother and sister spent Christmases at Jobs' house, but his birth mother often burst into tears, telling him how much she loved him and apologizing for giving him up. "Don't worry," Jobs told her, according to his biographer. "I had a great childhood. I turned out OK."

Jobs said he was surprised at how much he and Simpson were alike. "As we got to know each other, we became really good friends and she was my family," he said. "I don't know what I'd do without her."

Still, he never took an interest in meeting Jandali. Jobs, then a wealthy man, worried about being blackmailed, but he also was angry that his father had left his family.

"He didn't treat me well," Jobs said. "I don't hold anything against him -- I'm, happy to be alive. But what bothered me most was that he didn't treat Mona well. He abandoned her."

Steve Jobs' decision to ignore his father's overtures was likely rooted in issues of control, according to psychologist Russell.

Even for a man as in control and successful as Jobs, adoption inevitably evokes "a lot of pain and heartbreak," she said.

"When adoption occurs, everyone is out of control," Russell said. "It's a crisis. Adoption doesn't happen when things are going well. Sometimes adoptees do not want to meet their birth parents and the bottom line for that is to be in control, not to meet someone who wants to meet you. The last bastion of power is to say, 'no.'"

But Jean Strauss, a Washington state filmmaker who for 30 years has chronicled the lives of adult adoptees in books and documentaries, argues the "secrets inherent in adoption are diminishing and disempowering."

Fostering open adoptions and allowing adoptees to freely learn about their identities is critical for psychological well-being. Strauss, herself, reconnected with her birth mother and an entire biological family when she was 35.

"Steve Jobs and Quintana Roo did have different experiences and choices regarding their birth parents," Strauss said, "but as the writer Betty Jean Lifton once said, 'It isn't what you find, but that you find it.'"

[Unless a psychologist is an adoptee, they can never truly know or understand what we go thru as adoptees... I wrote my memoir to help them "get" us...Trace]

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Searching for Constancia Tibayon Hernandez

Please share my friend Mary Ann's story "Searching for Constancia Tibayon Hernandez" and share this link to her website. I pray newspapers will pick up the story, too!
If you can help my friend, if you know how to investigate, if you have friends in the Phillipines, please do try...

If adoption records were finally opened and unsealed everywhere, so many families could reunite and hearts could heal...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Movie Review: The Italian (5 STARS)

MOVIE TRAILER is not available

I was asked to introduce this movie THE ITALIAN at Common Ground, the 3rd Middletown International Film Festival on November 10th at the Russell Library in Connecticut. After the movie, I explained that I was also placed in an orphanage then foster care before I was adopted. I told them this movie is based on a true story.
This feature movie is everything I hoped it would be - truthful, complex and forthright.
The setting, a Russian orphanage, is exactly as I imagined, with children parenting each other, the older ones creating a system of providing for the younger ones (by any means necessary, including prostitution) and a corrupt bureaucracy that sells the younger children (let's not call them orphans because they do have parents) to rich buyers who they solicit to adopt.
What unfolds is Vanya (age 6) is slated to be sold to a rich Italian couple and is paraded to them exclusively.
Soon after he has an encounter with a friend's mother; the women is looking for her son from the same orphanage who was adopted to Italy.
You can see clearly how this mother's visit infects all the children with hope and possiblities, especially Vanya.
What happens?
Vanya goes looking for information to find his mother. First he has to learn to read and then find his file locked in a safe. And after a chase and many tense moments, Vanya actually finds her, his mother.
The light on his face - and the shine that returns to his eyes - is why I highly recommend this film.
For anyone interested in the topic of international adoption, this movie will shape attitudes to close such orphanges worldwide, end all international adoptions, treat all children with more respect, address poverty, allow women to keep their babies and children (even unmarried) and educate potential adopters who need to recognize these children were made into orphans by goverments and religions.
The moral of this story: unite children with their families.


Read more:
Vanya Solntsev (played by child actor Kolya Spiridonov), an abandoned young boy living in a rundown orphanage in a small Russian village, rebels when he learns that he is about to be adopted by a rich Italian couple. After getting help to read his personal file, Vanya sets off to find his birth mother. Directed by Andrei Kravchuk.
Categories: Drama, Family. Year: 2005.

Russia, Lenfilm, 2005.

Writer Andrei Romanov and director Andrei Kravchuk constructed this ingenious, tragicomic tale of a desolate, decaying orphanage in the Russian countryside that sells abandoned kids to prosperous Western Europeans. The adults running the operation live in a haze of greed and alcoholic self--pity; the fatalistic elder orphans are thugs and hookers who accept crime and brutality as their only option in life. In this Dickensian world, nine--year--old Vanya is adopted by an Italian family. With a loving family and freedom in a new country on the horizon he is the envy of his fellow orphans. Yet rather than accept this new life, Vanya flees in search of his birth--mother and the truth of his past. A dual--award winner at the Berlin Film Festival and the 2005 Russian submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, The Italian is an elegant and poignant allegory for the moral crisis of Russia's new post--communist generation.

Cast: Nikolay Spiridonov, Marya Kuznetsova, Nikolay Reutov, Yury Itskov, Denis Moiseenko, Andrey Elizarov, Aleksandr Sirotkin, Vladimir Shipov, Polina Vorobjeva, Olga Shuvalova, Dmitry Zemlyanko, Darya Lesnikova, Rudolf Kuld.

Director Andrey Kravchuk.

The Italian - Итальянец
It's a pretty tall order to ask a six-year-old to suddenly take on responsibility for his own life. The questions facing Vanya are really tough: does he want to live a comfortable life as an adopted child of a loving family in Italy? After all, for an abandoned Russian child like Vanya it really doesn't sound like a bad option. Serene life under the Mediterranean sun is awaiting him. But the boy longs to find his own mother, so he decides to set off in search of her. But before he can begin, Vanya must learn to read the file that holds the information he needs to find her. He embarks on his quest--and encounters a mysterious and dangerous world. The world of children is a universe with its own laws; a realm in which sometimes one's heart speaks louder than one's intellect. (YOUTUBE)

Friday, December 2, 2011

ONE SMALL SACRIFICE mentioned in national magazine!

My memoir One Small Sacrifice: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects is mentioned on page 40 of this national magazine! (Happy Dance!)
The goal is more people will learn this history and understand how so many children were affected and removed from their tribal nations.

Here is the link:

see my book on page 40

Number of American Indian children in foster care worries tribal leaders

St. Paul, Minn. — Each year about 1,500 American Indian children in Minnesota spend time in foster care or other out-of-home-care, often after allegations of neglect or substance abuse by a parent.           In Minnesota, American Indian children are 14 times more likely to be placed in out-of-home care than white children - the widest such gap in the nation. Officials place 66 percent of the children with relatives or with American Indian foster families.
Even as the total number of Minnesota children in foster care dropped 44 percent in the last decade, the number of American Indian children placed in foster care dropped by only 16 percent.
That worries tribal officials like Erma Vizenor, chairwoman of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe. She said the tribes should be able to determine which of their families need intervention, and what kind.
"When we do not have the decision making and the authority and the control to determine what is best for them, it has become a major concern," Vizenor said.
Aiming to reduce the break-up of Indian families, the White Earth and the Leech Lake band of Ojibwe have taken over responsibility for child welfare on tribal lands. Now the White Earth, Minnesota's largest tribe, is now preparing to care for its children living hundreds of miles away in Hennepin County.
High poverty among American Indian families makes it more difficult to meet a child's basic needs, but that doesn't completely explain why Indian children are much more likely to be removed from their parents' care.
The tribes have questioned whether racial bias is a factor in such decisions, and they've worked with state officials to develop training for county workers to reduce bias in deciding which cases to investigate. The training also seeks to help outsiders understand the traditional role extended families play in raising Indian children.
Dawn Blanchard, the state's ombudsperson for American Indian Families, said removing American Indian children from their homes is "a daily reality."
Blanchard sorts cases into those she can solve over the phone, and those that require an investigation. She reports wide variation in how well counties follow a federal law designed to keep Indian children with other family members, or to at least place them with an Indian foster family.
Blanchard said the most common complaints she handles are disagreements between county social workers and tribes over where children should go.
"The tribe will say we want them to go to Aunt Betty and the county will say, 'we have problems with Aunt Betty. We think that she's not a good person,' " Blanchard said. "Maybe she's too old. 'We've heard' — that's a big one 'we've heard that she's drinking.' Is it substantiated? Do we know for sure if she has a history of drinking or was it 10 or 15 years ago and she's cleaned up her life now?"
Representatives of Minnesota's 11 tribes were so concerned that the needs of their children were not adequately addressed that late last year they sent letters to then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Gov.-elect Mark Dayton requesting immediate action to address the problem.
White Earth tribal officials want to take on responsibility for the tribe's children in Hennepin County, hundreds of miles south of the reservation. White Earth children make up a quarter of Hennepin County's American Indian caseload, or about 2 percent of the county's overall cases.
Margaret Thunder, a program manager for Hennepin County child protection, is enthusiastic about the tribe's effort.
"I think it's a huge deal," said Thunder, a member of the Red Lake band of Ojibwe. "They will have 100-percent say. Not that they don't already have a fair percent."
Tribes do have a seat at the table in child protection cases.
The 1978 federal Indian Child Welfare Act requires tribes be notified and involved in decision-making for their children. Hennepin County, with its large urban Indian population, has a high volume of these cases. The county gets high marks for complying with the act, and that's one of the reasons White Earth officials believe addressing the needs of the tribe's children there is a next logical step.
Transferring such cases to the tribe would give it complete control over American Indian cases such as a recent one heard in juvenile court.
Four children, ages 4, 2, 1 and one month, were placed in emergency foster care following reports that their parents were abusing drugs and neglecting the children. The parents didn't show up for the court hearing. Their father is a member of the White Earth band and their mother is enrolled in the Ho-Chunk Nation in Wisconsin.
"Her current address is technically St. Joseph's hospital where the treatment center was," said Mike Hogan, a courtroom monitor for the Minneapolis American Indian Center. "No one's quite sure where she is, even her attorney."
A Ho-Chunk attorney who joined the hearing by speaker phone said the tribe would prepare a list of relatives who could care for the children. White Earth officials agreed to let the mother's tribe take the lead, but they agreed to compile a list of paternal relatives.
A guardian ad litem said the children were doing well under the care of their foster care families.
Hogan's boss, Sheri Riemers, said the embrace of extended families offers the most hopeful outcome for children in such tough situations.
"We do believe when children are removed that their spirit is left behind," said Riemers, program director of Indian Child Welfare for the Minneapolis American Indian Center.
Other tribes around the state and around the country are watching closely.
Erin Sullivan Sutton, assistant commissioner of the state Department of Human Services, said she is not aware of another state transferring public child welfare from a state or county to a tribal system. But there are good reasons to do so, said Sutton, the state's point person on child welfare.
"We're thinking that if services can be provided in a cultural context to Indian families and by tribal agencies that there may be more success," she said.
For state and tribal officials success won't mean eliminating out-of-home placements. There will always be children who need to be removed from unsafe situations, but they hope more tribal involvement will reduce the disparate treatment of American Indian children.
Vizenor said the Hennepin County program could be the beginning of an ambitious venture to expand care for children living off the reservation.
"Without a doubt, I know we will be successful and gradually, we will phase in the metro area and eventually all our children in the state of Minnesota," she said.
White Earth and the state will present a report to the legislature in January. The timeline for the Hennepin County transfer, and the costs, are still to be determined.          

For more, listen:

Wilfred Buck Tells The Story Of Mista Muskwa

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They Took Us Away

They Took Us Away
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You are not alone

You are not alone

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.

Diane Tells His Name

click photo

60s Scoop Survivors Legal Support


Lost Birds on Al Jazeera Fault Lines

Lost Birds on Al Jazeera Fault Lines
click to read and listen about Trace, Diane, Julie and Suzie


As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.”
The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.


Original Birth Certificate Map in the USA

Why tribes do not recommend the DNA swab

Rebecca Tallbear entitled: “DNA, Blood, and Racializing the Tribe”, bearing out what I only inferred:

Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.

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