By White Bison (May 2012)
- How to Open Closed Adoption Records for Native American Children
- NEW! Help for First Nations Adoptees (Canada)
- LOST CHILDREN BOOK SERIES
- Split Feathers Study
- About Trace
- Karen Vigneault - Helping Native Adoptees Search
- The reunification of First Nations adoptees (2016)
- You're Breaking Up: Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl #ICWA
- FAQ ICWA 2016
- Indian Child Welfare Act organizations
- About the Indian Adoption Projects
- How to Search
- Soaring Angels (search help for adoptees)
- THE PLACEMENT OF AMERICAN INDIAN CHILDREN - THE NEED FOR CHANGE (1974)
- NEW: Study by Jeannine Carriere (First Nations) (2007)
- NEW STUDY: Post Adoption (Australia)
- Oklahoma Supreme Court RULING: Brown v.Delapp (9-2...
- Dr. Raven Sinclair
- Laura Briggs: Feminists and the Baby Veronica Case...
- Adopt an Elder: Ellowyn Locke (Oglala Lakota)
- TWO NATIONS: Navajo (Boarding School)
- #MMIWG MAY 2019
- Survivor Not Victim (my interview with Von)
- Adoption History
- Native American News Outlets
- First Nations Repatriation Institute
- Adoptee Citizen Act of 2019
How to Use this Blog
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Saturday, September 22, 2012
By White Bison (May 2012)
Thursday, September 20, 2012
TWO WORLDS: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects offers astounding narratives that challenge views on adoption
|first edition is out of print|
Adoption Information RegistryIf you are adopted, or if you placed a child for adoption, or if you are the biological sibling of an adopted person, you may wish to learn more about your birth family. The New York State Health Department's Adoption Registry can help and even facilitate a reunion.
What kinds of information are available?Three kinds of information are available: non-identifying, identifying and medical.
- Non-identifying Information: If you are adopted you can get non-identifying information about your birth parents even if they do not register with the Adoption Registry or consent to sharing. This includes their general appearance, religion, ethnicity, race, education, occupation, etc; and the name of the agency that arranged the adoption, and the facts and circumstances relating to the nature and cause of the adoption.
- Identifying Information: If all are registered and all have given their final consents, adoptees and their birth parents, or adoptees and their biological siblings can share their current names and addresses. If only one parent signed the surrender agreement or consented to the adoption, then the registration of the other parent is not needed for the exchange of identifying information between the adoptee and the registered birth parent.
- Medical Information: Birth parents can give medical and psychological information to the Registry any time after the adoption. If the adoptee is already registered, the information will be shared with him or her. If the adoptee is not registered, the information will be kept until the adoptee registers. The information is important to adoptees because it can indicate if they have a higher risk of some diseases. Medical information updates must be certified by a licensed health care provider.
The Adoption Information Registry cannot:
- search for missing registrants;
- release copies of original birth certificates or adoption records;
- release non-identifying information or medical information to birth parents;
- respond to medical emergencies.
Who can register?The Registry can only accept a registration from an adoptee who was born and adopted in New York State; and is at least 18 years old. However, an adoptee who is under 18 years old can register to receive medical information updates if an adoptive parent signs the application.
A birth parent may not register unless the adoptee is eligible to register and the birth parent's consent to the adoption or signature on an instrument of surrender was required at the time of the adoption.
The Adoption Registry may not accept a biological sibling's application unless the adoptee was born and adopted in New York State and is at least 18 years old.
How long will it take?Any medical information already submitted by birth parents will be given shortly after an adoptee registers. It will take at least six months to obtain general non-identifying information. It may take years to receive identifying information or it may never be available. This is because it cannot be released until all necessary parties have registered and consented to the release of the information.
What are the fees?There is no fee to register with the Adoption Registry. However, some adoption agencies charge up to $50 to provide non-identifying information to the Adoption Registry. The adoptee must pay any agency fee.
What if the adoption was handled by an adoption agency?Some adoption agencies will provide non-identifying information directly to an adoptee. They can provide information more quickly than the Adoption Registry. An adoptee can contact the adoption agency to ask what services they provide and what fees they charge for providing those services. Adoption agencies are entitled to a registration fee not exceeding $20. The adoption agency is also entitled to a non-identifying information report processing fee not to exceed $50. Most adoption agencies do not charge a fee.
How do I register?If you want to register, you must submit an application. The application must be signed and notarized.
To request an application, write to:
Adoption Information Registry
New York State Department of Health
P.O. Box 2602
Albany, NY 12220-2602 **Please be certain to include your name, mailing address and the type of application you need (i.e., adoptee, birth parent or biological sibling).
If you prefer, you can download your application as a PDF document from the choices listed below:
- Adoptee Registration Form (pdf, 24 kb, 2 pp.)
- Birth Parent Registration Form (pdf, 18 kb, 2 pp.)
- Biological Sibling Registration Form (pdf, 19 kb, 2 pp.)
- Use the "Print" button in the Adobe® Reader® menu bar to print the application.
- Do not attempt to print the application using the print command in your browser.
Birth Parent Consent ProgramThe services of the Adoption Information Registry have been expanded so that birth parents can register whether they give consent or do not give consent for the release of their contact information (name and address) to the adoptee. If the parents have registered their consent, the contact information will be released to the adoptee only after he or she reaches at least eighteen years of age and registers with the Adoption Information Registry.
The new service is referred to as the Birth Parent Consent Program and began on November 3, 2008.
The Birth Parent Consent Program requires birth parents to complete the Birth Parent Registration Form (DOH-4455) at the time of surrender. The form will be filed by the attorney or the adoption agency handling the adoption with the court. The court will forward the form to the Adoption Information Registry when the adoption is finalized.
The Birth Parent Consent Program does not replace the traditional Adoption Information Registry and differs from the traditional Adoption Information Registry in two important ways.
- First, birth parents who are currently placing a child for adoption are required to complete the Form DOH-4455 at the time of surrender.
- Second, a birth parent who gives permission for the release of his or her contact information via Form DOH-4455 will not be asked for final consent nor will they be notified of the release of their contact information to the adoptee when the adoptee registers.
For more information, please consult the attorney or adoption agency handing your child's adoption or the back of Form DOH-4455.
You can download DOH-4455 as a PDF document below:
Adoption Information Registry Birth Parent Registration Form (pdf, 121 kb, 2 pp.)
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
There is no way to take back the past. But if Maine wants to ensure that it never, ever repeats its racist, oppressive treatment of American Indian families and communities, it must know what it did. Under the first truth and reconciliation commission in the United States to be jointly agreed upon by state and tribal leaders, Mainers will have the opportunity to listen to mothers whose children were taken to be assimilated into white culture, and to those children — now adults — who were forced to live with foster families that were sometimes emotionally, physically and sexually abusive.
In order for the members of Maine’s five tribes to achieve some level of healing, it’s important for everyone who had a relevant experience with the child welfare system over the past few decades to participate in the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Sharing what happened is essential if the commission is to comprehensively investigate and make suggestions for improvements. Also important is the willingness of Mainers not connected to the child welfare system to listen and learn.
The formation of the truth and reconciliation commission is the result of years of work on the part of a convening group comprising people from the state, several organizations and each of the Wabanaki communities: Aroostook Band of Micmacs, Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, Passamaquoddy Tribe at Motahkmikuk, Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik and the Penobscot Indian Nation. The convening group helped draft a mandate, which the chiefs and Gov. Paul LePage signed on June 29, to lay out the three-year-long truth and reconciliation process.
A selection panel is accepting nominations for commissioners until Oct. 1, when it will choose five who “are trusted by both tribal and state governments and their respective citizens,” according to the mandate. The commissioners then will travel several days per month to reservations to listen to people’s experiences, seek to understand why the experiences occurred and determine what needs to change. The commission cannot pursue criminal or civil claims; its role is to create a written account and make recommendations for child welfare reform.
Historically, efforts to assimilate Indian children into non-native culture, in many cases, devastated tribal communities. In the 1800s, church groups, with government support, took Indian children and sent them to boarding schools, far from their culture, religion, language and families. Many of the children were abused; many died.
In 1958, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Child Welfare League of America partnered to establish the Indian Adoption Project to place Indian children with adoptive white families. Though the children were taken in many cases from reservations suffering from poverty, their removal resulted in a form of cultural genocide. Surveys by the Association of American Indian Affairs in 1969 and 1974 showed that between 25 percent and 35 percent of all Indian children were separated from their homes and living in foster care, adoptive care or institutions at the time. Though the federal Indian Child Welfare Act was passed in 1978 to give Indian children more protection, some problems persisted.
Maine’s truth and reconciliation commission is important because it sets the framework for understanding different perspectives of the state’s history. There is an air of something with national significance being accomplished, too. This commission is set to be the third such undertaking in U.S. history and the first to have this level of joint support from the state and tribes, according to commission Interim Director Carolyn Morrison. The nation will watch.
The aim of the process is not to make people feel guilty or seek reparations but to find a way to heal and build the relationship between the tribes and state. For people who will find it painful to tell their stories, know that those of us listening will be celebrating your strength.
[The new anthology TWO WORLDS, narratives by Native American and First Nations Adoptees will be out this week... tell your friends...Trace]
Saturday, September 8, 2012
By Trace A. DeMeyer
I woke up with two thoughts: there are two victims of adoption who need help and not necessarily from each other: the adoptee and the first mother. Each has its own burden and neither can heal the other.
CONTROL THE MESSAGE
Since I started this Victims series, I've heard from two new adoptees who came across this blog. I'm very happy - not because they are adopted but because we can now connect and relate as members of our own unique band of Native American adoptees. As each week passes, and the more I post about this history, perhaps even more adoptees will contact me.*
"Victim" is a word I don't like to use but in the case of Native adoptees, it fits. The adoption projects and programs in North America (US and Canada) intended to wipe out an entire population of Indian children by assimilating them (making them white) using closed adoptions. It was officially called the Indian Adoption Projects - but Canada and many states had their own programs like New York State's "Our Indian Program" and the Mormon's own Indian Adoption Program. How do you damage or destroy a culture? You abduct and claim their children as your own.
How this was planned and orchestrated is still kept under legal wraps, but the thousands of Indian children who were transracially adopted are certainly "victims" of planned ethnic cleansing. Not telling adoptive parents they were part of this program is quite a significant lie of omission, too. (Someday my hope is America will see an apology and eventually all parents will be informed. In the older days this country tried eugenics and sterilizing undesirables, and it's usually people who are considered minorities who are targets for this treatment.)
In adoption terminology, we are called transracial adoptees because we were raised outside our culture, in our case First Nations and America Indian territories. We're raised by non-Indian parents, far from the reservation. That would certainly destroy any contact and connections to our first families. With a closed adoption, no one would ever be able to find anyone, right?
It failed. My second book Two Worlds (coming out this month) is an anthology filled with adoptees that are living proof that the adoption/assimilation plan backfired. Adoption didn't kill our spirit or destroy our blood. The adoptees in this book did reunite with their relatives and tribes, despite closed adoptions.
Now with the amount of adoptees who've opened their adoption, including me, I'd imagine there would be more news and media coverage, right? No. Somehow the US adoption industry has its reputation and bankrolls to protect, and their jobs to protect, so they must protect their territory, control the message or lose their business.
I see how it works. A young lady doctor from California said to me a few days ago, "I wish to adopt a child and save them from being an orphan." I have heard and read those exact words before. The adoption industry has controlled that message and this mindset from their very beginning. This very nice doctor is young and open-minded so I asked her to consider that a child has its own name and ancestry - and would she consider becoming a legal guardian instead of an adoptive parent? I told her to get children out of the foster care system and if she could, raise as many children as she could afford. She is undoubtedly going to read up and do research, based on our conversation.
In the old mindset and in many adopters’ minds, there are still orphans! Can they imagine each baby has a mother and both are usually from a Third World Country, including Indian reservations in North American still plagued by poverty; and beyond that each baby has a country and relatives - so hardly anyone in the world is a true orphan!
That very old mindset has not been altered since the early 1900s (or 1958 when I was adopted). That is how you control the message. This doctor is among thousands of people planning to adopt in the near future with no clue how adoptees feel about this - even in 2012.
My point here is we have to do the work to change that mindset and control the message ourselves. We have to take to the streets and call lawyers and get lawmakers to open adoption records in every state. Until then, the adoption industry is winning and will still control the message.
*No one had done a blog for American Indian Adoptees like this prior, by the way. I started research in 2005, wrote my memoir on this history, and then created this blog in 2009 with medical studies, ideas, news and updates.
PART FOUR will continue in a week. Please write a comment or contact me. Thanks - Megwetch everyone!!
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Posted: Saturday, September 01, 2012 - 9/1/12
By Harlan McKosato
This adoption is not a legal matter. It is a matter of the heart. I was put in place of a much respected man within the tribe, the late Dan Youngbear Jr., the grandson of the legendary Fox Chief Pushetonequa. Adoptions are a long-held tradition of many tribes and traditional tribal families, although many families have let this part of the past slip away.
I spent several days in Meskwaki country, getting to know the history of my relatives as well as their modern existence. I stayed at their luxurious resort hotel and casino, visited their settlement (or reservation), their powwow grounds, their museum and the Iowa River, and I visited with my relatives who came up from Oklahoma to witness the occasion.
Here is an excerpt from the book Mesquakie and Proud of It, by author John M. Zielinski, published in 1976: “The [Meskwaki] are a unique tribe of American Indians. They are of the most ancient Algonquin stock — their language, legends and lore show less influence from the white culture than almost any other Indian group.
“When most Indians were being unceremoniously herded from their ancestral lands, the [Meskwaki] refused to give up their beloved forests of Iowa for the open plains of Kansas. They had been called the ‘scourge of the northwest’ by the French who waged a war of annihilation against them for more than 100 years. Yet they chose a peaceful means to fight for their land in Iowa.
“At a time when most of the major Indian battles were yet to be fought the [Meskwaki] turned to diplomacy in the early 1850s and began lobbying for the right to live in Iowa. By 1856 the state legislature passed a law giving them the right to live in Iowa. In the same year Governor Grimes agreed to hold the deed to their land in trust for them. Indians, no more than animals, had any right to own land. They were not made citizens until 1924. [The] land was bought and paid for with [Meskwaki] money … it is a refuge against time and change.”
The adoption ceremony took place Saturday evening and most of Sunday. One of my aunts described it as “pretty.” The setting was scenic and not too hot for July. The Youngbear family was very giving, and the people from the community were generous with their time and energy. It was a refuge against time and change, at least for a day.
The previous weekend, my son and I traveled back home to Oklahoma for a Native American Church ceremony in a tipi along the Cimarron River with my Ioway family and folks who traveled down from Wisconsin from the Ho Chunk Nation. It was held to offer blessings for my younger cousin, who joined the Navy. This has been a family tradition on my mom’s side for generations, and it’s a common practice of many tribes to bless their warriors before they go off to battle. I felt blessed to be part of the ceremony.
I share this with you because these traditions define who I am as a tribal person, as a Native American. You can kick me off the tribal rolls, you can take away my tribal ID card, the government could strip recognition of my tribes, but no one can tell me I don’t love being Indian.
Harlan McKosato is Sauk/Ioway and Director of NDN Productions.
Sunday, September 2, 2012
Why? Each year the state receives almost $100 million in federal money for foster care services.
Watch The Lakota Child Rescue Project - on YouTube (Posted by Lakota Law)
http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=JDMiWmI_ bwE&feature= channel&list= UL
Janice Howe receiving letters of support:
The response to Janice Howe's story on NPR was overwhelming. This video shows her receiving the first 1200 letters of support from around the country. Danny Sheehan, the chief counsel for Lakota People's Law Project personally delivered the letters.
http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=gji9F23ssUY
Saturday, September 1, 2012
I woke up with thoughts: there are two victims of adoption who need help and not necessarily from each other: the adoptee and the first mother. Each has its own burden and neither can heal the other.
One big "adoption problem" first mothers and adoptees have to face is "lost time." If an adoptee is lucky enough to open their adoption and find their natural family, and the reunion happens, there is so much time, perhaps years, you cannot replace or reinvent because you simply weren't there. You can't get around it, no how - no way!
Transracial Adoptees (children raised outside their culture and country) instinctively know there are stories, culture, history, language and even people you didn't experience in your adoptive family. Adoptees will try to balance this out by reading up, if you know your country or tribe and if information is in books or on the internet. Like my friends, I read everything I could get my hands on before I went into my reunion.
And our birth parents must realize they cannot fill in those years in a matter of minutes. The burden for both is "how do you catch up or make up for lost time?"
These messy details are never discussed by the adoption industry because obviously in their policies, they do not expect there will be reunions since adoptions are closed and records tightly sealed in all but seven states!
One story that hurt to hear was an adoptee friend who found her siblings were very jealous of her and the time she spent with her birth mother, once she'd opened the adoption records and found them, not an easy thing to do. Her brother and sisters made their mother-daughter reunion very very difficult. Jealousy can be a big hazard in reunions. My friend tried to spend time with everyone in her family to calm their fears (she wasn't going to steal their mother away) but nothing could fill in the large gaps of time she was missing from her family, lost through a closed adoption.
After several years passed, her siblings still seemed overly-protective of their mother, acting like they wished my friend had not found them. My friend felt bullied and stepped back. This is called Reunion PullBack, when you (the adoptee) have to distance yourself from situations you never expected in reuniting with your first family. No adoptee can predict the emotions you will encounter in meeting new people, even if they are your blood relatives and siblings.
Adoptees are expected to be wise and know how to navigate through all these tensions and somehow put everyone at ease, which is a very difficult thing to do but I have seen adoptees do it.
In story after story I hear, lost time cannot be replaced. Even if you spend a month alone with your birthmother, you cannot catch up on all you missed, adoptees tell me. You have to start at the day you meet and go from there, and hope your first family will recognize they need to be gentle with you (the adoptee) and not bombard you with negativity and drama. (I keep reminding myself adoptees did not choose to be adopted - yet we are thrown into these situations and then expected to be OK.)
The time you spent with your adoptive family cannot be erased either and has its own responsibilities since you (the adoptee) are their child, and they put in the time and money and effort to raise you. Adoptees do feel guilt when they ask questions or start to look into opening their adoption records. That guilt is what I call "the gratitude attitude." I know one adoptee who said he cannot ask his adoptive mother anything about his adoption because she will think he's ungrateful.
In my own experience with reunion, I feel it is up to the adoptee if they share any news of their first family and finding and meeting them. Most adoptees tell me they do not discuss any reunion details with their adoptive parents! Why? The possibility exists of being dumped and abandoned by your adoptive parents, even left out of the will and inheritance, which has happened to more than one adoptee I know. In other words, you are punished (emotionally and financially) for looking and god forbid, you actually go meet them!
That is a strange expectation for adoptees: Protecting your adoptive parents from the truth, protecting your relationship with them, then having to lie to protect their feelings and calm their insecurity they might lose you.
This balancing act is expected of adoptees. Reunions can bring about a whole new set of expections from your "new" first family and ultimately ruin your relationship with your adoptive family.
My point here is the adoption industry created "unreal expectations" for the adoption triad which can lead to lies, deceit and still perpetuate society's belief in their propaganda that adoption creates a "forever family."
PART THREE will continue in a week... Please share your thoughts in the comments... Trace
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.
click to listen
Listening to The Other Side of Adoption with Trace A DeMeyer by Fire Talk Production https://t.co/6SGuMcotmn— TraceLHentz (@StonePony33) January 17, 2019