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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl Update

By Liberty on Lost Daughters Blog, May 29, 2013
This post revisits the adoption dispute between a South Carolina couple and the Cherokee father of the girl they thought they'd legally adopted, which I wrote about here. After a not-so-by-the-book adoption, the well-meaning family brought their new daughter back to South Carolina. The father, who had been fighting for custody of his daughter for months after mistakenly signing away his rights, took the case to the South Carolina court, which ruled in his favor due to the Indian Child Welfare Act. In the year since, the adoptive couple launched an online campaign called "saveveronica", and brought the case to the Supreme Court, which heard the case last month. The court is set to rule sometime in June.

It's the lack of nuance that really gets me. People toss all manner of bitterness into the Internet, and comments on the story tend to demonize the father and heroize the adoptive parents. That's not fair and it's not the whole picture. And imagine the compartmentalization that has to happen in their minds--(birth father = bad; adoptive parents = good; therefore, child, who is biologically related to birth father = ?)   I'm not talking exclusively about the adoptive parents--I'm referring to the band-wagon-jumpers who have to throw their two cents in and call the birth father a "loser" and worse.

Even the words "save veronica" are painful. "Save" implies that the girl is in danger. Save her from her father? From the Indians? Really they mean "bring her back to us". Not that their desire is inappropriate--of course we can understand their feelings of loss. But let's call it what it is.

This comic highlights the irony:

Used with permission by the artist; Marty Two Bulls

I'd like to know more about how the little girl has fared since living with her father. In a disappointingly unbalanced article on NPR, the writer admits in one line that, "No one disputes that she was sublimely happy with her adoptive parents, and videos of her with her father, now married, seem to show a little girl equally happy."

"No one disputes" the "sublime happiness" of the girl with the adoptive parents. Yet evidence of her life with her father merely "seems to show" happiness.

There are all sorts of privilege issues this case bring to the surface: Adoptive parents v. birth parents. Married parents v. single parent. White people v. Native American. Birth mother v. birth father.
Bottom of the hierarchy of "rights" is often birth fathers, it seems. In a comment on my last post about this case, a birth father wrote: 

"As a birthfather who has been separated from his child, and having been through a 2 year legal battle to for full custody and ending up with practically no rights, I am sympathetic to [Dusten] in this scenario. The birthfather is almost always treated as the bad guy, and the legal system is generally stacked against him - not to mention the adoption agencies, social workers, and birthmothers. The phrase "best interest of the child" is thrown around in courtrooms and blogs in way that is unilaterally synonymous with "best interest of the adoptive parents and birthmother". Way to go Dusten for getting your kid back!! I tried to do so and it left me emotionally, mentally, and financially devastated, with serious stress-related health complications to boot. I can only imagine the effort that this man has put into being present for his daughter. There are, of course, legitimate concerns about the effect of the transition on the child. Surely there is some immediate negative psychological effect from being placed into a new home at the age of 2. Hopefully the long term benefits of being with her biological family in a culturally appropriate environment outweigh and counterbalance these short term challenges. To clarify, I am not without sympathy for the adoptive parents - it must be a tremendous loss for them as well. It's a shame that birthfathers are kept dumb and in the dark in adoption scenarios, otherwise such heartbreak could be avoided."

I'm nervous for the Supreme Court ruling. It's hard even for me to write about it--it literally makes my heart rate increase. I'm sad for the adoptive parents who feel they got slighted. But honestly I'm even more sad for the birth father and all the backlash against him. And the little girl too--what trauma she's been through (and what more trauma might await her if the court says she should be removed again and taken to live with the adoptive parents whom she hasn't seen for a year!) I hope that all those nasty comments about Native Americans and about her father will be gone from the Internet by the time she is able to read them. I hope society as a whole will embrace a more balanced viewpoint about adoption by the time she can read, too.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Mesnak, indie adoption film (Canada)

The Canadian film Mesnak, which won Best Film, Best Actor (Victor Andres Trelles Turgeon), and Best Actress (Eve Ringuette) awards. Mesnak tells the story of a Native man who was adopted as a toddler and is now living in Montreal and working as an actor. He returns to the reserve where he was born and meets his mother and people for, essentially, the first time, and his struggles with his identity mirror those of the character he's been rehearsing—the lead in Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Mesnak: the snapping turtle. Mesnak, the guardian spirit of the river, the forest, the Innu land. Mesnak, totem animal of a man who is now dead. Stumbling through the dark, hissing, he has a glowering presence that is felt throughout this film, evoking the crabs and flamingoes of Herzog or the owls of Lynch.
Into this land comes Dave (Victor Andres Turgeon-Trelles), the recipient of a cryptic message from an unknown sender, looking for his birth mother. Dave was adopted at the age of three and spirited away to the city; he has persuaded himself he can remember nothing of the time before. Upon arriving in the village of his birth he finds the people suspicious, learns that his mother is about to get married. He meets a brash young woman, Osalic (Eve Ringuette), with a painful secret of her own. The two find a point of mutual sympathy in a brutal world, but could it be there undoing?
Mesnak has to be up there with the very best screen adaptations of Hamlet. In part this is because of its decision - stated at the start, when Dave participates in an audition - to focus on the play's subtler themes. Redemption, loneliness and the connection of justice to something otherworldly are at the heart of it. The curiously fragile Osalic, seeking refuge in ancient Innu rituals, is an Ophelia whose connection with the supernatural becomes central to the tale. Marco Collin makes a curiously sympathic Claudius (or Claude) who seems to have genuine love for Gertrude (Kathia Rock), but to be no less guilty for it. Gertrude's connection with her son, when they finally meet, is unmistakably erotic, an intensity of repressed emotion which, unspoken, dominates them both.
Shot in tones of orange and brown that root it firmly in the earth, in a rural environment where the land dominates the people, Mesnak shifts sharply into greys and blues when we meet the turtle. Low, sensuous sound work creates an uneasy atmosphere. What is spoken is only the surface; there are several narratives at work here as Dave strives with increasing desperation to take control of his own destiny. His ordinariness and lack of pretension make him perhaps the most sympathetic Hamlet to date.
An ambitious transposition like this could easily have been a disaster. Mesnak not only gets away with it but delivers something that feels as though it ought always to have been told this way. It's the story of something bigger than revenge. It ought not to be missed.
Reviewed on: 30 Jan 2012

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sisters reunited after adoption

During a track meet in DC, girls on one team noticed a girl on the other team looked strikingly similar to a teammate of theirs.  What happened afterwards was nothing short of a miracle.  Click on video to find out.

Stories like this need more we adoptees find family is so important...this story is another example of how important it is to find our family, our siblings and our identity after adoption!  Trace

Friday, May 24, 2013

WA state Native adoptees - GOOD NEWS

BIG NEWS! Wanted to let you all know that Governor Inslee signed the original birth certificate (OBC) bill (HB 1525) this week.  What this means is that after June 30, 2014, Washington state adoptees will be able to get a copy of their original birth certificate as long as their birth parent hasn't filled out a veto preventing them from getting their own birth record.

We worked hard to get the veto removed but certain legislators were hellbent on making sure there was a veto option for birth parents, and ultimately they got their way.

Statistics from other states show that the majority of WA adoptees will be able to get their OBC, which is good. It's just sad (and maddening) that there will be some adoptees who will be denied.
the first year or two, so best to request it quickly next year.

Washington State Adoptee Rights Bill

Website:   Washington Coalition for Adoptee Rights & Equality

NOTE: We posted about this pending legislation on this blog... There are 24 tribes in WA state - that is one of the states where Native American children were taken as part of the Indian Adoption Projects!  I know many adoptees from there. So happy we have movement on opening adoption records, finding tribal relatives and OBC access. Sad there is a veto clause...Trace

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Guest Post: How We Heal

I wrote a guest post "HOW WE HEAL" for our friend Jonathan Brooks fantastic website/blog: Spirit Bear Coaching.  Jonathan shared his incredible adoption journey and reunion in the anthology TWO WORLDS: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects.

Read my post here:

"How we heal from this history is to know this happened to children. We can find ways to repatriate these children back to their tribes and help them to reconnect. We can unseal their adoption records and enroll these children as members of their tribes. Sharing the truth about the Indian Adoption Projects will assure these governments never attempt this again. That is how we heal."

Read this: Native American hopes adoption story will give strength to others:

AND Two Worlds has been chosen by Brock University in Canada to be their "BROCK READS" textbook for the 2013-2014 school year, which is a high honor! 

The ebook TWO WORLDS is available for every e-reader like the KOBO and NOOK. It's all good! Trace

Friday, May 17, 2013

PTSD and Post-Adoption Issues – What NOT to Say

I wrote about my own post-traumatic stress disorder in my memoir One Small Sacrifice. The key for me is (and was) processing emotions and knowing myself once I had the truth...

Here is a must-read column:


“Here’s what you need to do...”

Here’s the truth: I have no idea what you specifically need to do to process yourself. To heal. I have no freakin’ clue. I can only offer suggestions, things that have worked for myself and others. And I can try to provide insight and resources for adoptees (and those who support them) as they emerge from the fog and attempt to deal with their pain, grief and loss.
So, you may be wondering why I’m constantly blogging about adoption, when I feel like I’ve processed my grief, my “what ifs,” and I’m even in a place where I can make jokes about my own secondary rejection.
That’s the thing … It’s because, like Juanima with PTSD, I’ve been at the bottom of the valley. I drove myself crazy, literally crazy trying to be the perfect person, the grateful adoptee. Because of my unaddressed post-adoption issues, I inadvertently let my latent bipolar tendencies emerge and get the better of me. I hit bottom. I nearly destroyed my mind.
But slowly, deliberately and drawing on that (in)famous “adoptee resilience,” I made the arduous trek up the hill. These days, I’m on stable footing; I can reach back and give a helping hand to my fellow adoptees.
That’s why I want to give voice to PTSD and the effects of trauma and abuse. That’s why I write about all this adoption crap all the time. ...

Laura Dennis is the author of "Adopted Reality" that I give 5 STARS! ...Trace

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Part Two: The Fight for Baby Veronica

Veronica at home in Oklahoma (Indian Country Today)

Another article in this excellent series.
“The birth mother knew I was Cherokee, she knew I was a tribal member, she knew my birth date and she knew how to spell my name,” said Brown matter-of-factly. “Look, we've known each other since we were 16. We were engaged. She absolutely knew all of my vital information. And she gave [the attorney and the tribe] the wrong information [hoping to keep the adoption secret].”

Facts Are Stubborn Things

From the outset, the case of Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl has been rife with errors: Errors in spelling, incorrect dates, bad judgment, and finally, errors in execution. Whether by prevaricated fabrication, purposeful obfuscation or the result of a simple incompetence, the crucial mistakes made in the very beginning and thereafter proved pivotal to the subsequent battle between the Capobiancos and Dusten Brown.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Spirit to Speak Out: Robin Poor Bear's Bravery

In Kind-Hearted Woman, Robin Poor Bear negotiates motherhood, sobriety and justice. (Courtesy PBS)
April 18, 2013
To say that Robin Poor Bear, Oglala Sioux, struggled with the decision to allow a documentary film crew to make a movie about her life is an understatement. It’s no accident, for instance, that she got sober at the same time that filming began in 2007.
“I went downhill making that decision,” she said. “I went through about three or four months of just drinking, and anger and negative feelings. Finally one night I prayed. I ended up having a dream that someone in the house had died and everyone knew how this person had died, but no one was saying anything. Right before the police left I opened my mouth and I said, ‘I know what happened.’ ”
Poor Bear knew then that she was angry with everyone in her life who hadn’t spoken out about the abuse she had suffered.
“I knew then that I was mad at everybody for not protecting me as a kid,” she said. “And I knew that I had to do this film and speak out.”
Filmmaker David Sutherland and his crew followed Poor Bear, who was then known by her married name Robin Charboneau, through three years of her life. The result, a nearly five-hour documentary, Kind-Hearted Woman, was shown on PBS April 1 and 2 as a joint production of Frontline and Independent Lens.
The film spans her early 30s, a time when Poor Bear was struggling to overcome the early loss of her alcoholic mother and an abusive first marriage while raising her two children—Anthony, now 14, and Darian, 17. Poor Bear was also still haunted by the abuse that she suffered starting at the age of 3 at the hands of her foster family.
“I was abused by a man I called grandpa, his son (I called dad), the brothers of the man I called dad (which would be uncles) and others,” she told ICTMN.
Robin Poor Bear fights to keep and protect her kids Anthony, 14, and Darian, 17. (Kimmer Olesak, Courtesy PBS/WXXI, Rochester, New York)
Robin Poor Bear fights to keep and protect her kids Anthony, 14, and Darian, 17. (Kimmer Olesak, Courtesy PBS/WXXI, Rochester, New York)
The small family somehow got used to the presence of the camera; the tape kept rolling through many tearful talks and family arguments. Darian even revealed to her mother, on camera, that she had been abused by her own father—Poor Bear’s first husband—which led to a federal investigation, indictment and imprisonment that unfolds over the course of the documentary. A custody battle in tribal court on the Spirit Lake Reservation is also featured, including a six-month period when Poor Bear’s children ended up in foster care.
And Kind-Hearted Woman traces Poor Bear’s ill-fated second marriage from beginning almost to its end. The small family picked up and moved many times—from the reservation to Fargo, North Dakota, to International Falls, Minnesota, to Canada and back again, in response to each curveball.
“I had no idea what was to come during the filming process,” Poor Bear reflected. “I had no idea that my daughter was going to come out about the abuse, and I had no idea that Spirit Lake Social Services was going to take my kids away for the film. My adoptive family hasn’t spoken with me for years. That’s fine, because they carry that shame. I don’t carry it any more.”
It was Poor Bear’s local victim service program director, Linda Thompson, who introduced her to Sutherland, who was looking for a good documentary subject. Poor Bear made herself available, with reservations.
“I was terrified that entire week before he came to the Spirit Lake Reservation,” she said, “because there were only two other people who knew parts of my story at the time. One was my therapist and the other was a person who called me ‘sister.’ David was the third.”
Despite her reservations, Poor Bear came to realize she was doing the film to give other abuse victims a glimmer of connection and hope.
“If there was one woman out there, I had to do it,” she said. “When you’re in that situation, you feel so alone.”
Not that her road back has been easy. Poor Bear had hoped to return to school for psychology and social work so she could learn how to help abuse victims, especially on the reservation. However, her ex-husband’s sexual molestation trial and the custody battle interfered. She started classes but abandoned them when she felt her children needed her.
Though Poor Bear’s academic plans got tabled, she found her way. The film shows her working as a hotel maid for a time, then landing the first of several social services jobs—monitoring supervised visits for dysfunctional families at a victims’ advocacy organization in International Falls.
Her responsibilities grew until she had a nervous breakdown, related to her personal struggles, after which her social services supervisor lost confidence in her and let her go. But she quickly found work with a similar organization. And within days of the brief psychiatric hospital stay, she was exposing her past in a new way: as a speaker in front of victims, victims’ advocates, and whoever else would listen.
“I was torn and ripped to pieces by people I called dad, uncles,” she told that first rapt audience, as captured in the film.
By now, speaking out about abuse has become Poor Bear’s primary occupation. And even as Kind-Hearted Woman chronicles her path in its early stages, it continues to push her along her way. Since its release, Poor Bear’s has calendar filled with speaking engagements for several months.
“Some people are booking into next year,” she said. “It can’t get any better.”
Personally, she said, the film “helped me grow. It helped me listen to my spirit. My spirit came alive. It made me a better mom. Women and children have been reaching out from all over, talking about their issues, some for the first time. Not just women and children but men also. I’m just so blessed in so many ways that I can’t even count.”
Poor Bear says she has received responses from abuse victims all over the world. But perhaps the most meaningful support has come when she has visited her own reservation.
“I walk around on the reservation. The elders will say, ‘I need to give you a hug.’ And they’ll say, ‘That’s a good thing you did. I’m proud of you.’ ”
Poor Bear says she recognizes that abuse happens all over, not just on her own reservation. But reservations often add another layer of obstacles to healing, she says.
“We just don’t have the amount of resources,” she explained. “We’re low on housing. We’re low on law enforcement. Some of our judicial systems need to be revamped. The sexual abuse and domestic violence that happens on a reservation are bad, but it’s even worse when the systems that are sworn to protect families and children don’t do that.”
Happily, Poor Bear’s own children are doing just fine, in part because of the documentary itself. “It was healing in so many ways,” she said. “After my kids watched the film.… I never dreamed that my kids could become closer than they already were. [Sutherland] gave them each other’s perspective.… You talk about a blessing. I’m so grateful.”
Soon the children will join their mother on a trip to Laramie, Wyoming, where they both hope to attend college. Anthony is interested in an automotive program at WyoTech, and Darian wants to go to the University of Wyoming.
“She wants to do everything,” her mother says proudly, “modeling, singing. She wants to be a vet. She wants to be an advocate.”
Both kids have even developed public presentations of their own. Darian’s focuses on the signs of childhood abuse; Anthony’s details his own struggle with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. “It’s really great,” Poor Bear said. “He ends it with, ‘Thank you for paying attention.’ ”
And Poor Bear is now spreading her message in new ways. On Mother’s Day she will break ground on a long-term, nonprofit treatment center for women and children who suffer from abuse and/or chemical dependency. Her wish for the center’s clients is the same one she has for the audiences at her talks: a sense of hope.
“Keep going forward,” she urges victims of abuse. “Don’t ever let whatever happened to you in your past stop you from building a better life for yourself.”


She is my hero! Happy Mother's Day to everyone... xox Trace

Monday, May 6, 2013

Part One: The Fight for Baby Veronica, Suzette Brewer

Suzette Brewer\ May 06, 2013

It is dinner time at the Brown home in Oklahoma. As dusk settles over the horizon, ground venison sizzles in a skillet on the stove as Veronica Brown and her father, Dusten, feed two pet geese in the backyard. Two small dogs trail behind, climbing over each other to stay with the little girl. A joyful bundle of dimples and curly dark hair, Veronica Brown is the master and commander of her backyard empire.

“Here is their swimming pool. It has sharks in it,” she points authoritatively to the cartoon sharks on the bottom. “But they drink out of it.”

In a remarkable act of equanimity, one of the geese allows her to pick him up and put him in the water. She strokes his head and gives him some more pellets from her hand. Not to be outdone, the other goose jumps in the small pool and tries to horn in on the food.

“She knows her own mind,” says her father proudly. “She knows exactly what she thinks, and she won't hesitate to tell you.”

Shortly after, Brown's wife, Robin, comes out to the family's deep freezer and grabs an armful of more frozen venison. She is still dressed in her scrubs from a long day at nursing school. Brown has taken the day off from his construction job to work on the house and run errands.

Their home is modest but immaculate and it is clear that the Brown's take great pride in keeping it up. They have painted and restored most of the interior, but have taken a break—for the time being.

“Every time we go to Home Depot, we come out with three more projects,” says Brown, smiling wearily. “We had to stop because it's always something.”

This much is clear: If one did not know that this small family was at the center of one of the most important Indian law cases in the last 30 years, the Browns would seem like any other family at 6 o'clock in America. Two tired parents, a three-year-old with endless energy, dinner on the stove, dogs yapping, geese squawking and a house in the middle of remodeling. In military-speak, they are squared away.

But underneath the normalcy, Dusten Brown is fully aware of the enormous implications—both personally and tribally—for the blandly named Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl now under review by the Supreme Court.

“It's always in the back of my mind,” says Brown, an Iraq War veteran who is still enlisted in the National Guard. “But I just go through every day being a parent, just acting like it's not going on.”

To summarize, after Brown asked ex-fiancee Christine Maldanado to marry him, she became pregnant. Shortly there after, she broke off the engagement and contact with Brown and quietly put the couple's child up for adoption without notifiying him of her intentions—which ultimately pitted Dusten Brown against the pre-adoptive parents, Matt and Melanie Capobianco, and the Capobianco's adoption lawyers, who apparently were not prepared for the fact that Brown turned out to be a tougher customer than they expected.

This story, however, did not begin with Maldanado's pregnancy. Brown and Maldanado have known each other nearly 14 years, having met as 16-year-olds in high school. As classmates in Bartlesville's alternative education program, they dated off and on for nearly 11 years. During that time, Brown and Maldanado had both married and divorced other people. Maldanado had two children by her first marriage, Brown had a daughter from his.

Sometime in the late 2000s, they began dating again and Brown decided to propose to Maldanado, and she accepted. By December of 2009, she was pregnant. Soon after, she sent him a text message telling him she wanted to break up.

“It was all text messages,” he said, “because she didn't want to talk to me.”

Brown said he did not understand why she wanted to break up and that she was not clear in her reasons. But because they had dated off and on for so long, he said, “I just thought we could repair our relationship and get back together. We had done that a lot, so I thought we could do it again.”
Instead, she texted Brown asking him to sign his “rights” over to her. Initially, Brown said he was under the impression that she simply wanted full custody. At no time, he said, did she ever mention that she was thinking of giving their child up for adoption. He is adamant that had he known what her plans were, he would've acted on the spot.

“I thought she wanted full custody, but that I would still be a part of my child's life,” he said. “I was going to war. I didn't know what was going to happen in Iraq, or even if I was going to come back home alive. So I texted her back and said okay.”

Thinking that Maldanado needed time, Brown said he sent the text message and gave Maldanado her space. In his mind, they were simply in another “off” period, yet he remained hopeful that they would eventually work things out.

This was not to be. Four months after Veronica's birth, and six days before Brown was scheduled to deploy for Iraq, he received a message from Maldanado's lawyer that he needed to come to Bartlesville, Okla., to sign “some paperwork.” Because he was leaving the country, he was in “lock down” at his Army base in Ft. Sill and was told he would not be allowed to make the five hour trip to sign the paperwork. After some wrangling with his superiors and the lawyers, he was given permission only to leave base and go to nearby Lawton to visit a local process server.

It was from the process server that Brown finally learned the whole truth: That  his daughter had been born four months earlier; that Maldanado had not only signed her own rights away, but had also put the girl up for adoption, something to which he did not, nor would ever agree; and that the child had also been living in South Carolina for four months with people he considered strangers.

“It was like somebody stabbed me in the heart,” said Brown. “She's a good mother to her other two children, so it was shocking to me that she would just give our child away. As far as I'm concerned, she sold her child. But if she wasn't going to raise [Veronica], then I definitely wanted her.”

To Brown, it was clear that Maldanado, the Capobiancos and their lawyers had timed their legal ambush before his deployment in the hopes that Brown would simply fold and walk away. They were all, he said, mistaken. “That was never going to happen.”

“I went straight to the Judge Advocate General on base,” he said. “And they got me a lawyers in Bartlesville and South Carolina.”

In the meantime, Brown assigned power of attorney to his father and had his lawyers ask for a stay of adoption until his deployment in Iraq was over, which was granted. During that time, it became evident that Brown's rights as a tribal member and due process had not been followed, according to court documents. In their rush to push the adoption through under the radar, Maldanado, the Capobiancos and their attorneys had colluded to strip Brown of his parental rights outside the purview of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Instead of a legal termination hearing, as is provided for under the law even in non-ICWA cases, the plaintiffs zeroed in on that fateful text message. This became the focal point of the subsequent legal battle with the Capobiancos, who had spent a lot of money on the adoption, even giving Maldanado $10,000 over and above her medical expenses, according to court testimony. Their message to the world was clear: “He gave up his rights. He abandoned his daughter. He is a 'bad dad.'”

But as in most custody battles, things are not always as they seem.

Next Week: The battle for Baby Veronica begins as the Capobiancos dig in, while their lawyers and public relations team go viral.

Read more at (See photos at this website. It's a fantastic look at their lives...Trace)

Nova Scotia Adoptees call for change

NS adult adoptees call for access to family history

HALIFAX — Some adult adoptees are raising concerns over closed adoption records in Nova Scotia, saying that cuts off access to their cultural background and family health history.
Nova Scotia’s Adoption Information Act prevents adult adoptees from getting information about their birth parents without their consent.
“I strongly believe that’s a violation of my human right to know my identity and my cultural background,” said Kate Foster.
Foster, who’s a black Nova Scotian, was adopted into a white family when she was an infant. She says she feels the province’s policy prevented her from knowing her cultural heritage.
“My birth father is my link to my black heritage, I’ve always wanted to know about it, it’s extremely important to my self-worth and my sense of identity.”
Foster first applied for information about her birth parents when she was in her 20′s, but since her birth mother wouldn’t consent to releasing information, she couldn’t get any details on her father’s identity.
Since then, she’s appealed the decision, tried to search for her father on her own, even enlisted the help of an investigator, all to no avail.
“It shouldn’t be so hard to find out about yourself.”
Marilyn MacDonald-MacKinnon spent 30 years trying to get more information about her birth parents.
“I need to know who I come from, I need to know that for me,” she said.
MacDonald-MacKinnon says she especially needs her medical history, which, under the current act, is information she can’t access without her birth parents’ consent. She says that law has already put her family’s health at risk.
“My daughter, two years ago, almost died, and there was no explanation for what happened to her, but the first question the doctor asked is:  'is there a history?’ and I couldn’t answer that.”
She says the adoption act is “archaic” and needs to change.
While the province’s Community Services minister says her government is not considering amendments to the act, Denise Peterson-Rafuse conceded there might be room for some change.
“If there is a way that we can pursue this, that does not give up (birth parents’) privacy, but at the same time provides the factual information that’s needed with respect to health, there isn’t any reason why we cannot have an opportunity to look at that,” she said.
The minister said her department will be looking at how other jurisdictions have handled the “health aspect.”
So far four provinces and one territory have adopted open adoption records in the country. They are: Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, and Yukon.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Ocangu-sa RED ROAD to air on CBC

Ocangu-sa Red Road next airs on:
Ottawa time is shown.

One Man's Search for Identity

The events that lead up to the removal of Barry Hambly and his three brothers from their mother, reflected a series of policies that adversely affected — and continue to affect — First Nations people.
Barry's mother, Darlene Whitecap, has experienced firsthand the impact of these policies on her life, and the lives of her children. Darlene Whitecap was raised on a reserve and taken away to a white-run residential school at age four.
Eventually returning to the reserve, she found herself in an abusive relationship when she was 16.  By the time she was 24 years old, with four young children, alcohol had become a part of her life. It was then that she decided to run from the reserve to Regina. Soon after, she would lose her children to social agencies due to her alcoholism.
The adoption policies of this era were controversial and became known as the "Sixties Scoop."
Red Road was produced by Lost Heritage Productions in association with Life Network, and with the financial participation of the Canadian Television Fund (CTF).

Film Previews:


Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption by Kathryn Joyce

The Child Catchers
Hardcover, 272 pages, Perseus Books Group, List Price: $26.99 |purchase

The author of Quiverfull reveals how adoption has become entangled in the conservative Christian agenda as a reflection of pro-life initiatives, explaining how child and family well-being has become a lesser priority in a market increasingly driven by profit and religious ideology.

AMAZON Book Description

When Jessie Hawkins’ adopted daughter told her she had another mom back in Ethiopia, Jessie didn’t, at first, know what to think. She’d wanted her adoption to be great story about a child who needed a home and got one, and a family led by God to adopt. Instead, she felt like she’d done something wrong.

Adoption has long been enmeshed in the politics of reproductive rights, pitched as a “win-win” compromise in the never-ending abortion debate. But as Kathryn Joyce makes clear in The Child Catchers, adoption has lately become even more entangled in the conservative Christian agenda.
To tens of millions of evangelicals, adoption is a new front in the culture wars: a test of “pro-life” bona fides, a way for born again Christians to reinvent compassionate conservatism on the global stage, and a means to fulfill the “Great Commission” mandate to evangelize the nations.  Influential leaders fervently promote a new “orphan theology,” urging followers to adopt en masse, with little thought for the families these “orphans” may already have.
Conservative evangelicals control much of that industry through an infrastructure of adoption agencies, ministries, political lobbying groups, and publicly-supported “crisis pregnancy centers,” which convince women not just to “choose life,” but to choose adoption.
Overseas, conservative Christians preside over a spiraling boom-bust adoption market in countries where people are poor and regulations weak, and where hefty adoption fees provide lots of incentive to increase the “supply” of adoptable children, recruiting “orphans” from intact but vulnerable families.
The Child Catchers is a shocking exposé of what the adoption industry has become and how it got there, told through deep investigative reporting and the heartbreaking stories of individuals who became collateral damage in a market driven by profit and, now, pulpit command.
Anyone who seeks to adopt—of whatever faith or no faith, and however well-meaning—is affected by the evangelical adoption movement, whether they know it or not. The movement has shaped the way we think about adoption, the language we use to discuss it, the places we seek to adopt from, and the policies and laws that govern the process. In The Child Catchers, Kathryn Joyce reveals with great sensitivity and empathy why, if we truly care for children, we need to see more clearly.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

MSNBC: Contextualizing the Indian Child Welfare Act

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THIS IS FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!! I had mailed NCAI the book TWO WORLDS some time ago. We need more coverage like this...Please, do me a favor, share this link below. I thank you... Trace

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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

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Lost Birds on Al Jazeera Fault Lines

Lost Birds on Al Jazeera Fault Lines
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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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