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Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Bad Seeds & Split-Feathers: November’s Happy Adoption Month
November is a surreal and painful month for me: it’s National Adoption Month, Native American Month and possibly my birth month. The perfect traumatic trifecta!
While non-adoptive families are preparing to be grateful and thankful for their lives with their loved ones (Thanksgiving, Christmas), I am preparing to endure another year of not knowing my biological family and trying to accept that I will die, never seeing my birth mother’s face, or hearing her voice or receiving a hug from her.
I will die like I have lived, as the mythical changeling, forever severed from heritage, family and identity. And I will die knowing I failed miserably as the replacement baby that was supposed to cure my adoptive mother’s infertility.
So why am I upset about November celebrating Native American Month? Because I was told by my adoptive mother that I was mixed-blood American Indian and Irish. Given that I was adopted in 1958, I most probably am one of the babies that was stolen from my American Indian mother during the U.S. Government’s collusion with adoption agencies to exterminate native people (Indian Adoption Act of 1958). The adoption agencies that worked with the federal government made sure that Indian babies were transported across state lines so the mothers could never find them—some of the babies came from Canada. And because I was adopted through Catholic Social Services, my birth date was most probably changed. All I know is that my earliest pictures are labelled on the back like this: Changeling 3-4 1/2 months?
Before she died, my adoptive mother destroyed all my adoption papers plus the baby moccasins I was wearing the day she got me. She remained committed to her promise to Catholic Social Services to obscure my past so I could never find my heritage, my family and roots.
My adoptive parents were not thrilled when I became an adult and was accepted by numerous American Indians—to the point that I was taught traditions and ceremonies. In fact, I was so welcomed and loved by these people, I raised my sons as traditional Eastern Woodland American Indians. Then, after years of feeling I had a place in the world—even though I didn’t know my mother and father—everything changed with the US Government’s passing of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. Suddenly, having a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) card certifying American Indian heritage was necessary to participate in pow wows and ceremonies. Thus began the attack by Full-blood Indians against mixed-blood Indians which is continuing to this day.
Overnight I and my sons morphed in white wannabees—who had no right to claim any of my heritage— I didn’t have “proof on paper”. After 25 years of acceptance, I was ostracized and lost the closest thing I had to a heritage and belonging that non-adoptive people take for granted.
So, ya, November is a terrible month for me. I am reminded by adoption agencies and adoptive parents, and some birth mothers, as well as non-adoptive people, that I should be grateful and happy I was taken from my mother the day I was born—I was “saved” from having a terrible life. I am reminded that without my original birth certificate and without a blood-quantum paper trail from the US Government, I cannot practice my American Indian beliefs and traditions—without the risk of going to jail. I am reminded that before the Indian Arts & Crafts Act of 1990, I was part of a vital and life-sustaining culture that my soul resonated with. And, because I am part of some groups that are welcoming Split-Feathers home to their tribes (those American Indian adoptees that were lucky enough to find their paperwork) I am reminded that I will never experience the welcome home pow wows and ceremonies that are intended to help adopted Indians heal.
November this year is worse than previous years—I am close to sixty—I’ve lived more years, than I have years to live before I die. And I know now, I will die without ever seeing my mother’s face or being accepted by my tribe.
Happy Adoption Month! Happy Native American Month! And (maybe?) Happy Birthday to Me!
ABOUT NoName Changeling: I am an adult adoptee who is finally coming to terms with my past and the psychological damage that occurred the day I was born. For fifty-seven years I believed I was worthless and that all the problems and challenges I had were totally my fault. After thirty years of psychological counseling for chronic depression, severe anxiety and late-diagnosis ADHD, I found my “family”—other adult adoptees that had similar experiences and characteristics. This blog is about freeing myself from the trauma of adoption and taking back my power from the adults who treated me as a disposable commodity.
Canada's Residential Schools
The Justice Department is protecting the names of many perpetrators of abuse of Indigenous children.— Charlie Angus NDP (@CharlieAngusNDP) July 8, 2021
We need a special independent prosecutor who can force the government and church to turn over the documents.
There can be no reconciliation without justice.@MumilaaqQaqqaq pic.twitter.com/5TL6OxKM5O
This is a map of every residential "school" site in Canada.— Mumilaaq Qaqqaq (@MumilaaqQaqqaq) June 24, 2021
Every dot is a crime scene.
Only a few have been investigated so far.
Canada, do not get used to these numbers.
Do not let them become statistics.
Put yourselves in the shoes of these children in the ground. pic.twitter.com/5XJS1w1ka2
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What our Nations are up against!
To Veronica Brown
Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.
Did you know?
Diane Tells His Name
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
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.