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Friday, May 28, 2010

One Small Sacrifice book review by John C. Hopkins (2010)

By John Christian Hopkins
Tuba City, Arizona (NFIC) May 2010

     The Beatles sang of a long and winding road, but they never set foot on the long, treacherous path of a Native American adoptee that is strewn with potholes, deadends and disappointment.
     Award-winning Native journalist Trace A. DeMeyer (Hentz) shares the heartfelt journey of loss, loneliness and finding love in her powerful, new memoir “One Small Sacrifice: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects,” an exposé on generations of American Indian children adopted by non-Indian families.
     One reader told DeMeyer it was like being “punched in the gut.”
     Pulling no punches, DeMeyer, who now lives in Greenfield, Mass., with her husband, Herb, rips away the illusion that adoption ends happily ever after as soon as the documents are signed and finalized.
     She delves into the dark world of doubts – “Why didn’t my mom want me?” – and the fear that asking too many questions would cause her adoptive parents to throw her away all over again.
     She suffered years of abuse – emotionally, sexually and physically – as pain became her constant companion and a pretend happy smile her childhood defense against the torrent of doubts in her life.
     DeMeyer has spent years meeting and talking with other “Split Feathers,” Native American children taken from their homes and placed in non-Indian families; she discovered that her experiences weren’t new or unique, that many other adoptees, just like her, had unanswered questions, mountains of sadness and, often, shattered lives.
     Conquering that tumultuous beginning felt like the easy part as DeMeyer attempted to find her birth family. Her first obstacle was that her adoption was “closed,” meaning sealed and she had no legal right to view her own file!
     A sympathetic judge in her Wisconsin hometown allowed DeMeyer to look at her file when she was 22; she found tantalizing clues about her birth family, and even more questions to haunt her as sought to come full circle and discover who she really was.
     “I read this powerful book cover to cover, Trace tells her story with such compassion and truthfulness;” Alutiiq-Cherokee adoptee and author Anecia O’Carroll wrote. “Her memories, feelings and facts are written with such unflinching truth, in my mind and heart she is a warrior and a hero.”
     Known for her exceptional print interviews with famous Native Americans, DeMeyer started research on adoptees in 2004, which led to this fact-filled, 227-page biography that includes congressional testimony, evidence of Indian Adoption Projects and how the Indian Child Welfare Act came to exist.
     Available as a download (e-book, $3.00) or in book form ($15.95) at: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/one-small-sacrifice/6242298, her jaw-dropping narrative of living as an adoptee, her search, meeting birth relatives, will surely raise eyebrows and question the validity of sealed records and the billion dollar adoption industry.
     Her journey takes her to Illinois to meet her birthfather in 1996 where she learns about her Cherokee-Shawnee ancestry.
     DeMeyer is former editor of tribal newspapers the Pequot Times and Ojibwe Akiing. She freelances for News From Indian Country, a national independent native newspaper.
     DeMeyer’s chapter on Sac and Fox Olympian Jim Thorpe won critical praise in the 2001 book Olympics at the Millennium (published by Rutgers Press). Her poetry was published in the spring 2009 edition of Yellow Medicine Review; and she has an essay in the upcoming Foothills Press book, “I Was Indian Before It Was Cool,” edited by Susan Deer Cloud.
     In the 1870s Ponca Chief Standing Bear had to take his case to court to prove he was a human being; but DeMeyer’s journey took her so much further as she tried to prove to herself that she was somebody, too.

Link: http://indiancountrynews.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9191&Itemid=1

Trace at the Jackson Hole Wyoming airport in 1983 with actor twins

Friday, May 21, 2010

PTSD: Toxic Stress (read this!)

By Trace L Hentz

Adoptees are a unique and diverse group. Some say as babies they were traumatized and now are plagued with emotional and physical problems while others feel downright happy and show little interest in being an adoptee.

Some adoptees I know were adopted as small children so they spent time with the natural mother, and perhaps were breastfed.

I did not spend any time with my natural mother and went directly to an orphanage. By the time I was adopted, I was a wreck. How do I know this? My parent’s memories and home movies. My immune system struggled continuously, and I struggle now with adult allergies. You name it: weeds, grass, molds, dust, trees, and some foods. I'm sick of being sick.

I admit I was running on high speed as a kid and taxed my adrenals to the max. When you’re in a heightened state of fear, in my case, this is called the fight or flight response.

In an earlier blog I posted information about the ACE STUDY and how childhood stress becomes an adult health problem.

Now this:
"Could your flight-or-fight response be giving you cancer?"

That question is answered by Alice Wessendorf on the Healthier Talk website this week.

Alice: "When you find yourself in a difficult situation, hormones are released that up your heart rate, quicken your breathing, narrow your vision and, in general, prepare your body to clash or dash.

"This process, known as the fight-or-flight response, is supposed to save your life. But it turns out that it may also be giving you cancer.

"We already knew that this stress response could increase the risk for illnesses like heart disease. But now, new research out of the University of Texas points to stress hormones directly supporting tumor growth and spread.

"They do this by flipping the switch on the stress- activated protein known as focal adhesion kinase (FAK). FAK protects the detached cancer cells from dying. Allowing them to spread through your blood system finding places to re-attach and grow new tumors.

"And, as you may have already guessed, the higher your stress hormones are the higher your FAK levels become and the quicker tumors can grow and spread.

"So what can be done to stop the spread? Reducing the stress hormones circulating in your system is critical. You can't rid yourself of your natural fight-or-flight response. But what you can do is manage your stress levels."

BLOGGER NOTE: I suggest adoptees find treatment for stress as quick as you can!

Recent Reviews of ONE SMALL SACRIFICE (with links)

http://ungratefullittlebastard.blogspot.com/2010/05/i-will-never-ever-ever-blog-again.html

AND

http://nsbloodline.blogspot.com/2010/05/one-small-sacrifice-lost-children-of.html

AND

http://indiancountrynews.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9191&Itemid=1

AND Facebook comments:

Paula Benoit, Adoptee Care wrote:  I loved this book from the moment I started reading it. It's well written, painfully honest and bold. Thanks for setting the tone for future memoirs and conversations about secrecy Trace. You hit the nail straight on the head with this book. Thanks.

From Linda Orlandi-Johnson: One Small Sacrifice is a must read for all people. It is a powerfully written book by a woman who is Native American by birth and was adopted out to a white family. It is gut-wrenching at times to learn of what in the not-so-distant past occured to Native children. I laughed and I cried. I savored each and every word the author wrote. Amazing are the facts, research and deep hearted feelings she expresses. Fantastically executed this is one book that should be on everyone's "to read" list. Including Oprah Winfrey's!!

Adrian Archambeau Sr wrote:  Good Book, Insightful even to myself who has his own story, just finished reading it a week ago..If you really want to know Trace,and gain knowledge into The Adoption Project ,Genocide, etc. It's a good informative easy read...Thanks Trace, always in my heart & prayers...."A" April 16

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Comments about FIND MY FAMILY TV SERIES and Reunions

I wanted to include this in my blog. I was contacted by the producers of Find My Family last year but I had already done my reunion. No word yet on this series and if it will continue.

New TV Show Highlights Adoption Search-and-Reunion Stories
by Kathie Forward
A new television program on ABC, called Find My Family, focuses on search and reunion, primarily adoption-related. It is hosted by two adult adoptees, including Tim Green, author of A Man and His Mother, the story of his search for his birth mother. By going to abc.com, and then findmyfamily, one can download a 13-page application to be considered for the show.
I am an adult adoptee who, so far, has failed to locate any of my birth family. So when I first heard of this new program, I was excited. The first show aired on Monday, November 23rd. It featured birth parents who had relinquished a baby girl when they were only 14 and 15, then later married and had more children. The hosts went through the usual questions as to why they wanted to search now and how they thought it would make a difference. Next, they explained the steps taken to locate the child. The birth mother had named her daughter Tanya, but the birth records came up blank. Finally, the Find My Family staff went to the hospital and went through all birth records until they found a match by birth date. It turned out the daughter grew up only eight miles away from the birth parents. Then the show featured the reunion, held by a tree in an undisclosed location, one of the show’s “gimmicks.”
The second show aired on November 30th and featured two stories. Story One was an adoptee looking for her full brother who had been raised by the birth parents, who ws only 16 months older than she was. Again, the breakthrough was searching all birth records for her date. When they found her records, they backtracked 16 months to find a boy. Again, the parents were married. When they actually contacted the brother, he informed Find My Family that there was a younger sister, not relinquished. In all cases, once the match is made, Find My Family obtains permission from all parties to set up the reunion.
Story Two of this episode was a daughter searching for her birth mother. Again they searched birth records. This time they had the birth mother’s name. However, this was no help. Finally, Find My Family decided to check marriage records and that was how the birth mother was located.
I realize these reunions are set up for television, but everyone seemed too agreeable and way too happy. They even showed follow-up visits (a few weeks or months later) and everything was “just wonderful.” Realistically, it doesn’t always work out that way. My concern is that it portrays reunion as the answer to everyone’s lifelong problems. However, it may motivate a lot of people to search.
I downloaded the application and found many of the questions helpful in deciding to search and in planning how I might handle a reunion. The program would also be good for starting a discussion about search and reunion between adoptive parents and children, or in families where there has been a relinquishment in the past, or even between parents who were adopted themselves and their own children. Time will tell how popular this program is and how it develops.
Excerpted from the January 2010 edition of the Operation Identity Newsletter
© 2010 Operation Identity

http://www.nmoi.org/articles/FindMyFamily.html

What our Nations are up against!

What our Nations are up against!

To Veronica Brown

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

Generation Removed

Did you know?

Did you know?
lakota.cc/16I9p4D

Dawnland

Help in available!

Help in available!
1-844-7NATIVE (click photo)

click to listen

Diane Tells His Name

where were you adopted?

where were you adopted?