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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Road Trip: BOOK TOUR 2010

By Trace L. Hentz (formerly DeMeyer)

I hear this: “Oh, you wrote a book? When do you hit the road to read it?”
            I plan to share the story about American Indian adoptees with my hometown of Superior, Wisconsin and Duluth, Minnesota on my “book tour” next week. 
            Hardly anyone knows this story, unless you’re an American Indian adoptee or an American Indian family who lost a child to adoption during the Indian Adoption Projects.
            Back in 2008 I read from my manuscript at the Wisconsin Book Festival in Madison, Wisconsin. My friend Mark Anthony Rolo (Bad River Ojibwe) read from his book The Wonder Bull and we had a great big audience with great big questions. One young adoptee came up to me afterwards and said he’d never heard anyone say that adoptees have a “gratitude attitude” which we’re expected to display on demand, our entire life. And he thanked me!
            I told him, “Trust me, when we’re adopted, it’s expected. Once you move past gratitude, you’ll find yourself in unchartered waters, torn between acceptance, anger, love and despair…you might even have to break a few laws to find your own parents.”  This young man was afraid to move forward and open his adoption because he imagined it would hurt his adoptive mother.
            How perplexing, I thought, since I’d been there myself, as I handed him my email address. I advised him to be totally prepared and do his adoption search without telling anyone in his family. I know. I wish every day I didn’t have to say this. 
           
If you’ve read One Small Sacrifice, you know that many parts of the book are truly painful.  My 89-year-old neighbor Karolyn read my book and calls the Indian Adoption Project an atrocity and an outrage.
            What my hand wrote down at 4 a.m. – it was the best I could do. Every page was a canvas, a place to exorcise trauma and stir up ghosts.
            Slowly, the topic of adoption has shifted away from what I call “the gratitude attitude” to a more realistic discussion. Simply look at the numerous articulate writings by adoptees out there. This topic has grown up as we have grown up. Adoptees have sprouted new wings. Adoptees just need other people to hear us and read us. Perhaps then archaic atrocious adoption laws might change.
            So I’m planning a road trip. I am not managed or sponsored by a giant publisher…I’m simply a journalist who scoured adoption history and blended in some personal experience for a book.  
            That is really where the road trip began.  I had to look for strangers. I had to stop being afraid I might hurt someone if I found my family. I had to stop worrying how I might make people uncomfortable. I had to stop being afraid of the truth. 
             I decided I had to grow up.

            Trace’s reading schedule:
            Superior Public Library (on Tower & Belnap) Superior, Wisconsin, Wed., Sept. 29, 6:30 p.m.
            Jitters Coffee, Superior Street, Duluth, Minnesota, Friday, October 1, 5 p.m.
             (Trace will blog again after her road trip!) 

Check out my friend Mark's new book: THE WONDER BULL

2 comments:

  1. Wonderful Trace! Wishing you beautiful, marvelous, memorable connections ahead. XOXO Anecia XOXO

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wonderful Trace! Wishing you beautiful, marvelous, memorable connections ahead. XOXO Anecia XOXO

    ReplyDelete

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Indian Country is under attack. Native tribes and people are fighting hard for justice. There is need for legal assistance across Indian Country, and NARF is doing as much as we can. With your help, we have fought for 48 years and we continue to fight.

It is hard to understand the extent of the attacks on Indian Country. We are sending a short series of emails this month with a few examples of attacks that are happening across Indian Country and how we are standing firm for justice.

Today, we look at recent effort to undo laws put in place to protect Native American children and families. All children deserve to be raised by loving families and communities. In the 1970s, Congress realized that state agencies and courts were disproportionately removing American Indian and Alaska Native children from their families. Often these devastating removals were due to an inability or unwillingness to understand Native cultures, where family is defined broadly and raising children is a shared responsibility. To stop these destructive practices, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

After forty years, ICWA has proven to be largely successful and many states have passed their own ICWAs. This success, however, is now being challenged by large, well-financed opponents who are actively and aggressively seeking to undermine ICWA’s protections for Native children. We are seeing lawsuits across the United States that challenge ICWA’s protections. NARF is working with partners to defend the rights of Native children and families.

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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.