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Monday, May 30, 2011

Registry for NY adoptees

Many adoptees are looking for their Chapter One in their lives. They want to know where they came from. Who they look like. Laugh like, and medical background.  If you are a sibling, or adoptee or parent, you can sign up at the NY State Registry.  Also check at

If anyone had any dealings with an attorney called Seymour Fenichel contact us at 
If you want search help with all other states: 
from ...Joan
If any adoptee needs help, I am also here and will help you! Email me:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

OP-ED: Birth Certificates at center of Adoptee Rights Bill (New Jersey)

The time has come in New Jersey to vote for The Adoptee Rights Bill which grants adoptee's access to their original birth certificates. This editorial (op-ed) by LORRAINE DUSKY said it perfectly. It is on the Governor's desk for his signature...
I wrote to every lawmaker in New Jersey and asked they approve unconditional access to the original birth certificate for adoptees born in New Jersey. One by one, this is how we change the world for adoptees...Trace

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Intergenerational Trauma in Indian Country

Press Release
Historical Boarding School Healing Symposium provides
framework for moving forward
Boulder, Colo. – May 19, 2011 – More than 30 representatives from the Boarding School Healing Project, Native American Rights Fund, American Indian Law Clinic at the University of Colorado Law School, and Human Rights Clinic at the University of Wyoming and other organizations came together on May 14-15, 2011 to create a framework for healing from the abuses suffered by American Indian children as a result of the U.S. boarding school policy.
“This is a historical event, one that gives optimism that something is really going to happen,” said Don Coyhis of White Bison, Inc.
The goal of the two-day conference was to discuss and craft a national strategy to achieve both national recognition of and an apology for the wrongs visited upon individuals and communities of Indian Country by the U.S. boarding school policy. The strategy would also seek reparations to provide the framework for healing the wounds from these historic and enduring wrongs.
“Intergenerational trauma was a huge theme of the conference,” said Jill Tompkins, director of the American Indian Law Clinic at Colorado Law. “American Indian children forced into the boarding school system later on unintentionally imposed onto their children and their children’s children the scars of growing up without knowledge of their language and their culture, without affection and without a loving family support network.  When they finally returned to their tribal communities, they did not know who they were or where they fit anymore. “
Many point to the proliferation of alcoholism, drug abuse and suicide among Indians as evidence of the on-going effects of this period.
Although early in the planning stages, three key themes were expressed at the conference: acknowledgement, justice and healing.
Some of the ways expressed to achieve these themes included:
-          The desire and need for a meaningful apology
-          Support for language and cultural revitalization
-          The implementation of healing programs in each tribe, controlled locally so as to be significant and effective within each community
“All school children graduate knowing about slavery in the United States and its devastating effects on black people and the human toll of the Civil War,” said Coyhis. “No student should graduate high school without knowing about this period of American history and its devastating effects as well.”
The symposium participants agreed to formally establish the Boarding School Healing Coalition which will move forward with a plan for gathering support and implementing the results of the symposium.  This may include, but is not limited to: public education efforts, litigation, remedial legislation, and international policy advocacy.

Beginning about 1880 and continuing for nearly the next century, the U.S. government began to promote boarding schools for American Indian children, modeled on Colonel Richard Henry Pratt’s militaristic Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania, as a primary means to assimilate Indian children.   By 1902, 154 boarding schools housed 21,500 American Indian children. In some instances the U.S. government subcontracted the operation of these schools to churches.  Some of these children were held at the boarding schools from age 5 to 18, many never being allowed to return home to their parents or tribal communities.
They were generally forbidden to speak their native languages, taught Christianity instead of their native religions, and in numerous other ways forced to abandon their Indian identity and adopt European-American culture. They were taught to be ashamed of being Indian, of their culture and religions. Tragically, many cases of mental and sexual abuse have been documented.
Important participants at the Symposium were Chief Wilton (Willie) Littlechild and Marie Wilson, Commissioners of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Canada modeled its Indian Residential School system on the U.S. model. Thousands of individual and community lawsuits were brought against the Canadian government for abuses, particularly sexual abuse, inflicted on Aboriginal people.  The cases were eventually resolved in the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement, the largest class action in Canadian history, in 2007.
The settlement provided for a payment to all former students who were held in federally supported residential schools, additional compensation for those that suffered sexual or serious physical abuse or other abuses. The Canadian government also made a contribution to the Aboriginal Healing Foundation to support commemoration projects and to establish the TRC. The TRC’s three-prong mission is:  to inform Canadians of what happened in the schools; to honor the lives of former students and their families; and, to create a permanent record of the Indian Residential School legacy. Although the Settlement has made some progress in bringing healing to residential school survivors, Chief Littlechild told the U.S. Symposium attendees, “You have a chance to do things better.”
To date, no U.S. Presidential apology or plan to provide redress for American Indian boarding school survivors has been proposed by the federal government. “The time to seek justice and healing for our ancestors and families who suffered the boarding school experience is long overdue, The establishment of the Boarding School Coalition and the development of a mutual shared vision for future action are critical steps forward,” said Tompkins.

[I am still reading "White Mother to a Dark Race" and making notes. Intergenerational Trauma affects Indian Country in so many ways- land loss, loss of children to residential boarding schools, massive adoption of Native children to non-Indians, and outright aggression toward Indian people by the American government. This press release and the seminars are a good sign of progress and healing... Trace]

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Adopted Native Americans/Real ID ACT: My Identity returns!

Adopted Native Americans/Real ID ACT: My Identity returns!: "by Leland P. Morrill Adopted Native American Citizenship Affected by The REAL ID Act of 2005 on Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 3:31am Great NEWS..."

Friday, May 13, 2011

Amazing reunion story... Getting Adopted Again

Tears (of joy) welcome in adoption hearing

May 12, 2011 by Marc Hansen

It was a long time coming. Some would say decades.
Whatever, the highlight of the proceedings might have come at the end when District Court Judge Carla Schemmel, faithful to adoption-court tradition, jokingly asked the adoptee if she wanted to pick out a toy.
Though Bethards, 41, declined the invitation, her grandson, one-year-old Carson Jones, came away with a new stuffed turtle.
Carson was about the only person in the tiny courtroom who wasn’t crying. Judge Schemmel, however, said crying was allowed on this day because the tear ducts were operating “for happy reasons.”
Here’s the full, happy story of White and Bethards, birth mother and daughter. How they were separated shortly after Bethards was born. How they found each other 35 years later. Why they decided to become family again:
This was a different kind of adoption hearing. Though the great majority of adoptees in Iowa and beyond are children, a surprising number of adults are adopted, too.
In most cases, adult adoption comes without a home-trial period. Past parents (Bethards’ adoptive mother and father are deceased) don’t have to give up their parental rights. A child 14 and over must consent to the adoption. Both parties sign an agreement and tell the court why they’re taking this big step.
Today was the formal hearing, the culmination of a process that began a year ago when everyone agreed this was the way to go. Around 20 friends and family members showed up to offer support.
The supervising attorney was Drake University law professor Sally Frank, who told the gathering that this courtroom was usually reserved for more solemn occasions – divorces, drug abuse hearings, child support recovery. The families who walk through the door are more likely to be falling apart than coming together.
“That’s why we have this box of tissues,” Frank said. “Adoptions are just a small part of what we do on the family law docket.”
First to take the stand was White, who talked about how she and Bethards found each other in 2006 and how close they’ve grown.
“She’s my biological daughter,” White said, tearing up, “and I love her very, very much.”
Her husband was next. Fulmer isn’t Bethards’ biological father, but he said he’s wanted to be her adoptive father for a long time.
“We want to make her part of the family,” Fulmer told the court, “and we want her to know we’ve always wanted her to be part of the family.”
Then Bethards stepped to the plate. She said she’s been hoping for this reunion with with White “since the day we met.”
A little later, Schemmel said she would be happy to sign the papers, White and Bethards hugged and out came the tissues.
“We’re all a bunch of crybabies in this family,” said Tina Brooks, one of White’s four eye-dabbing sisters. “If Mom could hear what they were saying, she’d be the worst.”
Joan White, 84, could feel the joy and see the significance. Hearing was optional.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Good news? More Native Foster Parents needed?

Foster families incorporate Native American culture

Social Services workers and families agree there is a definite need for more foster care families, especially Native American foster families.
I am struck by this headline.  If a mother is unable to care for her children, then a relative like a grandma or auntie steps in, to provide kinship care for the child. Why are states involved in this when it is a soverign tribe with soverign tribal members? When did we lose this idea of caring for our own people? Why was the ICWA passed? To keep children within their families and clans? Yes.
North Dakota Stark County Foster Care Supervisor Debra Trytten believes this: She doesn’t feel that the children miss as much as Lowell Nation from Ft. Peck, Montana, claims in this story. 
“Native American ways are different from non-Native American ways and we need to respect that,” Trytten said. “We make every effort to make sure children get to see their families and be involved in activities and events important to them.” 
Trytten added social workers, foster care supervisors and foster care families work closely with the tribes and children’s families to make sure the children are learning about the history, culture and teachings of their family.
“The foster families we have in Stark County are great,” Trytten said. “We have children from North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana and their foster families have always taken road trips to take them to different activities. They understand how important all those things are to helping a child’s self esteem, character and understanding.”
Dunn County Social Services Worker Mary Lou Manz agrees, adding if a family is unable to get the child to events, the overseer of the case will try and make other arrangements to make it possible for the child to do so.

Tribes need money to manage their own programs and their own children. That is what I believe... Trace

Monday, May 9, 2011

Our Indian Program, operated by Louise Wise, 1960

Louise Wise Services, Different Eligibility Requirements for Different Children, 1961

In this form letter, Louise Wise Services Executive Director Florence Brown clarified something about adoption that has been as easy to see as it has been uncomfortable to admit: supply and demand shape the “market” for children and parents alike. Her agency, like most others, had different requirements for Jewish couples wishing to adopt healthy infants, for those willing to consider older children with special needs, and for “Negro” families interested in African-American children. Brown’s mention of native children in need of adoption was a reference to the Indian Adoption Project.

Dear _____

We have your inquiry expressing your interest in adoption. We appreciate how much this means to you and hope we may be able to help you.

Since the number of young Jewish children in need of adoptive homes is so small compared to the number of couples applying, it has been necessary for us to set up certain eligibility requirements for adoptive applicants. Infants, as well as the occasional pre-school age child, are placed only with childless Jewish couples where the wife is under thirty-five and the husband over forty years of age, who live in any of the five boroughs of New York, Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk Counties, and in a small area of New Jersey close to Manhattan. . . . Since it is required that couples be married at least three years and that they be citizens of the United States, we suggest that those who do not presently meet these requirements should write us again when they have been fulfilled.

If you do meet the requirements outlined above, we will appreciate your filling out and returning the enclosed form. You will hear from us as soon as we are able to invite you to a group meeting. This is the first step in our application procedures. . . .

Exceptions to our eligibility requirements are made for families applying for children of school age (6 to 14); for those who may be ready to consider a child with a physical disability; and for families interested in children of interracial background. Included in the latter are a group of American Indian children who have been referred to us through a special program of the Child Welfare League of America and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

In addition to helping Jewish families interested in adoption, the Louise Wise Services also places children for adoption with Negro families. Here, again, the eligibility requirements with respect to age, childlessness, residence, as well as the procedures outlined above, do not apply and we are able to offer immediate appointments.

We do hope that we can be of help to you.

Sincerely yours,

(Mrs.) Florence G. Brown
Executive Director

Source: Louise Wise Services, form letter explaining eligibility requirements, June 30, 1961, Viola Bernard Papers, Box 116, Folder 5, Archives and Special Collections, Augustus C. Long Library, Columbia University.

[I added the bold for emphasis... This letter is from my archives.. I have the description of "Our Indian Program" in my memoir...Trace]

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Best and Worst Places to be a Mother (global poverty)

To all the women in my life, may this Mother's Day be full of love, laughter and infinite blessings ....Trace

The World's Best and Worst Places to Be a Mother | | AlterNet

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Adoption Truth: Here We Go Again

Adoption Truth: Here We Go Again

Adoption is big Busine$$ - please read and follow this blog!

Elder's Meditation: Native Spirituality

Elder's Meditation of the Day - May 6
"We must remember that the heart of our religion is alive and that each person has the ability within to awaken and walk in a sacred manner."  -- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW
The Native Spirituality is full of life. When we seek it, we become alive. Even if we
have gone astray and have conducted ourselves in a bad way, we can look within and have a new awakening to life. Maybe we have drunk too much alcohol; maybe we have cheated on our spouse; maybe we have done things that  make us feel guilty and ashamed. If we look outside ourselves, we will not find life; if we look inside, we will find life. Anytime we choose to change  our lives, we only need to look inside. How do we do this? Take some sage and light it, close your eyes and say to the Great Sirit, I'm tired, I need your  help. Please help me change.

Great Spirit, I know you exist inside of myself. Let me awaken to your teachings.

visit for more of these meditations.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

OPEN ADOPTION DEBATE: No matter what, some sense of loss (from my archives)

Experts on both sides of the open-adoption debate agree that most adoptees realize they've been given up once and fear it happening again. 

By Sonia Nazario, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer  August 6, 2007

EXPERTS who advocate open adoption as well as those who oppose it say that adoptees grapple with a sense of loss. Virtually all adoptees understand that they have been given up by their birth parents and fear deep down that they might be given up again. Open-adoption advocates say that most adopted babies grow into well-adjusted children. At any given time, however, these advocates say, adoptees might react to the loss of their birth families in more pronounced ways.
Some of them express loyalty and gratitude constantly, trying to win favor with their adoptive parents. In the extreme, these children become overly adaptive — compliant to a fault. They often show little or no interest in the "other mother."
Others act out. These children test their adoptive parents repeatedly, seeking reassurance that their second set of parents won't give them up. In the extreme, they act out violently to test their adoptive parents to the limit.
They love their adoptive parents, but they also long for their birth families and feel sadness, even anger, about being adopted.
Kendall McArthur's adoptive mother, Dorothea McArthur, a therapist who works with adoptees, places Kendall in the mid-range of the children who act out. This has made Kendall's experience with open adoption more difficult than most. Still, Kendall did not require help at a residential mental health facility, as do 7% of adolescent children who are adopted as babies, according to an Illinois State University study.

Some of the pitfalls that Kendall and both sets of her parents faced as pioneers in open adoption have been eased today by counseling. Many adoption agencies now require "vision matching" sessions, where birth and adoptive parents state their expectations about visits and future communication. These sessions determine how special occasions will be celebrated and how future conflicts will be resolved. Birth and adoptive parents learn how to deal with fear, distrust and anger.  They learn how to set boundaries and ground rules and how to be assertive but sensitive. Birth parents are counseled to stay in touch and not to contradict adoptive parents in front of their children. Adoptive parents are counseled to work with birth parents to keep children from dividing and conquering.
Many birth and adoptive families describe wonderful relationships in open adoptions, where the birth mother becomes like a loving aunt. Indeed, the most comprehensive longitudinal study of open adoption has found that openness is beneficial in significant ways.
The study, conducted by the University  of Minnesota and the University of Texas, is known as the Minnesota-Texas Adoption Research Project. It is ongoing and tracks 190 married couples in 23 states who adopted infants before their first birthdays in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The adoptions represent more than 30 levels of openness — from closed adoptions, through adoptions in which parents have contact through
intermediaries, to adoptions in which adoptees have direct contact with their birth families.
Though the study has found that the degree of openness does not affect self-esteem or emotional adjustment, it also has found that by adolescence, children in open adoptions:
•  Were not confused about who their parents were.
•  Clearly understood the roles of their adoptive and birth parents.
•  Felt their relationships with their birth mothers gave them a strong
source of additional support.
•  Helped them understand who they were.

By adolescence, 62% of the study subjects had stayed in contact with their birth mothers. Of those, 98% wanted the contact to continue or to increase.
Among the adoptees in closed adoptions, the study found, half wanted their adoptions to stay closed, mostly because they felt that being adopted was not important and that contact with birth families might be negative. The other half wanted contact and felt hurt that their birth mothers had not sought them out.

Thomas Atwood, the president and chief executive of the nonprofit National Council for Adoption, which has lobbied against open adoptions, rejects the notion that adoptees are somehow incomplete if they do not know their birth family. "We will defend the option of confidentiality," Atwood said.

Sharon Roszia, coauthor of "The Open Adoption Experience," and who proposed open adoption to Dorrie and David McArthur, said children in closed adoptions wrestle with many of the psychological issues that Kendall faced. For these children, Roszia said, the issues simply remain submerged. These children deal with additional issues: Didn't my birth mother care enough to find me? Are the people I come from so terrible that I can't know them?  Parents who approach open adoptions with an open heart find that the benefits outweigh the risks, Roszia said. "It is better to deal with reality than fantasy and fear. Better to know than not know."

[ I know children need good homes, of course. But if it is possible to have an open adoption, it is much better for the child adoptee...  And again, if it is a Native child, they need to remain in their tribal nation.... Trace]

Monday, May 2, 2011

Guest Blog: Adoption Reality by Celeste Billhartz

Adoption Reality by Celeste Billhartz  

May 2, 2011
Celeste Billhartz
A few months ago I got a photograph from a mother who visited with her daughter, in a hospital room. In the photo she is showing her the beautiful little christening gown she had saved, all these 40-some years, to show her daughter that she never wanted to "give her up" for adoption. The daughter blinked, "Yes" in acknowledgment ... her body frozen by ALS/Lou Gehrig's  disease. My friend's other daughter took the photo and another daughter stood,  nearby. They had come to say, Goodbye. Not in the photo, but standing "guard" in the room, was the adoptive mother, who would not allow them a precious few moments of privacy. Four months later, my friend's daughter died. At the funeral service none of the adoptive family, and none of their eulogies, acknowledged this natural family, sitting there, grieving ... and not one person offered condolences on their loss.

The lies in adoption are many. We all tell them, every day. It's all we know, all we have been told to say, all that is allowed. We pretend our sisters, brothers, cousins are, really, ours; they are not. We pretend we have traits inherent in our adoptive families; they are not our traits.

And, all our lives, we protect our adoptive families from the truth: We have our own natural families, our own sisters, brothers, cousins ... our own trails of traits, somewhere, reaching back to the ancients in our souls. And, our natural mothers ... we wonder where are they, who they are, why did
they "give" us away?? Not having answers, not "awake" to the reality of adoption coercion, many of us pretend. We believe they didn't want us or wanted something else more -- school, a job, etc.
And, so, we make new lives among the strangers -- not of our skin, not of our  hearts. We doze; we pretend. All our adoptive lives, we pretend. And, because we believe we are lucky to have been adopted/wanted, we protect ourselves with happy faces and words of gratitude.

Eventually, we are old enough to be more curious than content, so we ask about our origins. The good strangers -- and there are many -- tell us what they know, show us the original papers with the original names we must see, offer any help we may need to find our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles. How odd; we are strangers to our kin and we love our strangers.
Still, we must reunite. First, for our mothers, and then for ourselves. We both are owed nothing less.
Unfortunately, some adoptive mothers refuse to help adoptees reunite with their natural families and refuse to be gracious, helpful and respectful to natural mothers.

The adoption world has convinced adoptive mothers -- and most civilians -- that Amoms are the saviours of millions of babies/toddlers whose own mothers/families couldn't or wouldn't care for them as well as Amoms can and that natural mothers don't deserve to care for them as much as Amoms do.


Lawyers, doctors and adoption workers (many of them unmarried women who never had babies) have always taken advantage of young mothers instead of helping them. In closed adoptions of yesterday and open adoptions of today, all the players take advantage of scared young mothers. They count on their agreeing to "do what's best for the baby" well before the young women give birth, well before they know the powerful, undeniable, life-changing love they will feel for these little beings who slipped from their wombs and are, forever theirs, no matter what pre-birth agreements were signed.

These mothers -- millions of them -- are now "awake" ... and they know they were used by the indu$try to supply millions of infertile women (and today, single women) with babies.
Most of society doesn't know how devastating adopting is to young mothers. Most don't want to know, because they can't imagine being forced/schmoozed to surrender their own babies. They cannot imagine anyone daring to do that! They want to believe adopting is always -- and only -- in the best interests of the babies.

Truth is, adopting is a bu$iness.

When women stop paying big bucks to buy infants and toddlers, and when pregnant women are supported in keeping their babies, the bu$iness in adopting will dwindle, and babies will stay with their own families ... where they belong.

OK, you're an adoptive mother who is "waking up" -- now what?
• Help your adopted son or daughter know about his/her natural family. It isn't only a mother lost, but a whole tribe, a whole lineage, sides of two families, personality traits, physical traits, habits, health, quirks and talents. No more secrets. No more lies.
• If mother and child are planning to spend time together, don't stand in their way. Step aside. This is not about you.
• Let your conscience be your guide. You know right from wrong. Most of all, you know injustice when you see it.

In The Mothers Project, I tell the stories of the girl/mothers who lost their babies to adoption in past generations. The coercion continues. Adopting is woman's inhumanity to woman.

[I thank my friend Celeste for this beautiful and wise guest blog...Trace]

Wilfred Buck Tells The Story Of Mista Muskwa

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You are not alone

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
click to read and listen about Trace, Diane, Julie and Suzie


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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