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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Celebrity Adopter Sheryl Crow (not one word about privacy and trauma)


My thoughts in 2012? What is classic news coverage when a celebrity adopts?

Bravo for Madonna, Brad and Angelina, Elton John, Ms. Sheryl Crow, and all the others.

We know it's not possible to hide anything when you're the celebrity and you adopt.

Public Relations is for us to think how great and wonderful the adopter is and how lucky the adoptee is, right?
Let's take Sheryl Crow and all the news last year when she adopted again.

Had Ms. Crow considered how the news would affect her sons Levi and Wyatt when they're adult men? They did not choose to be abandoned or adopted. They had no privacy. How will they feel being called the adopted sons of Sheryl Crow forever? Did Entertainment Tonight consider the boys rights before they showed their photos?

Does Madonna or Crow have a clue how adoptees are treated by their peers and bio-siblings in the real world?

How will Crow shield them from the cruel bastard label and the embarrassment they were abandoned by their own mothers? Will Levi and Wyatt be expected to show their gratitude to her and be silent around her about everything else?

Or were these open adoptions so the boys will know their natural mother's identity, their ancestry and their medical history? We can only hope, right?

Did Ms. Crow hire a surrogate? That's never mentioned but it won't change the boys emotional trauma.

What horrible thing happened that her sons were not able to be raised by their own mothers? That's carefully omitted in adoption propaganda and celebrity stories. They'll direct our attention to the famous rich person and have us forget the birth mothers and her loss entirely. The adoptee is considered lucky and now rich.

Do celebrities ever wonder how an adoptee feels after adoption? 

Crow is rich and famous, but her boys will still require truth, reality and plenty of emotional support! Makes you wonder if Crow has a clue about birth psychology, their severe narcissistic injury, PTSD and an adoptee's primal wound (read Nancy Verrier). There's trouble ahead if Crow denies it exists.

Publicity fills the ego of the celebrity narcissist and the hungry public eats it up.

We are supposed to believe Crow SAVED these boys, right? That's one of the adoption industry's clever ways to keep its business running smooth and encourage more women to abandon their children for adoption to the rich, better-off and famous. Forget those pesky rumors about reactive attachment disorders in adoptees!

Sappy stories about MS. CROW ahd her two adopted sons is great publicity for her obviously- but not for the two boys who will have to deal with their adoptee label and adoption trauma their entire life... Trace

Friday, January 27, 2012

Shit People Say to Adoptees (R-rating)


Ugh–the “I wish I were adopted” comments make me furious. Do you also wish you were stigmatized or disadvantaged in other ways? Wanna be poor because those people are the salt of the earth? Wanna be all gay and native American and differently abled because that would get you some really cool scholarships? No? Then *why* pretend you wish you didn’t know who you are?
And “I feel that way too” really gets to me. Yeah, your ordinary alienation is so very not ordinary that it’s like not knowing where you come from and never looking like anyone in your family. Sure it is. It’s exactly like that. In fact, when people ask me how it feels to be adopted I always say “It feels really emo.” SPARE ME.
If you have horrible abusive parents, and you think it really would have been better off for you to have been adopted, *find a different way of saying that when you know the person you’re talking to is adopted.* Sheesh.

That post will make you growl and smile! I promise!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Resolution: Michigan Indian Family Preservation Act

MICHIGAN JUDGES ASSOCIATION Resolution in support of Michigan Indian Family Preservation Act
WHEREAS, the Michigan Judges Association is committed to the
improvement of the process and outcomes of child protection cases throughout
the State of Michigan; and
WHEREAS, the Conference of Chief Justices through Resolution 5, 2011 and
the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges through separate
resolutions, recognize that tribal courts serve the children and families of
sovereign nations with the same authority and responsibility as state courts; and
WHEREAS, the Conference of Chief Justices encourages each state court
judge to communicate and collaborate with their tribal court counterparts when a
Native American child or family may be involved in a case, and the National
Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges is committed to complying with the
letter and spirit of the Indian Child Welfare Act; and
WHEREAS, the Michigan Judges Association has a history of working to
improve state-tribal court relations through Michigan’s Court Improvement
Program including: the creation of an ICWA Court Resource Guide; statewide

ICWA training for state and tribal justice systems; ICWA training for new state and
tribal judges; ICWA amendments to the Michigan Court Rules; and proposed state
ICWA legislation to encourage and reinforce compliance with the letter and spirit
of the law by state court justice systems.
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, that the Michigan Judges Association supports
the adoption and enactment of the proposed Indian Family Preservation Act by
the Michigan legislature, in recognition of its ongoing commitment to improve the
process and outcomes of child protection cases throughout the State of Michigan.

[The Judges passed this unanimously! If every state did this, we could celebrate!...Trace]

About the First Nations Repatriation Institute

My Conversation With Sandy White Hawk, Sicangu Lakota Adoptee 
By kostvollmers | September 13, 2011 

The following chat with Sandy is lengthy and so I’ll keep my comments
brief.  We here at Land of Gazillion Adoptees are huge fans of the
Adoptees Have Answers (AHA) Advisory Group.  Sandy and the advisory
group’s other members are certified rockstars, and I would strongly
suggest all adoptive parents and adoption agencies in MN to take a
close look at what the group and its members are doing for the
adoption community. 
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: Parents love talking about their kids.
Would you mind talking about yours? What do they do? What do they
Sandy: I have two children. My daughter, who is 34, just graduated
with her MFA from the University of Madison, WI. She and her fiancé
have a 9-year-old daughter. Right after she graduated they moved from
WI and are now going to make their home in Minnesota. My son, who is
28, graduated with his BA in American Studies from the University of
Minnesota. He also lives here in the state. He has worked in community
development and is currently looking for work in the nonprofit sector. 
I started using when I was 14 years old and became an addict. I got
clean when I was 28; my daughter was 5. It took five years sobriety
for me to begin to heal enough to parent in a healthy way. 
I am proud of my children for many reasons. What I am thinking about
today is how both  of my children have accomplished more than I had
when I was their age. They both are confident and living drug and
alcohol free lives. They have chosen to live our Lakota way of life --
a life of balance and drug and alcohol free. They made this decision
when they were in college. I think this amazes me so much because I am
a recovering addict. I have been sober for 30 years. The cycle of
addiction and abuse stopped with me, and now I can grow old knowing my
grandchildren live in balanced and loving homes. 
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: Thanks for sharing that, Sandy. For
readers who don't know you, would you mind giving an overview of your
work with the First Nations Orphans Association and the Truth Healing
and Reconciliation community forums? 
Sandy: First Nations Orphan Association is now First Nations
Repatriation Institute. It’s basically the same with some additions.
The term First Nations people is used when referring to American
Indians or Native Americans.  An elder advised us that we were a
people of Nationhood pre-Columbian contact; we had governments. We
were the First Nations of this land. And the term repatriation comes
from the Latin word repatriatre – to go home again, to restore or
return to the country of origin, allegiance or citizenship. 
The overall purpose of First Nations Repatriation Institute is to
create a resource for First Nations people impacted by foster care or
adoption to return home, reconnect and reclaim their identity. The
Institute also serves as a resource to enhance the knowledge and
skills of practitioners who serve First Nations people. The First
Nations Repatriation Institute will eventually fill a significant gap
in resources available for First Nations people. There is currently no
organized effort at a local, state, national or international level to
address the needs of people separated from their culture by foster
care or adoption. 
Specifically, the First Nations Repatriation: 
Connects First Nations Adoptees with other First Nations Adoptees;
Supports First Nations people in searches for relatives during family
Assists First Nations Adoptees with tribal enrollment;
Supports emotional, physical and spiritual health of all adoptees/
fostered individuals, their families and communities in accordance
with First Nations peoples’ traditional spiritual heritage;
Provides consultation and education to social service providers and
mental healthcare providers and the legal system in the cultural
traditions and values of First Nations people.
As for Truth Healing and Reconciliation Community Forums, they are day
long events that bring together First Nations adoptees and fostered
individuals with other adoptees, professionals and community and
spiritual leaders to strategize ways to address post adoption issues
and ultimately lower the rate of child removal. 
Truth: At the forums, we have adoptees, fostered individuals and birth
relatives share their stories. Social workers, Guardian ad Litems,
adoption professionals, judges, lawyers and others hear first hand the
long-term effects of being raised outside of culture and away from
family. For many adoptees/fostered individuals and other family
members, their life stories for the first time have a purpose. The
many years they spent wondering why they had to go through years of
isolation, anxiety and often depression are used to educate those who
work with Indian families. 
Healing: At the forums, we do not to blame and attack those who
represent the child welfare system. This brings about great results,
as demonstrated by the following response from a participant: 
“Another circle I was in was powerful as two small brothers told their
stories of being taken from their families and who were still in
placement. Their story of abusive foster homes and what they went
through was painful to hear. A white lady social worker was there and
she broke down. She cried so hard her shoulders shook. She apologized
to the boys, although she had not worked with them. She apologized to
the ones she had taken from their families. She apologized for not
understanding and not listening and just following those policies of
her organization. I cried when one of the little boys got up, went to
her, put his hand on her shoulder and said, ‘It’s ok. It isn’t your
fault.’ He allowed her to hug him. The strength of spirit that little
one possessed amazed me. He was so small in physical form, but mighty
and pure in spiritual form. As she held him she said she would do
things differently (I hope she did and is still doing it).”
Reconciliation: At the forums, the recognition is made that
Reconciliation begins with the individual in a process of sharing. It
is not an event. It is a process that begins after Truth and Healing.
Truth Healing and Reconciliation Community Forums provide a space and
time to establish new relationships, evaluate and reflect for change. 
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: Wow. That’s some fantastic stuff... Based
upon your experience, what do you think is the biggest need for
adoptees here in Minnesota? 
Sandy: The biggest need for Minnesota adoptees is access to their
original birth certificates. I would take it a step further and say
that we should also have access to our social work case files. Why
not? It is our history, no one else’s. We have no idea how many birth
mothers and fathers would welcome the release of guilt and shame
through meeting their relinquished children. Access to records could
be a first step in the healing process. 
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: Word to that... 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

ICWA law at center of adoption controversy

ICWA law at center of adoption controversy
OKLAHOMA - The Indian Child Welfare Act went into effect 34 years ago, and supporters of the family of Veronica, a girl who was in the process of being adopted by a South Carolina couple, say it was improperly applied to this case.

The horrific comments after this story are very telling about the actual understanding of the sovereignty of tribes and their members...Trace

Saturday, January 21, 2012

GUEST POST: Is ADOPTION all I ever think about?

Sooo - Is adoption all I ever think about?

Nope, but the overall topic and history of adoption is imbalanced and I do think about that often.

I started this American Indian Adoptees blog in 2009 to express how my being adopted affected me and how I found (some pretty horrific) adoption history affecting Native Americans when I was writing my memoir One Small Sacrifice. I never expected to uncover what I did about the genocidal Indian Adoption Project(s) and Programs.

To maintain some balance, I've asked other adoptees like Leland and Johnathan to post their views in guest blogs.

If I find new Lost Children/adult adoptees, I'll publish their interviews and/or news.
It's a fact adoptees are still struggling, and too many are still hoping to have a reunion with their tribe and birthparents.
Adoptees have not been respected enough, in my view. You can see this with numerous archaic adoption laws in the USA, no access or limited access to our records and a billion dollar adoption industry who prefers to hide their secrets and preserve their myths.

It's also fact that being adopted lasts your entire life. There is no escape. There are complications and twists every turn. I tell my own evolving story on this blog.
To heal this experience, you educate yourself. Finding out you are not alone does help. Reading about adoption history helps, too, and can make you stronger. Use the google search bar to find topics already posted on this blog.
I often read other blogs by adoptees.

Until all adoption records are opened everywhere and unconditionally, I am not stopping! I will blog, write, do more research and post news.

If you have news or research you want to share with other Lost Birds: email:

Thank you for your continued support and your comments..... Trace

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Broken Circle (Movie trailer) 2012

The Broken circle (trailer 2012) from mathieu saliva on Vimeo.
Documentary about Sioux Lakotas (LGM productions) 1895 : Buffalo Bill leaves for Europe with his touring circus, the Wild Wild West Show. Among the artists you can find the legendary Native American Sioux chiefs Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse… Some of them are abandoned or willingly remain in Marseille & Paris. Today, their descendants live in the south of France. Their ancestors left them a heritage that no one suspected existed... Until now…

Monday, January 16, 2012

Questions about Mitt and the Mormons

Image from the Book of Mormon: Swords: Many critics of the Book of Mormon state that it is common knowledge that swords such as those described in Alma 24:12-15 did not exist in meso-america prior to the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors, despite what the Book of Mormon says.
Read more here:

Several Native adoptees who are new friends were adopted by Mormons. And there are more than a few Native Americans and Alaska Natives who follow Joseph Smith and the Mormon religion.
I remember living in Wyoming back in the 1980s and heard what a serious religion it is - no soda/pop, no dancing, no drinking, etc.  The joke in Jackson Hole was "Mormons act like God can't see over the Tetons." Mormons apparently broke many of their rules visiting Wyoming saloons - out of Utah and out of sight, I guess.
(By the way, I heard the fabulous Mormon Tabernacle Choir in concert in Wyoming.)
Friends tell me if you are Mormon, you had to give them a copy of your income tax paperwork because you are required to tithe 10% of your income each year - no exceptions!
I am not bashing anyone's religion here but I do question why so many Native American children were adopted by the Mormons and converted to this religion. There was an official Mormon Indian Adoption Program where they took thousands of tribal children per year, many from the southwest. Some adoptive families had 10+ children in each family.
My friend Joan had a son who married a Mormon girl in Salt Lake City but Joan wasn't allowed in the Mormon church to watch the wedding (later they did a vow repeat for the non-Mormons at a restaurant reception.) Why can't a mother watch her son marry a Mormon since she will be the girl's mother-in-law? What is about Mormon's documenting all their genealogy - it seems every ancestry site is now owned by the Mormon Church?
With the Mormon "Mitt" trying for the White House, I have many questions and not enough answers about this religion.
I do hope someone adopted by a Mormon family will offer to write a guest blog (please) and help me and others understand...What exactly is the Mormon religion? Or is there a rule you can't speak about it?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

ICWA and the Media

by Kate Fort

There has been a lot of ICWA talk in national and local news this week due to a case we linked to here. I spoke with a person at the CNN In America blog (nothing up there yet) just about the general provisions of ICWA, and what struck me in that conversation was how few people today still know nothing about this law.
This same week we had two cases argued at the Michigan Supreme Court on notice compliance. We're having a meeting  about enacting a state ICWA law here in Michigan. We received a link to this  newsletter about ICWA compliance and monitoring at the trial court level in Minnesota. Sometimes it feels like ICWA is everywhere, if a person knows where to look for it. And yet most national media coverage of the Act is usually so biased and ignorant there's no way the coverage doesn't gin up serious opposition to the Act (the recent exception to this was NPR's excellent three part series on ICWA and foster care in South Dakota). And thus one, relatively minor, conundrum--talk to the media about the Act in the hopes of gaining a semblance of balance, or ignore the media in a case that is putting a child in the middle of that very media storm?
The case garnering this attention is difficult to get a handle on, fact-wise, and we're hesitant to add more commentary or links here, as we can't believe this level of attention is good for the child. It certainly isn't good attention for the Act, given the adoptive parents' full-out assault on it. There's a reason these cases are usually, or ought to be, anonymous. Regardless, we publish the Cherokee Nation's statement here to one media outlet, since it points out it has called on the court for both a gag order, and to release the final order (something we'd certainly feel more comfortable commenting on, rather than inconsistent media accounts):
Chrissi Ross Nimmo, the Assistant Attorney General who represented the Cherokee Nation in this case, gave FOX23 this statement:
“As a matter of law and policy, the Cherokee Nation’s attorney general’s office generally does not comment on juvenile cases due to their sensitive nature and confidential information. In an effort to quell the undue outside attention to this sensitive affair, the Cherokee Nation attorney general’s office filed a motion for a gag order in this case Wednesday afternoon, along with a motion to release the judge’s final order to the public. I ask that all parties involved in the matter respect the confidential nature of these juvenile court proceedings. The Cherokee Nation has 115 Indian Child Welfare employees and nine assistant attorneys general who work tirelessly to fight for the rights of Cherokee children and their parents, not only within our 14-county jurisdiction, but in tribal, state and federal courts across the nation.  The Indian Child Welfare Act was written to help keep Native American children with their families whenever possible – a concept embraced wholeheartedly by the Cherokee Nation.”

I want to add that this blog hopes to cover the violations of Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) to create awareness of the violations but not to identify or endanger any person's privacy... There is still much work to do in America...Trace 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Disgusted, dirty, and angry: You can help stop the deportation of Russell Green.

American Holocaust of Native People (videos)

The powerful and hard-hitting documentary, American Holocaust (below), is quite possibly the only film that reveals the link between the Nazi holocaust, which claimed at least 6 million Jews, and the American Holocaust which claimed, according to conservative estimates, 19 million Indigenous People.

It is seldom noted anywhere in fact, be it in textbooks or on the internet, that Hitler studied Americas Indian policy, and used it as a model for what he termed "the final solution."

He wasn't the only one either. Its not explicitly mentioned in the film, but its well known that members of the National Party government in South Africa studied the American approach before they introduced the system of racial apartheid, which lasted from 1948 to 1994. Other fascist regimes, for instance, in South and Central America, studied the same policy.

19 Million Native People is a HOLOCAUST! 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

WE NEED YOU NOW! New Bill in WA state

IMPORTANT!! New WA bill for OBCs and Non-ID! 

Write these lawmakers! I did!

Penni writes on Soaring Angels:
Hello- We have a new bill this year that would release original birth certificates (OBC) to Washington State adoptees AND would also compel counties and adoption agencies to give out ALL possibly non-id (changes the 'shall' to 'will' in the non-id RCW - YAY!!).

This bill is House Bill 2211:
http://apps. billinfo/ summary.aspx? bill=2211

Because there are certain legislators who are extremely anti-open records, we did have to agree to a compromise this year. This compromise would add an option for birth parents to file an affidavit of non-closure, which would
mean the adoptee couldn't get their original birth certificate. 

The good thing about this particular compromise is that it would expire every 2 years and the birth parent would have to renew it. Also, even if a birth parent would file an affidavit of non-disclosure, the adoptee would
still be able to get their non-identifying information.


We need all of you with a WA connection to contact your state representative and ask them to support House Bill 2211 (HB 2211). 

You can find your representatives here:
http://apps. DistrictFinder/ Default.aspx

If any of you live in a district with a representative on the House Judiciary Committee, and would be willing to set up a meeting, we could arrange to have someone from WA-CARE go with you to the meeting. 

Here are the members of the Judiciary Committee:
http://www.leg. Committees/ JUDI/Pages/ MembersStaff. aspx. 

Do any of you live in the districts belonging to Sen. Becker, Sen. Keiser, Sen. Stevens, and Sen. Pridemore?? If yes, we also need to try to set up meetings with one of these sentators in the event that the bill passes the
house and moves on to the senate, need to find a potential senator to sponsor the bill.

For more information about the efforts in WA to get the adoption laws changed, see the WA-CARE website: aspx

Next WA-CARE meeting: Wed, Jan 18, 2012, 11.30am at Cutter's Point Coffee, 5750 Ruddell Road SE, Lacey, WA.

Any comments or questions, please email WA-CARE at washingtonadopteerights@gmail. com
Thanks! Penni

From Trace: Write a letter to the legislators and email Penni and tell your story - good and bad - adoption secrecy is like a cancer and needs maximum exposure aimed at the lawmakers. The adoptee and their stories are critical to change these lawmakers minds.

TO:  Representative Tina Orwall

FROM:  Ms. Trace A DeMeyer

BILL:   2211 (For Adoptee Rights)

  Dear Rep Tina Orwall
I did live and work in WA state for many years but currently live in MA.
I am an adoptee and an author. My struggle to find my identity, my medical history, my ancestry, my family and my tribe is detailed in my memoir ONE SMALL SACRIFICE: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects. My book is on Amazon. My blog ( has research and history and many articles by and about adoptees who are also struggling with archaic laws. Not all have American Indian ancestry.
Do you know who you are? Do you know what it is like not to know? Or date someone who could be your relative? Or get sick and not have medical history? Or have a fake birth certificate and now with the REAL ID ACT you may not be able to get a new drivers license or passport.
My friends Wanda and Tom are WA state adoptees and cannot find their parents. Is that right? They are adults, not children. It's possible their parents are dead but they remember their siblings before they were taken to CT to be adopted. That was a part of the Indian Adoption Project.
Excerpt from my second book SPLIT FEATHERS: TWO WORLDS
Administered by the Child Welfare League of America and funded by a federal contract from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Children’s Bureau, the Indian Adoption Project lasted from 1958 through 1967. During an era when matching dominated adoption practice, it placed 395 Native American children from 16 western states with white families in Illinois, Indiana, New York, Massachusetts, Missouri, and other states in the East and Midwest. (Only 14 children were adopted by Southern families and one child was adopted in Puerto Rico.) Approximately fifty public and private adoption agencies cooperated with the project, but the largest number of children were placed by agencies that were leaders in African-American adoptions and services to children of color: Louise Wise Services and Spence-Chapin Adoption Services (both of New York) and the Children’s Bureau of Delaware.
Because tribes are legally considered sovereign nations, the incorporation of Indian children into non-Indian families constituted a kind of international as well as transracial adoption...The Indian Adoption Project was perhaps the single most important exception to race-matching... It aspired to systematically place an entire child population across lines of nation, culture, and race. (85% of Indian children in 16 states were placed in CLOSED ADOPTIONS)(Each state had its own program after IAP using the ARENA projects which moved thousands of Indian children from Canada and the US to non-Indian adoptive families. I have more proof in book 2.)
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Native Americans challenged the idea that the Indian Adoption Project was a triumph and denounced the project as the most recent in a long line of genocidal policies toward native communities and cultures. In June 2001, Child Welfare League Executive Director Shay Bilchik legitimated Native concerns, formally apologizing for the Indian Adoption Project at a meeting of the National Indian Child Welfare Association. He put the Child Welfare League of America on record in support of the Indian Child Welfare Act. “No matter how well intentioned and how squarely in the mainstream this was at the time,” he said, “it was wrong; it was hurtful; and it reflected a kind of bias that surfaces feelings of shame.” Source:
When you consider all the lies and secrecy and harm that surrounds adoption, how does that make you feel? Trace A. DeMeyer

RESPONSE:  Ms. DeMeyer has requested a response to this message.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Adopters battle with Cherokee Father

Couple battles tribe over adoption

Columbia, South Carolina (WLTX) - A Lowcountry couple with a Midlands connection is working to get back the little girl they adopted two years ago, after a judge granted custody to the biological father under the Indian Child Welfare Act.
"I'll always remember her crying when we had to - we had to walk out of that office and leave her there," says Melanie Capobianco. Two years ago, she and her husband Matt first helped to welcome Veronica into the world.
According to their website, her birth mother selected the Charleston couple to adopt her and they remain close. They also say her birth father signed a document saying he wouldn't contest the adoption. But after a court battle, Veronica's birth father claimed custody under the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978. "Specifically, it says that tribes have to be notified when children of their members, or eligible members, are being placed outside the home. Tribes have to be given a chance to intervene," explains David Simmons with the National Indian Child Welfare Association.
He says their culture is an important aspect of the Native American community. "Their culture, nobody else can provide that for them. And they have a right to be able to experience that relationship with their tribe," says Simmons.
On New Year's Eve, Veronica's birth father took her with him to Oklahoma, where he lives. While Simmons is sympathetic to the Capobiancos' struggle, he's seen similar cases before. "Oftentimes, when we hear about cases like this, we find out that there hasn't, the person who was facilitating - sort of the expert in doing this work - wasn't following the Indian Child Welfare Act as closely as they should've been," he says.
The couple did get to talk to Veronica on the phone earlier this week. "She said, 'Hi mommy! Hi daddy!' She sounded really excited to hear us and she said, 'I love you, I love you,' numerous times," says Melanie. 
But they're still fighting to have more than just her voice back in their home.
Melanie is originally from Winnsboro. She and her husband's appeal to the South Carolina Supreme Court is already underway, but the case probably won't be heard until this spring.
News19 did leave a message for Veronica's birth father's attorney, but has not yet heard back. Click here for the TV broadcast

My thoughts:
The slant in this story is the child is/was better off with the adoptive parents and the bio-dad is not enough Indian to matter - if you read the comments after this story.
The idea behind the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was to protect children. Adoption does not protect us if the courts place a child outside of their tribal family. The courts should respect a father's right to parent and have custody... in this case the mother had given consent for adoption of Veronica but not the father who is Cherokee.
If both parents consent to adoption, if that is the only option for a child, then other family needs to raise the child within the tribe...
Disregarding federal law and the sovereignty of Native American people is obvious in too many cases of adoption in the last 30 years since ICWA. South Carolina is among them.

Friday, January 6, 2012

What you need to know about REUNIONS

The Reunion 

Reunions come in many styles and with many variations, but the essence is still the same. This is the "meeting" - the reconnection - of two people who for all intents and purposes are closely related, but who are relative strangers. Like the development of any relationship, that of adoptee and birth relative takes time and effort. There is something profoundly mystical and magical about reunions. They require lots of work, lots of concentration and, above all, a sense of humour. Rules of etiquette which have been developed through experience may make things run more smoothly.

Do be honest. There have been enough lies and secrets.

Do share information as appropriate, both in the initial call (if there is one) and later, when you meet. Sometimes questions come as a reflex and may not need to be answered that very moment. For example, to "How did you find me?" you might respond "It was not easy. I'll tell you the whole story sometime. Right now let's enjoy this wonderful meeting." To "Who is my birth father?" one might respond "I will tell you the whole story, but right now I need some time to reflect on what has happened. But I promise I'll tell you the truth." A related principle is that if an immediate answer to your questions is not forthcoming, try to be patient-within reason-with the other person.

Do try to laugh. This is a joyful situation. Don't make it into a frightening experience. There is enough inherent drama in the incredible event taking place without adding to the tension. Be prepared to go whitewater rafting and hang on tight!

Do try to keep it simple. In birth parent searches, do not try to find both parents at once (unless, of course, they are still together). The emotional upheaval that may ensue could spoil the hope of future successes.

Do plan your first meeting in a place where either party can feel confident and safe. The situation is emotional enough without adding to it the fear of not being able to "get away" if there is a problem. A cozy corner in a public place (behind the potted palms in a large hotel lounge) can be just fine. If you decide this is working well, you can move to somewhere more private.

Do keep the first meeting shorter rather than longer, if possible. This gives everyone time to take a breather, re-assess the situation and consider the future relationship. It is always easier meeting for the second time. (If you have to travel some distance to meet, the "second time" may be the day after your initial meeting.)

Do try to avoid a huge family picnic as the way to introduce your new-found relative to the clan. It can be very overwhelming to meet 50 relatives at once.

Do keep an open mind. The birth family may be very different from the adoptive family. Try not to judge one against the other until you get to know them better.

Do have realistic expectations. The moment of reunion is not the time to decide you really only wanted "medical information" or that you are not ready to pursue a relationship. It is cruel to set the other party up to expect more than you are prepared to give. Be honest with yourself and try to look at your reasons for searching and the limits of what you can accept. Talk with your support system ahead of time about the limits; if you're in an uncomfortable situation, try to resolve it directly and privately. 

Do have a frank discussion of how the adoptee will address the birth parent and other birth relatives, and vice versa, following the reunion. Some birth mothers want their surrendered children to call them "Mom," but adoptees already have one "Mom" in their life and may not be comfortable using that title for anyone but their adoptive mother. Likewise, some adoptees are eager to call their birth mother "Mom," but the birth mother may not be comfortable being called "Mom" by a child she did not raise. Good manners would also direct that any discussion of how the adoptee will refer to his or her birth relatives not take place in the presence of a roomful of relatives. One needs to be very flexible. If this issue becomes one of contention, a re-examination of expectations may be in order.

Don't try to compete with established family holiday procedures unless everyone agrees. Like the name issue, this is not worth the anguish it can cause. Keep it simple. Many reunited relatives get bogged down in the minutiae of names and festivals instead of being thrilled that they have found each other.

Do try to respect the other person's wishes about sharing the reunion with other members of the family. For some birth parents, a reluctance to share can go on too long. Try to set limits to your impatience and wait it out. At some point adoptees in this situation may need to re-assess their expectations and make decisions about the future path of the relationship. Advice from an experienced searcher or support group is recommended.

Do be stoic if the other party feels a need to pull back for a while. It is very wise to agree without a huge fuss, great grief, or gnashing of teeth. Such need to pull away is often seen in the reunion process. It allows the person to take stock or re-assess the reunion and its effect on his or her life. Although very painful to the other person, it is best treated with patience and lots of reading. Support groups are great for dealing with the sadness. No one can fix anyone else. They can only fix themselves.

Don't blame yourself for problems in the other person's life. Birth mothers often feel great guilt if the child they relinquished did not grow up as advantaged as they might have hoped, or if religion is not as important in their child's life as it is to them (or vice versa). Adoptees can sometimes feel guilty if the relinquishment experience had a negative impact on the birth mother's life. We cannot turn the clock back no matter how much we might want to. Your relationship starts from the day you meet again. Keep it positive.

Don't plan on moving in with your new relatives. They may be delighted to meet you but they are not looking for a permanent house guest.

Do enjoy the reunion. It's a gift from God. Search and Reunion a good thing? You bet! Should it be carefully thought through? Absolutely! Will it be 100% successful? If we knew the answer to that, we'd be setting up shop in Las Vegas!

[I wish I had known more prior to my reunions in 1994 - this is very good advice...Trace]

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Help for Minnesota Adoptees (I am one, too)

I am an adoptee who was born in Minnesota in 1956.
When I was searching, I did call Catholic Charities since they handled my adoption. This was in the late 1970s and they, of course, were shocked I was asking for my birth certificate and wanting to know who my parents were. They didn't slam down the phone but they were no help at all - but times have changed somewhat since then and this is the  link  to contact Minnesota for access to your birth records and birth certificate.
It is "conditional" access - which means your birthparent has had to file a consent form - and if they have done that, the adoptee will be able to have a certified copy of the original birth records. (read below)
You can check my blog here about what was in my adoption file from Wisconsin; the judge ordered an investigation before my adoption was finalized and the investigator had to get a copies of my files which listed days spent in a Minnesota Catholic orphanage, other records from Minnesota, my foster care address in Wisconsin - prior to my being legally adopted. (Yes, states did transfer children around like Minnesota-Wisconsin-Illinois). I was born in MN but adopted in Wisconsin - which meant I had two places to look. A Wisconsin judge let me read my files in 1979.
In 2010, I did contact Minnesota to request a copy of my original birth certificate. Because records are still sealed, they said NO. My birthmother Helen died in 2007, so she obviously will not ever give her consent.
This also presents a problem since the government will be refusing to give certain people with strange-looking birth certificates a driver's license in the not-too-distant future. (REAL ID ACT OF 2005)
My friends at Soaring Angels on Yahoo Groups (search angels for adoptees & birthfamilies) posted this so I wanted to share it with adoptees who need help in Minnesota!

Access to Original Birth Record in MN

A child, age 19 or older who was adopted, may request a non-certified copy of the original birth record. To request a non-certified copy, complete the Adoptee's Request for Original Birth Record Information and Search for Affidavit of Disclosure or Non-Disclosure( Interactive PDF: 60KB/1 page)
< us/divs/chs/ osr/disclosesear chnew.pdf> . 

Mail the completed form with a fee of $13 to the Minnesota Department of Health, Central Cashiering - Vital Records, P.O. Box 64499, St. Paul, Minnesota 55164-0499.

If a birth parent has given permission to release the original birth information to the child, MDH will send the child a non-certified copy of the original birth record. If no Affidavit of Disclosure or Non-Disclosure
has been filed, MDH will notify the child that a non-certified copy of the original birth record cannot be released at this time. MDH will also notify the Department of Human Services for the purpose of conducting a search for
the birth parent(s) according to Minnesota Statutes, section 259.89. The search may take up to six months. MDH will contact the child when the search is complete.

Searches for Information about Siblings or Parents who were Adopted
The Minnesota Department of Health does not retain adoption information. The Office of the State Registrar retains:

1) current birth records that include the post adoption names of adopted persons and their adopted parents; and
2) the original birth record that includes original birth information.

The original birth record may be released only:

1) by court order
2) to the adopted person if the parent(s) named on the original birth record have been given permission; or
3) to a parent named on the original birth record.
Other than releasing the original birth record as described above, the Office of the State Registrar does not provide post adoption services and cannot help with searches for information about siblings or parents. If you are looking for information about a sibling or a parent who was adopted, please contact the adoption agency or the Minnesota Department of Human Services at 651-431-4682 or write to: Minnesota Department of Human Services, Child Safety and Permanency Division, Adoption Assitance Program, P.O. Box 64944, St. Paul, MN 55164-0944.

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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.

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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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