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Support Info: If you are a Survivor and need emotional support, a national crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week: Residential School Survivor Support Line: 1-866-925-4419. Additional Health Support Information: Emotional, cultural, and professional support services are also available to Survivors and their families through the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program. Services can be accessed on an individual, family, or group basis.” These & regional support phone numbers are found at https://nctr.ca/contact/survivors/ .
THANK YOU MEGWETCH for reading
How did you feel? Can you imagine this?
This is the last post for #NAAM, or National Adoption Awareness Month, and it's something I wrote a few years back:
How did you feel…
I’m trying something new. New is scary for me, but, it’s something I
thought of doing for a while on many different topics. I decided
to start with adoptee rights which means that there are two different
questions for adoptees, and a third question for other voices.
Hopefully, hearing feelings of others may convince people to change
their mind and support upcoming legislation.
1. When you are denied the right to your factual original birth certificate, how does it make you feel?
2. For those who’ve finally gained the right to the original
birth certificate, tell me how it felt when you held your original
birth certificate in your hands.
3. Other voices in adoption, how does it makes you feel
knowing your child either has the right to their original birth
certificate upon request, just like non-adopted do, or doesn’t have the
(If you want to answer on Tao’s post, here is the link)
I will answer number one. I can answer number one.
When I was 22, I called Catholic Charities in Minnesota who said to
me, “Sorry we can’t help you. All our adoption records are sealed.” They
had my adoption file since 1956 and they had my name. They had me in
their system somewhere – this church who had sold me into this adoption,
and a life of lies and fake documents. These social
workers/nuns/priests had my identity locked up in a drawer somewhere and
they weren’t going to tell me anything? Exactly. (I felt very angry and
very desperate. What could I do?)
Have you imagined what it would be like to not know your own family?
How you might meet someone and wonder “could we be cousins or siblings?”
I was 22. I had questions about my health, my medical history, and
nothing to write on the doctor’s office forms. Can you imagine this?
People who are not adopted, can you?
At age 22, I was hurt. I was. After calling them, I was so hurt.
Actually devastated. And to make matters worse, my adoptive parents
would never be helpful. (They probably had my adoption file hidden away –
they never showed it to me or offered me any help.) At that point I was
a college graduate and living on my own. This phone call to Catholic
Charities was my decision and I didn’t need anyone’s permission to
search for my own adoption records. AND I wasn’t sharing anything
important about my search since my adoptive parents had very little
contact with me.
WOW – I do recall how I felt anger. How in the world can I live this
way? I might be dating my own brother! I might be working with a cousin
or my own parent? Fuming hostile anger!
There was nowhere to put this anger. I didn’t have a counselor to guide me. I had no one. (Yet I never felt sorry for myself.)
Then finally I had an idea. Go to the courthouse. I did. The rest is in my memoir (in greater detail.)
I found out my name. I had my mother’s name. I had a physical description of my father and his age.
I was 22 and NAIVE so this adoption file was a thick legal file. I
had no idea what I was reading but this court proceeding was about ME. I
took notes. I kept two scraps of paper like they were my most important
possession. (In 2010 I petitioned the state of Wisconsin where I was
adopted and paid for my own adoption file, not the same thick file I
read in the courthouse at age 22.)
I wanted and still want my REAL birth certificate.
Many times, many letters I mailed to the state of Minnesota. I asked
them for a copy of my original birth certificate (OBC). They always
refuse. I talk to a judge friend and she made inquiries for me –
nothing. I asked again last year and nothing.
A simple piece of paper – a copy of my own birth certificate – is not
mine to have? Apparently not in Minnesota. If I lived in Alaska or
Maine, I’d have it by now.
How do I feel about this, my fake birth certificate that lists two
people as my biological parents when they are not? I am much older now…
Now I feel this is an grave injustice, a human rights violation, a
travesty. I didn’t agree to these conditions. I didn’t ask to be
adopted. I DID find my biological family after I read my adoption file but I still want that simple piece of paper. I deserve it.
Anger is one thing. Feeling outrage is another.
I wrote a letter (in 2015) to the ACLU in Minnesota and asked
for their help. I wanted their help to sue Catholic Charities for
stealing my identity and holding my adoption file and identity hostage.
(ACLU turned me down.)
This is war. I am still fighting.
(A few years back, a member of CUB (Concerned United Birthparents)
sent me a file. It’s a copy of my original baptismal record from
Catholic Charities in Minnesota. On a single piece of paper is my
mothers name and my name Laura Jean Thrall crossed out and replaced with
new parents and my new name.)
How would you feel?
Canada's Residential Schools
The religious organizations that operated the schools — the Anglican Church of Canada, Presbyterian Church in Canada, United Church of Canada, Jesuits of English Canada and some Catholic groups — in 2015 expressed regret
for the “well-documented” abuses. The Catholic Church has never offered an official apology, something that Trudeau and others have repeatedly called for.
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Did you know?
New York’s 40-year battle for OBC access ended when on January 15 2020, OBCs were opened to ALL New York adoptees upon request without restriction. In only three days, over 3,600 adoptees filed for their record of birth. The bill that unsealed records was passed 196-12.
According to the 2020 Census, 3.6% of Colorado's population is American Indian or Alaska Native, at least in part, with the descendants of at least 200 tribal nations living in the Denver metro area.
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.
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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