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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Time Machine #NAAM2019


By Trace L Hentz (blog editor)


There is no time machine to transport you back to the moment you were abandoned. You can’t erase how you felt or how it feels now. Or how it controls your life. Or how it breaks your heart into a million pieces. You don’t know how to stop feeling this way. You pray you’ll find your family, some one like you, who gets you, who looks like you. You want to put the pieces of your life back together, but you don’t know how.


These were thoughts I had – as I was processing.

Yes, there are adoptees who also feel this but never get to say it. I see it on their face. I hear their words and their silence.

No matter how much love and care we are given, the truth is – we are (and will always be) someone else’s children. We’re just not able to say it out loud, usually.

No doctor diagnosed me with birth trauma or splitting sickness. Therapists would recommend drugs which would only deaden my senses, missing the whole point. I didn’t want to feel more dead; I was already dead, or at least part of me was. I wanted to feel alive! Instead I just shut down. Power off.
My sickness was a dead zone, a black hole. It was not visible on my skin, nor did it raise its ugly head in one outburst or one tantrum.

I heard a story about another adoptee, a doctor with an Ivy League education, who was unable to meet his birthmother before she died. His wife told me he was never able to get the information he needed to find his birthfather, or know his identity.

Regardless of this man’s expensive education and medical training, the pain wounded him so badly he just couldn’t function, feel love or have a successful relationship. The pain was so deep, he couldn’t see it.

His wife told their therapist about his adoption, how he reacted, and how he seemed cold, heartless. Even marriage counseling didn’t save their marriage. Their therapist thought his adoption trauma was too much for him to handle; trying to work on it might kill what was left of him.

I’m not sure where I got my strength.

(excerpt from One Small Sacrifice, which is out of print)

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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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where were you adopted?

where were you adopted?