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Monday, December 21, 2020

My adoptive parents tried to erase my Indigenous identity. They failed.

 Kim Wheeler was adopted during the Sixties Scoop and fought to find her way back to her culture

My name is Kim Wheeler but some know me as Kim Ziervogel. Others will remember me as Kim Bell, and to a small group of people I will always be Ruby Linda Bruyere. But the name game doesn't stop there. Why would someone have so many different names? Are they all aliases? Are they hiding from their past? From the law?

In my case, it's none of these. I'm a Sixties Scoop survivor and those names were given to me through birth, adoption and two marriages.

Dark painful secrets

A lot of things go unsaid because I've handled my trauma so well, I think. I've been told often I am a well-adjusted human. It comes from how I was raised and all the dirty secrets I had to keep in my childhood. Victims of sexual abuse are great at keeping secrets. At least I was.

My adopted father turned out to be a pedophile. It's something even until last year, my oldest adopted sibling and I argued about. That is, until I went into graphic detail about the abuse inflicted on me and then she seemed to accept it was the right term. 

My adoptive mother was a different case. She was psychologically abusive. She wore me down until all I could be was a "yes" person to everyone I met. It wasn't until I was in my 30s that I started to stand up for myself and began to say "no" to people. To this day, I still struggle with saying no, although some people wouldn't believe that. It's an internal process that unfolds in milliseconds.  

My brother, who is also First Nations, was adopted as well. Our adoptive parents would drive us down to Logan Ave. and Main Street in Winnipeg and point out the Indigenous people who were homeless or living marginally.

READ: My adoptive parents tried to erase my Indigenous identity. They failed. | CBC Radio

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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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New York’s 4o-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.

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ADOPTION TRUTH

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.

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