Archive for January, 2007


January 31, 2007

I post news stories to get others to read them. I want to point out to the non-adopted individual that there are problems with adoption. As my friend Wraith has pointed out, foster care adoption and step parent both allow access to their records. With the many many first parent blogs out there, their voices are beginning to become a roar. Soon it will become a deafening roar. As their stories are becoming more and more open and recorded. The outlandish things that groups like the NCFA and others say, the more that they prove them wrong.

I have been given an opportunity to help out with my birth state in creating laws for adoptee acess. I hope that I do it right. I am also planning on changing stuff with my home state. Adoptee access laws are becoming more and more prevalent. Its up to us to make our voices heard.

The statistics from Oregon are overwhelming. I found out today that adoptions are on the increase in Oregon. Up the last two years by ten percent. So open records cause adoptions to go down. Just look at Oregon. I bet their abortion statistics are down. From what I understand, they are down. So if Oregon can be a cause in point. Look at their laws – they opened their records for their adoptees. Allowed them unfetter access to their birth certificates. None of the horrors have occurred to them.

Privacy rules are hogwash. In our society, we place value on true kinship. Adoptees are left out in the cold. We are told to shut up and be grateful. We are told we were lucky that we weren’t aborted or left in a dumpster. Those kind of comments dismiss our feelings. Those kind of comments discredit our first mothers severely. I know that 99% of Oregon first parents don’t like to be thought of as throwing their kids away. Most did not have a choice in the matter even the older ones. If you were single and pregnant, oh you just shamed the family, society and yourself. That is incredible pressure to live under. Society still tries to disgrace women for having children outside of wedlock. That is why they push adoption so much. In Oregon, the court justices made their opinions clear. In abortion, parenting and contraception, women were exercising their right to privacy. With adoption, women are giving up their rights. This includes the right to privacy. Most did not want the right to privacy. Again the statistics speak volumes out of Oregon. If you are a state legislator visiting my site or the many other links, you can visit their website. The court justices also ruled that the right to privacy was about the right to be free from governmental intrusion. This includes the state governmental intrusion into adoptees lives. State governments are intruding on adoptees’ right to make sound decisions about their lives. Adoptees are soldiers – there are two that I know of – myself and Wraith. We are parents of our children. We work hard at jobs both at home and a work environment. Yet somehow we are lesser because we are the forever children of adoption. Those same justices also said that no first parent has the fundamental right to put their children up for adoption; they also do not have the right to put their child up for adoption in anonymous circumstances. Evidence of this is when the adoption records are sealed. They are sealed at the time of the finalization, not when the relinquishment papers were signed. So there could not be any promise of privacy. They were told that they could not ever know their children. They were told to go on with their lives. Many still live under that fear and stigma. My own first mother does.

Adoptees have long since been stigmatized by these laws. It was the adoption agencies, adoptive parents, adoption attorneys, and the social workers that closed the records. We are being bound by decisions made about us for us. Upon the legal majority, we are still being treated like children. We are treated like ungrateful brats because we seek what is rightfully ours. A friend of mine refused contact with her first mother, yet I know that she would still like her original birth certificate. Her first mother has respected her decision. One day I hope she changes her mind. What we choose to do with our information is up to us. There are stalking and harassment laws that cover if we step out of line. All they and we have to do is file a contact preference form. We don’t need laws that give first parents way too much control over our lives. Make adoption clean and honest again. It is up to you, our society, to do this. Adoption agencies, adoption attorneys, and their ilk should not be making the laws that define our existance. It is up to adoptees and their families to make these laws.

I know this to be a fact as well. They just want the product (adoptees), the money (the adoptive parents), and the first parents ( the producer) just for money and that is it. They don’t care who they hurt in the process. We are just their profit.

Give us access to the birth certificates that factually record our birth.



January 31, 2007

Bar association opposes adoptee bill
This is in response to those who oppose S-1087/A-3237 (Vitale/Allen/Manzo), which permits adopted persons and certain others access to the adopted person’s original birth certificate and other related information. The New Jersey State Bar Association has had long history in advancing New Jersey’s adoption laws to the benefit of all of the parties involved in the adoption process.
Our position on this issue is grounded not from the viewpoint of self-interest of lawyers or the legal community, but what is in the best interest of the entire adoption community. Historically, the association has supported the mutual consent adoption registries and supports adult adoptees’ access to non-identifying medical, cultural and family history information and to the original birth certificate if made prospective in its application.
We object to the current legislation for many reasons. New Jerseyans and in particular birth parents should not have to make an affirmative step to maintain their privacy rights, especially given that most will be unaware that such rights are in jeopardy.
New Jersey adoption law has, since its enactment, promised confidentiality to birth parents, allowing access upon a legal showing of good cause. While some have characterized this legislation as the “birthright bill” it is clear that for some, only one party in the adoption process has rights – adult adoptees.
The legislation invades the birth mother’s reasonable expectation of privacy, which would be forfeited if she does not comply with the draconian and cumbersome procedures in the bill.
The bill also conflicts with the New Jersey Safe Haven Infant Protection Act, which allows a person to safely and anonymously surrender custody of an unwanted infant with no questions asked.
The New Jersey State Bar Association has drafted compromise legislation that strikes a critical balance of providing adopted persons with liberal access to their family, medical, cultural and social history information while also providing birth parents with the opportunity to maintain their privacy.
While we recognize and sympathize with the high emotional stakes of this legislation, mischaracterizations of the Bar Association’s position on this issue does not make it so. We hope that this will clarify the association’s position for the benefit of all.
Valerie Brown, legislative counsel, New Jersey State Bar Association


January 31, 2007

Report criticizes social workers
Inquiry finds lies, falsified records

By Deborah Yetter
The Courier-Journal

State social workers and supervisors in the Hardin County region lied in court, falsified records about child abuse and neglect cases and mistreated parents and children, a state investigation has found.

In 13 cases, alleged violations have been referred to local prosecutors for possible criminal charges, according to the report released yesterday by the inspector general for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

“Such individual conduct is cause for grave concern and must not in any way whatsoever be condoned, minimized or excused,” according to the report from Inspector General Robert J. Benvenuti III.

The workers are not named in the report, and state officials declined to identify them or say how many are involved, saying they don’t want to jeopardize possible criminal charges or disciplinary action.

Mary Henderson, a Lexington mother of four who has testified before two state panels in the past year about her problems with the child welfare system, called the findings “heart-wrenching.”

“I think about how many families that have been affected by illegal and immoral behavior,” she said.

The investigation was triggered by a report by advocates a year ago that found families in that region believed they were treated badly by the system, that their rights were ignored and social workers hastily sought removal of children from homes for so-called “quick trigger adoptions.”

The inspector general’s report did not substantiate the adoption allegation but found other problems.

The report found that most social workers are dedicated and honest, but some in the eight-county Lincoln Trail social service region operated a rogue child welfare system “free from any meaningful oversight,” the report said.

The year-long investigation focused on conduct of state workers in cases where children were removed from their parents — sometimes permanently — and placed in adoptive or foster homes.

Sharon Ray of Elizabethtown, who battled the local social service office for several years to get custody of her stepgrandson, who had been severely abused, said she’s glad problems she observed have been exposed.

“What really bothered me is that they weren’t acting in the child’s best interest,” she said.

‘Cloak of secrecy… must be removed’
Tom Emberton Jr., state undersecretary for social services, said he doesn’t know immediately how the cabinet can correct problems in past cases, but officials will try to do so.

He said most top supervisors at the Hardin office have been replaced and a management team at the region reports to him.

The inspector general’s report lists a number of recommendations to improve the system and reduce the possibility of abuses. But its primary recommendation is for the state to eliminate the secrecy that surrounds the child welfare system and court proceedings involving child abuse and neglect.

“We strongly believe that the cloak of secrecy that currently dominates the process is not in the best interests of Kentucky’s children and must be removed as part of any material reform,” it said.

Worse than suspected
Alleged violations cited in the report include:

Workers falsified records showing they had conducted home visits of families under investigation. Also, supervisors sometimes ordered social workers to conduct home visits when no one was home to make it appear families were not cooperative.

Workers added or omitted information in case files to mislead judges who must decide whether to terminate parents’ rights. Some workers also gave false testimony in court about cases.

Workers ignored parents’ complaints about problems in foster homes, including one case in which the biological mother had said her children were filthy, poorly clothed and lice-infested when she saw them. Investigators found the foster home dirty, cluttered and foul-smelling, with dogs and goats in a yard that was overgrown and strewn with trash.

Supervisors sometimes created their own policies, and arbitrarily tried to remove children from homes. In one case, a judge became so angry at how social workers treated a family whose children had been removed temporarily that he told them “they no longer needed to cooperate with the cabinet.”

Workers who tried to report wrongdoing said they suffered retaliation. In one case, supervisors sought to discipline a worker who had provided evidence to the inspector general during the investigation.

Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, which helped produce the report, called the findings “shocking.”

“It’s worse than we ever suspected,” said Brooks, whose organization compiled its report on the Hardin County region along with David Richart, a longtime youth advocate in Louisville and director of the National Institute on Children, Youth and Families.

The report does not state a motive for the alleged wrongdoing but cited a “culture” among some workers “which thrived on the power of controlling certain families.”

Richart said that is consistent with what the advocates found through interviews with families and workers in the Hardin County region.

“There are people who are power hungry working cases,” he said.


January 30, 2007

Adoption Bonuses: The Money Behind the Madness

This article talks about the incentives to remove babies from family in the United States: Bonuses: The Money Behind the Madness DSS and affiliates rewarded for breaking up families By Nev Moore Massachusetts News Child “protection” is one of the biggest businesses in the country. We spend $12 billion a year on it. The money goes to tens of thousands of a) state employees, b) collateral professionals, such as lawyers, court personnel, court investigators, evaluators and guardians, judges, and c) DSS contracted vendors such as counselors, therapists, more “evaluators”, junk psychologists, residential facilities, foster parents, adoptive parents, MSPCC, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, YMCA, etc. This newspaper is not big enough to list all of the people in this state who have a job, draw a paycheck, or make their profits off the kids in DSS custody. In this article I explain the financial infrastructure that provides the motivation for DSS to take people’s children – and not give them back. In 1974 Walter Mondale promoted the Child Abuse and Prevention Act which began feeding massive amounts of federal funding to states to set up programs to combat child abuse and neglect. From that came Child “Protective” Services, as we know it today. After the bill passed, Mondale himself expressed concerns that it could be misused. He worried that it could lead states to create a “business” in dealing with children. Then in 1997 President Clinton passed the “Adoption and Safe Families Act.” The public relations campaign promoted it as a way to help abused and neglected children who languished in foster care for years, often being shuffled among dozens of foster homes, never having a real home and family. In a press release from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services dated November 24, 1999, it refers to “President Clinton’s initiative to double by 2002 the number of children in foster care who are adopted or otherwise permanently placed.” It all sounded so heartwarming. We, the American public, are so easily led. We love to buy stereotypes; we just eat them up, no questions asked. But, my mother, bless her heart, taught me from the time I was young to “consider the source.” In the stereotype that we’ve been sold about kids in foster care, we picture a forlorn, hollow-eyed child, thin and pale, looking up at us beseechingly through a dirt streaked face. Unconsciously, we pull up old pictures from Life magazine of children in Appalachia in the 1930s. We think of orphans and children abandoned by parents who look like Manson family members. We play a nostalgic movie in our heads of the little fellow shyly walking across an emerald green, manicured lawn to meet Ward and June Cleaver, his new adoptive parents, who lead him into their lovely suburban home. We imagine the little tyke’s eyes growing as big as saucers as the Cleavers show him his very own room, full of toys and sports gear. And we just feel so gosh darn good about ourselves. Now it’s time to wake up to the reality of the adoption business. Very few children who are being used to supply the adoption market are hollow-eyed tykes from Appalachia. Very few are crack babies from the projects. [Oh… you thought those were the children they were saving? Think again]. When you are marketing a product you have to provide a desirable product that sells. In the adoption business that would be nice kids with reasonably good genetics who clean up good. An interesting point is that the Cape Cod & Islands office leads the state in terms of processing kids into the system and having them adopted out. More than the inner city areas, the projects, Mission Hill, Brockton, Lynn, etc. Interesting… With the implementation of the Adoption and Safe Families Act, President Clinton tried to make himself look like a humanitarian who is responsible for saving the abused and neglected children. The drive of this initiative is to offer cash “bonuses” to states for every child they have adopted out of foster care, with the goal of doubling their adoptions by 2002, and sustaining that for each subsequent year. They actually call them “adoption incentive bonuses,” to promote the adoption of children. Where to Find the Children A whole new industry was put into motion. A sweet marketing scheme that even Bill Gates could envy. Now, if you have a basket of apples, and people start giving you $100 per apple, what are you going to do? Make sure that you have an unlimited supply of apples, right? The United States Department of Health & Human Services administers Child Protective Services. To accompany the ASF Act, the President requested, by executive memorandum, an initiative entitled Adoption 2002, to be implemented and managed by Health & Human Services. The initiative not only gives the cash adoption bonuses to the states, it also provides cash adoption subsidies to adoptive parents until the children turn eighteen. Everybody makes money. If anyone really believes that these people are doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, then I’ve got some bad news for you. The fact that this program is run by HHS, ordered from the very top, explains why the citizens who are victims of DSS get no response from their legislators. It explains why no one in the Administration cares about the abuse and fatalities of children in the “care” of DSS, and no one wants to hear about the broken arms, verbal abuse, or rapes. They are just business casualties. It explains why the legislators I’ve talked to for the past three years look at me with pity. Because I’m preaching to the already damned. The legislators have forgotten who funds their paychecks and who they need to account to, as has the Governor. Because it isn’t the President. It’s us. How DSS Is Helped The way that the adoption bonuses work is that each state is given a baseline number of expected adoptions based on population. For every child that DSS can get adopted, there is a bonus of $4,000 to $6,000. But that is just the starting figure in a complex mathematical formula in which each bonus is multiplied by the percentage that the state has managed to exceed its baseline adoption number. The states must maintain this increase in each successive year. [Like compound interest.] The bill reads: “$4,000 to $6,000 will be multiplied by the amount (if any) by which the number of foster child adoptions in the State exceeds the base number of foster child adoptions for the State for the fiscal year.” In the “technical assistance” section of the bill it states that, “the Secretary [of HHS] may, directly or through grants or contracts, provide technical assistance to assist states and local communities to reach their targets for increased numbers of adoptions for children in foster care.” The technical assistance is to support “the goal of encouraging more adoptions out of the foster care system; the development of best practice guidelines for expediting the termination of parental rights; the development of special units and expertise in moving children toward adoption as a permanent goal; models to encourage the fast tracking of children who have not attained 1 year of age into pre-adoptive placements; and the development of programs that place children into pre-adoptive placements without waiting for termination of parental rights.” In the November press release from HHS it continues, ” HHS awarded the first ever adoption bonuses to States for increases in the adoption of children from the public foster care system.” Some of the other incentives offered are “innovative grants” to reduce barriers to adoption [i.e., parents], more State support for adoptive families, making adoption affordable for families by providing cash subsides and tax credits. A report from a private think tank, the National Center for Policy Analysis, reads: “The way the federal government reimburses States rewards a growth in the size of the program instead of the effective care of children.” Another incentive being promoted is the use of the Internet to make adoption easier. Clinton directed HHS to develop an Internet site to “link children in foster care with adoptive families.” So we will be able to window shop for children on a government web site. If you don’t find anything you like there, you can surf on over to the “Adopt Shoppe.” If you prefer to actually be able to kick tires instead of just looking at pictures you could attend one of DSS’s quaint “Adoption Fairs,” where live children are put on display and you can walk around and browse. Like a flea market to sell kids. If one of them begs you to take him home you can always say, “Sorry. Just looking.” The incentives for government child snatching are so good that I’m surprised we don’t have government agents breaking down people’s doors and just shooting the parents in the heads and grabbing the kids. But then, if you need more apples you don’t chop down your apple trees. Benefits for Foster Parents That covers the goodies the State gets. Now let’s have a look at how the Cleavers make out financially after the adoption is finalized. After the adoption is finalized, the State and federal subsidies continue. The adoptive parents may collect cash subsidies until the child is 18. If the child stays in school, subsidies continue to the age of 22. There are State funded subsidies as well as federal funds through the Title IV-E section of the Social Security Act. The daily rate for State funds is the same as the foster care payments, which range from $410-$486 per month per child. Unless the child can be designated “special needs,” which of course, they all can. According to the NAATRIN State Subsidy profile from DSS, “special needs” may be defined as: “Physical disability, mental disability, emotional disturbance; a significant emotional tie with the foster parents where the child has resided with the foster parents for one or more years and separation would adversely affect the child’s development if not adopted by them.” [But their significant emotional ties with their parents, since birth, never enter the equation.] Additional “special needs” designations are: a child twelve years of age or older; racial or ethnic factors; child having siblings or half-siblings. In their report on the State of the Children, Boston’s Institute for Children says: “In part because the States can garner extra federal funds for special needs children the designation has been broadened so far as to become meaningless.” “Special needs” children may also get an additional Social Security check. The adoptive parents also receive Medicaid for the child, a clothing allowance and reimbursement for adoption costs such as adoption fees, court and attorney fees, cost of adoption home study, and “reasonable costs of food and lodging for the child and adoptive parents when necessary to complete the adoption process.” Under Title XX of the Social Security Act adoptive parents are also entitled to post adoption services “that may be helpful in keeping the family intact,” including “daycare, specialized daycare, respite care, in-house support services such as housekeeping, and personal care, counseling, and other child welfare services”. [Wow! Everything short of being knighted by the Queen!] The subsidy profile actually states that it does not include money to remodel the home to accommodate the child. But, as subsidies can be negotiated, remodeling could possibly be accomplished under the “innovative incentives to remove barriers to adoption” section. The subsidy regulations read that “adoption assistance is based solely on the needs of the child without regard to the income of the family.” What an interesting government policy when compared to the welfare program that the same child’s mother may have been on before losing her children, and in which she may not own anything, must prove that she has no money in the bank; no boats, real estate, stocks or bonds; and cannot even own a car that is safe to drive worth over $1000. This is all so she can collect $539 per month for herself and two children. The foster parent who gets her children gets $820 plus. We spit on the mother on welfare as a parasite who is bleeding the taxpayers, yet we hold the foster and adoptive parents [who are bleeding ten times as much from the taxpayers] up as saints. The adoptive and foster parents aren’t subjected to psychological evaluations, ink blot tests, MMPI’s, drug & alcohol evaluations, or urine screens as the parents are. Adoption subsidies may be negotiated on a case by case basis. [Anyone ever tried to “negotiate” with the Welfare Department?] There are many e-mail lists and books published to teach adoptive parents how to negotiate to maximize their subsidies. As one pro writes on an e-mail list: “We receive a subsidy for our kids of $1,900 per month plus another $500 from the State of Florida. We are trying to adopt three more teens and we will get subsidies for them, too. It sure helps out with the bills.” I can’t help but wonder why we don’t give this same level of support to the children’s parents in the first place? According to Cornell University, about 68% of all child protective cases “do not involve child maltreatment.” The largest percentage of CPS/DSS cases are for “deprivation of necessities” due to poverty. So, if the natural parents were given the incredible incentives and services listed above that are provided to the adoptive parents, wouldn’t it stand to reason that the causes for removing children in the first place would be eliminated? How many less children would enter foster care in the first place? The child protective budget would be reduced from $12 billion to around $4 billion. Granted, tens of thousands of social workers, administrators, lawyers, juvenile court personnel, therapists, and foster parents would be out of business, but we would have safe, healthy, intact families, which are the foundation of any society. That’s just a fantasy, of course. The reality is that maybe we will see Kathleen Crowley’s children on the government home-shopping-for-children web site and some one out there can buy them. May is national adoption month. To support “Adoption 2002,” the U.S. Postal Service is issuing special adoption stamps. Let us hope they don’t feature pictures of kids who are for sale. I urge everyone to boycott these stamps and register complaints with the post office. I know that I’m feeling pretty smug and superior about being part of such a socially advanced and compassionate society. How about you?


January 30, 2007

(CBS4) MIAMI Did Governor Charlie Crist father a child out of wedlock 17 years ago? And should he take a paternity test to settle once and for all the question that first surfaced several months ago?These are the questions now dogging our ever jubilant governor.The allegations that Crist may have fathered a child following a one-night stand first came to light during the Republican primary six months ago. Rebecca O’Dell Townsend, a Tampa area attorney, told reporters that in 1989 she had given up a baby girl for adoption and that Crist was the father.At the time the child was placed for adoption, Crist signed an affidavit relinquishing any parental rights over the child, but he also added a line to the document saying he wasn’t the child’s father.”Parenthood by myself is not possible as I never consummated the act necessary for parenthood.”When the allegations that Crist may have fathered a child surfaced during the Republican primary, Crist admitted knowing the woman but again denied ever having sex with her. He blamed the allegations on dirty politics.But the issue has resurfaced.After reading about the allegations six months ago in the press, a St. Petersburgh couple, Marshall and Cecelia Tucker, became curious.They had adopted a baby girl in 1989. The child they adopted was born in the same hospital and on the same day as the child put up for adoption by Rebecca O’Dell Townsend.And the same attorney who handled the adoption also handled all of the paperwork for O’Dell Townsend..The Tuckers told the St. Petersburgh Times they just wanted to settle the matter and know if Crist was in fact their daughter’s biological father.They tried to quietly contact Crist, but for months the governor ignored them.Now their efforts have become public and Crist has turned mean.Questioned by reporters recently Crist refused to discuss the matter. “There’s nothing to it. It’s absolutely false,” the governor said. “We’re not going to play into it.”Crist is making a huge mistake.If he is not the father, then he should have taken care of this matter privately and quietly months ago by submitting to a DNA test.And even if he is the father, he should take the test and own up to his mistake.This isn’t about politics, this is about a 17-year-old girl trying to figure out who her father is.Her name has been kept out of the press, but she did make the following statement about her desire to know the truth:”It’s not that I want anything from him,” she said, “but if he is my birth father, I think my curiosity is justified.”It certainly is, now the question is: Why not take the test? What is Charlie Crist scared of — ending up on one of those paternity test episodes of the Montel William’s show, entitled: Who’s Your Daddy?


January 30, 2007

RICHMOND, Virginia: Lawmakers here are considering a bill that would make Virginia the first U.S. state to prohibit anonymous sperm and egg donations.
Australia, Britain and a handful of countries in Europe have banned the practice in recent years, and each has seen donations dwindle and the cost of fertility services rise. Opponents warn the same would happen here.
Katrina Clark, 18, is trying to persuade lawmakers to ban anonymous donations so other children will not grow up with the same questions she had.
Clark grew up thinking she was no different from her friends. That changed when she saw a show about a woman who died of a genetic heart disease that she had no idea she was at risk for because she had been adopted.
“That’s when it really hit me for the first time that something was missing,” Clark said.

She was one of the few lucky ones, finding her biological father on an online message board weeks later. A DNA test confirmed what they already knew: it was 99.9902 percent positive that he was her father.
There were more than 15,000 successful egg donations in the U.S. in 2004, the latest data available, resulting in about 6,000 births. Sperm donations and births resulting from them are much more numerous and more difficult to track.
The fertility industry was not fully commercialized until the 1970s, and laws regulating it focus on testing, storing and administering the donations. Only recently has the discussion turned to the ethical repercussions.
Most sperm banks across the United States now give donors the option of allowing their identity to be revealed to offspring once they turn 18.
William Jaeger, director of Fairfax Cyrobank, said just 29 of the bank’s 265 donors have agreed to have their identities revealed.
“I think you need to be careful what you wish for,” Jaeger said. “Legislation of this type would really create a hardship for families who need donor sperm to conceive a child.”
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine also opposes the legislation, saying it would drive up the cost for families to get help conceiving.
“It’s relatively inexpensive to conceive through insemination of donor sperm,” said Dr. Robert Brzyski, chair of the ethics committee for the ASRM. “If donors become scarce because the anonymity is removed, then the cost of that will increase.”
Brzyski also questioned the motivation behind the bill.
“Some would argue that it is a strategy to curtail or eliminate reproductive technology or reproductive choices that certain elements of society don’t approve of,” Brzyski said.
The bill’s sponsor, Robert G. Marshall, is a Christian conservative who is the legislature’s foremost author of legislation to curb abortion and regulate birth control methods.
Marshall said he filed the bill to protect donor-conceived children.
“I saw some little black kid who had a T-shirt on that said ‘My dad’s name is Donor,’ and I thought, that’s pathetic,” Marshall said.
His bill also would require women donating eggs to sign a disclosure detailing all known risks involved. Virginia law already requires that patients be told about the success rates and donor health before being treated.


January 30, 2007

Hey gang let’s welcome a new blogger. Http://

Amy,I’m an adoptee that was adopted by an adoptee and now I have adopted children. Like you, I think adoption sucks. For years I was bitter and resentful of the “normal” lives people lived all around me. I was adopted in 1965 by a military family (Marines)having been relinquished from a Navy family. I was separated from my two older half brothers (like I’m supposed to consider them half at the age of 4). I was sent to a “receiving home” which was simply a glorified name for an orphanage full of unwanteds. My infant sister and I were immediately placed in a foster home with other children of the foster family. I never got to see my brothers again. At the age of 4, you don’t know how to process what is happening and you don’t have anything to compare life to. Being adopted was exciting but the joy was short lived. My new father was sent off to Nam in less than a year. We had to move to the midwest and live in the state of Missouri where all of my amom’s family lived. I became the “adopted” bastard among all of my mother’s 11 brothers and sisters and their children. My Aparents were in their early 40’s when we were adopted and my mother was the youngest in the brood of 12 so you can imagine what going to a family gathering was like. I couldn’t keep the names straight and I have 4th cousins instantly. All this to say that it sucked being the different one. The one that looked nothing like anyone else, who acted differently (raised in California my first 4 1/2 years). And then the threats and forced re-learning only caused me to ask myself every day “Why did my parents give me away?” “What did I do wrong?” And I cringed every time I heard the word “chosen”. It is as though that was the ONLY training the social workers gave my parents was to refer to us as “chosen”! They sure as hell didn’t teach them anything else productive. My mother threatened to “take me back” any time I didn’t do things in line with her perfectionistic attitude. She couldn’t be pleased and I have spent decades unlearning mannerisms which I assumed while growing up. After my father returned from Nam, he met someone who was easier to deal with and divorce happened. In the divorce proceedings, it came out that the adoption was to salvage a marriage gone wrong. I left home when I was 17, and only saw my mother once in my late 20’s. My father and I got along quite well and I usually vacationed with him every couple of years. After I married at the age of 28, my wonderful wife and I waited to have children and a medical condition of hers prevented this once we decided we wanted a family. So once again, I had to address the only way to have a family being adoption. From the decision to adopt, we investigated the domestic options of fostering and then adoption, infant adoption and then international adoption. Living in the state of Massachusetts, we couldn’t bear to deal with the only types of adoption they deemed us eligible for – older kids – because I knew what hell I had gone through. Infant adoption was too heart wrenching to even attempt because you have to go on parade, hope a bmom chooses you to parent their child and then hope they don’t take you to court and take your child back. So we went through the trial of international adoption and i wouldn’t wish this on anyone! We were ripped off by an agency who lied to us about their credentials in Russia (they weren’t and the program was in the process of being shut down when they took our money and never told us their accredidation had been pulled). We had been given a referral for twin boys (our request) and then told they were claimed by their grandmother. This ripped our hearts out as we were led to believe all was well for over 12 months from the time we received the video referral. Then we sought out an agency of high caliber who did adoptions in Guatemala. We liked the program in Guatemala much better as children are fostered as opposed to institutionalized. We waited for only a few months and a referral for unborn twins was presented to us. We were ecstatic. They were still born. My wife and I promised ourselves we would only go through this once more and then we would call it a life without kids. We were called with “virtual twins” which were described to us as same age but unrelated and this particular referral involved 1st cousin boys. Knowing what we knew about the slimy creatures involved in adoption overall, we passed. Less than a week later, twin identical boys were born and we were called the same day. That was in 2002, and our boys are now 4 1/2 – the same age I was when I was relinquished. To look at them and think that someone abandoned me at that age causes me to cringe. I’d kill myself before I gave up a child knowing how the system treated me and I was one of the “lucky” chosen ones. Adoption sucks, there is little to no interest in protecting the children because they aren’t the customers. This world revolves around money and it always will. The child will always be the one who takes the hit, especially in a country that promotes education over every other major life goal, including family. It is considered OK to abort or relinquish if you’ve made an error. Simply erase the problem and go out and try try again. It is OK to hide the records of those who commit such deeds because they need the protection from their shady pasts, while we suffer wondering whether or not we’ll ever find our original family. I did find my original family having been adopted in a state with sealed records. It took me 3 years and a lot of detective work, but I was one of the fortunate ones. I did it long before the internet was commercialized. I joined support groups, I visited libraries and I read every book I could find on the subject (not many). I used every available angle to try and find and it was with the help of another adoptee that I got the lead that led me to my grandfather who never knew I even existed as he had divorced out of the family during my mother’s child bearing years. I accept my fate as one who was dealt adoption and though I think it is a putrid system, it has everything to do my wife and I now having a family. The surface hasn’t even been scratched when it comes to reform, policy or regulation. The Hague is the UN method of trying to make the world play fair. It’s not going to make a difference just as “oil for food” made Saddam rich. People cannot turn down the lust for money that they are born with. All we can do as a people is shout a little louder and get involved when opportunity presents itself. By doing this, we’ll make small changes and persuade corrupt politicians to use us as a means to vault themselves a little higher with an air of humanity as part of their platform. But if that’s what we have to do, so be it. Their means is power, so make use of it. It’s what Gates and Buffett do with their money. They put it into charities to make the world step back and think they’re great humanitarians. They’re not. They’re people like you and me and they simply have the power to use the charity card to increase their power. It’s all about the money. Again, the children will continue to suffer except for those that you and I can help one at a time. Go see your congressman and get in their face. But pose it as a way for them to launch themselves and not simply to bitch and moan. They’ll do it because now is the time. Adoption is center stage with the Evan B Donaldson folks, the number of families seeking to adopt because they have waited so long to have children in order to further their career and because it’s a cause that has now become widespread and we as adoptees now have a voice through blogs and MySpace and so on. Speak up, pass stories like this one on and get in your politician’s faces. They need more causes like opening sealed records to attach their names to. They can’t save the world, but they can invoke change that will help if we get in their faces with something that will fuel their career paths.


January 30, 2007

JOHNSTOWN — Matthew Francis will tell you he is in no way dissatisfied with his life.He is married and the father of two young girls. But there is something missing for him, something that stops him from feeling whole: His identity.And there is more to his quest.The 34-year-old Bonita Springs, Fla., resident is on a mission to find his birth mother – not only because he wants to know where he comes from, but because his daughters are suffering from genetic heart conditions and he needs to know his family medical history.“I kind of want to know who I am, too,” Francis said. “I want to talk to the person who gave birth to me and see what nationality I am.”Francis was able to find out that his mother was a Johnstown native born in 1955. She had a brother who was born in 1952.Records show that in 1959, the children’s mother died from complications of alcoholism. Their father died in 1962 during open-heart surgery. Both were Protestants.After their deaths, the children were sent to Rhode Island to live with cousins. Francis was born in 1972. His biological mother was 17 years old when she gave birth to him.The name that was given to him at birth was Benjamin David.While living in Rhode Island, Francis petitioned the courts to have all of his adoption records unsealed. Although he was able to supply letters from his daughters’ pediatrician and cardiologist explaining their health situation, the judge refused to unseal the records.“It is extremely frustrating,” Francis said. “I just want to be able to get my medical information so I can help my daughters and have this information in my pocket.”The judge did provide Francis with the Johnstown connection, but was not willing to divulge his mother’s name.“The judge can open the records if he sees it as worthy, but I guess this case isn’t,” Francis said. “The lives of two young girls are at stake here, and I had to bite my tongue.”Francis’ daughters – Taylor, 9, and Joie, 6 – are in no immediate danger, he said. But more severe problems could develop later.“It has been determined their conditions come from my side of the family,” he said. “It would be a lot easier for them to be treated if we had my medical information.”Francis has spent time searching the Internet for information and wandered onto an adoption site where he made a connection with Carol Larsen of Easton, Md.Larsen, who gave a child up for adoption in the early 1960s, is a member of a volunteer group called Search Angels that helps people who have been put up for adoption find their biological parents.“I sent (Francis) an e-mail and expressed interest in helping, since I once lived in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island,” Larsen said. “Over the next few months, I asked him questions and he sent me original copies of everything he had, and we’ve just gone on from there.”She also has hit roadblocks in trying to uncover the information.“It seems everyone’s hands are tied,” Larsen said. “But I continue to do this because I want to help.”Larsen said there is a growing movement to have adoption records opened, but since each state’s rules are different, it is no easy task.“It’s almost like the government is holding our medical history hostage,” she said.Francis also would like to locate his birth father, but he said no information on him can be found. He hopes to find a relative who could provide that information.Whether Francis’ biological mother is alive or not is another question plaguing him.“I hope she is alive so she can fill in the pieces of the puzzle,” he said.“If I could find her and everything would work out, I’d love to have a conversation with her and then see what comes next.”In the meantime, Francis keeps searching, and he isn’t giving up hope of finding the answers he needs.He is hopeful that someone out there can tell him something – no matter how insignificant it may seem.“A little piece here, a little piece there,” he said.“Everything counts.”


January 29, 2007

Having been adopted, I can say ,without a doubt, that, no, you don’t. Adoption takes away your basic human right to identity. No they don’t tell you about that. They don’t tell that my mother and the many other mothers have suffered greatly for the secrets that they perpetrate. They assumed and told these young women to go on with their lives. They told society this. We did not. We have for many years not been allowed to speak our feelings. We as adoptees that do speak up against the injustices done to us and our families are ingrates and anti-adoption. We have also been called pro abortion. Personally I believe in the right to choose. Let’s make one thing clear. Yes I do sometimes wish that I was aborted. I would have been born wanted by the woman that gave birth to me. I hate the fact that I was born to a woman whose trump card no longer worked. I hate the fact that society views her as a breeder, a whore ( crack), and a heartless woman. Maybe she is and maybe she is not. I can’t know that truth because others feel that I am not entitled to the truth. These others are the NCFA, Catholic Charities, ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and NARAL just to name a few. The last three are what I consider to be deformers. These groups support a woman’s right to choose. That is all fine and dandy. Adoption is supposed to be about a child. Child whose parents are deceased or unable to care for the child. The child was not able to make decisions for themselves. At age 18, most people are considered adults. Yet adoptees are the forever children of this country. I am forever the property of the state, the property of my first mother, and the property of my adoptive family. The family pet has more rights in many ways than the family adoptee. They have the right to dignity, history, medical care, and so forth. Adoptees are just out of luck when it comes to his history, his medical background, and his heritage.

Where I live, every horse has lineage that goes back five to six generations. Where I live there is cattle that have that as well. It is good for business and good for the life of the animal. The calves and colts are given adequate time to grow and bond with their families and the others in their herd. Adoptees are stripped of their parents shortly after birth. Kittens and puppies have their mothers close by. It would be considered inhumane to strip those young creatures of their families. Our society does it to parents all over this country. Look at Rashad. Look at Stephanie Bennett. Look at Shawn Mcdonald. Look at the three young girls who bonked the maternity home director on her head. Adoption is not regulated. Society wants it to be the feel good thing. Sorry I am a product of the scientific experiment called adoption. How do you take away my feelings of being different, of emotional guilt, and the many others. When an individual adopts a cat, they expect it to act like a cat. They don’t spend months trying to make it behave like a dog. Yet that is what society has done to adoptees.

Everyone assumes a hostile relationship between parent and child. Could you give a child up for adoption? If you were pregnant with a deathly ill baby, would you have an abortion? Tough questions. Could you make that decision? You pass judgement yet you move on. Its not my problem. Well in our society children and their parents have been attacked. If our mothers work, they are wrong. If our mothers stay at home and use welfare to help themselves, they are wrong. A woman can be a saintly woman, yet if she is raped. Oh she becomes a slut.

As I have readers that are politicians, I must tell you that adoption laws in this country favor the adoption agencies, their attorneys, and their lobbists. They do not support adoptees because we are the merchandise that they make money with. They do not support first parents because they are the producers of said merchandise. They do not support adoptive parents because you are the buck that they drool over.

When over 95% of first parents want us to access those records, why are closed records even allowed to exist? When our adoptive parents support us in our search and reunion, why are the records still closed? When first parents have relinquished their rights, why are the records closed? Adoptees did not relinquish their rights.


January 28, 2007

Family reunion stories used to make Paula Bagnell cry. Family dinners meant sitting and listening to her husband’s relatives talk about their old times. That’s not so any longer.Bagnell was adopted in infancy. After a 20-year search she has located her biological mother, along with four siblings and an extended family of more than 65 who have welcomed her with open hearts and open arms. “I realize birth-family reunions don’t always turn out the way mine did.” Paula said. “I’ve been watching and reading stories about them my whole life.”
Paula was born at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Aurora, Colo., in 1962. Adopted at age 1 by Keith and Helen Johnson, her parents divorced when she was 5. Paula grew up in Holdrege.Keith Johnson died when Paula was 18.“I had lived with my dad during my senior year, and he was starting to tell me little things,” Paula said. “He said my biological father was in the military. But back in 1962 there were no open adoptions so adoptive parents were not told much. Everything was signed, sealed and shut up forever.”Not forever.“After my adoptive dad died, I heard a story about reunions,” Paula said. “I told my mother I wanted to find my biological family.” Her adoptive mother was resistant to the idea, and Paula promised her she would not try to find her biological family.“I didn’t want to upset her.” After a turbulent childhood and rebellious adolescence, Paula joined the U.S. Army in 1989.“By the time I graduated from basic training I was a totally different person,” Paula said. “I had been a fighter and pretty wild. When the young nurse found herself stationed at Fitzsimons, she took it as an omen to begin searching for her biological family.Adoption records in Colorado are sealed and after running into brick walls, Paula’s search was put on a back burner. She married and had two children. She and her husband Jim moved to North Platte 12 years ago.She has had a good life: A happy marriage, two great kids and a fulfilling career.In 1996, Paula was hospitalized with heart problems and suddenly her wish to find her biological family became a search for medical information.“All I knew was that one parent had to have been military since I was born at Fitzsimons,” she said. She registered with adoption search groups, wrote letters asking for information and hired a private detective, but without her birth records she got nowhere.After finally seeing her adoption papers, she learned she was adopted in Brighton, Colo. She petitioned the court to release her records.“I had one chance,” she said. “If that judge said no, I wouldn’t get another chance.”Paula prepared for her day in court, practicing her speech before the judge.“When the judge said, ‘Tell me, Paula Johnson Bagnell why I should release your records,’ I started crying and couldn’t speak,” Paula said. “He said, ‘OK, I’ll release them.’ The only words I said in court were ‘Thank you, I have been waiting my whole life for this.’”Paula hired a confidential intermediary who began searching for Paula’s biological parents.Confusion over Paula’s name slowed the search. “My parents had told me my name was Pauline Williams when they adopted me,” Paula said. Her adoption records gave her name as Patricia Lawrence. Then one day in 2005 the call she had been waiting for finally came.“I found your father.”Bennie “Butch” L. Montoya Jr. had grown up in New Mexico, joined the Marines and was stationed in Hawaii. While at Camp Smith, above Pearl Harbor, Bennie had training drills on a small parade ground in front of the Office of the Political Advisor to the Commander in Chief. A young female Marine named Patricia Gonder watched from the windows of the admiral’s conference room.In a telephone conversation from a gold field in Arizona, Pat tells her story.“Bennie chased me until he got me,” Pat said. “He was very handsome with dark wavy hair and green eyes. Watching him from the window was captivating. In a Hawaiian setting, beach parties and romance, love was close by.”When Pat became pregnant the young couple talked to the base chaplain. “The chaplain said Bennie didn’t want to get married,” Pat said. “I knew I would not force him, it could have only been a miserable existence.“I think the Marine Corps started my discharge paperwork before I left the doctor’s office,” Pat said. Pat returned to the states and Bennie went to Vietnam. Only Pat’s sister knew of the pregnancy.“In 1962 a woman with an illegitimate child had a helluva time,” Pat said. “I was very young and had nothing, so the decision to put Paula up for adoption was the right thing to do.”Bennie Montoya died in 1986 at the age of 44.In October 2005, Paula received another call from the adoption intermediary.“You have four brothers and sisters.”Before Paula could contact any of her father’s family, they had to sign release forms giving the intermediary permission to give Paula information.When Leticia Bonifas received a call from someone asking if she was one of the children of Bennie Montoya, it confirmed something she had known for years. She had a sister.“My sister Diana and I talked about it years ago,” Leticia said. “When the call came and said you have another sister, I said, ‘We know that, where is she? We want to go get her.’”It can be argued that there is no such thing as coincidence. Leticia and her husband live in Lexington, 65 miles from Paula. Their children had played softball against each other and they have sat in the same bleachers, not realizing the connection.The four children of Bennie and Barb Montoya immediately accepted Paula as one of their own.“It’s not forced,” Leticia said. “She just fits. This is not something we have to do to honor our daddy. Now her being in our lives is like she was never gone. When we took her home to see our family, it was like we were finally complete.”Paula traveled to New Mexico to meet her grandmother, Ida Montoya. “When I first walked in, there were 58 people crammed in the house, all crying and hugging,” Paula said. Leticia said all of her family is thankful for Paula.“I listened to her story and saw how she lived and I am so thankful to God,” Leticia said.Paula admits life with her adoptive parents wasn’t easy.“My mother is one of the toughest people I know,” Paula said. “She wasn’t afraid of anything. I don’t know why she blew up when I first talked about finding my biological family. But I did grow up feeling special being adopted. I was always told ‘we picked you.’ “If I had grown up in a nice prissy house I would have waited for something to drop in my lap,” Paula said. “I’m tough, too.“I thank God for allowing me to finally find my family. When I start feeling sorry for myself that I missed out on so much, or didn’t find my family sooner, I have to stop and remember it all happens in God’s time, not mine. His timing is perfect.”Paula’s mother, Pat Lazzarotto, isn’t surprised Paula found her family.“I thought a lot about her over the years and remember thinking if she was like me she would figure out how to get through the barriers and find me. When the call came, I wasn’t shocked. She’s strong and an independent thinker. Like mother, like daughter.”