Archive for June, 2008

COUNTER POINTS

June 30, 2008

I refuse to call it your comeuppance. I am not that much of a jerk unless of course you work for an adoption agency. This is for you Eve. It is my counter points to your posts on real/authentic mothering. To me, real and authentic are the same. Its just semantics. To show you what I mean, lets look at the definitions according to Webster’s Dictionary.

authentic: 1. credible, reliable. 2. genuine; real
real: 1. existing as or in fact; actual; true 2. authentic; genuine 3. Law of or relating to permanent, immovable things.

As you can see, the words real and authentic are interchangeable. So its semantics. Adoptees define real/authentic mothering differently. For myself, I define it as one woman gave me life and another woman taught me to live it. I am not now nor ever been grateful for being alive. My blog is written from a sixties love child’s point of view. I was born in the baby scoop era.

I have looked over your blog. I don’t see your relationship to adoption at all. After reading a few comments, you are in open adoptions with your children’s natural families. I hope what I have read and seen is the truth. You are actively working at maintaining those relationships. I think it is wonderful that you consider it one big family instead of separate families. To give you an idea of my growing up, step was not in our terminology. Neither was real, adoptive, or birth families. We were all one family. I was born and then adopted by my first set of adoptive parents. My adoptive parents divorced. My first adoptive father went and remarried another woman ( who I do love as a friend) whose daughter was named “Amy.” He later adopted her. Yep there were two Amys with the same name. My mother took me and my two sisters years and later remarried. They then had a child of their own. All of us were loved the same. Debbie, my adoptive father’s second wife and her daughter are just as much family to me as my adoptive mother and sisters are. Years later my “step” father became my second adoptive father. It was an adoption that I chose. We were one family. No more or less. In fact, when I found out that I had an older sister and two younger brothers. I told my family that we have another sister and two brothers.

Your blog also mentions a PhD in Psychology. I have had some experiences with psychologists as have had many adoptee and natural parents. They tend to be dismissive of our experiences. They tend to believe the blank slate theory on adoption. I can tell you personally that I was not born with a clean slate. My adoptive mother had a hell of time trying to calm me down as an infant/child when I heard sirens of any kind. I was inconsolable and screaming until the siren was finally gone.

About a year ago, I found out why. I spoke with a natural mother who relinquished from the adoption agency that I was adopted. They carried the women to the hospital in ambulance. I can only guess that I was crowning or actually born in an ambulance. Personally, I can not live in a city. I can’t stand sirens to this day. My child’s mind remembered my natural mother and my separation from her.

I attempted to find a psychologist to see if I could resolve some adoption issues. I have spent more time explaining adoption laws, explaining how denying an adoptee their heritage is wrong, and many other things about adoption. I spent more time educating the psychologist about adoption than actually getting therapy. Since you are so well read, have you read The Girls Who Went Away by Ann Fessler? Its a book about natural mothers and their experiences written by an adoptee. That would widen your expertise a great deal. Have you ever spoken with Joe Soll? He is a psychologist who is an adoptee and specializes in adoptee issues.

If I were to talk about anything first, its the terminology. “Birthmother” is something that I do find offensive. I will use it in a legal sense. Not all mothers are perfect. When it comes to my natural mother friends, I call them mothers. I refuse to let these women be defined by one experience. I don’t even like natural, birth, biological, first or original mother. It still defines these mothers for one single event in their lives. These women are so much more. In my situation, many of them have been a mother to me when my own natural mother can’t bring herself to be a mother to me. If you have to define the separate mothers, use a word that these mothers prefer. It is natural mother or first mother.

I also don’t like being called an orphan. Technically I am not. I may be illegitimate and a bastard. I was never without a parent. My natural parents are still living to my knowledge. Now my second adoptive dad is deceased but he died six years ago. My adoptive mother is still alive and kicking it as hard as I do. Orphan is not a word that I associate myself with. My natural mother didn’t have a choice. Between the 1940s and even as late as the 1980s, mothers were not given a choice. If they weren’t married, they were forced to relinquish by society and their families. I know of a couple of mothers who didn’t sign the relinquishment papers. They refused to. Did they stop being authentic mothers? I don’t think so. They had their authentic parenting taken from them.

I respect all adoptees’ feelings when it comes to search or not. Why did I start to search? My adoptive mother wanted it because she wanted both of us to be young enough to appreciate each other. My adoptive mother wasn’t one to let me walk in the “adoption fog.” Why do adoptees have to have a reason to research their heritage? Why does it even matter? That was part of why I got upset with your post. In the non adopted, researching and understanding one’s heritage helps one move forward. In the adopted sector, we are condemned and psycho analyzed over it. Your posts in your blog do it. Why is it important to understand why? If it is natural for the non adopted, should it be any less for the adopted?

Your tone comes of as condescending. I also don’t follow “The Primal Wound” mindset either. I don’t feel that I have been primal wounded for the rest of my life. It does however hurt sometimes to be adopted. I relate it more to societal mores than I do a wound. Society expects me to be grateful that I was taken in and that I was not aborted. Like I said in other posts, I am not good at being grateful.

It also irritates me that adoption is mixed with religion and spiritual values. Religion and spiritual values separated my natural mother from me. These same values have her steeped in shame and humiliation. These same values have denied, as you put it, her chance of being an authentic parent to me.

Some adoptive parents have compared infant/child adoption to God’s adoption of us mere human beings. I am sure you have seen it. We adoptees must adore our parents as we human beings should worship him. That is how I view it. My adoptive mother doesn’t want that kind of adoration. The adoptive parents who “get” it see it the same way as my adoptive mother.

Another point that I want to counter with you. Your words on this are:

“An authentic and trustworthy mother will never say, “abortion would be better.” My best childhood friend, Bettina, was adopted as an infant and later found her birth family. Her birth mother told her that abortion would have been better than the pain of adoption, too, which Bettina translated as meaning, “It’s still only about mom and her pain.””

As an adoptee, I don’t find that particularly hurtful. I understand it because adoption can cause a wound in a woman’s heart that goes beyond any kind of pain. She is told through out her life to forget about it. To pretend that it never happened. To deny her motherhood. To deny her the right to be an authentic parent (your words). I can not fully understand that kind of pain. I know that I could never go through it. So I do however fully empathize.

Let me turn the tables on you. What about the adoptee who would have rather been aborted? Yes I have felt that. I as an adoptee would have rather been born into a family where she has her truth, her heritage and her story. Am I an authentic child? Adoptees have often wondered if they are authentic/real children. I know that all of my mothers are all wanting to smack me for feeling that way. It is a feeling that has to be acknowledged by both sets of parents.

This is all from a closed era adoptee. I view adoption now as being in desperate need of massive reform. This includes all forms of adoption, infant, foster, and international adoption. My adoptive mother considers me a blessing. I look at it differently. I frigging lucked out with my adoptive mother. I see adoption being controlled by money, coercion, and corruption. I realize that you write from an adoptive parent’s point of view in open adoption. You might now see it this way. I know in your other posts that you are venturing into this type of research. I will warn you right now. What you will find will sicken you. Mr. Archuleta is the tip of the iceberg. I know of ten other fathers at the minimum just like him. They are still fighting. I know of five mothers still fighting right now. This is all public knowledge. I hear stories but have no names to go with the stories. My natural father tried to fight this battle himself. My natural father was married when he met my natural mother. He went back to his wife and told her the truth. They both decided to adopt but the adoption agency did not “do” that type of adoption. I don’t think any adoption agency did at that time.

I think you do have it right in one area. An adoptee’s journey is a Jung thing. It is the search to one’s self. However my journey to my adopted self has lead me to be an activist. It has been one of the healing aspects of my life.

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A COMMENTER

June 30, 2008

An anonymous commenter left this comment. I want to address her questions.

“Hi. I have been reading your blog for a couple of weeks, so I don’t know a lot about your story. This line really caught my interest:

“Yes she feels blessed that I came into her life. She is however concerned that it might have been done either illegally, coercively, or unethically.”

I’d love to hear more about how your mother broached that topic with you. I find it to be a very complicated thing to address – hindsight vision that shows a different picture than the one you imagined going in. I haven’t heard any adoptees talk about discussing that with their parents.

Thanks for sharing what you do here. It’s hard to read, no doubt, as there is just so much to be done to make adoption ethical, but it is important to hear it, and hear it, and hear it. “

My adoptive mom is an amazing woman. I don’t really remember the first time that I was told that I was adopted. I know that I had two fears growing up. One of which was ambulances and sirens. They would send me into screaming fits. My poor mother could not find the reason why and could not figure out a way to console me. Escalators sent me also into a freak mode. One of these will be explained. The other I still don’t know. I am nervous around escalators. Something about them worries me that these things will suck me into the darkness.

Any way, the commenter wanted to know how my mother handled my adoption and my subsequent search.

I think God has been guiding me to this road for a long time. He has left me little clues and shoves into this direction all of my life. The most memorable was when I was thirteen or fourteen. I have mentioned a family friend and her daughter a few times.

D was my mother’s best friend for years. Her daughter M got preggers around that time. She had met a Lebanese young man. I don’t know all the real details but they got romantically involved. She loved to go to the beach. Yep she got preggers from fun in the sun on the dunes of South Padre.

Well that started a firestorm. I think it really upset my mother. She denies some of this memory. I got both talks at the same time. You know what I am talking about. If you want to have sex, let me know so that I can get you on some protection. If you want to search, let me know and I will help you find.

Well my only fantasy of my original family was an older brother or father coming to rescue me. My adoptive mother never spoke negatively about my natural mother. So I have no idea where this came from.

It was until I was 22 that I realized that adoption actually hurt. I had heard Michelle Wright’s son, “He Would Be Sixteen.” That song shook me to my core. I cried a river of tears. I was also dating a fellow adoptee. It wasn’t until after we broke up that we discussed adoption. He was the first person outside of my family that I discussed my feelings about it. I had a hard time discussing my feelings on adoption inside my family. I shoved it pretty deep inside. When I was in Alanon, I had a sponsor who discussed this with me. She wanted me to express how I felt about adoption. I also found out that I had a high school classmate that got pregnant and placed. She was in an open adoption at the time. So here is a shout out to Fonda. If you read blogs, honey, its me. I would love to hear from you.

When I was pregnant with my first daughter, the discussion to search came up. My adoptive mother encouraged me to do so. After the birth of my oldest daughter, I had my first natural mother experience. Sandy was the city treasurer for the city that I worked for. I had mentioned my adoption to her. I had wanted to understand a little about the birth certificates and original birth certificates in Texas. I read the laws on them then. While in the hospital, Sandy came to visit. She told me that she was a natural mom. She had asked me if I had searched. I told her no because of costs and knowing how to do it. When I asked her the same question, she told me that she felt that she didn’t have the right to search. I told my adoptive mother about the experience. For a moment in time, I was her child and she was my mother. Two weeks after that, I found out that the original doctor that was supposed to deliver my oldest was arrested on charges stemming from black market baby dealing and drugs. I thank God was watching over me and my family at that time.

It was then my adoptive mother starting pushing me into searching. So I contacted the state and the agency. At that time, Catrina Carlisle was not in charge of the CI program at that agency. From what I have read on the IRS Form 990s, she wasn’t even working for the agency. I got considerable information on both of my natural parents. So I knew some information going into my active search in 2006.

In 2002, my adoptive father died. It was incredibly hard for me losing him. He was only 55 at the time of his death. His death damn near killed me emotionally and mentally. Shortly after his death, my adoptive mother stepped up the pressure to search even more so. She wanted us to be young enough to appreciate each other. She even initiated a search herself.

She has walked this road with me a majority of the time. It took me months to show her and my sisters the transcripts. I was so worried that it would hurt them. Now of course I have reason to doubt them. Months later my mother called Catrina Carlisle demanding that she tell me who my father was. When she got the reply message from the CI, she called me asking how I handle it. Its a tough road. Its one that I never wanted my own adoptive mother to hurt on. It really hurt me that she discovered how badly I hurt inside. It was a combination of her and a few great natural mothers that kept me sane in a not so sane frame of the adoptee mind. It was this combination that taught me compassion, love and respect for my natural mother. I understand why she would not want contact especially through the agency.

My advise to adoptive parents is this:

1. Get that OBC for your child. Keep all the records.
2. If you are in an open adoption, stick to it and work at it. It is for the benefit of your child.
3. No matter what you feel about your child’s natural parents, always always respect them in front of your child. Your child is a part of them. Without those parents, you would not be a parent.
4. If your child does eventually search, it is no reflection on your parenting skills or the love your child feels for you. Don’t deny your child his/her heritage. Keep in mind you have yours and its something that is probably commonplace for you. Your child doesn’t have that.

SOME PEOPLE NEVER GET IT PART TWO

June 29, 2008

In this post, I talked about how some adoptive parents don’t get it. The blogger that I was disgusted with in my opinion was diminishing both the adoptee and the natural parent experience. I still feel that she is. I realize that I am probably starting a blog war with her. Her condescending tone has really ticked me off as a reader and as an adoptee.

I feel that I have several authentic mothers. I have a natural mother who gave me life. I have an adoptive mother who taught me how to live it. I have several natural mothers who have taught me compassion. So which is my authentic mother? I consider all of them as such. I have a step mother that my first adoptive father has long since divorced. She too is an authentic mother to me as well. Is she non real to me?

Authentic mothering is basically a nice term for “real” mother. Don’t bullshit me. I call hogwash right here and now. You want to define adoptees who are angry at the system of adoption as having adoptive parents who “weren’t whole to begin with.” Okay in my mind, you are attacking my adoptive mother. Let me tell you Eve. She has her stuff more together than you ever could. Yes she feels blessed that I came into her life. She is however concerned that it might have been done either illegally, coercively, or unethically. Can you say that about yourself?

The blogger left this comment on that post. So I thought that I would make it a top post.

It must be confusing when an intelligent, multi-dimensional woman writes about adoption. I don’t care how many mothers you think you have; I am writing about authentic mothering. A person can have one mother who never acts like a real mother; she can have a birth and adoptive mother who never act like real mothers; she can have had three mothers, only one or two of whom acted out of authentic love, and so on. I think if you had actually read what I wrote, rather than reacting, you’d see that this is exactly what I am saying rather than branding me as one of “those kids of adoptive parents.”

Keep reading, if you have the stomach for it. I think you will admit you’re mistaken about me after awhile, but even if you don’t, I’ll keep writing.

You can keep writing Eve all you want. You are using the bible and your so called intelligence in being dismissive to adoptees, natural parents and even to some adoptive parents. You are not multidimensional but you are multi-dismissive. I don’t think adoption and the bible are a good mix. I don’t believe that God intended adoption to be as it is practiced here in the United States. When you throw around the bible, you have situations like Sean Paddock happening. I for one am tired of hearing how adoptees and foster children are getting hurt by the so called adoption system. I am tired of hearing people like you dismissing our experiences as invalid.

Sorry I am just not good at being grateful. You need to more research into adoption.

CHANGES MADE A LITTLE TOO LATE

June 29, 2008

Everyone who knows me realizes that I love to point out corruption in adoption and foster adoption. Sean Paddock, a four year old boy, was killed by his adoptive mother. She wrapped him in a blanket that smothered him to death. The woman blamed religion. Her pastor and his church all told her to help with the bonding and attachment by doing this. As one looks closer into this case, this woman abused all of her children as many news reports have stated. She also deliberately hid the abuse from the social workers from the adoption agency.

Interestingly, the adoption agency involved, Children’s Home Society, has fought to keep their names out of the newspapers and news reports across the country. Gee, I wonder why they wanted to hide. They failed this child. No ifs ands or buts about it. The natural grandparents of Sean Paddock have been suing both this agency as well as Wake County Human Services and the state Division of Social Services.

The reporter pointed out how much these adoption agencies earn when they place foster care children in permanent homes. Children’s Home Society has earned close to $45,000 just on Sean and his two siblings. I know for a fact here in Texas foster care is a big business. Two agencies alone have earned over $65,000,000 from the state and federal government in 2006. I wonder how much these children and their families actually saw that money. All a person has to do is check Guidestar to find out what the financial status of a certain adoption agency. In Texas, we have the Department of Family and Protective Services to check on the complaints against these agencies. These complaints are not nice. I had to stop reading them because they are that horrible. Just as infant adoption is big business for these agencies so is foster care adoption.

A while back I checked to see if Indiana had this kind of public knowledge for its adoption agencies. Nope its not there. I called them to find out. They acted like I was crazy to even ask such a question. An adoptive parent has no way of verifying if the agency that they are dealing with in Indiana is on the up and up. I spoke with a former adoption social worker recently. She recently moved to Indiana. She checked on a couple of agencies. She was horrified. There were no licensed social workers working for the agencies that she checked out. They all told her that they were either adoptive parents or adoptees. Scary thought that there is no licensing requirements for adoption agencies in Indiana.

Mandy Locke at the NewsObserver did a very good job pointing out the flaws in the system as well as the corruption. I can only imagine that this story has worn her out. America needs to stand up and pay attention. North Carolina isn’t the only state with issues. With my finger on the adoption pulse in both Indiana and Texas, those states have issues with this kind of thing. We owe to the children to do this right.

Here is the link. Here is the story.

Sean’s short life shows system’s flaws

State, local and nonprofit agencies overlooked red flags that indicated 4-year-old was in danger

Sean Paddock was born in turmoil, early and tiny, to a broken family.

Social workers fretted over how to protect the boy. They finally recruited new parents to raise him.

Sean, 4, died at the hands of his adoptive mother, Lynn Paddock. She beat him and bound him in a dark, drafty attic in her Johnston County farmhouse. This month, a jury sent Paddock to prison for the rest of her life.

Sean’s death rattled the system the state built to protect children like him. The state funnels foster children into adoptive homes, sparing them years in limbo while their parents straighten up.

To make the system work, the state attaches a dowry of sorts to children like Sean. The state pays new parents and pays private adoption groups such as Children’s Home Society to help recruit families.

But Sean’s death shows how the system can fail the children it was meant to protect.

Nearly 12,400 former foster children are currently being reared by adoptive parents recruited through this system. It’s not clear how many have been adopted into dangerous homes. Adoption records and social services reports of abused and neglected children are confidential in North Carolina.

But Paddock’s trial, a review of state contracts with Children’s Home Society and documents obtained by The News & Observer show how easily Sean ended up in harm’s way.

Social workers had plenty of warning that Sean might be harmed at Paddock’s home. Wake County social workers had misgivings about putting him in the crowded house, miles outside the nearest town; a bruised backside after his first visit made them even more nervous.

And, over a decade, a social worker from Children’s Home Society spotted unsettling risk factors in Paddock’s home. But her agency had no incentive to walk away. The state pays the agency for completed adoptions.

The state Division of Social Services might have noticed something was amiss, but its annual audits don’t go beyond a technical review of contract obligations.

In 2005, social workers declared the Paddocks’ home the best place for the Ford children to grow and thrive. The state sent the Paddocks their first monthly check for $1,270.

All the while, Lynn Paddock was coming undone.

Moment of reckoning

North Carolina’s child welfare officials had a moment of reckoning in the early 1990s. Abused and neglected children were growing up without parents. The state had found their birth parents unfit, and they had been sent to live in temporary homes while social workers waited on their parents to get it together.

The state set deadlines for these parents. If they couldn’t shape up in about a year after their child was taken, the state would look for replacement parents.

Finding them would be difficult. Most of these children were damaged: beaten, starved, molested. Persuading parents to adopt them would be a tough sell.

The state carved out money to pay private adoption agencies to recruit and prepare adoptive parents. Agencies such as Children’s Home Society earn from several thousand dollars to $15,000 for every child placed. Children’s Home Society could have earned as much as $45,000 for placing Sean and his two siblings, though the state won’t say exactly how much the agency earned.

Adoptive parents would be paid, too, for taking on such a responsibility. Depending on the child’s age, they earn between $390 and $490 a month until the child is 18.

In the mid-1990s, the number of foster children adopted each year jumped from about 250 to about 1,300. This year, the state offered nearly $26 million to adoptive parents caring for 12,384 former foster children.

Children’s Home Society did well. They found homes for hundreds of foster children.

The agency was also responsible for screening families, weeding out those not equipped to adopt foster children.

The state’s relationship with Children’s Home Society could be a problem, said Richard P. Barth, dean of the University of Maryland’s School of Social Work. He said there’s no incentive to walk away from a bad fit.

“To do more placements and meet contract obligations, there’s a tendency to overlook … red flags,” Barth said.

Heavy baggage

Lynn Paddock followed a boyfriend and the hope of a job to Raleigh in the late 1980s, her family said. She hauled heavy baggage: a turbulent childhood, two failed marriages and an addiction to alcohol.

In 1989, she ended up at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in Raleigh, ready to get clean.

There she met Johnny Paddock, a young father also trying to wean himself off alcohol. Within a few months, Lynn moved in with Johnny and his infant daughter, Jessy. By 1990, they’d married.

They wanted a playmate for Jessy, Lynn told jurors, but pregnancy never took. One day, as the Paddocks ate at a Wendy’s restaurant, a place mat caught her attention. On it, Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas urged customers to adopt older foster children.

“At that point, I thought that was my calling,” Paddock testified.

The Paddocks called a social worker at Children’s Home Society of North Carolina. Deborah Artis, now the Triangle’s regional director for the agency, screened them. According to Artis’ reports, she inspected their home, talked to their friends, reviewed their income statements.

In 1994, the Paddocks earned $43,000 a year cleaning carpets. Artis told the Paddocks that the state could offer help to ease the financial hardship of caring for a troubled child.

Artis probed into the Paddocks’ childhoods. Johnny described his Army father’s long absences and a reckless youth of smoking dope and drinking heavily.

Lynn told Artis that she had used alcohol to cope with life’s challenges, the records show. She told Artis about the foster family who’d taken her in after she ran away from her abusive mother.

Paddock described her painful life with her mother. She said she’d been “spanked, hollered at or hit, sent to [her] room without eating.”

Cleared to adopt

A few months after Artis met the Paddocks, she determined they were ideal adoptive parents.

She helped them adopt Tami, a 9-year-old in foster care in Wilmington. By 1997, the Paddocks asked to adopt a boy. Artis launched another round of paperwork, and within a year, they welcomed Ray, then 8.

In 2002, the Paddocks called Artis to ask for a group of siblings. By then, much in their lives had changed.

Paddock had begun homeschooling Jessy, Tami and Ray. The family had left its Baptist church in Raleigh and found a smaller, fundamentalist church in Sanford that advocated wearing long dresses and shutting out popular culture. Lynn Paddock had turned to the advice of Michael Pearl, a minister from Tennessee who advises parents to whip children with plastic plumbing supply line; Paddock put a piece of it in every room of the house.

The Paddocks had also moved to a farm in rural Johnston County. The family of five shared a single bathroom in the 1,200-square-foot home; they hoped to finish the attic and convert it into a bedroom.

Artis extolled their new house in a pre-placement adoption report in 2002.

“The home has lots of character and open space. There are large windows, which allow lots of light into the home,” Artis said. “They are convenient to area shopping, educational and medical facilities.”

In 2003, soon after the Paddocks had been approved for another adoption, Artis phoned. She had a troubled girl who needed a home right away.

The next day, the Paddocks and Artis traveled to a Raleigh mental hospital to pick up their newest daughter, 5-year-old Kayla.

With four children, the Paddocks still wanted more, preferably a sibling group of four or five, according to Artis’ reports. Artis returned in 2004 to prepare another assessment.

For the new report, Artis repeated everything from her 2002 pre-placement assessment. She inserted a few lines about Kayla, their new daughter. But everything else, including descriptions of the children, now two years older, was identical to her 2002 assessment.

Artis did not return calls for this story. At Paddock’s trial, Artis testified that she’d been deceived by the family, that Paddock had never told her that she beat her children. Artis wept as she looked at pictures of the children’s battered bodies.

Barth, the social work professor, said Artis’ reports revealed a number of troubling risk factors in the Paddocks’ home.

“It is unbelievable that an additional child would have been placed in a home like that,” Barth said.

Relying on trust, faith

As part of Children’s Home Society’s contract with the state Division of Social Services, officials from the state DSS audits the agency each year. It’s a technical audit, though, designed to ensure that the agency performed the services it billed for. Before 2003, state officials didn’t even keep a record of their monitoring visits, said Esther High, who supervised the auditors for the state DSS until her retirement last fall.

“A lot of this relies on trust and faith between agencies,” High said in 2006, after Sean’s death.

In January 2005, DSS official Tamika Williams went to inspect several of Children’s Home Society’s adoption files. She reviewed the file for David, Sean’s brother. She checked a box indicating that Children’s Home Society provided “appropriate/quality services.”

DSS officials and Children’s Home Society leaders declined to comment for this report, citing a pending civil claim for Sean’s death. A DSS spokeswoman did say that since Sean’s death the agency has not changed they way it supervises or audits private agencies such as Children’s Home Society. This year, Children’s Home Society secured $1.5 million in contracts to help the state find adoptive homes for foster children.

Goodbye to family

In October 2004, Artis heard that the Ford children — Sean was then 3, Hannah 6 and David 8 — needed new parents. Artis called a Wake County social worker to recommend the Paddocks and their farm.

Wake County workers weren’t sure about the match, Arlette Lambert, a social worker, testified at Paddock’s trial. The children’s court-appointed guardian worried that the children would feel isolated on the Paddocks’ remote farm. The Paddock children were quiet; the Fords were noisy. Paddock home-schooled her children; how would David and Hannah, special education students, do there?

But Children’s Home Society prevailed in its pitch for the Paddocks, and Wake County social workers readied the children for their first visit.

Sean left that visit with a bruise on his backside, according to Wake County records. He told his foster mother and a day-care teacher that Paddock hit him because he petted the family dog.

Wake County opened an investigation and asked Johnston County social workers to check on the older Paddock children. It also asked Children’s Home Society to talk with Paddock.

Artis explained in her report to Wake County that Sean had a temper tantrum during his visit to the Paddocks. She said Paddock put him down for a nap, and he fell out of the bunk bed.

Two weeks later, Wake County agreed to go forward with the adoption. By mid-March, the Ford children were sent to live with the Paddocks for good.

Wake County officials declined to comment, citing the pending lawsuit.

The day Sean and his siblings left for the Paddocks, they visited with their aunt and uncle, Ron and Lee Anne Ford. They had looked after the children when they were first taken from their parents in 2002; the couple went broke caring for them.

Ron and Lee Anne Ford snapped photos of their niece and nephews and made them scrapbooks.

Ron Ford said he begged the social worker to leave the children with him.

Ford remembers her words: “There’s nothing you can do. At 12:05, you will no longer be their family. They will be adopted.”

A social worker pulled 3-year-old Sean out of Lee Anne Ford’s arms and drove him to Smithfield.

The next time the Fords saw him, Sean was lying in a coffin, tiny and blue.

There is a little ditty written about the Children’s Home Society that should also be noted here as well. Thank you again Mandy Lock for writing an awesome story.

Children’s Home Society of North Carolina does significant business in government contracts.

In 2006, the year Sean Paddock died, the private adoption agency had $2.7 million worth of government contracts, some of which it used to reimburse families boarding foster children.

The agency also receives grants from the Duke Endowment and contributions from the United Way

Children’s Home Society, along with Wake County Human Services and the state Division of Social Services, is being sued by Sean’s biological grandfather, Ron Ford Sr. Officials at Children’s Home Society declined requests for comment, citing the pending lawsuit.

The agency’s attorneys have worked hard to keep its handling of Sean’s adoption secret. By law, all records relating to adoptions and the care of abused or neglected children are confidential. The civil lawsuit is forcing these agencies to share with the Fords otherwise private documents.

David S. Coats, a Children’s Home Society’s lawyer, filed a motion asking a judge to issue a protective order requiring all the documents turned over to remain confidential throughout the civil suit. He cites The News & Observer’s inquiries into the case as grounds for needing the order.

SOME PEOPLE NEVER GET IT

June 28, 2008

There is a blogger out there that really weirds me out. She uses bible phrases and her own personal twist to define “real” motherhood.I don’t think she even wants to consider the adoptee’s feelings on this. She is getting all kinds of hurrahs over it as well from adoptive parents. The blogging world of adoption is starting to see a resurging of those kinds of adoptive parents.

Here is a blogger that thinks she hung the moon.

For these types of adoptive mothers, do you believe that you own your child? Seriously you are way too threatened over terminology. You both should really listen to the adoptee’s point of view. All adoptees. Not just the happy yappy ones. The angry ones as well. All the ones in between as well too. By ignoring the other adoptees that don’t say what you want them to say, you are ignoring the thoughts that your child might feel.

This is how I look at it. My natural mother and my adoptive mother are both my “real” mothers. Period. There is no discussion or analyzing this deeply. They both are very real to me. The adoptive mothers have got to realize that they would not be mothers if these natural mothers hadn’t relinquished their children.

Lets look at another example. Two parents get divorced. They both remarry to other individuals. Here are two sets of parents. A mother and her husband, the step father. A father and his wife, the step mother. Children are expected to love both sets of parents in this situation. How is it that adoption is any different? Of course this is saying when adoption is done in the best interest of the child. Are any of these parents any less a real parent? No. It should be said the same for natural parents.

It would behoove adoptive parents to remember this. You would not be a parent of any kind without the natural parents.

A VERY SAD STORY

June 28, 2008

I read this story on one of the forums that I am on. Its a tragic story all the way around. An eleven year girl was raped by her uncle. That is bad enough but the religious entities in Romania feel that the young girl should proceed with the pregnancy and place the baby for adoption. As an adoptee, I would rather have been aborted if this was the situation that I was conceived in. I would not want my natural mother to face such hardship.

Here is the story because I can’t find this link.

Abortion for rape victim, 11, opposed by churches
Alison Mutler The Associated Press
June 27, 2008
BUCHAREST, Romania – Twenty church groups on Thursday urged a government committee not to allow an 11-year-old girl who was raped by her uncle go to Britain for an abortion.The anti-abortion Christian Orthodox groups also threatened to press charges if the girl were allowed to have an abortion in Romania on exceptional grounds.Their position was in contrast to the official stand of the Romanian Orthodox Church, which said the decision should be left to the girl’s family.A government committee is to decide today whether the girl can go to Britain for an abortion or must continue the pregnancy. A Romanian living in Britain has offered to pay the costs.

The girl’s pregnancy became known earlier this month when her parents took her to a doctor because she appeared unwell. She told doctors she had been raped by her 19-year-old uncle, who since has disappeared.She is 20 weeks pregnant. The legal limit for abortions in Romania is 14 weeks. Abortions can be carried out after that time only to save the life of the mother.In Britain an abortion is legal up to 24 weeks if two doctors decide that the risk to a woman’s physical or mental health will be greater if she continues with the pregnancy than if she ends it.

The case has bitterly split the medical community, child-rights groups and the public.The National Child Protection Authority has said the girl should be allowed to have an abortion because she is already traumatized by the experience of rape and pregnancy.
The National Doctors Council said the rights of the fetus should be considered and the pregnancy should go ahead.

A continuance of the story is found at this link and the story below.

Romanian girl can have abortion
16 hours ago

BUCHAREST (AFP) — An inter-ministerial panel in Romania ruled Friday that an 11-year-old girl who became pregnant after allegedly being raped by her uncle can have an abortion.

“The committee has decided that a voluntary termination of the pregnancy can be carried out,” said health ministry official and panel member Vlad Iliescu.

An abortion was allowed under Romanian law because the girl was a victim of sexual abuse, Iliescu said, adding that she faced “major risks to her mental health” if the pregnancy continued.

The committee also decided that no changes in current relevent legislation were needed, simply “clarifications with regard to the exceptional circumstances” allowing abortions to go ahead.

Under Romanian law, abortions are allowed up until the 14th week of the pregnancy if the mother’s life is endangered or if the foetus suffers from malformation.

The girl’s parents discovered the pregnancy when she underwent a medical check-up after she complained of stomach pains. By then, she was already 17 weeks pregnant.

Two medical panels have so far examined the girl, who is now 21 weeks pregnant — the first finding in favour of an abortion, the second against.

The second panel found that “having examined the girl … the pregnancy is proceeding naturally and termination should therefore not be imposed”.

“The fact that the pregnancy stemmed from rape was not taken into account by the panel, for two reasons: one, because rape has not been proven; and two, because the penal code does not allow for any exceptions,” said Vica Todosiciuc, head of the Cuza Voda maternity section in the northeastern city of Iasi, last week.

“This was a very difficult decision for the doctors to make. They searched for a medical reason which would allow them to authorise a termination, but none was found,” Todosiciuc said.

The inter-ministerial panel was therefore asked to make a final ruling on the case.

The girl’s family said this week they wanted to travel to Britain for an abortion, and a Romanian in Britain had offered to finance the costs.

HAND BLOWN GLASS

June 28, 2008

Here is another fantastic idea for holiday, birthday, wedding and other special events requiring gifts. Hand blown glass. It is an incredibly beautiful idea to give to someone. Handblownglass.net has some awesome pictures of their gifts. Handblownglass.net represents many of the top notch glass blowing artists in the country.

This artwork is great. Its beautiful and breath taking. The colors themselves are a wicked blend. I would love to know how they pick the colors and get them to blend in a way that is just so attractive and pleasing to the eye. I have always been absolutely fascinated by hand blown glass. Lord knows that I have watched numerous shows showing how these artists create such beautiful glass.

Its so easy for me to write about products like these. These artists’ work really speaks for themselves. You really have to see this artwork. They have everything from the traditional fluted vase to exotic glass statues. They offer a 100% money back guarantee. If you don’t see something that you like on their website, HandblownGlass.net will create an art piece to your specifications and request. I wish I could give you a picture of it. You will have to go to the website and check it out yourself.

Hand Blown Glass

NATURAL MOTHER RIGHT TO PRIVACY

June 27, 2008

This is constantly bantered about when it comes to adoptee rights. Many folks site the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court Decision. I want to revisit this court decision. I don’t think many folks have actually read this thing especially the legislators, Right to Life, and Pro-choice groups. It is about the definition of the right to privacy and the definition of personhood.

In Griswold vs. Connecticut, the right to privacy is first addressed which has since led to the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court Decision. I will bring up Griswold in a minute but I want to show where personhood is defined within the Roe vs. Wade decision.

Definition of personhood:

“The same court recently has held again that the State’s abortion statutes are not unconstitutionally vague or overbroad. Thompson v. State (Ct. Crim. App. Tex. 1971), appeal docketed, No. 71-1200. The court held that “the State of Texas has a compelling interest to protect fetal life”; that Art. 1191 “is designed to protect fetal life”; that the Texas homicide statutes, particularly Art. 1205 of the Penal Code, are intended to protect a person “in existence by actual birth” and thereby implicitly recognize other human life that is not “in existence by actual birth”; that the definition of human life is for the legislature and not the courts; that Art. 1196 “is more definite than the District of Columbia statute upheld in [United States v.] Vuitch” (402 U.S. 62); and that the Texas statute “is [410 U.S. 113, 120] not vague and indefinite or overbroad.” A physician’s abortion conviction was affirmed.”

Do you see this? It defines personhood as a person who is in existence by actual birth. At birth, the child has the same rights as the natural parents. They may not be able to make decisions for themselves but they still have the same rights.

“Griswold vs. Connecticut case, 381 U.S. 479 , the Court held a Connecticut birth control law unconstitutional. The Griswold decision can be rationally understood only as a holding that the Connecticut statute substantively invaded the “liberty” that is protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

As so understood, Griswold stands as one in a long line of pre-Skrupa cases decided under the doctrine of substantive due process. Several decisions of this Court make clear that freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

In other words, the state and federal governments can’t make laws that interfere with our liberties. These cases gave women the right to birth control and contraception. These cases also gave women the right to choose what is best for themselves and their families.

It even went further with this:

“We recognized “the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person [410 U.S. 113, 170] as the decision whether to bear or beget a child.” That right necessarily includes the right of a woman to decide whether or not to terminate her pregnancy. “Certainly the interests of a woman in giving of her physical and emotional self during pregnancy and the interests that will be affected throughout her life by the birth and raising of a child are of a far greater degree of significance and personal intimacy than the right to send a child to private school protected in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925), or the right to teach a foreign language protected in Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923).” Abele v. Markle, 351 F. Supp. 224, 227 (Conn. 1972).”

In the Supreme Court of Tennessee At Nashville, the plaintiffs argues that they had a vested right in the confidentiality of their identity under the law. First and foremost, there is no legal document ever proving this confidentiality. Second, the natural parents relinquish all rights including the right to privacy and confidentiality. The adoption is not sealed at relinquishment but at the finalization of the adoption. The natural parents don’t have any rights at this time. Let alone a vested right to privacy. As Roe vs. Wade and Griswold vs. Connecticut, the right to privacy and 14th amendment due process laws do not include the right to give a child up for adoption.

These plaintiffs also claimed that the new adoptee access law also violated their right to privacy in regards to procreation and family. In previous definitions of the right to privacy, women are practicing their right to privacy in regards to contraception, parenting, and abortion. With adoption, there is another person who has rights as well. In the previously mentioned circumstances, it only regarded a woman’s choices in regards to her body. Those rights don’t infringe upon any other individual. With adoption, an adoptee should have the same rights as the mother.

When you look at birth certificate laws, non adopted individuals and their parents have access to the birth certificate. What many normal folks don’t realize is that even the natural parents don’t have access to the original birth certificate in most states.

In the Tennessee decision, the justices decided that the right of adoption is statutory. It was created to protect the interests of children who had parents who for whatever reason were unable to care for those children. In other words, adoption is a choice. It will not ever be a fundamental right because then it would infringe on parental rights and parents’ right to privacy. No one individual should be required to relinquish their child without due process. The other interesting point is if a child is relinquished and never adopted, that child still has access to their birth certificate.

So when you hear the so called promise of confidentiality, truthfully no one has it. We just have the right to be free from governmental interference. If you think about this, adoptees right to privacy is being violated.

HOW PEOPLE FIND YOUR BLOG

June 27, 2008

It never ceases to amaze me how people find me. I honestly don’t get it. Someone came to my blog using the search words “anti adoption protest in New Orleans.” Okay that protest is not anti adoption. It is about adoptee rights. We are not promoting or demoting adoption in any form or fashion. We are however against the discrimination that adoptees face.

With Department of Homeland Security promoting proof of citizenship laws and the Real ID program, adoptees are facing possible civil rights violations. Why? We can’t prove our birth in 44 states. This will restrict an adoptee from getting a passport, joining the military, getting retirement benefits, and even the right to vote.

For the non adopted, the individual and their parents have access to that birth certificate. There are not any questions. The individual doesn’t have to ask permission from their parents to get access to their birth certificate. Why do adoptees and their families? In most states the natural parents don’t even have access to that original birth certificate. This is discrimination period. Everyone in the fifty states has special access to the documents with their names on them. Adoptees and their families are shut out.

You must consider why the records are really sealed. The adoption is not sealed at relinquishment but at the finalization. Most would say that it protects the adopters. It may have started out like that. Its not that way now. I honestly believe its to hide the secrets of the adoption agencies and their attorneys. All you have to do is look at the news. There are tons of stories of adoptees and their families being rooked over by the agencies.

Adopters and natural parents are screaming for transparency in adoption. Adoptees are screaming for it. How long before people listen?

A FRESH IDEA

June 27, 2008

Are you looking for a fresh idea for a gift? Letterperspective.com has it. They have created really awesome discussion pieces. Need a cool idea for a wedding or housewarming gift? These folks have got it for you. They have taken pictures of nature and normal surroundings that create a letter. Letterperspective.com has then put those pictures into a frame to create a name. They have tons of pictures to chose from. I think this is really neat idea. So if you are looking for something to go over the couch or in a bedroom, this is a wonderful and creative idea. So check out Letterperspective.com.

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