I like to garden. I was looking at fruit trees at the local plant nursery. An employee was describing the benefits of grafted fruit trees over the non grafted variety.
This seemed a natural process to compare with adoption. We even have the images of family trees to grapple with; whose tree do we belong to?
We are frequently informed, both directly and indirectly, of how much better off we are as adoptees, grafted onto this superior tree. So much so that there is no need, supposedly, for us to be curious about our origin tree. The tree that brought us forth, gave us life, and then lost a part of itself.
With grafts, a wound is left on the tree of origin. An incision is made on our next tree, a wound that closes around us to create a new fruiting branch.
We are on the tree, but not of it.
As I listen to the employee talk about extended life and new vigor and flowering and fruiting; about the cost of the tree and the benefits I would enjoy by planting this tree in my garden; I can’t stop thinking of another definition of the word graft: obtained by means of corruption.
So much corruption, deception, and coercion exists in adoption. Politicians routinely ignore this reality. There’s too much power and money involved for most to find an interest in backing the rights of adopted people. Always a loophole or a fabricated obstacle that can be employed to deny adoptees access to the truths of our origins. A way to perpetuate the graft.
My family just finished watching 8 episodes of The Last Kingdom on dvd from Netflix. I was reflecting on how kidnapping is a genocidal strategy of war. Most recently, we’ve seen Ukrainian children taken to Russia. I’ve seen some adoptees refer to their adoptive parents as kidnappers and really it is not far from the truth. Georgia Tann who was behind my mother’s adoption believed in taking children from poor families and unwed single mothers and placing them with wealthier couples would improve their outcomes and in some small way the human race.
In the movie we’ve been watching, a Saxon boy witnesses the killing of his father by the Danes (and of course, having recently learned that I am 25% Danish, it interested me). As the movie depicts, the Danish culture becomes part of the movie protagonist, Uhtred’s personality. I’m certain that is in Putin’s mind as he seeks to erase the Ukrainian people who he does not see as legitimate and instill a stronger Russian identity in these children.
In 2008, it was estimated that 40 percent of child soldiers worldwide were in Africa, and that the use of child soldiers in armed conflict was increasing faster than any other continent. Additionally, average age of children recruited as soldiers appears to be decreasing. Children’s greater psychological malleability which makes them easier to control, deceive and indoctrinate. The majority of child soldiers are forcibly recruited either through abduction, conscription, coercion, or by being born into an armed group. Many no longer have the protection of family having witnessed the murder of their loved ones before being taken.
The seizure by kidnapping or hostage-taking places a heavy psychological burden on all involved. The seizure affects not only the individual or individuals who are abducted, but generates an anxiety in a larger group of people as the location and welfare of the abducted are unknown, as demands and actual intentions of abductors are in doubt, and the prospect of rescue is hazardous at best. If “terrorism is theater,” kidnapping and hostage-taking can be imagined as drama. However, children raised in a foreign environment will be impacted for life, regardless of whether they are returned to their place of origin or not.
In the battle between good and evil that many in the evangelical and pentecostal religions believe they are engaged in, adoption is one way to increase the flock of believers and insert their beliefs into the young. That is why so many become adoptive parents, regardless of issues of infertility or simply a desire to do good. The strategy of taking children from their original parents and raising them within a different family ethic or even different cultural context is very old and not likely to change entirely anytime soon. Even so, adoption activists seek to make a tiny dent in the number of children taken from their biological family by encouraging even financially challenged single women to attempt raising their baby rather than panicking and surrendering them to adoption.
I read an interesting thread this morning that I thought reveals some really important perspectives and so, I share this.
Things I find odd: in the decades following discovery, none of my adoptive family asked about or acknowledged the existence of my half-siblings.
Nor did they either ask how I felt about being lied to for over thirty years; lies they participated in telling. I don’t say this to shame them. I am not even naming them here. As children, they were emotionally abused in that they were told to lie to a family member, every single day. They should not have been asked to do that. I don’t fault them for remaining silent prior to my accidental discovery of my adoption. What I find completely baffling is the continued silence.
What does that say about the nature of love, respect, compassion and connection that adoption supposedly creates? You may say; most adoptees know, so your experience is an anomaly. If so, there are thousands and thousands of anomalies running around these days. There are STILL adoptive parents posting on social media who say they haven’t told the adoptee, don’t know when or if they will. In transracial adoptions, adoptive parents can’t avoid the truth of adoption, but many make a practice of dodging questions, fabricating stories, joking about the adoptee’s pain. And I add, knowing a good number in the donor conception contingent of family creating, there were many who did not ever intend to tell their children. Of course, that was in the days before inexpensive DNA testing. Oops.
I guess odd is not a strong enough word. Cruel, maybe?
There were 4 children in my family; two of those were adopted. First a biological, genetic daughter, then the adoptee girl – me – and an adoptee boy, then a biological, genetic son. My adoptee brother died when I was 13. He was 12. The oldest daughter always knew. The youngest son learnt in high school. Yep; both of those were told to lie. Apparently it was important for them to tell other friends and acquaintances that I was not their “real” sister. I, however, was never told.
What a way to set family relationships up to fail. The refusal to engage with me now “post-discovery” reveals how deep that failure goes and it does increase the pain that I felt as an adoptee to an almost unendurable level.
In their defense, I don’t think they ever learned, nor knew how to learn, how to engage emotionally in a healthy way, not just with me but with others. Some of this was the result of being raised by adult children of alcoholics and a great deal of death and dysfunction occurred in the course of our upbringing. How much of that dysfunction can be attributed to being taught to lie ? It could not have helped the circumstances.
This brings on additional sharings of a similar nature.
Thanks to a friend recognizing my now ex husband was a functional alcoholic, I got into Al-Anon. I was also fortunate to find a couple adoptee support groups at that same time and found that there is a lot of overlap!! Dysfunction doesn’t discriminate. The ex was the son of a violent alcoholic. I dated men who had drug or alcohol issues. My adoptive parents were the youngest in their pre-Depression era families and we’re definitely not what we would refer to as “healthy” today. Add adoption to the mix…
My adoptive mom’s dad was a violent alcoholic. My adoptive dad’s dad was more of a gentle alcoholic, I think. They came out of hard times. Add the pressures of infertility during a time when women’s primary role was parenthood ? So much pain and suffering.
You are right about silence being cruel. Speaking as a first mom… losing my baby to adoption at 17 years old … I was told I would go on with my life, as if nothing had happened. My family never spoke to me about it. It’s traumatizing and cruel to pretend it never happened. I’m sorry that any of us are here having this discussion but we must talk about it, if we are to heal. I was in the adoptee fog for 43 years… & now 12+ years in reunion… I won’t be silenced any longer.
And by sharing such personal thoughts about personal situations, maybe some who encounter people living with such pain will be a little kinder. Until you walk a mile in my shoes . . . seems to fit. Always give the benefit of the doubt and consider the kindest possible explanation for whatever seems “off” is also good advice.
My favorite thing to do while driving to my weekly grocery shopping each week is to listen to the Classic Rock Cafe on 93.1 out of Perryville MO hosted by Zav. At the end of his shift, he went on a proud parent rant about his son, Ro Razavi.
I am always surprised at how many people have adoption somewhere in their families. Zav adopted Ro Razavi from Vietnam when he was 6 years old. His adoptive father’s pride on how this young man has shined so brightly as a golfer was obvious. He is a junior in an O’Fallon Missouri high school, maintaining a 3.38 GPA.
The reason for Zav’s happy rant was that his son has just signed a 4 year golfing scholarship at Chaminade University in Honolulu Hawaii.
Ro has competed on the Varsity golf team at Liberty High School since his freshman year and will be the top player on the squad this upcoming year. Ro also plays a steady schedule of Gateway PGA Jr tour events and has accumulated 27 junior tour wins and was awarded the 2018 Gateway Jr Tour Player of the Year honors.
Ro is an extremely hard worker and is constantly striving to improve both his golf game and in the classroom working diligently on his academics. He also has great leadership skills and is a great listener. While playing golf at the collegiate, he intends to pursue a degree in Business and Marketing.
Since 1999, Americans have adopted a total of 5,578 Vietnamese children, making Vietnam the third most popular East Asian adoption destination after South Korea (19,370) and China (71,632), Department of State figures show. But for decades, the overseas adoption process in Vietnam has been colored by stories of fraud, deception and human trafficking.
Vietnamese adoptions plummeted to zero by 2011, according to the US Department of State. This was the result of a US ban on Vietnamese adoptions in 2008, stemming from concerns that documents were being altered, mothers coerced into giving up their children, and children being put up for adoption without their parents’ knowledge. This young man would have been adopted in approx 2005 or 2006, so before the ban.
On September 16 2014, the US and Vietnam lifted the ban, allowing adoptions of children with special needs, those who are five and older and those who are part of a sibling group, according to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
3,300 Vietnamese children who were part of 1975’s Operation Babylift, which sent orphans from war-torn Vietnam to western families in Europe, Australia and the United States. While touted as a humanitarian campaign, the operation had its critics, who alleged that the US-led effort was a public relations stunt designed to re-brand America’s sullied image after a protracted war. Questions emerged about whether many of the orphans were really orphans at all, or children unwillingly plucked from the homes of Vietnamese families, who felt forced to relinquish them.
There have been camps for Vietnamese adoptees at Estes Park CO (sponsored by Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families) that had been held each summer before the pandemic to allow these children to have contact with others like them. It appears that in person camps will be returning for the summer of 2022.
Heritage Camps have a focus of supporting transcultural/transracial adoptive families. We connect adoptive families with authentic cultural experiences, providing positive representations that affirm the inherent worth of a child’s birth culture through fun, age-appropriate, interactive activities, and cultural/racial “mirrors” — camp counselors and presenters from adoptees’ birth cultures.
This is not my personal story but I do know at least one friend for whom it IS their story as well and so, I have become more interested in NPEs.
Cory Goodrich is a NPE or the recipient of a non-paternity event. This is when someone who is presumed to be an individual’s father is NOT in fact the biological father. This presumption may be on the part of the individual, the parents, or the attending midwife, physician or nurse.
“I’ve always questioned so many things about my family and my life throughout the years, and also about my own mother, who always seemed to be holding back,” Goodrich said.
“I finally decided to ask myself the questions: If a family tree falls in the woods, and no one is around to see it, do I even exist?” I do love this tree related quote !!
A promotional description paragraph sums up the book, Folksong by Cory Goodrich.
“It’s a story about the father who took her in, the father who took her away, the father who gave her away, and her 89-year-old mother, whose broken heart finally gave out while still protecting the secret to Goodrich’s identity. Sifting through the remnants of a life captured in letters and old Polaroids, Goodrich discovers a secret that sets her on a journey with life-altering consequences. In the era of Ancestry.com, DNA testing, and social media, Goodrich was able to gather together just enough pieces of a puzzle locked away for over 50 years to clearly make out the unfathomable image it depicted. Goodrich reminds that while things aren’t always what they seem, stunning fortitude and unexpected legacy can rise from the disorganized ashes of a toppled identity.”
Goodrich says, “I describe ‘Folksong’ as a memoir of love and longing, an ode to self-discovery, an emotional ballad of grief and forgiveness, and a heart-stirring look at the lengths to which a family will go to protect themselves and each other.”
Sometimes, a few breadcrumbs are all you need, as I discovered during my own family roots journey. Since my dad’s mom was unwed and she didn’t name his father on his birth certificate, I thought I’d never be able to know who my paternal grandfather was. I will admit that getting my DNA tested at Ancestry and some intriguing “hints” of some people I seemed to related to – actually were – right on target. When I finally had a last name for my paternal grandfather, the man I once contacted through Ancestry, who finally months later, wrote me – I wish I could help but none of the names you have given me seem related to me. Then, I gave him the new name – mystery solved – my grandfather was his grandmother’s brother.
Disclaimer – I have not read this book. Still I would recommend it to anyone feels they may also be a NPE.
The deception with tact, just what are you trying to say?
You’ve got a blank face, which irritates
You see dimensions in two
State your case with black or white
But when one little cross leads to
You run for cover so discreet, why don’t they
Do what they say, say what you mean
You told me something wrong, I know I listen too long but then
One thing leads to another
~ partial lyrics from The Fixx song One Thing Leads to Another
This woman ended up on the radar of my All Things Adoption group.
The very first comment was related to a baby shower photo Breanne Paquin posted with this remark – “Anchor centerpiece for a baby shower. Does she understand the implication of anchor baby? Wearing a dress with her stomach pooched out too. Makes you wonder if she was even going to tell the baby he was adopted.” “Anchor baby” is a derogatory term that insinuates these children are little more than pawns.
Someone else worries – I’m convinced she’s going to end up physically stealing someone’s baby if she can’t find an expectant mother to give her theirs, like it’s seriously concerning.
Another notes – If there were red flags why was she continuing to purchase a baby from someone she literally never met anyway? So much hate towards the biological mom, questioning if she existed at all. This is all her fault. And all the hundreds of thousands of comments boohooing with her and celebrating she’s on the news, meanwhile she’s deleting heartfelt comments trying to raise awareness.
Yet another notes the truth – Desperate people believe what they want, not what they see.
Regarding this woman’s self-promotion on social media, someone else wonders if she’s doing this as a go around. A way to make people offer her their babies. Jump the waiting list so to speak. Stand out from the crowd. And adds – she’s just another entitled white savior. They’re a dime a dozen.
The motive seems transparent to someone else – that’s my guess. If she was actually “traumatized” she wouldn’t be doing this. She is trying to get another baby. And the other person notes – maybe just “a” baby because this one didn’t exist. To which another says, yep a baby I’m sure any baby will do. Unfortunately some birth mother out there will probably do it for some internet clout alongside her.
It is sadly noted – why can these people be so blind – acting like the money is the issue here. “Sorry you lost so much money so you can’t PURCHASE your wanted baby.”
And I am one with the others – we will change the narrative, of that I have no doubt.
Most U.S. citizens raised by their biological parents never question whether the information on their birth certificates is accurate. With the evolution of adoption and alternate means of conceiving a child, “accurate” is an increasingly subjective term.
Is the purpose of a birth certificate to portray a biological account of a person’s birth parents, or is it an account of one’s “legal” parents — the ones responsible for raising them?
The US Census Bureau created Birth Certificates in the beginning of the 20th Century as a means of tracking the effects of disease and urban environments on mortality rates. The task of issuing birth certificates was transferred to the Bureau of Vital Statistics, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services. In 1946, the recording births was decentralized into today’s varied state systems (and in reality, based on my parents births in the 1930s, this existed well before the 1940s). This has caused there to be 50 different sets of regulations concerning how, when, why and if access to original birth certificate information can be obtained.
The document has become an important (if not our sole) means of identification when we obtain anything from a driver’s license to a passport. It is an indispensable tool for genealogical researchers.
For adoptees as well as donor-conceived persons, there is oftentimes a clear distinction between one’s genetic parents, those with whom you share DNA, and one’s legal parents, the ones who have rights and responsibilities attached to their parenthood, and most-times, the ones who are raising them.
Our birth certificate practices concerning non-biological parents began with adoption. In the mid-20th Century, there was rising concern that adopted children’s birth certificates read “illegitimate.” In response, states began to issue adoptees amended birth certificates, listing the adoptive parents as if they were the genetic parents, thus hiding the shame of the child’s illegitimacy and the adoptive parents’ infertility. The originals containing the biological parents’ names were sealed and not available to anyone (including the adoptee) except by court order. The new birth certificates showed no indication that they had been amended, which gave adoptive parents an easy way to not tell their children of their adoption. In about half of the US states (including large population ones like California and Virginia as I personally found with my two parents adoptions), adoptees original birth certificates remain sealed.
Women who use donor eggs to become pregnant are listed as mothers on birth certificates. When our donor informed me she had her DNA tested at 23 and Me, I made the decision to provide my children with the information and private access to her (with her consent) that DNA testing and that site’s design make possible. It is unsettling to see someone else listed as my two sons “mother” even though they grew in my womb, nursed at my breast and have been cared for and nurtured by me 24/7 for almost every day of their entire lives. Yet, I knew this was the proper path to establish for my own children their personal reality.
There are a whole host of concerns raised by adoptees and the donor-conceived, including the right to identity, ongoing medical history, biological heritage, and the right to know their genetic parents and I for one believe these issues are valid and should receive transparent answers.
The US Surgeon General reports 96% of Americans believe that knowing their family history is important. It certainly has made a world of difference for me as the offspring of two adoptees. I suppose this has given me a broader perspective on the importance of a person knowing from where their genes originated. The United Nations has acknowledged the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations.
I believe that all people have a moral right to know the truth about their personal history. Where the state has custody of relevant information it has a duty not to collude in deceiving or depriving individuals of such information. Growth, responsibility, and respect for self and others develop best in lives that are rooted in truth.
There has been a recommendation made that the Standard US Birth Certificate be revised to expand upon the “two parent only” format to include categories for Legal Parents, Genetic Parents and Surrogates. In the case of adoptees, the child’s birth name and parentage should be recorded along with his or her legal/adoptive name.
The time for birth certificate reform is now. Unfortunately for many, it should have happened decades ago.
Even with one’s biological/genetic children, we don’t own them. We may be the vessel through which they came to Life but that does not give us ownership rights. This is true as well regarding adoptees. An adoptive parent does not own their adopted child. Hence the disturbing nature of today’s story –
The child is sad and missing his birth mother. He has been with his adoptive parents since birth. He wants to be with his birth mom. He wants to know why he’s adopted and is asking questions about his birth mother. One of the comments from the post that is now deleted is actually how some foster and adoptive parents think. “Tell him ‘I got you away from her because I need a child to love. Stop bringing her up. You are not meeting her end of discussion, you belong to me, not her. period’. Lady, you need to fight for what is yours, be strong. How would you feel if this was your husband wanting to visit an ex girlfriend he really liked? This is your family, not theirs, fight for it”.
Comparing one’s adopted child to a cheating husband ? Unbelievable.
Fear is common in adoptive parents. Here’s another adoptee’s experience – My adoptive parents would say “they don’t care about you. They wanted a closed adoption. They didn’t show up for court.” They wouldn’t let me see my adoption papers until I was 25 and actually called the lawyer that handled my adoption for advice. I found out that’s totally not the case. I think my adoptive parents are still scared (since I call my original parents “mom and dad” now). To be honest, I call friend’s parents mom and dad too. And my adoptive parents are scared that I’m going to choose my first family over them. What I really want is for everyone to get along.
From another adoptee – It’s common to want to know. I didn’t understand until I was older. My biological mom was an addict. She lied and made me think she had custody of my 3 brothers and she didn’t. She lost custody of my brothers when my youngest was 3. And I lost contact with them until 2012, when I found one of them on Facebook.
I don’t know, I have conflicting feelings about this woman (she signs her own self as The Baby Saver on a post I saw) and her organization, Project Cuddle. On the one hand, she has found her calling and who can argue with saving a baby in danger of being abandoned ? On the other hand, it is a method of being something like an adoption agency, who doesn’t identify themselves as such, who doesn’t sell babies but seeks donations to fund their organization.
They have Rescue Families not adoptive parents. Their official line is this – We are not an adoption agency or facilitator. We charge nothing to the girls who come to us seeking assistance nor to our vetted “Rescue Families”. We are a non-profit charity. Our only goal is to help each girl or woman make safe, legal decisions regarding their pregnancy and subsequent baby.
They don’t pick babies up from dumpsters. Project Cuddle says – We help frightened girls and women find safe and legal alternatives for their baby’s future, so that abandonment need never happen. A girl or woman will never have to leave a baby in a dumpster, at a church, lying in some back alley, or anywhere else for that matter.
In day’s of yore, they might have been referred to as a home for unwed mothers, much like the Door of Hope that my paternal grandmother went to in Ocean Beach CA – after she discovered she was pregnant and that her boyfriend was actually married to someone else.
Child abandonment appears in many different forms. It can apply to a minor who is left without appropriate supervision for an extended period of time. That is the kind of situation that brings Child Welfare Agencies and the courts into the picture. Project Cuddle’s mission is officially preventing baby abandonment by supporting an unwed pregnant woman with prenatal care, maternity clothes, hospital delivery and a family waiting to adopt her baby.
They remind me a bit of the old Salvation Army (that is where my paternal grandmother went for help). Project Cuddle says – after the mother has delivered, Project Cuddle continues to assist her in establishing a plan for her future. We never judge any girl or woman that calls us for help.
They do claim NOT to be promoting surrender or adoption – The decision to give her baby up for adoption is entirely left to the birthmother. This can be as quick as two days or take as long as twenty years. Hmmm, really ? 20 years. Isn’t the baby a legal adult by that time ? What mother cuts ties with a baby she has been involved with that long ? Never mind, I’m certain it happens. Parents and children do become estranged in some families. I wonder just how non-coercive Project Cuddle is about moving a baby into an adoptive family. They do say – the more open a rescue family is towards things such as sex, ethnicity and drug exposure – the more quickly they may be matched with a birthmother choosing surrender.
I don’t know. I continue feel squeamish about this whole “project” – while at the same time recognizing there is a need for mothers and their babies to have the support when they need it. When society doesn’t deliver that support, individuals with a savior complex often do step in. You can learn more about Project Cuddle at their website. However, from a comment thread I have read – all is not 100% as it seems. The terminology is exploitative and deceiving and there is every indication that “counselors” do coerce the mother into surrender, regardless of how much they try to say otherwise (this comes from some real life experiences that are now being openly shared).
What? You’re not going to divorce so that you can adopt as a couple, because couples are favored by agencies, but then you’re going to immediately divorce once the ink is dry, further traumatizing this child?
Here’s the backstory –
My husband and I are in the process of separating. Our marriage hasn’t been doing well now for a while and divorce sadly feels imminent. We’ve had our foster daughter, age 3, since she was 9 months old, The termination of parental rights is already on the books, scheduled for a May hearing right now – so still over 2 months away.
My question is, has anyone gone through a divorce in the middle of trying to adopt from foster care ? We want to still adopt her and we don’t want to do anything to compromise our chances of success in doing that.
I know divorced parents aren’t as good as happily married parents, but we do love her like she was our own. I just need advice on how to proceed in this situation. Things are feeling tough right now and we just don’t know what to do.
Short answer, I don’t know if it is possible in this case but the best solution might be to let the kid go back to her parents.
Which does bring up some questions – if reunification is not off the table, why aren’t these foster parents working toward the goal of getting this child back with her parents ? Why has this little girl remained in their care for so long – without a successful reunification ?
The sticky part is – what does it mean if termination of parental rights has been scheduled for finalization, is reunification still an option ? And it is honestly possible for termination of parental rights to go to trial and then be denied by the judge.
And this from someone who seems to be knowledgeable in such cases – changing the case plan to termination of parental rights is usually the final warning to the parents that they must make “significant” progress. Once the case plan changes, the parents have about 30-60 days to make improvements. Basically, it’s used as a threat. The parents still have rights, and a chance until their termination of parental rights hearing actually takes place. At that point, it’s up to the judge. The judge can decide not to terminate.
Divorce IS traumatic on kids. Adoption and foster care add on more trauma. Deception to achieve the goal of adopting a young child is a terrible choice. This feeds into an idea that hopeful adoptive parents should do anything, at all costs, for a child they love… but in reality they’re doing anything at all costs for what they want.
Back to the question – Why is reunification not happening ? What supports could possibly be provided to the family that aren’t being offered now ? What are some things that could be done to support reunification over termination of parental rights ? When safe, reunification should always be the first and most supported option. The next option would be to support the child going to other members of the family. Why hasn’t that been explored ? Etc.
It is blatantly unfair to adopt a child knowing full well that you will be getting divorced. No matter how amicable things seem now, divorce changes people. Especially once family, friends and lawyers start giving their opinions.
It’s not fair to ask a child to navigate the feelings of adoption and divorce at the same time. Divorce brings up extra feelings of abandonment and chaos for an adopted child. They have already lost one family, only to lose another. The child needs stability and going straight into a custody battle is not it.