Adoptee Rebecca Autumn Sansom made a film titled a film titled Reckoning with The Primal Wound that captures the complexities, forsaken years, and mirror smashing pain of adoption better than any other I’ve seen. She says at her Twitter – “bunnies are my spirit animal.”
I am a fan already. Those who know me will understand why. We have a house rabbit named Walnut.
Here’s an article, My Biology Matters, in Severance magazine by Kristen Steinhilber – an excerpt from which, the paragraph mentioning Rebecca Autumn and italicized line below were taken. She says, “My story is not any other adoptee’s story. But the gist of it is not uncommon. These themes of diabolical dishonesty, betrayal, unbearable rejection, and hopelessness run through countless adoptees’ stories, and are begging not to be ignored.” Also, my favorite part is the “Adoptee Army” featured in the credits. There’s a massive number of names listed, all those of adoptees who stand in solidarity for adoption reform. After a lifetime of feeling utterly alone, I was moved to tears seeing my name included with all of the rest.
We are the adoptee army, and our biology matters. It did all along.
Toyota featured the story of Jessica Long, 13 time Paralympic Gold Medalist. Born in Siberia and due to a rare condition, had to have her legs amputated, Jessica Long has inspired people with her story.
Toyota tells through a reenactment how her adoptive mother found out that she would need to have her legs amputated.
“Mrs. Long. We found a baby girl for your adoption,” says a woman on the phone with Long’s onscreen mother. “But there are some things you need to know. She’s in Siberia and she was born with a rare condition.”
“Her legs will need to be amputated,” the woman adds as the scenes play out floating in water while Long swims. “Her legs will need to be amputated. I know this is difficult to hear. Her life, it won’t be easy.”
The commercial then shifts to Long winning a race as her mother watches from the kitchen table.
“It might not be easy, but it’ll be amazing,” Long’s mom says. “I can’t wait to meet her.”
The commercial voiceover then adds, “We believe there is hope and strength in all of us.”
During an interview with People magazine back in 2016, the swimmer said – “Winning gold medals is incredible and obviously it’s what I want to do, but there’s something so special about having a little girl who has just lost her leg from cancer come up and tell me I’m her hero.”
Clearly, it is her physical disability that informs Jessica’s identity much more than the fact of her adoption.
“It took me years to realize that if I act ashamed and I try to hide them people kind of react the same way,” she added. “But if I wear my shorts or a cute summer dress and I show off my legs and I’m willing to talk about it, people are engaged and they want to know about my story.”
The renowned athlete was adopted by Americans from a Russian orphanage at 13 months old. At 18 months old, her legs were amputated below the knees. In total, she’s won 29 gold medals, 8 silver medals and 4 bronze ones.
As a blogger, the only question that I had was whether any pro-adoption group helped fund the commercial or suggested the idea to Toyota. Just a hint of cynicism but otherwise, I love the story of overcoming life’s realities with determination. However, there may be no connection with that kind of organization.
In 2013, Jessica Long traveled with her younger sister to meet her birth parents, who were teenagers when Long was born Tatiana Olegovna Kirillova. It was a three-day journey to her Russian adoption center and then an 18-hour train ride to what would have been her Siberian hometown. “Long Way Home” (the story of her journey) premiered on primetime during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia.
Jessica says this about her adoption – “When I first see my Russian family, I want them to know that I’m not angry with them, that I’m not upset that they gave me up for adoption,” Long said in the film, before a tearful, hug-filled reunion. “I think that was really brave, and I don’t know what I would have done if I was in her situation, at 16 and having this disabled baby that they knew that they couldn’t take care of. I want to tell her that when I see her that, if anything, I have so much love for her, my mom, because she gave me life.”
And I’ve learned a bit more of Jessica’s adoption back story – her teenaged parents were persuaded to give her up, with doctors telling the mother that she was “still young” and would be able “to give birth to a normal child.” This is disgusting. This is why so many kids end up in ‘orphanages’, not because they don’t have parents, but because of lack of support, ablism and/or poverty. And even sadder is this, her mother said, “Of course I was against leaving her in the hospital but because of the circumstances we had to do so. In my heart I did want to take her home, and thought I would take her back later.” This belief that their child will return to them someday is a common occurrence in international adoptions.
There is of course, some questionable motivation when a car company wanting to sell more cars uses these kinds of themes. For those closest to the situations, it is absolutely a triggering commercial – hit notes on adoption, orphans, and a special needs person. At the same time, it is a perfect little story wrapped in a bow, delectable, and very palatable for the masses who gobble it up. General society and adoptive parents as well as the hopeful adoptive parents always love a “poor little orphan finds a home” story.
I didn’t realize this was a problem until tonight. The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 awarded citizenship retroactively to what advocates estimated were more than 100,000 international adoptees under 18 who were already in the country when it went into effect in February 2001. Today, children who are adopted from abroad by US citizens generally receive automatic citizenship, and adoption agencies and embassies are better at informing parents about any follow-up they need to do.
There are estimated to still be tens of thousands of people who were adopted internationally by American parents between the 1950s and 1980s but never naturalized. They are in effect stateless. They are also potentially deportable to countries they don’t even remember.
The Adoptee Citizenship Act is proposed federal legislation that would grant citizenship to anyone who was adopted by a U.S. citizen regardless of when they turned 18. It would also allow those who have been deported to return to the United States. U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (MO), Mazie Hirono (HI), Susan Collins (ME), and Amy Klobuchar (MN) introduced the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2019. A Virtual Rally will take place on Twitter on Wednesday, September 23rd at 2pm EST because HR2731 has still not passed the House. #Citizenship4Adoptees
Widespread adoption of children abroad by US citizens began in South Korea in the 1950s after the Korean War and then spread to other countries. It was initially less regulated than it is now. Advocates estimate there could be up to 18,000 from South Korea alone in this situation, along with an undetermined number from countries such as Venezuela, Germany, India, Guatemala, Vietnam and Iran.
Growing up, they were able to obtain Social Security numbers and driver’s licenses. Before the 1990s and early 2000s ushered in a stricter era of screening, many even received US passports, served in the US military and voted — unaware that they were not citizens.
Though Abby Johnson is best known for her anti-abortion activism, I am mystified by what I learned. How could she say this ? Not entirely leaving aside the problematic situation of this white woman raising a Black son born to a Black mother or father (however that came to pass). So okay, he isn’t 100% Black, he’s biracial but a lot of white people lump them together equally.
The speaker at the current RNC convention said that the police are “smart” to target her ADOPTED Black son because he is “statistically” more likely to commit a violent offense.No wonder Black people are more likely to die during encounters with law enforcement, if this is the prevailing point of view.
Admittedly, Abby Johnson is a controversial figure. She has a long history of making racist remarks on Twitter and in video blogs. How can it be the most beneficial placement for this Black young man ?
Johnson once said in a video posted as recently as last June (after the killing of George Floyd) that, “I recognize that I’m gonna have to have a different conversation with Jude than I do with my brown-haired little Irish, very, very pale-skinned, white sons, as they grow up.” She certainly has no problem viewing “her” boys from different racially based perspectives. What is in this woman’s heart ?
Her husband blogged in 2015 about the couple adopting the boy at birth. She is quoted as saying, ““Right now, Jude is an adorable, perpetually tan-looking little brown boy. But one day, he’s going to grow up and he’s going to be a tall, probably sort of large, intimidating-looking-maybe brown man — and my other boys are probably gonna look like nerdy white guys.”
So let me get this straight, she is projecting this boy into becoming an “intimidating” man ? Why do they have him at all ? I don’t understand this.
In explaining her comment about police profiling her son, she adds, “Statistically, I look at our prison population and I see that there is a disproportionately high number of African-American males in our prison population for crimes, particularly for violent crimes. When a police officer sees a brown man like my Jude walking down the road — as opposed to my white nerdy kids, my white nerdy men walking down the road — because of the statistics that he knows in his head, that these police officers know in their head, they’re going to know that statistically my brown son is more likely to commit a violent offense over my white sons.”
I can’t help but call racial bias on this woman and I am sad that sweet little boy is being raised by her. She had had some ignorant and factually incorrect things to say about Black fathers. She says that Black fathers have not taken their place in the home. According to her, 70% of Black homes do not have a father present.
I don’t know, it is not something I have researched; but of course, if more Black men are incarcerated than their percentage of the population would represent, that may be true. She makes a statement about activists in the Black community trying to redefine what Black fatherhood is. I was also aware of such initiatives but from a more positive perspective than she goes on to assert. She claims that Black fatherhood looks like a Black man coming in and out of the home. I am white also and I would never attempt as a white person to define anything about the Black community and I believe that is where she also oversteps her bounds.
And wow, she really steps into it saying that “culturally, it is accepted for Black men to be with multiple women.” I had to stop listening to her youtube rant at that point. There are just as many white and men of other races out there messing around with multiple women – our current president included. We would not even have a MeToo movement if men had not gotten lost in their sexual values along the way. And of course, not all men, but just saying what is obvious to me. So I am done with Abby Johnson.
I remember my family watching If Beale Street Could Talk. I believe this gives an honest portrayal of the close knit nature of Black families, even when the father is incarcerated. The movie was adapted from a James Baldwin novel about 1970s Harlem. I trust Baldwin’s perspectives on Black issues more than I trust this woman’s perspective. In the movie, the young man is arrested for a crime he did not commit. The social indictment of our institutionally racist justice system is a thread in the plot.
I could go on and on but I do recommend this movie to anyone who believes Abby Johnson is justified in her opinion of Black families and especially Black fathers. It may just change your opinion enough to open your mind a little bit.