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Monthly Archives: January 2012

This and that…

Search term that brought someone to this blog that just JUMPED OUT at me today – how on earth could anyone even remotely consider it acceptable…

adoption fraud is not human trafficking

Really Okay I know the USA does not have it under their official definition of human trafficking, but it comes pretty darn close to it, if not meets the definition.  Of course that is just my position, but I do know others agree with me.  Lets stop and think of the advantages to the CHILD if the USA did include adoption fraud in the definition of human trafficking.  There would be real laws with plenty of teeth and jail time for anyone convicted in either country.  That would mean they would have a real incentive to ensure the CHILD is actually available for adoption.  That would mean they would not casually accept falsified paperwork by the brother of the police chief, or the person who said claims they are the biological parent.  That would mean they would do DNA testing for all adoptions to ensure the person surrendering was actually the person they say they are.  I could go on and on and on.  It would mean everyone actually acting in the childs best interest – not the bottom line, the PAP waiting, just the child.  What a concept.

And that does not even begin to take into consideration the life-time impact on the child, or the adopting parents who have to live with the fact their child may not have needed to be adopted.

I do realize the demand drives the supply and if only those actually available for adoption were adopted then some PAPs would be out of luck…oh well…no one should ever accept those two words being linked – you know “adoption” and “fraud” they just don’t work together where as “ethical” and “adoption” work very nicely together.  Adoption fraud is wrong.  No getting around it – it is wrong, wrong and still wrong.  Put yourself in the child’s REAL parents shoes and what would YOU call it then.

IN OTHER THOUGHTS…

I watched C.S.I. M.i.a.m.i. the other night.  The one where the sperm “donor” (quotes because he was paid) was murdered.  You knew it was bound to show up on a show sometime.  The storyline talked about him having 103 kids out there as confirmed on the Donor Sibling Registry, yet they forgot that annoying estimate by the industry that only 80% of parents tell their children.  When you stop and think about that the 103 being 20% of his children…you could estimate what 500 or so children, but of course he still had frozen sperm at the clinic because part of the plot was the destruction of the sperm. 

Turns out the “donor” was a carrier for Turner disease that destroys your liver, and you know you need your liver to live.  They had to add more drama in that one of the mothers used a surrogate and delivered identical twins and kept one.  They spun the story to the ninth degree to make it just as juicy as it could possible get.  Thankfully, they didn’t make one of the children the guilty one, but they certainly focused on the children as the foremost suspects, instead of looking to the spouse which statistics prove most likely to be the one. 

It did try to stereotype the donor conceived much like adoptees have been stereotyped on TV.  I think less than the stereotype of adoptees, because the “donor” was a successful person and of course the mothers were all upstanding people who just wanted to parent, so the “genes” weren’t suspect like adoptees. 

But at the end of the day it did stereotype and cast suspicion on donor conceived to some degree, but it also raised the red flag about the risks for genetic diseases without knowledge provided, and it also raised the red flag about the sheer number of children from one sperm “donor”. 

Mixed feelings about it and I am not particularly fond of the show to begin with, so that’s my take on it.

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Posted by on January 31, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child, Ethics

 

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Utah – Bill to revise adoption rules re fathers – could it pass?

Thanks to the comment and link left by Rebecca on yesterday’s post. 

There is another glimmer of hope for fathers who have been shut out of being a father when the mother relocates to Utah for the purposes of surrender.  Will the bill pass is the big question.  With the spotlight on Utah – I think there might be a small window of hope.  Yet at the same time we have to remember those laws favor adoption agencies in Utah, and you can bet they are scrambling and lobbying and doing whatever they can to make sure this bill never makes it to a vote.  Much like this bill I talked about in Utah – you can’t have it both ways that would require the court to open an adoptees records upon the written request of the adoptee’s physician.  That bill didn’t pass because Utah adoption laws aren’t written in the best interests of the child no matter what they say to the contrary, because if they were – it would have passed.

Utah adoption bill aims to give unwed fathers more protections

A state lawmaker has introduced a bill aimed at preventing an unmarried woman from coming to Utah to give birth and pursue adoption without informing the biological father of her plan, a problem highlighted in a Friday Utah Supreme Court ruling involving an unmarried Colorado father.

House Bill 308, sponsored by Rep. Christine Watkins, D-Price, would require pregnant women to give notice by mail or publication to out-of-state unmarried fathers if they plan to give birth and place infants for adoption in Utah.

Watkins’ proposed bill also simplifies the process an unwed father must follow to initially protect his rights, eliminating the requirement that he initiate a court action before he can file a notice of intent to claim paternity with the state’s putative father registry. That change would apply to Utah residents as well as unwed fathers who reside elsewhere.

The bill would require a notice to be sent to the unmarried father’s last known residence or published in a newspaper where he was last known to reside that informs him of an adoption plan and what he needs to do to protect his rights. It sets a deadline of 30 days for the father to act once he receives the notice or the mother gives consent or relinquishes the baby.

An unwed father who files a paternity notice with the state registry would then have an additional 30 days to begin a court paternity action and file other declarations about his interest in assuming custody and caring for the child. If the unmarried father does not respond, his consent to the adoption would be assumed, the bill says.

“I am very sympathetic to fathers loving their children,” said Watkins, who has two brothers and four sons. “A lot of fathers don’t want to give up on their children. I thought, ‘You know, let’s give these guys a chance.’”

There is more to the article linked above but I just wanted to note a small concern – I hope the bill actually does not provide an either/or provision to notification.  Sending notification to the last known residence is completely different from publication in a newspaper in his location – what newspaper? the least read one? and exactly where would that notification be buried and could it be a John Doe / Jane Doe type notice?  Those types of notifications are unethical.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child, Ethics

 

Utah – perhaps the tide is turning but I won’t hold my breath…

Utah high court reverses ruling in adoption case of unwed Colorado dad

The Utah Supreme Court ruled Friday that a Colorado father was improperly denied a say in his infant daughter’s adoption and sent the case back to a lower court for a rehearing.

In a split decision that establishes a new ground rule for future cases, the justices said Robert Manzanares’ consent to any adoption was necessary. The majority held Manzanares did not know and reasonably could not have known that a birth and adoption would take place in Utah, entitling him by law to more time to intervene in the proceedings.

Although Manzanares stated in a paternity petition filed in a Colorado court months before her daughter’s birth that he feared his girlfriend might flee to Utah, those were “yellow flags” and not the same thing as having knowledge of such a plan, the majority said.

Go read the rest – it’s not over yet but at least it is something…

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child, Ethics

 

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Ted Talk: Brian Goldman: Doctors make mistakes. Can we talk about that?

From TedX Toronto:

Brian Goldman is an emergency-room physician in Toronto, and the host of CBC Radio’s “White Coat, Black Art.”

Every doctor makes mistakes. But, says physician Brian Goldman, medicine’s culture of denial (and shame) keeps doctors from ever talking about those mistakes, or using them to learn and improve. Telling stories from his own long practice, he calls on doctors to start talking about being wrong.

This talk spoke to me in several different ways…both from my story of getting sick but also from how the adoption world operates.  Please watch/listen to the talk first before reading the rest of this post.

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Dad told me that every single doctor makes mistakes because they are all human and fallible.  That asking for a second opinion is good.  He asked for second opinions from his colleagues, and his colleagues called him at night asking him for a second opinion because they were all fallible. 

I was one of those patients whose diagnosis was wrong.  It was wrong primarily because of a lack of any family health history, yet I still wage an internal war on whether or not she could have done more to protect me instead of making the easy diagnosis.  I doubt I will ever have a clear answer for myself on that because I liked her so I have that bias, as well as dad being a doctor and I have an internal bias to protect all doctors.

I was also one of those patients whose emergency room physicians listened to his gut telling him something terribly wrong despite the initial CT scan not showing the stroke like the follow-up CT did.  He did not follow the consult doctors orders to send me home, instead he kept me there until the next specialist came on and got another consult.  If he had ignored his gut and sent me home I would have died within days – it is that simple – you don’t have to believe me – that is what my cardiologist says.  He saved my life because he listened to his gut telling him there was something terribly wrong.

As I listen to this doctor talk about mistakes he has personally made in his career and how shamed and alone he felt that is further compounded by a culture of denial of mistakes in medicine, it dawned me that the exact same culture is mirrored in adoption. 

In adoption, you are either for (pro adoption) or against (anti adoption) – there is no in-between.  That type of culture takes dialogue and change off the table.  It creates an unhealthy atmosphere for adoptive parents who find out their adoptions weren’t ethical because no one wants to admit anything bad happens in adoption so they are shamed into silence.  If they wish to coexist within the adoption world they have to live in silence or they are judged as “anti” adoption.  That shaming also happens to mothers who surrendered and whose words are dismissed, ridiculed, laughed at, denied by second or third hand accounts of other mothers who surrendered.  It happens to adoptees who speak out – different words are used against them than for either group of parents, but the intent is the same.  Make them be quiet and if that fails, discredit them so no one will take them seriously.  Generalize, stereotype, dismiss.  Silence the critics.  Above all else the mentality (and the profits) of the adoption world is that they must protect adoptions image and protect their own.

Both worlds need to stop the culture of silence about the mistakes and the impact those mistakes have.  I see this doctor being willing to talk about his mistakes, the same way I see adoptive parents and surrendering parents who have to live with their own mistakes but instead of being silent, they speak up and speak out and try to start a dialogue for change.  I just wish the side who fervently believes all adoptions are good, could take off those rose-colored glasses and work just as hard to fix a very broken system.  Don’t they realize fixing the corruption instead of trying to silence a growing number of voices is the preferred alternative and is actually acting in the best interests of the child?  That the best interests of the child dictates that those who can stay within their biological families do so, and only those who truly can benefit from adoption are adopted?  That corruption in the adoption system should not exist and by silencing those who speak against the corruption, actually says you approve of that corruption?

I applaud all parents (who found out too late how flawed the system really is), who are now verbally standing up and demanding change and dialogue.  They are making a difference and should never be shamed, silenced, name called or discredited. 

Here’s to dialogue and change…it can happen if we can start accepting the whole truth and demanding change starts now.

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child, Ethics

 

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70 days to go…

The 1940 US Census will be released April 2, 2012 – just 70 more days to wait – kind of like waiting for Christmas when you were a kid, counting down the days. 

Once it is released for the first time in over 5 decades, I will be able to find out the names of my paternal grandparents, whether they were alive when I was born, when they died, what they did and where they lived.  Whether I had aunts and uncles and who they were too.  Perhaps even a picture or two if I am lucky. 

I can start researching and documenting the paths that side of my family travelled.  Who my great grandparents and great-great grandparents were.  What they all did, where they lived, what land they originally came from, and when.  What life was like in each era and place.  Anything that will paint me a picture of who and what they were like, and what life was like for them. 

I will finally know the other 50% of my ancestry, heritage, nationality, story.  I can’t wait…have already waited far too long.

Anyone else waiting for the 1940 US Census?

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2012 in Adoption

 

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Blame the genes…

Yup it’s all because of the genes that adoptees don’t do as well in adoptive homes.  Must not blame a.d.o.p.t.i.o.n. or the i.m.p.a.c.t. of adoption on the adoptee.  It is clear that adoptees inherit inferior genes to those passed on by the adoptive parents to their biological children.

This study Genetic and Environmental Influences on Adult Life Outcomes: Evidence from the Texas Adoption Project which I actually assumed would not be biased makes some incredible leaps, and by leaps, I mean discounting any impact adoption has on the child.  I do believe nature is stronger than nurture in determining many things, but I also strongly believe the impact of loosing your family at birth, and being adopted into a family that you have no genetic relation to IMPACTS you in ways others will never understand.

Note that this study is a continuation study on adoptees who were adopted at birth or shortly after birth from christian maternity homes.  This study is on adoptees between the ages of 30 and 40.

Such an average difference between these groups of offspring can be interpreted in two ways. First, it might be all or in part due to the genes supplied by the two sets of parents. The genetic parents of the adopted children were prima facie less well adjusted in their lives than the parents who supplied the genes to the biological children, a hypothesis supported by the differences in scores of the two groups of mothers on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (Loehlin et al. 1982)

And they did the personal inventory of the biological mothers when?  That question is not answered and if they did it on the mothers while they were in maternity homes or shortly after surrender, you think that would be indicative of what they would have been like before such a life changing event happened?  What – that wouldn’t have crossed your mind?  Obviously they did not interview them before they got pregnant…good grief…

A second possible interpretation might emphasize environmental or interpersonal factors, such as emotional insecurity due to a sense of being abandoned by their birth mothers, or less positive expectations by the adoptive parents, or the like. Such possibilities are often discussed in the adoption literature (e.g., Brodzinsky and Schechter 1990).

Obviously must not say feelings of abandonment or identity issues or growing up in a family you do not mirror could have one iota of a difference on how an adoptee feels.  That would be bad for the adoption industry…don’t trust those who actually have worked with adoptees for many years to know what they are talking about.

Although this second category of interpretations cannot be completely ruled out, we note several limitations of such arguments. First, the adoptees in the present study did not begin under a cloud.  At the time of the initial testing, the adopted children were rated as favorably by their parents as the biological children (Loehlin et al. 1990). If their later rating was lower, they apparently did something to earn it. Secondly, the psychological effects of adoption as such do not provide an explanation of why individual adopted children tend to resemble their birth mothers (Loehlin et al. 1987). And third, the patterns of parent-child and sibling resemblance in the present study lend themselves more readily to interpretation in terms of the genes than in terms of special environmental factors affecting adoptees. The latter factors, if powerful, and if varying from family to family as a result of parental beliefs and attitudes about adoption, might be expected to produce correlations among the adopted children in a family—correlations that were for the most part not observed.

Lets start with this statement aboveFirst, the adoptees in the present study did not begin under a cloud.” means what? – no abuse?  Being separated from your mother at birth is normal and natural?  So you are saying voluntary domestic infant adoption adoptees do not have any valid feelings of loss or abandonment or identity issues to work through?  Pssst – then why do some agencies provide counselling for the adoptee, and there are multiple if not dozens of books on adjustment, overcoming loss, allowing the child to grieve, etc, let alone real live adult adoptees saying being adopted is HARD and it HURTS…

Now lets look at this statement At the time of the initial testing, the adopted children were rated as favorably by their parents as the biological children (Loehlin et al. 1990). If their later rating was lower, they apparently did something to earn it.” You obviously have not watched how AP’s need to validate that adoptive children are just as good if not better than having your own.  Kind of like keeping up with the Jones mentality, which I get BTW.  And then of course – blame the adoptee – they did something to not be as favored – that’s always the best course of action – never blame the AP’s or adoption.  Perhaps you should also realize that the adoptees you just studied are all grown up now and have processed their adoption, and come to different conclusions than when they are were 5 or 15 – you know when they were just children…perhaps, if you are seeing the AP’s response as less favorable perhaps the adoptee “betrayed” them by searching for their family…

Now this statement does not make any sense whatsoever and somebody needs to explain it to me, because I cannot see how “apples” the psychological impact of adoption has any relation to the “oranges” of Mendelian inheritance: Secondly, the psychological effects of adoption as such do not provide an explanation of why individual adopted children tend to resemble their birth mothers.”

I just can’t understand how this study was accepted based on what it says.  Do people really think being adopted is the same as being raised in your biological family?  Do they think there is no trauma?  No impact?  If they don’t then perhaps they believe that all babies should be surrendered at birth and placed in the home at the top of the list of approved parents. 

I can’t say more because it would not be pretty, and I have already been  snarky enough for the day…

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child

 

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Lots of Links…

Very mixed selection of links I have enjoyed lately that you may like.

From The Land of Gazillion Adoptees: Podcast, 16 – The Big Picture: LGA’s Talks with David M. Smolin .  Listen to this two-part podcast and then read Prof. Smolin’s most recent paper found here.

From the strange math category and how the spin doctors hope you only read the headline. ASRM Press Release: Data from Sperm Bank Users Show More Still Prefer Anonymous Donation; Often Fail to Report Pregnancies

Researchers from the Genetics and IVF Institute surveyed thousands of their customers over the last three years. They report that demand for anonymous donation remains high, with 38% of respondents saying they preferred anonymous donors, 20% preferred identified donors and 42% were willing to use either.

From the Oxford Journals: Risk of borderline and invasive ovarian tumours after ovarian stimulation for in vitro fertilization in a large Dutch cohort

From the Center for Genetics and Society New Study Links Egg Harvesting for IVF to Ovarian Cancer speaking to the study linked above that also asks the question of whether or not women who donate their eggs, are being educated about the risk.

All About Ami which is a blog about crocheting.  This post is about the cutest ever Christmas ornaments that I want to try making this year.  Crochet Corner: Teddy Ornaments which has link embedded to the pattern.

Fathers and Family site has this post: Utah Paper Ramps Up Pressure for Father’s Rights.

An older paper from Canada in 2009 celebrating the 20th Anniversary of signing the Convention on the Rights of the Child reporting on the progress and challenges of implementing this convention.  Best Interests of the Child: Meaning and Application in Canada. Talking about adoption starts on page 35 but other parts are very interesting so have a look through as hard topics and the questions posed such as when religious beliefs can harm a child what is the protection and how is it balanced, First Nations children being removed from their own communities, recent immigrants and refugees children.  They asked very thought-provoking questions on a variety of topics and pointed out that Canada still has a long way to go to ensure compliance with the Convention in regards to adoptees…pg 37 speaks about the concerns of discriminatory legislation and policy that privileges the rights of non-adopted children. 

From the blog Holt Adoption Product: Borrowing the word “bullying” and after you read it, but before you respond with that “happened years ago”, just a couple of days ago I was watching a group of commentors talk about the current political race (can’t remember which station), one of the black commentors brought up the color coding comments made and the white commenter next to him told him that those words weren’t color coding and they weren’t racist..okay then…

From iAdoptee: The Client which really shows the absurdity of the reality faced by adult adoptees…

And finally from Huffington Post: Violence Against Women Is a Global Pandemic

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2012 in Adoption, Ethics

 

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2011 BBC Vision Documentary: The Nine Months That Made You

(should be Horizon not Vision)

I just watched/listened to the documentary The Nine Months That Made You linked below. It is broken into five segments each approximately 12 minutes. The way it is linked takes you directly into the next segment.

The documentary starts off discussing the first initial thoughts that led to a journey that crossed continents to prove there was a reason to explore this concept in more depth, and focuses mainly on the long-term health consequences of a birth weight. The concept that the first nine months spent in the womb shape many different facets of your life, health and emotional well-being, as well as touching on for women, the eggs created for any children you may have.  The multi-generation aspect is very concerning.

I found the whole documentary fascinating and listened to the entirety in one sitting. While I was listening I remembered how fascinated I was to learn my birth weight when I received my OBC, and also pulled out my ABC and doubled checked to confirm that my birth weight was not listed there.

If the research already done is confirmed by the research being done, then it may explain many things. Things like why children born during famines or times of great stress have health problems they shouldn’t, based on the lifestyles they have led.

I found it on Top Documentary Films website.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.   The Nine Months That Made You – from the website they provide this statement:

Horizon explores the secrets of what makes a long, healthy and happy life. It turns out that a time you can’t remember – the nine months you spend in the womb – could have more lasting effects on you today than your lifestyle or genes.

It is one of the most powerful and provocative new ideas in human science, and it was pioneered by a British scientist, Professor David Barker.

His theory has inspired a field of study that is revealing how our time in the womb could affect your health, personality, and even the lives of your children.

 After viewing the documentary I remembered the posts I did on a similar subject and decided to post the links in those posts here.

Prenatal maternal stress you really need to read the article as it opens your eyes.

This study also excluded mothers meeting specific criteria, and that criteria included mothers considering adoption from being part of the study – and think what that says about infant domestic adoptionBabies Born To Depressed Moms Have Higher Levels Of Stress Hormones

I also got to thinking about how many babies were born during the Great Depression, and whether what they talk about in the documentary would hold true, as well as children born in the next generation.

Then I started thinking about today’s babies being born, and especially all the thousands of families that are now homeless, and the children born during this time.  This editorial in the Knox News Editorial: Plight of homeless children a disgrace again opens your eyes to the sheer numbers, and yet I recognise it is only speaking about one state…

And finally, I think about the huge difference between how the rich live and how the desperately poor live and how incredibly wrong it is.  I can find no justification in cutting services to those in need.  The future of society rests on the actions we take today.

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child, Ethics

 

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You just have to accept the risk…

So you desperately want to get a new car and you see one in your price range and ask the salesman for the safety and reliability reports.  The salesman looks at you and replies you just need to accept that some parts may make it unsafe, and that different parts of the engine, transmission, drive train might break down at any point. 

Would you accept that response and buy the car?

You really need to find a way to look younger and you hear about a new pill.  So you visit your doctor to find out about this new miracle pill.  You ask the Doctor what’s in the drug and what did the studies show?  The doctor looks at you kind of strangely and says – do you want to look younger?  You respond, well sure, but I want to know the risks.  The doctor replies that the manufacture won’t say what is in the pill, and they didn’t do any studies, but people look younger after they take it. 

Would you accept that answer and take the pill?

The power company where you live wants to build a new plant to produce electricity from coal, and promises your electric bills will be much lower.  The community including you, must vote to approve it.  You ask them about the pollution impact as you live in a valley surrounded by high mountains and want to see the results from the environmental studies.  The company responds that they don’t have a process set up to have those studies done, lots of cities are fueled by coal generated electricity and they don’t think it will be a problem – you just need to accept their word that all will be fine, and remember you will get cheaper electricity. 

Would you accept the risk and blindly vote in favor of the project?

If you have any brains in your head you wouldn’t do any of the above, or any of the other scenarios you could come up with that carry risk without seeing studies, harm reduction programs in place, changes to the process, etc.

So when it comes to accepting the risk that you won’t know your CHILDS family health history, and have a way to receive updates, why would you accept what is currently the norm?  Because they told you most do fine?  And they know that how?

Why would you accept that it is acceptable for agencies to “work around” the fathers, instead of ensuring the father is part of the process?

Why would accept that they do not have any mandate to promote education to both parents about taking the time talking to their family, and ensuring a comprehensive history is provided and updated?  

Why would you accept that the industry has not been mandated to facilitate a process for ensuring family health history is updated periodically and timely forwarded in both directions?

And finally, why would YOU accept that risk on behalf of your child, and your child’s future children?

Can someone please explain to me why that risk is acceptable and people just accept it and carry on?  Do they not realize the actual risk?  Do they not explore the ramifications?  Do they not ask the tough questions and demand changes?

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents

 

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We have to start being honest and talk about it…

We cannot remain silent when it comes to abuse, all forms of abuse. I talked about my growing belief here that if there were reliable statistics of abuse and/or murder of adopted children compared against the statistics of abuse and/or murder of children in biological homes, you would find it not statistically all that different. Adopted children have already lost so much that adding to that loss with abuse of any kind is unconscionable. It is so far beyond the pale that is unimaginable to most.

Yet the abuse and/or murder of adopted children keeps happening, and the adoption community and industry keeps it under wraps, downplays or creates excuses and refuses to talk openly about it, much less do anything to reform and change current practices. This refusal to talk about it harms the victims further. It speaks to the “blame the victim” mentality that should have ceased to exist in today’s society. It speaks to the adoption community and industries desire to protect it’s “image”, before protecting the ones most vulnerable, the children. It reflects badly to the integrity and honesty of the adults and the professionals who are linked to adoption.

At the same time there also seems to be more and more adoption dissolutions (aka terminations) that seem to use the route of rehoming via subscription lists and websites with kids in need of a new forever home vs. surrendering the child to the state, which would allow for accurate statistics on this growing problem. Yet by using the pass-along to a new family method, again the adoption community is choosing secrecy and cover-up instead of addressing the problem head on. So much for secrecy and lies being a thing of the past in adoption.

There has to be transparency in any adoption that has to happen. There has to be a concerted effort to unite and require ethical considerations and reform in all areas of adoption. Until there is, adoption will always be viewed as many in the adoption community view adoptions from my era – a dark history in adoption. Guess what – that time has not passed, and if you are too afraid to talk about it then nothing will ever change.  Change only happens when the community bands together and demands it happen.

The Ombudsman for the State of Washington filed the following report for 2011.

http://www.governor.wa.gov/ofco/reports/2011/ofco_2011_annual.pdf

The report on abuse and murder of adoptees in Washington State and in one case  from Washington FC.  The report relating to adoption starts on page 98 and concludes on page 109…I cannot stomach writing the details.  The majority were adoptions from foster care but not always adoptions from Washington State. There is also at least one domestic adoption case and and one international adoption case. In all there are 14 different cases described – the details are above horrific and some led to the death of the child. All were either adopted or in the process of being adopted with the exception of one being a guardianship.

The Ombudsman states this:

CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT IN ADOPTIVE AND PERMANENT PLACEMENTS:

CASE SUMMARIES

Described below are cases in which children suffered severe abuse and or neglect in adoptive or permanent placements. OFCO learned of eleven of these children’s cases in 2011, three in 2010 and one in 2009. This section of our report does not examine whether or not action by a state child welfare agency could have prevented harm to a child. Rather the purpose is to summarize the history of each case, identify various allegations of abuse or neglect and describe areas of concern regarding the child’s placement.

Common elements related to child abuse and neglect noted in several of these cases include:

• Child locked in a room;

• Withholding food from the child;

• Disparaging remarks about the child and discrediting the child as a liar;

• Exaggerating or misstating the child’s negative behaviors;

• Forcing the child to remain outside the home; denying the child access to toilet facilities; Isolating the child from the community, such as by removing the child from public school;

• High conflict-hostile relationship between the parent/caregiver and child welfare agency workers; and

• The parent/caregiver’s financial stress.

OFCO believes that further analysis may provide answers to questions such as:

• Are incident rates of child abuse and neglect in adoptive homes commensurate with incident rates in biological parent homes?

• Is a child’s age, race or gender associated with a higher risk of child abuse or neglect in permanent placements?

• Do permanency goals and initiatives to increase adoptions have unintended consequences on child safety?

• Are existing laws and policies governing the selection and establishment of adoptive placements sufficient to safeguard the child’s safety and well being?

• Are child welfare agencies able to maintain adequate data regarding long term outcomes of children adopted from the foster care system? and

• Are there red flags that warrant heightened scrutiny in the adoption process?

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I believe the links below are relevant.

http://tdn.com/news/local/trebilcocks-deny-mistreating-adopted-children/article_4294d628-3f21-11e1-a436-0019bb2963f4.html

http://tdn.com/news/local/state-officials-investigating-several-cases-of-abuse-of-adopted-children/article_7fac29c2-3f25-11e1-b980-0019bb2963f4.html?mode=story#ixzz1jjAK3N00

There have always been adoptees who were abused – the problem is that many in the community didn’t believe the adult adoptees who said they were abused.  They were accused of making things sound worse than they were or outright lying.  If you were one who dismissed an adult adoptees claim of abuse, do you still believe that?

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents

 

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What another goes through…

I can never fully understand someone elses feelings. I can have empathy and at times sympathy but that is all.  I can try to relate what they are telling me, to an experience in my life that has similarities or try visualization.  That is the best I can do to understand what they are going through.  The best thing (not the only thing) I have to offer to them is my willingness to listen, and my willingness to believe and accept their truths.  All their truths, not just the truths that I am comfortable with.  I see so many people who pick and chose what truths they will accept as the other’s truth, and what they won’t.  That isn’t support, that is super-imposing your view of their reality on them.    

Today, I was thinking about just how much any of us can understand what another goes through while I was watching one particular chickadee outside my kitchen window.  I find answers from nature more often than not. 

That chickadee was perched atop a rusty cast-iron hangar that is shaped like a cat, and below the cat hangs a bell I use to call in the dogs.  For a second I chuckled at the irony of the chickadee perched on the head of the cat.  As I was watching, I noted the way the chickadee was surveying the ledge below where the peanuts were, and checking the surrounding area for anything that could spell danger.  It was then I realized that chickadee was the chickadee that showed up one day in early December missing her/his right leg (are they called legs? because a toothpick seems a better descriptor). 

I have watched that little chickadee recover from whatever accident left it an amputee.  The first few days she/he would awkwardly land on the ledge to snag a peanut, and wobble back and forth wildly trying so hard to stay upright with only one leg to stand on.  To where it is today, having the ability to perch on the cast-iron cat and survey the area before swooping gracefully down, land and retrieve a peanut, and fly away.  Watching the progress and how much the little bird has improved warms something inside of me.  I still doubt it can perch on the feeder yet, which is why I will continue to ensure there is always a supply of peanuts on the ledge to feed this little one for now.  

I cannot imagine what it is like for the little chickadee, what level of cognition it has other than the will to survive, and yet I can have a willingness to go out of my way many times each day to make it easier to recover, survive, and live free.  I will admit that my first instinct was wanting to go rescue the little one and keep it safe inside, but how would that be right – to force a wild bird to live inside a cage – never to fly again, or fully recover to live the life it was born too.  I can’t do that because that would be only what I was comfortable with and thought best for it – instead I will just offer my support.

No idea if that makes sense to anyone but me…

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Is a child of a single parent an orphan?

I know the title is a strange question – but stop and consider what your answer is.  If you are reading this, then your answer is most likely no – the child is not an orphan.

Yet, if you are a prospective adoptive parent and you use the UNICEF number of 143 Million Orphans as your rally cry to “solve the orphan crisis” –  you must also then agree that children of single parents are orphans – regardless of the country they live in, because that criteria is included in what UNICEF uses to come to 143 Million Orphans.  Also included are double orphans where neither parent is living, social orphans who have full families, but have been put into orphanages so they are fed or sheltered.  And even those double orphans still have aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents…

It really is that simple.  Your definition of orphan – is not the definition used by UNICEF in compiling that number, and family preservation is still an option for many of those children.

You can read a very enlightening article published in Sage Journals and is an open access article written by Karen Smith Rotabi who is Assistant Professor of social work at Virginia Commonwealth University and Kelley McCreery Bunkers who is an International Child Protection consultant and she has worked in a number of countries including Romania, Guatemala, and Ethiopia.

In an Era of Reform – A Review of Social Work Literature on Intercountry Adoption

You can also listen to a podcast about this article here:

In an Era of Reform – A Review of Social Work Literature on Intercountry Adoption – Podcast and then click on podcast.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child, Ethics

 

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