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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Utah – Small step in the right direction…

It seems I can go days with nothing to talk about, and then suddenly I can’t stop talking.  I know I have ranted often about Utah, but at least this is a somewhat positive post.  Utah Department of State is apparently now going to comply with all the state statutes.  They are also supposedly going to put it in the FAQ’s that I talked about before being so NOT helpful.  Perhaps all the bad publicity is paying off – one can only hope.

Unwed fathers get help figuring out what to do in adoption fight (emphasis mine – excerpt below)

For an unwed father who wants to know what to do to protect his parental rights in a Utah adoption proceeding, the process just got easier.

The state Department of Health on Tuesday made the paternity proceeding form and instructions on how to file with Utah’s putative father registry available on the website of the Office of Vital Records and Statistics, which maintains the registry.

Department Director David Patton said the change and other reforms were prompted by a recent Salt Lake Tribune series highlighting the difficulty unwed fathers and attorneys — especially those from out-of-state — had finding information about the registry.

The paternity proceeding form now can be found under the “court orders” link on the Vital Records home page, although the information still doesn’t show up when searching the state website for key terms such as “putative father” or “paternity proceeding.”

There are plans to add information about how to file with the registry to the website’s “frequently asked questions” listing. The form also will now be available at county health departments throughout Utah — a measure required by state law the department hadn’t followed.

“Frankly, I had not been aware of this issue very much and so the article helped us to review the statute, which I think was our primary concern,” Patton said. “We want to be in compliance with the statute.”

The online access makes sense, he said.

Since 1975, Utah has required unwed fathers to file with the state in order to receive notice of an adoption proceeding for a biological newborn child. That requirement was strengthened in 1995, when sweeping revisions were made requiring unwed fathers to initiate a paternity action in court and file a “notice of commencement of paternity proceeding” with Vital Records.

But scores of unwed fathers, many of whom live in other states, allege Utah intentionally makes it difficult figure out how to protect their rights when they object to an adoption.

Patton said Tuesday it was his goal to make the form available to anyone who wants it.

“There is no reason to restrict that access,” he said. “If we can make it available as many places as feasible, that’s not a problem.”

Go read the whole thing – I hope they follow through on what is said in the article and ensure that it is clearly identified that the form is not enough – they have to file a paternity action in court as well and that requires a parenting plan laid out in detail.

I also hope every single parent who has boys reads this and educates their son(s) regardless of what state they live in – watch out for Utah. 

Enough is enough.

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Posted by on January 12, 2012 in Adoption, biological child, Ethics

 

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When will it stop and what is the solution?

A child adopted from China 5 years ago died in October, 2011 at the age of 7.  When the father returned home he found the mother injured and the child unconscious.  The child was pronounced dead at the hospital, and the mother was charged with first-degree murder in her death.

Chelsea mom charged with killing daughter to stand trial (excerpt below)

A western Quebec woman charged with first-degree murder in the death of her seven-year-old daughter, has been found fit to stand trial.

Kathrine Dufresne, 53, appeared in court Monday morning, where the results of a 30-day psychiatric evaluation were presented.

Dufresne will be in a detention centre in Montreal while awaiting trial. The psychiatric assessment recommended her condition be regularly monitored.

Her next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 28

Chelsea mother charged with killing daughter dies of suicide (excerpt below)

OTTAWA — A Chelsea mother accused of killing her seven-year-old daughter has died in police custody, the Sûreté du Québec confirmed Thursday.

Kathrine Dufresne, 53, was found unconscious in the shower area of the Hull Detention Centre Wednesday morning. She died Wednesday around 9 p.m., the SQ said.

Earlier this week, Dufresne was found fit to stand trial for first degree murder in the death of her adopted daughter Sophie Fitzpatrick.

***

Critics will say that abuse and/or murder of an adopted child is rare, but when you stop and do the math based on the number of children adopted vs the number of non-adopted, I think you may find little difference in the statistics.  Far too many were murdered in 2011 alone. 

I stand by my previous comments – adoptive parents must be held to a higher standard of conduct.  The intentionality of adopting.  The process of adopting with all the checks, vetting, and education taken.  The knowledge available about adopting children and the challenges that may be posed is readily available.  There is no excuse.  There are far too many children who have been adopted (especially from hard places), who are being abused and/or murdered by the very same people who were intrusted with their care.

How about for 2012 everyone in the adoption community starts talking about this as a real issue, and demand real solutions must happen.  If we don’t, how many more children who are adopted will die this coming year?  How many?

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents

 

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I was, then I became…

I have been watching the different posts about the Oklahoma adoption case where the father prevailed. That isn’t completely what this post is about though. This post is about the long-term implications of the legal act of surrender on the person surrendered, regardless of whether or not that person was adopted.

When I was surrendered I was legally severed forever from my family. They did not have any legal claim on me, nor I them. In law, I was not related to them, nor did I now have any common ancestor with any biological relative. That is how the law stands on this issue both in the legislative adoption process, and probate laws. The only two parts of the law to my knowledge that weigh in on who you are or aren’t biologically related too.

Yesterday, I read this:

IN RE: the ESTATE OF Thomas A. FLEMING

(you can read the paper here which is fascinating)

An interesting case in which Thomas A Fleming was surrendered by Margaret Mary Fleming in 1947 for adoption.

In 1947, the King County Juvenile Court entered a parental termination order stating Fleming was “permanently deprived of any and all maternal rights and interests in and to the said Baby Boy Fleming.” 

The state placed Thomas in the permanent custody of Catholic Charities Diocese of Seattle for the purpose of, and to approve his adoption. Thomas was never adopted and in 1996 died intestate. He had never married and had no biological children. After his death Margaret Mary Fleming and her son Antonio B Marzan (half-brother of Thomas), petitioned to be the heirs to Thomas’s estate.

In 1998, Judith Kovacs, the personal administrator of Thomas’ estate, filed a petition for determination of heirship.   Kovacs asked the court to find Fleming and Marzan were not entitled to inherit from Thomas because by court order all maternal rights had been terminated.   She argued Thomas’ estate should escheat to the State of Washington because he died intestate without any legal heirs.

Fleming and Marzan filed a response and objection to the petition. The superior court commissioner agreed with Kovacs and ruled the estate escheats to the State because Thomas was without legal heirs.   The commissioner found the 1947 order terminating Fleming’s maternal rights to Thomas also extinguished her right to inherit intestate, and Marzan could not inherit from Thomas because there was no longer a common ancestor between them.

Margaret Fleming passed away and Marzan as personal representative to her estate appealed the ruling but the Superior court upheld the ruling. The court had to determine two separate issues: what Margaret Mary Flemings legal status to Thomas A Fleming was based on the law at the time of surrender, and secondly, whether at the time of his death where the current probate law applies, if she is entitled her to be considered an heir.

Under the express language of the statute and termination order, Fleming lost all of her rights and interests in Thomas in 1947.   While the order could not change Fleming’s status as the biological parent of Thomas, it did end her legal status as his parent.   Since Fleming never reestablished the parent-child relationship, in the eyes of the law she was not Thomas’ legal parent at the time of his death in 1996.

Marzan argued that even if Margarets’ legal status was gone you could not change the common bloodline. Remember the legal status of the mother is based on the law at the time of surrender, but the intestate probate laws at the time death apply whether or not she is an heir. Marzan argued with an old probate case-law that consanguinity remains in the adoption cases, but that was before they changed the adoption law denying an adoptee the right to inherit from a biological relative.

Contemporary probate and adoption statutes provide ample evidence the Legislature has abandoned consanguinity as the overriding policy consideration where the parent-child relationship is terminated.   For instance, RCW 11.04.085 provides that an adopted child is not an heir of his or her biological parents.   Similarly, RCW 26.33.260(1) provides that an adoptive child enjoys complete inheritance rights from the adoptive parent.

Marzan accepted that aspect based on the Donnelly case (read the paper), but then challenged that Thomas had never been adopted, and that the act of adoption triggered the abandonment of consanguinity.

We reject this argument because it fails to consider that  adoption is a process rather than a single event.   Reading the adoption statute as a whole, it is apparent the Legislature considered adoption as a fluid process starting from the termination of the biological parent-child relationship and extending beyond the placement of the child into a new family. See RCW 26.33.120.   Washington’s adoption statute includes provisions for the filing of petitions for relinquishment of parental rights (RCW 26.33.080), hearings regarding those petitions (RCW 26.33.090), grounds for the termination of a parent-child relationship (RCW 26.33.120), and the effect of a termination order (RCW 26.33.130).   Given the overall statutory scheme, adoption cannot be narrowly construed as a single event when we are determining the intestacy rights of biological parents who voluntarily terminate the parent-child relationship.

The legislative policy identified in Donnelly applies to the entire adoption process, including the termination of the biological parent-child relationship.   The adopted child must be given a “fresh start.”   The legislative policy provided that all ties be severed at this point, not at the time the child is placed into the adoptive family.   In fact, the Legislature indicated so in RCW 26.33.130(2), stating:  “[a]n order terminating the parent-child relationship divests the parent and the child of all legal rights, powers, privileges, immunities, duties, and obligations with respect to each other.”   Given this, it stands to reason our holding in Donnelly applies not only to cases where an adoption has occurred but also to cases in which the parent-child relationship has been permanently severed in anticipation of an adoption.

The Court then goes on to determine if Marzan can be considered a legal heir as the biological half-brother.

Intestacy statutes establish a system of intestate succession whereby the line of descent and distribution flows through a decedent’s parents to reach the issue of parents.   The line must flow through a common ancestor.   Margaret Fleming, as the parent of Marzan and Thomas, was the only direct connection between them.   When Margaret Fleming’s parental rights were terminated, the effect was to permanently sever Thomas from her family line, leaving him without a legal parent.   Therefore, the line of intestate succession between Marzan and Thomas was severed as well.

Now to the point of this post…

The above demonstrates that we legally lose our biological history and that history includes our heritage both in adoption and probate laws. I became a person with an English ancestry when I was adopted. I lost my true ancestral heritage of the countries my ancestors immigrated from. That to me is not acceptable. It is problematic but it is hidden in same race adoption. It is easy to pretend my ancestors are English, I grew up with stories of my parents ancestors, but yet looking at myself I am not. I am a combination of two completely different countries, one who warred with England for what seems like generations if not centuries. I am not English, and do not have any English blood running through my veins. I am other than – yet legally, I am English through and through – right up there with the magic of rainbows and unicorns “poof – you are English”.  To bad the reality proves I did not magically inherit my [a] parents DNA with all those lovely longevity genes…that would have been nice…

So that is the long-winded rambling point to the post. The current news item that is being debated in adoption land boils down to: Once the deal is done, the child in the eyes of the law loses their ancestral heritage and magically obtains the ancestral heritage of the adoptive parents – and based on the horrific history of abuse to the Native Americans in this country – they were also fighting for the child to retain not only her cultural heritage, but her legally recognised ancestral blood line. It really is that simple.

Coincidently, I just took a break and found out that Joy has a post on her ancestry today that is well worth reading Ich bin ein Berliner.  Amanda at Declassified Adoptee in the past has also talked about the impact of losing your ancestral heritage.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child

 

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Good luck to any adoptee in the future running for President…

First issue of course is very few adoptees could provide their long-form original birth certificate.  If you are one of the lucky ones, the next issue is proving you are a natural-born citizen, which brings us to the next obstacle, which is how many of our OBC’s actually list our fathers.  And even if we are one of the lucky ones to have our OBC as well as the father listed, the next obstacle would be proving the birth place of both parents we don’t know, unless we have conducted a successful search and contact was welcome.

But of course no one gives a damn that our heritage is hidden from us, shrouded in secrecy, and covered up with lies.  Everyone else’s feelings (AP’s and BP’s) must be considered first before us mere adoptees – we should just all be grateful we weren’t aborted or left to rot in an orphanage…my snark for the day.

From Huffington Post

A group of New Hampshire lawmakers asked the state attorney general’s office Tuesday to investigate whether President Barack Obama meets the eligibility requirements to appear on the state’s ballot, after their previous attempt to remove his name from the ballot was rejected in November.

Republican state Reps. Laurence Rappaport and Carol and Lucien Vita, say that Obama is not a natural-born citizen because his father was Kenyan. “This is not a birther issue, not a consideration of where Mr. Obama was born,” Rappaport said, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader. “Our concern is only if he is a natural-born citizen.”

The Congressional Research Service wrote in 2011, “There is no provision in the Constitution and no controlling American case law to support a contention that the citizenship of one’s parents governs the eligibility of a native born U.S. citizen to be president.”

Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1961. The White House released the president’s long-form birth certificate in April after his campaign released a scanned copy. Some, however, refuse to believe the veracity of the document.

The attorney general’s office doesn’t plan to respond. “There’s no request in it,” said Associate Attorney General Richard Head, according to the Concord Monitor. “I honestly can’t figure it out.”

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said it showed how “crazy town” has taken over the statehouse.

The New Hampshire Ballot Law Commission rejected an effort in November led by the group’s attorney, “birther queen” Orly Taitz, to remove Obama’s name from the ballot. After the commission unanimously rejected the effort, members in the crowd shouted “Traitors!” and “Shame on you!”

Assistant Attorney General Matt Mavrogeorge and Assistant Secretary of State Karen Ladd locked themselves in an office and called authorities because they feared for their safety, saying that crowd members were banging at the door and yelling. The state attorney general has asked state police to investigate the incident.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2012 in Adoption

 

Two stories…

I would like to tell you the story of Julie 

Julie was born back in the 1960’s and immediately surrendered for adoption and soon after she was adopted by a wonderful and loving family.  She was raised with all necessities of life, as well as having the opportunity to pursue her educational dreams which included attending private school, as well as a musical education from an early age.  She loved life, the yearly family vacations and any get together with extended family, and especially enjoyed Thanksgiving most of all, where they would gather around the table and eat the food dad raised and mom prepared. 

Teenage years she avoided the pitfalls of getting into trouble with the police, or becoming a teenage mother.  She always worked during summer vacations and learned to manage her money in her own bank account, as well as spending her time swimming and on a local softball team.  Life was pretty good and eventually she married and moved away, they travelled extensively around the country, and lived in different places over the years.  She had her share of good times as well as bad times, but always continued on and overcame those bad moments with the support of her family. 

She has always visited her family as often as she could, kept in touch via the phone when she couldn’t visit, and considers them her family in all ways. 

As she got older some medical problems started and she knew she needed to find her birth family for her health history.  She talked to her mom and working together they succeeded.  Julie met her birth family and enjoyed meeting them and getting to know them, relating all she had learned to her mom and dad and even ensured they met each other. 

As her parents aged she was there for them as much as she could be, and after one passed away, felt a great sense of loss as well as a renewed sense of needing to care for her remaining parent.

Now I would like to tell you about Stacey 

Stacey was born back in the 1960’s and was also immediately surrendered for adoption, adopted by a family and provided all necessities and opportunities to reach her goals.  She enjoyed a normal life with siblings and parents who loved all their children and focused on family centered life.  

As a teenager Stacey rebelled, but managed to not get caught by the police or wind up an unwed teenage mother.  She always had summer jobs and moved out when she turned 18 by working full-time.  After many relationships Stacey eventually married, started a new life filled with many different moves to different areas of the country, which also required finding new jobs in each location.  She had some good times and some not so good ones and her first marriage ended badly. 

She has made a point of maintaining contact with her family and has always kept in touch via the phone, and visited on a somewhat frequent basis, when time and accessibility permitted. 

Stacey had always wanted to meet her mother and family and find out why she had been placed for adoption, as well as learn her medical history, and finally well into adulthood was able to meet them.  She found she had a family that had the same values she had been raised with, and also shared many similarities with them including her personality and interests.  She grew to love her birth family and enjoys their budding relationship very much.

How did each story make you feel?  Do you find one a positive happy story of adoption and the other not so much?  Does your role in adoption determine your reaction to the stories? 

Both stories above are based on true facts, but the names used aren’t…

 
7 Comments

Posted by on January 4, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents

 

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What were they thinking…

Okay so I am not a reader if tabloids or entertainment news as I really have better things to do than that – you know like enjoy living my own life instead of reading gossip magazines.  I did a google search for adoption and came upon this.  Holy Cow Really?  You think this is okay?  What were people thinking.  She’s 13 for goodness sake.  She is only 13 years old and her life story is out there publicly, in print forever.  Even if she thought it was a good thing – hello – she is 13…

I’m not putting the headline, nor any other words describing the story or the person the story is about other than you can find it here.  I don’t want a bunch of hits on this blog by people who only came here because of that search.  As to why someone else didn’t talk about it as they question in the story – two words: Privacy and Ethics – heard of them?

Perhaps this is old news to many – I am shocked.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, Ethics

 

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How many generations between your parents and you…

I grew up with parents who were old enough to be my friends grandparents.  Come to find out decades later they were about the same age as my biological grandparents.

Just wanted to see how many other adoptees had parents the same age of their peers grandparents, or their biological grandparents? 

I and curious if it could be considered the norm? 

Did you feel the two-generation gap between what your friends parents were okay with vs your parents?

Just curious…

 
9 Comments

Posted by on January 1, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents