Monthly Archives: August 2012

What do you think?

I have thought about the “choice” aspect of choosing adoption many times over the years, and wondered about how the current generation of adoptees will feel now or when they grow up.  Specifically, about the choice to make an adoption plan, choosing adoption over parenting.

Of course there will be many mothers who didn’t really have a choice.  Whether they were coerced by family, or the counselling, or both, or even just complete utter lack of resources.  I do believe the lack of resources for mothers in the US vs say Canada shows why mothers may feel they have no choice in the US.  In Canada, if you are employed you get a combination of a years maternity leave through unemployment insurance, and you have a job to go back to.  Plus many other benefits including a baby bonus (not sure of the correct term), and depending on the province, day-care subsidy.  You also have health insurance at little to no cost – depending on the province you live in.

But specifically, those who had choices and yet chose not to parent.  Those who could have tried and chose not too.  How is that decision going to affect the feelings of worthiness, rejection, abandonment that are real risk factors for adoptees.

I ask this because even though I knew realistically my mother did not have a choice – I still felt rejected, not good enough, that something was flawed in me others could see but I couldn’t.  Knowing my mother did not have a choice kept me from being angry at her, or blaming her, despite the feelings I had.

What do you think?

Will it be better or worse if the parents had a real choice to parent?

Will open adoption be enough to overcome that risk for feelings of low self-esteem, rejection, something wrong with me feelings?

If it will be enough, what happens if the adoption closes – either by the mother or father who made the choice, or by the parents who adopted?


I did not write this post to make anyone feel bad – this is about how the adoptee may feel and something I think needs discussing…


Posted by on August 29, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Film Review of “Somewhere Between” on NPR

For Chinese-American Adoptees, Matters Of Identity

I was interested in reading about the film “Somewhere Between” and clicked on the link to a review and was deeply disappointed.  I left the link open, and continued on reading the news of the day and favorite blogs.  Having cleared my mind, I returned to re-read the review, hoping I had been wrong in the tone and content.  Sadly, the review read the same, and yet, I wanted to give the writer the benefit of the doubt so I went and read other film reviews she had written.  Listening to the tone and looking at her words in other reviews, I came away with the opinion that she could not leave her role in adoption out of this review.

The opening paragraph states statistics of adoptions from China to the US and the reasons.  The second paragraph has nothing whatsoever to do with the documentary.

Waiting for them at this end was the pent-up parental longing of thousands of infertile couples, single women (and a few single men) and gay and lesbian couples. I was one of those parents-in-waiting, and trust me, by the time I traveled with 11 other families to Guangzhou to pick up our babies, you could have put pet rocks in our laps and we’d have loved them to bits.

The writer goes on to describe in detail the type of parents each of the four girls had who were in the documentary, and reunion of Fang and her parents in China.  Then to me, her bias shows through even stronger.

That aside, all four girls are thoughtful, moving and imaginative on the subject of their split identities. Haley thinks of herself as a “banana,” yellow on the outside, white on the inside. Describing herself as “stuck between two countries,” Fang laments that she’s always trying to compensate for the fact that she was abandoned because she’s a girl.

Watching the tears roll down Fang’s otherwise cheerful face, I wondered whether she’d be this sad if she wasn’t facing a camera. On the plus side, Somewhere Between is refreshingly free of the cloying, one-size-fits-all dogma that sometimes bedevils the adoption community. (I parted company with my chosen adoption listserv when I got tired of hearing about “the holes in all our daughters’ hearts.”)

Finally, in my opinion, her bias is cinched by completing her review of this film by having the last four paragraphs of the review be about her and her daughter, and how her daughter has no issues.

I understand that she is a film critic and works for NPR and is the reason NPR had her do the review.  I think she should have recused herself.  Here are a few links to other film reviews she has written so you can see the difference I saw between them, (or not).

At Home With Warriors, And The Burdens They Carry

A Good Daughter, But A ‘Pariah’ Among Her Own

Edit: 8/25/2012 – Malinda at Adoption Talk also talks about this review that is worth reading.  Another Adoptive Parent Tells Adoptees How They Should Feel


Posted by on August 24, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Wish this phrase would just go away…

That the baby is “such a gift” a “birthmom” gives to the “adoptive couple”…

Brings back memories of Georgia Tann’s newspaper adoption advertisements (showing cute babies) telling the husband to get your wife a baby for Christmas…

Or a bunny for an Easter present…

Or a puppy dog or kitty for a Birthday or Christmas present…

Babies – should not be considered gifts to give away…why not change the message to becoming parents is a dream come true…see – no icky feeling


Posted by on August 20, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , ,

Are you afraid of conflict?

I admit I don’t like conflict and prefer to not step out of my comfort zone.  Talking about the hard parts of adoption is tough.  I go over my words countless times before I hit publish, trying to ensure I don’t paint everyone within a group with the same brush, or come off totally angry.  And I am deeply angry at times and have failed more often than I have succeeded, but those successes – in getting people to think and step outside of their comfort zone means I have made a difference, even if it is only one or two people.  It means I have done what I set out to do.

I would like you to listen to this TED Talk by “Margaret Heffernan [as she] explores the all-too-human thought patterns — like conflict avoidance and selective blindness — that lead managers and organizations astray.”  It is a very short talk and starts off with a story about the doctor who figured out what was causing so many children to have cancer, she found the answer but it took 25 years of disagreeing with the mainstream medical community to make the change.

A fantastic model of collaboration: thinking partners who aren’t echo chambers.” (Margaret Heffernan)

To me that is what happens in adoption today.  People jump on the bandwagon whether it is the current Christian dogma they listen too, or because of their journey of infertility that leads them to adoption, or other personal reasons.  They self-select to only hear those who believe the same thing.  They choose to believe the sound-bytes without researching to confirm the reality and truthfulness of the statements.  They choose to not hear those who say something isn’t right.

We all have to talk to those we disagree with, and keep talking and thinking critically, to make sure we do better.  The current and future generations deserve it.

I try to listen and think hard about what has been said, and search for more information to broaden my mind and understanding – do you?

Margaret Heffernan: Dare to disagree


Posted by on August 18, 2012 in Adoption, Ethics


Tags: , , , , , ,


I hesitate to write this post because it gets more personal than I prefer, because at heart I am pretty private about my deepest emotions.  Yesterday, a tweet from the NCFA @adoptioncouncil triggered me.  The tweet was about the #Hopechallenge and linked to a video which I watched about the benefits of adoption for mothers and how they succeed with schooling and life.  This post is what I thought laying in bed last night not able to sleep and still with me this morning.

Most of you know I had/have really good parents and I can’t imagine any better.  I have so many wonderful warm memories of my life growing up but nothing they did, or could have done, could have prevented the following.

The memories of going to my secret place over and over again throughout my childhood and teen years.  I would sit there on the floor with my back against the wall, my knees up against my chest, and my head down, resting on my knees.  I would sit there sobbing silently, tears streaming, hurting, grieving, wanting my family, my mother.  To know why I wasn’t good enough to be with them.  To know why they didn’t care.  Those memories haunt me all these years later.

It didn’t matter that I understood why I had been surrendered and adopted.  Words would not have helped.  I never told mom or dad when I was sad, or that I had a secret place I would go to.  They had nothing to do with why I was sad, and they could not have made it better because they weren’t what I needed.  Mom and dad never saw me sad – I would return from my secret place and be the happy, shy, smart child they loved, and knew me to be.

Years later, after my son died, I felt the same deep wrenching grief.  Grief that no words can make a difference for.  Grief that you just have to live through.  Grief that a mother feels when she loses her child.  Something broke inside of me that day, and the years that followed hardly made a dent in my grief, but I continued on.  I put on the brave face to those around me and was the happy, yet shy, person everyone knew me to be, and expected me to be.

Losing my son was my awakening to the full reality of the loss I was for my mother.  Something broke inside of her that day that changed her according to those closest to her.  Like me, she continued on but never was the same as before.

The tweet that triggered me:

NCFA@AdoptionCouncil What if she could choose adoption? #adoption #hopechallenge

Why are they fundraising to create more birth mothers?  Why aren’t they fundraising to give hope for the future to those who are pregnant and scared and need a hand up?  Why aren’t they fundraising to give these new vulnerable mothers a chance to get an education and provide their child with a good life?

Why is adoption the solution?

Why aren’t they fundraising to keep families together?


Posted by on August 10, 2012 in Adoption, biological child


Tags: , , , , , ,

Search queries in the last month…

Honestly folks – I see variations of these search queries every single month, and each time it begs the question of why they happen at all.  Do people not understand that we are human too?  That we come from families just like they do?  Has the education about adoption to the public failed so miserably – that the basic concept of adoptees being just like any other human being has failed to register?

the personalities of adopted children (2)

adopted children personalitys (1)

what are adopted girls like (1)

Adoption and Reality TV don’t mix – I wasn’t interested in counting the large number of search queries about adoption TV shows – but this query stood out among the rest.  Not sure if the person believes based on the title of that show that they are guaranteed a baby, or wanted to be compensated for adopting, or just wants to be on a Reality TV Show.

how can you get to be adoptive parents on the show i am having their baby (1)

Seriously just stop…

The need to fix the laws and give Adult Adoptees Equal Rights – These queries are happening more and more, and I fear, will continue to escalate.  I hadn’t heard the first one before but it doesn’t surprise me…

adoptees being denied social security, because of amended birth certificates (1)

adoptee can’t get passport (3)

adult adoptee can’t get passport (1)

passport issues for adoptees (1)

Odd queries that make me pause – Then there are the ones that you just shake your head at and give up trying to understand the reason for using that search query…

adult adoptee grateful for his life (1)

orphanage or abortion which is better (1)

adoptee on abortion (1}

ethics of adopting out twins to different families (2)

good weekend article forced adoption (1)

I cannot imagine ethics were even considered if someone is splitting up twins…I do know you don’t get “two for one” though –  although you should if they truly are only doing adoptions for the right reasons…


Tags: , , , , ,

What the ?

I was reading Reform Talk’s FacePalm Friday post and they highlighted this…

Why Does Adoption Take So Long? from the Adoption Diaries Blog…

The post starts off with pretty standard fare for adoption today, but then it veers off into the place no one today wants to admit…money talks and people lie…

Has anyone out there been able to speed up the international adoption process? I realize that it’s quicker to adopt an Indian daughter if you are Indian and live nearly anywhere. It also helps to possess wads of adoption cash.

Domestically, I spoke to a single dad of two adopted American children and although he won’t go on the record (he is a gay dad who had to lie about his partner throughout the Home Study and adoption paperwork) this gay did swears that the second adoption only took a few months because everyone knew he was ready to plunk down $80,000 for a perfect little blond, Caucasian newborn.

(Off the record, this dad told me that his first adoption of a transracial child — also a private adoption via birth mother and attorneys — took much longer than adoption number two. He confirms that thick bank accounts can speed your process along.)

Hmmm…I wonder how the life book starts off for the perfect little blond, Caucasian newborn.  I lied on my homestudy to be approved to adopt and then I spent 80K…

Recently, I had a prospective adoptive parent lay into me for daring to say in another post “An adoptee can already feel the sting of how money plays a role and fundraising may add to this feeling of being a commodity…how would you like to feel bought and paid for? (although she left out “feel” in her response).  No, of course adoptees don’t feel the sting of how money plays into adoption.  Why, we would be silly to view some adoptions as transactions.

Good grief…

Yes, I know there are parents and agencies who would never do this, and I would hope they are the vast majority…but if you don’t publicly call out bad practices…over time it becomes acceptable practice and the norm, and the race to the bottom just accelerated.  We know this is what happens – it used to be illegal in most if not all states for the adopting parents to pay any of the relinquishing parents expenses pre or post adoption – now that is the norm and part of the advertising by the agencies to get the mothers to contact them – it also is the subject of valid concerns on whether or not – it adds pressure (coercion) on the mother…


Posted by on August 4, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, Ethics


Tags: ,

Bird baths aren’t used just for baths…

Stellar Jay landing on the railing with bird bath to the right

Seeing a bird bath brings back warm memories of watching the birds play in the one outside the kitchen window as a child.  It seemed like there were always a couple of birds dunking themselves and the flapping their wings sending sprays of water everywhere, repeating it time after time – until they flew away to a branch where they would finish their grooming.

Once I had my own home, I always intended to get a bird bath, one just the right height so that the cats could not just grab a bird off the rim.  I never got one for the old place and now I feel bad about that, because I didn’t understand why bird baths are important.

Fast forward to my new home and on the list again was a bird bath.  Several years ago I did find just the right one that attached to the deck railing by a clamp, and in reality, is just a circular band that holds a shallow plastic saucer that is about 1-2 inches deep – so that is easy to lift off and clean.  I had to have it!

Bird Bath view from kitchen window

That bird bath is one of the best decisions I have ever made.  At first I was kind of disappointed because it didn’t seem that many were entertaining me by playing in the water but then I realized – this bird bath is perhaps the only source of clean drinking water for the birds in my area.

Perhaps the only source of water close by for the birds when the hot weather happens.  That realization made me feel incredibly shallow, I never thought about birds needing to drink to survive, just like any other species.  I felt bad, and then worse, when I started trying to figure out exactly where birds in the city could find clean drinking water.  Sure, there are some creeks, and even a river, but there are none close to where I live.  They would have to drink out of the muddy puddles on the side of the road – which also disappear when the sun comes out.  I provided food, but nowhere to drink.  It makes sense now, why dad had the bird bath next to the bird feeder, and every time he watered, he washed out the bird bath and filled it back up.

Last night while doing the dishes I watched three Stellar Jays (like the bird in first picture) sitting together on the rim drinking water – dipping their beaks down into the water – tipping their heads way back and gulping down the clean fresh cool water.  Later I watched several Chickadees stop by and take several sips and fly away – including my little one with only one leg.  Then a couple of Crows stopped by and finally a Squirrel come over to get a drink.  I see all the birds in my garden except the humming birds use the bird bath to drink from every day – starting with the large Norther Flicker Wood Peckers down to the tiny, little, Bush T*ts, and perhaps the hummingbirds do too, and I just miss seeing them.

Have you ever asked yourself where the birds in your neighborhood find water to drink?

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 2, 2012 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , ,

Child Abuse Trial…Update: Verdict is in…

It’s over………Parents found guilty in Longview starving kids case

LONGVIEW, Wash. – The parents accused of starving their five adopted children were found guilty of mistreatment charges Tuesday in a Longview courtroom.

Jeff Trebilcock and his wife Rebecca Trebilcock were both found guilty of first and third degree criminal mistreatment. The first-degree convictions are felonies. Sentencing will take place on August 23 and could face as much as almost six years in prison.

The couple were found not guilty of several lesser misdemeanor charges.

You can read (and should to get the full impact) more to the story and outcome at the link above – including the fact that per their neighbor – four of the five children were adopted from Haiti and “rescued”:

A neighbor of the Trebilcocks defended the couple and said they being falsely accused by the 13-year-old who was fabricating the story.

“It’s just totally wrong,” said Warren Bertold. “And social services and the police need to get their act together and find out exactly what the truth is so these people can get back to their business. . . . These people are wonderful people. They’re terrific, Christian people. They have rescued these kids. Four of these kids, they rescued from Haiti.”

Standing 4′ 4″ tall and 49 lbs at 13 years old – and the doctor amazed he was still conscious – (see story below – Adopted boy takes stand on day 1) – yeah the boy fabricated that…and how sad is this statement below (bolding mine)…

During the trial, Rebecca Trebilcock and her husband broke down in tears when her lawyer showed a video of the Trebilcocks and their four adopted daughters during a state supervised visit after the couple’s arrest.

The video shows them as an affectionate family with the girls telling the Trebilcocks they love them, but one of the girls testified she didn’t know the way the Trebilcocks treated her was wrong until she experienced another way of life in foster care.

…and this article Trebilcocks found guilty on 2 counts

Whatever agency did this couples homestudy and adoption needs to completely investigate how they slid through the process.  There should be questions both at the agency as well as the state licensing level on whether the current practice needs updating.  Questions like:  Should there be further checks and balances in adoption post placement, or before placement?  Should certain choices like homeschooling, or adopting multiple children in one adoption – trigger further scrutiny, or a longer period of post adoption oversight?  I sincerely hope that with the prior concerns in this state – that this verdict ensures that an honest appraisal of what flags were missed, what updates to the processes could weed out those who don’t deserve to adopt children, or at least able to rectify a problem before it gets to this point.

Previous post below…

In January of this year this post talked abuse in adoptive homes and how we needed to start talking about it.  Included in that post was a report from The Office of the Family and Children’s Ombudsman of the state of Washington.  On page 104 of that report the details about one of the cases closely mirror a horrific case in the news about the Trebilcock family.  I also linked news articles about the case in that post.

The Trebilcock trial is happening now and reports from it are breaking my heart.

Daughter in child abuse trial: ‘If we cried, they poured water on us’

The first girl told the court Tuesday that her adopted parents would make her and her siblings eat outside and wash their clothes with cold water in a bucket.

She said that, when punished, they would be hit with a board or slapped in the face.

“If we cried, they poured water on us,” she said.

The investigation began when Rebecca Trebilcock took her then-13-year-old son to a Longview clinic. The boy weighed only 49 pounds and stood 4’4″ tall. A dietician told the court that the Trebilcocks’ 13-year-old’s weight was what a healthy 6 year old should be. The prosecution said he wasn’t the only one starved.

“I got toothpaste,” the second girl testified today.

When asked why she took the toothpaste, she said, “Because, I was hungry.”

The Trebilcocks’ defense attorneys said the kids were fed three meals a day and the kids’ stories don’t match up, but both children who testified today said they didn’t like living in their adopted home.

That three meals a day comment certainly does not match with what the doctors say in this story.

Adopted son takes stand on Day 1 of Trebilcock trial

Smith said the boy was severely malnourished and near death when he was rushed to a Portland hospital last year, his body perilously cold and his heart beating so slowly one doctor was surprised he was conscious, according to Smith and witnesses who testified Monday.

The boy’s body was covered with sores from eczema, Smith said, and he had four broken ribs.

The boy, then 13, weighed only 50 pounds, half the normal weight for his age, when he and his four adopted sisters, ages 8 and 13, were placed in protective custody in March last year, according to authorities. All of the children rapidly gained weight and improved in health once they were away from the Trebilcocks, Smith said.

On Monday, Smith showed a photo of the boy sitting in his hospital bed last year, grinning awkwardly, his face sunken, a bony arm poking out from a hospital gown.

Perched on the boy’s nose were a pair of bent and taped bifocals which, Smith said, the boy was forced to wear even though he didn’t need them and they made his vision worse.

Doctors testified Monday that the boy had wasted away so badly that his condition was consistent with terminal cancer patients. Hospital staff had to give him only small portions of food at first so he wouldn’t go into shock and die from the extra calories, witnesses said.

Authorities have said the couple’s four biological children, most of them in their late teens, were well-fed.

I don’t know what the answer is but there has to be a solution – especially when it comes to children who have already suffered tremendous loss already.  It’s just not right and anyone looking at a 13-year-old boy who was only 49 pounds would raise questions that need to be answered.


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


Tags: , , ,