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Monthly Archives: December 2012

12 for 12…almost…

By TAO

As the year draws to a close, and 2013 is fast approaching I thought it would be a good time to highlight some of the posts that made me think over the years, or made me feel validated and understood.  I know I will miss some great ones I should be including, and hope others will add in posts that touched them as well.  Note there is no reason for the order, it’s just whatever comes into my mind next…

First up is a brand new post and worthy of mention – not just for the post – but to offer thanks to B who can face head-on that adoption is not the be all, end all, that many want it to be.  She has the grace to open her heart and mind to voices that say being adopted is hard at times – and not make their words all about her, and her adoption.  That every story is unique, just like we are all unique.  That at the end of the day adoption still needs to be done better, because adoption matters.  As you can tell I hold deep respect for B, and wish her the very best the New Year has to offer.  I am also secretly jealous of her ability to speak more than one language fluently.

1. Featuring: The work of Peter Dodds over at International Adoption Reader by B.

Second up is Moogacat.  She doesn’t blog that often, there is no doubt about  the fact that she does not play “stick my head in the sand and pretend that adoption is all sunshine and flowers”.  I’m hoping she posts more in the coming year because her honesty and deep love for her child shows through in her words …

2. What is Family? A post for National Adoption Awareness Month.

Third is American Family.  I have enjoyed her blog since I came on-line, and found this post after being shocked at how adult adoptees were treated by adoptive parents.  It provided me hope that more parents were opening their minds and that adoption really was different from the mindsets from my era.  Nothing has changed since she wrote this post about how adoptees are treated if they want adoptions to be ethical, and rare, but I still enjoy this blunt post.

3. On adoptee blogs

Fourth is from Priscilla Sharp a first mother from my era, who fights for adoptee rights who wrote this letter on Mother’s Day.

4. Mother’s Day

Fifth is from Delighted in the Lord.  With the wave of orphan ministries creating instant prospective parents, many who will rush head-first without looking because they have been called to adopt.  I am sure some adoptions will be ethical and parents fully aware, but I’m sad because others will learn too late, that the saying ‘fools rush in where angels fear to tread’ holds true in the current ‘go to’ countries for international adoption about ethics.  Others like the blogger in the next post made a different choice, the link is the most recent post about adoption, but you will have to go deeper into the blog, to find the real story of why they walked away and it’s worth looking for, trust me.  Ethics always matter.

5. Adoption Agency Accountability

Sixth is Paula from Heart, Mind and Seoul.  This post has stuck in my mind since I read it several years ago.  I wish she was still active, but her posts are always worth reading.  This post is one that every single adoptive or prospective adoptive parents should read and mull deeply on.

6. The Act of Giving Back: Should More Women Be Placing Their Children?

Seventh is a guest post on iAdoptee’s blog.  It created a stir on-line that seemed to go on for ages.  My take – people can’t read something without taking offense “as if” it was their own personal adoption story being written about.

7. Please read this

Eight is from All In The Family, the blog of a first grandmother.  Adoption affects the entire family, not just the mother.

8. Warning Labels

Ninth is from On Icarus’ Wings.  I enjoy her writing and wish she wrote more.

9. “October Baby” Gets it Wrong.

Tenth is from Letters to Ms. Feverfew a writer who always makes me think.  This post is in response to a search query.

10. “do people get over giving their babies up for adoption”

Eleventh is from Adopto-Snark and one of her most recent posts.

11. Draftee A’Mom Explains Why Corruption is Nothing to Feel Guilty About

I was hoping to list 12 for 12, but am running out of time and there are chores begging to be finished before the New Year, so I will close a bit differently than I planned and will include Adopto-Snark’s youtube video on searching that makes me laugh and cry at the same time it is so well done as #12….

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My hopes for 2013 is that there were be less division and more discussion.

Discussion where we honestly do our best to see the other side, hear the other side.  I can’t say I will ever get to the place where any adoption makes me happy, but there are adoptions that make me thankful there was another family to step in.  Because that is what adoption is supposed to be about – another family stepping in when tragedy happens.  Adoption was created as a societal response to a tragic event.

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents

 

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Not really much to say…

A Belated Merry Christmas to everyone – I meant to do a post and then forgot.  Hoping your celebrations were the way you wanted them.  Mine were perfect, low key and with the people I wanted to see and spend time with.  Of course, I would have loved to meet up with people who I only know on-line but…

Having said that – the weather sucked.  We had snow a week before Christmas and I had my fingers crossed, and then rain, rain, and more rain.  The picture at the end of the post, while not the best, shows what one of the squirrels thought of it too.

Now to add the adoption bit into the post.  I was reading the NCFA documents that are part of their “birthparent” counselling package.  Many of them disturbed me, but this made me scratch my head.  Below is the blurb at the top of the formerly called “Positive Adoption Language” now called “Accurate Adoption Language“…who can keep up with all these changes – hey?

Words not only convey facts, they also evoke feelings. For example, when a TV show or movie contains language about a “custody battle” between “real parents” and “other parents,” this reinforces the inaccurate notion that only birth parents are real parents and that adoptive parents aren’t real parents. Members of society may also wrongly conclude that all adoptions are “battles.”

Accurate adoption language can stop the spread of misconceptions such as these. By using accurate language, we educate others about adoption. We choose emotionally “correct” words over emotionally laden words. We speak and write in appropriate adoption language with the hope of influencing others so that this language will someday become the norm.

Under the Acceptable column is: Person / Individual who was adopted

Under the Less Acceptable column is: Adoptee

And of course “was adopted” is Acceptable, and “is adopted” is Less Acceptable.

So using the term “Person / Individual who was adopted” for myself, will stop the spread of misconceptions such as what?  That I am an adopted?  I am.

I’m missing the connection between my identifying as an “Adoptee” and emotionally laden words.  It’s a term. I do know that writing out “Person / Individual who was adopted” will not be on my list of New Year’s Resolutions.  Adoptees should be free to use whatever terminology suits them.  Not what some group of “People / Individuals who were not adopted” want us to use.

And what’s with the use of three different “A Words”: Accurate, Acceptable, Appropriate?  Couldn’t get a consensus on which was the right – less emotionally laden term?

Anyway – have a Safe & Happy New Year – if I don’t talk to you before then…

Now the picture of the wet squirrel – and don’t judge the picture quality – it was taken from inside the kitchen with a flash it was such a dreary grey and rainy day.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2012 in Adoption, Uncategorized

 

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Something to think about at the grocery store…

By TAO

I watched the CBS Report1960: “Harvest of Shame” yesterday and it haunted me all day, especially when I was at the grocery store buying fruits and veggies.  A report about a marginalized sector of the population, migrant farm workers – that is still marginalized today.  The description below the video:

Watch the entire original broadcast of one of the most celebrated documentaries of all time, 1960’s “Harvest of Shame,” in which Edward R. Murrow exposed the plight of America’s farm workers.

While it is almost an hour-long, it is worth it to watch the entire report.  Usually I try to only post video’s that you can just listen to – but this time to get the full impact of the visual pictures – watch if you can.

It’s important to watch because it is history, and this is the era that is touted as the time many wish to turn the clock back too.  Specifically in regards to labor laws, workers rights, child labor laws, environmental regulations, and other rights including access to contraception – that didn’t exist back then. Going back isn’t an option.  It was also enlightening to see that lobbying existed back then, and the same arguments given.

I am willing to pay higher prices but I don’t believe the workers would reap the benefits.

This morning, I decided to check and see if over time the conditions have improved for migrant farm workers, and in some regards they have, but there is still a long way to go.

Facts about Farmworkers

I’d like to see CBS do a follow-up report 50+ years later – with as much honesty.  I do know they won’t do it with less than 7 minutes of commercials in a hour-long program like they did back in 1960…

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Ted Talk: Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles”…and of course a bit more…

Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles”

As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there’s a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a “filter bubble” and don’t get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy.

Pioneering online organizer Eli Pariser is the author of “The Filter Bubble,” about how personalized search might be narrowing our worldview.

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By TAO

For the last while I have wanted to talk about “Echo Chambers” in adoption, the different groups, thoughts, attitudes.  When Eli Pariser talks about the internet doing that, without us realizing, may actually be part of the reason for it.  When I hear someone say they have never heard about an adoptee who doesn’t love all things adoption, I automatically shake my head in amazement, thinking how could you not know adoptees want changes?  I see adoptees everywhere – so how come you can’t see them too?  You can apply that to every disagreement on adoption, both within positions, and between positions.

I do think it is very easy to self-select and stay within your own comfort zone.  There is comfort in being within a group, that while having some minor difference of opinion, generally agrees.  It is empowering and necessary to know you aren’t alone in your journey.  It is also disempowering if you only converse with others of the same mindset.  You aren’t challenged to prove your position, when everyone agrees with you.  I fall into that trap of wanting only familiarity, but it also becomes self-limiting.

The bottom line though, if we want to continue to improve ourselves, and particularly how adoption is practiced, we have to talk to those we disagree with, whatever the degree.  We have to exchange points of view, and honestly listen, absorb, understand.  We need to have the conversations that will initially make everyone’s defenses go up, but eventually they will come back down, and just perhaps, we can all meet on a common middle ground.

The picture below was taken many decades ago when I was only a toddler…I cropped it to only show the pebbles on the beach, each one a different size, shape, color, texture.  It reminds me that everyone is different, we have our own thoughts, and feelings, shaped by what we have experienced – but we are all human beings.

Yukon

I’m willing to listen and try to find the common ground – are you?

P.s…

This link is so touching and has nothing to do with the post above, but I wanted to share it anyway.  I love animals, and believe they make the world a much better place, and while babies are cute whatever species, I tend to migrate to the animals that aren’t the babies….Out with the old…

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents

 

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Good Grief…

I have come to expect the following statement to be a first line of defense in any contested adoption, or when the father is not “on-board” with an adoption plan. I really do expect it, and grit my teeth, and move on – but – when it is said about the current Utah saga about the married father – its ludicrous…

“That the prospective adoptive parents would have tried to work out an open adoption plan with the father – so he would agree to the adoption.”

I don’t understand how any father, let alone this particular married father, who wants to parent their child, and is contesting the adoption, would consider the following to be the ideal solution:

  • Give up any, and all rights, to his child, including, providing his family name.
  • Legally sever his child from himself, so the child had no ancestor in common with him.
  • Become a “Legal Stranger” to his child.
  • Has no legal recourse, or incredibly limited legal recourse, to keep an open adoption with his child – open.
  • Only see your child when you are allowed to, by the “real” parents.
  • Not have any say whatsoever – in making any parenting decisions for his child.
  • Not have any say in the adopting parents relocating to another state, or even, a different country.
  • Not being THE DAD

And anything I have left out.

How is that the “Ideal” solution when a father wants to parent their child?  Because the prospective adoptive parents become the parents?  How is that about the best interests of the child?

Shakes head…

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

 

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Imagine if every parent touched by adoption posted this video on their blog or facebook page…

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and forwarded it to their adoption agency, and every other influential adoption group, to show their support for adoptee rights…

Just imagine…

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2012 in Adoption

 

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Ted Talk – Ernesto Sirolli: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!

By TAO

I loved the Ted Talk below when I first heard it, and intended to do a post on it.  A couple of days ago, I went back and listened to it again, and still wanted to post it,  but not only for the message Ernesto Sirolli has to say, but because it applies to how adoption is now practiced as well.

The entire adoption community, and specifically the ones in positions of power, would be well served to listen to what adoptees have to say, and then make it better.  From understanding that PAL (positive adoption language) does not help the 7 year old who has been told that her “”birthmother” loved her so much she made an adoption plan” who translates that narrative into “being loved means you are given away” or any other variation – all the way to how adult adoptees are treated, and everything in-between including the professionals, who have studies and papers that adoptees struggle in a variety of ways with being adopted.

Ernesto Sirolli: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!

When most well-intentioned aid workers hear of a problem they think they can fix, they go to work. This, Ernesto Sirolli suggests, is naïve. In this funny and impassioned talk, he proposes that the first step is to listen to the people you’re trying to help, and tap into their own entrepreneurial spirit. His advice on what works will help any entrepreneur.

Ernesto Sirolli got his start doing aid work in Africa in the 70’s — and quickly realised how ineffective it was.

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It appears though, that in the case of foster care alumni at least a few people are listening to adult foster alumni – and that makes me incredibly happy.  I do hope they explore every recommendation in Maurissa’s report below.

I want to give a hat-tip to wackyadorablefamily because I might  otherwise have missed the post and report linked below, and that would be a shame (going straight to the link, because I want to highlight the report below as well). 

The post on CCAI Senator Kerry Introduces Bill Based on Recommendation from CCAI Foster Youth Intern is well worth the time to read, but Maurissa’s full report linked at the end of the post is detailed specifically on what can be done to help youth in foster care, and I hope you grab a coffee, and read it to the end.

Both those in foster and adoption would be well served to practice what Ernesto Sirolli learned…

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child

 

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No, I did not have a bad experience…

By TAO

And yes, I need to stay off Facebook 🙂

Once again, the adoptees who want things to be done correctly in adoption are thrown under the bus by both prospective and adoptive parents on a page devoted to adoption.

So many comments centered around (paraphrased): – My husband was adopted and only has positive views of his adoption.  or  Read the negative to learn what not to do because they bad parents.  or  Happy adoptees are too busy living their lives.  or  Those that feel like they have been wronged need others to agree with them….

Which by the way

To the first statement – So Do I

The second statement – NO I did NOT have bad parents

The third statement is offensive – I only WISH I could be too busy

The fourth statement – not even going to go there…because I would probably be using the adage of pot meet kettle

None of those “throw the adoptee under the bus” statements make unethical adoptions, sealed record laws, lack of current family health history available to adoptees, directive counselling with adoption as the end goal instead of non-directive counselling, adult adoptees at risk for deportation due to citizenship paperwork not completed, lack of post adoption support, lack of education about the challenges adoptees face simply because they are adopted, BAD things to speak out about.

If people DON’T speak out about unethical behavior, lack of foresight on behalf of the adoptee, protection of mothers and fathers, just what kind adoption world will we have in another twenty years?  We have already moved from many things that were NOT acceptable in 1976 to being standard practice today.

At least bringing attention to the flaws in the system, and talking about it, is the first step in bringing back adoption to what it should be “finding a home for a child who needs a home” – not finding a baby for family who wants a baby.  Note those two statements are not mutually exclusive but the primary focus is.

P.s. I am speaking about domestic infant adoption…

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, Ethics

 

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Update in the Salt Lake Tribune on the adoption saga…

Utah adoption saga: New questions as fight continues

The Salt Lake Tribune has learned the Utah adoption agency that arranged for a married father’s child to be given up at birth is under scrutiny by state licensing officials and the adoptive parents have acted on their pledge to try to block the toddler’s return to her dad.

Ken Stettler, licensing director for the Utah Department of Health and Human Services, told the Tribune that the Adoption Center of Choice has operated under a corrective action plan since September, when its license was extended but not renewed. The action was taken because of documentation deficiencies in some case files, Stettler said.

Important read – more about the agency, licensing, the timeline, the appeal, the different names the agency has done business under, requirements of advertising fees paid to another company…  Very interesting…

It also includes details about helping “either” family…

Previous post below…

Father is ready to turn page on Utah adoption horror story

A 4th District Court judge says he is “astonished and deeply troubled” by a Utah adoption agency’s deliberate move to circumvent the rights of a married man whose daughter was adopted at birth without his knowledge.

The Provo judge, while noting the birth mother had deceived her husband, the adoption agency and the prospective parents, has given the adoptive couple 60 days to give the child back.

In a 48-page ruling, Judge Darold McDade said the Adoption Center of Choice’s policy of refusing to disclose any information to Terry Achane once he learned what had happened to his baby is “utterly indefensible.”

Go read the whole story – so wrong – no words…

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child, Ethics

 

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This story takes the cake Utah…

Father is ready to turn page on Utah adoption horror story

A 4th District Court judge says he is “astonished and deeply troubled” by a Utah adoption agency’s deliberate move to circumvent the rights of a married man whose daughter was adopted at birth without his knowledge.

The Provo judge, while noting the birth mother had deceived her husband, the adoption agency and the prospective parents, has given the adoptive couple 60 days to give the child back.

In a 48-page ruling, Judge Darold McDade said the Adoption Center of Choice’s policy of refusing to disclose any information to Terry Achane once he learned what had happened to his baby is “utterly indefensible.”

Go read the whole story – so wrong – no words…

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child, Ethics

 

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Too far…

By TAO

Malinda at Adoption Talk has a new post up that has me wanting to spit nails

Brave Heart and Gladney…

This is SO far over the line to me.  So far…

Can we not do something? 

Would YOU as a parent be okay with your child doing this in school?  I wouldn’t.

Go read the post now…tell others to go read the post now…

Adoption “Service” Projects in School

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child, Ethics

 

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