Adoption Week e-Magazine
Reaching hundreds of thousands of people touched by adoption
A service of Adoption.com
June 22, 2004

To subscribe or unsubscribe, visit AdoptionWeek.com.


In This Issue
1.   Announcements:
       - New Adoption.com Spanish Translation
       - Financial Assistance for Pregnant Mothers Interested in Adoption
       - The Adoption Search Engine
2.   HIGHLIGHTED ARTICLES
3.   ADOPTION NEWS
4.   ADOPTION LAW & POLICY NEWS
5.   ADOPTION BOOK CLUB - adoption book review
6.   MEET NEW HOPEFUL ADOPTIVE PARENTS
7.   FEATURED WAITING CHILD
8.   ADOPTION GEM - inspirational thought
9.   ADOPTION BUZZ - recent message board discussions
10.  ADOPTION SITE SPOTLIGHT
11.  ADOPTION DESTINATION - international adoption
12.  JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT - clean weekly humor
13.  FEATURED ADOPTION PROFESSIONAL
14.  ADOPTIONSHOP.COM PICK - review of an adoption product
15.  COUNSEL FROM AN ADOPTEE AND A BIRTH MOTHER - question and answer/advice column 
16.  SPEAK OUT - contributions from our readers
17.  ADOPTION POETRY
18.  ADOPTION CALENDAR - adoption events, seminars, & chats

Visit Our Featured Adoption Sponsors

Adoption Network - Creating families...one miracle at a time
Start your adoption today. It's easier than you think. Caring and compassionate services.
http://adoptionnetwork.com/adoptiveparents/index-adoptnews.shtml


Adoptive Families Magazine
Just Starting Out in Adoption? Helpful tips, useful resources from Adoptive Families Magazine online.
http://www.AdoptiveFamilies.com


Adopting for Tomorrow Magazine
Committed to serving adoptive and potential adoptive parents as an invaluable resource by providing the most current and relevant information on domestic and international adoption, journalism excellence and integrity, comprehensive child profiles, and a format for sharing experiences among adopting families.
http://www.adoptingfortomorrow.com/



1. Announcements

New Adoption.com Spanish Translation
Adoption.com has implemented a new feature to most of its sub-sites, which will make the content more beneficial to our growing community. As one of the major languages in the continental United States, Adoption.com has chosen to have its content available in Spanish. To use this fun, exciting new feature, visit Adoption.com's homepage, select one of its major categories, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click the "español" link. (Note: Not a perfect translation. Translations do not work on graphics.)

Financial Assistance for Pregnant Mothers Interested in Adoption
Depending upon the state in which you live, as an expectant mother who has chosen to make an adoption plan for her child, you may be able to accept various forms of financial assistance. This assistance may help provide a safe place to live, medical assistance, or living expenses for you and your unborn child. For more information on how you may be eligible to obtain the help you need, visit http://financial-assistance.crisispregnancy.com

The Adoption Search Engine
Adoption.com would like to invite you to visit and try out the Adoption Search Engine, your portal for on-line adoption content. With over 400,000 pages of content, AdoptionSearch.com provides the best way to find the adoption-related content you need. Check it out at http://AdoptionSearch.com.

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2. Highlighted Articles

The views expressed by the authors are solely their own, and for which the authors are responsible. These views do not necessarily represent the views of Adoption Week e-Magazine.

Reunited - new article by K.R.
I started to read it and almost fell face first onto the coffee table. My 15-year-old daughter was wanting some information on her heritage and who her birth father was. I called the number on the letterhead and the lawyer said that if I wanted to, I could contact the adoptive mother and speak with her directly, so I did just that. http://e-magazine.adoption.com/articles/492/reunited.php

Birth Mother Quick Tip: Pregnancy Disability Leave - new article by Mardie Caldwell
No matter how long she has been employed, a pregnant employee is entitled to Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL) if she provides an appropriate medical certification. PDL should not be confused with other types of leave. http://e-magazine.adoption.com/articles/493/birth-mother-quick-tip-pregnancy-disability-leave.php

An Assorted Fairytale...VI - new article by Linda Muzzin
I thought to myself, up until now I thought I had faced it all, but at that moment I not only wanted to be invisible, I wanted to disappear forever. Fortunately the woman was kind, but she had many questions. “Where is your mother?” Like a dagger though my soul, my very existence and self worth came down to this - a complete stranger...asking me about my mother. http://e-magazine.adoption.com/articles/494/an-assorted-fairytale-vi.php

Who's Little Girl Am I? - new article by Sheryl
Having children of my own only enforces the feelings I have of "who am I"? I stare into the many faces of the people I meet always looking for a clue or something I identify with. I harbor no hard feelings for this woman whom I’m sure did what she felt was best for BOTH of us at the time. If she didn't love me, she would not have left me where I'd be discovered. All these years of wondering what my nationality is, or who I resemble, or whether the birth father knew I was born, or if there is breast cancer, diabetes, etc. in my future. Where did my love for music come from? I'm sure every adoptee out there wonders the same. http://e-magazine.adoption.com/articles/495/whos-little-girl-am-i.php

Read these articles at http://e-Magazine.Adoption.com, and submit your adoption-related articles to editor@adoptionweek.com for publication in Adoption Week e-Magazine and Adoption.com.

By submitting content, you represent that you have the rights to this content and that you give Adoption.com and Adoption Week the right to reprint this content on the Internet, via e-mail, and in print form.

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3. Adoption News

In the news this week, it was reported that Romanian legislators approved a bill restricting international adoptions. Read about it here. Other news headlines included the biological father, Shaoqiang He, in the international adoption case saying he's nearly ready to drop the effort of regaining custody of his daughter and return to China. It was also brought to our attention that one child is born addicted to methamphetamine every week in Minnesota. On Thursday, a teenager was arrested for delivering and abandoning her newborn in a portable toilet at the field in which she worked. To read these news articles, as well as others, visit News.Adoption.com.

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4. Adoption Law & Policy News

June 16, 2004

WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY

FEATURED NEWS STORY

International Adoption

JOAO HERBERT: Deported Adult Adoptee Dies in Brazil
Joao Herbert, who was adopted as a child by U.S. citizens, was recently murdered in Brazil. Joao was deported four years ago after his conviction for a drug offense. The following are recent news stories about Joao’s death, a past story about his deportation, and information about current and proposed legislation influenced by Joao’s story and by other issues challenging families who adopt abroad.

JOAO’S ADOPTION AND DEPORTATION: Akron Man Faces Deportation
In 1987, Joao Herbert was legally adopted from Brazil at age 8 by Ohio residents, Jim Herbert and Nancy Saunders. Joao grew up as any American child, and quickly forgot his native language, Portuguese. When Joao’s parents adopted him, they decided to leave the choice of American citizenship up to him. At the time, American citizenship for adopted children was not automatic. In 1997, two months after Joao graduated high school at age 20, he was arrested for selling marijuana to a police informant in his hometown of Wadsworth, Ohio. Joao was first sentenced only to probation and community treatment, but soon after was informed by his attorney that he risked deportation to Brazil. In 1996, the Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act required that any non-citizen convicted of all but the lowest drug offense be subject to mandatory deportation. In November 2000, Joao was deported and returned to Brazil. He knew no one there, and did not even speak the language.
The Athens Post, April 5, 1999
http://thepost.baker.ohiou.edu/archives2/040599/804.html

The Influence Of Joao’s Case

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)’s provisions regarding citizenship of children adopted abroad have been amended since the time of Joao’s adoption. The process of citizenship is still not automatic, but The Child Citizenship Act of 2000, Public Law 106-395, allows children adopted outside the U.S. to acquire citizenship at the time of adoption if they meet certain requirements. These requirements are set out in more detail at http://uscis.gov/graphics/services/natz/orphans_residing_us.htm.

Joao Herbert’s case influenced the change in the law regarding the adoption of foreign children. Joao’s case is specifically mentioned in the legislative history of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. As Rep. Delahunt of Massachusetts stated: “No one condones criminal acts, Mr. Speaker; but the terrible price these young people and their families have paid is out of proportion to their misdeeds. Whatever they did, they should be treated like any other American kid. They are our children, and we are responsible for them.” (146 Cong Rec H 7774)

Pending Legislation

In November, 2003, Sen. Don Nickles introduced the Intercountry Adoption Reform Act of 2004 (ICARE ACT) (Sen. Bill 1934) The Bill was referred to a committee of the House of Representatives on March 4, 2004. ICARE’s purposes include improving foreign adoption processes to make them more friendly and child oriented and to foster best practices in intercountry adoption. Major measures of the Bill include:

1. Not classifying foreign adopted children as immigrants. Once adopted they will be treated as would birth children of U.S. citizens
2. Entitling an adopted child with the same rights, duties, and responsibilities as a biological child
3. According adopted children of U.S. citizens the same procedural treatment as biological children born abroad to a U.S. citizen
4. Allowing a U.S citizen to confer citizenship to their legally and fully adopted foreign born child since a U.S. citizen can confer citizenship to a biological child born abroad (Full text of the Act may be found at this link: http://www.childadvocacy.com/legislation/archives/001349.php#001349)

For more information on ICARE, see http://www.jcics.org/Adoption_Legislation.htm.

OTHER NEWS STORIES OF INTEREST

Foster/Child Welfare Systems

KANSAS: “Foster Care Contracts to Undergo Overhaul” - by Dave Ranney
The state’s contracts for foster care and adoption services have changed. One change allows for a foster care contractor to manage the adoption process if the foster parents wish to adopt versus having to transfer the child over to an adoption contract. It is argued that moving the child from a foster care contract to an adoption contract is disruptive. Another change is that incentives have been reworked to pay contractors a certain percent of the fee each month a child remains in the system versus paying them a set fee each month. These changes were made to allow foster children to move through the system more quickly.
Lawrence World, Wednesday June 9, 2004
http://www.ljworld.com/section/stateregional/story/172532

FLORIDA: “Abused Children Need Voices in Court” - by Bryan Casanas
The Guardian Ad Litem program (GAL) trains volunteers to pay special and personalized attention to a case where a child has been abused and neglected and thus come into state custody. As unpaid volunteers, CASAs/GALs are able to speak up in court about the circumstances surrounding the case from their independent perspective, based upon the information collection, observations, and time spent with the various people involved with the case. According to one volunteer, a CASA/GAL has no fear of losing his job, so he is more comfortable speaking plainly about the child’s best interest than paid professionals working on the case. In the county serving Clearwater, the number of GAL volunteers available will serve only half of the dependency/neglect active cases; more volunteers are needed.
St. Petersburg Times, Monday, June 14, 2004
http://www.sptimes.com/2004/06/14/Northpinellas/Abused_children_need_.shtml

MISSOURI: “RECORDS REVEAL SHORT, ROOTLESS LIFE” - by Jeremy Kohler
A seventeen-year-old boy who was in the custody of the state of Missouri from infancy was found dead near his home, apparently having been strangled. As a premature infant, Dominic Williams had seizures and required special prescriptions and procedures. Dominic’s mother did not actively or consistently care for or visit the boy, requiring his placement into 8 foster homes throughout his life. As reunification continued to be pursued with his mother and other possible biological fathers, foster parents continued to decline adopting Dominic. His service was held this week, with an anonymously donated headstone.
St. Louis Today, Wednesday, June 10, 2004
http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/News/St.+Louis+City+/+County/8E3F2D49E4
CB084F86256EB00016A269?OpenDocument&Headline=Records+reveal+short,+rootless+life


NATIONAL: “Volunteer Advocates Are Little Help, Study Finds” - by Barbara White-Stack
An evaluation of the Court Appointed Special Advocates program (CASA), sponsored by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation was released this week at the CASA annual conference. CASA volunteers across the nation serve as an independent voice for the best interest of the child involved in dependency and neglect cases. The recent study looked at the following: whether there were racial biases in assignment of CASA volunteers to cases, the average hours spent per month by CASA volunteers on a case, and the difference in well-being between kids with a CASA volunteer and those without. The study finds the CASA program lacking.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Tuesday June 8, 2004
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/04160/328535.stm

International Adoption

INTERNATIONAL: “International Adoption Less Risky” - by Greer Fay Cashman
As a result of a court ordering the return of an adopted child, Ellas Blass, head of the Ministry of Social Affairs Child Welfare Services, told adoptive parents that revision to the adoption law would prevent biological parents from changing their minds after a certain amount of time. However, Greer Cashman states that risk of biological parents changing their minds does not occur with international adoptions. An amendment to the Israel Adoption Law only allows for adoptions through an approved non-profit agency and all of these agencies are under supervision of the Central Authority for International Adoption. One such agency, Amazia, aids in finding homes for children, but also has a goal of building more Jewish Families in Israel. The applicants do not have to be religious themselves or married, but they must meet other criteria such as being between the age of 25-48 and having been in Israel for at least three of the past five years. On average the cost of adopting internationally is about $20,000 and usually after screening applicants only 1 in 5 is allowed to adopt.
Jerusalem Post, Thursday June 10, 2004
https://mail.law.capital.edu/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull%26cid=1086836428595

WEEKLY CASE SUMMARY

Significant Cases

Termination of Parental Rights - Process

In re E.T. & B.T.
The Indiana Supreme Court vacated an opinion of a court of appeals, which found that written reports from a program for parents who were faced with termination of parental rights were admissible under the business records exception to the hearsay rule. The Indiana Supreme Court found that it was error for the trial court to initially admit the reports because they fell outside the business records exception insofar as information contained in the reports was not solely the result of first hand observation, the reports contained conclusory lay opinions, and the program did not appear to rely on the reports to operate their business. However, the Court concluded that the improper admission of evidence is harmless error if the judgment is supported by independent evidence, as in this case, to satisfy the reviewing court that there is not a substantial likelihood that the questioned evidence contributed to the judgment.
Cite: No. 02S03-0308-JV-367, 2004 Ind. LEXIS 463 (Ind. May 20, 2004).
Web link: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=in&vol=sc\05200403.rdr&invol=2

Rights of Grandparents and Other Biological Relatives

In re Josiah Z.
A California Court of Appeals denied a paternal grandparent’s request to dismiss an appeal regarding his request for custody of children because the dismissal was based solely on appellate counsel’s analysis of the children’s best interests. The court held that appellate counsel did not have the authority to dismiss the children's appeal based on counsel's assessment of the children's best interests because the provisions of Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 317, which outlines the duties of trial counsel appointed to represent children in dependency proceedings, does not apply to counsel appointed for children in dependency appeals.
Cite: No. F044121, 2004 WL 1109854 (Cal. Ct. App. May 19, 2004)
Web link: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/F044121.DOC

Other Cases of Interest

Termination of Parental Rights – Appeals of Orders of Termination

In re D.R.
The North Carolina Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s finding that the birth father had abandoned his children, concluding that the findings of fact failed to support a conclusion that the father abandoned his children, or showed a willful intent to escape parental responsibility.
Cite: No. COA03-578, 2004 WL 1093261 (N.C. Ct. App. May 18, 2004)
http://www.aoc.state.nc.us/www/public/coa/opinions/2004/unpub/030578-1.htm

Federal Law: Indian Child Welfare Act

In re S.M.
The California Court of Appeals reversed the trial court judgment terminating parental rights of the natural father based on the San Diego Health and Human Services Agency’s failure to notify the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma of the child’s Cherokee Indian heritage as required under the Indian Child Welfare Act [25 U.S.C. §1901, et. seq.]. However, the appellate court concluded that if no tribe chooses to intervene after receiving proper notice under ICWA, the Juvenile Court may reinstate the termination of parental rights judgment.
Cite: No. D042955, 2004 Cal. App. LEXIS 778 (Cal Ct. App. May 21, 2004)
Web link: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/D042955.PDF

Credit: National Center for Adoption Law & Policy
Link: http://www.law.capital.edu/adoption

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5. ADOPTION BOOK CLUB

Healing the Adoption Experience
Today over 65% of women planning an adoption are already parenting at least one child. Until now, there have been no tools to help these mothers explain adoption to their older children. Sam's Sister will change all that. It follows six-year-old Rosa as she comes to understand her mother's dilemma, learns about adoption, experiences his birth and placement with Sarah and Joe. The illustrations of Dawn Majewski bring these characters to life.

For more information on this book, visit http://adoptionshop.com/cgi-bin/products/PER00001.html.

Find 1,000+ other adoption products at AdoptionShop.com.

To share your favorite adoption book with others, join the Adoption Book Club on AdoptionLists.com at http://adoptionlists.com/index.php?action=lists&listname=adoptionbookclub.

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6. Meet New Hopeful Adoptive Parents

Marlon & Sherry (TX)
We admire you for choosing the gift of adoption for your child. We are praying for God to bless you with courage and strength. We pray your decision will bring you peace knowing you’re child’s life will be filled with love, happiness, caring, Christian guidance, and fun. To view Marlon and Sherry's profile, visit http://www.parentprofiles.com/profiles/db10788.html.

Steve & Lisa (WA)
While we cannot pretend to know how it feels to consider the choices you face, we respect and admire you for considering adoption for your baby. We are both 34 years old and have been married since 1997. We have been together as a couple since we met in law school in Missouri over twelve years ago. To view Steve and Lisa's profile, visit http://www.parentprofiles.com/profiles/db11337.html.

Richie & Lorrie (NY)
You can be assured that we and our family will welcome your infant into our home of support, friendship and love. Our family and friends are almost as excited as we are for us to adopt. We met while volunteering at a local community organization. Little did we know at the time that this meeting would lead to a friendship that would blossom into love and a 11-year marriage. Soon after we were married, we realized that we wanted to start a family, but due to infertility problems, we have not been blessed with children. For us, adoption is the perfect situation because we realize that for us it is not important to conceive a child but to become parents and share the life that we have built with a child. To view Richie and Lorrie's profile, visit http://www.parentprofiles.com/profiles/db12613.html.

Bob & Susan (IL)
We are a high-energy, active, loving, fun, two-pet family formed through adoption. Our son Matthew joined our family in 1999, through an open adoption. Our choice to become an adoptive family was a thoughtful one, and a decision that we came to after much prayer and discussion between us, our families and other adoptive families. We always knew that we wanted a large family and because we both grew up with large extended families, we want that experience within our own family. To view Bob and Susan's profile, visit http://www.parentprofiles.com/profiles/db12104.html.

George & Jacqueline (NJ)
We realize what a difficult time this is for you and appreciate the unselfish and giving act you are doing. We admire your courage in considering adoption as the way to provide the best possible future for your child. Since we began our relationship, it has been our dream to become parents. We can provide your child with a loving, secure, and happy home in a beautiful town. We will be forever grateful to you for blessing us with the opportunity to become parents to your child. To view George and Jacqueline's profile, visit http://www.parentprofiles.com/profiles/db12566.html.

Are you pregnant? Visit ParentProfiles.com (a service of Adoption Profiles, LLC) to find the right adoptive parents for your baby.

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7. Featured Waiting Child

Tommy is a cute Hispanic boy who enjoys all the sports children his age like. He is a good kid who likes sports, but due to his academic performance, he does not qualify for sports involvement. Tommy has not had stability and consistency under the foster care system. He is a problematic child at home and school. He has behavior problems and is diagnosed with ADHD; he is currently in counseling for these issues. Tommy has recently been enrolled in a special education program. He is in need of a family who will not give up on him. He also needs a family who is able to provide an abundance of structure, security and love.

For more information on Tommy, visit http://photolisting.adoption.com/12593.html.

Photolisting.Adoption.com is a free community service of Adoption.com featuring more than 1,700 children awaiting loving, permanent homes. Add your agency's waiting children to the most popular adoption website, and help them find loving homes faster. E-mail exchange@adoptablekids.com for info.

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8. Adoption Gem

We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come
as a result of getting something we don't have,
but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.
- Fredrick Koeing

Submit your story, thought, or quote to editor@adoptionweek.com.

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9. Adoption Buzz

Becoming Foster Parents: - Sharing Bedrooms with Bio Children
http://forums.adoption.com/t153775.html

Adoptees Forum: - Birth Mother Found But Won't Acknowledge Me
http://forums.adoption.com/t143642.html

Adopting African American Children: - Any Ideas How to Deal with Prejudice in Relatives?
http://forums.adoption.com/t153943.html

Guatemala Adoption: - HELP! Child Won't Go Near My Husband
http://forums.adoption.com/t153963.html

Foster Care to Adoption What is it Like?: - Fostering a Relative, Drowning in Family Baggage
http://forums.adoption.com/t153948.html

Birth Family Issues: - How Do I Talk to My Child about His Sister I Gave Up for Adoption?
http://forums.adoption.com/t153968.html

If any of the links above do not work, visit Adoption.com for direct links to these discussions.

For more online adoption discussions, visit Forums.Adoption.com.

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10. Adoption Site Spotlight

This week, our adoption spotlight is shining on: http://Attachment.Adoption.com

Many adoptive families deal with attachment and bonding issues. Attachment.Adoption.com provides information and support on attachment and bonding situations ranging from securely attached to sever attachment disorder, and many levels of attachment issues in between. For attachment-related articles and information, visit Attachment.Adoption.com.

For a list of our favorite adoption websites, visit Adoptions.Adoption.com.

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11. Adoption Destination

InternationalAdoption.org is the Internet's authoritative destination for international adoption. You will find fact sheets, adoption information, travel information, culture and heritage, maps, weather, books, currency exchange rates, periodicals, news and much more for dozens of different countries with active international adoption programs.

This week, the country of focus is Guatemala.


There are two ways to adopt a child in Guatemala. The first is through a notarial process using an attorney (private adoption/extrajudicial process); the second is through the courts using a Guatemalan Government-recognized adoption agency or orphanage in Guatemala (public adoption/judicial process).

To learn more about Guatemala's government, geography, and communication information, or its history, visit http://Guatemala.Adoption.com.

Read Guatemala adoption-related articles at http://library.adoption.com/information/Guatemala/64/1.html.

To chat with parents who have adopted or are considering adopting from Guatemala, visit http://forums.adoption.com/f19.html.

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12. Just For The Fun Of It

But Daddy ...

My husband and I took our two-year-old daughter to the home-improvement store. Madison got tired of walking, so my husband let her ride on his shoulders. As he walked, Madison began pulling his hair. Although he asked her to stop several times, she kept on. Getting annoyed, he scolded, "Madison! Stop that!"

"But, Daddy," she replied, "I'm just trying to get my gum back."

E-mail your humorous story or joke to editor@adoptionweek.com.

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13. Featured Adoption Professional

Palant & Milgrom, Esqs.
New York, NY
Phone: (212) 349-9795
palant_milgrom@lawyer.com

A law firm specializing in international adoption with subsequent domestic re-adoption. With twenty years of experience in the area of the U.S. immigration law, we are able to solve even most difficult problems. Overseas, our clients deal only with highly qualified foreign attorneys experienced in adoption matters and very well connected locally - never with so-called "adoption specialists" or "independent consultants". We offer a complete package of adoption services and everything is done in strict accordance with all applicable laws - American and foreign.

Services: • Adoption Attorneys • Immigration

Countries: • Armenia • Ukraine

For more information on Palant & Milgrom, Esqs., visit http://www.PM-Laws.com.

Find adoption agencies, attorneys and other adoption professionals at Directory.Adoption.com.

To see your ad here, visit http://directory.adoption.com/upgrade.php.

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14. AdoptionShop.com Pick

Our Chosen Child - Only $18.95
In Our Chosen Child, adoptive parents can record family history and all the milestones of childhood through high school graduation. Additionally, Our Chosen Child includes the milestones that an adoptive family achieves. A page entitled "Waiting for You" acknowledges the many steps along the journey to becoming an adoptive family, such as completing a home study and getting references. On the page entitled "When We First Saw You" parents can capture the special moment when they first meet their intended child, whether as a newborn or as a five-year-old. The happy memories of the day the adoption is finalized are recorded on the "Adoption Day" page. Each page features original poetry by Judith Levy.

For more information on this product, visit http://adoptionshop.com/cgi-bin/products/ADP00054.html.

For more adoption products, visit AdoptionShop.com.

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15. Counsel From An Adoptee And A Birth Mother

This section is not intended for search advice. It is meant to be an advice column for people with questions concerning their feelings, interested in the opinion of someone who can relate. The views expressed by this author is solely his own, and for which the author is responsible. The content within this column is not to be considered as professional medical, legal or behavioral health information to be used in diagnosis, treatment or actions that would require the consultation and/or services of a licensed, certified or accredited professional. These views do not necessarily represent the views of Adoption Week e-Magazine.

Question:

W:

It is so refreshing to know that a birth mother worries, wonders, and cares for her child. I had always hoped that my mother was thinking of me. I located my birth mother and contacted her by letter. After no response, I wrote again. This letter was returned unopened with a message on the back to not contact her, and she told me my curiosity was morose. She said she burned my first letter and picture that I had sent. Although I knew I had a 50/50 chance of being accepted or rejected, I waited until I thought I was emotionally strong enough to locate her and then to be rejected was more painful than I ever could imagine. This happened 10 years ago, but I am still dealing with the pain of knowing that she doesn't want me. I have 5 children of my own and cannot understand not wanting them. My birthday and Mother's Day are extremely painful days for me. How do I get over this pain? She never married and never had any other children. I can only pray that she will need me someday to help her. - Connie R.

Jan's Response:

Connie,

Closed adoptions present many inherent painful issues for a lot of people, in my opinion. Like you, I too find it difficult to understand how a mother who relinquishes a child can reject that child years later when that child expresses a need to know them. However, to relinquish a child and be able to live with that decision, many women must try to extinguish any feelings they have for that child. It is a self-preservation tool almost. Some women are more successful than others. Your birth mother may have felt that in order for her to survive your relinquishment, she could not allow herself to feel anything for you. Denial plays a huge part in adoption scenarios for adoptees and birth mothers alike. Now, many years later, she probably is afraid to let herself feel anything for you.

As cruel as your birth mother's actions seem to me, it occurs to me that she may just not be a very nice person and/or may not have a maternal bone in her body. Her actions seem particularly extreme to me, burning your letter and picture - I really can't fathom that. Maybe her feelings for your birth father have something to do with that. To say your curiosity was morose - that's pretty awful, in my opinion. Consider too, most of us were led to believe that our children would function perfectly well never knowing us. It is therefore not surprising she does not understand why you might want or need to know her. Many people, including birth and adoptive parents, have no clue how adoptees feel and why they often need/want to reconnect with birth family. None of this is in any way offered to you as an excuse for her actions - her behavior can be explained, but not excused.

As to what you can do to get over the pain - unfortunately, your question is one for which there is no easy answer. Understanding your mother is a wounded soul and that her reactions to you reflect her state of mind may not be of much comfort to you. You do not deserve to be treated as she has chosen to treat you. I told my son his finding me was the greatest gift anyone has ever given me, and I meant that from the heart. That is the reaction you and all adoptees deserve - the unfortunate reality for some, however, is quite different.

Dealing with adoption issues requires from many of us that we accept certain sad realities that are extremely challenging. For me, it has helped to become involved in trying to educate others to make the world of adoption a better place. We can't change the past, but we can direct the course of the future for ourselves, our children and grandchildren. Mothers' Day and birthdays are painful for many in the world of adoption, but we must get to the point that like it or not, we have to accept the realities of our lives. It is difficult, but we are better parents, friends, etc. if we can enjoy and appreciate what we do have and not dwell on what we don't. Easier said than done, I know.

Jan

DB's Response:

It saddens me that your biological mother responded that way to you. There are other ways to let someone down. Regardless, it is extremely unfortunate that she does not want a relationship with you right now.

To be honest, there is no sure way to get rid of that pain. You have to accept that at this point in her life, she does not desire contact with you. You have no idea what is going on in her life at the moment, and this could have been a snap response. She could change her mind in the future. If she doesn't, you need to get to a place with yourself that you will be okay with that decision.

You cannot go through your life hoping that she needs you sometime later, or that her mind will change. There is always the possibility and you can let that be a comfort on some level for you, but you need to accept the reality of the situation. I know it hurts, but you need to be realistic with yourself. You may want to consider speaking with a councilor or therapist. They can be extremely helpful in helping you overcome your pain.

I wish you the best,

DB

Question:

Jan,

I was reunited with my b-son about 7 months ago. Michael is 36 years old, and he wants to know his b-dad. I told him that I am not sure who his b-dad is. Since then I have made contact with the 2 possible b-dads. What I need to know now is what DNA testing is out there? I have seen some testing companies, but I am not sure if they are reliable.

Mickey

Jan's Response:

Dear Mickey,

Your dilemma is more common than you might imagine. I know nothing about any of the DNA testing companies. Perhaps some of our readers may be able to give you some input. If I receive any feedback, I will forward them on to you.

Jan

DB's Response:

In regard to paternity tests, I do not know much about this subject either, but there are many "Planned Parenthood" clinics in most metropolitan areas. I am sure that they either offer the service, or they should be able to recommend a lab that can do a reliable test. In addition, talk to your doctor, as he/she could probably recommend a facility, or they may even be able to do it in their office.

The hard part, however, will be getting the men to submit to the tests. I can imagine that there may be some tension in getting someone to submit to a paternity test stemming from a sexual encounter over 36 years ago.

DB

Bio:

The author is a 21-year-old adoptee who wants to help those affiliated with the adoption community. Although the author does not have a medical degree, etc., he is simply extending a listening ear and the perspective of a young adult who is involved in the adoption triad.

Jan is a reunited mother of a 34-year-old son who was relinquished at birth. She also has a daughter and a son whom she raised and is a proud grandmother of three. Jan has no counseling credentials or training, but offers her opinions based on her role as an active member of the adoption community.

Their opinions are not necessarily those of Adoption.com and are provided voluntarily on a weekly basis.


To submit your questions to DB, e-mail adoptionquestions2003@yahoo.com

To submit your questions to Jan, e-mail janb91024@yahoo.com

In order for your questions/comments to be answered in the next week's issue, questions need to be submitted before 12 noon each Wednesday.

In addition, please remember to keep your questions appropriate for Adoption Week e-Magazine; otherwise, they will not be answered or included in the next week's edition.


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16. Speak Out

I can't thank you enough for the wonderful information you have, and how eloquently easy it is to follow in the e-Week Newsletter. We have been foster parents for almost 20 months now, and I started receiving your newsletters just prior to our first placement. Since that time, I have found some wonderful articles you have highlighted in the newsletter and some have even come in handy to pass along to our caseworkers (or "our kids'" caseworkers). One in particular that has already made a HUGE impact is the "Womb Mates" article written by Regina Kupecky. We are currently involved with two cases, and her article runs 100% true in both of them. In one case, they placed the biological sibling of our (already adopted) son with him and us as soon as she was taken into custody. In another case, however, a child was placed with us at birth because no other relative could take him. He had 5 half-siblings, but they all lived with the same great-aunt who stated she could not take another child. Now, 19 months later, she claims to want him. At first the county was ready to just move "Baby M" without a second thought, but we have been fighting it. He had never met his siblings, and he was so deeply bonded with us, it would ruin him to move him. Well, things have turned "our way" but due to other circumstances regarding his great-aunt. In fact, we have a MAJOR court date scheduled for this week, and our attorneys even plan on introducing this article in to show the importance of bonding, and placing a child in a more "permanent" home from the beginning. The Children's Bureau Attorney even took a copy of the letter and planned to show it to some caseworkers. So I deeply thank you. I will continue to read your newsletters and other information. I recommend this newsletter to any adoptive/foster parent I know! Thank you. - Beth S, Ohio

(Update from Beth on Wed., June 16: WE WON OUR CASE TODAY!!! Our little foster son that we have been fighting for for 20 months is now going to be adopted by us. Some things came out in court today, and basically the opposing parties were left with no other choice and both signed off on the adoption. As soon as the entry is journalized, we are finalizing.

---------------------------------

I'm a British mum that lost her children due to social services feeling I was unable to care for my children enough. My little angel went when she was just 9 months old. I missed her 1st birthday, and she'll be two in December. My only consolation is that she has been adopted with her big brother (aged 3). His 4th birthday on August 6th - exactly 50 years after his grandads birth, to the day. The freeing order was given in March this year, so I don't even know if the adoption has taken place; however, they are living with them. Although I don't wish the adoptive parents any maliciousness, I hate them as they are sharing with my children what I should be sharing. They are hearing "I love you" and not me. They are able to say "I love you," and I can't. I've made a folder and intend to put birthday/Christmas announcements in the paper each year, then cut them out and put into a folder along with cards, letters, etc., ready to give them when they are older. But how can I deal with it NOW? It tears me apart when I see other mums with their children. The worst thing was that the judge did say I could go on to have more children and keep them, but I can't replace my angels. I'd welcome any replies from birth mums. Please contact me at hunnimummi@aol.com.

---------------------------------

I adopted two sisters, ages 12 and 13. Everything was fine until we ran into their biological father in the mall. Now they are cold to my birth daughter and myself. Is there anyone out there who has had this problem? E-mail mileshd@mindspring.com.
- Darlene

---------------------------------

Hi: I am searching for my son. I gave him up for adoption, and he was born on April 24, 1974. I have looked on so many web sites, and I am almost ready to give up. I have come to so many dead ends. I was 18 when I had my son, and I wanted to keep him, but I lived in a family where there was no love shown. I know now what a mistake it was listening to other people. He was born in Milledgville, GA. It was a private adoption - a doctor had a couple that could not have children. I thought maybe I was doing the right thing, but how wrong I was. If only I could find him, just to tell him why. Maybe it would help some of the pain and hurt I have. Thanks for reading. - Shirley Black

---------------------------------

I was born February 7, 1963 in Paola, KS at the Miami County Hospital. My b-mothers name was Cheryl Kay Chrisman, and she was 15 years old at the time. According to by birth certificate, she and my b-father were both born in Oklahoma. My b-father's name is Larry Boyd Dale, and he was a 19-year-old US Marine. (I'm not sure he knew about me.) I have tried numerous ways to locate my b-mother, but I only have her maiden name to go on. I have had no luck with records in Oklahoma. I would appreciate any suggestions or help. Please contact me at mlmlutz@weblink2000.net.

---------------------------------

To Speak Out and share your opinion or a comment, or to respond to a message, e-mail editor@adoptionweek.com

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17. Adoption Poetry

The Box

The Box sat on our mantelpiece
For all the world to see.
A simple square of wood and glue,
That held the truth of me.
My parents told me what it was,
When I was barely three.
But to touch it was forbidden,
I was told to let it be.

“If the Box is mine,” I asked my mom
When I was eight or so,
“Let me see just what it holds,
I’d really like to know.”
She answered me with tear filled eyes,
In a voice both tense and low.
“To open it,” she hissed to me,
“Will only lead to woe.”

“Childless were your dad and I,
Until you came along.
Our natural child, you could not be,
But we knew you would belong.
We adopted you to make us whole,
To complete our family’s song.
Your past was sealed into the Box,
To break that seal is wrong.”

“Your birth mom is a tarnished lass,
A truly careless one.
There was no way for her to cope,
To care for you, my son.
Because of you, on a downward spiral,
Her reputation spun.
There’s a lesson to be learned here lad,
That life’s not always fun.”

“But she gave you up, so now her life,
Continues without strain.
All our lives are altered now,
As if the past were slain.
And you? You’re such a special boy,
With everything to gain.
To tamper with that sacred Box,
Will only lead to pain.”

It was if Pandora’s Box itself,
Lay on that mantel’s edge.
I believed that if I opened it,
A painful past I’d dredge.
And between the folks who cared for me,
I’d drive a hurtful wedge.
For years I would ignore that Box,
Upon the dusty ledge.

Often I would stare at it,
When through the room I’d pass.
As years went by, it seemed to grow,
In size and shape and mass.
One side turned into a pane,
Of smoky one way glass,
That offered me a moment’s glimpse,
Into that dark morass.

Yet I fought the urge to look inside,
As years danced swiftly by.
I found less time to ponder on
The who, and what and why.
I was so sure I had no right
Into my past to pry.
I just assumed on the mantel top,
My truth would always lie.

My daughter told me late one night,
That soon she’d be a bride.
She kissed my cheek and said to me,
“Dad? Tell me what you hide.
The Box can tell us who we are,
Let’s take a look inside.
I’d like to know just where we’re from,
It’s long past time you tried.”

By now the box had grown so large,
I knew the time was right,
To look inside this ancient hoax
And free me from it’s blight.
It fell to pieces in my hands,
And much to my delight,
The truth was then revealed to me,
Through a bright and joyful light.

The truth was simple and quite healing,
It caused no harm or shame.
My birth mom had been a frightened lass,
Of slender size and frame.
To lose me to adoption,
Had never been her aim.
But her parents made her give me up,
And play the truthless game.

For the first time I saw who I was,
In my mother’s eyes and face.
“I was told that you had died,” she sobbed,
“Of you there would be no trace.
Though my parents thought this cruel lie
Would save me from disgrace,
I prayed each day that you were safe,
And in a loving place.”

“They said without you that my life could be
Just like it was before.
That time would heal the broken heart,
The ‘temporary’ sore.
But tell no one about this
So you’ll not be called a whore.
They made me sign some papers,
Then shoved me out the door.”

“It’s hard to keep a secret
That hurts the very soul.
Instead of feeling better,
I was in a deeper hole.
But I kept you in my heart,
As a barely glowing coal.
It gives me life to see you now,
Alive, aware and whole.”

When I told my parents what I’d done,
They were obviously dismayed.
They weren’t quite sure just what to say,
They seemed to feel betrayed.
I reassured them of my love,
So their fears would be allayed.
But I asked for understanding,
In decisions I had made.

But they could not seem to comprehend
The reasons for my quest.
They’d hoped the truth would stay interred
In that damned old wooden chest.
And the fact that I now felt at peace
They just could not digest.
There were no words for me to speak,
That would put their fears to rest.

When the Box was filled so long ago
False assumptions formed a seal.
“If the birth mom gave the child away,
All her pains of loss would heal.”
And “An instant family, will make the pain,
Of infertility much less real.”
Or “The child will bear no ill effects,
From this closed and secret deal.”

Boxes are a legacy,
Of the Closed Adoption age.
Some deal with them quite easily,
Some deal with fear and rage.
It’s time to open records
And turn another page.
So all members of the Triad,
Can be released from this old cage.

To say I need protection from
The past is just not true.
I have a right to know myself,
Like non adoptees do.
What good are laws that keep my roots
Hidden from my view?
It’s time to raise our voices
And write these laws anew.

The Box is gone, the past is free,
But the quest will never end.
Broken hearts and shattered dreams
We somehow need to mend.
Openness and honesty,
Are rights we must defend.
To keep us free of Boxes,
Our path must never bend.

Ron Leech
November, 2002

For more adoption poetry, visit Poetry.Adoption.com.

Submit your adoption poetry to editor@adoptionweek.com.

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18. Adoption Calendar

Chat Schedule:

Sunday:
Reunion Support Group Chat with Loretta in the Search and Reunion room at 6 pm Pacific, 7 pm Mountain, 8 pm Central, 9 pm Eastern

Monday:
Join Dr. Art Becker-Weidman in the hosted chat room at 2 pm Pacific, 3 pm Mountain, 4 pm Central, 5 pm Eastern and ask him questions on attachment therapy and treating children with trauma-attachment disorders.

Adoptee Chat with Thea in the hosted chat room at 6 pm Pacific, 7 pm Mountain, 8 pm Central, 9 pm Eastern. Thea is a caring adoptee that has recently reunited with her birth mother.

Tuesday:
Birth mom chat with Angelwings. Angel is a birth mom and adoptee. Her chat is held in the BirthMother.chat room at 4 pm Pacific, 5 pm Mountain, 6 pm Central, 7 pm Eastern

Birth father's General Support Chat in the hosted chat room with adoptee and birth father, Terry. All are invited at 6 pm Pacific, 7 pm Mountain, 8 pm central, 9 pm Eastern

Wednesday:
Pre- and adoptive parent chat with JJ and friends - Help as you begin the adoption process. Hosted in Adoptive Parents chat room at 5 pm Pacific, 6 pm Mountain, 7 pm Central, 8 pm Eastern.

Parenting issues for adoptive/foster parents with Dimasmom in FosterCare chat room at 6 pm Pacific, 7 pm Mountain, 8 pm Central, 9 pm Eastern.

Thursday:
Evening with Colleen Buckner, search expert, in Search and Reunion chat room at 6 pm Pacific, 7 pm Mountain, 8 pm Central, 9 pm Eastern.

Friday:
If you are having a "limbo" type experience with your reunion, come and talk it over with those who've "been there-done that" themselves. Join co-hosting birth mothers, April and Judy, in the Search and Reunion room on Fridays: 5 pm Pacific, 6 pm Mountain, 7 pm Central, 8 pm Eastern.

Saturday:
Older child adoption/foster care behavioral issues with Jerry in FosterCare chat room at 6 pm Pacific, 7 pm Mountain, 8 pm Central, 9 pm Eastern.

For a listing of times and descriptions and to attend scheduled chats, or join the live chat, visit Forums.Adoption.com/Chat.

Adoption Events:

International Adoption Support Meeting - Topic: Being An Effective Advocate for Your Adopted Child
June 23 (7:00 pm - 8:30 pm)
Euclid Public Library, Erie Room, 631 E. 222nd. St., Euclid, Ohio
Adoption Network Cleveland
Presenter: Zoe Breen-Wood
Who can attend: Adoptive parents or prospective adoptive parents of internationally adopted children. No registration or membership is required to attend. For more information, contact Adoption Network Cleveland at (216) 881-7511 or on the web at http://www.AdoptionNetwork.org/.

New Ways to Manage Difficult Behavior: Putting Some Fun Back in Parenting Workshop
June 24 (6:00 pm ­ 9:00 pm)
Cleveland Christian Home, 1700 Denison, (Room 201), Cleveland, Ohio
Adoption Network Cleveland
Presenter: Arleta James
RSVP: Free Workshop. Foster parent training certificates and social work/counselor CEU¹s provided. Registration is required. Registration closes 3 days prior to workshop. For more information, and to register, contact Adoption Network Cleveland at (216) 881-7511 or on the web at http://www.AdoptionNetwork.org/.

Telling the Truth to Your Adopted Child Workshop
June 26 (1:00 pm ­ 4:00 pm)
Warrensville Library, 22035 Clarkwood Pkwy, Warrensville, Ohio
Adoption Network Cleveland
Presenter: Zoe Breen-Wood
RSVP: Free Workshop. Foster parent training certificates and social work/counselor CEU¹s provided. Registration is required. Registration closes 3 days prior to workshop. For more information, and to register, contact Adoption Network Cleveland at (216) 881-7511 or on the web at http://www.AdoptionNetwork.org/.

Lake County General Meeting
June 29 (7:30 pm - 9:30 pm)
Deepwood North Apartments, Rental Office/Community Room, 8100 Deepwood Blvd. (off Rt. 84) Mentor, Ohio (Follow signs to rental office.)
Adoption Network Cleveland
Presenter: Zoe Breen-Wood
Who can attend: Adult adoptees, birth parents, siblings, adoptive parents, prospective adoptive parents, professionals and anyone who is interested in lifelong adoption issues. No registration or membership is required to attend. For more information, contact Adoption Network Cleveland at (216) 881-7511 or on the web at http://www.AdoptionNetwork.org/.

Rocky River General Meeting - Topic: Healthy Boundaries
July 1 (7:30 pm - 9:30 pm)
West Shore Unitarian Church, 20401 Hilliard Blvd., Rocky River, Ohio
Adoption Network Cleveland
Who can attend: Adult adoptees, birth parents, siblings, adoptive parents, prospective adoptive parents, professionals and anyone who is interested in lifelong adoption issues. No registration or membership is required to attend. For more information, contact Adoption Network Cleveland at (216) 881-7511 or on the web at http://www.AdoptionNetwork.org/.

Birth Parent Support Meeting
July 7 (6:30 pm - 8:30 pm)
Adoption Network Cleveland, 1667 East 40th St. Suite B-1, Cleveland, Ohio
Adoption Network Cleveland
Who can attend: Birth parents who have placed a child for adoption. For more information, contact Adoption Network Cleveland at (216) 881-7511 or on the web at http://www.AdoptionNetwork.org/.

Downtown Cleveland General Meeting
July 9 (12:00 pm ­ 1:30 pm) - Bring lunch if you wish
Adoption Network Cleveland, 1667 East 40th St. Suite B-1, Cleveland, Ohio
Adoption Network Cleveland
Who can attend: Adult adoptees, birth parents, siblings, adoptive parents, prospective adoptive parents, professionals and anyone who is interested in lifelong adoption issues. No registration or membership is required to attend. For more information, contact Adoption Network Cleveland at (216) 881-7511 or on the web at http://www.AdoptionNetwork.org/.

Akron General Meeting
July 14 (7:30 pm ­ 9:30 pm)
Akron General Health and Wellness Center, 4125 Medina Road, Akron, Ohio
Adoption Network Cleveland
Who can attend: Adult adoptees, birth parents, siblings, adoptive parents, prospective adoptive parents, professionals and anyone who is interested in lifelong adoption issues. No registration or membership is required to attend. For more information, contact Adoption Network Cleveland at (216) 881-7511 or on the web at http://www.AdoptionNetwork.org/.

Siblings are Forever Workshop
July 15 (6:00 pm ­ 9:00 pm)
Cleveland Christian Home, 1700 Denison, (Room 201), Cleveland, Ohio
Adoption Network Cleveland
Presenter: Connie Maschmeier
RSVP: Free Workshop. Foster parent training certificates and social work/counselor CEU¹s provided. Registration is required. Registration closes 3 days prior to workshop. To register, contact Adoption Network Cleveland at (216) 881-7511.

Heights Area General Meeting
July 15 (7:30 pm ­ 9:30 pm)
Unity of Greater Cleveland, 3350 Warrensville Center Road, Shaker Heights, Ohio
Adoption Network Cleveland
Who can attend: Adult adoptees, birth parents, siblings, adoptive parents, prospective adoptive parents, professionals and anyone who is interested in lifelong adoption issues. No registration or membership is required to attend. For more information, contact Adoption Network Cleveland at (216) 881-7511 or on the web at http://www.AdoptionNetwork.org/.

Birth Parent Support Meeting
July 17 (2:00pm ­ 4:00 pm)
Adoption Network Cleveland, 1667 East 40th St. Suite B-1, Cleveland, Ohio
Adoption Network Cleveland
Who can attend: Birthparents who have placed a child for adoption. For more information, contact Adoption Network Cleveland at (216) 881-7511 or on the web at http://www.AdoptionNetwork.org/.

For local listings, regional seminars, and many other adoption events, visit Events.Adoption.com.

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Call For Content
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