Truth and Reconciliation Commission officials expect toll to rise as more records reviewed
OTTAWA — Thousands of Canada’s aboriginal children died in residential schools that failed to keep them safe from fires, protected from abusers, and healthy from deadly disease, a commission into the saga has found. So far, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada has determined that more than 4,000 of the school children died.
If 4,000 people die at the hands of others like in Palestine right now, doesn’t that constitute genocide? This happened in America too and where are the headlines? As we slowly uncover more and more history and the atrocities, it’s too late, it’s done. The children are gone. No one stands trial. No one is put in prison.
What did we do to deserve this? Why would Creator allow this to happen? And more importantly I ask, how can we stop it? Where do we go from here? How do you cope with things that happened in the past that are still going on?
It’s a fair and honest question.
I cannot bear to think of innocent children being murdered – anywhere. We are living among monsters, very scary people…Lara/Trace
“I was given that porridge I got sick on and I had to eat that … And if you don’t eat, then you’re going to get beat up some more, and you’re going to get punished – and if you throw up again you’re going to have to eat that too, so what choice do you have?” Metatawabin, 66, says at times he and his classmates were forced to sit in an electric chair – either as punishment or as entertainment for the staff at St Anne’s Indian Residential School, which operated from the early 1900s to 1976 in northern Ontario province. Now, Metatawabin says, the government is hiding information about the school… St Anne’s was part of a government-supported school system to “assimilate” aboriginal children. About 150,000 indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families by the federal government for decades starting in the 1800s and put into church-run residential schools. Many suffered physical and sexual abuse and squalid living conditions, and a Truth and Reconciliation Committee recently said at least 4,000 children died – a number that could be much higher…”
Native people depend on our ancestors and the unborn for the answer and for understanding.
“This drama, this immense scenario in which humanity has been performing on this planet over the last 4000 years, is clear when we take the large view of the central intellectual tendency of world history. In the second millennium B.C., we stopped hearing the voices of gods. In the first millennium B.C., those of us who still heard the voices, our oracles and prophets, they too died away. In the first millennium A.D., it is their sayings and hearings preserved in sacred texts through which we obeyed our lost divinities. And in the second millennium A.D., these writings lose their authority. The Scientific Revolution turns us away from the older sayings to discover the lost authorization in Nature. What we have been through in these last four millennia is the slow inexorable profaning of our species. And in the last part of the second millennium A.D., that process is apparently becoming complete. It is the Great Human Irony of our noblest and greatest endeavor on this planet that in the quest for authorization, in our reading of the language of God in Nature, we should read there so clearly that we have been so mistaken….” –Julian Jaynes: It’s interesting to note his religious/metaphysical background was of the New England Puritan, Unitarian variety, while the scientific discipline prevalent in his time (and which he was refuting) was behaviorism. LINK to Know Thyself chatroom
KNOW THYSELF?? Sure, right. I am layered with opinions, some mine, some belonging to family or friends or professors or priests or quotes from books.
In my quest for self-knowledge and the origins of where my thoughts originate, I stumbled across the writings of Julian Jaynes.
How do we get to any level of understanding in our classroom of so-called “higher learning” ? How do escape from such monstrous human history aptly referred to as “padded cells of civilization.”
“God is right out here in Nature under the stars to be talked with and heard brilliantly in all the grandeur of reason, rather than behind the rood screens of ignorance in the murky mutterings of costumed priests….” Jaynes writes. “What we must do must come from ourselves. . . . We, we fragile human species at the end of the second millennium A.D., we must become our own authorization. And here at the end of the second millennium and about to enter the third, we are surrounded with this problem. It is one that the new millennium will be working out, perhaps slowly, perhaps swiftly, perhaps even with some further changes in our mentality.”
If God is talking to me and you, what is the message? We need more disbelief? We need more discernment?
How could we fall so far so fast? (By far I mean our own direct communication and relationship with GREAT SPIRIT/GOD/WAKAN TANKA) (Time has a funny way of making events seems like yesterday)
Jaynes writes: “The erosion of the religious view of man in these last years of the second millennium is still a part of the breakdown of the bicameral mind.”
The bicameral mind is our mind before the padded cells, before civilization, before that fragile beautiful open mind that was replaced with religion and science and education. This was back when humans were known as savages and primal. When we heard voices, it wasn’t any hallucination (now medicated by those who call themselves doctors.)
“We sometimes think, and even like to think, that the two greatest exertions that have influenced mankind, religion and science, have always been historical enemies, intriguing us in opposite directions. But this effort at special identity is loudly false. It is not religion but the church and science that were hostile to each other. And it was rivalry, not contravention. Both were religious. They were two giants fuming at each other over the same ground. Both proclaimed to be the only way to divine revelation…”
How did we get so lost in this? How did we come to believe in sacred texts to the point of genocide as decreed by God (one example is the conflict in the Middle East)? How did we reach the point of belief in books when the authors have been dead for centuries and the content changed by politicians called Popes and Clerics?
As a child, I did hear a small quiet voice. (Even now occasionally, I can hear it when I first wake up.) As a young girl, I had no idea where it came from but the message kept me SANE in an insane environment, dominated with alcohol and screaming matches and obscenities.
I am asking this because I think we all deserve an answer? How do we KNOW THYSELF?
When adoptees refuse to comply, will no longer be involved and begin to value themselves more than they do a few crumbs from the table, healing is happening. (Indeed it is)
(I’ll be posting more soon)
Originally posted on The Life Of Von:
Way back in the 1970′s when mother blaming was in vogue and I was not yet a mother and had not yet found my mother, I vowed never to be involved in mother blaming and to examine carefully any situations in which mothers were blamed or made responsible. Nothing has tested this more than the events of the last few years leading up to the Apology by our Federal Government and the Apologies by our State Governments. No matter the resolve, some things are unacceptable and wrong. There is no acceptable excuse for bullying, for lies, myths and deliberately misleading information. My ongoing involvement with the adoption community has enabled me to see at first hand the things mothers subject adoptees to. How often we try to make clear that we understand there has been trauma, that we are not being critical or lacking in compassion, but that there are…
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This is a short post for me.
This is the excerpt.
Forced Sterilization of Native Americans: Late Twentieth Century Physician Cooperation with National Eugenic Policies
- Download audio file
- Length: 25:18 minutes (17.4 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 96Kbps (CBR)
Many consider the plight of Native Americans an archetypal genocide. Centuries ago, the British suggested the response to their presence should be “extermination.”[i] Their soldiers then proceeded to knowingly decimate them with smallpox—a virus to which Native Americans had no immunity. Additional efforts over centuries to eradicate their population would follow. There would be a “Trail of Tears,” lethal attacks on Nez Perce men, women, and children to acquire their ancestral homeland, and a massacre at Wounded Knee—to name merely a few. The protracted policy directed against the United States of America’s indigenous peoples represented misguided governments, widespread greed, and enforcement by an at times ruthless, undisciplined military. A recent, albeit weakly publicized, continuation of this policy has been played out in a bioethical arena. Indeed, after the Nuremberg Trials and an explicit international consensus, this would be considered anathema. On view is the evil of forced abortions and sterilizations. This two-pronged approach to knowingly limit births in selected populations was emblematic of eugenic policy in the early to mid-twentieth century. Unfortunately, eugenic birth control had been resuscitated as late as the 1970s through voluntary physician complicity with an immoral national eugenic policy.
When she was 20 years old, a Native American woman underwent a total hysterectomy by an Indian Health Service (IHS) physician for unconvincing indications.[ii] Her experience came to light when she visited Dr. Connie Pinkerton-Uri, a physician of Native American heritage in the 1970s. Two other young women in Montana needed appendectomies and also received “incidental” tubal ligations. Were these merely aberrations or the first examples of a disturbing pattern? Bureau of Census Reports explicitly documented a steep decline in childbirth for diverse Native American tribes comparing birth numbers from 1960 through 1980.[iii] The three examples were, unfortunately, merely the tip of the iceberg.
Read the rest here (see footnotes)
Ghastly history? Indeed! I am too sad to comment…Lara
Daniel and Brent are profound thinkers on adoption – this is a MUST READ
Originally posted on Transracialeyes:
In a previous post [link], Lucy explores the idea of abuse that can be stated is functional to adoptive parents withholding information from a child temporarily in their care. I didn’t want to hijack that post, so I’m hoping to expand on that here a bit.
If we define the systemic displacement, dispossession, and disinheritance of a human being as a crime, how do we “unformalize” what has been deemed legal (with the unformalized notion of things like “trafficking” already being considered illegal)?
I ask this because when my lawyer went (for the third time) to attempt to find my records at the civil registry here, she was told (yet again) that there wasn’t any file for me. It could be that the clerk was just lazy; was expecting a “tip”; couldn’t be bothered—we don’t know.
But my lawyer said: “I have a birth certificate here, there should…
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Break out the cigars! We have a new baby — the brand new anthology CALLED HOME [Book Two: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects].
Whew – it took way more than nine months to make this baby!
I do treat books like babies, giving them love and attention while they grow. Eventually I let the book go off and travel on its own. It’s not hard to watch it travel to new hands and lands.
The 49 writers in this new anthology (plus one poet who is not an adoptee) didn’t spare us any details of what it was like growing up outside of their culture and trying to fit back in. They are not “angry bitter” but changed by their experience of being adopted outside their culture and tribal families. (Many were small children and separated from their siblings too. This is heartbreaking to read.) Finding your way back is usually the most challenging part, then come the reunions! Generations of families were affected and adoption does change all of us. That is the dilemma: adoptees feel we don’t know enough to fit back in but we have to be back HOME to re-learn what we missed!
Writing personal experience actually heals you in many ways. The changes I have noticed in the writers in TWO WORLDS (up to now) is significant. Each has grown more secure in themselves, most are still in reunions, and they have developed a unique voice as gifted writers! Some new adoptees had never been asked to share these personal details and for some, yes, writing was scary.
There is no shortage of talent in Native Americans, and these writers are from across North American (and one Lost Bird is from Ireland via Newfoundland and another is a LAKOTA living in Germany.) As much as I have changed in the past 10 years, you will see that clearly in the updates from Two World anthology adoptees in part two of CALLED HOME.
We cover topics like DNA tests, Baby Veronica (in depth), the movie PHILOMENA, Stolen Generations (60s Scoop history) and historical news like OPERATION PAPOOSE, one of Arnold Lyslo’s Indian Adoption Projects.
My husband was saying that the book press release needs to interest people who are not adopted. He said lots of people have difficulties being with their own family members. That is definitely true.
So is the question: will the general public care to know that thousands of American Indian and First Nations children were adopted out to white families prior to the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978?? Will they care not every adoption was magical or perfect? Will they care that adoptees have opinions about their own experiences and the BABY V case which stunned many of us Lost Birds? Do Americans and others want to know what happened to the LOST BIRDS in this adoption history? That remains to be seen.
As a matter of record, every adoptee in CALLED HOME wanted to find and reunite with their tribal relatives. These are mini-biographies with twists and turns and so much courage!
Part Three, there is a section in the book for adoptees who are still searching and have been told that one or both birthparents are Native American.
They are all excellent essays, so I cannot begin to choose a favorite but Levi’s THE HOLOCAUST SELF will definitely stop you in your tracks. It applies to many humans who are marginalized, but especially Native Americans and adoptees in general.
Co-Editor Patricia Busbee’s introduction in the book is brilliant and heart-wrenching as she shares her reunion with siblings and shares pieces of the past in her adoptive mother’s diary.
Here’s an excerpt from a new writer Cynthia Lammers (who has found she has 5 brothers and they are Lakota.)
…My case worker told me I had to write a letter to my birth mother, explaining why I wanted to know her. I did this and sent it to her. Then I had to do some legal paperwork for the State of Nebraska and pay $15 to have it processed. Then I later received a phone call from my case worker, telling me to come to Omaha on a certain date. That I was not to come alone, to have a friend or family member come with me. My best friend Susan went with me to Omaha. We had no idea what this was about to happen? Was I finally going to meet my birth mother? We arrived at the address that I was given at the time they told us to be there. We were at a College Campus, in a classroom, filled with about 50- 60 people, sitting at round tables with 6-8 people at each table. We ate lunch. Then a Native American man started the meeting with a prayer. Then several different Native men and woman got up to speak, each one telling a story about their lives. The strange thing was, almost every story was almost the same about how they grew up and who they grew up with. Native people growing up in white families. We were all adopted. We all had alcoholic mothers who couldn’t take care of us. We all felt lost at some point in our lives and maybe some of us still did. We all had questions about who we really were. What was our Indian Culture or Heritage about, we didn’t know. Were we all related? Probably not, I thought to myself. Then suddenly, it hit me, I turned and looked at my caseworker from the Children’s Home. She had tears running down her face. I said to her, “You have been lying to me all these years, haven’t you?” She began to cry. I began to cry. Once I got myself back together, I told her it probably wasn’t her fault, that she was just doing her job. She’d been telling me what she was told to tell me…”
I am honored to be in this anthology too. The new book CALLED HOME (ISBN: 978-0692245880, $15.99) is on Amazon NOW. The e-book version will be on Kindle and all the e-readers in the next week or so. We have a Media Blog here with a link to buy the book on Create Space or Amazon.
Help us get the word out and tell your friends. Patricia and I and all the adoptees in this book are available for interviews, too.
As I wrote in the Preface:
“For Lost Birds/adoptees coming after us, when they find this new book and the earlier anthology TWO WORLDS, adoptees themselves documented this history and evidence. We have created a roadmap, a resource for new adoptees who will wish to journey back to their First Nations and understand exactly what happened and why. There is no doubt in my mind that adoption changes us, clouds the mind and steals years of our lives, but there is something non-Indians can never steal and that is our dreams and the truth we are resilient!”
From my heart to yours, I am so grateful to be able to do this work. Mitakuye Oyasin (We are All Related) and Megwetch (THANK YOU)….Trace/Lara
Facebook: CALLED HOME LOST CHILDREN (please click like if you visit)
MEDIA BLOG: http://lostchildrencalledhome.blogspot.com/ (lots more details there if you are interested!)
I was thinking about all the adoptees I’ve met who have no contact with their adoptive parents. No calls, no visits. How does this happen?
Well, we first have to go back in time!
Let’s pretend we are a young couple (early 30s) who get the devastating news we can’t have a baby.
We see on a TV commercial there are poor orphans out there (to save) so we are determined to adopt one of those abandoned babies. Our first contact is the social worker in our state and the adoption agency we choose from the phone book or on the web. Next we enroll to become certified foster parents and do a home study. We watch the movie JUNO and get excited a teenager might choose us. We soon find out there aren’t babies available in American and a private adoption could cost up to $80K plus attorney fees. We see another TV commercial and consider open adoption but friends warn us we’d have contact with the baby’s mother and we can only imagine how awkward or risky that could be – what if the mother changes her mind and takes her baby back. (and we’d be out of all the money we spent, too.)
In our foster training classes for several weeks, we decide an older child is not going to work for us. Some of them come from broken homes and drug addicts. We want a baby or young child so they will bond with us.
So we decide on international adoption after watching another TV commercial. We know it’s expensive so we start a blog to raise money and friends at church hold a pancake breakfast. We think we’ll adopt from Russia or China so we meet with a new adoption agency, recommended by our other adoption agency.
At this point, we have no clue what it’s like for the adoptee and what hell they have been through.
We (the couple) can only imagine how grateful the toddler will be to come to America and have us for parents. “We’ll give them everything they need and love them unconditionally….” (You can say it over and over but what happens when your child doesn’t bond with you. This fantasy failure was never mentioned in the TV ads.)
OK, that’s it. This is the extent of their education, only what they are told by a few friends, the social worker, websites for adoption agencies and TV commercials.
The couple gets defensive when someone posts a comment on their fundraising-to-adopt blog that they should really investigate and learn more about adoptees, what they are really like. Someone else suggests they need to know more about adoptee disorders like severe narcissistic injury or reactive attachment disorder. (That is not considered by the couple as even remotely true.) They are not interested in hearing the bad stuff. They are good people and won’t be discouraged by some angry adoptee or mother who claims she was coerced into giving up her baby. They aren’t aware there are baby brokers in some countries who steal babies to be sold into adoption to rich US couples? (Every single country has had some scandal about child trafficking.)
Fast forward a few years: They are very surprised their child cannot bond as they were expecting and disappointed their child is not happy to be adopted or grateful. The couple was not advised they will need therapy for this child. Their social worker is not required to check on the baby or the couple. Their lawyer gets paid and he’s gone on to the next couple. (Then they hear adoptive parents complain about their international adoptee when they join a support group. They learn some parents re-home their adopted child by placing an ad on the internet!)
They never imagined adoptees would have difficulties or how they will ask and want to search for their families and could end all contact with them once they are reunited.
END RESULT: complete ignorance, greatly encouraged by the booming billion dollar adoption industry.
How many times has the Fantasy-Failed adoption happened? Too many times to count…
(an edited version of THE END RESULT was also published on Lost Daughters last year…)
I want to share this:
“Under a sparingly used immigration program, called humanitarian parole, adoptions were expedited regardless of whether children were in peril, and without the screening required to make sure they had not been improperly separated from their relatives or placed in homes that could not adequately care for them…
“Administration officials defended the humanitarian parole program, saying it had strict limits and several levels of scrutiny, including reviews of adoption petitions by the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security in Washington and Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital.
“But they also acknowledged that the administration’s priority was getting children out of harm’s way, not the safeguards the United States is obligated to enforce under international law.”
We have a real problem here with American’s adoption-propaganda baby-buying brains believing this is the right thing, (ah, the religious superiority of it all)…when it’s actually a violation of international law abducting children from Third World Countries to be adopted here…
I’ll be be back this week with more thoughts…
As an adoptee friend likes to remind me, we can never wake up and not be adopted. It’s ongoing, it’s life long, and our relationships in reunion reflect that…- Laura Dennis, Adoption Reunion in the Age of Social Media LINK
The simple fact I have two names on the blog header influences me greatly. I’m an adoptee for life… I have no other choice. I’ve slowly had to become “myself” and meld two names in my brain as the “old me” and the “new me.”
Is it all bad being a two/named adoptee? Heck no. I’d rather be living the truth than a lie. It’s probably more confusing to you readers who are not adopted. I have reunited with both sides of my bloodline – my first family are no longer a mystery. My ancestry is a giant tree, blooming with branches of real names and real people.
Reminder to non-adopted people: Adoption REALLY hurts! It’s not like you can snap your fingers and BOOM, you (the adoptee) are all better! I worked on myself for years. Opening by adoption was just the beginning when I was 22.
If I were to go back in time and be myself in the 80s and 90s, I was not a happy girl. (Plus I am really sad at how isolated I was.) I was determined and destined to work out my kinks and fix (dare I say) my emotional disturbance. I needed answers to fix that. Back in the 70s, 80s and 90s I definitely knew I wasn’t well! I really knew. I was very sick emotionally! The good part is I found help! (The bad part is how therapy back then didn’t focus on being an adoptee…) Therapy was a tiny band-aid for a soul injury. Only TRUTH can heal that.
Being emotionally disturbed, my actions (or lack of actions) were hurting ME. It was the adoption fog. I was not myself – I felt dead, flat, numb, confused, split. I had to find my parents and find my identity – period. Doing that was the hard part. (There was no easy part.)
I made choices then I would never make now. With low self-esteem… I didn’t back away, or know how to defend myself. I didn’t think I could. I didn’t trust anyone or myself!
Being adopted (for me at least) created a soul sickness, stress and anxiety. (And my not-so-nice OCD: obsessive compulsive disorder). (You can read One Small Sacrifice for that scary period of my OCD)
After many years I recovered. This took more reading than writing, and of course talk therapy, though writing in a journal helped immensely. I made safe boundaries for myself and finally walked away from sick people and toxic relationships. That took a very long time, believe me! I evolved slowly from victim to survivor! (You open your adoption and go into a reunion and find yourself slowly healing.)
History itself influences many adoptees like me and my Aussie friend Murray, a late discovery adoptee (LDA). It’s vital to understand how this mess of adoption started and what happened in history. Murray posted about bastards and baby farms in his blog post: http://murraykerry.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/a-laymans-view-of-societal-attitudes-to.html – I will add that there is definitely a stigma to being an adoptee in the US but I will save that for a new post on this blog.
It’s true that I am not the same person I was when I wrote One Small Sacrifice either – that was Trace. That should tell you something about how much I have changed since 2012!
I am the point now where I don’t even want to write or talk about being adopted. It’s the past. I’m more Lara than Trace and it’s time to be happy! I am there. I am happy! But I realize my hard-won happiness can serve as a lesson for other adoptees who are less fortunate than me. There are plenty of adoptees who are just beginning their search, healing and putting the pieces together. They need good examples of adoptees who have gone full circle and made the journey home! I did it and know many others who did too!
If someone adopted asked me now how to recover and feel better, I’d say, “You can make better choices if you really pay attention. Find help. Get therapy focused on adoption. Find your family. Do all the DNA tests if your adoption records are sealed…”
There were healthy people in my life the whole time, when I was sick and now today. They had a big influence on me. I’m pretty sure they waited patiently for me to walk out of the fog, recover from my loss, heal my inner wounds, my confusion and my primal pain.
No one assisted me in opening my adoption, or offered any advice on how to go into a reunion. I took that journey alone. The journey, the search, the waiting, is part of healing yourself in a big way. BUT I know for sure that finding other adoptees to support you before and during reunion helps, too. Books can influence you and help you too — like Adoption Reunion in the Age of Social Media and the new book ADOPTIONLAND. (I wrote a chapter in both.)
The only one who can change your world and heal you is YOU! Not me, not your parents, not your husband or wife, not a book – YOU!
And if you adoptees need support, advice and an ear, I’m here: email@example.com
BIG NOTE: I will be posting about the new anthology CALLED HOME (Book 2: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects) very soon. It’s an amazing haunting collection of Native adoptee narratives that will change history! We are about a week away from publication!
We set up a blog for Media here.
If you had asked me in 2004 what I had planned for myself, I would have not said “writing” about adoption and human trafficking. I had just left my editor’s job at the Pequot Times in Connecticut in August and by September I was married, my second time. How life changed so dramatically for me is documented in my memoir in much greater detail.
It doesn’t seem possible 10 years zoomed by so fast – it’s like a time tornado hit. Time sped up to warp speed and still has me in its grip!
I know many bloggers on adoption (many good friends to me) had hoped we’d made a strong and lasting impact by now. I had that dream myself. I am not sure we can actually gauge or measure how world views of adoption have changed. (If books on Amazon are an indication, adoptee memoirs are now climbing the ranks over all the propaganda books about how to adopt a baby.) If the statistics on adoption are any indication, the number of babies adopted by Americans are dropping each and every year. There is definitely a demand for infants (primarily because of infertility) but there is still a short supply of newborn flesh to adopt. (I do believe the adoption traffickers are constantly reinventing new ways to grab a fresh supply of infants. Think of what new poor countries or communities they will invade as the demand increases!! Read THIS)
What hasn’t changed fast enough for me are adoption laws, sealed adoption files or the old views of promised secrecy and confidentiality for first mothers. If you gave birth, wouldn’t you want to know what happened to your own baby? If you are an adoptee, don’t you want to know what happened to your mother (and father)? Haven’t we moved past shaming women for unwed pregnancies? Yes, but not enough, apparently. Lawmakers are still being wined and dined by adoption agency lobbyists so I don’t expect to see much change in the laws – but I hope I am wrong.
What I’d hoped would change faster is the perception of adoption, that it’s not as great for adoptees as people were made to think and believe. As much as I’ve read in these past 10 years, blogs and books changed me beyond recognition! Many times I emailed legislators (like in New Jersey and Illinois) and offered my memoir (as a free ebook) hoping they would see the light and change existing adoption laws. Maybe it helped?
Open Adoption- when adoption is necessary – is also an indication that times are changing! But we have a long way to go…This is a quote I saved about open adoption:
…ignored by the adoption agencies is the reality of “open adoption.” Only 22 of fifty states in America recognize open adoption agreements, but failure of the adoptive parents to comply with the agreement is not legally enforceable by the surrendering mother.
There are many excellent writers making profound statements too.
A quote by adoptee-author-blogger Elle Cuardaigh: And adoption certainly is “worked.” When supply of newborns decreased in the 1970s, the adoption industry had to put a new spin on relinquishment to stay in business. Since women could not be so easily shamed by single motherhood, they changed tactics. Potential suppliers (pregnant women) are now encouraged to “make an adoption plan.” She reads the “Dear Birthmother” letters and interviews hopeful adoptive parents. She is provided with medical care and possibly even housing. She is promised this is her choice, and that she can have ongoing contact with her child in an open adoption. It would seem she has all the power, but she is being systematically conditioned to accept her role, her place. She doesn’t want to hurt the baby’s “real parents,” feels indebted to them, emotionally invested. She is soon convinced they are better than she is. She becomes “their birthmother.” It almost guarantees relinquishment. READ Elle’s blog and new book THE TANGLED RED THREAD. Or visit: http://ellecuardaigh.com
READ LAURA DENNIS and the guest post: Welcome to the Adoptionland Carnival, Next Stop: The End.
Read any and all posts at THE LIFE OF VON.
Such powerful WRITING!
If you want insight into The St. John’s/Montclair University Adoption Initiative conference from attendee Jae Ran Kim, an adoptee/social worker who I admire greatly, read this. “Adoptive parent scholars and scholars without any connection to adoption sometimes just miss asking certain questions that adoptee scholars ask,” she wrote on her blog Harlow’s Monkey. (Check out the books too while you are at Harlow’s Monkey!)
The number of excellent powerful blogs and books by adoptees and first parents (and some APs) has exploded in the past 10 years and for that I am so very grateful! Writing three books about the Indian Adoption Projects and Programs and that history (and exploring my own journey) and contributing to new books like ADOPTIONLAND certainly changed me.
I am happily shocked my blog AMERICAN INDIAN ADOPTEES reached over 220,000 hits! If that is any indication, the times really are a changin’. That blog came about when my memoir One Small Sacrifice was about to be published in 2009 and experts claim if you have a book, you have to have a blog. Well it worked!
I never would have guessed my life would move in the direction it did but I see that there was much more I needed to write about my life and experience. I let Great Spirit use me and this was the path.
I want to thank those brave bloggers and hundreds of adoptees who have inspired me so much over past 10 years. Keep it coming!
There is a FACEBOOK PAGE by Carol Schaefer that lists many books: https://www.facebook.com/adoptionbookslist
So what will the next 10 years be like? I don’t have a clue.
Are you reinventing your life? My good friends Bob and Deb are… I asked them some questions about their recent transition (a retirement of sorts) to becoming Road Warriors, always on the move and seeing more and more of America.
Bob emailed an update: Sometime in July we’re off for about 10 months taking the northern route, (Badlands, Black Hills, Tetons), as far as Yellowstone then down through Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, then heading down to the Texas Gulf Coast taking Rt. 10 to New Orleans and ultimately three months on Pine Island just off the coast of Cape Coral/Ft. Meyers. Don’t figure on coming back until May 2015 this time… We love hiking, biking, sightseeing, paddle boarding, kayaking… and seeing every amazing thing in this country… except the snow and cold.
1. Of all the places you have visited, what state surprised you the most?
BOB: I think Utah surprised us most. There was SO much to see, so much we didn’t know about the state, so much variety. We did Salt Lake City, the temple, the Great Salt Lake itself, Antelope Island (by bike), hiked Mt Desire, did the zip line at the Olympic Training Center. Then we go to Moab… OMG… stunning visuals in every direction, amazing hikes and bikes and connecting with friends who also happened to be there. Planned on a week and stayed 10 days. And that in spite of the fact that the government had just closed down the national parks (Arches in this case). We WILL go back during this next trip.
2. If you had to choose a location to camp out long-term, where would that be?
BOB: Where to camp out long-term? SO many choices… not sure I could pick one. We were headed for Colorado to hike for a week or two in Rocky Mountain National Park. A visual four-scoop sundae with nuts, sprinkles and warm butterscotch drizzle. Unfortunately, last year they were hit with huge rains and flooding four days before we got there. We detoured through Wyoming when we heard that miles of road had washed out and the park was closed for repairs. Climbed one of the most beautiful mountains ever in Wyoming. As you could tell from #1, above, Moab would be right up there on the list for all the reasons I already mentioned. We’ve booked the month of November in Tucson. Great climate, loads to do, great mountains to hike, bike paths to ride, friends to visit. It has a great combination of big city amenities with small city ‘feel’. And, finally, for consistently perfect weather, lay-back, old Florida atmosphere and great biking, running, paddle boarding and hippie culture, Pine Island just off Cape Coral/Ft. Meyers. We’ve already booked three months there (Jan – March). Enjoy exotic fresh fruit every day!
3. Has being on wheels changed your views of America?
BOB: Has RVing changed our view of America… totally, totally, did I say totally? We’d travelled all over Europe and much of the Caribbean and Gulf. All of what we enjoyed outside the country and more… much more… was right here at home. We just didn’t know that at the time. Not sure if you know, but three years ago Deb and I biked across the northern tier of the country. Started in Astoria, Oregon and finished at Rye Beach, New Hampshire, 3762 miles. That was really where we discovered how little we knew about this country. We loved and were amazed by what we saw and learned and the friendly people we consistently met. Because we needed to average 80 miles per day on the bike we had time to look, take some wonderful pictures, but not REALLY investigate the multitude of places we’d have loved to spend a week or three at. That led to the decision to buy the 5th wheel and big honkin’ truck and go exploring. We love being on the road. We’ve met the most interesting people, seen sites and learned history we knew nothing about. This is an incredibly diverse country we live in! We came home, contacted a rental agent, put our condo on the rental market, and can’t wait to go exploring again.
4. Favorite activities…
BOB: I think it’s obvious from what I already blabbed on about that hiking and biking are on the top of the list and paddle boarding is moving up fast. That said, I’d have to include exploring in general which sometimes includes hiking, biking, a boat trip or kayak paddle and sometimes just means talking with people and stepping out of our comfort zone… or going places on a lark. We drove from Las Vegas to Death Valley on a whim without even knowing what we’d see or exactly why we were going there. It turned out to be like crossing into a different planet… an off-earth landscape.
So readers, are you reinventing your life? If you are, drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org and let me interview you for this blog! I am reinventing my blogging and how I see the world…
Hi to everyone who reads and subscribes. I learned today that readers are at “Content Overload.”
I get the newsletter The Book Marketing Expert and the author Peggy just posted this: If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of data that’s already online via blogs and social media, consider this: by 2020 that information will increase by 600%. Overwhelming, no? I was just at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego and a lot of talk was around the noise, as well as a term you’ll be hearing a lot in the future: Content Shock. What’s Content Shock specifically? Well, it’s too much of just about everything. Out of Content Shock comes what I call Content Fatigue.
So I decided today to start narrowing down this blog content to once a week, something I will write myself and include tidbits from around the web to make it interesting.
I am heading to San Diego in a few weeks to speak to TRIBAL STAR about the adoption industry, the Indian Adoption Project, and I will be speaking with two contributors to my anthology TWO WORLDS. Leland Morrill, a Navajo actor, has become quite an activist and Diane Tells His Name, a Lakota activist-adoptee, is the originator of the Native American Indian Adoptees page on Facebook. The three of us will speak to tribal judges and professionals about our experiences as Native adoptees and the work we are doing now to help adoptees.
I was at a community college in western Connecticut on Monday speaking to an anthropology class about my discoveries as an adoptee and the appalling history that wasn’t written in any book, which lead to my memoir ONE SMALL SACRIFICE then the anthology TWO WORLDS and the new book CALLED HOME that Patricia Busbee and I are finishing now. (more on that soon)
I don’t want anyone to think I am not going to blog and write about adoption and trafficking, I am going to make LESS more. You will still be getting content, my musings, but more concise and more focused. And if you want to write a guest post, shoot me an email: email@example.com.
I am on hiatus now. So starting in June, this blog will be once a week! Much love and thanks to you all!
The Imprint of Another Life: Adoption Narratives and Human Possibility
Long before Angelina Jolie, Mia Farrow and Madonna made headlines with their adoptive families, 1920s star Josephine Baker tried to combat racism by adopting 12 children of various ethnic backgrounds from around the world. Today the members of her “rainbow tribe” are still searching for their identity.
He is trying to describe what it was like to grow up here, to trace the vestiges of his childhood, but not much of that remains in this chateau that was once his home. Today Akio Bouillon, a slight, affable man of Japanese origin, can only serve as a guide through an exhibit that pays tribute to his dead mother. In the former living room, a dozen of her robes are now displayed on headless mannequins, and in the study lies a semi-nude wax figure of Bouillon’s mother, with a string of flowers draped around the neck. The “banana skirt” that made her famous hangs in a glass case; strips of gold material in the shape of bananas are attached to a narrow belt. His mother was the singer and entertainer Josephine Baker.
Bouillon, her oldest adopted son, turned 57 in July. He walks across creaking floorboards and into Baker’s bathroom, with its black tiles and Dior bottles, and then into a series of rooms filled with photos, posters and her jewelry. Somewhere in this labyrinth is the small room where Bouillon slept as a child. Today, the bed is cordoned off from the hallway with a velvet rope, and a sign admonishes visitors not to touch anything.
Part 4: ‘Nobody’s Perfect’
Akio now lives in an apartment building on the outskirts of Paris, works in a bank, smokes large numbers of cigarillos and likes to watch animated films. He relates information about streets and squares as we walk through the city. He often walks around aimlessly, without any destination in mind, he says.
And he is often alone. He was in a relationship with an alcoholic for 15 years, until she finally left him, and he has been single since then. He knows nothing about his Japanese mother. Baker wanted to make sure that the children would never search for their biological families, and in some cases she even withheld information.
A Japanese journalist who recently investigated Akio’s story found the woman who had worked in the small shop in Yokohama where he was left as a baby in 1952. He gave Bouillon the information and suggested that the woman might know something about his biological mother. All he had to do was contact her, perhaps by writing her a letter. Bouillon has been carrying around the address for a year now. He says he doesn’t know how to begin the letter.
Did Baker do the right thing? “She was a great artist, and she was our mother,” says Akio Bouillon. “Mothers make mistakes. Nobody’s perfect.”
Bouillon says that his mother proved that people of different skin colors could live together as equals. “I love my brothers and sisters,” says Bouillon. They all keep in touch by telephone. He says he feels closest to Jarry, because they were together when their adoptive father died in 1984.
The last time all 12 children were together in one place was in 1976, shortly after the death of their famous mother. Even in the last year of her life, Baker, to earn money, performed on a Paris stage, wearing a sequined dress and a towering feather headdress.
The children never wanted to be celebrities. They live ordinary lives — working as gardeners, greengrocers or insurance agents. Child number eight died of cancer 10 years ago. Child number 11 became schizophrenic and now lives in an institution. Some of the siblings married and had children, while others remained single.
None of them adopted children.
“We are completely normal people,” says Akio Bouillon. He and his siblings want to feel like a family, not a project.
Sometimes Bouillon flips through magazines and sees the photos of today’s rainbow tribes, of Madonna with her children from Malawi, of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, traveling around the world with their six small children and their nannies, in the glare of the media spotlight. But he doesn’t feel taken aback by the images. In fact, they make him feel proud.
“It’s great,” he says. “These stars are following in my mother’s footsteps.” Of course, he adds, the paparazzi are a problem, as is their constant quest for pictures of the children. But when Jolie adopts a baby from the Third World, says Bouillon, there is also a higher principle at work. “When these children grow up, they’ll understand.”
Bouillon feels that his adoptive mother made a great and enduring contribution, and that our impression of Josephine Baker should not be clouded by her weaknesses. She was, as he says, a child of her time, a time when even stricter morals applied. That helps to explain why she and Jari didn’t get along, he says.
- Part 1: Josephine Baker’s Rainbow Tribe
- Part 2: The Lust for Pleasure
- Part 3: A Dream Childhood?
- Part 4: ‘Nobody’s Perfect’
- Part 5: The Banished Son
Adopted Children (on Wikipedia)
During Baker’s work with the Civil Rights Movement she began adopting children, forming a family she often referred to as “The Rainbow Tribe“. Josephine wanted to prove that “children of different ethnicities and religions could still be brothers.” She often took the children with her cross-country, and when they were at Les Milandes tours were arranged so visitors could walk the grounds and see how natural and happy the children in “The Rainbow Tribe” were. Baker raised two daughters, French-born Marianne and Moroccan-born Stellina, and ten sons, Korean-born Jeannot (or Janot), Japanese-born Akio, Colombian-born Luis, Finnish-born Jari (now Jarry), French-born Jean-Claude and Noël, Israeli-born Moïse, Algerian-born Brahim, Ivorian-born Koffi, and Venezuelan-born Mara. For some time, Baker lived with her children and an enormous staff in a castle, Château de Milandes, in Dordogne, France, with her fourth husband French conductor Jo Bouillon.