The Story Behind the First Adoption Museum Project in the U.S.


by Andy Wright / 30 Jun 2015

Over 1,500 children were transferred to the Presidio, a former army base in San Francisco, before being placed with families during Operation babylift. This image depicts a baby being tended to at Harmon Hall in the Presidio, San Francisco. (Photo: National Park Service, Golden Gate National Recreation Area)

In the early days of April 1975, just weeks before the Fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War, a campaign was launched to evacuate thousands of children from Vietnam and place them with families in the United States and its allies. War had devastated the country, tearing families asunder. But “Operation Babylift” was controversial; not all of the children adopted were orphans. And spotty record keeping has made it difficult or impossible for many adoptees to locate their Vietnamese families.

Operation Babylift has been memorialized in museums and examined from many angles, but until now, no museum existed to document if from perhaps its most personally affecting and lasting legacy: adoption. Now, thanks to the efforts of one Bay Area women, the U.S. has its first adoption museum.

Beds line Harmon Hall, which was transformed into a makeshift nursery. (Photo: National Park Service, Golden Gate National Recreation Area)

The project began in 2011 after Laura Callen had just had her second child and was feeling reflective. She wondered, “What’s next?” And her thoughts turned to adoption.

Callen is adopted, and while she knew she was an adoptee, it wasn’t something that was openly discussed in her family.

And that’s when she first began to plot an adoption museum.

While there are archives and history projects that document parts of adoption, Callen saw a need for an organization dedicated entirely to collecting an experience historically shrouded in secrecy, stigma and shame.

A marketing and communications professional, the Berkeley-based Callen spent the next year and a half refining the concept and bouncing the idea off adoption professionals, entrepreneurs and museum experts. In 2013 she founded the Museum Adoption Project, began fundraising, and pulled together a leadership team whose credentials include the Guggenheim and J. Paul Getty Museum.

“People really don’t know how to talk about adoption,” says Callen.

A birth mother’s hospital bracelet bares a false name. The objects were displayed around a table. (Photo Indira Urrutia and Marc Hors. Courtesy the Adoption Museum Project.)

Callen says a key element of the museum’s mission is social change, and that the museum will address difficult issues such as coerced adoption and the roles race and money play in the adoption system.

“We as human beings created this practice of adoption, and the way it’s practiced in the United States is a particular kind of practice,” says Callen. “We decided how that was going to work, we created the laws and policy and I think we have a responsibility to understand it so we can look at it and say, ‘This part of it really works and this part over here is really a problem, let’s fix it.’”

The Adoption Museum does not have a physical presence yet. And while Callen says it is important to have one at some point, right now the project is taking advantage of the shifting definition of what a museum is and producing pop-up events. A dream project would encompass a diverse offering including archives, historical and personal artifacts, performance and partnerships.

Many of the 18 objects, which included a birth mother’s journal for her daughter, could be touched. (Photo: Indira Urrutia and Marc Hors. Courtesy the Adoption Museum Project.)

In 2013 the museum put on an event called “Our Place At the Table: Honoring Birth Mother Stories”.  Eighteen women whose children had been adopted shared their stories through personal artifacts, such as a journal and a hospital bracelet.  A one-night event, about 180 people visited the exhibit in three hours.  Next, the museum partnered with the Presidio Trust, a San Francisco-based federal agency, to co-curate an exhibit on Operation Babylift.  The exhibit, which opened in April and runs through December, includes artifacts, photographs, oral histories and a roster of speakers.  The museum’s on-going multimedia efforts include mapping adoption and a children’s book project.

“I think there’s a way that adoption seems to sit below our consciousness,” says Callen. “But in fact it really is quite a pervasive experience.”



Why NASA called the Northwest Indian College Space Center

Hey everyone! The new HP computer arrived and seems to be working – though I don’t have some of my old files… Here is a great post I had to share…Lara/Trace (big sigh of relief)(who knew it could such a pain in the arse to use a brand new computing system with Windows 8)

Christian Cultee, a student at the Northwest Indian College, with a rocket that broke the sound barrier. It started out as a joke.

The students at Northwest Indian College on the Lummi Reservation near Bellingham were launching little rockets made from recycled water bottles as a way to do some hands-on science.

Computer science teacher Gary Brandt says calling it a “space center” was just something one of the students came up with.

“And he said, ‘I called us the Northwest Indian College Space Center,’” Brandt said. “I was kind of dumbfounded, basically. And I said, ‘OK, let’s do that. That’s kind of grandiose. Let’s really play it up.’”

The joke was funny because this was just a tiny, two-year college, with no engineering program. Getting into space was the last thing on the minds of these students; they were just trying to escape poverty. Next thing they knew, NASA was calling them up.

via Why NASA Called The Northwest Indian College Space Center | KUOW News and Information.

The BeZine, June 2015, Vol. 1, Issue 8 – Table of Contents with Links

The BeZine, June 2015, Vol. 1, Issue 8 – Table of Contents with Links.

I have computer issues so sharing this post will serve as my post for the coming week… AH, who knew that a machine could cause such irritation?

Thanks to Michael Watson for introducing me to this new BeZine. I can’t wait to read every issue.

And thanks to all my readers and for those who comment and like and share. YOU make me very happy!


Thoughts on a very big mystery and my latest adoption miracle

my friend Rae is in the book MISSISSIPIANS

my friend Rae is in the book MISSISSIPIANS because she’s a famous opera singer

By Lara Trace

In mid-April my husband and I took a road-trip to visit our friends from Austria who also keep a family home in Gulfport, Mississippi.

My friend/sister/relative Dr. Raeschelle Potter-Deimel (left) is originally from Gulfport and at one time worked as an opera singer at the Met in New York City and on many stages in Europe and Austria.  After opera, Rae became a renowned doctor of anthropology in Vienna!  (She has American Indian and African American ancestry.)

Rae and I met in person at the American Indian Workshop (AIW) in Munich in 2005 but we’d actually met earlier via phone and email when I was editor of the Pequot Times in Connecticut.  Rae had told me about the AIW and put me in touch with them.  So my academic paper Power Politics and the Pequot: America’s Richest Indians was my first paper at AIW; then it was published in Poland, Italy and Germany. Many European historians were curious about the modern-day Mashantucket Pequot, including my friend Rae …luckily I had spent 5 years editing their tribal newspaper and their annual reports (1999-2004).  With so little known or written about this hugely successful tribe, I offered a more modern view of their activity and successes. I was interviewed by the BBC and a German TV station so my Pequot paper was NEWS! (Of course I was very pleased they liked my presentation… I am now an official member of the AIW and invited to give a paper every year…) Later Rae and I wrote a paper together on the adoption projects and we continue to talk on the phone and make every effort to see each other when they come to the US.

Dr. Rae, the anthropologist, lectures about Native American history in Europe and writes and gives papers regularly. What I never realized until I met her:  in Europe they teach a true version of Native and American history, with all it’s complications, gore and tragedy. Europeans actually know more than Americans know about American Indian history… Rae, in particular, is aware of the discrepancies and revisions in American history textbooks that purposefully glorify the invader-conqueror-colonizer and portray American Indians as vanquished, disappeared, drunk and/or dead.

Currently Rae is drafting a book on Texas Lumbee history and even though I retired from my publisher duties at Blue Hand Books in January this year, I do plan to help her get this remarkable book published in the near future. This trip we met to talk about the Lumbee book and just smooze like sisters do…


my memoir

I’ve now been to Gulfport twice, my only trips to the Gulf Coast, and both times I remembered a story my birthfather Earl Bland had told me. I was sitting at his kitchen table in Pana, Illinois when I was 38 (in 1994), meeting my dad for the very first time. He was standing up and calmly said, “You have a brother in New Orleans and I think he’s an attorney.” I NEVER forgot this!  (Did I ask questions? No. I was in a state of shock just being in reunion.)

From Gulfport, it is an easy drive to New Orleans. My husband and I had lunch in the French Quarter our last trip.  Again Earl’s words haunted me… I have a brother in Louisiana.  But how could I ever solve this mystery or find this missing brother? I didn’t know his name! Earl died in 1996 and he never elaborated on his story.

I could have a brother (?) or I did have a brother. I wasn’t sure.  Teresa and I were close; she was my half-sister (same dad) and she never mentioned this in the 20 years we’d been in reunion!  I wasn’t even sure if Earl had met this son. Yet somehow Earl believed he was an attorney?  (Earl raised 5 kids who are my half-siblings. I’ve met them and we all thought I was the only one given up for adoption.)

When Herb and I got back from our roadtrip, we headed to Philadelphia for a funeral. My husband’s cousin Gwenny had died. The night before her funeral, sitting in our hotel, we watched on TV how two sisters who were separated by adoption met in a writing class at the same college in New York City. This was my first time seeing them reunited on TV.  More than one person had told me about this miracle!

(READ: Two Sisters United After Decades when They Take the Same Class:

That same Sunday night I got an email.

Because I wrote my memoir One Small Sacrifice and mentioned my first father is Earl Bland and his name had made its way onto the internet and onto, my mystery brother found ME

YES!! Ronnie and his wife had wanted to find Earl Bland for many years. They asked their daughter in Texas to help search. Their daughter is named Tracy. My brother Ronnie chose her name — yup, my adopted name! It was Tracy who found my memoir and emailed ME!

my brother RONNIE!

my brother RONNIE!

Ronnie did live in New Orleans but he wasn’t an attorney. He had served in the Navy (same as our dad Earl) and worked many years in law enforcement and is retired. Ronnie was adopted by a relative (his aunt) and was told the truth when he was 13.  And he carried a small photo of Earl Bland in his wallet. (Ronnie is ten years older than me so our dad Earl was 18 when Ronnie was born.)

When I got home, I could hardly wait to talk to them!  I spoke to my niece Tracy (two hours+) and she has shared all my emails with her dad.  I’ve emailed photos of Earl (and our family) and all the ancestry records I’d scanned.

(Remember we just drove through Alabama to get to and from Gulfport!  REALLY! We had lunch in Mobile, Alabama where my brother Ronnie had lived and worked many years!)

Ronnie emailed me a few days ago. He lives in northern Alabama and wants to know how soon can I come visit.

Manitoba to apologize to aboriginals adopted into white families in ’60s Scoop

Manitoba to apologize to aboriginals adopted into white families in '60s Scoop

Manitoba is set to apologize to aboriginals who were taken from their parents decades ago and adopted into non-aboriginal families. Premier Greg Selinger said the apology, expected next week in the legislature, will acknowledge damage done to those taken from their homes and their culture. Manitoba was one of the provinces most affected, so it is appropriate that it be among the first to apologize, he said.

CLICK: Manitoba to apologize to aboriginals adopted into white families in ’60s Scoop.

WINNIPEG – Manitoba is set to apologize to aboriginals who were taken from their parents decades ago and adopted into non-aboriginal families.

The apology, thought to be the first by a Canadian province, is directed at individuals (adoptees) from the so-called ’60s Scoop, which many see as an extension of Indian residential schools policy.

Premier Greg Selinger said the apology, expected next week in the legislature, will acknowledge damage done to those taken from their homes and their culture. Manitoba was one of the provinces most affected, so it is appropriate that it be among the first to apologize, he said.

“It’s an acknowledgment that they did lose contact with their families, their language, their culture,” Selinger told The Canadian Press. “That was an important loss in their life and it needs to be acknowledged. It’s part of the healing process.”

Adoptees have been calling for a federal apology and many want compensation for their experience, which they say was as traumatic as that suffered by residential school survivors.

Selinger said he hopes the apology prompts the federal government to say it’s sorry.

“These policies were initiated at the federal level all across the country. We’re acknowledging the harms done in Manitoba and the need for healing in Manitoba. We’d like to see the federal government address it on a pan-Canadian level as well.”

[More at American Indian Adoptees blog here:]


From Lara: I will be posting an update later today…

Horrors in Canada, Horrors in the US


By Lara/Trace

I do not know if readers of this blog have followed what is happening in Canada and their years-long investigation called the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).  In 2014 I heard Justice Murray Sinclair speak about TRC at Yale. READ HERE. He spoke about their findings and what the Canadian government promised to rectify the abuses in the residential boarding schools. Many churches and provinces were mandated and forced to release their records to the commission.

The definitions of genocide fit the TRC findings. They call it cultural genocide. Children lost their family. Some children lost their lives. Children. This happened to children.

What happened in Canada also happened here in the US.  We don’t have an investigation by our government. WHY? I don’t know and I don’t know if it will ever happen.

After the residential schools in Canada, the 60s Scoop took even more children and placed them with non-Indian parents. And it’s not over. It’s ongoing there and here.



South Dakota Corruption TODAY

The Lakota People’s Law Project’s 35-page report reveals how private institutions and their relationships with those in the highest seats of power in South Dakota are responsible for the daily violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act and the systemic human rights abuses against the Lakota population in Indian Country.  Read the Report Here

Some of the main findings of the report include:

  • Naming officials who have conflicts of interest including South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard, Lieutenant Governor Matt Michels, Department of Health Director Kim Malsam-Rysdon, former Department of Social Services Director Deb Bowman, State Attorneys Dan Todd and Kim Dorsett, and State Senator Alan Solano.
  • Identifying the mechanisms by which the aforementioned officials benefited either in their official public capacities or in private capacities, including reimbursing contractual payments with federal dollars and using their offices to leverage contracts for private institutions in which they were employed.
  • Exposing the racist underbelly of South Dakota’s state system, which targets the most disadvantaged group in the state and identifies the Department of Social Services as the division most responsible for the system-wide willful violations of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act.
  • Depicting the intersection between the pharmaceutical industry and the foster care system, where those in Big Pharma used disadvantaged foster care children to enhance revenue by encouraging doctors to prescribe the off-label use of powerful antipsychotic medication for mild behavioral issues.
  • Revealing the antecedents for the introduction of powerful medication as being traceable back to a program called TMAP—the Texas Medication Algorithm Project.
  • Properly framing the current ICWA crisis in a historical context, including how Indians have been deprived of access to their own resources and how South Dakota is launching an assault on the last remaining resource—the Native American children.

Adoptee-Abductee Reunites with Mom 41 Years After He Was Taken as a Baby


More baby trafficking from my laramie harlow research blog

Originally posted on laramie harlow: researcher-adoptee:

Man Abducted from Chile as Baby Reunited with Mother 41 Years Later
Nelly Reyes and Travis Tolliver

By Tara Fowler | @waterfowlerta | 05/26/2015

Travis Tolliver burst into tears as he held his biological mother Nelly Reyes for the first time – 41 years after they’d last laid eyes on each other.

“I don’t know how I feel,” he told CNN after reuniting with his mom at Chile’s Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport. “It’s crazy! I never thought this could happen.”

Abducted as a baby, Tolliver was raised by a Tacoma, Washington, couple who didn’t know he’d been taken. His adoptive parents were simply told that he’d been abandoned. But the truth was much more sinister: Tolliver was stolen from his mother, who was told her baby had died, though she was never shown a body.

It’s unclear how he ultimately made it from his native country of Chile to the United States, but he’s one of the “Children of Silence” –…

View original 93 more words

Archive photo

We the People: National society publishes new state research volumes

photos gp (196)We the People: The National Genealogical Society has published four new “Research in the States” books for California, Missouri, Oklahoma and Nebraska.

BY SHARON BURNS, For The Oklahoman • June 1, 2015

The National Genealogical Society has published new “Research in the States” books for California, Missouri, Oklahoma and Nebraska.

“Research in California” by Sheila Benedict covers the state’s history, settlement and migrations, state and national archives, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, an overview of the county, local and religious records, ethnic records, mission system, movie industry, each county’s genealogical and historic societies and more.

“Research in Missouri, 3rd edition” by Ann Carter Fleming contains references to digitized sources, indexes and images that have been made available online within the past seven years.

The volume also includes records that were created by the Spanish and French governments prior to the Louisiana Purchase. Information about Missouri’s archives, libraries and societies; major resources such as atlases, gazetteers, maps, censuses, city and county directories; court, ethnic, land, military and naturalization records, as well as newspapers, tax records, etc., are included.

“Research in Oklahoma” by Kathy Huber provides genealogical resources in the context of information on the history and settlement of the state, which was the home of Apache and Kiowa tribes.

Once claimed by France and later Spain, Oklahoma was divided into two territories by the U.S. government. The Indian Territory was set aside for Indian tribes from the Southern states and later the Midwest, who were forcibly resettled. The Oklahoma Territory was settled by white pioneers, immigrants and former African-American slaves.

The Civil War, land rushes and the discovery of oil all brought changes to the land and its people. “Research in Oklahoma” offers a wealth of records for genealogists seeking to learn about their ancestral heritage.

“Research in Nebraska” by Roberta King contains family history resources and information regarding the history and settlement of the state. Numerous American Indian tribes were living in the Nebraska territory when the Homestead Act with its promise of cheap land drew Czechs, Germans and Irish settlers to its lands. Others arrived to work on the railroads. The Union Pacific terminus at Ogallala brought ranchers with their herds of cattle to be shipped to the East.

For more information, call the National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Va., at (703) 525-0050 or (800) 473-0060 or go online to

For more information, go to

via We the People: National society publishes new state research volumes | News OK.


Hey everyone, I am alive! For over a month now I’ve been working on a short fiction about two Native guys who find themselves in a weather-related disaster in Nebraska. “Goo and Boozer” is also about geo-engineering (scary stuff like HAARP). And I have some very exciting news to share in my adoption story (SOON).

This WE THE PEOPLE post follows along with what I’ve shared with you before on Native American history. What we don’t know can hurt us… It’s sad this history languishes in library volumes and not in our own heads…. It’s time we change that… Trace

Starwars one step closer: DARPA’s ‘death ray’ to begin field tests

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has received government permission to field test its HELLADS laser weapon system.

“The technical hurdles were daunting, but it is extremely gratifying to have produced a new type of solid-state laser with unprecedented power and beam quality for its size,” DARPA program manager Rich Bagnell said in a statement cited by the agency’s website. The testing is set to start this summer.

High-Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS) has been in development since 2003. It is intended for use as a protection system for aircraft.

“Enemy surface-to-air threats to manned and unmanned aircraft have become increasingly sophisticated,” DARPA states on its website. “High power lasers can provide a solution to this challenge, as they harness the speed and power of light to counter multiple threats.”

The statement adds however, that the laser could also be used for attack: “Laser weapon systems provide additional capability for offensive missions as well—adding precise targeting with low probability of collateral damage.”

To deploy that in practice, though, DARPA says the weapon must be made smaller and lighter than currently possible – and America’s drones will have to stick with relatively imprecise missiles for the time being.

The goal of the HELLADS project is to build a laser with 150 kilowatts of power, weighing under 750 kilograms, and with a size less than 3 cubic meters.

In mid-April, DARPA’s contractor General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI), unveiled the HEL Generation 3 laser. It meets these size specifications and is fitted with a module generator system, which enables it to produce 75 to 300-kilowatt beams.

Developers believe it can be mounted on GA-ASI’s new Avenger drone. The drone’s jet engine is capable of producing enough energy to recharge the laser’s battery in flight, essentially giving the weapon infinite ammunition.

via Starwars one step closer: DARPA’s ‘death ray’ to begin field tests — RT USA.

This is so disturbing to me. I feel sick…Lara

When you’re invisible, every representation matters: Political edition

Ready for a little history lesson? A (not-so-long) time ago, this continent was full of people. People who had been here for thousands and thousands and thousands of years, since the beginning. Then around 500 years ago, some folks showed up, pretended those people didn’t exist, or deemed them “savages” unworthy of status as human. Those interlopers decided that they could just “claim” land and resources and people and whatever else they wanted by some papal doctrine that said they could, and killed millions of the original inhabitants in the process. All in a quest for land, resources, and wealth. Then they sent in their own people to illegally occupy the previously (and continuously) inhabited lands. That process continues today, it wasn’t something that ended in 1776 with the formation of the “United States of America” on top of stolen Indigenous lands. This, my friends, is settler colonialism. Say it with me. Settler colonialism. How is this different than other colonialism? The main goal is the establishment of a new sovereign entity, not to extract resources/wealth/people for the gain of another nation-state (though there was plenty of that in the early days). There has also been no process of decolonization (working on it)–y’all are still here, still answering to a foreign power on stolen lands, and still doing everything possible through institutional and structural forces to assert that your race is superior to the “savages” on whose land you hang out indefinitely.

KEEP READING: When you’re invisible, every representation matters: Political edition | Native Appropriations.


I will be posting soon about some amazing revelations in my life as an adoptee… and a recent miracle…and more on our trip to the Gulf Coast. Stay tuned to this blog… Trace L Hentz

International Adoption Scandals: Haiti steps up its fight

By Lara Trace

This ought to get some notice. (sigh)  The child trafficking business hasn’t slowed. Not when there is money to be made. Americans may choose to wear blinders but eventually the news will hit their newspapers. It may hit them hard if they adopted a trafficked child.

Wiki has a list of international adoption scandals dating from 2010 and back.

The following is a partial list, by year, of notable incidents or reports of international adoption scandals,[1][2][3][4][5] adoption corruption, child harvesting, baby-stealing, legal violations in international adoption, or adoption agency corruption (see child laundering; child trafficking:[6][7] “In the United States international adoptions are a big business, where a large number of private international adoption agencies are paid on average $30,000 a time to find a child for hopeful parents.”[8]

This story about Haiti was published in May: LINK

In Haiti, mothers warning others of adoption predators

The Haitian government is cracking down on international adoptions in a bid to warn poor Haitians about orphanage recruiters roaming the countryside with money or false promises.

By Santilla Chingaipe  (Transcript from SBS World News Radio) (May 2015)

The Haitian government is cracking down on international adoptions in a bid to warn poor Haitians about orphanage recruiters roaming the countryside with money or false promises.

The new measures include tightening up regulations and carrying out public awareness campaigns.

Santilla Chingaipe has the details.

(Click on the audio tab at link to hear the full report)

Armed with megaphones, women take to the streets of Haiti every day, sending a message to residents.

They are warning parents in rural areas about the dangers of handing over their children for adoption.

Since the devastating 2010 earthquake, serious flaws in the country’s adoption system have been exposed.

There have been reports of Haitians putting their children in orphanages for what they thought were temporary stays, only to find them gone when they returned for them.

Navilia Fontulus says her two-year-old grandson Edson spent three months in an orphanage after a recruiter paid his mother to take him away.

(Translated)”I thought I was going to lose him, because he was so small. After three months, we asked for him to be given back into the hands of his parents, because there have been people who gave up their children over 12 or 18 years ago and they’ve never found them again, not even a photo of their children. I thought I had lost him.”

Since April last year, the Haitian government has sought to overhaul the country’s adoption system.

It prohibited private adoptions, restricted the accreditation of foreign adoption agencies in the land and set a limit on how many children can be adopted internationally per year.

And it imposed regulations to address long-time complaints that parents were often pressured or manipulated into giving up children without understanding the ramifications.

Kristine Peduto is the head of the child protection unit in Haiti for the United Nations Children Agency, or UNICEF.

“We are all aware that, in the past, adoption was … that there had been a lot of issues in the process of having children adopted. Corruption, lack of regulation by the state, et cetera.”

Ms Peduto says it will take time for the changes to fully take hold, though.

“We know that moving away from the old system to have a country fully compliant with the Hague Convention (Hague Convention on International Adoption) will take time, and it demands tremendous effort from everyone at each step to ensure that all processes are fully respected.”

and this head-stopper:


You may have seen the #notabravelove (or #notbravelove) campaign going on the past few days. This campaign came into inception when one of my beemommy friends had had enough and suggested a campaign similar to #flipthescript that adoptees were doing in the month of November for National Adoption Month. Another beemommy friend suggested the hash tag #notabrave love and I ran with it. We needed to combat the billboard assault and tell expectant mothers the reality of adoption. It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, and it certainly hasn’t been a “beautiful thing” to us. It has meant a lifetime of grief, sadness and loss. Not being able to parent your child is not beautiful. The emotions that surround it align well with the death of your child. However, BraveLove want to INCREASE domestic infant adoption in the U.S.




wall of secrets

An Interview with Adoptee Author Claire Hitchon #flipthescript

Have you ever wanted something so badly it was all you could think of? All you could talk about, write about, dream about. Claire did.  She wanted a horse.  Finding Heart Horse is her journey and her search for her Heart Horse. It takes her from being “the girl most likely to succeed” to a life on the streets of Yorkville in the late sixties.  As an adopted child she had no identity, no history, and no place where she “fit.” Her years on the streets lead her into many dark places, where she began to add more secrets and traumas to her already large collection in the wall of secrets.  Life changed quickly in those days, from peace and love to war and violence. She went along for the ride not knowing where it would lead, just knowing that she had to find Heart Horse.  If you know anyone who may be struggling, perhaps even yourself, Finding Heart Horse can give you hope where you thought there was none.  We all have different journeys, but the essence is the same.  We all want to be loved, to belong, and to be happy.  Everyone at some point has yearned for something so powerful that, like a magnet, it pulls you into the unknown.  Even if you weren’t really sure what it was for, you knew you had to pursue it.  Life lessons are learned, spirituality discovered.  The reality of opposites is proven.  With pain comes pleasure, with despair comes hope, with sadness comes joy, and perhaps along the way even your Heart Horse may be found.  (Description of first memoir FINDING HEART HORSE)

By Lara Trace Hentz

Hey there. As some of you know I have wonderful friends who write adoptee blogs and books. The books FINDING HEART HORSE (A Memoir of Survival) and THE WALL OF SECRETS (A Memoir by The Almost Daughter) are memoirs of the highest order, in my humble opinion. When a book can make you tense, then hurt then yell then cry often, then you know they are REAL and meant to be read, valued and savored. Claire is that special writer of these two memoirs and her blog THE ALMOST DAUGHTER. Claire’s life has not been easy. She suffered drug addiction and abuse by her adoptive mother who rivals Mommie Dearest in terms of terror and horror.  And even though Claire has been ill, she found time to answer a few questions. So please read. The links to her books and website follow the interview. (I read Kindle versions of these books.)

Claire, your first riveting memoir needs to be a motion picture. How long did it take to write Finding Heart Horse?

Claire Hitchon: Actually, it was all one big pile of stories in the beginning, far too much for one book so I had to split it in two.  It’s taken eight years to complete them.

I always felt there was a book inside me. I never had an ending and was too busy trying to survive and provide for my daughter.  In 2006 the ending became clear. The end then became another beginning.  Pain was like a poisonous inspiration for me. I began writing and couldn’t stop. As I relieved each and every trauma I realized how much I had survived and felt others could benefit knowing there is always hope.

So many people, especially young people are caught up in addictions, violence, pain and trauma, and adults, too, of course.

Sometimes, all we need is someone to believe, someone to give hope that healing is possible and that you have internally all that you need.

Did your early journals assist you in any way with your writing?

Unfortunately, many of my journals were stolen while living in Toronto.  The next era of writing was destroyed when my friend and mentor Daryl died and I was in the hospital.  Our mothers cleaned out the apartment and when I came home the apartment was empty, Daryl dead and all of our musical writing and my journals gone. I imagine they were all just disposed of. I remember many of the stories of course, but my music and poems I lost.

When writing, I surrounded myself with pictures from the internet and relived each and every moment written about.  It was so real, I could smell my fathers pipe tobacco.

In an instant I went from “the girl most likely to succeed” to a 15 year old runaway living on the streets of Yorkville Toronto in the late 60’s (the hippie era).  I became a street kid, a hippie that encountered every subculture you could imagine, always searching for were I belonged. The Peace & Love quickly turned ugly. From rapes, drugs to jail in a few short years, I experienced it all.

Spoiler Alert: Tell us about the transition from book one to book two?

As I mentioned above it really was one huge book to start with and had to be separated without truly disconnecting each book. Believe it or not, there were a lot of stories left out.

It’s as if part of you is erased, leaving you with many missing pieces to a huge puzzle. I set out, leaving an abusive home at the age of 15 to find these things.  Overnight I went from the “girl most likely to succeed” – I was a classical pianist and planned on being a physician.  In an instant, I took an abrupt turn, ending up on the streets of Toronto during the Yorkville Hippie era in the late 1960’s

It’s not the things that happen to us that cause us to suffer, it’s what we tell ourselves about them.

I know you have been in hospital. How are you handling your health issues and you do believe they are related to your being adopted?

Absolutely related.

As long as I searched for my biological roots, I searched for answers to my health issues. Many things now I wonder….if i had the knowledge then would I be as ill now…the answer being NO.

I have a rare mast cell disease, Systemic Mast Cell Activation Disorder.  My biological grandfather died of leukaemia which is related and helped in my search for answers.

Unfortunately, the actual finding of my biological roots in 2003 set off a cascade of stress reactions which is one of the major triggers to mast cells.  I still didn’t know my diagnosis but adoption reunion sent my mast cells into the abyss, taking me with them.

As I wrote out my history for a mast cell doctor in the USA, I couldn’t help but notice with each trauma I experienced, my illness was bumped up a notch… it was clear even back to my childhood with adoptive mother. Of course reunion being the most powerful.

For adoptees who read this, where are you in reunion?

Reunion: Somehow that puts an element of “happy” into a situation that was born of sadness.

I found my biological family in 2003. I had been searching for over 35 years. Totally shocked to find there were actual “people” attached.  I know it sounds strange but we, as adoptees are so conditioned for rejection and I had spent a lifetime. I was doing it as a last resort, for closure.

In 2005, I was ill enough that I had to take disability from my Nursing Career that I loved as an RN,  I decided that I would always regret not taking the next step, which was moving across Canada to get to know this family of strangers. My family.

My birth mother was quite ill and passed away 9 months after I arrived on Vancouver Island. BC from Ontario.

The reunion itself was fast and furious because of my birth mothers health. It also became the prime focus until she died leaving three siblings and myself in a place of grief. They had lost their mother, and I had just found mine, only to lose her in the next breath, never knowing what it was like to be mothered.

I was left with a family of strangers who had decades of history together. I tried several times to enter their world, to bond, to become friends hoping to be allowed in.

I was becoming extremely ill and finally realized I would never belong, never fit. My health had to take priority, So in my case…history won.

I was an only child and having siblings was beyond my wildest dreams…Reunion should be a time for family healing and growth. I can wish all I want, but the fact is, I’m still alone.

I would do it all over again in a heartbeat for the process has given me pieces of the puzzle and reintegration of self. I am, at last at peace.



The strength of the human spirit is unending…. Claire Hitchon

My thanks to Claire for her memoirs and for her tenacity, great writing and inner beauty to survive her journey and for this interview… Lara

Canassatego, the great Iroquois chief, advising the assembled colonial governors on Iroquois concepts of unity in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1744.
Artwork by John Kahionhes Fadden.

We The People and The Great Law of Peace

Figure 31

Figure 31. On June 11, 1776 while the question of independence was being debated, the visiting Iroquois chiefs were formally invited into the meeting hall of the Continental Congress. There a speech was delivered, in which they were addressed as “Brothers” and told of the delegates’ wish that the “friendship” between them would “continue as long as the sun shall shine” and the “waters run.” The speech also expressed the hope that the new Americans and the Iroquois act “as one people, and have but one heart.”[18] After this speech, an Onondaga chief requested permission to give Hancock an Indian name. The Congress graciously consented, and so the president was renamed “Karanduawn, or the Great Tree.” With the Iroquois chiefs inside the halls of Congress on the eve of American Independence, the impact of Iroquois ideas on the founders is unmistakable. History is indebted to Charles Thomson, an adopted Delaware, whose knowledge of and respect for American Indians is reflected in the attention that he gave to this ceremony in the records of the Continental Congress.[19] Artwork by John Kahionhes Fadden.

from Exemplar of Liberty, Native America and the Evolution of Democracy,
Chp.8, “A New Chapter, Images of Native America in the writings of Franklin, Jefferson, and Paine


By Lara Trace

 The Iroquois constitution, the Great Law of Peace, or Gayanashagowa, contains the tenets our Constitution, and is more advanced in thought than the Constitution that resulted from the Convention of 1787.

Did you know that WE THE PEOPLE is a concept the Iroquois Confederacy shared with Benjamin Franklin and other Founding Fathers who drafted the body of the existing governing constitution and democracy in America?  It is the Oldest Living Participating Democracy on Earth. Our constitution says WE THE PEOPLE, quite different than “All Hail The Queen” who was placed on her dictatorial throne, decreed by God.  I call the Queen’s people the “plant the flag” people. Everywhere they went, they planted their flag and demanded tax and the inherent right to govern and rule.

The WE THE PEOPLE blueprint for America is something few people know about:

In 1744 the Iroquois leader Canassatego (drawing in top photo) spoke at the Indian-British assembly in Philadelphia. Dealing with 13 administrations in 13 colonies was impossible, he said. Why didn’t we form an umbrella group? Each colony could keep its sovereignty. Yet the 13 could speak to other nations with one voice.

He offered a model. During Europe’s Middle Ages, Hiawatha had founded the League of Iroquois Nations. The Mohawks, Onondagas, Senecas, Oneidas, Cayugas, and Tuscaroras formed the League. It was the biggest political unit north of the Aztec nation.

Historian Jack Weatherford says few colonists were ready to listen. But one was. Ben Franklin had studied the Indians. Later, he became the Indian Commissioner. As early as 1754 he wanted to try Canassatego’s idea. Later, he and others built that idea into our constitution.

Each Iroquois nation ran its internal affairs with a council of elected delegates. They also sent delegates to a grand council. It ran affairs among nations. It was a pure federal system.

Our constitution has many Iroquois features. Iroquois lawmakers didn’t go to war. Civilian and military rule was separate. That wasn’t how Europe worked.

The Iroquois had no royalty — no hereditary rule. Their nations could naturalize new citizens. The League didn’t just conquer other nations. It could also admit them to membership.

We use Iroquois ideas to smooth our deliberations. Unlike Europe’s senates, we use the Iroquois method of holding silence while each delegate speaks. Like the Iroquois, our delegates give up their personal names. Ted Kennedy becomes “The Senior Senator from Massachusetts,” and so on. We use the caucus, or pow-wow, to iron things out before we take the floor.

We didn’t adopt the Iroquois unicameral system. They had only one council. Franklin fought for that. Because he lost, we have both the senate and the house.

Franklin also wanted to let soldiers elect their own officers. That’s what the Iroquois did. He lost on that one, too.

Like the Iroquois, we allowed for impeachment. But only Iroquois women were empowered to impeach. Only Iroquois women could replace an impeached leader. We didn’t copy that feature.

Still, our constitution is a fine piece of engineering design. We looked at the European kingdoms we’d left behind. And we looked at these people who’d governed themselves so well for so long.

In the end Canassatego and the Iroquois tipped the scales in shaping our way of life. And we can be very glad they did. SOURCE

I am still recovering from a trip to the Gulf Coast where I picked up one nasty bug. Before I got sick, we went to Savannah in Georgia for the first time.  That city was amazing! As we drove through Virginia, the Carolina’s, and the deep south, I could not stop thinking of all the Native people who walked the land and how this great land was theirs at one time… until they were murdered or moved west. Whenever I travel, I pray for those who walked before and I thank them.
Indian people have given so much to this country, whether we say it or not, whether we know or not. And we are still giving as Indian people. We never stopped giving.
We gave you this, our Great Law of Peace.

Faithkeeper Oren Lyons, an Onondaga, states The Great Law of Peace includes “freedom of speech, freedom of religion, [and] the right of women to participate in government. Separation of power in government and checks and balances within government are traceable to our Iroquois constitution—ideas learned by colonists.” READ MORE HERE


Thank YOU

about me iconBy Lara/Trace (or whatever you want to call me!)

I am popping in to say thank you for 100,000 hits on this blog. REALLY!

That is no small feat for a journalist writer who writes about adoption, ICWA, Native American history and other serious dark matters.

Chi Megwetch, Pilamaye, Gratias and Merci Beaucoup!

I have a full schedule ahead that will prevent me posting now and in the month of April… Life is good, full, busy….

See you back here in May!

source: gawker

Propaganda Pawns: Selling Babies, Rehoming, deporting ADOPTEES must end


Using children to make a billion dollars: Propaganda Pawns

By Lara Trace Hentz

This recent essay on Lost Daughters is a truly revealing story written by a deported adoptee, who experienced a corrupt system called “adoption,” made a victim by her American adoptive parents who fail to register her for citizenship with immigration:

And Adam Pertman’s recent post:  [In short, Shepherd’s adoption took place before 2000, when a new federal statute conferred automatic U.S. citizenship on most children adopted internationally into this country; the law included a retroactive provision, but she was adopted a few months before it kicked in.]

Read about Korean adoptee ADAM threatened with deportation:

WHY is this not big news? (Is the adoption industry nervous getting bad press?)

Many, many years ago, adoption was meant to help the children of war, poverty and (often called) this country’s pioneer problems.  Church-run Orphanages housed these small victims – some who had living parents. Some were even called half-orphans. Then gradually state’s replaced orphan asylums with child welfare departments. Gradually and subtly, it was grilled into our heads how adoption “saved” their lives. Or did it?

About the latest thing: some adoptive parents forget or neglect to get American citizenship for their adopted child. An adoptee gets in trouble, breaks the law and they get deported?  To where?  To whom?  If that child meant so much to them, how could American adoptive parents forget or skip that part of the legal process? If you paid money for a baby to be yours, didn’t the adoption agency or lawyer mention citizenship? Wouldn’t you want them stay in the USA if you raise them to be YOUR child? (What is wrong with this picture – buyer remorse?)

This is what we can’t seem to get into our heads: over the years adoption trafficking morphed into providing babies to infertile couples, those who can pay. Courts close adoptions to ease the adopter’s minds and permanently erase the adopted child’s identity and ancestry on their birth documents. When the supply of illegitimate bastards ran out in the US, trafficking went overseas. Those shortages built the international adoption industry into a billion dollar booming business it is today. Those specialized lawyers and adoption agencies legitimatize supplying babies and making lots of money.

FOLLOW THE MONEY: now it requires money to find that orphan, that available baby.  Couples desperate to make a family and adopt will head to hundreds of websites! Potential adoptive parents (PAPS) are shown photos of children languishing in overseas orphanages – a clever sales device to ply PAPS with pity. Those kids are propaganda pawns. Those kids have parents! (Stories about Angelina Jolie and Madonna have surfaced how their adopted children have parents too — but shush, that’s not good propaganda.)

So now the bigger picture is clear… if a child has parents, we can’t call them orphans – because they are NOT ORPHANS. But they are being used to make money, to sucker you in to adopt overseas.

If babies are product, for those who buy in the black market and overseas, they might overlook a baby is only a baby a short time. A child is not a programmable replacement for the child you didn’t conceive. Babies are not blank slates. Adoptees do grow up and will have questions when they get older and not all will be complacent or happy or grateful. Then what will you do? And if your adopted child from overseas has problems, who will you blame? (Will you re-home them? SEE THIS) (top photo from Facebook rehoming page)

Where are the headlines about the cyber-market: babies abducted then auctioned off.  But how do you get adoption papers for cyber-market stolen babies? You’d have to pay off a judge and use a lawyer, right? (Do you think that’s why some states refuse to unseal adoption records? It might reveal fraud and corruption?) We know it takes quite a bit of paperwork to adopt a baby these days, especially internationally. It was never about us, the adoptees. It was about filling a need, collecting cash. Just follow the money and it becomes obvious.

Billions could and should be spent on family preservation, and solving infertility that only seems to be getting worse in the USA – but the adoption industry keeps people focused on the perfect propaganda pawns – orphans. Now there are fertility scandals (see below).

Willful ignorance, bad information or insufficient education, none are acceptable or an excuse anymore. With the internet, there is plenty for potential adoptive parents to read, if they open their mind and take their time and do some research.

You know what? It’s time all this comes out – and all the trafficking and money and corruption is exposed!

159dd-trafficinbabies-bmpMy priorities: We can give children-in-need new parents under new laws called legal guardianship. We never erase a child’s identity. We abolish adoption entirely, and open all the sealed adoption files. We give birthfathers the legal rights to raise their own children.  Social services are reconfigured to work on family preservation and helping parents be parents – and of course solving and ending poverty. Most of all, we MUST stop selling babies and deporting adoptees. We close all adoption agencies and prosecute the traffickers.

The sad part of this is adoptees can’t escape what adults and courts and governments do. We have nowhere to go if we don’t know who we are…We are the pawns. Our voices, our experiences, aren’t part of adoption propaganda.

Karen Vigneault who helps me help adoptees emailed me that we need President Obama to pardon every adoptee from this existing system of identity theft and give us our legal documents: our original birth certificates and adoption records.

I agree.


More Corruption:

Two prominent reproductive law attorneys, Theresa Erickson and Hilary Neiman, were awaiting sentencing (in 2011) by a US district court after pleading guilty to charges connected with an elaborate surrogacy and baby-selling scheme. The many headlines about this fertility industry scandal are clear on the nature of the criminal activities. NBC San Diego titled its early story “Lawyer Busted in Black-Market Baby Ring”; the Los Angeles Times called it a “scam”; the UK Telegraph ran with “Babies ‘sold for $150,000′ in California.” Even the FBI pulled no punches: Its press release is titled “Baby-Selling Ring Busted.”

Many questions about the baby-selling scandal remain unanswered. How did the perpetrators get away with it for years, when many others in the field must have known about or at least suspected what they were doing? What sentences did the court impose? What will be the effects on the babies who were conceived from anonymous gamete providers in order to be sold, and on their families?


Previously on Biopolitical Times:


Notice: Expert committee formed to review adoptions procedures; National Adoption Committee authority revoked in Kenya

AND I lost a wonderful friend:

Evelyn Stevenson, longtime tribal attorney, advocate and original proponent of the Indian Child Welfare Act, passed away on March 12, 2015 at 9:11am in Ronan, Montana on the Flathead Indian Reservation.  Evelyn was a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and was the second tribal member, and first tribal member woman, to become a licensed attorney.

A wake will begin at noon on Sunday, March 15, 2015 in the Elmo Community Hall in Elmo, Montana..

Tribal news coverage here.


[My deepest thanks to Karen Vigneault-MLIS for her help and friendship and research on rehoming, the deportation of adoptees and other breaking news… XOX Trace]