I’ve transformed this blog over to my author website.
I am legally Trace Lara Hentz and I use the pen-name Laramie Harlow.
“Catholic Orphan Asylum. A New Extensive Site Is Selected on Fordham Heights,” The New York Times (Nov. 22, 1898).
Roman Catholic Orphans’ Asylum – Bronx, NY
Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum, 301 West Kingsbridge Road at Sedgwick Avenue
The Bronx, N.Y. 10468
St. Patrick’s Boys Asylum (Manhattan)
Fifth Avenue at 51st and 52nd Streets (1851-1902)
(c.1851) – Boys’ Chapel
Prince and Mott Streets (1826-1851)
St. Patrick’s Girls Asylum (Manhattan)
461 Madison Avenue at 51st Street (1886-1902) & Prince and Mott Streets (1826-1886)
The Roman Catholic Benevolent Society, established in 1817, was the oldest charitable institution in the Archdiocese of New York. At that time, parentless Catholic children were lost to the faith if they were taken in by Protestant orphan societies. From the beginning, the society was administered by the Sisters of Charity. The first building, located at Prince and Mulberry Streets, opened with 30 inmates, but within a few years was overcrowded. In 1826, a new building was erected on Prince and Mott Streets, but by the 1840s, it, too, was badly overcrowded as was St. Joseph’s Half-Orphan Asylum on West 11th Street. In 1845, Archbishop John Hughes appealed to the city for land on which to build a larger facility, and was offered the entire block between Fifth and Madison Avenues from 51st to 52nd Streets. The deed, signed on August 1, 1846, directed that the rent would be one dollar per year as long as the property was used to house orphans. At that time, Fifth Avenue was not paved and the area was relatively uninhabited. A few years later, in 1852, Archbishop Hughes would purchase the block directly to the south for a new cathedal that was begun in 1858 but not consecrated until 1879.
In 1851, the boys were moved into the new facility on Fifth Avenue. The first building had accommodations for five hundred boys, and a trade school wing, built in 1893, provided accommodations for two hundred more. The girls’ wing, completed in 1870, held eight hundred. There was every facility for religious, moral and social training.
A separate building for girls was built on Madison Avenue. Designed by Renwick & Sands, the five-story building was completed in 1886. At this time, the last of the girls were moved from Prince Street and the old orphanage there was converted into a parish school.
By the 1890s, the midtown area had been developed and land values had increased enormously. Private institutions were enticed to sell their lucrative property and use the proceeds to relocate farther north. Nearby St. Luke’s Protestant Episcopal Hospital, located since 1846 at Fifth Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets, sold its property and built a new facility on Morningside Heights in 1896. Columbia College, which built a new campus at Madison Avenue and 49th Street in 1857, moved to its present Morningside Heights site in 1897. About that time, a committee was formed to select a new site for the Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum.
In November 1898, the committee met at the Archbishop’s residence and decided to acquire from the Bailey estate a tract of about 28 acres, most of which was between Sedgwick Avenue and the Harlem River in the Fordham Heights section of The Bronx. Located on the highest point in New York City, the site served as a strategic vantage point during the Revolutionary War. In 1847, William H. Bailey, who was partners with P.T. Barnum of the Barnum and Bailey Circus fame, bought 26 acres of land as a country home for his bride. In 1899, the land was purchased for $290,000, and erection of the buildings began. The next year, in 1900, Archbishop Corrigan was given permission by the city and state to sell most of the asylum’s midtown property to developers for $2,100,000, although he retained the Boland Trade School that fronted Madison Avenue for his proposed minor seminary, Cathedral College. The proceeds from the sale paid for the new orphanage in the Bronx and provided a $1 million endowment for the orphans
The new Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum was built atop the summit of the high ridge immediately east of the Harlem River, about 140 to 190 feet above tidewater. There were two buildings—one for boys, the other for girls—besides the old Bailey mansion. Each building was five stories high with a basement, measured 385 long by 50 feet deep, and had two wings 50 feet by 125, and a chapel. The new buildings provided accomodations for 1,600 inmates and were occupied in April, 1902, although they and the grounds were not completed until the next year.
With the passage of the Widows’ Compensation law in 1918, the number of orphans at the asylum was reduced to about 700, which was less than half of the capacity. In 1921, the Archdiocese sold the property to the Treasury Department, who planned to convert the facilities into a a hospital for ex-service patients suffering from mental and nervous disorders, and arranged for the transfer of remaining orphans to other facilities. The purchase was turned over to the newly formed U.S. Veterans’ Bureau by Executive Order on April 20, 1922. By adding several buildings throughout the years, the Bureau made the Bronx hospital the second largest V.A. facility in the nation, with a total of 1,663 beds, and the first veterans hospital in New York City.
Jenkins, Stephen. The Story of the Bronx from the Purchase Made by the Dutch from the Indians in 1639 to the Present Day. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1912
The Manhattan Guide – Greater New York Red Book. New York: The Manhattan Guide Company, 1901.
Nelson, George. Organs in the United States and Canada Database. Seattle, Wash.
“St. Patrick’s Day Parade in NY Dedicated to Sisters of Charity,” Vincentian Family News (Feb. 25, 2009).
Shelley, Thomas J. The Bicentennial History of the Archdiocese of New York 1808-2008. Strasbourg: Éditions du Signe, 2007.
“Soldiers to Give Up Polyclinic Hospital for Home in Bronx,” The New York Times (Oct. 6, 1921).
By Trace A. DeMeyer
I think adoption has left many of us adoptees frozen in time as missing children. Details of our first days and births are sealed in files – leaving us without essential details of our birthparent’s lives when they made the decision to let us go. Our adoption records are sealed so the majority of adoptees are still unable to have a copy of our original birth certificate in all but a few states in America. Why?
If we’re adults, why are we still being treated as children?
Most of us were adopted by strangers. In my case Sev and Edie didn’t choose me. I was available. I was not “chosen” or “saved” or “an orphan.” Those myths are repeated in newspapers everywhere, as part of the propaganda by the billion dollar adoption industry. This industry is not about the chosen or saved or orphaned child. That’s the selling part. Those are their sappy slogans used to convince people to continue to adopt and pay their money. It’s just a mind drug that you’ve saved someone, or rescued an orphan.
I was not saved from my birthparents Helen and Earl. They were real people, alive. My mother was 22 and my father was 27. If my mother Helen had support from her parents, instead of condemnation for committing a sin and getting pregnant, she might have kept me. At the very least my father should have had the right to raise me, right? He would have, I was told when we met when I was 38, but it was too late to change what happened.
Right now, Minnesota has my original birth certificate. They won’t release it to me. I’m 57.
All my parents are gone, all passed. It’s not that I do not know who they were. I opened my adoption at age 22 with a judge in Wisconsin. I know my names, their names and met my father. Why would Minnesota not release my birth certificate to me now?
Archaic laws. Old laws. Privacy? for whom? They are all dead. Why are adoption laws protecting dead parents?
This is my reality. I can’t change the laws myself but if you are reading this, you might pick up the phone and contact your state representative and ask them, who is adoption secrecy protecting? Is it protecting adoptive parents? Is it protecting dead birthparents? Why? Or is it protecting the adoption industry so they can continue their money making and human trafficking?
I know children will still be adopted, no question. The industry can’t be stopped overnight but if adoption is the only way for a child to be safe, find their kin and family (grandparents, cousins) to raise them.
If strangers must do it, give the child their name, ancestry, medical backgrounds for both parents, and a signed letter from each birthparent.
If only birthparents had to write that letter! Then they’d have to sit down and think far ahead when their own flesh and blood reaches adulthood. What reasons would you give your child as to why you chose adoption and handed them to strangers? What are good reasons? Religion, money, marital status, mental or physical illness?
This letter to your birthchild should be the law of the land.
(That letter would a reality check and could be a real deal-breaker.)
By Trace A. DeMeyer (author of One Small Sacrifice and Two Worlds)
Becky Drinnen and I are adoptees, writers and contributors to the new anthology “Adoption Reunion in the Social Media Age.” The editor Laura Dennis asked us to discuss our stories in the book and ask each other questions for our blogs. The new book will be released January 27 on Amazon and is available as an ebook on Kindle (for e-readers). (ISBN: 978-0985616847)
TRACE: Becky and I were both named Laura before adoption… how amazing is that synchronicity… So Becky, you and I began our search the old way, before the internet. If you were asked advice by an adoptee who is still searching, what would you recommend as far as how to search, and what about using social media?
BECKY: Why am I not surprised that we were both named Laura before we were adopted? I can’t tell you how many times I have connected with women named Laura! I think it began with my childhood infatuation with Little House on the Prairie author Laura Ingalls Wilder. (I STILL love those books!) In the past few years I’ve connected with several Lauras — including Laura Dennis, the editor of “Adoption Reunion in the Social Media Age”!
Search and reunion is a very personal experience. Every search will be unique. For those still searching, I think it is important to know that many adoptees have been reunited with their parents without access to their original birth certificates. Reach out to search angels in your state for advice and assistance. Keep in mind that at times the key to your search may be in a dusty file cabinet or sitting on a library shelf. Just because you can’t complete your search online doesn’t mean the information isn’t available to you. In my case, I didn’t even have my father’s name when I started my search. With some adoptee intuition and a lot of work, I found what I searched for. Don’t get discouraged!
The Internet has not only put search tools such as Spokeo, Google and Facebook at the fingertips of those searching, it has also given adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents a public voice. The Internet gives authors the opportunity to spread the word about their books via Social Media, blogs, and Amazon. And there are many, many GOOD books out there that chronicle the adoption experience and offer search tips and advice. My advice would be for any adoptee searching would be to get educated! Read, learn and participate in discussions, and get involved. And reach out to others. This will help you in your search and will help you anticipate the variety of reactions you might experience. And believe me, it will be emotional! I really can’t say enough about being emotionally prepared for whatever you might find at the end of your search. When I found my mother, I wasn’t prepared for rejection. Then, many years later, I met my father and found I wasn’t prepared to be welcomed with open arms.
Social media is widely used by adoptees and birth parents as a tool to communicate and gather information. Facebook opened doors to me and helped me learn that my brother and I both know some of the same people! So, here’s what I believe: What others post on social media sites and make publicly available is fair game. Feel free to explore what is publicly available. I also think social media is a great way to keep in contact once ongoing contact has been agreed upon. However, in most cases, I don’t think social media is a good way to make initial contact with a parent or child. Social media is a wonderful tool, but it needs to be used carefully.
TRACE: Adoptees have to deal with “the fog” and fantasy. Usually we guess or dream up what our first parents are like and only know what our adoptive parents tell us. Did your adoptive parents tell you anything about your first family and did they support you searching for them?
BECKY: My adoptive parents were always very open with me about the fact that I was adopted. However, they knew very little about my birth family. The only fact that they remembered was that my birth mother had red hair. Of course, once I learned that, every time I saw a woman with red hair, I looked for resemblance. I dreamed up stories in my head about her searching for me. As a teenager, I was obsessed with questions about my birth family. I wonder if I would have been more at ease with being adopted if my parents had been provided with more information — in writing — about my birth family.
My Mom said that my birth mother was mentioned when they first “met” me at the adoption agency, but they were so excited about meeting me that they remembered very little of that conversation. My parents kept a very extensive file of everything they received, and there was no additional information provided about my birth family in that information.
Interestingly, they were given a booklet called “All About Me”, which contained information about what I ate, sleep habits, etc. Apparently the adoption agency didn’t feel any background about my birth family was important for me to know.
I did not tell my parents prior to searching. I knew my Dad would be okay with me searching, but I wasn’t so sure about Mom. For most of my teenage years, when I was angry with her for establishing a curfew, or sending me to my room for hitting my brother, I would tell her that my “real” mother wouldn’t treat me that way. I know I hurt her deeply at that point in time. By the time I searched, I was on good terms with both of my parents, but I felt strongly that this was something I needed to do on my own.
I did tell them about my search about a year after I found my birth mother. She declined contact, but I had some limited contact with her sister, my aunt. My aunt provided me with pictures of my mother, my grandparents, and my brother and sisters. I started this conversation with my adoptive parents by showing them pictures! They were supportive and curious. I’ve always had quite the independent streak, and they knew I’ve always had questions, so I don’t think my search shocked them. I do wonder if my Mom would have reacted differently if I had established ongoing contact with my mother.
Twenty-plus years passed between the time I told my parents about finding my mother to the time I met my father. By that time my Dad had passed away. Once again, I conducted this search without my Mom’s knowledge. Once again, I opened up my conversation about meeting my father with pictures! After I told Mom the story about how I learned his identity, then walked up to him at a public event and introduced myself to him, her first comment was: “I wonder what he thought about how you were raised”? She is comfortable with my ongoing contact with my father.
TRACE: I grew up in northern Wisconsin and some of my first family lived there also. But I didn’t know this. I’m sure I’m not the first person to wonder if I dated someone who could have been a cousin, sibling or blood relative. You also grew up near relatives. Is it possible you met someone in your family and didn’t even know? Did that ever concern you when you were dating?
BECKY: Growing up, no, it never crossed my mind that I might date or be in contact with a blood relative. I was born in Cleveland, Ohio and grew up in a small town across the state, 200 miles away. I always felt very far away from my biological family; I just assumed that they were from the Cleveland area, so why would they ever end up in a tiny little town across the state.
When I found my birth mother in the early ’80’s, she was living not in Cleveland, but in Columbus, less than 100 miles from where I live. That still felt far away to me — I never thought it was in the realm of possibility that I would become acquainted with a family member. Imagine my surprise when, thanks to that mutual friend feature on Facebook, I discovered that my brother works with a friend of mine, eight miles from my house. In a moment, I learned that what I never imagined possible was, in fact, real. And it doesn’t stop there. As I have become more and more vocal about my experience as an adoptee, I have learned that several other friends and acquaintances know my brother through their work. I do believe that, at some point, I will meet my brother.
I recently saw or read a story about a birth mother/daughter reunion where mother and daughter realized they had been connected during the daughter’s growing up years. Mother had been a school bus driver, and after some discussion, they realized that she had been the driver for her daughter’s school bus route! I always felt like I would “know” it if I met a birth family member. This story illustrates to me that what I believed may not always be true.
TRACE: Some of us deal with rejection by our first families. My mother Helen chose not to meet me but did send my birthfather’s name after I wrote her a second letter. You have not met your mother (not as yet) but did speak to her… Do you think this new book could change your mother’s mind about having contact with you and suggest a reunion?
BECKY: Trace, I hurt for you as you ask this question. And I hurt for me. I was still firmly entrenched in the “adoption fog” when my birth mother refused contact with me. In fact, I knew very little about adoption issues at that point in my life. I SO wish resources such as Laura’s anthology had been available to me to help me through the search and reunion process and to help me understand many of the issues faced by all of those affected by adoption.
I learned how my mother’s sister perceived the circumstances of my conception and placement for adoption almost 30 years ago. However, it wasn’t until I reached out to my mother again in 2011 and had a conversation with her that I really understood how deeply affected she had been by getting pregnant and being shamed by her parents. I came away from our conversation with the realization that she has never healed from placing her first child for adoption. She did what her parents and social workers told her to do… she walked away from the hospital and never spoke of me again. Not even to the man she married three years after my birth. Yet she still remembered the name she gave me. And she told me she thinks of me every day. She didn’t forget.
I can’t pretend to know all of the thoughts that run through her mind. What I do believe is that she has a lot of healing to do before she will be in a place to be ready to meet me. And I believe that studying the issues faced by adoptees and birth parents is an important step in healing. The adoptee and birth parent community has been a tremendous source of information, support and healing for me. And I believe that, if my mother would read books like “Adoption Reunion in the Social Media Age”, she would begin to have the tools to heal. And the courage to reach out to others who share her experience. She would realize the impact of adoption for adoptees. And she would be able to identify with the stories of other mothers who lost children to adoption. If this were to happen, I believe she might have a change of heart about meeting me.
***I want to thank Becky for sharing her thoughts and story for my website and at American Indian Adoptees. Do you have a question you’d like to ask us?
Becky interviewed me and it will post on Wednesday (1-29-14) on her blog: http://puzzlesandpossibilities.com/2014/01/29/adoption-reunion-in-the-social-media-age-an-interview-with-trace-a-demeyer/
BONUS: One lucky commenter will receive a FREE EBOOK (Kindle or pdf) – so please leave a comment right now!
Von at The Life of Von blog posed these questions (as part of the Leibster Award nominations) and I am going to take a minute and answer them…
Read more about the blog award and my friend Von here: https://laratracehentz.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/the-visionary-life-of-von-liebster-awards/
1. How is blogging working out for you?
I love it more than I ever imagined. I started on Blogger in 2009 and now have two wordpress blogs = It’s crazy I blog so much. It’s a good place to write and post on all kinds of things! A few years ago, I decided to teach a beginners blogging course at the local college. I also run a blog for my class. It’s a lot of blog, I know. (I also help others set up their blogs). But I am a student of life and I am still learning.
2. What is your favourite way of writing?
I type most things on the computer but poems and more emotionally-based writing is still best done by my hand – pen to paper.
3. What things assist your writing processes?
Space! I had to rearrange the office and computer to be next to the window to see and hear the birds I feed – this seems to be the best place for me to start a writing project… I can work day and night and not disturb my dear husband. I also carry a small notebook for ideas that pop into my head so I don’t forget my thoughts. This all works very well for me,
4. Books or Kindle?
Both actually. I love my Kindle Fire but there are many books on my shelf that I refuse to part with. EBooks and Kindle will become even more popular in the future, I am sure.
5. Do you have a favourite place to write?
I used to sit at the dining room table when I started handwriting my memoir – without fail it was 4:30 am – this went on over two years! It was and is necessary for me to have quiet and silence.
6. When do you write?
I write day and night. Pretty much every day too.
7. Has life offered you challenges and opportunities which inform your writing?
I told myself as a 20-something that I would be a writer when I gained some life experience. I worked many years at all kinds of jobs- developing confidence and the skills that I needed to become “the writer.” Now that I am a former newspaper editor, those skills really help me finish the manuscript.
Being an adoptee and searching for so many years taught me to be patient and courageous. I wouldn’t change a thing.
8. Where do you look for inspiration?
Mostly books. I read others writing – especially blogs like Von’s and many many others. The Lost Daughters blog (where Von and I contribute) has inspired me often, too. I read lots of poetry and bury my head in history as often as I can.
I can look out my window and be inspired – so anything and everything inspires me.
That’s changing since my husband Herb retired. We walk when weather permits. We go to the Cape so he can fish and I can read, get sun and watch waves. I am working on a work-life balance now and its evolving.
10. What can’t you live without?
Honesty, I could not do all this without my husband’s love and support. So the answer is my husband Herb.
To read Von’s answers to my nomination questions, go here: http://eagoodlife.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/liebster-awards/
Back in 1985, I sat quietly with a Catholic priest after my adoptive father’s funeral and asked, “can you tell me, what are the exact differences between the various religions?” He answered something very vague.
And it still needs an answer.
The first priest I’d asked was in junior high school; to answer he said I needed to read a few books. What he gave me was no help at all. It seems if you want a straight answer, you don’t ask a religious leader like a priest. Maybe they can’t answer because you are not supposed to question them or their dogma?
Or even worse, bring up something like the Inquisition.
(Google search) While the positive suppression of heresy by ecclesiastical and civil authority in Christian society is as old as the Church, the Inquisition as a distinct ecclesiastical tribunal is of much later origin:
No one is sure exactly how many were killed by the Catholics Inquisition but it’s millions, and mostly women!
Raised Catholic, I was not exactly encouraged to question anything; rather I was expected to blindly believe everything they told me as their Gods honest truth. It really bothered me at mass when their readings would refer to prophecy but never give us a way to read it ourselves. No one I knew questioned anything told to us at mass.
I used to read a lot about martyrs and saints. Millions died brutally because of their religious beliefs. Some still die for beliefs today, like tribal conflicts in Iraq. Churches today remind us to be martyrs, and live like saints. Belief was/is worth the sacrifice. In the 20th Century, 160 million murders were committed in wars, often over differences in religious belief.
Religion casts a wide net, right? It has caused witch hunts, genocidal massacres and created some pretty horrific homicidal maniacs like Adolph Hitler and Christopher Columbus. Tribal conflicts erupted at first contact with Puritans then conquest and religious belief spread like disease, killing millions of North American Indians.
Religion can also cause a collective blindness and amnesia. It manages to create a judgment of “others.” Enough judgment can certainly cause war. Asking about a certain religion and questioning their belief can get you dispelled from a church, excommunicated or accused of blasphemy and heresy, even killed.
In recent times, churches would simply whisk their pedophile priests out of view, move them to a new parish and bury the evidence. Leaders of religions will often subtly excuse or elude facts, not allowing or teaching their actual history.
Religion, to me, is about practicing exclusion. They exclude other beliefs and other religious views to make theirs better, best, most favorable. And by not teaching about other chapters of history where religions were responsible for murdering others, like the Mormons for example, this makes their followers pretty ignorant of the truth, right? You don’t see many Mormons revealing the tenets of their “faith” or history and they actually exclude others from looking at it.
September 11, 1857: Mormon militia, some dressed as Indians, and Paiute tribesmen killed and plundered unarmed members of the Baker-Fancher emigrant wagon train. [*Bagley, Will (2002). Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-3426-7.]
I always felt it was my job as a journalist to look at history and religion with a lens of accuracy, not faith. It’s my job as a writer to find the truth where it exists, if it exists.
Blind Faith? I don’t think we are aware of our collective amnesia as a whole. I think most organized religions push first for forgiveness and faith while their elite peddle tidy versions of history so the masses won’t wake up, can’t wake up. If the majority of people were exposed to a timeline of religious massacres, they’d question their reliance on faith in their religions and leaders. (Read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_events_named_massacres)
We are at a time of awakening. I only ask that you ask questions to be awake.
(to be continued)
By Trace A. DeMeyer
I don’t recall the exact year but I was in San Francisco on a buying trip for my store l’quix fix in Portland, Oregon. I was married to Dave so this may have been in 1986 or 1987. We went to Chinatown for a nice dinner and I think the restaurant name had the word Empress in it. (Yeah, my memory bank is not perfect anymore). Dave and I met the famous actor Billy Barty; we were seated next to he and his wife! Billy talked a long time about his movie career. He had a giant soul in his little body. I knew Billy from his role in the Wizard of Oz and he had just been in a TV movie I’d watched. He was truly famous!
Read this: Billy Barty dies at 76
GLENDALE — Friends and family of veteran actor Billy Barty remember him as a man small in stature but big in heart. “He always wanted to solve everyone’s problems, no matter how big or small,” Barty’s friend and publicist Bill York said.
Barty died Saturday morning at Glendale Memorial Hospital. He was 76.
The 3-foot, 10-inch actor had been hospitalized since Nov. 30 with heart problems and a lung infection.Barty was born William John Bertanzetti on Oct. 25, 1924.
He began his acting career in 1927 and has appeared in hundreds of films and television shows. Of note were the movies “Willow” and “Foul Play,” and Sid and Marty Kroft’s television show “Sigmund and the Sea Monsters.” In 1957, he founded Little People of America and in 1975 he founded the Burbank-based Billy Barty Foundation, both of which were advocacy groups for little people, helping them become integrated into mainstream society without being discriminated against. Barty once said that most people thought little people were only found in show business or the circus. “The only way to approach the problem is to influence minds while they are young so prejudice won’t appear later,” Barty once said. Billy Barty Memorial Adoption Fund, which helps little people adopt children with dwarfism.
I also had a meeting with more famous little people. Read about it here: http://lara-oar.blogspot.com/2013/10/who-are-these-twin-midget-actors.html
And read this history if you want to know more about circus freaks and little people: http://madamepickwickartblog.com/2010/06/alls-fairs-in-a-circus-that-dwarfs-a-smidget-of-understanding/
By Trace A. DeMeyer
I am not myself. I feel like I am transforming again, maybe like a part of me is dissolving, disappearing, no longer necessary. I rarely feel like this and I don’t like it. I can’t control it. It won’t pass.
This time is different. Really different. It’s like a dark foreboding cloud. Like I felt two days before 9-11. It’s hard to put into words. It’s bigger than I have words for.
I am not sure if this is/was triggered because I lost my friend Rocio very recently or how so many others (friends and family) have been dealing with major health issues, like my brother Danny who just had surgery and is going to start treatment soon. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about Veronica Brown who was placed with strangers in an adoption that her father did not agree to – and he fought hard for his daughter but lost. This little girl didn’t deserve this upheaval – Ronnie was abandoned by her birthmother at birth and essentially sold to strangers. Her father lost her in court after court. How does this happen in America?
Very hard things are happening right how. Not just to me but to my circle of friends.
Yesterday I spoke with my close friend who lost her job with her tribe. She’s an adoptee like me. She wants to be closer to her birthmother. This is so important for adoptees to do this hard work and to go full circle and be in reunion. Her job loss was pure politics, the dysfunction we know that exists is our tribal world. This friend also had an autoimmune disease that is now in remission, completely. This is a miracle. A deeply spiritual transformation happened to her. Despite the loss of her excellent job with her tribe, and with much work and prayer, she just received a fantastic job offer with a university. She won’t have to move. She will be able to stay in reunion with her mother. She witnessed how bad things can happen to you, even a serious illness, and yet Great Spirit is often clearing the way for a bigger job and better health.
I do believe in miracles. I believe in hard work. Prayer works. I know that we work for Great Spirit. I am simply a channel for work that needs to be done. It’s not about ego or about me at all.
You see I want all adoptees to know they can return to their families. They can work for their tribes, too. They can get to know their birth parents as people. We can eventually blend in with all the relatives – but it takes time and effort. Doing this will not be easy. I do know this!
What America did to adoptees like me and my friend caused enormous pain and upheaval. America removed children from our Indian families as part of a plan. It was meant to destroy our connection to our tribes and families. The result of a closed adoption was to alienate us from each other. American Indians are unique and culturally rich and diverse. Adoptees who are raised away from this culture must be allowed to step back in the circle and relearn what we missed growing up in non-Indian families.
Children would never choose to be adopted. It was not our fault. It happened. As adults we have to be strong to go into reunion. There are no rules – none. You just go back and meet relatives. You do risk losing your adoptive parents. It’s like climbing a mountain on a tightrope. It hurts me to think about this but I have to…
American, what have you done? You really attempted to destroy Indian Country, didn’t you? You attempted to eliminate every Indian, right? If you couldn’t murder us all, you invented an adoption project to deal with us – to end our tribal heritage as small children, to assimilate us.
All is I know is I am not done writing. My work is to write this history, with truth, with honesty.
This winter I’ll begin work on the book series and the anthology CALLED HOME.
What is going to happen will happen. Keep good thoughts….be prepared…really!
As a former musician, this letter (below) speaks to prostitution in the music business and how young singers like Miley Cyrus are degrading themselves.
There was a time when women singers were rare – like when I started in the 1970s. Then it became rock and raunch, controlled by big hair bands and drugs. I was a lyricist and lead singer in Sardaukar in the Tri-Cities in WA state back in the early 1980s.
I worked for a record label years later and the musician was the bottom of the totem pole.
Sinead wrote a letter to Miley – it’s worth a read… Trace
OPEN LETTER TO MILEY CYRUS
I wasn’t going to write this letter, but today i’ve been dodging phone calls from various newspapers who wished me to remark upon your having said in Rolling Stone your Wrecking Ball video was designed to be similar to the one for Nothing Compares… So this is what I need to say… And it is said in the spirit of motherliness and with love.
I am extremely concerned for you that those around you have led you to believe, or encouraged you in your own belief, that it is in any way ‘cool’ to be naked and licking sledgehammers in your videos. It is in fact the case that you will obscure your talent by allowing yourself to be pimped, whether its the music business or yourself doing the pimping.
Nothing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited, and it is absolutely NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent.
I am happy to hear I am somewhat of a role model for you and I hope that because of that you will pay close attention to what I am telling you.
The music business doesn’t give a shit about you, or any of us. They will prostitute you for all you are worth, and cleverly make you think its what YOU wanted.. and when you end up in rehab as a result of being prostituted, ‘they’ will be sunning themselves on their yachts in Antigua, which they bought by selling your body and you will find yourself very alone.
None of the men oggling you give a shit about you either, do not be fooled. Many’s the woman mistook lust for love. If they want you sexually that doesn’t mean they give a fuck about you. All the more true when you unwittingly give the impression you don’t give much of a fuck about yourself. And when you employ people who give the impression they don’t give much of a fuck about you either. No one who cares about you could support your being pimped.. and that includes you yourself.
Yes, I’m suggesting you don’t care for yourself. That has to change. You ought be protected as a precious young lady by anyone in your employ and anyone around you, including you. This is a dangerous world. We don’t encourage our daughters to walk around naked in it because it makes them prey for animals and less than animals, a distressing majority of whom work in the music industry and it’s associated media.
You are worth more than your body or your sexual appeal. The world of showbiz doesn’t see things that way, they like things to be seen the other way, whether they are magazines who want you on their cover, or whatever.. Don’t be under any illusions.. ALL of them want you because they’re making money off your youth and your beauty.. which they could not do except for the fact your youth makes you blind to the evils of show business. If you have an innocent heart you can’t recognise those who do not.
I repeat, you have enough talent that you don’t need to let the music business make a prostitute of you. You shouldn’t let them make a fool of you either. Don’t think for a moment that any of them give a flying fuck about you. They’re there for the money.. we’re there for the music. It has always been that way and it will always be that way. The sooner a young lady gets to know that, the sooner she can be REALLY in control.
You also said in Rolling Stone that your look is based on mine. The look I chose, I chose on purpose at a time when my record company were encouraging me to do what you have done. I felt I would rather be judged on my talent and not my looks. I am happy that I made that choice, not least because I do not find myself on the proverbial rag heap now that I am almost 47 yrs of age.. which unfortunately many female artists who have based their image around their sexuality, end up on when they reach middle age.
Real empowerment of yourself as a woman would be to in future refuse to exploit your body or your sexuality in order for men to make money from you. I needn’t even ask the question.. I’ve been in the business long enough to know that men are making more money than you are from you getting naked. Its really not at all cool. And its sending dangerous signals to other young women. Please in future say no when you are asked to prostitute yourself. Your body is for you and your boyfriend. It isn’t for every spunk-spewing dirtbag on the net, or every greedy record company executive to buy his mistresses diamonds with.
As for the shedding of the Hannah Montana image.. whoever is telling you getting naked is the way to do that does absolutely NOT respect your talent, or you as a young lady. Your records are good enough for you not to need any shedding of Hannah Montana. She’s waaaaaaay gone by now.. Not because you got naked but because you make great records.
Whether we like it or not, us females in the industry are role models and as such we have to be extremely careful what messages we send to other women. The message you keep sending is that its somehow cool to be prostituted.. its so not cool Miley.. its dangerous. Women are to be valued for so much more than their sexuality. we aren’t merely objects of desire. I would be encouraging you to send healthier messages to your peers.. that they and you are worth more than what is currently going on in your career. Kindly fire any motherfucker who hasn’t expressed alarm, because they don’t care about you.
And most recent letter:
I have no interest whatsoever in meeting you. You had plenty of time yesterday to abuse Amanda Bynes .. an entirely innocent party.. and myself.. who also did nothing to deserve your abuse.. along with every other sufferer of mental health problems and every person who suffered abuse at the hands of priests.
You can take five minutes today between g- string fuckin’ changes to publicly apologise and remove your abusive tweets. If you do not then you don’t give a shit who you mock and what damage you do by being so ignorant.
When you publicly apologise to Amanda and myself and all mental health sufferers as well as all who were abused by priests that will end the matter as far as I am concerned.
what you did yesterday was designed to damage me and my career and has caused me enormous distress and harassment and has potential to damage my career, since you deliberately gave the impression those tweets of mine were not two years old but reflect my current condition. If you cannot apologize I will have no choice but to bring legal proceedings against you since it is extremely hard to be given work when people think one is suffering from mental illness.
I have no interest in or desire to cause you trouble but if you do not apologise for having deliberately tried to cause me hurt and trouble personally and professionally I will have to bring pressure upon you.
When you end up in the psych ward or rehab I’ll be happy to visit you.. and would not lower myself to mock you.
Be a proper woman and make the public apologies I have listed above. Your hosting SNL is a bullshit reason for not taking five minutes to do the right thing and your behaviour yesterday will rebound upon you very badly.
You have no business abusing Amanda Bynes or anyone else. How do you think you made her feel yesterday? How do you feel when your friend Britney Spears is mocked and humiliated for having had mental health problems? I know I personally want to bash those who treat her that way. If she is your friend and more importantly if you are a true friend to her.. you ought apologise for joining those who mock and humiliate women who have been too nice frankly, to manage the music business without sensibly losing their minds.
Cease behaving in an anti-female capacity. You will become the victim of it shortly. Soon it will be you the media ‘crazy’ .. and you will not enjoy it.. and you will appreciate people (like myself) standing up for you. Which I will be happy to do.. if you earn my respect today by apologising publicly.
TWO WORLDS, Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects offers astounding narratives that challenge views on adoption
After generations of Native children were forcibly removed from their Tribes and placed in residential boarding schools, children were also being placed in closed adoptions with non-Indian families in North America.
Finding those children became a mission for award-winning Native American journalist-adoptee Trace A. DeMeyer who started research in 2004 which culminated in her memoir “One Small Sacrifice” in 2010. DeMeyer was introduced to Cherokee adoptee Patricia Cotter-Busbee, and the collaborated on their new anthology, “TWO WORLDS: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects.” The book hits Amazon and Kindle in September. (ISBN: 978-1479318285, Price: $19.95 (PAPERBACK), $6.99 (EBOOK).
“Readers will be astonished since these narratives document a page of North American history that few even know happened,” DeMeyer said. “Today tribal families hope to reconnect with adoptees but we know closed adoptions were planned to assimilate children, to erase their culture and end contact with their tribe. I started this project in 2008 after my memoir, then adoptees wrote to me. When I met Patricia in 2010, she shared her own amazing story and I knew she had to be part of this book.”
A recent MFA graduate of Goddard in writing, Patricia Cotter-Busbee welcomed the chance to contribute and help edit. “I could not resist helping with this important book. I felt that this was the project I had been waiting for. I kept thinking where are all these adult adoptees? I am an adoptee and know how badly I wanted to reconnect with my first families. If 1/4 of all Indian children were removed and placed in non-Indian adoptive homes, these adoptees must be looking for help, trying to open records and find clues to their identity. One study even found in sixteen states in 1969, 85 percentof the Indian children were placed in non-Indian homes. This book will help lost adoptees reconnect.”
The Lost Children in Two Worlds share details of their personal lives, their search for identity and their feelings about what happened to them.
“The history of the Indian Adoption Projects is troubling since it was unofficially ethnic cleansing by the US and Canadian governments, and this practice went on for years without public knowledge, but I am happy to report it failed because we are still here and still Indians; and this book explains how we adoptees did it,” DeMeyer said.
DeMeyer and Busbee agreed that “TWO WORLDS: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects” is an important contribution to American Indian history.
“Indigenous identity takes on a whole new meaning in this anthology,” Busbee said, “both for the adoptee and those who adopted them. Adoptees definitely live in two worlds and we show you how.”
The book covers the history of Indian child removals in North America, the adoption projects, their impact on Indian Country and how it impacts the adoptee and their families, Congressional testimony, quotes, news and several narratives from adoptees in the US and Canada in the 375-page anthology.
“Two Worlds is really the first book to debunk the billion dollar adoption industry that operated for years under the guise of caring for destitute Indigenous children,” DeMeyer said. “Readers will be astonished since very little is known or published on this history.”
DeMeyer lives in western Massachusetts and Busbee lives in Washington state.
For a copy of this press release online: visit Blue Hand Books at http://www.bluehandbooks.org
Photos available upon request.
Adoptees in this book are available for interviews.
Early reader comments included:
“…sometimes shocking, often an emotional read…this book is for individuals interested in the culture and history of the Native American Indian, but also on the reading lists of universities offering ethnic/culture/Native studies.”
“Well-researched and obviously a subject close to the heart of the authors/compilers, I found the extent of what can only be described as ‘child-snatching’ from the Native Americans quite staggering. It’s not something I was aware of before…”
“The individual pieces are open and honest and give a good insight into the turmoil of dislocation from family and tribe… I think it does have value and a story to tell. I was affected by the stories I read, and amazed by the facts presented…. because it is saying something new, interesting and often astonishing.”