Ireland’s ‘house of tears’ | Origins Canada | 60s Scoop | One Small Sacrifice | and my thanks

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(excerpt) Some of the children – the cute ones, says Ms. Corless – were adopted at a price in North America, often without their mothers’ consent. John P. Rodgers, a survivor of St. Mary’s and an author who wrote a memoir about his experience, For the Love of My Mother, now being developed as a Hollywood film script, believes that the available photographs of the home were part of a marketing ploy. “These beautiful photographs of nuns in religious garb taking care of the children with chubby cheeks, white ankle socks and shoes, neat dress, it’s a real film shot. I realized that was a staged photograph,” he says in an interview.

The nuns would send letters to families describing little girls and boys they had available. “One report of an Irish health department in 2012 suggested that perhaps 1,000 children were trafficked from the Tuam institution alone,” Prof. Smith says.

Will there be a TRUTH COMMISSION in IRELAND too?

A harrowing discovery in Ireland casts light on the Catholic Church’s history of abusing unwed mothers and their babies – and emboldened survivors to demand accountability…

But the reality was horrific. They were homes of abuse and neglect; places of forced confinement for the mothers and where babies were allowed to die – murdered, in effect. Kevin Higgins, a lawyer familiar with the issue, says the deaths were “at least manslaughter.” One Irish newspaper has called the scandal “our little Holocaust.”

The reason for the homes was simple and rarely questioned at the time. The mothers were unwed; their children often called “devil’s spawn.” Set up by the government and run by Catholic religious orders, the mother and baby homes were part of a system to deal with the perceived shame of “illegitimate” children and the women who bore them.  …The rest, 796 infants and toddlers, she believed, were in a mass grave in an area of low-cost housing, built on the former grounds of St. Mary’s by Galway County Council.

READ: Ireland’s ‘house of tears’: Why Tuam’s survivors want justice for lost and abused children – The Globe and Mail

*** Has this scandal gone Global?

Many Canadians are unaware that in the immediate postwar decades, federal and provincial governments funded “Homes for Unwed Mothers” in every Canadian province. Over 300,000 unmarried mothers were systematically separated from their babies during this period.  Mothers report verbal, physical, psychological, and sexual abuse in these homes, and the Canadian government has so far done nothing to acknowledge these wrongs.  Origins Canada advocates for a Committee to Investigate such as the one held in Australia to uncover the illegal, unethical and human rights abuses in adoption policies and practices in both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous contexts. This type of inquiry may serve to validate the lifelong psychological and intergenerational damage to families by draconian adoption policies and practices, and to provide mental health and healing services to those denied them so many years ago.  – Valerie Andrews, Executive Director Origins Canada: Supporting Those Separated by Adoption

******** DECLINING International Adoptions

Americans adopted around 5,370 children from other countries in fiscal year 2016. For the first time, males outnumbered females among adoptees from abroad.

Source: International adoptions to U.S. declined in 2016 | Pew Research Center






The $800-million proposed agreement with Sixties Scoop survivors that was announced by the Canadian government isn’t the first aiming to compensate Indigenous people for historical wrongs. (Top photo)

READ: Sixties Scoop settlement the latest involving Canadian Indigenous people – Canada – CBC News


And I thought I’d share some of my own experience being an adoptee.

2nd Edition on Kindle and Amazon

Stop a moment.  Who are you?

Stop and think about…  Have you ever considered that an adoptee doesn’t know who they are …?

Placed as a baby, decisions were made for me and my life in a Wisconsin courtroom in 1957. At age 22, in 1978, I went back to that courtroom and found a judge who luckily remembered my adoption and I asked for his help.

Many still do not appreciate or know how difficult it is to find out (WHO YOU ARE) after a sealed closed adoption. Those who don’t experience being adopted have little comparison, comprehension or compassion for its complexities, or what life is like in legal limbo.

I’m a Split Feather, a Lost Bird, an adoptee with Native American ancestry. I know this because I opened my adoption. I wanted to know my name, and why my parents gave me up, or had they abandoned me.

I wanted the truth, good, bad, both. I wanted what you what – ancestors, names, places.

Truly it was like being trapped in two worlds… (After my memoir came we did Two Worlds: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects) – now living with two sets of parents and two last names; life gets fuzzy between truth and fiction.  As a young adult adoptee, it was pure nonsense having to accept “this was done in your best interest.”  Clearly that wasn’t enough information to build a life on.  I needed more.  I needed my own medical information, I told the kind judge.

To get to the truth was all uphill. Years of uphill. Laws made it illegal for me to look or know my own name.  (How strange and confusing all this was.)

The tragedy was I felt like a lost-and-found item in a department store. Unclaimed, some strangers came in, spotted me and said “I’ll take that one.” As their child, I became invisible, unidentifiable, and perfectly suited to blend in with all the other Americans.  (But I didn’t ask for this.)

The agency Catholic Charities handled me (the newborn) and sealed my fate.  My identity and my mother’s identity would remain a secret, papal leaders decreed. (It’s still happening –  records are legally changed and locked up!)

It would take years before I could rightfully claim my identity and know what happened that I happened.

Because adoption records were locked by Wisconsin law, my decision to know who I am involved risk.  Not only would this test my courage, it could get me locked up.

It also meant I’d face the fear of my birthmother rejecting me a second time.

My memoir One Small Sacrifice tells the entire story of how I went from one of the Stolen Generations to now, today… (I was using my adoptee name when I wrote it in 2004. I legally changed my name in 2015 to Trace Lara Hentz. More INFO)

As for any settlement, the USA has not issued an apology or any settlement for the Indian Adoption Projects or ARENA (a program that moved children from Canada to the US and vice versa.) I helped to write and publish a book series so one day, some day, we will have this history to use in the courts.

************************************** AND ONE MORE THING

a little cyber ghost treat that looks good!

I really want you to know that your blogs are so good, my words are insufficient.  I often read HOURS because of you all on wordpress. We are our own community of souls putting good thoughts and ideas out there into the blogosphere. Your photography, your poetry, your reviews, your art, your writing, your books, your experiences fill me up (usually on Mondays!) I cannot thank you enough — all of you. XOX Lara/Trace

800 Babies in a Mass Grave – a Re-Post/Update

From my friend Toritto:

On June 2, 2014 I posted the below article concerning an Irish historian’s claim that hundreds of dead babies were to be found on the grounds of a “home” for unwed mothers run by …

PLEASE READ: 800 Babies in a Mass Grave – a Re-Post/Update

It’s Friday and a good day to cry my eyes out… Lara/Trace

Ireland coverage

Much-needed Critical Thinking on Adoption #NAAM2016

Despite all evidence to the contrary we still think this is simply a “war of words”; a simple changing of minds. It’s not. The “adopter narrative” is morphing and adapting in order to silence us; it is stealing the power of our words and the weight of our tropes in order to render us harmless and pointless. And the correct response is not just more words, but, at long last, union; and beyond that, words that form a framework for praxis; for action. When all is said and done, when our silly hashtags are forgotten on the dustheap of history, there will be an accounting of our accomplishments, and how successful we were in “scripting the flip”; in paving the way for a revolution of all those displaced, dispossessed, and disinherited. For it begs the question: if not now, when, exactly, do we see this happening? – Daniel Ibn Zayd

  1. “Racism, Class, and Adoption” []
  2. “More excerpts from Single White Mother” [] read the comments too

Last Real Indians: The Missionary is Back – American Indian Adoptees

The Missionary is Back: Or Perhaps They Never … – Last Real Indians

Starved into submission #Food Insecurity … – Last Real Indians

Trace Lara Hentz (DeMeyer) (Shawnee/Cherokee/Euro) is the author of One Small Sacrifice and the book series Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects.

The Traffickers: US Pro-Adoption Lobby #NAAM2016

Fusion’s newest investigative series: The Whistleblower from The Netherlands…

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An exclusive first look at Fusion’s newest investigative series, ‘The Traffickers’
By Fusion | November 3, 2016

From Asia to Africa and beyond, journalist Nelufar Hedayat goes under the radar tracking down black markets in Fusion’s newest series, The Traffickers, to learn how guns, babies, even human organs are bought, moved, and sold to the highest bidder.

In this exclusive look at the first episode, Nelufar begins her journey in America, which adopts more children from overseas than all other countries in the world put together. But ominous forces lurk beneath many of these joyful unions.


The Traffickers airs Sundays at 10 PM on Fusion.



Baby Farm?

Cops bust ‘baby farm’ where you can buy an infant for $1,400

By Tom Towers, The Sun | April 19, 2016

Babies sleep in a maternity ward at a hospital in Agartala, India, on July 11, 2014.Photo: Getty Images



A hospital is persuading women who want to terminate their pregnancies to have the babies so it can sell them for $1,400 each to childless couples.

The shocking “baby farm” has been exposed at the 30-bed Palash Hospital in the Gwailor district of India. Two of the sold babies have since been rescued by police.

Prateek Kumar, from the ASP crime branch, told Times of India: “Three others have been sold to childless couples in Uttar Pradesh and Chattisgarh.”

Hospital manager Arun Bhadoria was arrested and claimed that agents in the Chambal region fetched girls with unwanted pregnancies. An investigation was launched when he could not give the whereabouts of two babies born in the hospital.

In total, five people have been charged with slavery crimes.

Child Trafficking (again)

Child slavery: Rich Brits buying children who survived the Nepalese earthquake for £5,000

Nepal earthquake aerial photosChildren left devastated by the earthquake in Nepal in 2015 have been preyed upon by slave traders Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

Wealthy British families are buying children left devastated by last year’s earthquake in Nepal to work as domestic slaves. The children – who are as young as 10 – are being sold for as little as £5,250 (Rs 500,000, $7,468) by black market gangs operating in India’s Punjab region, according to an investigation by The Sun.

The gangs are targeting the children of Nepalese refugees and poor Indian families, the probe by the newspaper’s undercover team revealed. Slave trader Makkhan Singh told a reporter that the children are obtained by approaching their destitute parents to “do a deal.”

“I can supply the boy. But as to taking him into the UK and the documents you will need, that’s your responsibility,” Singh added. “We have supplied boys who have actually gone on to the UK. What you do with him’s up to you.”

Singh revealed that he usually wraps up a deal within 10 minutes and said: “Take a Nepalese to England. They are good people. They are good at doing housework and they’re very good cooks. No one is going to come after you.”

A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake in the Himalayan nation in April 2015 unleashed a wave of horror, killing nearly 9,000 people and leaving millions in need of aid. Buildings including historic temples and monuments were badly damaged, forcing people to live in makeshift camps as they were too afraid to stay inside.

The Sun’s reporter was taken by Singh to meet the children facing a life of servitude, including 10-year-old Amit, 12-year-old Pooja and 13-year-old Susti Ram. Singh said that he had been trading children for eight years and insisted on doing the deal first. “You’re not taking them straight to England,” he said. “You don’t need the documents straight away. We know plenty of people who can do the documents. We’ve got a good network.”

The damning news prompted a quick response from the Home Secretary, who called child trafficking a “truly abhorrent crime” and called on the National Crime Agency (NCA) to look into the claims. “No child, anywhere in the world, should be taken away from their home and forced to work in slavery,” said Theresa May.

“That is why we introduced the landmark Modern Slavery Act last year, which included enhanced protections for potential child victims of slavery and sentences up to life imprisonment for those found guilty.

“We encourage The Sun to share its disturbing findings with the Police and National Crime Agency so that appropriate action can be taken against the vile criminals who profit from this trade.”

Speaking to Sky News, an NCA spokeswoman said: “The NCA works with partners in the UK and internationally to identify and pursue criminals and to safeguard both child and adult victims.

“The hidden nature of human trafficking means that it often goes unreported. Anyone who suspects it should report their concerns to law enforcement,” she added.

The Dominican children given up to Quebec’s ‘adoption machine’

At least 200 children Dominican were separated from their families in the 1980s. It wasn’t because of a famine, a hurricane or an earthquake, but because of an incredibly effective network of Quebec missionaries and adoptive parents

Rosa and Miguel Ramirez with a portrait of their son.

Rosa and Miguel Ramirez with a portrait of their son.

By: Isabelle Hackey La Presse, Published on Sep 21 2015

HATO MAYOR DEL REY, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC—Miguel and Rosa Ramirez’s shack is located at the end of an isolated road in the interior of the Dominican Republic. It is far away from the scenes found on postcards, in the middle of nowhere. A piece of plywood is nailed to the narrow facade of the shack. Miguel has scribbled an address in a ballpoint pen. It’s a rough address, but enough to know that it is one in Quebec.

It is that of his lost son — one among many.

At least 200 children were separated from their families in the 1980s, and they came from this region in the southeast of the country. It wasn’t because of a famine, a hurricane or an earthquake, but because of an incredibly effective “adoption machine” that was put in place by a network of Quebec missionaries and adoptive parents.

In a region of 40,000 people, 200 children within a few years is a considerable number given that they weren’t orphans. Their parents, all very poor, didn’t necessarily understand all that an international adoption implied. In many cases, they were lured with the promise that their children — once they had received an education and become wealthy — would come back to save them from their misery.

In reality, that never occurred.

Miguel and Rosa Ramirez had five children. The youngest was very weak. His stomach was infested with parasites that put his life at risk, his Dominican doctor concluded. At two years old, the child ate next to nothing, as if his body was incapable of absorbing food. The medical treatments were expensive, and Miguel and Rosa didn’t have the money to pay for them.

The couple was visited by a missionary and by Luce Pelletier, an adoptive mother who was organizing adoptions and who would soon become the director of the Quebec adoption agency Monde-Enfant.

“She promised us that in Canada our son would receive the treatments he needed,” Miguel recalled. “She told us that he would surely come back to visit within a couple of years.”

Miguel and Rosa left the meeting convinced. They gave up their youngest son, persuaded that he would have otherwise soon be dead.

In Quebec, the pediatricians could find no evidence of intestinal parasites, according to the boy’s adoptive father.

“The platelets they used at the Dominican hospital may have been contaminated or else there was a mix-up in the medical reports,” he said.

In any event, the child was in bad shape.

Miguel and Rosa’s story was repeated hundreds of times in the region of Hato Mayor. Jean Lacaille, the Quebec missionary at the heart of this wave of adoptions, now admits that he was actively looking for “people that had a large family and with a sick child” to fill the desires of Quebecers who wanted to become parents.

Such targeting of families that were poor and might be willing to give up their child for adoption was legal in the 1980s in the Dominican Republic.  Today, however, such methods would be considered to be human trafficking under national laws that are much more strict.

Father Lacaille, like other missionaries and actors involved at the time, said that he was acting in good faith. But faced with a growing demand, he lost control.

“It snowballed. And even if we were in the Dominican Republic, the snowball grew pretty fast,” he admits.

Father Lacaille recognizes that his goal was not so much to save Dominican babies but to “offer a service” to Quebecers in search of children who contacted him over several years, starting in 1978.

The couples came from all corners of Quebec, from Sherbrooke to Abitibi and Sept-Iles. When Luce Pelletier brought her son Miguel to Quebec in the fall of 1982, there were at least six other children with them aboard the airplane. The adoptive father, who spoke on the condition that he not be identified, confided that he felt ill at ease to see so many children getting off the airplane at the same time.

“It became an adoption machine,” admits Yves Bécotte, former chairman of the board of Monde-Enfant. He explained that Luce Pelletier “walked through the villages” to in search of families “in such a way that the number of children that were adopted from the region of Hato Mayor doubled or tripled. It was a lot for a little organization that didn’t even have an orphanage.”

To stop the machine, Yves Bécotte fired Luce Pelletier, who is now deceased. The decision was a welcome relief to those responsible for the adoptions in Hato Mayor, who nonetheless profited from this small local industry, according to Bécotte.

“She was relieved because she was always walking a tight rope. There are official orphanages there and to go and look for children from families is like bypassing the orphanages,” he said.

Miguel Ramirez remembers the rumours that circulated about the market for children in Hato Mayor. But nobody offered him any money for his baby, he swears. All of the biological parents interviewed in the course of this investigation insisted on the fact that they had not sold their child.

That being said, many families “were waiting for the moment when they would have helped, but that wasn’t a condition,” said Father Lacaille.

“We told them, ‘When the children are older they will have great advantages compared to here . . . and that their parents will probably help them.’ But we tried as much as possible to avoid making it sound like a sale.”

Three decades later, Jean Lacaille continues to believe in this model of “open” adoption to preserve the links between the child and the biological family, even if this model has long since been discredited all around the world. Even if this type of adoption is now completely illegal in the Dominican Republic.

The country only authorizes adoptions where the links between the child and the biological family have been severed. Since the new rules were enacted, there has been only a trickle of children leaving the country. Only 17 foreign adoptions occurred in 2013.

Miguel Ramirez admits that for the first few years after the adoption of his son, the adoptive parents sent him a bit of money that allowed his other children to go to school. But little by little that source dried up.

Today, regrets eat away at the old man. While he tells his story, bitter tears fall into the deep wrinkles that cross his cheeks.

Rosa listens to her husband and nods her head. She speaks little. Her slanted eyebrows give her face a permanent sadness. Sitting on the porch, she holds a fading portrait of her Canadian son. It is all that remains since a hurricane took their old home — that and the fragment of an address on a piece of plywood.

Child trafficking: what are we really talking about?

The moral panic over child trafficking detracts from important questions about children and childhood, the state, and immigration. We worry about child trafficking, but what exactly is it?

A Syrian family proceeds north to Serbia from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in August 2015. Stephen Ryan for the IFRC/Flickr. Creative Commons.
 Child trafficking generates great anxiety amongst professionals, parents, and the general public. It is simply an abhorrent idea: how could adults buy and sell vulnerable children? Extensive effort has thus been put into combatting the practice. In the UK, local authorities have drafted guidelines for identifying and working with trafficked children, and child trafficking units have been established across many counties in the country. These and other efforts might suggest that we are faced with a severe and growing problem; a child trafficking epidemic that demands increasing attention and resources. But is that really so? What is the extent of the problem, and indeed, when authorities talk about child trafficking, what do they actually mean? Scrutiny of the policy discourse and available evidence shows that often a very different reality exists than the image of ‘trafficking’ shown to the public.Child trafficking, according to the UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), is when children are recruited, moved or transported, and then exploited, forced to work or sold. They are often subject to multiple forms of exploitation. Children are trafficked for: child sexual exploitation, benefit fraud, forced marriage, domestic servitude such as cleaning, childcare, cooking, forced labour in factories or agriculture, criminal activity such as pickpocketing, begging, transporting drugs, working on cannabis farms, selling pirated DVDs, and bag theft. It is often asserted that many children are trafficked into the UK from abroad, though children are also said to be trafficked from one part of the UK to another. Figures from the UK National Crime Agency’s third annual Strategic Assessment of the Nature and Scale of Human Trafficking in 2013 (released in September 2014) estimated that of the 2,744 people identified as potential victims of trafficking, 602 were children; an increase of 22 percent from 2012.

All of these numbers might suggest that the phenomenon is indeed on the ascendency, although closer attention to the data reveals that those identified were potential victims rather than actual victims of child / human trafficking. This, alone, should give major pause for thought.

A challenge faced by those seeking to count victims of trafficking lies in the rather woolly definition and idea of trafficking itself. The supposed clarity offered by the NSPCC definition—itself taken from the Palermo Protocol, 2000—often falls apart in practice because it is often very difficult to identify what should be included (and excluded) when we talk about child trafficking. According to the definition, movement or mobility is necessary for trafficking to have taken place (child A is moved from location X to location Y). But is movement of children necessarily harmful? Clearly not, as demonstrated by the ‘mom’s taxi’ phenomenon that is experienced by middle-class children across the world as they are ferried from one supposedly socially-enhancing activity to another. So it’s not actually the movement of children across spaces that’s concerning. Rather, it’s what happens to children during and after the journey.

What if a child’s life is awful before the journey? For example, when a child from a war-torn country moves or is sent by parents to be brought up by friends or relatives elsewhere. Does this constitute child trafficking? In practice, different agencies (governmental and NGO) have defined child trafficking so loosely that almost any form of movement involving a child can end up being described as ‘child trafficking’. Some reports include adoption, fostering, and children going missing from care within their working definitions of trafficking; others include children placed illegally in children’s homes. This lack of consistency means that it is often impossible to know not only what the problem is, but also if it is getting worse, better, or remaining roughly consistent over time.

The second definitional problem relates to the idea of the child itself. What do we include (and exclude) in our definition of a child? Are we talking about children up to the age of 16 (the school-leaving age and legal age of sexual consent in the UK), or 18, or perhaps even 21 years, as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child suggests? Not only does the lack of agreement make giving accurate numbers on child trafficking (if we can neatly pin this down) across the world an exercise in futility, but also the issue throws into sharp relief contested ideas about young people and sex. When is a young person able to understand and consent to their movement regardless of what the outcome of is movement is, and when do they need protection from it? Different perspectives across countries and over time suggest, again, that there is no way of knowing whether this is a problem that is worsening, improving, or staying that same.

What else is going on here?

It is right that children and young people (wherever they come from) should be protected from harm, but the current scare about child trafficking might best be seen as an example of moral panic. Moral panics exaggerate issues of genuine concern. In doing so, they draw attention away from other important social issues and contribute to wider societal fear. They are not, as Jock Young argued in 2009, one-off disturbances. They reappear in connection with shifts in the wider social order. As my colleagues and I have written elsewhere, the idea of child trafficking is an old concern that first appeared in the late nineteenth century, another time of widespread social anxiety. At that time, concern about the ‘white slave trade’ focused on the (mistaken) idea that young women were being seduced in large numbers and transported to brothels in Europe.

The re-appearance of child trafficking as a social issue today connects with wider concerns about immigration and asylum seekers, children and childhood, as well as the police and social services. It speaks to the language of moral outrage: “how could we let this happen?” It speaks to a feeling of loss; to the notion that childhood has been somehow ‘lost’ or ‘stolen’, and is ‘in crisis’. And it speaks to a widespread sense that the world is increasingly out of control; that ‘something must be done’. In particular, it helps to fuel further anxiety about a supposed widespread practice of ‘modern slavery’; in this case the enslavement of children torn away from the protection of their family, with no regard for the circumstances from which the child has moved or is being moved.

The outcome of this moral panic is that our sights are taken away from more pressing concerns faced by children deemed to have been trafficked. It is far easier to label a child as a victim of trafficking than to argue that he or she is a victim of wider socio-political and economic harms, and that these need to be addressed. Thus we condone highly illiberal and repressive immigration policies that scapegoat and stigmatise both adults and children in the name of protecting children from being trafficked across borders. We also contribute to the increasing surveillance of children and young people, whose lives are evermore regulated and managed in the name of child ‘protection’. Rather than panicking about child trafficking, I suggest that the interests of children and young people would be better served by more compassionate welfare and immigration policies that give support to their families, and by the provision of mainstream youth services that allow them to enjoy their childhoods without constant scrutiny and supervision.

An earlier version of this was published in 2008. SOURCE

My definition of trafficking is closed adoption and its victim, the adoptee, loses their identity, family and name. For that reason we need to Abolish Adoption NOW.


The New Abolition: Ending Adoption in Our Time via @sharethis

— http:LaraTraceHentz (@Trace15) October 20, 2015