2016: Time to Rev Up

By Lara Trace

It’s good to be home and I’m revved up to resume a weekly schedule of blog posts. (I missed you guys [I really did] but I was reading your inspiring bad-ass blogs!) (for some weird reason I stopped getting email notice of your new posts – um, still working to fix that.)

I do hope you all made good memories this past month or so…

We traveled to Philadelphia PA twice and had a great time babysitting our youngest grandgirl (she’s a one-year-old) and of course we watched Sesame Street. We didn’t have many shows when I was a tiny kid like her, other than Captain Kanagroo. Remember him?

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Each week I may give you some of what I have been reading and these stories are truly worth a read!

Method Homes home design CREDIT Method Homes

Melissa’s story – Make It Right. It’s a Brad Pitt Project and it’s REALLY GOOD!

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How the Federal Government Continues To Victimize American Indians (no big surprise!)

…”Upfront I will stipulate that the treatment of the American Indian by the federal government has been nothing less than an egregious nightmare. It is a case study in progressive paternalism that has enriched a small coterie of privileged contractors, provided a bevy of bureaucrats with job security and self-importance, and reduced the American Indian population still living on reservations to a dystopic and nightmarish existence.

The Indian schools, at least in some areas, face challenges most public schools don’t face.  The Indian bureaucracy, BIA and BIE represent the very worst impulses of government: big, unwieldy, unresponsive to citizens, slavish to big contractors and the powerful, uncaring, and casually cruel. Where the BIA merely steals from today, the BIE steals the future. It is a national shame that this situation is allowed to persist.”

READ

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Aging out of Foster Care:

Photographer Aaron Fallon shared an idea with seven other professional photographers in Los Angeles. Together, the group collaborated while donating their efforts to a three-year project that will move and inspire you. In today’s Huffington Post Gay Voices RaiseAChild.US “Let Love Define Family®” series installment, RaiseAChild. US founder and CEO Rich Valenza interviews the group that now calls themselves the Image Hoarders about their recently published book called “Aging Out.”  READ

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1976: Government admits forced sterilization of Indian Women

A study by the U.S. General Accounting Office finds that 4 of the 12 Indian Health Service regions sterilized 3,406 American Indian women without their permission between 1973 and 1976.  The GAO finds that 36 women under age 21 had been forcibly sterilized during this period despite a court-ordered moratorium on sterilizations of women younger than 21.  Two years earlier, an independent study by Dr. Connie Pinkerton-Uri, Choctaw/Cherokee, found that one in four American Indian women had been sterilized without her consent.  Pinkerton-Uri’s research indicated that the Indian Health Service had “singled out full-blooded Indian women for sterilization procedures.” SOURCE

and watch this horror story :

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sheepRacism, Class and Adoption

An Oldie but Goodie from my friend (who I call a Thought Leader on Adoption) :

“…The mother in question has published her own book, which promotes itself as a “guidebook” for white adoptive parents of black children. Whatever her intentions, wherever her heart may lie, this should, in and of itself, set off a million alarms.” via Racism, Class and Adoption.

“…For starters is the myth that adoptive parents have some kind of unique agency and free will outside of the society in which they acculturate the children temporarily in their care. By this I mean to say that adoption, as an institution born of and reflecting its roots in indentured servitude, racism, and class warfare, does not suddenly “shift” into a tragedy based on the adoptive parent’s “awakening”. It is a tragedy, and a criminal one at that, from the start…”

“Something much more sinister is transpiring, and this shows up how unequal our words are when spoken on corporate-sponsored platforms equally bent on painting a Happy Gotcha Day for all involved…”

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…

(the power of propaganda is immense when it comes to the trafficking of children for profit…)

READ HIS ESSAY: The New Adopter Narrative: https://danielibnzayd.wordpress.com/2015/12/15/on-the-new-adopter-narratives/

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pass-system-card-1Another Dark Secret: The Pass System

Filmmaker Alex Williams decided to dig into this dark chapter in Canadian history for his first documentary, The Pass System.

Williams said the pass system came into effect after the North-West Rebellion in 1885.

“It was an illegal… system that was put in place as a temporary ‘security measure’ after the events of 1885 that stuck around for over 60 years,” he said.

“Its intent was, in the words of one historian, to keep [Indigenous] people out of the towns and cities.”

READ The pass system: another dark secret in Canadian history | Warrior Publications.

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AMAZING FIND!

Dr. Amy Helen Bell:  Recently my excellent colleague Tom Peace and I found out that among these rich sources are dozens of rare prayer and hymn books in Indigenous languages, written and used by both European and Indigenous scholars, missionaries and priests. The Diocese Archives also holds personnel files on six Indigenous men who graduated from the Theological College in the nineteenth-century and went on to work in churches and parishes in both indigenous and settler communities. And exposing the darker side of the Christianizing mission, the archive also holds some records of the Mohawk Institute, a residential school run by the Anglican Church in nearby Brantford. Along with hundreds of other punitive institutions, the school sought to assimilate Aboriginal children into Euro-Canadian culture in a process the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has described as “cultural genocide.” And nobody at Huron has ever looked at these sources.

Source: Rare Books and Reconciliation – Dr Amy Helen Bell

 

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favorite words?The MIX e-magazine is up and running for its second year.  Go take a read!  Send us some writing on your mixed ancestry and ethnicity! Carol Hand and I are expecting more writers in 2016… The topic is timely and important – we are all related – really truly we are –  INFO

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And if you missed this post, it’s one of my MOST popular – about HEALING HERE – it doesn’t surprise me we ALL want healing in this crazy world!

I am working on a brand new anthology STOLEN GENERATIONS with first person narratives of First Nations and American Indian adoptees in 2016 – should be out in April 2016. It’s the fourth book in this series on Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects and I am so excited to have many new adoptees in this book!

I’ll be back with MORE of everything soon … Happy New Year! xoxoxoxoxox

[I have a page on Facebook – posts will be here]

 

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On rethinking Lebanese origins #adoption #DNA

Daniel writes:

I’ve said it often, but it bears repeating: Every day I think I’ve reached the bottom of the abyss in terms of what adoption represents; every day that abyss opens up, and I find myself in freefall yet again.

…Our DNA, along with pure reason and logic, points in a direction antipodal to that of “nation-state” and “national identity”. If we think about it for two seconds, we can readily admit the offense of identifying with those who wanted to be rid of us. This is the flip side of the racism we might be fleeing from our places of acculturation; but it is no more valid for seeming to validate us. As hard as this might be for us to do, it seems now vital to me that we shed the very thing we might hold most dear as we consider return and reunion.

Source: On rethinking Lebanese origins.

 

Read an earlier review I did with Daniel here

 

Daniel and I contributed to the anthology Adoptionland

@TheAtlantic and #Adoption Discussions

This is in response to the “call for replies” to a recent article in The Atlantic. This type of “false equality” in terms of discussion leaves out certain basic premises that cannot be so easily overlooked.

There are some huge glaring problems inherent to the discussion on adoption as you are positing it. Primary among them is the mythology dating only from the 1950s that adoption is about family creation. The history of adoption is one of social engineering, deracination, extirpation, dispossession, displacement, and disinheritance. In this light, to speak of the adoptee as having “issues” is to gloss over what is truly being manifested: A healthy resistance against an alien and alienating society that has seen fit to destroy not only the adoptee, but her family and community as well. Because the audience of The Atlantic is made up of those in the adoptive class, reading between the lines of this story gives us a different take that might go as follows: “You, the adopting parents, are not responsible for the failure of your children.”

That this maps on to every loathsome trope of “feral children”, failed blank slates, reverting to form, degenerate DNA, “bad seeds”, etc. ad infinitum and then some should give us great pause. It was Charles Loring Brace who, as the founder of the Children’s Aid Society, and describing the children who would be sold as chattel into indentured servitude via the Orphan Trains, referred to these “orphans” as “street Arabs” of “the dangerous classes”. The vestigial aspects of adoption practice thus carry forward and taint anything done in its name. It’s time for the adoptive classes to right the societal inequalities that allowed them to adopt in the first place. Anything else is just so much running in circles. Adoptees, as well as our original families and communities, are growing increasingly tired of listening to discussions that so willfully and balefully miss the point.

Source: @TheAtlantic and #Adoption Discussions

On adoption activism.

as someone who is also “defogged” – please read this – written so eloquently

Daniel Drennan ElAwar

What is the future of adoption activism? What should be the focus of those who advocate for adoptee rights, the rights of children to know their origins, the rights of such children’s parents to maintain or re-establish filiation? It seems to me that much of the the focus over the last decade that I’ve been “defogged” has been on the psychological effects of those “touched” by the “adoption triad”. By this I mean to say much energy has been spent in trying to teach everyone how to “deal with” what has happened to us, and, in this way, to tacitly accept what has happened as being valid but, more importantly, inarguable. This reveals our status quo, as well as a power differential that demands that adoption be accepted as a valid, beneficent, and useful tool of family creation if not charity.

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Bitter? Adoptees? Beirut Diary

SOURCE: http://danielibnzayd.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/anti-adoption-month-30-answers-to-30-questions/

When/why did the word “bitter” get associated with non-compliant adoptees?


Answer: The mentality on display that refers to us as “bitter” does so for cultural as well as political reasons: it is reflective of a culture that tends to victimize those who are down, while maintaining a hypocritical false victim status for itself.

For example, it is the same tactic that claims “reverse racism” as used against those who are for affirmative action, or by the current “tea party”, which claims oppression by a “king”—the president—when they are of the class who not only profit from others’ misery, but can afford health care in this country. You cannot be of the dominant discourse and claim oppression from those whom you yourself oppress; you cannot be on top and claim to be on bottom.

To reflect on is that this expressed self-righteous indignation is not any more valid than those of adoptees, simply because everything, but everything within the dominant discourse, from the media, to non-profit organizations and the government, etc. all support unequivocally the idea that adoption is valid, that adoption is desired, and that adoption should not be challenged. This reveals what we are up against.

Furthermore, this is not a balanced equation in terms of two sides of a debate. On the one hand, you have a dominant discourse of those who hold, wield, and control legal, social, medical, and financial power, as well as their tools of discourse, such as media, legal decisions, etc. Those of us who go up against this discourse can be termed resistant to it, and there is a long history of those who resist the dominant discourse as concerns their eventual fate: They are slated for silencing, and hopefully, to the majority culture, for eventual disbandment if not destruction. The accusations we are receiving are the first steps in this process, which will only escalate.

The question that naturally comes to mind when I hear this from someone who supports adoption is “where is your empathy now? Where is your great big heart now?” I am that adopted child you pretend to care so much about. I am that adoptee that you claim to have done so much for, who asks only for understanding as to the violence of adoption, and the validity of my side of the story—it isn’t too much to ask, and there are many adoptive parents who in secret understand, but dare not speak out because of the same silencing we receive. I would love to hear from them here.

For why should it be valid for someone of this dominant discourse to parade their angst at not having a child, and carry on about needing to “fill the hole” that they see as missing in their lives? Why is it okay for them to have Internet forums, and episodes on Oprah, and celebrity icons going back to Joan Crawford, and generally the understanding if not outright sympathy of the entirety of this society? They litter the Internet with their repugnant “Dear Birth mother” web sites that are scandalous in their making public something which should not only be private, but should not be happening in a just and egalitarian society. Vultures have more candor and sympathy than this.

On the other hand, those who are adopted, or who are convinced to give up their children and who later feel angst about it (to put it quite mildly), and who also only wish to “fill the hole” that they see as missing in their lives, are then castigated in the harshest terms as ungrateful, and spiteful, and bitter. Why does no one say to infertile couples: “Get over it?” Why does no one say to those without children “THIS is God’s plan for you, not adoption”? Who, may I ask at long last, are truly the bitter individuals?

But not to worry. The accusation takes such a high-handed tone because deep down the injustice of adoption is obvious, as all societal injustices have been before attempts to overcome them. Those who speak out against it are on the right side of history. The truth is on our side, and the truth will out.


Reference: The Wretched of the Earth1, by Frantz Fanon.

Debate Tactic: Today’s reference comes from Frantz Fanon, a psychiatrist from Martinique who was active in the Algerian revolution. In his discussion of the “colonized mind” and the tactics of the colonizer, he makes comparison to adoptees “who only stop investigating the new family framework at the moment when a minimum nucleus of security crystallizes in their psyche”. Here he reveals the tactic of silencing those who go up against the given power structure. His book reveals to us our common cause with others so displaced and dispossessed, as well as the counter-tactics of this engagement.


1 http://www.penguinclassics.co.uk/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780141186542,00.html

Anti-adoption month: 30 answers to 30 questions

 

Back in 2009, for the execrable “Adoption Month” (which now includes the heinous “Orphan Day”) I posted a series of “30 answers to 30 questions” concerning adoption. It was an attempt to circumvent the usual nonsense dumped on any adoptee who actually stands up and speaks his or her mind. You can find them at my Mediarama web site [link]; I’ll be porting them here one at a time over the coming month.

The questions listed out include:

  1. Do people who have been adopted blame others all their lives for their adoption?
  2. Can someone please tell me more about the darkside of adoption?
  3. When/why did the word “bitter” get associated with non-compliant adoptees?
  4. Why would someone think that Adoption erases a child’s identity?
  5. What do you anticipate your response will be if another family member/friend decides to adopt?
  6. What about the children? Is it better for a child to live in hell?
  7. Does anything anyone say about adoption hurt you anymore?
  8. [What do you think of this] “Gotcha Day” celebration?
  9. Should international adopters send the children back?
  10. Do you believe God has a play in infertility/fertility/adoption?
  11. Why is it common for infant-adoptive parents to be ridiculed?
  12. Have you felt in your life like you’re always searching for something?
  13. In adoption-speak, what difference between “from China” and “Chinese”?
  14. Should I write this letter to the child in my care’s mother?
  15. Wouldn’t you want Lebanese orphans to be saved like you?
  16. Why are people so against adoption here?
  17. Shouldn’t we praise those who disrupt their adoptions?
  18. What if I make every effort to help my child through their grief?
  19. Is there a difference between an adopted child and a “Western” child?
  20. Why don’t more people adopt?
  21. What can adoptive parents do to change things?
  22. What do you think of ex-patriate adoptions abroad?
  23. Reclaiming Adoption: Doesn’t it say to adopt in the Bible?
  24. Is it okay to not get U.S. citizenship for an internationally adopted child?
  25. What are you grateful for as an adoptee?
  26. Is there any value in an adoptee cultural camp?
  27. What does “adoptee” mean to you?
  28. What are you [adoptee] trying to accomplish on this blog?
  29. Isn’t it valid to compare adoption with a pregnancy?
  30. What is adoption if not oppression?

The point here was always to shift the debate from the personal to the economical and political. “Entitled opinion” of course exists where history is concerned, but at least changing the parameters of the discussion gets us away from the purely emotional, and the mythologies that take advantage of this.

 

Do click on the link and read his answers which are amazing! …Lara/Trace