Lost Birds on AlJazeera

Four adopted women seek out their Native American roots

For more than one hundred years, U.S. policies and practices separated Native American children from their families. Prior to 1978, when the Indian Child Welfare Act went into effect, Native American children were regularly plucked from their homes and sent to live with non-Natives. Some children grew up surrounded by love; others suffered enormous hardships. Many had a powerful desire to reconnect with the culture that they had lost.

In “Lost Birds,” we profile four adopted women who sought out their Native American roots. Click on the image below to read the stories of how each woman came to discover and connect with her true heritage.

Lost Birds, A Fault Lines Story

LINK:http://alj.am/1lE3sZT – I am honored they shared my story here along with friends Suzie, Julie and Diane… listen to each (by clicking the arrows) – I hope you all enjoy this, I sure did! …Lara/Trace

Birthing the new book #CALLEDHOME

coming soon to Amazon
On Amazon (June 26, 2014)

By Lara/Trace

Break out the cigars!  We have a new baby — the brand new anthology CALLED HOME [Book Two: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects].

Whew – it took way more than nine months to make this baby!

I do treat books like babies, giving them love and attention while they grow. Eventually I let the book go off and travel on its own.  It’s not hard to watch it travel to new hands and lands.

The 49 writers in this new anthology (plus one poet who is not an adoptee) didn’t spare us any details of what it was like growing up outside of their culture and trying to fit back in. They are not “angry bitter” but changed by their experience of being adopted outside their culture and tribal families. (Many were small children and separated from their siblings too. This is heartbreaking to read.) Finding your way back is usually the most challenging part, then come the reunions!  Generations of families were affected and adoption does change all of us. That is the dilemma: adoptees feel we don’t know enough to fit back in but we have to be back HOME to re-learn what we missed!

Writing personal experience actually heals you in many ways. The changes I have noticed in the writers in TWO WORLDS (up to now) is significant.  Each has grown more secure in themselves, most are still in reunions, and they have developed a unique voice as gifted writers! Some new adoptees had never been asked to share these personal details and for some, yes, writing was scary.

There is no shortage of talent in Native Americans, and these writers are from across North American (and one Lost Bird is from Ireland via Newfoundland and another is a LAKOTA living in Germany.) As much as I have changed in the past 10 years, you will see that clearly in the updates from Two World anthology adoptees in part two of CALLED HOME.

We cover topics like DNA tests, Baby Veronica (in depth), the movie PHILOMENA, Stolen Generations (60s Scoop history) and historical news like OPERATION PAPOOSE, one of Arnold Lyslo’s Indian Adoption Projects.

My husband was saying that the book press release needs to interest people who are not adopted. He said lots of people have difficulties being with their own family members. That is definitely true.

So is the question: will the general public care to know that thousands of American Indian and First Nations children were adopted out to white families prior to the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978??  Will they care not every adoption was magical or perfect?  Will they care that adoptees have opinions about their own experiences and the BABY V case which stunned many of us Lost Birds? Do Americans and others want to know what happened to the LOST BIRDS in this adoption history? That remains to be seen.

As a matter of record, every adoptee in CALLED HOME wanted to find and reunite with their tribal relatives. These are mini-biographies with twists and turns and so much courage!

Part Three, there is a section in the book for adoptees who are still searching and have been told that one or both birthparents are Native American.

They are all excellent essays, so I cannot begin to choose a favorite but Levi’s THE HOLOCAUST SELF will definitely stop you in your tracks. It applies to many humans who are marginalized, but especially Native Americans and adoptees in general.

Co-Editor Patricia Busbee’s introduction in the book is brilliant and heart-wrenching as she shares her reunion with siblings and shares pieces of the past in her adoptive mother’s diary.

Cynthia1970Here’s an excerpt from a new writer Cynthia Lammers (who has found she has 5 brothers and they are Lakota.)

…My case worker told me I had to write a letter to my birth mother, explaining why I wanted to know her. I did this and sent it to her. Then I had to do some legal paperwork for the State of Nebraska and pay $15 to have it processed. Then I later received a phone call from my case worker, telling me to come to Omaha on a certain date. That I was not to come alone, to have a friend or family member come with me. My best friend Susan went with me to Omaha. We had no idea what this was about to happen? Was I finally going to meet my birth mother? We arrived at the address that I was given at the time they told us to be there. We were at a College Campus, in a classroom, filled with about 50- 60 people, sitting at round tables with 6-8 people at each table. We ate lunch. Then a Native American man started the meeting with a prayer. Then several different Native men and woman got up to speak, each one telling a story about their lives. The strange thing was, almost every story was almost the same about how they grew up and who they grew up with. Native people growing up in white families. We were all adopted. We all had alcoholic mothers who couldn’t take care of us. We all felt lost at some point in our lives and maybe some of us still did. We all had questions about who we really were.   What was our Indian Culture or Heritage about, we didn’t know. Were we all related? Probably not, I thought to myself.   Then suddenly, it hit me, I turned and looked at my caseworker from the Children’s Home. She had tears running down her face. I said to her, “You have been lying to me all these years, haven’t you?” She began to cry. I began to cry. Once I got myself back together, I told her it probably wasn’t her fault, that she was just doing her job. She’d been telling me what she was told to tell me…”

I am honored to be in this anthology too.  The new book CALLED HOME (ISBN: 978-0692245880, $15.99) is on Amazon NOW. The e-book version will be on Kindle and all the e-readers in the next week or so.  We have a Media Blog here with a link to buy the book on Create Space or Amazon.

Help us get the word out and tell your friends. Patricia and I and all the adoptees in this book are available for interviews, too.

As I wrote in the Preface:

“For Lost Birds/adoptees coming after us, when they find this new book and the earlier anthology TWO WORLDS, adoptees themselves documented this history and evidence.  We have created a roadmap, a resource for new adoptees who will wish to journey back to their First Nations and understand exactly what happened and why.  There is no doubt in my mind that adoption changes us, clouds the mind and steals years of our lives, but there is something non-Indians can never steal and that is our dreams and the truth we are resilient!”

 

From my heart to yours, I am so grateful to be able to do this work.  Mitakuye Oyasin (We are All Related) and Megwetch (THANK YOU)….Trace/Lara

 

Facebook: CALLED HOME LOST CHILDREN (please click like if you visit)

MEDIA BLOG: http://lostchildrencalledhome.blogspot.com/ (lots more details there if you are interested!)

What influences you? Do adoptees recover?

moi
20s and still sick

As an adoptee friend likes to remind me, we can never wake up and not be adopted. It’s ongoing, it’s life long, and our relationships in reunion reflect that…– Laura Dennis, Adoption Reunion in the Age of Social Media LINK

 

By Lara/Trace

The simple fact I have two names on the blog header influences me greatly.  I’m an adoptee for life… I have no other choice.  I’ve slowly had to become “myself” and meld two names in my brain as the “old me” and the “new me.”

Is it all bad being a two/named adoptee? Heck no. I’d rather be living the truth than a lie. It’s probably more confusing to you readers who are not adopted.  I have reunited with both sides of my bloodline – my first family are no longer a mystery. My ancestry is a giant tree, blooming with branches of real names and real people.

Reminder to non-adopted people: Adoption REALLY hurts!  It’s not like you can snap your fingers and BOOM, you (the adoptee) are all better!  I worked on myself for years. Opening by adoption was just the beginning when I was 22.

If I were to go back in time and be myself in the 80s and 90s, I was not a happy girl.  (Plus I am really sad at how isolated I was.)  I was determined and destined to work out my kinks and fix (dare I say) my emotional disturbance.  I needed answers to fix that.  Back in the 70s, 80s and 90s I definitely knew I wasn’t well! I really knew. I was very sick emotionally!  The good part is I found help!  (The bad part is how therapy back then didn’t focus on being an adoptee…) Therapy was a tiny band-aid for a soul injury. Only TRUTH can heal that.

Being emotionally disturbed, my actions (or lack of actions) were hurting ME.  It was the adoption fog. I was not myself – I felt dead, flat, numb, confused, split.  I had to find my parents and find my identity – period.  Doing that was the hard part. (There was no easy part.)

I made choices then I would never make now.  With low self-esteem… I didn’t back away, or know how to defend myself.  I didn’t think I could. I didn’t trust anyone or myself!

Being adopted (for me at least) created a soul sickness, stress and anxiety. (And my not-so-nice OCD: obsessive compulsive disorder). (You can read One Small Sacrifice for that scary period of my OCD)

After many years I recovered.  This took more reading than writing, and of course talk therapy, though writing in a journal helped immensely.  I made safe boundaries for myself and finally walked away from sick people and toxic relationships. That took a very long time, believe me! I evolved slowly from victim to survivor! (You open your adoption and go into a reunion and find yourself slowly healing.)

History itself influences many adoptees like me and my Aussie friend Murray, a late discovery adoptee (LDA). It’s vital to understand how this mess of adoption started and what happened in history.  Murray posted about bastards and baby farms in his blog post: http://murraykerry.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/a-laymans-view-of-societal-attitudes-to.html – I will add that there is definitely a stigma to being an adoptee in the US but I will save that for a new post on this blog.

It’s true that I am not the same person I was when I wrote One Small Sacrifice either – that was Trace. That should tell you something about how much I have changed since 2012!

I am the point now where I don’t even want to write or talk about being adopted. It’s the past. I’m more Lara than Trace and it’s time to be happy! I am there. I am happy!  But I realize my hard-won happiness can serve as a lesson for other adoptees who are less fortunate than me.  There are plenty of adoptees who are just beginning their search, healing and putting the pieces together.  They need good examples of adoptees who have gone full circle and made the journey home!  I did it and know many others who did too!

If someone adopted asked me now how to recover and feel better, I’d say, “You can make better choices if you really pay attention. Find help. Get therapy focused on adoption. Find your family. Do all the DNA tests if your adoption records are sealed…”

There were healthy people in my life the whole time, when I was sick and now today. They had a big influence on me. I’m pretty sure they waited patiently for me to walk out of the fog, recover from my loss, heal my inner wounds, my confusion and my primal pain.

No one assisted me in opening my adoption, or offered any advice on how to go into a reunion. I took that journey alone.  The journey, the search, the waiting, is part of healing yourself in a big way.  BUT I know for sure that finding other adoptees to support you before and during reunion helps, too.  Books can influence you and help you too — like Adoption Reunion in the Age of Social Media and the new book ADOPTIONLAND. (I wrote a chapter in both.)

The only one who can change your world and heal you is YOU!  Not me, not your parents, not your husband or wife, not a book – YOU!

Sam (left) and I at the Heart Six Dude Ranch in Morna, WY. We stayed friends all these years, I worked there and she was a guest!
Sam (left) and I at the Heart Six Dude Ranch in Moran, WY in 1983. We stayed friends all these years, I worked there and she was a guest!

And if you adoptees need support, advice and an ear, I’m here: larahentz@yahoo.com

 

BIG NOTE: I will be posting about the new anthology CALLED HOME (Book 2: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects) very soon. It’s an amazing haunting collection of Native adoptee narratives that will change history!  We are about a week away from publication!

We set up a blog for Media here.

adoption laws, dead parents and letters to your birthchild

Thinking, thinking, thinking – that’s what we do

The other side of adoption with Patricia Busbee and Trace DeMeyer

Check Out Politics Progressive Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Fire Talk Production on BlogTalkRadio with Fire Talk on BlogTalkRadio

9781479318285_COVERThis interview is about Patricia’s and my book: Two Worlds: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects (which had been called Split Feathers originally)

We’ll be speaking together at Brock University in St. Catharines, ON, on March 25, 2014. If you want to attend, please email me: tracedemeyer@yahoo.com

Meet the Authors/Editors of Two Worlds

Book Talk on March 25
Book Talk on March 25

Patricia and I will be giving a book talk in Ontario – very exciting! Come join us – open to the public! Our anthology is being offered to the entire community as part of a Summer Reads Program! Click link to read more: Two Worlds

Part One: Victims of Adoption and Lies

laramie harlow hentz
Lara/Trace

I woke up with thoughts: there are two victims of adoption who need help and not necessarily from each other: the adoptee and the first mother. Each has its own burden and neither can heal the other.

By Lara/Trace

Speaking with adoptee friends on Facebook, many added their own ideas and reactions when I posted my thoughts above.
One friend quickly injected: what about the mother who made the choice (freely) to give her up as a baby.
Well, that is true – she was free to decide – but also consider she had the adoption industry, churches, family and society insisting that was her only option: Give up her baby to new parents.
Had this mother known her child would suffer emotionally from being adopted, would she have made the same choice?
No one imagined a child was injured or hurt being adopted – not until recently.
We know this mother had to live with her choice and live with the loss of her child. That was obviously a burden.
Finding and meeting her child again in reunion – after many years – will not and cannot reverse or ease or erase that pain and loss.  Each mother who relinquished a baby will have to deal with this on her own terms, and hopefully receive counselling, and find support from other mothers who also lost their child to adoption.

Some mothers are adopting their child back, what I call “adoption in reverse.”

One adoptee friend found out the social workers told her natural mother that she was being placed with a doctor’s family – so I guess that would have put her mother’s mind at ease – thinking of the prosperity and safety her baby girl would have had growing up. But the truth was my friend was not placed with a doctor’s family.
If her mother had found out this was a lie, how would she have reacted? Wouldn’t she worry about her baby and carry that burden for years?
In my friend’s case, her birthmother never told the man (the birthfather) she was expecting his child.  It’s possible my friend’s dad would not have allowed this adoption to take place. He loved kids and would have raised his daughter on his reservation in Michigan. Why? The Ojibwe used kinship adoption (babies are adopted by relatives).

[Since the 1900s, governments swept up children with their Indian Adoption Projects (which were closed adoptions with non-Indian parents). Adoption meant assimilation. It was meant to make the child “white.”]

Even though her mother did tell the social workers her baby was also Indian, did it matter? Back then, no. This was in the 1960s. The social workers would prefer not to mention a child had some Indian blood.  Even social workers displayed overt racism and wrote lies in the paperwork. They practiced “matching” which meant a “mixed race child” who looked white would not have to be told their ancestry was American Indian.

My friend’s adoption (like my own) was before the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.
If it happened after 1978, and social workers knew my friend was also Indian, the tribe and her father would have been notified. The tribes would’ve handled the baby and her placement. That’s federal law in every state now (and sadly it is not always upheld, even now in 2014.) In 2011, it was reported 32 states are in violation of the ICWA.

Each story like this gets complicated with lies and omissions of what is truth.  My friend’s mother was a victim of lies and so was her Ojibwe father – who was never told.

My point here is the adoption industry created “lies” for everyone to believe.

Originally posted at http://splitfeathers.blogspot.com/2012/08/part-one-victims-of-adoption-and-lies.html

To be continued

The Light is on you Adoption Traffickers

 By Lara/Trace, author of One Small Sacrifice and Two Worlds

I was so naive when I took foster care training in the mid-1990s. I really was. I was in my mid 30s, an adoptee from a stranger adoption in Wisconsin, about to be divorced and there I was thinking about doing the Oregon foster-to-adopt program. I was thinking I could give a child a better life but eventually I changed my mind. I couldn’t help but think any child I took in would wish to be with their “real” parents. That was my mindset, how I felt growing up. That thought really hasn’t changed.

Then I decided to really look at my life, what I had done with it. I realized I was in no condition to adopt anyone. I couldn’t love anyone. Yep, that was definitely true. And I hated my life. I hated what happened to me, being adopted, almost divorced. Time after time, I forgave. I forgave the pedophile who adopted me, who I called dad.  I forgave the woman who I called mom who lived in a fantasy world the entire time I knew her. I forgave my soon to be ex-husband and many others. (Eventually I forgave my birthmother and I found and met my birthfather and relatives in 1994.) (Forgiveness doesn’t mean we forget)

I wore the marks of disappointment all over my soul. Why? I could never be their biological daughter so I “created” who I thought the DeMeyer family wanted. I took up so much time trying to be that perfect daughter. I tried hard to please my adoptive parents. I literally wasted years – I mean more than half my life  – trying.

Then I tried to be what everyone else wanted. I didn’t realize that I could have my own life. How is this possible I didn’t know I could choose for myself? It was like “I” didn’t exist. I was just a mosaic of other people’s expectations. I was not a happy camper so I made some good choices for me – like getting counseling and knowing myself – finally.

So fast forward to 2004, when I left my job as editor of the Pequot Times newspaper. I decided to look at adoption again. Not to adopt but to look at it as a journalist. I decided to pursue the study of adoption on my own, not to gain a college degree. I read everything. I read studies, I read blogs, I read books, I read history. I read more pages of text than I could write in my lifetime.

I decided I wanted to know who is really running this billion dollar adoption industry. I decided to look at global poverty and how it creates slave conditions which can lead to human trafficking. I looked at how young people fall into lust and create children when they are children themselves. I looked at how world religions treat unwed mothers. I looked at countries that do not allow adoption by Americans. I looked at how adult adoptees are rarely mentioned in what I call adoption propaganda. I looked at how psychology was just noticing that adoptees were suffering and not living a “fairy tale” life.  I studied birth psychology. I looked at adoption agency ads. I looked at couples who ran ads for a baby to adopt. I looked at the marketing by the adoption industry who created a niche for themselves, using newborns and young children (with living parents) to be the human guinea pigs for their experiment. I looked at intercountry adoption and how it makes some people very rich. I looked at industry profits. I looked at the history of the Indian Adoption Projects and ARENA. I looked at the governments who created and funded these adoption programs. I looked at how religions advanced the false idea there are orphans everywhere and someone needs to save them. I looked at how the adoption industry convinces people that babies are blank slates and we will adapt and be perfectly happy as the adoptee. I looked at how many children in foster care could have been placed with their own relatives instead of strangers! I looked at the suicide rates of adoptees, many who didn’t make it to middle age.

Then I met adoptees. I met outspoken brilliant adoptees who filled me and educated me with a new narrative and perspective.

I thought I was emotionally well when I started my memoir in 2004 and as each year passed I woke up more and more to the truth that I wasn’t healed.  I didn’t set out to do this work but somehow this work chose me. And as I learned more, I healed more.

So I googled “The Adoption Industry” and found this website. I want you to look at it. I want you to study it as I have. I want you to open your eyes. I want the adoption industry, child traffickers and the adoption agencies to worry that their days are numbered. I want them to feel exposed. I want them to know there is a growing awareness and that the world is watching them. I want them to know that many of us see adoption as trafficking in babies to satisfy infertile couples needs and we know some couples feel important and special for bringing up a child that is not their own offspring. I want those people who adopt to realize we adoptees would never choose to be adopted. We’d rather be raised by family members, whenever it’s possible.

Adoptees are Mending the Hoop

I want you readers to know that hundreds of adoptees I have met or talked to are healing too. We are mending the hoop. Some have made the journey back to their first families and tribes and are healing with their entire communities.

Adoptees across the planet are working to unseal our adoption records and change archaic laws so we can all make our journeys home.

Most of all, I want the adoption industry (traffickers) to know who they are dealing with… the light is on…WE are watching and writing and blogging and you can’t hide your secrets and greed anymore.

(posted in 2013 at American Indian Adoptees)

Adoption Reunion in the Social Media Age: An Interview with Trace A. DeMeyer

Posted by Drinnen in Adoption

VISIT her Website: http://puzzlesandpossibilities.com/

ADOPTION REUNION cover copyA new book on adoption reunions is available now on Amazon. I am SO honored to be a contributor to Adoption Reunion in the Social Media Age, which opens up  important conversations on the topic of adoption search and reunion.  As part of the launch of this new book,  Trace A. DeMeyer (author of One Small Sacrifice and Two Worlds) and I are participating in an interview series with the contributors.   Laura asked us to discuss our experiences and share these questions on our blogs. The book was released on January 27, 2014 and is available as an EBook on Amazon (ISBN  978-0985616847).  A paperback version will be released soon.

After reading, check below to learn how you can win a copy of the book!

BECKY:  ”Genetic Mirroring” is something most non-adoptees take for granted.  Knowing someone we look like and act like is often missing in the lives of adoptees.  You wrote about finally meeting someone you look like.  How important was it for you to meet someone you looked like and what advice would you have for adoptees who struggle with their lack of genetic mirroring?

TRACE:  Unless you’re adopted with a sibling, you aren’t genetically related or physically resemble anyone in your adoptive family. That is why “genetic mirroring” is a wonderful new discovery – experts finally get it that adoptees need it! I was adopted by strangers who had no clue as to who I was, or my own unique genetic identity… My adoptive parents could not tell me anything.  Because of this, I felt isolated, a stranger in the family.  Back in 1996, I travelled to Illinois to meet my natural father Earl. For over 30 years, I never looked like anyone – this bothered me to a much greater degree than anyone realized. Finding someone who looked like me was a very healing thing.  I saw a photo of my grandmother Lona and knew instantly that this was my family.

I would tell adoptees going into reunion that they will look at the faces and manners and eccentricities in biological relatives and find all kinds of good surprises.  It’s like solving your own mystery.

BECKY: Many adoption reunion stories published in the press focus on reunions with mothers. However, we all have fathers, too.   Both Trace and I found and reunited with our birth fathers after our birth mothers refused ongoing contact with us.  Trace, what are your thoughts on why your father was willing to meet you and your mother was not?  What would you say to a birth parent reluctant to meet their child?

TRACE: When I was in my 20s, I was fixated on finding my mother and had not even thought about finding my dad. I don’t know why that is. Then I found a news article about Florence Fisher* who reunited with her birthfather. It opened my eyes and gave me huge hope. *Florence founded the Adoptee’s Liberty Movement Association in New York.

When my birthmother Helen refused to meet me or talk with me, I was not prepared – how can anyone prepare for that? I didn’t get to know her so I can’t even guess why.  But I felt rejection and confusion, not love or acceptance. I never expected an apology. I read her letter over and over and felt shock first, then a crushing pain, then deep sadness.  Sorting it all out emotionally took a few years. I later met an uncle who told me it was better Helen and I never met.  If Helen’s own family felt this way about her, I felt sorry for her actually.

My reunion with my birthfather’s family happened 20 years ago. When I phoned, my dad asked me how soon I could get there. Why birthparents are reluctant or refuse to make contact is actually where they are emotionally, too.  If they never told anyone they had a baby and gave them up, they might still be afraid of what others think.  I would tell them what really matters is healing yourself – and this can happen once you reunite with the child you lost.

BECKY:  As adoptees, we long for information about our birth families yet adoption agencies, laws, and sometimes even our birth families, feel we have no right to know.   You met your grandmother (Helen’s mother), without her knowing who you were.   If you had it to do over, would you take that step again?  What advice do you have for other adoptees that have not had an opportunity to meet a birth family member, such as a grandparent or sibling, because of a birth parent’s desire to keep their existence a secret?

TRACE: I started my search when I was 22 (in late 1970s) and was very naïve, eager, optimistic.  I was not aware of what to do or what not to do. There weren’t any books on searching or reunions!  Like you Becky, I had no choice but to use my intuition (and phone books).

It’s true that adoptees become genealogists, detectives and search for clues using a single name (usually their mother’s name).  It’s tedious work that usually lasts years.  In my desperation, in 1993 I did drive to Wisconsin to meet Helen’s mother (my grandmother was also named Helen)… If I could do it over, I’d definitely ask questions about ancestry, family history and medical information, just like I did.  This time, on my way out the door, I’d tell my grandmother I am your grandkid and here’s my phone number and then leave.

I am so done with secrecy, to answer your question.  Adoptees are human beings yet denied the most basic information others take for granted.  I think that is probably one of the most outrageous ongoing injustices in the world.  Since I went through this myself, I tell adoptees to meet every relative you find, don’t delay, be brave, make calls or visits and do not stop. We don’t need permission to do this.  It’s our information!  I also think birthparents and adoptees need to “Man Up” and get therapy if they are not in reunion or too afraid to try.  And please read this new book!

BECKY:  Trace and her father confirmed their relationship with DNA testing.  At the time Trace reunited with her father, DNA testing was an expensive option.  My birth father and I also confirmed our relationship with a DNA test. In 2013, DNA testing had become readily available and prices low enough to make it a viable option for just about everyone.  In fact, some adoptees that don’t have access to their original birth certificates have been able to find birth family members by using very tedious search methodologies using DNA results.   Trace, how important of a role do you think DNA testing will play in adoptee search and reunion in the coming years?  What are your thoughts about the importance of DNA testing for adoptees?

TRACE: My mother Helen’s name was on my original birth certificate so this wasn’t a question that needed DNA.  But I do think DNA tests will be critical and crucial until we have better reunion services and registries and paperwork for the millions of adoptees out there now.  A father is not listed in adoption paperwork if you are illegitimate like I was.  Birthfathers will need to recognize this and consent to do DNA tests if an adoptee finds them.  If he refuses or is already dead, I tell adoptees to find a paternal relative, like an uncle or granddad, to do the DNA test with you.  We can’t wait until our birthparents are ready or emotionally well enough or open to it.  Waiting can be a huge mistake.

I want to thank Trace for sharing her thoughts and story with me.  Adoption Reunion in the Social Media Age is sure to create conversations in the adoption community.   Trace and I would enjoy hearing your comments to our stories.  And check this out:  one commenter to this post will win a free copy of Adoption Reunion in the Social Media Age (your choice of an ebook or a PDF), so let us hear your comments today!  I will announce the winner here on Sunday, February 2, 2014.

Trace has also interviewed me about my experience.  You will find her interview with me on her blog  at www.splitfeathers.blogspot.com and on her website www.tracedemeyer.com.  Please visit her sites to read my interview and for information about her memoir One Small Sacrifice and her anthology Two Worlds: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects.

Trace talks Human Trafficking on Whisper n Thunder Radio

tiny horrorsBy Lara/ Trace

I was at the SLAVERY Conference at Yale mentioned in the “Historians against Slavery” post and will be speaking about Human Trafficking with Russ Leticia tomorrow on Blog Talk Radio!

DETAILS:  Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014, 9 PM EST come join in the chat room, or call in # is (626) 213-5611. Join Whisper n Thunder Radio for another informational show, this week the topic is “HUMAN TRAFFICKING” Hidden secretly yet it’s there.

Tonight’s host Russ Letica, board of Director member will be talking with Trace DeMeyer, an adoptee-journalist and author. She writes about Human Trafficking and Adoption on her blog: http://www.laratracehentz.wordpress.com and at American Indian Adoptees: http://www.splitfeathers.blogspot.com…

Her two books about the Indian Adoption Projects are available on her website and at http://www.bluehandbooks.org.

TO LISTEN:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/whispernthunder/2014/01/23/human-trafficking

Human Trafficking

http://www.blogtalkradio.com

Historians against Slavery: Tiya Miles

In this special guest post, Tiya Miles, professor of history at the University of Michigan, a 2011 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship winner, and founder of ECO Girls, shares her thoughts on a recent conference connecting the history of enslavement to the continuation of unjust confinement and incarceration today. As she notes, the conference raised questions for many attendees about our responsibilities as historians in the present when confronting problems like human trafficking and modern-day enslavement.

The 15th Annual Gilder Lehrman Center (GLC) International Conference at Yale University, held in November 2013, focused on the theme of Indigenous Enslavement and Incarceration in North American History. Conceived by Native American history scholar, Ned Blackhawk, in collaboration with GLC Director, David Blight, and organized by Blackhawk, Blight, and the fantastic GLC staff members: Assistant Director, David Spatz, Melissa McGrath, and Thomas Thurston, the conference generated insightful, intense and heartfelt discussion. According to Blackhawk, this two-day symposium garnered the largest pre-registration in the history of the GLC, a testimony to the high interest in slavery in native experience, in the intersections of slavery (past and present) and incarceration, as well as in the overlaps and echoes between Native American and African American histories.

The interdisciplinary event drew together scholars of Native American studies, slavery studies, African American studies, and legal studies, as well as legal and mental health practitioners from the U.S. and Canada and numerous members of the New England native and black communities. The conversations ranged from a collective meditation on the power of dreams as a force outside of colonialism (inspired by literary scholar Beth Piatote) to confining images of native people in children’s literature (spurred by education studies scholar Debbie Reese), to the jailing of children in present-day Montana (noted by sociologist Luana Ross).

READ MORE HERE

(Photo I took last day of conference at YALE – Tiya is seated in the middle)

And I shared links to this important conference here – you can watch online!

http://splitfeathers.blogspot.com/2013/12/amazing-new-scholarship-on-indian.html

 

Modern Slavery: #NOT MY LIFE

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month…

Not My Life is the first film to depict the cruel and dehumanizing practices of human trafficking and modern slavery on a global scale.

Filmed on five continents, in a dozen countries, Not My Life takes viewers into a world where millions of children are exploited, every day, through an astonishing array of practices including forced labor, domestic servitude, begging, sex tourism, sexual violence, and child soldiering.

“Human traffickers are earning billions of dollars on the backs and in the beds of our children,” says the film’s director, Academy Award nominee, Robert Bilheimer, “and yet no one knows this is happening.” We have a huge responsibility, right now, to learn the truth and act on it.

Challenging though it may be, Not My Life’s message is ultimately one of hope. Victims of slavery can be set free and go on to live happy and productive lives. Those who advocate for slavery victims are growing in numbers, and are increasingly effective. At this crossroads for the defining human rights issue of our time, Not My Life tells us, as the late Jonathan Mann said, “We can no longer flee, no longer hide, no longer separate ourselves.”

National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888 OR Text BeFree (233733)
List of Global Trafficking Hotlines

I will be discussing this topic on Blog Talk Radio on January 22 at 9 pm….Trace/Lara

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/whispernthunder

The Fight for Native Families on #FAULTLINES

chivingtonAnger turned inside:  The Fight For Native Families

By Trace A. DeMeyer

I am 57 years on the long road as an adoptee warrior.

In the past year, my adoption wariness rose to a whole new level with the Baby Veronica and Dusten Brown story. When asked how this tragedy affected me, I’d say, “I am Ronnie Brown 50+ years later. My dad would have raised me too.” I hurt to think about Ronnie. The adoption industry had won again.

It brought up memories of my own loss, isolation, grief, disappointment, what I call “anger turned inside,” and how it tore me to shreds.  With the very real long-term effects of assimilation by closed adoption, I’d spent more of my life as a stranger to my own relatives. Hopefully, Ronnie Brown won’t have this problem to endure.

My own recovery started when I read my adoption file in 1979 and saw my name Laura Jean Thrall. I was 22 and didn’t quite know what to do with this information. I’d hoped someone was looking for me (sadly no one was.)  I didn’t get depressed or feel suicidal, but apparently many adoptees do hurt themselves and suffer more than the world realizes. I pretty much faced everything head-on, like a car crash.

After reunion with my birthfather in 1994, my story became more about finding history. What is known today about the Indian Adoption Projects and the aftermath of ARENA, few people even know it happened…but right here in America, Native children were taken and given to white people and missionaries and boarding schools for a reason. Every Indian reservation has this story. Thousands and thousands of Indian children disappeared. Their reason:  kill the Indian to save the Man, eradicate our sovereignty to take more land.

Adoption was used a weapon against American Indians and First Nations. Tribal children were sold into adoption, molded into American proto-types, tribal membership erased.  In some states, it’s still happening in 2013.

For the Lost Children of Indian Adoption Projects, blood is never erased by adoption. But with sealed adoption records, it’s nearly made impossible to reunite.

In the words of a Cree elder, “You must know where you came from yesterday, know where you are today, if you’re to know where you’re going tomorrow.” True. I’ve lived it.

November happens to be Adoption Awareness Month. Fault Lines on Al Jazeera America has a new documentary “THE FIGHT FOR NATIVE FAMILIES” to air on Friday, Nov 8th, 9:30pm ET and 12:30am ET and 7pm ET on Sun Nov. 9th.  The Series website with channel info: http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/fault-lines.html

They’ll share my anthology TWO WORLDS on their website.

UPDATE: http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/fault-lines/FaultLinesBlog/2013/11/8/the-fight-for-nativefamiliesbackgroundreading.html

Trace DeMeyer is the author of One Small Sacrifice and the co-editor of Two Worlds: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects. She is working on a new anthology of Native adoptee narratives, CALLED HOME.

Visit her blog American Indian Adoptees: http://www.splitfeathers.blogspot.com.

Fairy dust #Adoption (update)

By Trace/Lara

Baby Deseray was removed from Oklahoma shortly after her birth in May by Bobby and Diane Bixler of Irmo, South Carolina.

Read the update on Baby Deseray here: http://splitfeathers.blogspot.com/2013/10/baby-veronica-baby-deseray-sold-babies.html

Daniel’s post made me think: http://transracialeyes.com/2013/10/15/the-looming-deadline-for-adoptions-abolition/

I have been thinking about the abolition of adoption – and came across this quote: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” said by Buckminster Fuller.

The adoption industry propaganda is like fairy dust – it blinds the world to the trafficking of children by calling them orphans and their adopters as saviors while protecting a billion dollar industry.

Here’s a recent interview I did on Gia Scott’s Dawn of Shades:

Please leave your thoughts in a comment… Thanks!

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