' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Adoptive parent shares thoughts on having returned a girl to her mother
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Monday, July 22, 2013

Adoptive parent shares thoughts on having returned a girl to her mother

NEW COMMENTS FROM JAY, BELOW ON 7/23/13

Received tonight as a comment at the last Baby Veronica post, but it is too worthwhile to leave as a comment alone:

A tree after Storm Sandy; the link not broken to the trunk
Jay Iyer said...Thanks for this comprehensive, sad post. I am writing as an adoptive parent of a boy who was taken from an abusive family and placed in foster care. I also write as a foster parent who helped reunify a little girl with her mother. These experiences helped shift my vision from an adoptive path focused on securing for myself a long-desired child to one of recognizing the importance, to a child, of an upbringing integrated with biological identity. I feel that adoption should occur only when all avenues for placement within a child’s biological family are exhausted. Much as I adore my son, I felt a profound loss on his behalf when no safe “forever” home was found among members of his first family.


'AT FIRST, I WAS GRIEF-STRICKEN'
I have experienced emotions similar to those I imagine the Capobiancos feel. When my former foster daughter, Nina, was placed with us, her mother was given near impossible odds to overcome her mental health and addiction-related issues. Everybody working on her case felt certain that Nina would end up being adopted by us. Nina came to us as an 8 month old baby who had suffered much neglect. She bonded with me deeply and I grew to love her as my own, long-awaited baby. I convinced myself that only I was capable of giving her a happy, safe, protected life full of love and I worried greatly about her well-being in the care of her mother. I fantasized about running away with her. I was utterly grief-stricken when, at the age of 22 months, she went back to her mother Rayna.

Five years have passed since her reunification and, thanks to Rayna allowing us frequent contact with Nina, I see first hand what a gift she has in being raised by her biological family. I realize that self-convincing arguments about providing a better life as Nina’s adoptive mother were born out of my selfish desire to keep her for my very own. I would appeal to the Capobiancos that they might consider whether their passionate devotion to what they are sure serves Veronica’s best interests, living with them, might similarly be motivated by a desperate desire to keep her within their reach. Letting her go is a hard thing to do, but the right thing to do. 

VISITING YOUR ROOTS IS NOT THE SAME AS LIVING THEM
The Capobiancos have pledged to do everything within their power to maintain contact with both of Veronica’s biological parents: an open adoption all around. They apparently have worked with professionals to come up with a detailed “transition” plan. Had we adopted Nina, we would have done the same. In fact, we transitioned Nina back to her mother in consultation with a child psychologist, to minimize her trauma. The difference between us and the Capobiancos is our view of how the child’s interests are best met: they see their open adoption plan as the best way to surround Veronica by all who love her, while we view that arrangement as a consolation prize at best and a convenient excuse to justify holding on to someone else’s baby.

Visiting your roots, your lineage is NOT the same as being raised in it. I see that with Nina, even though had we been raising her as adoptive parents she would have lived very close to her biological family and she could have seen them every day. Dusten Brown has shown that he loves Veronica, can clothe her, feed her, protect her and provide her with her lineage and heritage. There is no bigger prize for Veronica and I had hoped the Capobiancos would see that she deserved this, regardless of courts granting them the legal edge.

In the end, saddened as I am, I at least have to acknowledge our incapacity to fully predict the future of these young children. I simply hope that, someday into the future, Nina agrees that what her family and ours together are doing for her is indeed what was in her best interests. I simply hope that, someday into the future, Veronica arrives at that same conclusion in regard to hers.
_______________________
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us tonight. We often feel as if we are preaching only to the choir.--lorraine

Further comments from Jay:  (on 7/23/13)

Lorraine, you are welcome. First of all, I really am so very sorry for your loss. Next, in regards to "preaching to the choir," I think many adoptive parents feel defensive and attacked. I know I went into adoption genuinely believing that any child I adopted truly needed me and was better off with me. I found out I was wrong about that, mostly through my experience with Nina but also through subsequently reading the stories/blogs of several birth parents such as yourself.

The "Baby Veronica" case finally made me "blow my top," so to speak, and I felt compelled to comment. Thank you for accommodating me. Now that you have "unleashed my inner beast," I just want to add a couple more thoughts:

First, the argument that adoptive parents are often better educated, can provide certain types of exposure and opportunities that birth families cannot, are financially more secure, etc. might be true (I said often, not always!). We are probably similarly stationed in life as the Capobiancos. But as my husband would say, "So what?" If that were the standard applied to "assign" children to families, chances are most of us would lose our children. The truth is that none of these factors can adequately compensate for a child being raised in his/her lineage by a caring biological family.

Second, I want to mention that I have only recently become aware of the gross injustice to unwed fathers in terms of legal protection of their parental rights. Regardless of whether ICWA applied to Dusten Brown, he is a victim of this disparity and my heart goes out to what he must endure as a result of this.

I will end by wishing with all my heart for a day when the children's best interests trump all else. This, in my opinion, is a long way from being realized.
                                                                          *****
Related From FMF
'Baby Veronica' adoption will go forward  
The lie behind the question: Aren't those kids better off adopted?

RECOMMENDED READING
Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience A classic book on the adoptee experience, first parent reunion by BJ Lifton. "Important and powerful...[the author] is concerned not just with adoptees but with the experience of adoptive parents and birth parents." --Psychology Today

Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self "This  groundbreaking book uses the poignant, powerful voices of  adoptees and adoptive parents to explore the  experience of adoption and its lifelong effects. A major  work, filled with astute analysis and moving  truths."--Amazon
As a first/birth mother, I found this book invaluable in understanding the adoptee mindset. I would recommend this to all first parents, adoptees and adoptive parents. --lorraine



40 comments :

  1. Wow. Crying. Why are there not more like this lady? Thank you for sharing this. It gives me hope there are still some decent people in the world. Sadly not in my case but thrilled for this mother and child and that the foster mother was able to see through her pain the truth not many choose or wish to see.

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  2. Lorraine, you are welcome. First of all, I really am so very sorry for your loss. Next, in regards to "preaching to the choir," I think many adoptive parents feel defensive and attacked. I know I went into adoption genuinely believing that any child I adopted truly needed me and was better off with me. I found out I was wrong about that, mostly through my experience with Nina but also through subsequently reading the stories/blogs of several birth parents such as yourself.

    The "Baby Veronica" case finally made me "blow my top," so to speak, and I felt compelled to comment. Thank you for accommodating me. Now that you have "unleashed my inner beast," I just want to add a couple more thoughts:

    First, the argument that adoptive parents are often better educated, can provide certain types of exposure and opportunities that birth families cannot, are financially more secure, etc. might be true (I said often, not always!). We are probably similarly stationed in life as the Capobiancos. But as my husband would say, "So what?" If that were the standard applied to "assign" children to families, chances are most of us would lose our children. The truth is that none of these factors can adequately compensate for a child being raised in his/her lineage by a caring biological family.

    Second, I want to mention that I have only recently become aware of the gross injustice to unwed fathers in terms of legal protection of their parental rights. Regardless of whether ICWA applied to Dusten Brown, he is a victim of this disparity and my heart goes out to what he must endure as a result of this.

    I will end by wishing with all my heart for a day when the children's best interests trump all else. This, in my opinion, is a long way from being realized.

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  3. I am an adoptee whose first mother tried to get me back when I was six months old. At the time the adoption was not final yet. My adoptive parents were given the option to give me back and they chose to keep me instead. When I was fifteen my adoptive mother told me the story of how she fought to keep me and spinning the story so I would think she did the right thing. I promptly buried the conversation deep into my subconscious. You see, they had spent my entire life telling me how unwanted I was and how thankful I should feel that they raised me. My first mom found me when I was twenty and due to my anger and general messed up mentality the reunion never worked out. We tried for seventeen years on and off to make it work. This year I have finally been able to let go and be the parent to myself I never got. Back to my adoptive parents... This last year I remembered that conversation with my adoptive mother when I was fifteen and I was so upset. She knew I buried that memory and actively worked to sabotage my reunion with my first mom. This week marks a year since I have seen or talked to her. I am still shocked that she could feel so entitled to a child whose mother clearly wanted her. I am outraged that her getting to raise a child out weighed my right to be raised with my own people. I believe when Veronica eventually learns the whole story she will feel the same for her adoptive family. They may have won the battle to raise her but I am confident when she learns what they did to her original family she will not choose to be a part of their lives in adulthood.

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    1. Ann,

      I am sorry to hear of your story. In that case there are no winners only losers. I see a similar scenario happening to this poor little girl.

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  4. Jay: Thank you for adding more thoughts on the Veronica Brown situation. (I do wonder what her birth certificate will read; I suppose after the adoption it will be Capobianco.) I am going to add them to the original post. We do not know how many adoptive parents read First Mother Forum, but we know that some do. Perhaps your thoughts will help them understand the intrinsic value of an individual being raised by his or her natural, biological family.

    What is perhaps the most upsetting about the Supreme Court decision to me is that the chief justice, Roberts, has two adopted children, children that he went to great lengths to get with Irish stock. But since Irish children cannot be adopted out of the country, he flew the expectant women to South America, where the children were born. (Imagine how difficult it would be to then decide to keep the baby; only a very strong woman could do that, and I bet there were all kinds of legal contracts in place.) That act alone tells me all we need to know about how Roberts feels about the primacy of the biological connection to one's real, first family. He found a way around Ireland's law to have two children born on his directive. What he did was theoretically legal, but unquestionably unethical. Actually, disgusting.

    Ann, thank you for telling your story here. It is not one we have heard before from anyone. What is sad is that you were unable to form a good relationship with your natural (birth) mother all those years later.

    If your first mother is still alive, I hope that you can talk to her and tell her your true feelings. Maybe there is still the possibility of a light at the end of a long dark tunnel. Our very best to you. You did not deserve what happened to you.

    You appear to have found the strength to take care of yourself, and we wish you well on your journey.

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  5. Thank you for this beautiful post. I was born and raised in the same town in OK that my first family lives, but didn't know until we were reunited (in my adulthood) that we crossed paths so often, yet were so far apart. It is wonderful to be reunited, but truly bittersweet.

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  6. Myst, if you would like to read more of my story, you can find it at this link:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/15/foster-parenting-and-connection-adoption-portrait_n_2457370.html

    It describes a bit more of Rayna's incredible journey. I hope Rayna will share her story some day - it should inspire many parents in the foster system seeking to reunify with their children. I was told by a social worker that only 2 out of her 120 cases actually ended up rehabilitating successfully, in the long term. Dismal statistic for the foster system, I know, but it makes Rayna's achievement that much more remarkable.

    Ann, I am so sorry you are living with so much sorrow and anger. Maybe you can try to imagine that your adoptive mother thought she was doing the right thing. I know, that's easy for me to say. What I want most for you is peace and happiness - you deserve that after all you have been through.

    Lorraine, the Supreme Court majority opinion's clear consideration of adoptive parents' concerns over birth parents' rights did not escape me. I am shocked that they would be so concerned with adoptive parents feeling comfortable that the child is guaranteed to be with them (i.e., the adoption is guaranteed to go through). Adoption is a privilege that must be exercised only in those situations where the best interests of a child clearly favor it. To speak about adoption in language suggestive of entitlement makes me ill. I have heard some of the stories regarding how Chief Roberts' adoptions came about as well.

    As a lawyer, I see no clear flaw in the Supreme Court's reasoning. The problem is, no legislation can adequately secure the best interests of a child. We are complex beings, we lead complex lives, and every case is different. Therefore, it is up to the human beings who are intimately connected with the specifics and emotions of the case to sometimes do what the law rarely accomplishes in such cases: be human, and do the right thing.

    This is where I am terribly saddened that the Capobiancos, Christy Maldonado and their lawyers are so focused on the fact that Dusten Brown does not have a LEGAL leg to stand on. The law can be a b**ch sometimes and lawyers can be pitbulls (hey, I am one, I can say that!). In my opinion, forget the legalities: the human part of them should accept that Veronica's life took a turn that led her back to her lineage, her first family, the family that you are born into and meant to be part of in the natural order of things. Support that, please, is what I want to say. I suspect that, down the road, Veronica is not going to care who won the legal battle. She is going to want to know why each party to this case believed they were doing what was in her best interests. I am hard pressed to see that the Capobiancos would have a satisfactory answer to that question.

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  7. Ann , thank you for sharing your story.

    I am a mother who lost her child and fought for almost a year to get her back, so the flipside to you. In my case, the adopters were aware I wanted to raise my baby BEFORE I signed consent and so to get my signature, they lied and promised if I gave the adoption a 'trial' period, i could get her back. Foolishly, I trusted them and because I had other threats going on which proved to also be deceptive, I relented and signed. Three days later, as arranged, I let them know of whether I wanted the adoption to proceed or still raise her. I made it clear I wanted to raise her and they shut me down. THREE DAYS!! What proceeded was a court battle which I won only they took me back to court and took her away from me in which I have now been told in what is now called a "fishy" (corrupt) case.

    She has been told I gave her up, that I couldn't look after her. Like you, her adoptress (sorry but I don't see her as a mother) has actively tried to kill our relationship, telling me she believed she didn't see much hope for us having a relationship in the coming years. And that's only because she has engineered it. THey have since told my daughter I don't want to see her and so my daughter, 15, is angry and doesn't want anything to do with me.

    So at this point I see her as lost. I have no idea if she will ever want to come home. My case was similar to yours only I was fighting from the very beginning to have her. I have no idea how she will feel when she learns the truth or if she will even care. Right now she has made it clear despite my attempts to contact her, send her letters telling her otherwise etc, that hates me. For now I am trying to get on with my life as this has eaten up so much of it, the pain and anguish of losing her.

    I am so very sorry your reunion with your mother has not been successful. I hope that will change one day, I am really sorry for everything you have been through. It is so wrong to keep family members apart like this.

    Again, thank you for sharing xxx

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  8. Myst, I am ill that there are stories out there like yours. Not sure how to right the wrongs that have been done to so many of you, I am so sorry. If any of you know about worthwhile family preservation causes, I'd be interested to hear about them.

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  9. Myst, had you thought about taking a polygraph test in which you answer certain questions, taking a video of the session and sending it to your daughter?

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  10. Jay and I have also connected because of the Baby Veronica case and I really encourage everyone to read her Huffington Post article.
    As Jay points out here, unwed biological fathers really have no rights in our society. It's so insane. Sometimes, I feel as if I'm living in an alternate universe--this is one strange world we inhabit.

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  11. I think many of the readers of this blog have read Jennifer's incredible still-developing story on hers:

    http://abortedadoption.blogspot.com/

    Beautifully written, heart-wrenchingly sad as it unfolds, a story that I am trying to get more adoptive and prospective adoptive parents to read.

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  12. Not sure why I would need to take a polygraph, I have all the court papers, my diary from that time and witnesses. If she chooses to not believe me I don't think a polygraph would help. Besides not sure if they are available to the general public in NZ.

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  13. Jay, I just read your story and it literally brought me to tears! I lost my 2 sons to CPS. First just my oldest. I was reunited with him at 18 months. He had been in foster care since 3 months. I offered to let the foster parents visit and they were not interested. When I lost them both later on, that same couple adopted him but never bonded to him. I am glad you get to be a part of Nina's life. And I'm glad you love her enough to be her friend instead of fighting to be her mother. I hope that all makes sense to you. I know Nina will be grateful to you for what you did for her, just as Rayna is.

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  14. @ Myst. So true, people believe what they want to believe. I am so over being on the defensive. Love me, hate me, ignore me, etc.,.... I can deal with it.

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  15. Dear Victoria,

    It is very hard for me to read sad stories such as yours. I personally know many wonderful foster parents, but I am sorry to say I also know several who treat the families of their foster children like dirt. I feel that some parents lose their children to the foster system because the foster parents are not sufficiently supportive in helping them get their lives back on track - they want the parents to fail so they can get to adopt the children. Are you in your sons' lives? Please let me know - hope it's good news and you now have a relationship with them.

    As for me, I cannot tell you how grateful I am to be a part of Nina's life. Her mother Rayna is super generous in sharing her with us, she is amazing and I hope she will write her story some day.

    While I think of Nina with so much gratitude that she has her family and she has us, I am very sad today as I think of Veronica, who is being snatched away from her fit and loving biological father. I fervently hope she never, ever stops loving him and that she always appreciates how much he has done for her.

    Hugs to you,
    Jay

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  16. I was adopted. I do not know what the circumstances were for me being givenup but to my adoptive parents credit they never said anything but what a difficult choice she had made. I feel that biological parents or family should always be first option. Fathers have gotten the short stick in this as people/courts totally devalue their role in this...unless we are talking money. I have a friend from school who has 9 kids...not sure how many mothers as I never asked but he has custody and is raising all 9. Fathers definitely need a stronger voice in this issue and Veronica's adoptive parents will not be able to hide this story from her as the internet will prevent a cover up. They won this battle (or so they think) but it will cost them the war. They clearly did not put this childs well-being first which is what real parents do wether dna or adoptive.

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  17. Just when I thought the Brown case couldn't get any worse, I learn that Veronica has an older half-sister whom she adores.

    This case so clearly shows that adoption is about the adoptive parents and not the child. Veronica doesn't need a home and family. She has one. Even Dusten's ex-wife and the mother of his older daughter says he is an exemplary father. He must be ready for 'father of the year' if even his ex-wife is singing his praises. lol

    I am so sick of all the he said, she said, who, what and where. The bottom line is children do not want to be given up for adoption and raised in a different race/culture when they already have a loving, stable biological family.

    I understand that Christy is planning on having an open adoption with the Capobiancos. I wonder if she is aware that 80% of open adoptions close? And how will she feel if the Capobiancos do, in fact, close the adoption and neither she nor Dusten have access to Veronica any longer? It certainly will be within the Capobiancos legal rights to do this once the adoption is finalized.

    I understand that Cherokee Nation has filed an appeal for a best interests hearing. Has anyone heard the outcome of that?

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  18. I debated commenting here. We are in a similar situation. We went through a contested adoption.

    The agency made all the decisions about whether to fight the first mom or return Babygirl.

    We, the prospective adoptive parents, couldn't make any decisions because the adoption was not yet final.

    The first mom's contest was not a strong position. She was hoping that the agency would back down. The agency did not back down. They opposed the first mom and prevailed.

    For the first time, we were asked to make a decision. Would we adopt Baby girl?

    If we declined to adopt her, the agency would find another couple to adopt her. A couple that the first mom did not choose and with whom contact information would not be shared.

    On the other hand, if we went through with the adoption, Babygirl would be placed with us, a couple of the first mom's choosing and with whom all contact information had already been shared.

    Babygirl's first mom asked us to continue with the adoption, but how to explain it to Babygirl down the road?

    What is the right thing to do?

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  19. Jay,
    Thank you for your courage, integrity, love for Nina and for sharing your story. I wish there were more people like you out there and that the Capobianco's could step out of their clouds for a moment.

    Robin and others, I feel as you and many others do. Please visit Facebook's Standing our Ground for Veronica Brown. Their postings on Thursday, July 25's have lists of contacts for senators and the house to send letters. It'd be great if we all contacted state representatives about this. Veronica (or any child) deserves so much better than how the US and state courts are treating her (or any child).

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  20. Thanks for your kind thoughts, Kym. Thanks also for pointing out the appeals to senators on Veronica's behalf. I fully support every effort towards keeping Veronica with her father but, to be honest, am feeling really diffident at this point that this will actually happen.

    Can you believe all the press that's out there praising the Capobiancos for "thoughtfully" putting together a plan for transitioning Veronica into their home and how fabulous they are for allowing Dusten Brown to come visit Veronica in South Carolina even though he never let the Capobiancos speak to her while she has been living with him? Since when did adoption become an entitlement? And their adoption wasn't even finalized during this entire time period, yet they expected rights in this child?!!

    Seriously, prospective adoptive folks, when there is a biological parent who wants to and is fully capable of loving and raising their child, forget the law! Leave them be! A society that glorifies adopters to the extent of praising their thoughtfulness in the way they are snatching away a well-loved biological child makes me ill. How utterly patronizing - to offer Dusten Brown the opportunity to stop by South Carolina to see his daughter. AArgh - makes me depressed and furious.

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  21. There's always the thought that she is too old for an easy transfer and will cause the Capobiancos problems. If she goes back to her father because of that, surely they will want to keep it quiet. She is going to grow up with a weird sense of what relationships are, or how long they last.

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  22. I am sure you read that Dusten Brown has now appealed to the US Supreme Court to block the adoption order until current circumstances, other adoption petitions, etc. are considered in a best interests hearing. Guess who gets to review this emergency appeal? Chief Justice Roberts! And he is not required to seek the input of the other justices either. I cannot imagine that he would do anything other than deny the appeal.

    I hate to sound like a pessimistic wet rag but I have been so despondent over this situation and, of course, the similar travesty for lots of other unwed birth fathers.

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  23. If there is anything we could do it would be to make a media ruckus saying that Roberts ought to recuse himself. That will get nowhere, but it would get the story out. let's email Anderson Cooper for starters. And the Today show., etc.

    AND POST THIS IDEA ON FACEBOOK.

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  24. Jay, would you post the link to this story? Haven't seen it, busy with lots of other stuff.
    thanks

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  25. Lorraine, here is the link:

    http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/07/baby-veronica-case-back-at-the-court/

    Towards the end, it talks about how the appeal will go to Chief Justice Roberts.

    I was just reading reviews of your book, "Birthmark" when I saw your request. I read it is now out of print? Am hoping I can find it on Amazon

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  26. Jay, click on the icon of Birthmark on the side of the blog. It takes you to amazon, where you can order the book from a used book dealer. Please order it through FMF, as I may get something like ten cents but it shows that the blog does direct some traffic.

    thanks!

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  27. PS: You can also order any of the books that we show here also by clicking on them, or anything at Amazon. Income? About $4-$6 a month.

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  28. From SCOTUS:

    "The application for a postponement of that order was filed with Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., who handles emergency legal matters from the geographic Fourth Circuit area, which includes South Carolina. The Chief Justice has the option of acting on his own on the application, or of sharing it with his colleagues.

    "Meanwhile, news stories have recounted that the child’s birth mother, identified as Christy Maldonado, who chose the Capobiancos as the preferred adoptive couple, has filed a lawsuit against the federal government, challenging parts of the federal Indian child law on which the Supreme Court based its June 25 decision. Ms Maldonado lives in Oklahoma."

    If Mr. Maldonado does not want her daughter--and she had made that clear--her preventing the father from raising her, his own flesh and blood, is clearly the vindictive act of a spiteful woman. Not all first mothers are saints.

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  29. I was just reading reviews of your book, "Birthmark" when I saw your request. I read it is now out of print? Am hoping I can find it on Amazon.

    Hey Jay - I can send you my book - I was going to donate it to my library - but haven't yet - if you would like to read Lorraine's book!!

    Maybe Lorraine can "hook" us up, as I don't really want to post my email address here!!

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  30. Thanks, Lorraine, for the information on accessing the Amazon website by way of your blog. $4-$6 a month?!!! For all your efforts, I hope you got more than that when the book was first released.

    Regarding your comment about Christy Maldonado, I have felt all along that her actions were motivated by resentment. Unfortunately, when there is an adversarial relationship between the biological parents, the huge disparity in the standards for terminating parental rights allows birth mothers to act on that resentment in a manner that easily takes the child away from an unwed birth father.

    It is ridiculous that a biological mother could refuse to take care of herself during her pregnancy, do drugs, alcohol, whatever, maybe even actively try to poison her fetus to abort it, yet her rights are not terminated without being offered ample opportunities for rehabilitation. It stands in stark contrast to that of unwed birth fathers, whose rights can be terminated even if they have difficulty maintaining contact with the birth mother during the pregnancy due to an adversarial relationship, restraining orders, the mother hiding herself and/or information from him, etc. Case law demands that they find a way to support that unborn child, no matter how next to impossible that might be under the circumstances. Dusten Brown was a victim of that disparity.

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  31. Hey, it's out of print but very easy to order. Just click on the icon and if it says it it unavailable (that comes up sometime) just click again or type in "Birthmark."

    Lee, I hope you keep the book! Libraries sell them, but of course your library might sell it to someone who needs it. But since it is not flying out of libraries today, a lot of the copies for sale are used library copies. Dealers buy books at library sales.

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  32. Hi Lee,

    Thanks much for the generous offer of your copy of "Birthmark." I would like to send some traffic by way of Lorraine's blog, so I think I will buy a copy even though I appreciate your offer. I do think giving your copy to a library is a good idea, if it can be a resource/inspiration for multiple people. Thanks again!

    Jay

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  33. I don't mean to "spam" with comments but we just met someone who inspired me to respond to your observation, Lorraine, that "Not all first mothers are saints." How true. We just had dinner with some friends who have temporarily taken into their home a lovely young lady, "Maile," 17 years old. Maile's birth parents left her with her maternal biological grandmother when she was born and disappeared - nobody knew where they went. Maile's grandmother raised her until she was 11 years old, when she died of cancer. She left behind a decent trust fund (not huge, moderate) for Maile. Maile then lived for short periods of time with several relatives. Most recently, she lived with an uncle who asked her to move out when he got married. So now she is living with our friends and finishing out high school.

    A few months ago, she managed to reconnect with her birth father. He is a wandering beach bum - said, "Oh, you're the daughter I had" and basically ended the conversation there. She then found her birth mother who has just remarried and has a baby. Birth mother told her she can't deal with a teenager, she has started a new life with her husband and baby. I was very impressed with how poised and resilient Maile is. She has all her work/college plans laid out, and I am confident she will do well. But it is so sad that she grew up without experiencing the love of her parents, and probably won't at least for some time to come.

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  34. I just posted a comment about birth parents not always being saints but it looks like it got submitted as an anonymous one instead of "Jay Iyer"

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  35. Lorraine said:
    Lee, I hope you keep the book! Libraries sell them, but of course your library might sell it to someone who needs it. But since it is not flying out of libraries today, a lot of the copies for sale are used library copies. Dealers buy books at library sales.

    I don't believe my library sells any of its books! At least I haven't "seen" any kind of "sale" going on! LOL! They do have "The Girls Who Went Away", and lots of other books on adoption and I thought yours would make a good addition!!

    Jay said:
    Hi Lee,

    Thanks much for the generous offer of your copy of "Birthmark." I would like to send some traffic by way of Lorraine's blog, so I think I will buy a copy even though I appreciate your offer. I do think giving your copy to a library is a good idea, if it can be a resource/inspiration for multiple people. Thanks again!


    Good idea, Jay! No problem! I will be donating Lorraine's book to my library!

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  36. Lee, please email me at forumfirstmother@gmail.com

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Anon wrote that her child's first mother contested the adoption (likely claiming her consent was invalid). The agency resisted and prevailed. Anon had no part in the decision because the adoption was not final. If Anon had backed out of the adoption, the agency would have placed the child with another family.

    Anon was right to go ahead with the adoption since the first mother had selected her. However, if Anon believed the first mother was capable of raising her child, Anon could allow the first mother to adopt her own child. The agency would be out of it at that point.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I am a mother to two children, one natural and one adopted through the local county (not private adoption). I really appreciated this blog. My daughter (I'll call her June) never lived with her birth mother. Because of circumstances Child Protective Services was called in at the hospital. They chose to put June into foster care immediately; she never lived with her natural mother. June's first foster parents are wonderful foster parents. They take one baby at a time and keep the child until they are reunified with their birth parents or go to adoptive parents. Their goal is ALWAYS reunification. After much effort, over almost one full year, on the part of the foster mother and June's mom's social worker working with June's mom, it was determined that June's mom was just not capable of taking care of June. That is where we came into the story. We met June and her loving foster parents when she was two weeks shy of one-year old. June's foster parents told us of how sad they were that June's mother could not take care of June. June was the first child, they had fostered, for which reunification was not possible and they were heartbroken. We brought our daughter home one day shy of her first birthday. I am truly glad to know that she had such loving foster parents before ourselves whose true goal was reunification, which should always be the first goal.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hi Lyn, thanks for commenting. I agree that reunification should always be the first goal. Your daughter June's story is similar to my son Lenny's. He lived with a wonderful foster family for almost a year, while his biological parents tried to rehabilitate. This foster family has been taking care of infants and mostly reunifying them with their natural families for 30 or so years! In Lenny's case, unfortunately, reunification (and alternative biological family member placement) did not work out and he was placed with us for adoption at 11 months old. There are some amazing foster families out there and we do not hear enough about them. Thanks again for writing,

    Jay

    ReplyDelete

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