' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: November 2012
Join Lorraine in Indianapolis! She will be opening the IAN conference on Friday morning. See details on sidebar.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Two brothers, one adopted, find each other at the swimming pool

Isaac (Left) and Dakotah                 Courtesy of Dawn Nolting
Coming on the heels of the post the other day about two boys switched-at-birth is a real-life story of two brothers who were separated soon after the birth of one, and found each other because friends noticed the physical similarities between the two: same walk, same hands, same feet, same nose. One of the boys says, I've got a brother who was adopted by a woman named Dawn.

Other boy says: "That's my mom's name."

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Other Son asks questions of identity

Originally posted Monday, November 26, 2012
(Jules Sitruk and Medhi Dehhi are the boys switched at birth in "The Other Son."  Photo provided)
Brother vs. brother

Switched at birth is a fantasy that many young children imagine growing up, but when it really does happen--as in a recent case in Russia--the two families and the children involved have a tangled weave to unfold. In The Other Son, a French film now playing in art houses, this intensely human tangle is additionally knotted by who and where the two households are: one is Israel, the other the West Bank.  That's quite literally a huge wall to overcome.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A First Mother reminiscences about Thanksgivings past

Thanksgiving, 1966. I am in a small room in a residential hotel in San Francisco's tenderloin district, eating takeout turkey and the fixin's with my neighbor, Victor. I am in self-imposed exile, thousands of miles from relatives and friends. I'm not paying attention to the television Victor has turned on, full of programs designed to get viewers in the holiday spirit. I gave birth to my first daughter Rebecca a week earlier and left the hospital a few days without her a few days ago. Several weeks later I would sign a document giving up the right to be her mother.

My mind is racing. Why had my life gone so horribly wrong? How did it happen that at age 24 I had given birth to a baby, sired by a man who was not committed to me. Should I keep her? How would I care for her? Would she be better off if I kept her? "I can think this through," I think, but I can't.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Lost Post regarding the issues of Tyler and Catelynn, reconstructed

Catelynn and Tyler's Daughter Carly on the Cover of Life Lines Magazine
Carly, Brandon and Teresa Davis and new baby in Bethany ad
In a series of unfortunate events last night I inadvertently erased the whole post here. I had wrapped up the current commotion with Tyler Baltierra of Tyler and Catelynn of 16 and Pregnant and of late, Teen Mom. Having relinquished their daughter, they have become spokesteens for Bethany Christian Services. They give talks at colleges and high schools, showing how well their "adoption plan" worked out for them. Talks, in other words, that can only encourage other teens to give up their babies. Tyler prefers that I use the language, "made an adoption plan" in reference to them, as if that made a difference to what happens to a child borne of one mother and given to another woman to raise.

I am recreating some of what was lost with new material.

Not being a frequent watcher of Teen Mom, yet trying to keep up with the breathless adventures of this couple--he's sleeping outside overnight to raise money for charity, she's gone to the East Coast to

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Tyler of 16 and Pregnant Tells FMF Off!

Tyler and Catelynn
Tyler Baltierra, of Sixteen and Pregnant fame, of Tyler and Catelynn, has found First Mother Forum, and basically told us we are full of it: for criticizing them for making an adoption plan for their daughter, whom he says isn't his daughter any more. He left us a comment which we're copied below.

Tyler is upset with what he calls Lorraine's incorrect information regarding the degree of openness that their "adoption plan" has, and that she used harsh language in reference to giving up a baby. But, Tyler, no matter what you call it, a child who is adopted is likely to grow up with abandonment issues, no matter how you paper over the decision not to raise your own child and give her up to a "better life," no matter how much you "researched" adoption beforehand.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

International Adoption: The Abuse Continues

Just after I wrote the previous post, "Utah agency places cast-off international adoptees" about Wasatch International, which places, or attempts to place, foreign adoptees who have been rejected by their adoptive families, one of our readers, Sara, sent us a link to a horrific case of abuse of foreign adopted children by their adopters.

According to reporters Molly Born and Paula Reed Ward of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Kristen and Douglas Barbour adopted two Ethiopian children in March. By October--five months later--the Barbours were in court, charged with "starving their six-year-old son and leaving him with lesions from being kept in urine-soaked clothing for long periods of time." As for the girl, the charge read, "The 18-month-old girl will likely be blinded in one eye and paralyzed after suffering head trauma."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Utah agency places cast-off international adoptees

The more I read about international adoption, the more I become convinced that it does far more harm than good. The twin desires of Americans to have children and help those in need have created a huge and profitable industry, rife with corruption. It destroys families and diverts dollars which could otherwise help poor children to stay in their own countries. It allows Americans to ignore the over 100,000 American children in foster care who would benefit from being adopted.

And it turns out that many of the children who do come to the U.S., about 10,000 in the past year, are worse off. Contrary to what Americans expect, these children are often nothing like Dondi, the dream child adopted from Italy as a five-year-old after World War II by a U.S. soldier. Dondi, of course, was only a character in the comic strip of the same name which ran from 1955 to 1986. No, real foreign adoptees may suffer from RAD, PTSD, ODD, or whatever label  shrinks put on a child who is a holy terror.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Elizabeth Warren's victory is personal to me

Daughter Julie (second from left) with Sen-elect Elizabeth Warren
On election night, I had a special reason to be  thrilled by Elizabeth Warren's election as Massachusetts senator, defeating incumbent Scott Brown: My youngest daughter Julie was the Communication Director for the Campaign.

I've admired Warren, a Harvard law professor, since I saw her on PBS explaining how banks fleeced Americans, often those who could least afford to lose money, with outrageous loan terms, deceptive credit card offers, manipulating the timing of checks to maximize NSF fees. Warren's sincerity, her advocacy for working families, her ability to explain complex financial transactions while Wall Street bankers wallowed in obfuscation, simply awed me. And the icing on the cake --Warren was a true feminist.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Women's Vote makes all the difference!


Paul Beaty/AP   Tammy Duckworth and husband Byran Bowlsbey and supporters election night

Reproductive rights won on election night in America! A decisive women's vote help propel pro-choice President Obama to victory. The gender gap in the vote was a whooping 18 points, even bigger than the 12 point gap in 2008.

But it wasn't just the White House where pro-choice women roared back with their vote against an attack on reproductive freedom. Two Republican candidates for the Senate who appeared to be on track to election were derailed when they couldn't help themselves from revealing their true feelings about pregnancies that result from rape--either impossible or "god's will." Not only were they defeated, other anti-choice candidates went down with them.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Making babies, just to make ends meet

By Sarah Williamson for the New York Times
Making Babies, Just to Make Ends Meet is a sickening commentary on the American way of the future of birth, as well as the title of an essay in the New York Times Sunday Review section. The writer, Susan Straight, writes about her neighbor, a woman of 39, who had been pumping breast milk for the baby she carried and delivered for a wealthy couple in their late 50s who, with four teenage sons, wanted a girl. "They bought the milk too," is what she says about the blonde and older couple for whom she worked for as a baby carrier. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

N. Korean adoption bill wins Demon in Adoption

As far as I can tell, the Demon in Adoption award goes to the U.S House of Representatives for "for fast-tracking H.R. 1464: North Korean Refugee Adoption Act of 2011, a measure that in effect by-passes the limited safe-guards in place in international adoption, to bring North Korean children to the U.S. for adoption." The House won the prestigious annual Pound Pup Legacy award by a margin of four votes, 71 to 67 over Oxygen Network. (One  reminder that everyone's vote counts. In every election. )

Oxygen, of course, was a close second for producing the "absolutely horrendous show "I'm Having Their Baby, a tasteless, manipulative, coercive, and intrusive" reality show that peeked into the lives of vulnerable women trying to cope with an unplanned pregnancy. Oxygen was my choice but I did not vote, due to not