' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: January 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Broken Bonds: The undeniable connection between slavery and adoption

Heather Andrea Williams
Though some find it jarring to see "slavery" and "adoption" in the same sentence, the indisputable connection is the contract at the heart of each institution. Both bind individuals to a lifelong covenant between other persons and the state, without ever giving the individual so bound a say in such a contact. Because slavery elicits so many awful images of cruelty and bondage, the connection is often inflammatory. Yet it remains.

A remarkable book, Help Me To Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery makes the similarities ever more clear. Author Heather Andrea Williams, a historian and associate professor at the University of North Carolina, has amassed a rich collection of newspaper advertisements, letters, diaries, and written narratives attesting to the worst legacy of slavery: the separation of families, and the lifelong search for reunion. "Babies were snatched from their mothers' breasts and sold to speculators. Children was separated from sisters and brothers

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Foreign adoption may save 'one child' but hurts many

My post lauding the Russian government for stopping adoptions to the United States made Barbara Paden, an adoptive mother of two Russian children,   mad, really mad. Likely other adoptive mothers as well who didn't bother to comment. Paden, who blogs under "Babes from Russia," charged that my post is filled with inaccuracies and lies.

Paden, like many who adopt foreign children, defends the practice because "we can only save the world one child at a time." These parents tell inspiring stories of rescuing children from prison-like orphanages; it seems heartless to criticize what they are doing. Overall, however, foreign adoption does more harm than good.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dear President Obama: Please Consider the rights of the adopted

Demonstrating for the right of identity
Dear President Obama:

It was gratifying to hear you mention Seneca Falls (women's voting rights), Selma (African-American rights) and Stonewall (gay rights) yesterday, reminding the world of the progress made--and yet to be made--in giving all individuals their right to be free and equal to all. But there was one group sorely missing, and whose rights are being violated on a daily basis: the adopted.

The vast majority of them--somewhere between six and eight million--do not have the clear and unfettered right to learn their true identities. That

Saturday, January 19, 2013

First Mother Forum makes some people mad

Dr. Martin Luther King
Vitriol, anger, falsehoods about what we say about adoption--these are just a few of the slings and arrows thrown at First Mother Forum over the years. But the attack on us remind us of Dr. Martin Luther King as we celebrate him on Monday. His message? If your words are all sweetness and light, you will never achieve justice.

Here's a few recent criticisms directed at FMF from a couple of sweet-as-pie women, who claim they have no problem with FMF's message but FMF's methods send them up a wall. A would-be adopter who goes by Single Infertile Female (S.I.F.) writes:

Friday, January 18, 2013

Utah denies stay, Terry Achane's baby going to daddy

UPDATE (from Yahoo)

An army drill sergeant, Terry Achane, whose estranged wife put his daughter up for adoption without his knowledge or permission while he was stationed in another state, has been reunited with the little girl, following a nearly two-year battle to get her back. 

"I'm just happy right now. I'm with my daughter," Sgt. Terry Achane said. "It's about time." 

The Utah Supreme Court earlier this month overturned a request by the toddler's adoptive parents to stay a lower court's December order that the child be returned to Achane, her father. 

On Friday (Jan. 25) the original trial judge, Darold McDade who ruled in Achane's favor, held a transfer hearing that resulted in the little girl and her father being united this weekend for the first time since she was born 22 months ago. 

"This is the first known case where the Utah State Supreme Court has removed a child from an [adoptive parent's] home and returned the child to the ... legal father," said Achane's lawyer Mark Wiser. After putting a temporary hold on a trial judge's order giving Terry Achane custody of his daughter, the Utah Supreme Court denied the request of the would-be adoptive parents, the Jared and Kritsi Frei, that the child remain with them while they appeal the trial judge's decision.

Wiser called the Supreme Court's ruling a "huge victory" for "equal parental rights," meaning one parent can't put a child up for adoption without the other's permission, and decried the adoption practice in Utah.

"Terry Achane believes that justice is finally taking place," Wiser said, adding that his client remains "heartbroken that he has missed 22 months of his daughter's life because of what happened. This is time that he and his daughter can never replace."

The Utah Supreme Court set an expedited schedule for the Freis' appeal and will hear oral arguments at the end of March.  

Teleah is going home!

More news when we have it. 

February 11 The Frei's dropped their appeal. Little Teleah is staying with her daddy! (Utah couple ends legal fight over child's adoption), 

From FMF: Utah Supreme Court denies stay

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Utah Supreme Court delays return of Baby Teleah to her father

'Elated': Terry Achane, pictured with his daughter, was 'completely elated' this week after a judge ruled the 21-month-old be handed back to him by mid-January
Teleah with her daddy, Terry Achane
The Utah Supreme Court yesterday put a temporary hold on a trial judge's orders to return a little girl to her soldier father, Terry Achane, after she was given up for adoption without his consent two years ago. The little girl is being held by Jared and Kristi Frei, a couple who proceeded with their plan to adopt her, fully aware that her girl's father, married to her mother, had not given his consent. 

Does this sound like legalized kidnapping to you? Sure does to us. Involved in this chicanery is a corrupt adoption agency (Adoption Center of Choice), a supposedly law-abiding and god-fearing couple (the Freis) and the Utah Supreme Court. The fight is not over yet by any

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Can the media get adoption right?

"US could face a critical adoption shortage" wails the headline in the Salem, Oregon Statesman Journal over a January 11 USA Today article.

What's the cause of this claimed calamity?  "A cataclysmic implosion of intercountry adoption (emphasis added)" according to Tom DiFilpo of the  Joint Council on International Children's Services. In addition to Russia closing its doors, adoptions from China, Ethiopia, and South Korea have declined. Domestic production cannot make up for the shortage because, according to Jenny Pope of the adoption agency Buckner International, "as single parenthood becomes more acceptable, 'there are just not as many women placing their children for adoption.'"

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Should adoptees leave contact with their first mothers to an intermediary?

A search for a first mother is over, almost. The adopted individual makes contact with a relative because that is where the trail led. The relative--sister, brother, uncle, cousin--hesitates. Her sister, niece, cousin has never spoken of "that time" or "the baby." The first mother has had a mediocre life, or a messy life, with serious and serial "issues." A life had started out so promising, but after the baby, well, never got back on track--bad marriages, college plans gone awry, low level jobs that led nowhere.  Or conversely, the woman has "put all that behind her" and become a successful professional, with or without a husband and other children, but either way, she is well respected in her profession and community.

The relative hesitates. Wonders what to do. The adoptee waits, thinking this is the best thing to do--put it in the hands of a relative. Besides, she's fearful anyway, fearful of rejection, fearful of how a single phone call might change her life, fearful. What happens next is totally in the hands of the relative, and for the time being that feels safe. Let someone else contact the birth mother first.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

So few babies to adopt, so many who want them....

Channel surfing the other night reveals latest ploy to keep your lover: get a newborn.

On Scandal (TV show set in Washington DC among politicos) last week I come upon a gay Older Man who believes his younger lover and partner is cheating on him. Older Man checks the record of his lover's calls on his cellphone, and has him followed. When he learns Younger Man is not cheating, Older Man decides to do something that he knows Younger Man wants: acquire a baby. Younger Man comes home for dinner to a beautifully set table, candles in silver candelabra, etc., catered gourmet dinner. What's the occasion, asks Younger Man, now befuddled. What are they celebrating?