She's Adopted

They just didn't tell her

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

by Marc Chernoff

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

When you stop chasing the wrong things you give
the right things a chance to catch you.

As Maria Robinson once said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”  Nothing could be closer to the truth.  But before you can begin this process of transformation you have to stop doing the things that have been holding you back.

  1. Start spending time with the right people. – These are the people you enjoy, who love and appreciate you, and who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways.  They are the ones who make you feel more alive, and not only embrace who you are now, but also embrace and embody who you want to be, unconditionally.
  2. Start facing your problems head on. – It isn’t your problems that define you, but how you react to them and recover from them.  Problems will not disappear unless you take action.  Do what you can, when you can, and acknowledge what you’ve done.  It’s all about taking baby steps in the right direction, inch by inch.  These inches count, they add up to yards and miles in the long run.
  3. Start being honest with yourself about everything. – Be honest about what’s right, as well as what needs to be changed.  Be honest about what you want to achieve and who you want to become.  Be honest with every aspect of your life, always.  Because you are the one person you can forever count on.  Search your soul, for the truth, so that you truly know who you are.  Once you do, you’ll have a better understanding of where you are now and how you got here, and you’ll be better equipped to identify where you want to go and how to get there.  Read The Road Less Traveled.
  4. Start making your own happiness a priority. – Your needs matter.  If you don’t value yourself, look out for yourself, and stick up for yourself, you’re sabotaging yourself.  Remember, it IS possible to take care of your own needs while simultaneously caring for those around you.  And once your needs are met, you will likely be far more capable of helping those who need you most.
  5. Start being yourself, genuinely and proudly. – Trying to be anyone else is a waste of the person you are.  Be yourself.  Embrace that individual inside you that has ideas, strengths and beauty like no one else.  Be the person you know yourself to be – the best version of you – on your terms.  Above all, be true to YOU, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.
  6. Start noticing and living in the present. – Right now is a miracle.  Right now is the only moment guaranteed to you.  Right now is life.  So stop thinking about how great things will be in the future.  Stop dwelling on what did or didn’t happen in the past.  Learn to be in the ‘here and now’ and experience life as it’s happening.  Appreciate the world for the beauty that it holds, right now.
  7. Start valuing the lessons your mistakes teach you. – Mistakes are okay; they’re the stepping stones of progress.  If you’re not failing from time to time, you’re not trying hard enough and you’re not learning.  Take risks, stumble, fall, and then get up and try again.  Appreciate that you are pushing yourself, learning, growing and improving.  Significant achievements are almost invariably realized at the end of a long road of failures.  One of the ‘mistakes’ you fear might just be the link to your greatest achievement yet.
  8. Start being more polite to yourself. – If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend?  The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others.  You must love who you are or no one else will.
  9. Start enjoying the things you already have. – The problem with many of us is that we think we’ll be happy when we reach a certain level in life – a level we see others operating at – your boss with her corner office, that friend of a friend who owns a mansion on the beach, etc.  Unfortunately, it takes awhile before you get there, and when you get there you’ll likely have a new destination in mind.  You’ll end up spending your whole life working toward something new without ever stopping to enjoy the things you have now.  So take a quiet moment every morning when you first awake to appreciate where you are and what you already have.
  10. Start creating your own happiness. – If you are waiting for someone else to make you happy, you’re missing out.  Smile because you can.  Choose happiness.  Be the change you want to see in the world.  Be happy with who you are now, and let your positivity inspire your journey into tomorrow.  Happiness is often found when and where you decide to seek it.  If you look for happiness within the opportunities you have, you will eventually find it.  But if you constantly look for something else, unfortunately, you’ll find that too.  Read Stumbling on Happiness.
  11. Start giving your ideas and dreams a chance. – In life, it’s rarely about getting a chance; it’s about taking a chance.  You’ll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won’t work.  Most of the time you just have to go for it!  And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be.  Either you succeed or you learn something.  Win-Win.
  12. Start believing that you’re ready for the next step. – You are ready!  Think about it.  You have everything you need right now to take the next small, realistic step forward.  So embrace the opportunities that come your way, and accept the challenges – they’re gifts that will help you to grow.
  13. Start entering new relationships for the right reasons. – Enter new relationships with dependable, honest people who reflect the person you are and the person you want to be.  Choose friends you are proud to know, people you admire, who show you love and respect – people who reciprocate your kindness and commitment.  And pay attention to what people do, because a person’s actions are much more important than their words or how others represent them.
  14. Start giving new people you meet a chance. – It sounds harsh, but you cannot keep every friend you’ve ever made.  People and priorities change.  As some relationships fade others will grow.  Appreciate the possibility of new relationships as you naturally let go of old ones that no longer work.  Trust your judgment.  Embrace new relationships, knowing that you are entering into unfamiliar territory.  Be ready to learn, be ready for a challenge, and be ready to meet someone that might just change your life forever.
  15. Start competing against an earlier version of yourself. – Be inspired by others, appreciate others, learn from others, but know that competing against them is a waste of time.  You are in competition with one person and one person only – yourself.  You are competing to be the best you can be.  Aim to break your own personal records.
  16. Start cheering for other people’s victories. – Start noticing what you like about others and tell them.  Having an appreciation for how amazing the people around you are leads to good places – productive, fulfilling, peaceful places.  So be happy for those who are making progress.  Cheer for their victories.  Be thankful for their blessings, openly.  What goes around comes around, and sooner or later the people you’re cheering for will start cheering for you.
  17. Start looking for the silver lining in tough situations. – When things are hard, and you feel down, take a few deep breaths and look for the silver lining – the small glimmers of hope.  Remind yourself that you can and will grow stronger from these hard times.  And remain conscious of your blessings and victories – all the things in your life that are right.  Focus on what you have, not on what you haven’t.
  18. Start forgiving yourself and others. – We’ve all been hurt by our own decisions and by others.  And while the pain of these experiences is normal, sometimes it lingers for too long.  We relive the pain over and over and have a hard time letting go.  Forgiveness is the remedy.  It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened.  It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life.
  19. Start helping those around you. – Care about people.  Guide them if you know a better way.  The more you help others, the more they will want to help you.  Love and kindness begets love and kindness.  And so on and so forth.
  20. Start listening to your own inner voice. – If it helps, discuss your ideas with those closest to you, but give yourself enough room to follow your own intuition.  Be true to yourself.  Say what you need to say.  Do what you know in your heart is right.
  21. Start being attentive to your stress level and take short breaks. – Slow down.  Breathe.  Give yourself permission to pause, regroup and move forward with clarity and purpose.  When you’re at your busiest, a brief recess can rejuvenate your mind and increase your productivity.  These short breaks will help you regain your sanity and reflect on your recent actions so you can be sure they’re in line with your goals.
  22. Start noticing the beauty of small moments. – Instead of waiting for the big things to happen – marriage, kids, big promotion, winning the lottery – find happiness in the small things that happen every day.  Little things like having a quiet cup of coffee in the early morning, or the delicious taste and smell of a homemade meal, or the pleasure of sharing something you enjoy with someone else, or holding hands with your partner.  Noticing these small pleasures on a daily basis makes a big difference in the quality of your life.
  23. Start accepting things when they are less than perfect. – Remember, ‘perfect’ is the enemy of ‘good.’  One of the biggest challenges for people who want to improve themselves and improve the world is learning to accept things as they are.  Sometimes it’s better to accept and appreciate the world as it is, and people as they are, rather than to trying to make everything and everyone conform to an impossible ideal.  No, you shouldn’t accept a life of mediocrity, but learn to love and value things when they are less than perfect.
  24. Start working toward your goals every single day. – Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.  Whatever it is you dream about, start taking small, logical steps every day to make it happen.  Get out there and DO something!  The harder you work the luckier you will become.  While many of us decide at some point during the course of our lives that we want to answer our calling, only an astute few of us actually work on it.  By ‘working on it,’ I mean consistently devoting oneself to the end result.  Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  25. Start being more open about how you feel. – If you’re hurting, give yourself the necessary space and time to hurt, but be open about it.  Talk to those closest to you.  Tell them the truth about how you feel.  Let them listen.  The simple act of getting things off your chest and into the open is your first step toward feeling good again.
  26. Start taking full accountability for your own life. – Own your choices and mistakes, and be willing to take the necessary steps to improve upon them.  Either you take accountability for your life or someone else will.  And when they do, you’ll become a slave to their ideas and dreams instead of a pioneer of your own.  You are the only one who can directly control the outcome of your life.  And no, it won’t always be easy.  Every person has a stack of obstacles in front of them.  But you must take accountability for your situation and overcome these obstacles.  Choosing not to is choosing a lifetime of mere existence.
  27. Start actively nurturing your most important relationships. – Bring real, honest joy into your life and the lives of those you love by simply telling them how much they mean to you on a regular basis.  You can’t be everything to everyone, but you can be everything to a few people.  Decide who these people are in your life and treat them like royalty.  Remember, you don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends you can be certain of.
  28. Start concentrating on the things you can control. – You can’t change everything, but you can always change something.  Wasting your time, talent and emotional energy on things that are beyond your control is a recipe for frustration, misery and stagnation.  Invest your energy in the things you can control, and act on them now.
  29. Start focusing on the possibility of positive outcomes. – The mind must believe it CAN do something before it is capable of actually doing it.  The way to overcome negative thoughts and destructive emotions is to develop opposing, positive emotions that are stronger and more powerful.  Listen to your self-talk and replace negative thoughts with positive ones.  Regardless of how a situation seems, focus on what you DO WANT to happen, and then take the next positive step forward.  No, you can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control how you react to things.  Everyone’s life has positive and negative aspects – whether or not you’re happy and successful in the long run depends greatly on which aspects you focus on.  Read The How of Happiness.
  30. Start noticing how wealthy you are right now. – Henry David Thoreau once said, “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”  Even when times are tough, it’s always important to keep things in perspective.  You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night.  You didn’t go to sleep outside.  You had a choice of what clothes to wear this morning.  You hardly broke a sweat today.  You didn’t spend a minute in fear.  You have access to clean drinking water.  You have access to medical care.  You have access to the Internet.  You can read.  Some might say you are incredibly wealthy, so remember to be grateful for all the things you do have.

30 Things to Start Doing for Yourself

Remember today, for it is the beginning.
Today marks the start of a brave new future.

Please  visit Marc Chernoff’s blog for more inspirational and Practical Life Tips:
http://www.marcandangel.com/

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Will Adult Adoptees Ever be Treated like Grown-ups?

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Is anyone else as disgusted as I am at the slow pace of the adoption reform movement — specifically the state-by-state efforts to allow adult citizens who happen to be adopted access to their own birth certificates?

The New Jersey Coalition for Adoption Reform and Education (NJCARE) tries valiantly year after year to get an adult adoptee access bill passed, and year after year it is thwarted by last-minute back room deals driven by the opposition — Catholic Bishops, NJ Right to Life, the National Council for Adoption (NCFA) and the NJ Bar Association.

These groups continue to oppose adult adoptee access even though we now have years of experience from the open-access states and from other countries that shows their fears are completely unfounded.  Meanwhile, everyday people who have an ounce of common sense just shake their heads in disbelief when I explain to them that most fully-grown adoptees have no access to the document that records their true and actual birth.

Apparently, by law, adoptees in this country are still expected for life to be somebody other than who they really are.  When a child’s adoption in the US is finalized, an amended birth certificate is issued that lists the adoptive parents as the child’s mother and father.  The original birth certificate is “sealed” by the state, and adoptees must petition the court and show “good cause,” a condition that has never been legally defined, should they desire to know the truth about their own genetic roots.

Of course legions of adoptees search for their origins in spite of the legal obstacles.  Search angels and some private investigators specialize in the field.  But isn’t it ridiculous and unjust that an entire class of people must jump through all kinds of hoops in order to find out the most basic information about themselves?

The adoption industry has been quite successful in convincing people that the practice of adoption is just fine exactly like it is.  Their propaganda, aimed at selling the concept that adoption is a win-win situation for all the parties involved, has been effective.  Most people seem to assume that adoption is always a wonderful and positive option that leads to happily-ever-after endings for all.

The lifelong loss that so many original mothers feel?  We don’t hear so much about that.  The identity struggles that many adoptees face as they come to terms with their relinquishment?  A secondary concern.  How much easier it is to just assume, as I did as a child, that love will conquer all.

My guess is that most people aren’t even aware that the original birth certificates of adoptees are sealed for life in most states.  And if they are aware, they probably assume, incorrectly, that adoption has always been conducted this way, and that the secrecy is necessary for the “protection” of birth parents.  Those who oppose adult adoptee access talk a great deal about the need for birth parent protection, although hordes of original mothers have come forward to tell us that they were not promised, nor did they ask for “confidentiality.”

As I have written in other posts, allowing adopted adults access to their original birth certificates is not a novel and untested concept.  In England and Australia, adult adoptees have had access to their own birth documents for over 30 years!  Here, a few states have opened up access, but progress across the country remains slow, and the quest for adoptee rights is always a frustrating, uphill battle.

What is really galling is that the press for the most part does not challenge the propaganda of the power brokers in adoption.  These groups insist that original mothers were promised anonymity, when an examination of the history and of the surrender documents themselves shows clearly that records were sealed to hide the identity of the adoptee, not the identity of the original family.

And why are birth records sealed for one of the most common types of adoption, that initiated by step-parents?  In these cases, and in adoptions out of foster care, the children for the most part already have their original information, and yet still, their original birth certificates are sealed.  Domestic infant adoptions actually comprise just a tiny portion of all adoptions finalized each year, yet the power brokers in adoption ask us to accept that original birth certificates are sealed across the board to preserve the “anonymity” or privacy of original parents.

The most telling statistic, of course, is that fewer than 1 percent of original parents have a preference for anonymity, according to combined statistics from those open-access states that maintain records (American Adoption Congress, Statistics for States Implementing Access to Original Birth Certificates).  Just who is it that adoption facilitators are so intent on protecting, even as they continue to violate the rights of the person that adoption is supposed to serve — the adoptee?

It is apparent to me that they are either trying to protect themselves by keeping their files under lock and key, or they are responding to the desire of some adoptive parents to begin with a clean slate, adoptive parents who want nothing whatsoever to do with the original families.  Whatever the motivation, it is clear that it does not center around the best interest of the child.

Sometimes, I wonder whether I am wasting my time writing these posts, when we see so little progress in the legislative arena.  I am a rational, logical person, and it drives me crazy that the opposition to Adoptee Rights Bills is not based on any established fact.  As far as I can see, the opposition is based on a misguided ideology, power and money.

Will adult adoptees ever be treated like grown-ups by law?  Sadly, I am beginning to doubt it.

 

Article written by Susan P. @ nanadays.blogspot.com (Susan, you’re awesome!)

 

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Who is Entitled to my Gratitude?

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Have you ever seen an adoptee bristle, or felt yourself as an adoptee prickle, when someone mentions that adoptees need to be “grateful?”  Where does this reaction come from, and what’s wrong with being “grateful” anyway?  Gratefulness is a wonderful attitude to have for life and blessings in-general. However, there’s a distinct and unfortunate stereotype of “gratefulness” that adoptees tend to encounter.

The “gratefulness” seen in family systems causes one generation to look with fondness and care on the previous generation, if they were well cared for by that generation. The adoption-stereotype-gratefulness takes this to an extreme.  It expects adoptees to leave things behind so as not to “upset” some invisible apple cart people imagine adoptive parents to have.  What we may be expected to leave behind are our original families, original identity, a quest for reunion or original documentation, or mentioning any personal feelings of loss in adoption.

This is an unrealistic “gratefulness” is directed at adoptees, and their families, often in an unkind way. In reality, adoptive parents, like all parents, shouldn’t want their kids to put aside what may be important to them. It is the job of every parent to nurture the interests, feelings, and ideas of their children. No one, adopted or not, needs to be any more grateful than anyone else is to their parents for doing what parents are supposed to do.

When my adopted identity within my adoptive family exclusively indicates that I need to be grateful, and that gratefulness determines what can and cannot be important to me, I’ve been made out to be a little less human than everyone else.
I am grateful everyday to be the mother of my biologically-raised sons.  I do not want a different standard held to me and all of my parents because I am adopted.  My sons are entitled to my gratitude for the opportunity to be their mother, but I am not entitled to their gratefulness in return.

Very simply, no child has to be “grateful” when their human rights are met. When children receive love and care, it is not by sheer “luck” or “fortune.”  It is justice they are entitled to by nature of being human.

Written by Amanda from The Declassified Adoptee
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Adoption Shouldn’t be a Secret

I would like to say thank you to all of you for supporting this page. It’s an honor for me to get to know you, little by little.

As some of you may know, my cause goes beyond our frontiers… I not only fight for the Adoptee Rights here in the United States but also in Brazil, where I was born and adopted.

Adoptee Rights in Brazil are pretty null. Like me, thousands of people are illegally adopted everyday. The existing law openly protects the parents. There are no support groups, there is no consideration to the Adoptees that are kept in the dark for years until the truth emerges somehow… And what is left? The same feelings Late Discovery Adoptees from around the world experience: Disappointment, loss of trust, discrimination, criticism, abandonment, and pain.

I’ve created a sister page here on FB last December and just this past week, I was able to start working on it. So please, if you know any Portuguese speakers, let them know about this resource. There are not many resources for adoptees available in Brazil. Please help to connect any one that might benefit from it 🙂

http://www.facebook.com/AdoteAVerdade

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Adoptee Rights Bills to Support in 2013

Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio all have Adoptee Bills in their State Capitols

While the Adoptee Rights Coalition organizes a national demonstration each years, it is vitally important to support Adoptee Rights Bills that come through each state capitol. The vast majority of Adoptee Rights bills are not understood at all by the very state legislators that are required to vote on them. If you need facts, please feel free to use any of the materials on the Adoptee Rights pages here.

I recommend writing a short, yet powerful letter, identifying yourself and supporting Adoptee Rights OBC access. Add some facts and why you support Adoptees Rights. Then keep your letter on file. It is then very easy to  edit it to the right legislators  regarding whatever state bill and send it off when needed.

Follow your state group on Facebook and Twitter or sign up for their mailing lists and when they ask you to do something, just do it! Send your letter, make a comment saying you did, and share the post to your own networks, The only way we will ever restore the civil rights of our friends and children is if we work on their doggedly and with purpose together.

Maryland’s Adoptee Rights Bill HB 22 & SB 165:

Maryland Adoptee OBC access billsAccess Maryland Adoptee RIghts

Website:  Access Maryland

Email: info@obcmaryland.org

Bill Numbers: HB 22 & SB 165

General Bill info: Adoptee Access to OBC at age 18 including records and report on order of adoption  Disclosure veto offered to all parties.

Edited for clarity: Due to the included disclosure VETO, the ARC is not supporting this piece of legislation. Vetos continue to allow discrimination of adoptees, but now based on the decisions of other parties who already had a choice in adoption rather than treating all adoptees equally.  When you write to Maryland, you can tell them that VETOES are NOT NEEDED and UNFAIR.

Latest Update: SB 165 now has a hearing scheduled in the Maryland Senate on February 12, 2013, at 1 PM

What you can do to help:

  • Write a letter/email of support for HB 22:  to the members of the Maryland House Judiciary Committee members. We don’t know when the committee will vote on HB 22, so it is imperative that the letters/emails get there ASAP. You can write one email and, using the links  here. Copy and paste the same letter into each email, and then add the subject: HB 22 – SUPPORT
  • Write a letter/email of support for SB 165: edit your letter changing the bill number to SB 165 and send to the members of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. The bill is the same as HB 22. Links to the members of the Judicial Proceedings Committee are also at the above link.
  • Ask friends and family to send letters of support, too. It isn’t necessary to be a member of the adoption triad to know that discriminating against adoptees and denying them their human right to their original identity is wrong. If you are an adoptee, please explain why having a copy of your original birth certificate is important.
  • Please send a copy of your letters to info@obcmaryland.org.
  • LIKE Access Maryland on Facebook and Share their Updates!

Pennsylvania Adoptee Rights Bill HB 162

Pennsylvania Adoptee Rights

Website:   Pennsylvania Adoptee Rights PAR

Email: AmandaWoolston@pennsylvaniaadopteerights.org

Bill Number: HB 162 in the PA House

General Bill info: Adoptee Access to OBC at age 18

Latest Update:  Introduced by Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre County, 171st Legislative District) and currently co-sponsored by 29 of his colleagues

What you can do to help:

New York’s Adoptee Rights Bills S2490A and A909

New York Adoptee Rights bills

Website:    Unsealed Initiative

Email: unsealedinitiative@nyc.rr.com

Bill Number: S2490A and A909

General Bill info:  Enacts Bill of Adoptee Rights clarifying language and procedures for obtaining birth certificates and medical histories of adoptees; allows adopted adults to learn who their birth parents are when they reach the age of 18, subject to a contact preference filed by the birth parents.

Latest Update:   At the end of last Albany session May of 2012 Senator Lanza took charge of our senate bill and we need a republican sponsor to get our bill passed. Because he took charge near the end of session and because of opposition there was no action on our bill. This session we have more support and are more hopeful in the senate.

What you can do to help:

  • Join Unsealed Initiative to lobby in Albany on Tuesday March 5th!!
    • Contact your legislators in their District Offices. To learn who your state assembly member and senator are, call the Albany switchboard at: 518 455-4218. The phone number in New York City for the League of Women Voters is   (212) 725-3541. There are 150 assembly members and the link to the assembly website is http://assembly.state.ny.us
    • Contact your NY  state senators. One way to find out who your senator is by logging
      on to the senate site, www.senate.state.ny.us
    • A written letter (snail mail) is of more importance with many legislators. However, some value emails. If your email does not get through, go to SEARCH and type in the name of the legislator for access to their website, as many have their own sites. Then send an email from the site. Be sure to include your address and phone number in your mail. Contact them in support of S2490A and A909
    • LIKE Unsealed Initiative and Share their Updates!
    • Follow them on Twitter!

 

Ohio Adoptee Rights Bill

Adoption Equity Ohio

Website:   Adoption Equity Ohio

Email: AdoptionEquityOhio@gmail.com

Bill Numbers: ??

General Bill info: The bill will deal with allowing access upon request to original birth certificates for adoptees born and adopted in Ohio between 1964 and 1996, a period during which these records are currently closed. (In Ohio the original birth certificate is available upon request to pre-1964 adoptees and in the vast majority of cases to post-1996 adult adoptees.)

Sponsor:  Representatives Dorothy Pelanda (R) and Nicki Antonio (D) in the House, and Senators Bill Beagle (R) and Dave Burke (R) in the Senate. Each has a personal adoption connection as well as a policy interest, and passion for the cause.

Latest Update: We learned today that the Ohio bill on adoptee access to birth certificates – which is now bills (2 bills) – is being introduced next Friday 2/8/2013. There will be companion bills concurrently in the Ohio House and in the Ohio Senate.  The sponsors have sent out a request for co-sponsors to the full House and Senate. Co-sponsors need to sign on by next Thursday.

What you can do to help:

The sponsors have sent out a request for co-sponsors to the full House and Senate. Co-sponsors need to sign on by next Thursday.

 

Source: Claudia Corrigan DArcy ~ Musings of the Lame

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How the Real World Sees Adoptees, Adoptive Parents and Birthmothers

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In the adoption community there  are tons of conversations about “educating”  the general public about adoption.  Depending on how you are adoption affected, what you think needs to happen will be very different.

Adoptive Parents  want people to accept their families built by adoption  and complain about the stupid questions people ask like  ”Where is her real mother?” There is also many conversations about how the public should respect the birthmothers for being so selfless and brave to make such a courageous choice.  Adoptive parents are the saviors who took in another’s child.

Adoptees are suppose to be happy and grateful that they  were somehow  saved from either ” ending up in an dumpster” or ” from being aborted.  Adoptees are “lucky”. They are suppose to just accept life that they are given and not care about their medical history or the fact that they are discriminated against by the government who denies Adoptee Rights. Adoptees who search  should be “happy with the parents they got” and if they do search, even our government expects them all to turn into stalking identity thieves.

The general public likes to blame the birthmother’s pain on her own irresponsible choices. She is punished for her fertility and the sexual drive that got her pregnant in the first place. I can’t how many times I have heard “well you should have thought of that before you spread your legs”. Our pain at being separated form your children is because we deserved it and, let’s not forget, we all would have abused our kids anyway or lived our poor lives on government assistance.

Basically, unless you are actually adoption affected, and even then, only if you have done your own research and homework, most people have no clue about adoption.

Thanks AGAIN to:

life-birthmother-adoption1

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15 Solutions To Fix Adoption in America

People ask me what ARE the solutions to Domestic Voluntary Infant Adoption in this country. I have a few ideas about where we can start.

I concentrate my efforts on domestic voluntary infant relinquishment. While I have feelings on International Adoptions, and foster care adoption, they are not my “specialty”. I did not live them. On the other hand, I have lived the life of a birthmother for over 25 years now. I have been researching and learning about adoption for over 12 years now, so I have a pretty good idea of what I am talking about.

So, let’s make sure we are clear on some things first:

Standard Adoption Disclaimers

I draw a HUGE line between a voluntary placement and anything having to do with possible abused and CPS involvement. That is not to say that I think the mothers who are in such bad situations that their children are removed hurt any less, or love their children any less, but I can’t go and solve all the world’s problems. I am sticking now to the one closest to my heart, the one that I know. Plus I do NOT believe that this is a perfect world, nor that I can close my eyes to the fact that abuse happens. It does, and it shouldn’t and NO, children should not be in danger and made to suffer. So being anti-adoption, or a natural family preservationist as many prefer, is not anti child or supporting child abuse. Clear? Domestic Voluntary Infant Adoption does NOT save a child from potential child abuse.

Domestic Voluntary Infant Adoption is what we are discussing here. Women facing and unplanned pregnancy and “choose” adoption rather than parenting. Nothing to do with abortion. Nothing to do with abuse. This is the “making a loving adoption plan” that is under fire here; infant adoption as it is practiced in the USA. If you aren’t aware of adoption facts, then you might not be aware of the need for reform. Go read the link and catch up.

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So How Do We Fix Adoption in the USA?

Well to begin with .. we look to Australia where they have managed to do all this and it has worked. In Australia the rates of relinquishment has dropped by over 95% when they reformed the adoption process.

1.      Restore Adoptees OBC Access

I believe in restored access to the original birth certificate for all adult adoptees. Nationwide, across the board, no grandfather clauses, full identifying info available at age 18. Original birth certificates granted and full rights to adoptees to decide themselves, as adults, what they want to do. Forget this “protecting the birthmothers”. It’s a red herring. If nothing else, full medical records should be made available even if the adults can’t handle a relationship. Let’s give the adoptees their rights as humans to their history, their medical heritage and stop treating them like perpetual children.

On a side note; If the US would ratify the Un Declaration on the Rights of a Child, then we would HAVE to allow adoptees OBC access. But, the adoption lobby group don’t want Adoptees to know their truths so only the USA and Somalia have not yet ratified the Rights of a Child. Nice, huh?

2.      Come Up with Something Better than the ABC: a Legal Lie

I would like to see the end of amended birth certificates that perpetuate the lie “as if born to”. A birth certificate says who you were born to, and adoption decree can state who you were adopted by. Why lie? I think something could work out with permanent guardianship, but people seem to be very shy of that wording. There have been suggestions that the OBC should stand and always carry the birth parent information, yet have listings for the adoptive parents to show legal parenting. . Don’t want to make a big deal out of the “adoptee is different” by a different document? OK, then the OBC is for BIRTH records and a legal parenting document is for custody. There can be different lines for genetic parents and legal parents. That would also take care of the donor assisted issues and same sex parenting as well. We can really be progressive and have areas for step parents right there or even domestic partnerships. I don’t care, but the lies on the ABC have got to stop.

3.      Family Kinship Care First

If a parent cannot take care of a child, try to keep the child within the family first rather than offering it up to strangers. This is making adoption about the child, not about the desires for a child. Most child welfare advocates form  UNICEF to the UN  maintain that children do best when raised by their families of origin. It is the RIGHT of a child to stay within his people. The importance of identity, natural heritage, and genetics  must stop being undervalued in out culture.

4.      Standardize Adoption Laws Across the USA; No more Adoption “Friendly States”

Infant adoption now, in America, is a free for all. I hate “adoption friendly” states, and moving pregnant moms to take advantage of lesser revoke laws, using Utah laws to avoid the parental rights of fathers, etc. Let’s stop this state to state nonsense. Nationalize the whole thing. That would take care of a HUGE bucket of loose ends.  Including…

5.      No Pre-birth Consents

No pre-birth consents by fathers of mothers. You can’t decide if you want to parent an idea or an issue. Have the baby first. There are states like Arkansas where you can sign pre-birth to relinquish and shorten your revoke time form 10 days to five. Then you give birth and the clock starts ticking. By time you even can begin to think, it’s over.

6.      No Signing Relinquishment Consents in the Hospital

No relinquishment papers signed until a week (minimum) after birth. Let the woman out of the hospital first! Let her feel for at least a week that she has some recourse, some power, some time to decide. Let her process her feelings after giving birth. Let the hormones settle down. I would like to see contact between mother and child, so they really KNOW what they are giving up. Let the child become a real thing, let the natural bond happen.

7.      Six Week Revoke Period Across the Board

Make a standard of 6 weeks for relinquishment revocation. Now why six weeks you might ask? Well the way I see it, the Federal government already sees that a woman needs 6 weeks to recover after a normal birth. They give us 6 weeks of disability (9 for a C-section)  before we are expected to rejoin the work force, so it’s kind of already established that a woman is still recovering from birth during that time frame. I would rather see double the time, but I can deal with 6 weeks.  Now, I know that means that the adoptive parents have 6 weeks of wondering and being worried. And I am sure that that part of it will really suck for them, but…at least them you know that you have given some time for the natural mother to make a real decision, at least them you know that she is feeling that she can live without her child. I don’t know..I would think that 6 weeks of wondering would be better than a life time of wondering. I mean it’s not all about who gets complete legal control first, right? We aren’t making folks sign as quick as possible so we can thumb our noses at them and say “Nanny, nanany poo-poo! You can’t do anything about it now! Ha ha, mine, all mine!”

Plus,  while I am getting slightly ahead, if there was no more pre birth matching, then the adoptive parents wouldn’t HAVE to worry at all. Once they got “the call” then the baby would be ready to adopt! Oh maybe it’s a 7 week old baby, rather than right from the womb, but 1) It allows for mother child bonding and breast feeding which are both important to the physical, emotional and mental development of a baby and 2) if it’s acceptable to adopt a 3 year old form China, why can’t you wait 6 or 7 weeks? They only pee, poop, sleep, cry and eat for the first weeks anyway. Get some sleep and be ethical at the same time. Wait for a longer revoke period!

8.      No More Closed Adoptions

Enough with the secrecy and lies. If adoption is considered “just another way to build a family” then why and how do we turn around and deny the existence of all the parties that made it come about? Closed adoption should just not even be presented as a choice. Numerous studies have shown that it is healthier for children to know the truth rather than wonder.   There needs to be serious pre adoption education and post adoption support for both birthparents and adoption families so they understand the realities of an  open adoption, the benefits of the open contact for the child and the tools needed to navigate the relationships successfully.

9.      Enforceable Open Adoption Agreements

Openness agreements must be enforceable. Now, I am not sure how that would be done. I don’t think jail time is really necessary except in extreme cases and I hesitate to really get the courts involved as they are overworked and I don’t have the greatest fate in them as it is. Plus, I can’t see how forcing people who are battling with each other to have to hang out does a child any good. Like that makes me think of the possibility of some really nasty fights at the “neutral ChuckE Cheese’s”. But, I hate it when I hear of parents closing an adoption “because it was confusing” or ” she was so upset and sad” or some other weird arbitrary judgments. Or they just take off and drop out because they CAN and the natural parents have no other recourse. Maybe a central data base were both adoptive and natural parents MUST keep their whereabouts current. This central data base would also make any future searches and reunions a heck of a lot easier in the cases of closed adoptions. Now in the cases where the original agreement needs modifications or someone is having trouble honoring it, I could see a panel of mediators involved to work it out and make a final decision. Kind of like the supreme court of adoptions? Say nine folks..three adoptees, three adoptive parents, three birthparents..no ties. Maybe they are elected “officials” from the adoption community..and they look at problems on a case by case basis and made rulings that were fair and ethical.
I think if open agreements were known to hold more weight than the paper they are written on, then we would see less lies and people would be apt to be more honest about what they would be willing to do.

10. Oversight of Agencies and Other Professionals

Adoption agencies, lawyers and facilitators MUST be regulated, credentialed, verified ,overseen and held accountable by a single entity. There should be nationwide standards that clearly state what is ethical and not ethical and make those standards enforced.  There should be standards on what an adoption costs. A cap on fees. Non-profit needs to mean something real.. not a tax break and 2 million in assets plus paying the Executive Director 6 figures. Every domestic infant adoption should cost the same..and much less than they do.

That would eliminate the serious marketing for “happy” adoptions that we see now. Agencies would no longer need to attract “customers” to keep a constant supply of babies coming in and feed the coffers. The CPC Adoption agencies funnels would be moot.

11. Mandatory Independent Pre-Adoption Counseling

Those considering placement should have mandatory independent counseling. Information of the long term emotional ramifications to both the relinquishing family and the adoptee should be openly addressed. None of this “you’ll get over it, you’ll feel sad for a while” crap. Informed consent of possible PTSD, secondary infertility, panic attacks, eating disorders, depression, identity issues, latent anger, attachment disorders, etc, at al. Let them know for real what they are in for and in for life. Let them know what this might mean to their child, not just “I gave him more”. If they are really soooo bad, and it is really “better” to place,..then why hide the facts?

12. No More Pre Birth Matching

Pre birth matching makes an environment where the expectant mother becomes too involved in the happiness of the adoptive parents and transfers much of her possible happiness to them in an unhealthy and unrealistic way. I know too many who really wanted to change their minds but could not “be selfish” and hurt the “great couple who I just love”. That said, I realize that the ideas of trust and intimacy that need to be forged to build a healthy and respectful open adoption are often contingent on the early part of matching. I think this is where mandatory counseling and good ethical agency practices come into play. If matching is made with the ideal that it is an “adoption plan” rather than an implied promise. I think any adoptive parent going into such a situation needs to be informed, again and again, if necessary, that nothing is in stone until after the child is born and the mother remakes her decision based on her emotional fortitude. The adoptive parents should be just as supportive of her decision to parent as to place. Parenting a possible adoptable child should not be viewed as a failure.

13. No More Per Birth Expenses Paid

Birthparent expenses should come out of a general slush fund and not footed by individual prospective adoptive parents. The expected parents should not feel beholden for costs of living and food contingent on handing over their baby. I don’t even like the whole pre-birth expenses thing in general. There should be general services that allow an expectant mother to be pregnant and have resources for living because that’s the right thing to support in a society. Heck, many agencies already do this. They get the mom to be on the public Medicare rolls and then go back and get “fees” paid from the  prospective adoptive parents.  Guess who keeps the money? Take away the expenses and adoption just got a whole lot more affordable.

14. Adoption Agency Advertising MUST Stop

If there were unbiased crisis pregnancy centers that truthfully informed parents of all options then the need for advertisement would be moot. The choices should be out there, but with realistic truths, both positive and negative for all involved. Give all parties the actual research done on adoption. Things can be done on an individual basis, but with nationwide standards citing what is ethical and reasonable and real. Both adoptive parents and prospective relinquishing parents should be made aware of all sides and issues and possibilities. Nothing should be painted with rose colored glasses and money should be taken out of the equation completely.  We cannot say a woman made a ‘choice’ if she is not given all the available information. No, she might not have had a gun to her head, but she had no idea what she was really agreeing to since most of any adoption agency website or information booklet is 95% marketing message and selling bullshit created to convince her to give up her child. We have truth in advertising laws already; apply them to adoption!

15. Take the Profit OUT of Adoption Completely

No incentives to place, no free ride if you give up your baby, no scholarships, no ride on the sainthood express to heaven for either parties. No more 30, 40, 50, 75 K fees for adoptive parents to be exploited out of by their desires to have a child. No more. And guess what happens when we take out the profits? We will see an end of corruption, of baby trolling, of forced adoptions, or the lies, of the broken promises because the agencies will have lost their motivation to make more adoptions happen.

 Improvement Will Not End Adoption

I do not believe that we will see the end of adoption completely, but these solutions could very well produce a country like Australia where the relinquishment rates dropped about 95%. That is not unrealistic to me.  Ideal, yes, but… People will want children that they cannot bare, and here will be people who have children who do not have any desire to ever be a parent. Yes, adoption will still be there, but let it be a safe guard that provides families for children who need homes rather than finding children for families that want them. Adoption relinquishment should be seen as the last possible choice and, as a society, I would love to see us honor the bonds of natural families and not think that children are so transferable. I think if that honor was bestowed on natural families, then the fallout would be that the adoptive family was also more respected and understood.

Maybe these ideas won’t work for ALL people, but I am trying to think of what works for MOST people..and make those standards of care across the board.

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How Do We Get To A Better Adoptionland?

Now how to achieve all this…ah, that is the quandary.

I obviously, spend a lot of time talking about all this. I believe that we need to have open dialogue and understanding by all involved. I think we have to make ourselves rise to a higher standard of acceptance and understanding of each other as human beings and people. Ok. So the way I see it, until you get to know me and can understand and sympathize with me, as a birthmother, as a real live person, then how are you gonna care a lick about some pregnant teenager in Kansas when she might have the perfect baby for you? And it goes the other way too. I don’t want very adoptive parent to be the “bad guy”. I do want you to be on the same side as me..the right side ..because it is the better, more moral, way to be and we all want to sleep at night and be able to look our children in the eyes and not flinch. We have to work together, side by side, for the benefit of ALL our children and then the future children to come.

I spend a lot of time talking to those pregnant and considering; telling them what the agencies don’t want them to know. Sometimes they listen, sometimes they don’t. when they don’t then I spend time keeping them breathing and alive though the grief.

I spend a lot of time talking with other birthmothers trying to figure it all out. I have to admit, that my least favorite are the super “happy birthmothers” who are like walking talking billboards for adoption. And it is hard, because I know I too, walked around for 10 years parroting, “No regrets, I have no regrets! Squalk! Adoption good. Win-win situation!” Thank goodness I was pretty much cut off from the world and didn’t really talk about adoption, or I would have more to atone for. I did try to talk one of my friends into adoption once. I am very glad she didn’t listen.

I wrote a Congressional bill for adoption reform one weekend. It’s Called NIARA. It needs lots of work and revision, but I have a better idea now of what it could be, and how it could happen. I think it’s 70 something pages now and probably should be simplified. I wish there was more interest in it, but I do think that OBC Access for Adoptees must come first.  Maybe then, it’s time will come one day. I have dreams.

So, do I have the ultimate solution? No, but ideas carefully collected over the years, careful listening, and gathering then up. They could be shaped into something more. It takes time and effort, but I think I have both.

I think something like this has to be designed on a grassroots level and then presented as something that we demand. That as a society, we expect something better than what has evolved to the modern adoption industry. There are lots of us..especially when you start to put the numbers together. If we all gather to one side, we can tip the boat over.

As I said, I dream big.

By Claudia Corrigan DArcy at adoptionbirthmothers.com

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Adoption in America

Since 1990, adoption rates in the United States have gradually risen. Data shows a 15% increase in the past 10 years, and in 2007 alone, more than 136,000 adoptions were recorded. Many people who adopt children will undoubtedly come in contact with a social worker throughout the process, whether prior to an adoption or once an adoption is complete.

The USC School of Social Work created the infographic “Adoption in America” to provide better insight into the adoption process in our country. It also gives a snapshot of who’s involved, from the facilitators to the parents and children who eventually become a family. We hope this inspires you to get involved and make a difference in an orphan’s life.

 

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