There was never a time I did not know I was adopted. In fact, there was never a time I did not feel different, not-quite-right, and not altogether like those around me. I have always felt like I was the outcast, the mixed mutt..the runt... the one who got chosen to live among strangers not because I was wanted, but because someone had to choose me, otherwise I'd be put down or left to die, whichever created less stir for the public.
I was born in 1968 in Newfoundland, Canada, a hot-spot for infertile Americans in want of a healthy white newborn who was "orphaned" by its unmarried and "unfit" mother. I was not born an American; I was manufactured to become one.
As an adult, I learned the facts surrounding my adoption story were nowhere near the "facts" my adoptive mother told me about my adoption history.
Today we added the 500th case to our abuse case archive. This dubious honor goes to a case of sexual abuse of a ten-year-old girl adopted by Jon Paul Reid. Among the 500 cases we have archived over the past three years, this case, unfortunately, doesn't stand out as particularly exceptional. There have been many children like the Reid girl before, and since little is done to prevent these situations, we will likely have to document several similar cases in the future.
When we started collecting cases of abuse in child placement, we weren't certain about the extent of the problem. In fact the initiative for this archive was partially inspired by the desire to find out the extent of the problem.
This week the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute published a lengthy report calling for improvement in post-adoption services.
The executive summary starts with the following observation:
Several months ago, when the media focused the nation’s attention on yet another sensational adoption story – this time about a Tennessee mother who put her 7-year-old son on a plane back to Russia – all sorts of disquieting questions flowed through people’s minds. They ranged from the rhetorical (“What kind of mother would do such a thing?”) to the important (“Are children in orphanages being adequately cared for before adoption?”) to the inadvertently stigmatizing (“If a child can be so easily `returned,’ is adoption really permanent?”).
There probably will be several interviews, perhaps one or two in the agency office and at least one in your home. You will discuss the topics addressed in your autobiographical statement, and the social worker will ask any questions necessary to clarify what you have written. In the case of couples, some agency workers conduct all the interviews jointly, with husband and wife together. Others will conduct both joint and individual interviews.
The autobiographical statement can be intimidating, but it is essentially the story of your life. Most agencies have a set of guidelines that detail the kind of information they require to assist you in writing the autobiography, and others have the worker assist you directly. You may be asked to describe who reared you and their style of child rearing, how many brothers and sisters you have, and where you are in the birth order.
There is no set format that adoption agencies use to conduct home studies. They must follow the general regulations of their State, but they have the freedom to develop their own application packet, policies, and procedures within those regulations. Some agencies will have prospective parents attend one or several group orientation sessions or a series of training classes before they complete an application. Others will have their social worker start by meeting with family members individually and then ask that they attend educational meetings later on.
I try not to do it... I try not to look, knowing how it will trigger me.
I try not to read about infertile women looking for babies, but I did it today, because I'm a masochist, and it seems like today is a good day for pain.
Today's find involves yet another infertile blogger, advising others how to find a baby. Yes, Virginia, there are many like you, wanting to know oh-so-desperately, "what needs to happen so a baby can be delivered, ASAP?"
Whenever a child dies at the hands of its adoptive parents, the various news outlets that cover such crime, often ask "experts" from organizations like the Evan B Donaldson adoption institute, the Joint Council on International Children's Services and even the National Council for Adoption for commentary.
On June 6, the Committee on the Rights of Children of the United Nations Human Rights office, published a report about measures taken in the United States of America regarding: sales of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
It's 11 pages long, so I am not going to publish it in its entirety here, though I made it available as a PDF attached to this post.
In the report the following observations are made, which I would like to highlight here: