September 24, 2014

Opening the Wells

Little Baby Child Reaching For Water Fountain
                                     © Photographer: Ansebach | Agency: Dreamstime.com

                                                      (Post originally published in 2010)

It was a true privilege to attend an OK Legislative Interim study (2010) on adoptee access to original birth certificates this week. Hearing the heart of the amazing people who spoke on the importance of restoring the human right of all adoptees to know their identity and histories was an inspiration and joy.

Thank God for the opportunity to be there, know them, and work beside them. Even though it wasn't heavily attended, it felt right.

We were able to dispel some common myths surrounding adoptee access, sharing the good news that in the states which have implemented this law, abortion rates have actually declined more than the national average, and that birth mother "confidentiality" was also a myth perpetuated by the adoption industry. In fact, birth mothers were never promised (nor asked for) confidentiality in the law. It was enforced upon them.

The TN and OR Supreme Courts have both ruled on this issue. "Sealed records" were not implemented until 1939 in OK ~ to protect the newly formed adoptive family, not birthmothers. In fact, even today, if a birthmother relinquishes her child for adoption, but for some reason the child is never adopted and remains in foster care, his/her original birth certificate is never sealed or amended.

I returned home so thankful to be able to spend time with my son and husband for a few hours that evening before bedtime. It was one of those nights of light sleep with many dreams, but not really remembering any of them.

When I woke up the next morning, "Genesis 26:18" was impressed on my heart and mind. Having to get up quickly and prepare my son for school, I didn't give it much thought, but briefly wondered what it meant.

Later that morning, as I sat in a Women's Bible Study I have attended for several years, I remembered the scripture reference, and quickly looked it up, curious as to what it said. I froze in disbelief when I read it, almost too shocked to believe what I was reading, but so encouraged.

"He reopened the wells his father had dug and restored the names his father had given them."

This scripture hit me so strongly, after just attending the interim study the day before, and waking up with this reference (which I've never read before) in my mind and before my eyes. Could it be that God is encouraging us? That He is the One who stands with us on this issue?

After all, names and genealogy are extremely important in Biblical text, and God is renown for restoring and redeeming (buying back) the lives of those separated from their God-given identities and people ~ Moses, Joseph, and a host of others.

Proverbs 23:10-11 says,

"Don't stealthily move the boundary lines
or cheat orphans out of their property (identity),
For they have a powerful Advocate
who will go to bat for them." (Message Bible)

As I read on in Genesis 26, I noticed that the entire rest of that chapter was concerning "rights":

"Isaac’s servants also dug in the Gerar Valley and discovered a well of fresh water. 20 But then the shepherds from Gerar came and claimed the spring. “This is our water,” they said, and they argued over it with Isaac’s herdsmen. So Isaac named the well Esek (which means “argument”). 21 Isaac’s men then dug another well, but again there was a dispute over it. So Isaac named it Sitnah (which means “hostility”). 22 Abandoning that one, Isaac moved on and dug another well. This time there was no dispute over it, so Isaac named the place Rehoboth (which means “open space”), for he said, “At last the Lord has created enough space for us to prosper in this land.”

Several U.S. states have passed Adoptee Access Legislation (supported by The Child Welfare League of America) restoring the unconditional right of adult adoptees to access their original birth certificate, just like every other American citizen. Wouldn't it be a miraculous wonder if Oklahoma became the next state to restore the identity rights of it's adopted citizens ~ a new beginning, setting a national example for restoring the dignity of over six million adoptees and their families. After all, Kansas, our neighbor to the north, has NEVER sealed obc's to adult adoptees.

It was really interesting to me the way the chairman of this committee ended the interim study. Even after listening to middle-aged (or older) adults speak for over an hour about the human right of identity, and how "sealed records" in adoption made adopted people "perpetual children" in the eyes of the law, she sincerely thanked us for coming and then went on to share how "special" adopted "children" are, being "chosen" in our families. (In reference to the term adoptees hear often, "chosen child".)

As I sat in Bible Study that morning, I thanked God for giving me this dream. It was such an encouragement in the midst of the journey. We left Bible Study that morning with these words and a prayer.

"Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him through all generations forever and ever! Amen."

September 23, 2014

 
 
 

In honor of Veronica...

 


 Don’t steal the land of defenseless orphans
by moving their ancient boundary marks,
for their Redeemer is strong;
He himself will accuse you. 
Proverbs 23:10-11
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As difficult a year it has been for the Brown family
and all those who care about Veronica...
how much harder it must have been for her

We cannot even fathom.
   
 
A year ago she wasn't worth an interest hearing
or civil rights lawsuit filed on her behalf. 
Now we are being told to remain silent on the anniversary
of her abduction from her family. 
(see Adoptive Couple versus Baby Girl). 

Baby Girl is a picture of what adoptees endure their entire lives...
systematic silencing through the sealing and erasure of our very identities.

Our God-given personhood is stolen and silenced. 

  She was silenced in the back of that car on September 23, 2013
and must continue her dance of loyalty in order to survive. 
Eventually she may forget what really happened and her little mind will be forced to live inside narratives completely incongruent with her inner reality.

 
She now has an amended birth certificate,
and an adoption decree which forever defines her.


 

Last September 23rd my family sat praying around a lit candle
 in complete disbelief, for a little girl
taken away from her family in the dark of night.   

This September 23rd, adoptees everywhere
cry silent tears for her again.  alone  
Because it might make people too uncomfortable. 
And us disloyal.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 
 
As I was pondering this sweet child, I was reminded of another little girl made famous, named Virginia O'Hanlon who wrote a newspaper in 1897 asking about Santa. 

 
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus ...
Papa says 'If you see it in The Sun it's so ...
please tell me the truth."           
 
A man named Francis P. Church, was working as an editor for his brother's
(William Church, a commissioner and founder of the National Rifle Assoc) newspaper,
the New York Sun

He was asked to respond, and, of course, his definitive editorial became famous.
   
"Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Clause."

"Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. 
It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIA'S." 
 
Although Virginia had specifically asked for "the truth"...she,
along with the rest of the nation, was led to believe a lie. 
Just an "innocent" fantasy. 
A warm and fuzzy, feel-good myth.  
A man in a suit who could give us anything we want.   
 
The sweet little narrative missed one thing...the truth.
Back in 1897, Virginia, and the rest of the nation, 
ate it up like cookies and milk. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~     



 
  In 2014, I worry about the not so innocent myths
Those so powerful, they erase little Veronica's...
no longer nourished by God-given identities and bonds;
 surrounded by strangers throwing gotcha parties;
fed sugary sweet tales that can't satisfy.   
 
Crisis-pregnancy and adoption agencies continue to recruit
 and even coerce vulnerable mothers
with promises of "openness" (which are legally unenforceable)
 and the heroic belief she is giving an ultimate "gift".  

That's the sugar-coated version.

We fail to address the underlying motives of highly profitable
and politically well-connected "professionals" 
helping themselves to babies...
even if the child's family gets in their way.
 We legalize recruitment strategies to increase
the number of "available" children,
rather than serve those who already need homes.
 
In current adoption law, infants and children are used as commodities
to supply the discontented...those willing to pay into unethical systems
for a child to call "their own."
Some believe they are saving the world.

Truth be told, we'll never really know how many children truly need homes,
until adoption no longer functions as an economic "family building" industry
with no regard for human rights.

Our legislators across this nation legalize a business model to "serve" children, 
complete with "experts" whose real customers are shiny new "psychological" parents.

Re-defining, for their own purposes, terms such as "family",
"attachment" and "best interest";
but stripping the God-given right of a child to their own lineage and kinship.


      

If for some reason a child must be cared for
outside their family of birth, 
shouldn't it be a last resort? 

Why ask any fellow human-being to give up their identity
 on an "amended" birth certificate? 
The practice of "sealing" and "amending" birth certificates,
along with monetary incentives that create an environment 
riddled with conflict of interest and profit, 
turns the very definition of "adoption"
into glorified child-trafficking and "ownership" of a human-being.
Whose interest does this serve?

There is a relatively new term being discussed in our world of 2014..."identity privilege".
How appropriate for the millions of adopted individuals who are deemed
identity(less) through "sealed" and "amended" birth certificates. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
             

On that cool September evening in 2013, we, as a nation, 
watched in horror as a four year old girl was stripped unnecessarily 
from her home and family. 

We will never understand how a so-called "adoption"  
could be "finalized" on July 31, 2013  
in a state and by people Veronica had not lived near for two years.
Without a "best interest" hearing.

Veronica's father, Dusten Brown had fought for the right
 to raise his daughter since her infancy and she had been living in Oklahoma,
surrounded by the love and security of her real family for almost two years.   

Sadly, the demand for babies and children
 is legally protected in this country. 

The entire situation was fraudulent from day one.
Veronica is paying a life-altering price
for the unregulated and unethical business 
(we call "adoption").  

And so...like every adoptee, Veronica Brown is now legally non-existent.   
 
We can only speculate of her emotional existence...
merely a shadow of her true self
Since her government-sanctioned abduction one year ago,
we cannot even imagine what she has been asked
 to believe.
 
Whatever she is being told,
it must grate against everything within her. 
Not only has her civil right to identity and family been stolen,
but also her inner congruence.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
 
If her fellow Lost Daughters could write a letter to Ronnie,
it might sound something like this.
 
 "Yes Veronica, You Are Real"

 
 
Santa is just a tale, Sweetheart, but you are very real. 
In our world, some people in suits hide behind masks of greed. 
They have stolen our dignity and sealed us to a lie. 

Although the world may seem like merely a stage;
and you may forget who you really are,
Please remember this.
 
No matter what role we are asked to play,
you and I are not the imposters.    
Deep inside, though we hardly recognize our own cries...
we still exist.  And we know.

You are deserving, Veronica, to be yourself. 
Your worth is not based on the needs you meet for others;
the daughter you can be for someone else. 

We may feel like aliens and strangers...
but we carry with every ounce of our being
 the pain and triumphs of our forefathers. 
They run this race with us through our veins.
That, my sweet Veronica, can never be taken.
 
There is a Father you will never lose.
Though He may feel far away, know that He holds you
   
Just look up
There you are, Little Star.



 
You are surrounded by a throng
who will help you find your way home.    
Lost & undone, but shining on. 
 
We love you.

September 21, 2014

Deal?



“What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins?

Yet God does not forget a single one of them. So don’t be afraid...the very hairs on your head are all numbered.
You are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows." Luke 12:6-7

(originally published 8/30/11)
 
This morning I had my hands full going out the door to get my son to school.
It has been a rough few weeks and his separation anxiety has been worse than usual.

I got him into his car seat and was going to walk around the car to the door (our driveway goes right up to the front door, so I'd be within 2 feet of the car where he would never lose sight of me) and lock the door...

I tried to explain what I was going to do, but he couldn't hear me
...panic set in and he was terrified that I was going to go inside without him (which I never do). I kept saying over and over that I was just going to close the door and get in the car, but he was completely overwhelmed by this irrational fear.
 
He grabbed me tight and was in complete meltdown.

As I settled into his grasp to let him know I wasn't going anywhere, he calmed down enough to finally get words out, and this is what he screamed....
 
"Don't go...DEAL???"
 
As soon as I said, "Deal!" he calmed significantly.
 
I need to take the time even when I am in a big rush, and we deal with separation issues getting him into his classroom, to
slow down and go at his pace
...to help him process and regulate enough to communicate his needs and receive the reassurance he needs.
 
I was finally able to close the door and just fell into the front seat of the car completely exhausted and in tears...then it hit me.

Suddenly I felt a wave of peace...peace which had been eluding me for weeks...
God's gentle reassurance that even when I'm panicked and not able to function at the level I wish I could
...when I'm fearful and numb and living in "just keep going" mode, that He loves and understands my needs.

God's compassion is greater than the overwhelming love and compassion I feel for my son.

I'm not mad at my son for acting that way, but how often I'm afraid that God is mad at me for not being able to fully trust or surrender...
even though I truly want to.

I realize my son doesn't need stern correction during these times, but gentleness, closeness, and mercy.

How much more does God extend His mercy when I desperately need Him?

It breaks my heart to see my son struggle...God must desire even more to deliver me from fear?

Lord, thank you for your mercy and love.
For teaching me so sweetly through my son.
Please forgive me for doubting and panicking.
Thank you for loving me when I need your reassurance..."Deal?"

September 14, 2014

The Living Doll: Dedicated to Veronica

Puppet
© Photographer: Vladvitek | Agency: Dreamstime.com

 
Original article posted on 9/24/13
Reposting today in honor of Veronica Brown's 5th Birthday. 
We love you, sweet Veronica
 
"When I dig up your dry bones from exile, I'll breathe My life into you and you'll live. Then I'll lead you straight back to your land and you'll realize that I am your God." Ezekial 37:12-14

I have struggled with muscle & joint pain a lot, and think that it may be related to the emotional journey I have taken as an adoptee

I was laying in bed this morning, still in shock, that an entire nation watched last night as an innocent four year old girl was taken unnecessarily from her real family. 
 
Any society that legally sanctions an unregulated profit-driven adoption industry over a child's best interest is sick and inhumane. 

Then the thought came to me.  These pains feel like the pains of transformation.

I've grown up a plastic doll, frozen in my adoptive role.  

Expected emotions and expressions ~ a painted on smile.  Oh, the places we go.

Real life was sucked out like a vacuum as I lay crying, pleading.  The cries carried with them the life I had once shared with those who gave me life  ~ flying into the universe in search, to never return.  So I slowly morphed into the doll I became. The one who laughed and talked and danced her little heart out. I was a doll and I was happy.

Until, lurking in the shadows, the cries that had relinquished my "realness" came back. They stayed away during childhood, like they knew. As the doll aged it began to crack and fray; bruised and torn by life in a real world as only a doll. Childhood memories; history and stories; dutifully fulfilling the dreams of the girl who owned her...

Yes, the tears this worn plastic doll had once shed; the screams that proved her real in time past, but she had denied ~ they found their way back, and she "knew". It had been so long that she was taken for surprise. Almost as if she was in another life, not hers. She remembered and she searched.

She eventually found her truth 
But merely a plastic doll, how would she fit in? She couldn't.

Unbearable pain ~ anger, sadness, grief ~ welled up and broke through the hardness, the frozeness, the facade. It felt as if her brittle arms and legs, feet and hands, head and heart would literally snap with the newfound awareness of her real blood coursing through her veins.

This old, hard plastic I am made of (resilient, strong, inflexible, controlled) must adjust to being real ~ for the first time.

I imagine my painted on smile morphing slowly into a look of shock and awe.

What is this? I am "real"? How can that be? I have only survived in this one state ~ my adopted self.  Certificate of authenticity and all.  How does a "living" doll break out of this shell I have been in my whole life?

It is so painful to stretch the joints and flesh that have stayed in one position, frozen in the mold that was used to define me, afraid to even imagine who I really am.  I walk stiffly...half-doll, half-person in the land of the living.  Discovering my own humanity. 

The truth is, we can feel.  We aren't dolls, but we might as well be.

I pray God's protection and grace over you, Veronica. 
That He will help you someday learn to be "real" in the midst of pain. 
Lord, please heal us.   

The Death of Genealogy

Genealogy Tree
© Photographer: Caraman | Agency: Dreamstime.com

 
Thought for the Day


"In 4 Generations, Half of Americans' Ancestry Will be Bogus"
--by [Attorney] Brice M. Claggett

September 11, 2014

Bitter Winds


 
 
My First Mother, Norma Carol, was born on 9/11. 
Today is her birthday. 
 
She gave birth to me as a young, unwed mother in 1968 and was one of the first to inquire of the ALMA Registry (Adoptee's Liberation Movement) looking for her "son". 

She was told by the hospital staff and attorney, after going through a difficult labor and c-section that she had given birth to a boy. 
 
 In truth, she actually had a daughter, who, indeed, did come back, 10 years too late to meet her (again) this side of eternity. 
 
I still haven't been to obtain birth records from the hospital, even though I needed this important information for my own medical care during pregnancy. 
Even with a court-order and doctor's request I am still waiting. 
 
I sit and watch the 9/11 Memorials on the television and cry for the victims of a horrible act of terror, and for my Mother.
 
It has taken several years of slowly unthawing from the nothingness I felt inside after finding my Grandmother and hearing my Mother's story.

On my own birthday a few years ago I was driving alone, listening to the radio, when a beautiful lullaby I had never heard came over the waves. 
 
It was Bette Midler singing "Baby of Mine" and the tears flowed again ~
 this time they were tears of acceptance.
 
I could finally embrace the love I knew my Mother had for me all along,
and the strong connection we share. 
I miss her.

I post this link in her memory.

September 1, 2014

The Shadow Self




The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

Originally posted on October 22, 2007

I went to church yesterday and came home with 3 different "revelations" of God's love.  

They all pertain to adoption issues, because my entire life is affected by them.
I even danced with my own shadow.

The first happened during praise/worship ~ the regular worship leader was not there because her Mother had just passed away this week after a long battle with leukemia. She had lived for many, many years longer than the doctors predicted and she had a wonderful quality of life with her children/grandchildren for years through God's sustaining power.

Half-way through praise & worship I saw Aimee come in and immediately she walked up to the front row (it was dark in our church during song time) and approached the senior pastors. They saw her coming and put their arms out in big all-consuming hugs and kisses over her, just holding her and letting her cry. It was very touching, as I saw the love of this couple envelope this young praise leader and bring comfort and unconditional love over her while she was grieving. I began to cry....and then it hit me.

Adoptees lose their mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and cousins (their very identity and place in their God-given family). 
They lose everything their lives revolved around and identified with ~ the only place, the only love they ever knew, felt, smelled, and was enveloped by, in complete warmth. 

But adoptees are probably NEVER, NOT ONCE, given a hug of comfort for this devastating loss we all carry inside our entire lives. We are not validated or accepted for who we truly are ~ we are only given acceptance as the ones we are engineered by adoption to be ~ our adopted selves. 
Our adoptive identities, lives, families. 

We go through life completely numb/shut-off to the PAIN of losing our very selves as connected to our mothers and family line, our first and most significant love, truth and self.

I so yearned to be able to run into the arms of real people as I stood there in church crying over the loss of my own Mother and all she represents. 
To receive the same immediate acknowledgement of my pain, validation, and comfort. 

Aimee wasn't afraid to run to the front of the church, the light, and receive unconditional love ~ she knew grieving was necessary and accepted because of losing her beloved Mother. It was expected and completely understood.

Adoptees emotionally sit at the back, in the dark, scared to feel, because they receive a sentence of life-long shame and unacknowledgement ~ if they DARE look deeper into their own feelings and tap, even lightly, into the pain.

  No one in society is comfortable with this pain ~ because ADOPTION is the big cure-all, the blessing, the win-win, the building of a family
~ FROM THE DESTRUCTION OF ANOTHER ~ THE DESTRUCTION OF IDENTITY ~ an amended birth certificate, parents who did not birth, names erased and re-invented ~ and pasts erased ~ at least legally. 
All at a huge price.

NOTHING can erase the spiritual reality, the emotional reality and connections within a human being to their lineage, their core, their pain.

Aimee, I cried for your loss today. And on the backrow, I cried for mine as well. I lost my Mother, too ~ twice ~ and I know how it feels. 
Bless you, my friend.