Friday, November 09, 2007

Not a Great Loss (HUMOR)

President Bush was visiting a primary school and he visited one of the classes. They were in the middle of a discussion related to words and their meanings. The teacher asked the President if he would like to lead the discussion on the word "tragedy".

So the illustrious leader asked the class for an example of a "tragedy".

One little boy stood up and offered: "If my best friend, who lives on a farm, is playing in the field and a tractor runs over him and ills him, that would be a tragedy.

"No," said Bush, "that would be an accident." A little girl raised her hand: "If a school bus carrying 50 children drove over a cliff, killing everyone inside, that would be a tragedy."

"I'm afraid not," explained the president. "That's what we would call great loss."

The room went silent. No other children volunteered. Bush searched the room. "Isn't there someone here who can give me an example of a tragedy?"

Finally at the back of the room a little Johnny boy raised his hand...In a quiet voice he said: "If Air Force One carrying you and Mrs.
Bush was struck by a "friendly fire" missile and blown to smithereens, that would be a tragedy."

"Fantastic!" exclaimed Bush. "That's right. And can you tell me why that would be tragedy?"

"Well," says the boy, "It has to be a tragedy, because it certainly wouldn't be a great loss and it probably wouldn't be a fucking accident either".

Thursday, October 11, 2007

If you call yourself a "birthmother" ...

... you are stating that you are not a mother.

... you are stating that you have no connection, no love, no bond with your lost child.

... you are stating that your worth in your child's life is as nothing other than a convenient set of reproductive organs, not as a person or a human being.

... you are agreeing with the people who told you that you are not fit to be a mother because (fill in the blank) you were young, unmarried, poor, a sinner, irresponsible for getting pregnant in the first place ... or whatever the coercion of the time was.

... you are in effect calling yourself an incubator.

But worst of all, you are stating you are no longer a mother as your role ended with birth.

The term "birth mother" was created and defined by social workers to be part of "Respectful Adoption Language" which, in contrast, defines the only "Mothers and Fathers" of our children to be those who adopted. It is only respectful to those who have adopted, and shows you no respect what-so-ever.

You deserve much more than this. We may have been separated from our children, though surrender or "placement", but we are still their mothers. And, being mothers, we are not "birth mothers," because a "birthmother" is defined as being a non-mother.

Think of it this way, in other (non-adoption) circumstances, one still says "His mother died when he was a baby," or "His mother divorced his father when he was a baby, and he has a stepmother." NOT "His birth mother died when he was a baby." In the "Real World," outside of the surreal and artificial landscape of "Adoption Land," there is no such thing as a FORMER mother!

That is why many natural mothers, who still love our children and feel that strong connection with them, reject the term "birthmother." We know the bond of motherhood, which even lasts despite years and decades of separation. We do not feel that it is necessary to be denigrated in dehumanized in order to "respect" another social group.

But no matter how difficult society makes the lives of single mothers who refuse to relinquish their children, those women who gave into the pressures suffer in a way the others will (mercifully) never know. For the saddest and most horrifying aspect of adoption is the amount of emotional damage inflicted upon the natural mother. To call her the 'birth mother' instead of the 'natural mother' allows her only the physical birth and denies her those feelings she wasn't supposed to have. -- Death by Adoption, Joss Shawyer, Cicada Press (1979), p. 62

The term "birth mother" as thus applied to mothers of adoption loss is -- in effect -- a blatant lie.

Friday, September 28, 2007

"Family of Origin" -- Some terminology slight-of-hand

What is a "family of origin"? Well, if you didn't know any better, and read the forums at the website "Soul of Adoption" or the Evan B. Donaldson-sponsored "Ethical Adoption Conference" (anyone else think that this is an oxymoron?) webpage, you might think it referred to natural families (i.e. the natural mothers, fathers, and siblings of children separated from them by adoption).

I first encountered the term misused at "Soul of Adoption." Surprised the heck out of me. Since when was the natural family considered to be the family of origin for an adoptee, unless said adoptee had only been adopted as an adult?

A "Family of Origin" is a term with a distinct meaning and purpose. In psychotherapy (especially in what is known as "Family Systems Theory" or just "Systems Theory," i.e. counseling theory and practice expanded beyond the individual to examine that individual's part of a larger "system" of people in their lives), your "Family of Origin" is the family you grew up in. This interactive and ongoing system of people -- and hence communication, behavior, relationships, and especially roles in the family -- plays a large part in creating the person you have become as an adult. A huge part.

That is the purpose of the term "Family of Origin". To define a specific dynamic, interactive, and circumscribed network that a client belongs to and functions as part of, which not only affects them but which they also affect in return. You need the term, the concept, in order to find and identify Family of Origin issues that might be affecting an adult in their current lives. It is very often used in marriage counseling, career counseling, family therapy, and in general psychotherapy. Genograms are often added as well, to plot out relationships and areas of conflict and enmeshment.

Important Family of Origin constructs that are analyzed and explored in therapy include differentiation of self, triangulation, fusion, emotional cut-off, family projection process, object relations, life-cycle dynamics, etc. This is just a small part of it -- family therapy literature includes the work of Bowen, McGoldrick, Carter, the Milan Group, and many others.

"Bowen family systems theory is a theory of human behavior that views the family as an emotional unit and uses systems thinking to describe the complex interactions in the unit. It is the nature of a family that its members are intensely connected emotionally." -- From "Bowen Theory".

Unfortunately, once again it appears that a term was chosen and externally applied onto natural families for the sole reason that it would not offend people who have adopted. Once again, our rights, our dignity -- our worth and respect -- are ignored in order to please those whose consumer demand for our infants was considered more socially acceptable than our own desire and need and love for our newborns. And this time, it is with a term that was unapologetically lifted from therapeutic practice. And the problem is that it very much looks like whatever smarty-pants decided to use the term "Family of Origin" to refer to natural families had NO idea what the term means!

Just like if a lay-person decided to take a medical term -- let's say, pancreas -- and apply it to a tibia, it would not make sense. Doctors would say, "Listen, you have that wrong! A pancreas is an internal organ, and a tibia is your shin bone!" Thus, family therapists could similarly point out that a technical term, "Family of Origin" is being directly misapplied to refer to a totally different concept. And unfortunately, it makes everyone affected by adoption who uses it, look ignorant of the technical meaning of the term.

If you were adopted as an infant or toddler, your Family of Origin is your adoptive family. What was your natural family? Certainly not your family of origin unless their played distinct and ongoing daily interactive roles in your life in a family system.

And, let's say, an adoptee went to a counselor, marriage therapist, psychologist, or what-not for help. When the professional asks them about their family of origin, they sure aren't referring to the natural family! So, once more, we're left without a term that we have been able to choose and apply to ourselves, as any other group in society is permitted to, without worrying about the frail and fragile egos of other social groups (brokers and their customers) that wielded power over us (in this case, the power to have taken our children and keep them from us).

If you are going to create a new term, don't steal an existing one from a reputable profession. A tibia is not a pancreas.

Murray Bowen would be rolling in his grave.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On a related note, if you read here, you would think that EBD has actually decided to use a term of respect for natural parents and natural families.

But two things: (1) they instead have substituted the term "families of origin" (see above for my comment on this), and also (2) I still count half a dozen uses of the b-word on their conference website, including the preposterous term 'birth child'. Not only is this a non sequitur as a child not give birth, but this term essentially reduces adoptees to being "birth products." If you are a natural mother, this term separates you from your own child. As the word "birth mother" is a term that intentionally defines us as no longer being mothers past the natal event, the implication of the term "birth child" it is not (no longer) your child you gave birth to (as you are not their mother, they cannot be your child) -- thus in terms of the natural family, are nothing more than a birth product that was expelled along with the placenta, blood, and amniotic fluid. That is what 'birth child' implies. Just as putrid as word as "birth mother" (i.e. incubator).

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

BTW, about that EBD conference, i see that several very "aware and awake" (i.e not brainwashed, not in denial) natural mothers will be attending it, including Claud. so, maybe it is not a lost cause. I don't hold out much hope that the brokers and adopters will listen to these natural mothers though. They haven't so far listened to any of us. ("But adoption is soo different, so wonderful these days! and you CHOSE to give your baby a better life!" ... puke)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

PROTEST for Adoptees Rights

Please forward to all adoption/abduction forums and lists:


July 20 -27, 2008
New Orleans, LA

The National Conference of State Legislatures is the largest group of its kind, the national organization of STATE LAWMAKERS, the people who DECIDE whether you may access your records… OR NOT. We propose a one day PROTEST FOR ADOPTEE RIGHTS at the National Conference of State Legislature’s Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA, on a date to be determined during the week of July 20th, 2008.

We propose a mass action of adoptees representing all fifty states, a one-day rally that will be an opportunity for adoptees demonstrate their commitment to adoptee rights and to meet their state delegation. WON’T YOU JOIN US?


To find updated information and to sign up for AR 2008 New Orleans, please go to Organizations interested in participating and sponsorship are encouraged to contact Ron Morgan,

See you there!

Adoptee Rights 2008 Committee

Friday, September 14, 2007

dropping in

Hi folks. Yes, i know I haven't posted for a while. Call it deep desire to avoid getting triggered by adoption-related issues.

I am the type of person who tries not to complain. "In real life," my friends know me as maybe being "too bubbly", "too nice." Complaining is something I seldom do. Being a "bitch" goes against everything I was brought up with believing, that to be "lady-like" you just don't do. My lace-gloved mother would be rolling in her grave if she knew I was actually speaking out about something. But then, my lace-gloved mother with her right-wing Baptist views about social propriety was the first to ensure that none of the relatives or her friends ever knew I was pregnant, who hid me away in a home, and most likely was the one who arranged for my child to be removed at birth. And I don't wear lace gloves - never have and never will.

But I have to complain, because a huge injustice was perpetrated on me, and on several million other mothers in this nation. We were coerced, forced, and otherwise fed live into the adoption machine, to be used as incubators and discarded as if we did not matter. But we do. And we have NEVER "gone on with our lives. Have you tried to live with severe PTSD? A disorder that many do not even realize can be caused by disembabyment, by losing a newborn to adoption? I live with it every single day. That, and unresolved complicated grief has almost destroyed my life. It physically affected my health to the point where i could no longer work (the pain hit and my gut responded in a way such that the pain is excruciating -- i won't go into details).

What can we do? Virtually nothing. Well, maybe not nothing: there are options: therapy, meds, EMDR ... In fact, it has becoming a running joke in some support groups: "What meds are you on?" Not "Are you taking antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs?", but "Which ones?" Yeah, medical system, promote adoption so you have a never-ending stream of mental-health customers.

Sure there are some therapists who want to help and do their best Joe Soll and his Adoption Healing books comes to mind. The best, in my opinion. But not everyone is into "inner child work." And one approach does not help everyone. PTSD causes distinct changes to the structure and function of the brain. That is a fact. And not every natural mother is aware that books like these even exist, or that the pain she feels is not a sign of total moral and character failure. After all, we were told we would "get over it" -- we have not, and therefore we have failed, right? The social workers told us we'd get over it. Society and even our loved ones don't believe that we should feel anything:

"That was forty years in the past. Why do you care?"
"She had a good life, right? So why are you feeling this way?"
"I know lots of other breeders and they don't feel that way. They are okay with 'their decision'" (puke!)
"Move on"
" ... nothing but a Bitter Old Birthmother..." (thanks, C., for this one).

So, we hide our pain. We are not supposed to feel it. And we used denial, dissociation and repressing our emotions as survival mechanisms, in order to try to continue breathing. We create a false, fake self in order to present a "happy face" to the world and hide our pain (and our shame and guilt -- did you know that both of these are common responses in trauma victims?)

But often, for many of us, the only way to escape the pain is suicide. And frankly, I often feel that those who succeed are the lucky ones.

Not that anyone cares. Articles about our pain get published and then forgotten. No baby broker will tell an expectant mother that she stands a good chance of suffering lifelong unresolved grief, PTSD, severe depression, secondary infertility, or other such consequences.

I was sent two articles by a friend. Here are some excerpts from them.

“Relinquishing mothers have more grief symptoms than women who have lost a child to death, including more denial; despair, atypical responses; and disturbances in sleep, appetite, and vigor.” - Askren & Bloom (1999)

"Because society views the relinquishment of an infant as a voluntary choice, there is no acknowledgement that a loss has occurred, and thus no expectation for the birth mother to go through a grief process with subsequent adjustment " - Askren & Bloom (1999)

“Results shown in Table 3 demonstrate that mothers relinquishing a child for adoption tend towards more grief symptoms than bereaved parents, especially if the method of adoption was open adoption.” ... "Table 3, comparing natural mothers in both open and closed adoptions with bereaved parents, shows that natural mothers suffer more denial, atypical responses, dispair, anger, depersonalization, sleep disturbance, somaticizing, physical symptoms, dependency, vigor." -- Blanton & Deschner (1990).

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Family Preservation -- Guest Blog by Mirah Riben

In the beginning of each person’s journey to recovery from our traumatic losses, there is a need to find a shoulder to cry on and to know that we are not alone feeling the pain of our adoption losses. We need to scream, vent pent-up anger etc…all are extremely helpful, necessary and cathartic.

But we each reach a point where we can choose to remain whining, angry victims forever or channel that anger for change! There is no greater force for change than anger. Rosa Parks was damn angry and not about to take it any more. The gays are not taking it anymore and are demanding equal rights.

The second stage of our healing process is empowerment through making changes for others! I think about MADD which was founded by a small group of California women in 1980 after a 13-year-old-girl was killed by a hit-and-run driver.

I think about Maureen Kanka the mother of Megan who got sex offender registry legislation in every state in the union! Child Find, started by parents of loss and the nationwide Amber Alert system begun by parents and named after their abducted and murdered child.

I think about The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, Argentinean women who have become worldwide known human rights activists in order to re-unite with their abducted children.

None of these people came to their causes with any other “expertise” or special abilities other than passion and anger. They all had just one ting in common: They knew it was too late to reverse their own loses, but were committed to ensuring that others would not suffer as they and their children did! And they all succeeded in making very positive changes! They are my heroes and my role models. These mothers turned their righteous indignation and deep personal loss of their children into positive action to help prevent the same loss for others in the future. They ensured that their children were not lost in vain. Instead of wringing their hands, they empowered themselves and set themselves free form victimhood. They did something! They made change!

Maureen Kanka and her husband were able to do it with just the two of them because their cause had no opposition (except the ACLU). Protecting innocent children from potentially murderous pedophiles is pretty much of a no-brainer. Legislators were eager to support this very popular legislation.

We do not have that privilege! Adoption is big business and many are very happy with the status quo because it is filling a constant demand for their paying clients and voting constituents. Keeping the babies coming is in their best interest and they have power and money. Additionally, the Christian conservative evangelic movement is waging an full-fledged mass media campaign to promote adoption! They are teamed up with the National Council for Adoption who has opposed open records since we first attempted to open them.

We are in the midst of an all-out major propaganda war. (See blog post directly below, "The Quiet Revolution"). The only chance we have to combat this onslaught and save anyone from the pain of separation from family through adoption, is to put aside our personal likes and dislikes of others and our petty power struggles that have plagued the adoption reform movement for over 30 years…and UNITE! The silver lining in this could is that it might help us motivate and coalesce progressive/liberals on our side.

There is power in numbers and we need all the power can muster to combat those who want to continue profiting by exploiting mothers and commodifying children.

Blogging can be powerful tool when we all work together, as many of us are doing to help Stephanie Bennett. But we need to do more. A website and a blog have been established to serve as a repository for information needed for letter writing to newspapers and legislators. They are still in the process of accumulating the data but there’s a good start, especially in terms of Safe Havens, and the information will continue to be posted. The two sites are: and Both are in their infancy.

PPFFPP stands for parents and Professionals For Family Preservation and Protection. This came about as a result of the (unexpected) international interest in the book The Stork Market: America’s Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry which is a no-holds-barred, powerful and well-documented report of the dirty business of domestic and international adoption, and the harm it causes ALL members of the triad. I wrote this book. It is not about me, nor did I write this book—or my previous book, ”shedding light on…The Dark Side of Adoption” (1988), or any of the myriad articles I have had published—to tell my own sad story, for any pity, or any personal glory or “fame”…and least of all not for monetary profit.

In addition to writing, I also created and support the adoption kinship memorial wall and encourage those who have lost a loved one to adoption who is now deceased to post a permanent memorial there for them. Donations to support it are accepted but not required to submit a name to be posted. I also created and support The, a survey of over 500 mothers and fathers who have relinquished. This project is in need of the help of someone with expertise in statistical data analyzing, presentation and reporting. There are powerful results to be published here about what natural/original/first mothers and fathers want in terms of anonymity/confidentiality and open vs sealed reords.

I do everything I do to stop the damage that is being done to ALL by adoption! But I cannot do it all alone!

The book is the blueprint, the manifesto for Family Preservation. Read it! Encourage others to read it. Request your libraries and legislators order it and read it! If you cannot afford the discounted price (printed cost plus postage) please write to me. Review it online and for your local newspapers. Spread the word…and come together via so we can ALL brainstorm our ideas to get the word out and battle the forces that want to keep selling our children!

We need to work TOGETHER! Power in numbers…power to the people!

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead

You may think your actions are meaningless and that they won't help, but that is no excuse, you must still act. Mahatma Gandhi

The greatest menace to freedom is an inert people. Louis D. Brandeis

Reformers who are always compromising, have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon. Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little. Edmund Burke

Words without actions are the assassins of idealism. Herbert Hoover

Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it. Mahatma Gandhi

In a democratic society, you're supposed to be an activist; that is, you participate. It could be a letter written to an editor. Studs Terkel

Activism is my rent for living on this planet. Alice Walker

How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it. Marcus Aurelius

When anyone steps out of the system and tells the truth, lives the truth, that person enables everyone else to peer behind the curtain too. Walter Wink

In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.
George Orwell

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when? Hillel

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Anatomy of (Another) Coerced Surrender

If you get a chance, take a look at this story on the BEBA site. It is true, and it is recent, and the adoption agency it speaks of is one of the largest faith-based agencies in the country. And what is shocking is that this blatant coercion is still happening. There has to be something that can be done about it. If adopters can sue agencies for "emotional distress" if a mother decides to keep her child, you would think that the emotional damage they inflict upon natural mothers would be grounds for a suit as well!

"Anatomy Of A Coerced Surrender"
by Pamela Jordan


After finding out that I was pregnant, and realizing that I could not go through with an abortion, I called the first number listed under the "abortion alternatives/crisis pregnancy" section of The Yellow Pages. The ad promised counseling and help.

I dialed the number and a volunteer answered. She listened quietly to my story and asked me to come in and talk to a counselor as soon as possible.

On February 25, 1999, I met with a counselor who immediately asked if I had considered adoption. Stunned, I said, "No." She proceeded to recite rates of poverty among single moms, child neglect cases, resentment toward the child for "messing up" the mothers life, etc.

She then told me about the "beautiful, win-win" option of adoption. A well-off couple of my choosing would adopt my baby in a nice, sweet open adoption facilitated by the agency.

I would have the chance to live my life free of the burdens of single motherhood and my child would love me more because he/she would have every thing and every opportunity to succeed in life. Plus, he or she would have the added benefit of being raised by a "loving, married, Christian couple."

It sounded great. I fell hook, line and sinker.

On our next meeting, she took me to the local State Department of Social Services to get me on Medicaid. (And I always thought the agencies and adoptive parents footed the bill for medical expenses. Who knew that it was really the tax payers?)

I didn't want my family to know, as they'd kill Wil, my boyfriend, and go broke trying to help me raise my child, and the agency encouraged me to "make my decisions" away from Wil or anyone else who could "influence" it.

So, on April 12, 1999, I moved in with an agency "Shepherding Family" five-hours away from my home. ....

Continued here ....

Monday, April 23, 2007

Looking at traffic accidents ...

I do not understand it, but it seems that humanity must have a morbid fascination with viewing disaster, death, pain, or affliction. Maybe it is the fact that the bored love to get shocked out of their cozy little worlds, or that we are an innately curious species -- but what is it that compels many of us such that many people just cannot help but slow down and look for the worst when they drive past a particularly bad traffic accident? Is it adrenaline, or is it genuine human concern and caring, that makes people slow down to "take a look" at carnage?

Anyway, out of curiosity, I decided last week to join a particular (new?) little message board I had heard of, rumored to be the site of frequent metaphorical "traffic accidents." No, not Adoption.con, or alt.adoption, but supposedly a kinder, gentler place where "all members of the triad" (as if there is any such things as an "adoption triad"!) could relax and converse in a positive and happy manner (dodging traffic accidents...).

Perhaps I should not mention the name of the group, as this post is not supposed to be about bashing any one message board site, but about an incident illustrating a dynamic common to all other "triad" boards and groups that I have ever belonged to.

But, as with any other triad group I have seen: traffic accident zone it is. And, for some unknown reason, I find myself coming back every day and reading there ...

The particular hit-and-run ...

Anyway, "P.," another natural mother (I use this term out of respect, to respect and honor her as being a Mother to her lost daughter, rather than using a derogatory term analogous to incubator) posted a sincere and insightful post on that forum about coercion and how most people seem to turn a blind eye to it. Why is it that no-one believes us when we speak about the coercion that took our babies from us? Why do they think that our experiences are the exception, rather than the rule? Why is there this stigma that comes up, over and over again, around mothers who have lost children to adoption?

As people-who-adopted are part of this forum -- and in-fact seem not only to set the tone of this forum but to dominate almost every discussion on it -- I was curious to see what the responses would be.

"I'm sorry you felt that way... "

Well, somehow, as i expected, very soon the dismissals began. Although the first person who responded understood, believed, and was cool-- as did the second -- the third, however, gave a mini-lecture about how it was all P.'s personal perception of the situation (stressing though that we have to honor her emotions and personal perception, right?), likening it to how some families faced with the prospect of cancer take the news in stride, while others view it as a huge disaster.
  • Coercion is NOT a matter of perception, it is a matter of legal fact. Emotions, feelings, beliefs, responses .. these are different: One feels fear, pain, loss, violation ... one believes in God or in an ethical code or in the supremacy of law ... but coercion either happens or does not. To say that it is a perception, a feeling, again dismisses P.'s realization and her experience as just being a personal subjective belief rather than a fact, an experience, series of incidents adding up to the loss of her child.

Another person then chimed in with this gem: "I will just say I'm sorry you were made to feel dehumanized."
  • Made to FEEL dehumanized? Again, another variant on "I'm sorry you were [made to] feel this way."... NOT "I'm sorry that you were treated in a dehumanizing manner" or "I'm sorry that you were coerced." Again, an adoptive parent puts it as, not that N. was coerced, but that she just "feels that way"! Let's use an analogy: "You were not date-raped, you just feel that way!" See how it looks?

Reminded me of a conversation I had, my one post-reunion experience with an adoption agency. While looking for a support group, they were recommended to me. So I phoned ... Part of the conversation went like this:

The Agency: "So, when did you place your child?"
Me: "I did *not* place my child for adoption. She was taken from me at birth. I was given no choice."
The Agency: "Oh ... (pause) ... Often, birthmothers *feel* this way ..." (said dismissively)
Me "This is not just a feeling. It actually happened."

Now, perhaps the participants involved don't even realize that what they have done is totally dismiss P.'s experience and reality. Maybe they posted in all innocence, thinking that they were showing support? Or perhaps their responses to her are an unconscious way to protect themselves, to deny that coercion exists in adoption and thus to protect themselves from any niggling question that the child they obtained was perhaps unethically procured for them? Perhaps they are not aware that coercion (including duress) is recognized in law:
Coercion, in law, the unlawful act of compelling a person to do, or to abstain from doing, something by depriving him of the exercise of his free will, particularly by use or threat of physical or moral force. In many states of the United States, statutes declare a person guilty of a misdemeanor if he, by violence or injury to another's person, family, or property, or by depriving him of his clothing or any tool or implement, or by intimidating him with threat of force, compels that other to perform some act that the other is not legally bound to perform. Coercion may involve other crimes, such as assault. In the law of contracts, the use of unfair persuasion to procure an agreement is known as duress; such a contract is void unless later ratified. (from
Is this a feeling, a belief, an emotion? I think not. Maybe the particularly little bits of support are sufficient such that P. does feel supported, does feel that the fact that they "believe she feels coerced" will suffice. Frankly, I think she deserves better.

Aberrations, Mutants, Abnormalities ...

The stigma of being an exiled mother is another fact that P. mentions, and she is right-on with this. Why do people feel uncomfortable around us? Why do they give us looks that either dress-us-down as being unfit to be mothers, scrutinize us under a microscope as if we were some strange disease, or treat us as "cold hearted bitches who gave away" our children?

This quote is from an article on open records, but it is so true about the stigma that surrounds natural mothers:
"It is the child welfare establishment that has provided the picture of 'birthmothers' as indifferent -- as mothers who abandon their unwanted children with a wish to remain forever hidden from them. They know that this is seldom true, but it helps to facilitate their work for the public to believe this. Society does not dismiss the importance of the natural family as readily as the social planners, and so it is useful to portray relinquishing parents as different from caring parents.

"The 'birthmother' must be different, an aberration; for if it were true that she had the same degree of love for her child as all other mothers, the good of adoption would be overwhelmed by the tragedy of it. Adoptive parents are presumably somewhat relieved of guilt if they can be assured that the [first] parents truly did not want their child; for, under those circumstances, it is possible to feel entitled to claim the child of others. Neither society nor the mother who holds the child in her arms wants to confront the agony of the mother from whose arms that same child was taken.
It is true. We are stigmatized because we are seen as aberrations. And not only that, but once you have diminished a mother to being a "birth mother," referring to her by this artificially-created term, you now speak of her uterus, her vagina, her blood and her amniotic fluid. These are not subjects of "polite conversation" with strangers. So, no wonder the people at P's daughter's school play flinched and became uncomfortable when she was introduced to them with this word by the a-parents. ("P," I will link to your blog post where you describe this event if you want me to, or if you prefer to remain anonymous, I will honor that also). She was not only defined solely by, but her role was circumscribed solely by, her reproductive organs. Plus, you can bet that some of them wonder how much she got paid for providing the gestational service: the word "birth mother" is synonymous with "surrogate mother" in the minds of many who are not "adoption-affected."

So, maybe not much carnage on the road today with this incident, luckily. And it is possible that many may not realize that anything actually occurred that was wrong or even out-of-the-ordinary, but once more I see one more dismissal of the experiences of a natural mother on a "triad board," even when people-who-adopt are trying(?) to be supportive. This "kinder, gentler" board is indeed not quite as bad as some boards where a mother's decision to have sex is used against her as justification for disembabyment and to say that thus she had a "choice" (as if one is supposed to lead automatically to the other!). But unfortunately, many still just do NOT "get it."

But I do have to stop looking at these on-line "traffic accidents," reading at the sites where I know they will happen, even if I do fervently pray that I will be surprised and maybe one day a "triad group" will exist where they do not happen. I'm not holding my breath though.

Footnote to "P." I do not know you, but I would LOVE to see your first post on that message board reposted on websites where people read to learn about adoption and its issues. I sent you an email. Stand strong, I hear you. WE hear you.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Anatomy of a Child Theft

THE ADOPTION SHOW: Listen to the interview with Stephanie Bennett. And please help Stephanie Bennett get her baby home: Sign the "Return Baby Evelyn Bennett Home" Petition. Help out directly to Send Evelyn Home.

It is ridiculous that a "licensed agency" can dismember a family by exploiting a mother's fears. Stephanie Bennett and her family deserved better. She was misled and exploited, never told the truth about adoption or the misery it would cause to her, the unresolvable grief and loss, depression, and PTSD. Instead, she was exploited and cast aside, her baby removed from her as she felt powerless to do anything about it. This case shows how the industry operates, how it does anything it can to obtain babies for its customers. Stephanie was not adequately counselled. She was rushed into making a "commitment" to surrender her baby. She was not warned about the emotional and psychological consequences of surrender: evidence provided by Kelly, Condon, Rickarby, Robinson, and many others.


11/05 – Stephanie found that she is pregnant and hid it from her parents until 3 weeks prior to delivery. She is tall, this is a first pregnancy and the popular baggy clothes worn by young people made that possible.

4/17/06 – Stephanie delivered Baby Evelyn Joann Bennett and named her for her Great Grandmother and her Grandmother and her Mother. The plan is that, with her family’s support, Stephanie will raise the baby.

Stephanie’s parents are not wealthy people and Stephanie and Evelyn go on Medicaid

4/06 - Stephanie told her parents that the father was a school friend, with whom she had never had sex. She was desperately trying to protect her family. She lied to her parents because she was afraid of the real father who had been making serious and repeated threats against her family. Stephanie attempted to protect them from him and what he would do to her family, to her and to Baby Evelyn.

9/07/06 – After 5 months of repeated and serious threats to her family’s health and safety and emotional abuse from the putative father of her child, Stephanie approached Thomas Saltsman, Counselor, at Glenoak High School. Stephanie originally went to discuss a schedule change, but mentioned adoption. As soon as Stephanie mentioned adoption, Mr. Saltsman turned, got a brochure from his desk for A Child’s Waiting Adoption Agency and arranged a meeting for the next day in his office.

9/8/06 – Stephanie signed the initial paperwork that began the process. Mr. Saltsman signed as witness, in his office, at the high school, this was the ONLY meeting between Stephanie and the agency people, until the agency worker came to take Baby Evelyn on 9/12/06. There was no counseling nor protection offered to Stephanie. An attorney was present, as Stephanie’s “independent counsel”, but she also handled adoptions for A Child’s Waiting Adoption Agency on a regular basis.

9/12/07 - As a policy, Medicaid demands the name of a father, or they require DNA testing on any possible ones. The young man that Stephanie claimed was the father in order to protect her family’s safety from the real father went to have his DNA tested. Stephanie was to bring Evelyn in for her test to see if they matched, but Stephanie never came. She had already run away, as directed by the agency rep in the school guidance counselor’s office, to avoid the DNA testing. The involvement of a father in the proceedings would complicate things for the agency. Proven fathers have rights that require protection. DNA evidence is proof of paternity. No proof and there are only putative fathers, who legally need not be consulted. Evelyn was not tested, as she had already been taken from her mother by the agency.

9/12/06 – Stephanie and Evelyn ran away (at the agency’s suggestion, in the Guidance Counselor’s office, to Carrol County where Stephanie’s parents could not interfere). Also the last time Stephanie saw baby Evelyn. The agency rep came to this place and picked up baby Evelyn.

10/2/06 – Judy and Ranza Bennett got temporary custody of Baby Evelyn; went to the agency in Copley Township in Summit County accompanied by Copley Police. Agency told the police that they had spoken to the 17-year-old but told her that they could not do business with her while she was a minor and that neither child was at the agency.

10/16/06 - Judy and Ranza notified by Canton police that they were to appear in court on 10/17/06. Not informed as to why.

10/17/06 – Went to court, still no information as to reason. Stephanie appeared accompanied by A Child’s Waiting. Court placed Stephanie into a Respite Home due to allegations of abuse made against Judy and Ranza Bennett by the putative father who had been making the threats against Stephanie and her family, which stated that there was neglect and abuse against both Evelyn and Stephanie. A case worker came to their home to investigate the charges of abuse.

10/18/06 – Stephanie ran away from the Respite Home and called a friend, who called the caseworker who advises him to take Stephanie to Family Court. While in court, Stephanie tells the judge that she wants to return home to her parents and her sister. The Lawyer for Child Protection told the Judge that there was no sign of neglect or abuse in the home. Evelyn’s pediatrician stated that he had no concern about Evelyn being in the home.

10/18/06 - Stephanie then told her parents who the father actually was (there is no more information about the father available beyond this as yet, as charges are pending and any information leaked could jeopardize their case).

Attempted to find an attorney who could handle the case and would work for payments that could come later, for Stephanie and the baby.

Dec. 31, 2006 – Rick Armon’s article appeared in the Akron Beacon Journal.

Early January, 2007 - Sandy Young called the Bennett family to offer help. They said that they could use it.

Jan of 07-. Hired Paul Reiners to defend Stephanie. He agreed to work on a pro bono basis, unless they won the case. In that event, they would owe him standard fees.

1-19-07 - The first time Stephanie went to court in Summit Co. with Mr.Reiners, and was not allowed in the court room. Paul Reiners came out of the court room and told Stephanie that the Magistrate, Diana Stevenson, had put a gag order on all parties involved in the case.

2/2/07 – Judge in Stark Co. ruled that the custody order of Ranza and Judy Bennett was no longer in effect; That another court had precedence.

2-21-07 - Stephanie went back to court in Summit Co, where she is still fighting for the return of her daughter Evelyn. This date was to determine if the Surrender could be overturned. The judge was to rule on this matter on March 27, 2007. The briefs were to have been turned in on the 23rd and she would rule several days later. Paul Reiners had said that he would have several witnesses subpoenaed including the putative father. He also had indicated that he would depose Joe Soll to testify to the effects of the coercion, the loss of her daughter, the psychological impact of the threats and the emotional abuse that Stephanie had been subjected to. He did none of the above.

March of 07 – Fired Paul Reiners

March of 07 - hired Jennifer Lowry, who obtained a continuance on the ruling by the judge and obtained the court transcripts. She could find no evidence of any gag order on any party to the case. She still prefers to have Stephanie remain silent, as a matter of choice, and to protect her, but her parents and the attorney are not so bound.

April 07 – Obtained copies of the complaint filed against the agency in the matter of Stephanie Bennett by her mother. The agency was found to be not in compliance in numerous areas. So far, no actions have been taken against the agency by the state, despite being out of compliance.

April 9, 2007 – Meeting with Jennifer Lowry. She was excited about the Bennetts having a copy of the complaint. Also has started to plan a reunification.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Adoption Show: Baby Evelyn's Family Speaks Out

There is perhaps nothing worse than being robbed of a child, whether it be by untimely death, kidnapping, miscarriage, or adoption. This young mother, Stephanie Bennett, was robbed of her child by a school counselor colluding with an adoption agency. This could happen to ANY of our daughters, at ANY time. Our schools are no longer safe.

Please listen to this show if you can. If you miss it at 8:30 (EST), you can download it from the Adoption Show website at any time after that.

We are the only species on the planet that feeds its most vulnerable mothers to predators.

Sunday April 15, 2007 8:30 PM (EST)
Listen to the show at
In September 2006, after serious threats to Stephanie and her family by her child's putative father, 17-year-old Stephanie Bennett, while afraid and in an extremely vulnerable state, was coerced and pressured into surrendering her five month old daughter, Evelyn to A Child's Waiting adoption agency in Ohio, USA.
The people who took Evelyn have stated they will not give the baby back to her mother. Since September 2006 the Bennett family has been fighting to bring Evelyn home.
Michelle talks to Judy Bennett, Stephanie's mother, Jennifer Lowry, the lawyer handling Stephanie's case, and Sandy Young, a reunited mother and director on the board of OriginsUSA who, along with OriginsUSA, other organizations and individuals, have been advocating and gaining support for the Bennett family since the story was first published in December 2006.
Michelle interviewed Crissy Kolarik from A Child's Waiting agency, but at Crissy's request the interview was not recorded.
The purpose of this show is to support the Bennett family while they fight to bring Evelyn home. We also want to bring awareness to the methods used by a counsellor at Stephanie's high school and the adoption agency, which resulted in Stephanie surrendering her child for adoption.
To help the Bennett's with their legal costs for this case, please visit to make a donation. This will be greatly appreciated by the Bennett family.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

"Blogger Blitz Called to Bring Baby Evelyn Home"

PRESS RELEASE FROM ORIGINSUSA: As court battle for Baby Evelyn trudges on, new details of case are revealed. OriginsUSA calls for Adoption community bloggers to help.

(PRLog.Org) – Richmond, VA April 12, 2007 - OriginsUSA, Inc. is organizing a Blogger Blitz for Monday, April 16, 2007, to increase media and public awareness of the coercion used to obtain the surrender and removal of five month old Evelyn Bennett from her seventeen year old mother, Stephanie Bennett, on September 12, 2006, in Canton , Ohio.

Traditional media, with the exception of Rick Armon of the Akron Beacon Journal, have largely ignored this story. As outlined by Mr. Armon in the original story on December 31, 2006, the Bennett case has many unanswered questions. Despite the lack of media coverage, the interest of the online community has not diminished and has been kept alive for months via blog articles, adoption forums and online chats.

Kicking off the Blogger Blitz will be a live stream, online, radio interview with Judy Bennett, Stephanie’s mother and grandmother to baby Evelyn. “The Adoption Show,” with Michelle Edmonds, will air on Sunday, April 15, 2007, and will be available online thereafter at . The interview will break the codes of silence and gag orders imposed upon the family, while showing that this story is more tragic than even previously known.

A factual time line will be available to bloggers, along with further, as yet unrevealed, details. Links to this information and a list of participating bloggers will be available on the OriginsUSA website at . The online adoption community, other mothers who have been forced to surrender, adult adopted persons, and people who have adopted will have the opportunity to react to the new information. They then can respond as to why this case is important not just to people involved in adoption, but to all who care about truth and justice.

It is hoped that attention generated by bloggers will inspire renewed interest from mainstream media and cause widespread support for the Bennett family. To date, the Bennetts remain separated from their daughter and granddaughter and are fighting in court for the return of baby Evelyn. Sandy Young of OriginsUSA, who has been working with the Bennett family said, “Wrongly ignoring cases like the Bennett’s, and the many other stories of forced adoption that still occur in America as accepted adoption practice, allow these abuses to continue. OriginsUSA fights for justice and the preservation of natural families.”

If you are interested in being part of the Blogger Blitz or would like more information about how to help the Bennetts, please contact
For more information about the truth of adoption, past and present, join us at OriginsUSA.
OriginsUSA, Inc. advocates for the preservation of natural families and, as a last resort, alternative systems of child care that respect the needs and dignity of both mother and child above permanent adoption separation. We provide support for people separated by adoption, fight coercive adoption practices, and educate the public and policy makers about the effects of adoption separation. A national organization, we are internationally affiliated with Origins Inc. ( NSW Australia), Origins Canada, and other Origins branches in those countries. OriginsUSA, Inc. has also aligned with Tracker’s International in the U.K. and with Adoption Crossroads in the U.S.

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Friday, March 30, 2007

I'm back

Hi dear friends and readers, I know it has been a while since I have been online. Mainly due to a problem in not being able to log-in -- "incorrect password" error even though I know my password off-by-heart! I tried a few more times over a couple of months and then gave up, thinking that the problem was permanent. Well, just feeling lucky, I tried logging-in again the other day, and it worked! Not that I tried anything differently, so I am assuming that Blogger got it's software problem fixed.

So, I'm back.and I apologize for the long delay: I hate stale blogs as much as the next person does.

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