Monday, October 15, 2007

And the "real" Amy shows her true colors

Recently posted on Amy's site in response to my opinion of her severely naiive and wrongful depiction of the situation in Guatemala:

Third Generation,Take your happy adopter ass elsewhere. I don't want you here. I read at least twenty news articles. Then I went to the Joint Council For International Children Services, The National Council for Adoption and the State Department for additional information. I don't want to live in Guatemala. I imagine the INS would say the same thing. Quit fucking adopting from Guatemala. For your information, I am a Desert Storm Vet that did not vote for the asshole in office. I sure as hell don't support this war. Go your fucking ass elsewhere.

Third Generation says:
Glad you know how to read Amy - go to the library and you can find a book about just about anything you want to hear to agree with your sorry point of view of adoption. Getting off your fat lazy behind and meeting the people who are actually involved in this, and actually doing something about is how things get done that last and how "real" people triumph over the system.

And referring to the President of the United States as you have above, while endorsing his government agency reports shows just how much of a poor and mixed-up person you actually are. I suppose you simply worked on the back lines and served mess? Because I sure wouldn't trust you with real marching orders when you refer to the Commander in Chief as you have. If you hate the establishment, then why do you use their data to formulate and push your opinion?
Once again, whatever is convenient to write about if it "sounds" good, by all means use it for your convenient cause, because your cause outside opening birth records is moot. And with your undeducated positions, you've watered that down and lost respect.

You have a nice day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Recent Response to Amy's post on Guatemala

Your opinion has some truth to it, but your personal experience is nill. Your opinions are based on the media and someone's outside view. I am not pro adoption for Guatemala, but I have adopted twins from this country, legitimately adopted legally and with all legal paperwok 2002-3. I am an adoptee and I hate adoption in this country because of how often it is a travesty. There is no easy solution to any of these causes and Guatemala has many corrupt people in the country seeking gain thru adoption. They also have one of the largest populations of poor people who are targets for those who coerce them into adoption. The american agencies are just as guilty in seeking the monies from prospective parents who are desperate for a family. I have personally been inside over 25 orphanages in Guatemala, interviewed all of the owners (including the aids orphanage) and the picture you paint is severely lacking. The country has major issues and poverty will drive many to do things that are not right. But let's not forget that everyone is at fault here. The adoptive parents are at fault for wanting a family and Guatemala is the closest and least cumbersome when compared to Russia, China or Korea. The agencies are making a living on adoption and therefore they are at fault. The facilitators and lawyers of Guatemala are at fault for taking advantage of a system in which a single adoption (they average one or two a month) nets them 3 to 5 times the average annual income of a high functioning Guatemalan employee. (Average income is 12,000 annually for a bilingual highly educated Guatemala city worker of a bank or major corporation.) And the poor people of the country are also guilty for surrendering their children because they are either too poor to feed them, are victims of the system as they are drug addicts or prostitutes and have chosen to give their children a life instead of using them as fronts on the street. Not to mention the legitimate orphanages are also guilty for taking these children in when they are dropped at the gates because their parents cannot feed or clothe or house them because of their impoverished or addicted state (I personally sitnessed this while visiting an orphanage - one of 23 - outside GC in 2003). Parents simply dropped off two young children (5 and 7) and drove off leaving them because they know the orphanages will care for them. And Guatemala is severely guilty for their abandonment law disallowing all orphan adoption if a single heir (any blood relative) can be located in the country, regardless if they are willing to care for their relative or not! And Amy, I love your heart, but you too are guilty for jumping on the bandwagon of those who generalize an entire program based on a single case or abuse of a system. I am also guilty because I wanted a family and my wife and I cannot have children due to medical reasons. I am also guilty because I don't believe in the local system and how they push children with severe disabilities and behavioral issues which have been caused by the system itself. (They save all infants for those with money who pay the state big money to get the infants.) Or the goofiness of a system that allows people to go on parade seeking to be chosen either by prospective parents or parents being chosen by surrendering birth mothers. Does this not fly in the face of stupidity? I'm going to go on parade so a young girl who already has issues and has made some questionable decisions is going to make the right choice of a family to raise the child they are surrendering? I don't believe in a system that is run by inexperience, bureauocracy, injustice and a court system that rips biological and foster chilren out of their natural and foster homes based on an outsider's invalid and often incorrect accusation, puts them in foster homes that abuse them mentally, physically and sexually and then won't help them when they get all screwed up. I am at fault for disagreeing with a country that allows people to obtain an abortion because they made a bad judgment call on a one-night stand and simply feel they are "entitled" to another "chance" or to do anything as long as it's "legal". And we are all guilty for being so naiive that we think we can base an opinion from afar. Voice your opinions, but please let's all stop being generalists and alarmists and pulling a single case out of the news and then throwing entire groups "under the bus". There is no perfect answer. I'm an adoptee and I hate adoption. I'm an adoptive parent and I hate adoption, but I love my family and it's the only thing in this life I value. If it were up to me, parents who abandon their children would go to court and have to pay child support to their abandoned children for the rest of their lives to make up for the injustices they have caused. Let's start looking at who the real creeps are in this country and take action and do something about them. Every adoptee who has been in a foster home should be eligible for medical the rest of thier lives. Every foster child who has never been adopted should be given a college education at the cost of the government, provided with housing until they are on their feet and then be allowed to go back to their records, seek out their birth parents and garner their wages for the grief they caused when they chose convenience over responsibility. Maybe we could even make them servants of the adoptees? My rant ceases for a day.....

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Open Adoption - Check your lenses!

From a post out in bloggerspace on

Do you ever feel that this whole adoption thing is a battle? First, there is the battle for the possession of the child. Then, their is the battle for the loyalty of the child. From my own personal observation, it seems that adoptive parents are the ones starting the wars and picking the battles (not all adoptive parents). First, there is the battle for the physical possession of the child. Adoptive parents who choose domestic adoption must first be nice to potential birthparents. Some adoptive parents skip this part of the battle by choosing international adoption. Don’t deny the truth of this. Do you know how many times I have heard, “We chose xy country because we did not want to have to deal with birthparents. We did not want to have to have contact with the birth parents after the adoption. We want OUR child to know who his/her REAL parents are.” Those comments are the subject of an entirely different post so they won’t be dealt with at this time. Once the adoptive parents have won the initial battle and the child is in their possession, their true motives become evident. Maybe they promised to send pictures and letters but they do not fulfill their obligations. Maybe they send “pictures” but they make sure that they are out of focus or tops of heads are cut off. Why? Because they view the birthparents as the adversaries! The birthparents are trying to steal the loyalty of the child. Which brings us to the next battle, the emotional possession of the child. This battle is “won” by making sure that the child grows up understanding that their loyalty must be with the adoptive parents. Adoption discussion is tolerated only on a superficial level. Searching would be a treacherous act. After all, the birthparents are evil enemies who would only corrupt the child. Seems to me that if these adoptive parents could only understand one basic fact, birthparents are not adversaries. In most cases, birthparents are making the difficult placement decision because they want to provide their child with the best possible life. They enter into the adoption process with good faith, and sometimes they are slapped in the face. Why wouldn’t they be bitter? Why wouldn’t they be on the defensive? If adoptive parents would just realize that it is in the best interest of the child to honor that large part of the child that comes from the birthparents. If adoptive parents would just realize that by honoring birthparents they are honoring the child. Maybe then they would begin to realize that the honor and respect that they show to the birthparents results in a closer bond to the very child that they are so fearful of losing. Maybe if they would stop viewing it as a battle then a wonderful period of peace could occur.
Disclaimer: There are many wonderful adoptive parents out there who truly honor the child and the birthparent. This post is not aimed at them. There are birthparents who are abusive/neglectful and contact would not be advised. I am simply speaking about many situations that exist.

The assumption in the battle mentoned above is that all adoptive parents are just greedy with ugly motives. Would love to expand your thinking and add a couple more lenses. I am an adoptee (state run 1965 - sealed records) of an adoptee (my father in 1922 - private adoption) and we both reunited with our birth families. I am also an adoptive parent because my wife and I could not have biological children (international). The above fails to mention other reasons (much more common) why most parents go international - it's not that they don't want contact with birthparents. It's twofold, but the main reason is FEAR of having one's heart ripped out because a birthmother changes their mind early in the process (or after the child has been placed) and takes the child back (and the judge will always rule in favor of the birthparent in this country). I'm not against open adoptions, but I would never take this risk as long as this continues to be the practice. Damn if I'm going to adopt a child someone can come along and change their whimsical little mind and proceed to destroy my family!

The second one is that domestic adoption is traumatic and there are no guarantees (people are going to extreme to find a baby on YouTube now). One must put themselves up on parade in hopes that a birthmother will choose them. A homestudy is revealing enough. Have you ever been through one? Let's just say that if people knew how invasive an agency (unregulated I might add) can get in the homestudy process, adoption would only remain the last last option. I've had less questions asked of me in buying a home, a car and multi-million dollar equipment purchases for my business combined. Forgive my rant for a moment. I for one am not going to put myself on parade and hope some young teenager or twenty-somthing of another generational time is going to pick me. What in the world is going to influence them to pick my wife and me. We aren't movie stars, we're not infinitely wealthy & I hate spinning how "great I am to the world and how wonderful parents we are going to be for your child". How the heck do I say that - I've never been a parent in the first place! I have my own set of problems and so does everyone. We were in our early 40's when we made the decision of adoption. You tell me what the odds are that some teenager is going to let an average middle class 40 something family adopt their firstborn? We all must grow to understand how complex adoption really is (having lived amongst it and with those touched by adoption my whole life makes the lines very grey and hard to determine a black and white stance on anything). Many many views, angles, stances and lenses are needed to truly see into and through the many many issues of every plight in adoption. Many would think of me as an advocate for adoption. Once again - throw me into a box, stick on a label and put me on your shelf. (I'm an adoptive parent, I participate in two charities, I vote conservative and I'm a capitalist when it comes to business. What box do I belong in?)
Adoption is much more complex and I'm for a few things in adoption and adamantly against many others. I hate adoption most of the time. I love it only a small part of the time. I love my family and my 5 year old twin boys, but I hate some of the things adoption did to me. I struggle every day with the question "How the hell am I going to be a good father when I was abandoned by my birthfamily at 4, a ward of the state until 5, adopted by a troubled married couple to save their marriage, my afather leaves when I'm 10?) My adoptive life sucked 99 % of the time. I now try to commuinicate with all sides of the triad, having lived on two sides in this life. Every day I see more and more and the lines get blurrier and blurrer. I'm learning to understand the one side of the triad (birthparent) that I haven't lived on. I'm not so blind to realize that I'm naiive about many of the hurts and pain a birthmother has gone through having relinquished a child under durress, confusion or peer pressure. I used to condemn this group becuase my limited view was that relinquishment in the modern age was for convenience and purely selfish. Until I met more than one who was forced due to financial, living and other issues outside the birthmother/birthfather's control. Shame on me! Every side of the triad has a voice! No one voice of any side of the triad is the final authority. Issues abound and the minute we take a stance, someone comes along which brings our stance into question. We are touched by adoption and will continue to be touched by adoption. Call it fate, call it what you want, but it's who we are and a decision most of us did not choose.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Foster Parent Allegation - States need to do something now!

They had a heart for those with less. The couple who had two of their own biological children wanted to give back. So they went to foster child training. They were certified and then sort of let it go because many of the stories they heard were disturbing. To the credit of the state they attended training in, no punches were pulled and counselors/social workers shared the toughest and some of the ugliest from bedwetting by older kids to firesetting to sexual deviation. Marty and Mary didn't really want to subject their children to such and so they simply marked the experience off as educational.

Only months after the training, a close friend of Marty and Mary brought a concern to them about children who were being neglected in their biological home. The friend was very concerned for two at-risk girls especially. Marty and Mary listened and couldn't put down the fact that they might be the ones to help out since they were eligible foster parents.

Long story short, the two girls were pulled from their family and placed at Marty and Mary's home. They were a decade older than Marty and Mary's children and in high school. Marty and Mary poured out their heart to them and helped them through their issues and made them a part of their life. They thought about adopting, but the children didn't need it for their security, they were treating Marty and Mary as parents and family after only a few months.

Years have passed and both foster daughters have attended college and have degrees and are moving forward in their lives. Marty and Mary have always been strict in their home life and as the foster daughters get out in the world, some of their habits are of concern to Marty and Mary. The oldest foster daughter is asked to leave as she refuses to acknowledge a home curfew and other rules which Marty and Mary have always maintained. For now, we'll just call the oldest Betty. Betty is very bitter and leaves and estranges herself from the family. Barbara, the youngest continues to stay home and soon meets someone she believes will be the love of her life. Barbara is engaged and announces this to Betty, who is estranged.

Betty is very jealous and now some of the tough parts of Betty surface. You see, Betty has been passed over (in her mind) by her sister's ability to find a companion before her. She is jealous and envious and filled with rage. Betty reacts by jumping onto the Internet and advertising herself as "available". Betty refuses to be Barbara's maid of honor because she doesn't want to go to the wedding where Marty and Mary will be (even though it is a small one in the home). Betty remains estranged and bitter.

Five years pass and Marty's biological daughter Suzie has finished college and has now announced her engagement. Marty suggests Suzie ask Barbara to be her maid of honor. Barbara and her husband are over for dinner and Suzie poses the question expecting a yes and excitement and joy regarding the announcement of her engagement. Barbara's response is negative and she and her husband make a quick exit. The Marty and Mary household is flabbergasted. They ask themselves over and over, "Did we say something wrong?". What is the problem?

Two weeks later, Marty is summoned to the police station and is informed that a restraining order has been taken out against him! The order was filed by his eldest daughter. He doesn't know what to do. He is shocked and dismayed. The order is examined and questioned and a judge throws it out. A few weeks later, Marty is informed a second restraining order has been taken out against him and this one now by Betty! He goes to court to fight this just as the first and the judge will not even think about dropping the issue. Marty finds out there are 12 counts in addition to the order accusing him of sexual crimes committed over 15 years prior.

This story is true. What most people are never informed of, is that foster children are not stupid. They are very street savvy and the system actually hurts and destroys more children than it helps. Most children are abused more in the foster care system than they were prior to being pulled from their homes. They are most often abused by other foster children who are veterans and damaged by the system. Pulled from home to home in a shuffle of low budget money passing maintenance type behaviors, social workers simply pull, drop and move on. They are referred to by the little ones as "child grabbers". They are overworked with too many case loads and they are undertrained as the average life of a social worker in the public system is 6 to 12 months. They are simply managing chaos with no power to do much more than swap children amongst at-risk foster care homes. Now for the good stuff - Foster parent allegations are placed by foster children on an almost daily basis as a means to get out of a place the child doesn't like and move on to another "home". When an allegation is made, the foster child is immediately pulled and "protected". In most cases, any other children are pulled from the home and biological children of the foster family are also pulled from the home. Google "foster parent allegations" and read the horror stories.

Marty is now broke. He has had to hire a lawyer to defend him of all of the false allegations. You see Betty and Barbara were simply jealous of the wedding Marty was going to give Suzie. They had been passed over so many times, they simply wanted to make Marty's life miserable and hopefully disrupt the wedding. Little did they know that it would completely destroy Marty and his family life. Even though Mary is sticking by Marty, it's been hard. Marty's children are also sticking by Marty because they know in their hearts, that Marty is not capable of such horrific and heinous action. But the damage is now done. Marty's life will never be the same. The question of whether anything ever happened will sit over Marty by his peers for the rest of his life. His defense budget is all of his savings and all his equity of his entire adult life. Well into the six figures with no guarantee of "getting off". Marty will now have to wait and see and even if the judge throws it all out, the money is gone, the doubt will never be erased and Marty's life has now been ruined by a couple of teenage foster children who felt slighted because they couldn't have something that the biological child was granted.

Do you think you would foster older children after reading this story?

I was a foster child and I know the feeling of being passed over. It is not the fault of the children that they have these feelings. I place the blame solely in the hands of the system for placing a family at risk and not putting failsafes in place to protect against this type of action by a child. There are cases all over this country which deal with foster parent allegations. People are fighting for their biological children to be returned while they are now being abused by the same corrupt system that allowed Betty and Barbara to destroy Marty's family.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

What is Adoption really about?

"We couldn't have children"
"We couldn't watch those terrible commercials on TV and not do something."
"We are partners and we want a family"
"It's the humanitarian thing to do"
"It was to save our marriage"
"Harry and I wanted to have the 'child we never had'"
"We needed someone to love us back"
"We couldn't have more children and Jack needed a playmate"
"We had to go the route of adoption because we couldn't have biological children"
"Everyone else in our neighborhood has kids, we felt out of place"

This is why adoption is such a screwed up life for the kids. Show me any one of these reasons where children are the motive! They're not and nor will they be for many who adopt for the wrong reasons. They are targets for those in the adoption space who are modern day gypsies selling snake oil. Think about your motives because you might just learn something about yourself and your desire to adopt.

Adoption has destroyed lives, marriages and most of all, children. Is a child better off as a poor farmer in a 3rd world country or in your plastic-pristine and perfect suburban lifestyle? Take 'em in, send them to school, put them on the path and watch them shine! It's so easy. It's all figured out! Just get them the schooling and they can be anything they want! Sure! Go ahead.

Giving them what you think they need can be very clouded by what you do to get what you want. We all have a very canny way of manipulating the system and one another into getting what we want. Most times, it isn't necessarily what we need or what the children we bring into our life need.

Let me introduce you to hell on earth when the plan above doesn't quite go as planned.........(names and places are fictitious - situations are real)

Sherry had to have a child. Bill wanted to make Sherry happy so he went along. Sherry and Bill couldn't afford International adoption, so they went the "inexpensive" method or going through the state. They did their foster parent/adoptive parent training. They heard some of the good, the bad and the ugly. Sherry always comforted Bill and assured him they would be very careful in making sure none of those things would happen to them. But time went on and the Sherry's bio clock was ticking. They were approaching an age when they would become ineligible if they didn't act. They would have to redo their home study and go through all of this again!

Meantime, Ralph, a graduate in social work got his new placement as a full time social worker within the child services group of his state. He reported to work and was assigned a case that the previous worker, who had retired and hadn't filled. Beth was the worker's name and she had been hesitant to place any of the available children into the home of Sherry and Bill because of the problem past of the candidates (kids) available for adoption when Sherry and Bill's homestudy had been accepted.

Ralph had his first meeting with his new boss, Patricia who had just been appointed from another department of social services. Patricia had been given a mandate to place 10% of all eligible children in the system in her first 12 months. Pressure to place children had come down from the Governor's office. Ralph liked his first meeting and the top file on his new desk was Sherry and Bill.

Ralph read the homestudy and really go into it. This would be his first placement. He was going to make a change and bring a family together. He reached over to his eligible file and thumbed through the available candidates. A young girl, Kristen, caught his eye. He read about Kristen and others but kept coming back to Kristen. The only problem, Kristen was 10 and she was going to be a hard placement. But after reviewing Sherry and Bill's file and realizing they had been in the system for quite a while, he went to Patricia to see what she thought about it. Patricia's mandate influenced her encouragement to Ralph to run it by Sherry and Bill.

Ralph called Sherry and made an appointment. Sherry hadn't heard anything from the state since Beth had retired. Time had rushed by and Sherry was approaching 40. When she heard about Kristen, she jumped at the opportunity for one, a girl and two, an older girl. Her mind started rushing through all of the things they could do together. Shopping and spending time in sports, (Sherry was a track star in her high school years). They could take weekends at their summer home and long walks on the beach.

So Sherry made an appointment and went to see Ralph. She wanted to make sure that Bill would only know if she was happy first. No need to bother him with this. Bill worked hard and he was behind Sherry 100%. Sherry dropped in for a meeting with Ralph and looked at Kristen's file. Kristen had already been involved in sports and was a top student in her school. Her situation was one of hardship as her single parent mother had died of cancer after having been divorced for only a short time. The whereabouts of the father was unknown and the state had to take custody of Kristen when her mother died, as there were no next of kin.

Sherry was beside herself when she got home. She couldn't hold it in and she broke it to Bill the minute he walked in. She was so excited that Bill's questions seemed to just go right by Sherry. Why is she in the system? Isn't she a little old? Is there a reason the father couldn't be found? Where is he? Wasn't it the state's obligation to seek him out and locate him? Sherry didn't have any answers and wasn't open to all of the "negative" feedback from Bill. They agreed to go and have a meeting with Kristen at the group home she was staying at the next weekend.

Sherry thought the weekend would never come. She couldn't contain her excitement. She and Bill had been married for nearly 15 years and never once had thought they would finally become a complete family. Sherry spent nearly two hours getting ready and went through change after change dealing with whether to wear or not to wear makeup. Should she wear a dress or jeans and a nice blouse to appear low key. It was as if though she was the one being adopted and not Kristen.

Bill simply went along with everything hoping this would be the end of all of the frustration for Sherry. After all, they loved each other very much and if it meant happiness for Sherry, Bill would do anything in the world for her.

Saturday came and Bill and Sherry arrived at the group home. They were escorted to a waiting room and a counselor shared with them a little on the background of Kristen. Per their records, Kristen's father simply left and never came home and after her mother died, Kristen became a ward of the state. She had excelled in school and in sports up to her mother's death. Because Kristen only had a distant uncle, Jerry who lived in the UK, she had no options. Her uncle had been there for her during her mother's illness, but had to return to his family and wasn't able to do anything for her as they had no room or monetary support for another family member. Kristen had been in the home for only a couple months and appeared to be well liked and very helpful doing her share of the work around the house. Because school was carried out in the home, Kristen had not had the chance to keep up her sports and was really concerned she would not be able to go to a "normal" school and run and play soccer as she had in her old school. The only negative was that Kristen was very shy around men and didn't want to get too close to any of the boys or male counselors in the home.

Sherry and Bill were shocked when Kristen walked in. She was slim and beautiful, polite and well dressed. She was articulate and very mannerly. What a shame for such a young girl to have to go through such trauma. She appeared nervous as any child would in such a situation, but nothing any 10 year old wouldn't feel being paraded in front of prospective parents. Sherry asked Kristen what she liked and disliked and asked her if she wanted to be adopted. Sherry very much wanted a family. She talked about her favorite TV shows and her favorite sports stars. She loved runners, tennis and was learning more about soccer stars as they watched soccer at the group home every chance they got. Bill remained quiet and simply stayed low key knowing what he did about Kristen's shyness toward males.

Bill and Sherry went out to have an ice cream with Kristen and her counselor on duty and then politely said goodbye. Sherry couldn't contain her emotion. Was it finally going to happen? Was she finally going to be a MOM? After the first meeting, Bill's fears were calmed and he told Sherry he was OK with pursuing adopting Kristen.

The story doesn't have a good ending. Because of information that never got to Ralph (Beth's retirement) and Patricia being brought in to replace the head of the social services group, the memo never made it into Kristen's file. You see Beth got a call from the group home just before she left her position. It seemed that Kristen had divulged, in confidence the following during a therapy session with the group home psychologist. Beth typed up a memo and gave it to her boss. See what missing and incomplete information did to these lives:

The rest of the story you didn't hear goes like this: Kristen's uncle came in from the UK to assist Kristen while her mother was sick. Kristen's mother didn't have any family because she had left the UK when she was a teenager and come to the US. She married but the marriage never worked out because Jennifer, Kristen's mother had been molested and she never felt comfortable with men. She went through the motions because she wanted someone to love her after the horrible life she had lived in the UK. She had a short term relationship with a guy she met and though they got married and had Kristen, he was wild and Jennifer simply asked him to leave after Kristen was born. What you don't see is that Jennifer had been molested by her uncle Jerry. Yes, the same uncle who came over to help Kristen when Jennifer had gone on life support. He never came to the hospital, he simply handled family matters and made sure Kristen was taken care of during his mother's sickness. Jennifer couldn't react because she was already in a comatose state when Jerry came over to assist Kristen. Kristen had been told many years before that she had some family in the UK and that if anything happened, she could call and get help from them. When Kristen called for help when her mother got very ill, Jerry was the first member on the list that called back and offered to help. Kristen being only ten, had no clue. And you can probably finish the rest of the story. Uncle Jerry had his way with Kristen just like he did her mother. And now he's back in the UK and Kristen is starting her new life with Sherry and Bill.

Fast forward: Bill comes home every night and pops back a few. Bill never used to overdo it, but now there's no life at home. You see, Kristen, his new adopted child won't come within 10 feet of him. He's tried to be friendly, but nothing seems to work. Kristen goes to therapy twice a week, but won't speak to anyone else about the terrible things that her uncle Jerry did to her. She cannot come to terms with the fact that her mother is dead and she has no one. Sherry spends huge amounts of time every day when she's not working 50 hours per week to pay for the therapy, with Kristen. But to Kristen, Sherry is not mom. Sherry is refined and likes all the things that Jennifer used to shy away from. Jennifer was simple, Sherry is complex. Jennifer had no family, Sherry has relatives everywhere coming in to "meet" Kristen. Kristen feels like she has to perform for all of them and she simply hates being around just about everyone. She lived a quiet life and now life is anything but quiet.

Sherry has no life outside Kristen's. Bill simply goes to work and comes home and throws a couple back and watches sports on ESPN. Bill works late whenever he gets a chance and now Sherry is accusing him of not spending time with her. Bill's argument is that there is never a moment to spend time with her as all her time is dedicated to Kristen. There are no more weekends at the beach home. It's been sold to pay for therapy and special attention projects with Kristen. Deep down, Sherry thinks Bill has found someone else and she almost doesn't blame him. Kristen fears men and won't go anywhere or do anything without Sherry. So Bill and Sherry now have a family.

So you want to adopt kids?

If you're touched, touch me back with your stories. The world needs to know that adoption is not all great and wonderful and the ugly has to be included with the good. If you disagree, tell me. Read more of my blog and know that I've been touched by adoption and I'm going to "touch it back!"

Monday, May 7, 2007

2nd Class Citizen - Vent

Ever been in a foster home? I have. Ever been asked to sit at the "other" table? I have. Ever wonder what life might have been like if your parents had treated family as though it were important, more important than their individual selfish desires? I do every day. You see, I cannot look at life as though there was ever a great opportunity and all one had to do was to pursue it. There was never a great opportunity. I've lived my whole life taking 2nds, 3rds and 64ths. There was never a stable family, never a refuge I could cling to. Never was there a "lucky" roll of the dice that set everything straight. There is no family to call and ask for help, to stop in and just say "Hi, how ya doin?". It was all about them and I'm supposed to just "make do" with the hand of 2,3,7,9,4. No face cards, no wild cards, no trump and no way to stay in without bluffing. So I get up every day, stand up and it's as though someone hits me in the mouth and says, "Good Morning! Welcome to a bitch of a day!" And then I take a shower, head off to work and look for what else can go wrong. No matter I'm trying to let the world know how competent I am or how wonderfully composed I am. What a crock! I look forward only to the next wakeup call and that oh' familiar punch in the mouth to start my day.

Do you hate holidays? I do! What a wonderful time to get lonely and have noone who gives a rat's ass about you or anything about you. Ever try to eat out on a holiday. Sure, drop into the local restaurant or deli and eat with all of the others who have no life, no family or no friends! Maybe they're foreigners and away from home and family. Are they gypsies lookin' for treasure or opportunity. Did they leave their family to chase American "greenbacks"?

Great f'ing time! I'd like to love tradition, except there's no tradition in my life because there's no family to set tradition, show any interest in anyone except their pitiful selfish little "convenient" self. So if you're reading this and you have a family that operates in some semblance of order - you know - Mom, Dad and children, think about someone other than yourself the next time you think about walkin' away and seeking out your fame and fortune. The cost of such an action might just be the death of the future of others who depend on you and have noone else to lean on. Think about someone other than yourself, just once. There is no rainbow and there is no gold and there is no "greener pasture". Life is about the people you come in contact with, bring into this world regardless of whether it was your "intent" or not. Face the medicine, shoulder the load and be the only thing that your child may ever have to look up to, depend on and love without condition.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

USA Today article on "Meet The Robinsons"

Traveling and in Cleveland for the week, I've been reading USA Today for the last couple of days. Interestingly enough, adoption has been front and center both days. In Wednesday's addition, an announcement that Russia is stopping adoption inefinitely is front page. In today's edition on page 9D under "Behavior", Steve Fries talks about the unfavorable response from adoption advocates on the Disney movie. Oh my oh my, how toes getting stepped on speak out!

Adam Pertman of the Evan B. Donaldson makes a wonderful point in defense of children eligible for adoption.

Ellen Shapiro, a psyschotherapist in New York, an adoptive parent of a Vietnamese girl cannot decide whether to leave the movie or not?

The article includes the statement - "That setup has disturbed hundrds of adoptive parents and their children, stoking abandonment and rejection fears originating from a story that does not accurately reflect how adopted children are placed with families," says Adam Pertman.

So here's my point - the adoptive parent is speaking up, but where is the voice of the adoptee? I respect the adoptive parents view because I'm an adoptive parent - but where is the voice of the adoptee? I understand I'm in an unusual position to see from two sets of lenses, but dammit, when will these writers get the scoop from the adoptee. So adoptees - please tell me how you feel? Tell them how you feel. Tell them that adoption is not all it's cracked up to be. Yes, there is an ugly ugly side where the barren adoptive population is simply out shopping for kids!

Send your comments, write to Steve Fries and Adam Pertman. Get your voices heard!

Friday, February 9, 2007

The Marketing of Adoption

Adoption is 90% marketing and 10% substance

As a marketing professional, I look at life a lot differently than most. An example might be the "American Dream" and how it influences our society. I consider "The American Dream" nothing but a great way for commodity brokers, who control all of the distribution and products to the masses, to get richer. Whether or not anyone planned it out as one great big conspiracy isn't relevant. Think what you want on that one.

In short, The American Dream is a joke for almost everyone that buys into it. It's simply marketing. It's a way to get you to commit the rest of your life's earnings to building something that most likely will end up in the tax accounts of the state and federal governments or insurance companies to pay for your long term health care. It starts with buying and owning a home. It continues with a pretty little picket fence and a dog and cat and 2.2 kids. And then there's the insurance, the upkeep and the improvements. The cleaners, the homecare products, the baby products, the lawncare products, the carcare products and so on and so on. Then there's the property taxes to pay for the (mostly subpar public) school systems, the overpriced police and fire services. Add to this the high cost of utilities. And I haven't even mentioned the big push for sending your kids to the "best" colleges. If one has any fiscal responsibility whatsoever, they step back and gasp at how much it costs to maintain this lifestyle. If you have any accounting aptitude, you know that the only way to get there is dual incomes and lots of credit! Now let's say your parents are fairly wealthy and did a good job and they have a fair amount of wealth and own their home. Do you think you'll ever see anything - NOT! The tax laws (capital gains) keep us from liquidating any of the investments we make in the home until we're 65+. If you're a kid, you'll be 50 years old when your parents move on when and if you ever see anything. You've already raised your family and kids and looking to retire. With the high cost of care once one reaches 65, the chances of any of this going to an inheritance are slim to none as most of it will go to care for your parents in their old age, especially if they have no pension or retirement (of which the majority today do not).

Adoption is much the same way. It's a big one-time sale and then everyone disappears. They don't tell you about the fallout. The social worker moves on (the average life of a social worker in a state system is 6 months). The lawyer retires, there is little to no support from the agency as they have no reason to talk to you any more because they've already got all your money. One home visit after all is consummated and you're on your own as an adoptive parent and the children are on their own. The whole system is about placing children and that's it! Yes there are some service providers such as counselors and therapists who do their best to serve the adoption community, but that's only of recent. No one warns parents of the extra time and effort above and beyond your investment in living the American Dream that adoption requires.

The public is ignorant and the marketers take advantage of it. Adoption is marketed and the naiive are burned. The marketing is all about money but is disguised as "humanitarianism, charity, last chance parenting (infertility usually first), pity, sympathy, etc. Some of the targets are the barren couple, the humanitarian or the wealthy do-gooder that's going to make the life of a "needy" child a dream. The public knows almost nothing about the cause and effect of adoption to our society. One of those is the fact that there are over 500,000 kids in the foster care system all locked up in foster homes and group homes. There are millions of kids who are touched by adoption either by private, state or international means. The number of children adopted who live a "normal" life in my estimation is 0. That's right - ZERO!

Some of the fallout goes like this. Let's say you're an adoptive parent and someone notices that your kids must be adopted. Most people just smile or stare and turn away. But for those who attempt to be friendly, the naivete comes out ugly. The inquiries that come from the public range from the naiive to utterly stupid. The responses of the ignorant with a humanitarian view of adoption go something like this:

"Your kids are so lucky to have you"
"You're so lucky you have such great parents"

The responses of the naiive go something like this:

"What it must be like to be chosen"
"Are those your kids?"

As an adoptive parent, I hear all of the responses. (But don't forget, I was an adoptee.) My twin 4 year olds are not the same ethnicity as my wife and I, and therefore adoption is conspicuous and obvious.

When I took my boys to see my Afather for the first time - he was nearly 80 years old and not in the greatest of shape. But he had his wits. His wife, (not my Amom as my Adad left when I was 10, only 5 years after the adoption) on the other hand is one of the dumbest blondes I have ever known. The first words out of her mouth were "They're darker than I expected". If you have a response to that, please comment, I'd love to hear! I was speechless. This is clearly the case of someone wanting to try and say something applicable and making an absolute ass of themselves.

The "lucky" response is the ignorant thinking that adoption is all about privilege being granted to the "needy".

The "chosen" word is simply a marketing ploy used in the 50s and 60s and sets people up to be ridiculed and separated and isolated by their peers, parents and adoptees. The agencies and the social services proliferate the words without having to pay for the backlash themselves. My parents told me how I was "chosen" and that other parents were simply "stuck" with what they had. Think about the backdraft when a 4 year old repeats these words amongst their peers in kindergarten. Even if they don't know how to respond, the peers take this home and tell their parents and separation sweeps through the Aparents peer groups.

In the Boston area, there's a program referred to as "Wednesday's Child" sponsored by a TV station and an anchor named Jack Williams. I appreciate his intent but his method is abominable. For 25 years, he has paraded "hard-to-place" children on the evening news in an effort to find someone who will adopt them. Parading children, adoption parties and the like simply drives kids to perform to be accepted. The damage is irreparable. The hurt can be irreversible. One never hears about the "placements gone bad" from a program such as Wednesday's Child. But trust me, there are more bad situations than there are good ones in adoption.

Adoption cannot be treated with money as the motive. Adoption needs attention after the placement, far more than the placement itself. You cannot market people. It's a form of slavery. As an adoptee, you know that you're a person and not a commodity. As adoptees, we need to continue to speak up to make known what needs to change. Parents need to be screened by competent counselors and not by social workers who are quitting their jobs tomorrow. Agencies need to be regulated and held at bay as they simply love the unregulated manner in which they can take advantage of rich barren couples who want a family to put on their mantle. As Bill Cosby says "If you know a young woman who wants a baby to love her back - duct tape her to the door and buy her a puppy!". We need to do this with some of the people who are adopting. As for the agencies, especially those who deal in domestic infant adoptions and international infant adoptions, they need a governing body with some teeth. There isn't anything in place and the slimiest of people hide inside these agencies. They are no better than con men. Adoptees need to rally together and teach adoptive parents what it's like to be rejected and then thrown into a completely foreign culture and expected to adapt overnight without any fallout. Adoptees need to become the counselors. When you're the recipient of the abuse, you know the cure. When you're looking in from the outside, you haven't a clue. Adoptees need to band together and go to the legislatures in force and tell their stories. The representatives and senators are there to serve us. I know that seems ludicrous, but trust me, you walk into their face, they have to listen. Walk into their face with a band of adoptees and they'll make change happen. Every state's records should be open. As an adoptee and an adoptive parent having experienced reunion and been adopted by an adoptee who experienced reunion, I don't believe in protecting the birth parent in anonymity. We deserve the right to seek them out and have our piece of the puzzle filled in! If they want to be left alone after that, then that's totally understandable and should be honored.

As adoptees, we have all the harnessed power of a nuclear revolution to bring adoption out of a place of shame and naiivete and into the light where people can see it for the positive thing we can make of it. We harness the power, so let's make things better for those who will follow. Adoption has touched us, now let's touch it back!

There is a charity committed to educating people on the many issues around adoption - the Evan B. Donaldson Institute on Adoption. I am well acquainted with the executive director, Adam Pertman. Adam has devoted his life to simply educating the community on adoption. He's an adoptive parent and a sweet individual. He is a Pulitzer Prize nominee on his writings on adoption. Adam comes from the adoptive parent side and sees the many injustices close up and personal as a father of two adopted children. Adam is an example of people standing up an doing something about adoption!

AMoms - Fractured Systems Corrupt

I'm amazed at how common it is that Amoms are so often dysfunctional and abusive. And the time frame where it seems to be so prevalent was post WWII in the baby boomer years. As an adoptee of older parents who had to have felt the peer pressure of the boomers around them, I'm sure this has a part to play. Did they simply adopt just to keep up with the Jones's? Little did anyone realize that adoption programs were not about the kids, but about the parents. Kids are an afterthought, parents are the ones with the money.

The history of one's Amom usually tells quite a story. My Amom's life went like this:

Youngest of 14 children born, 12 of whom lived to be at least 45 years of age.

Raised by older siblings most of her life on the farm.

Father was frugal and made his fortune by purchasing land of those ruined by the depression.

Father died very young - 60 - and willed all of his land and holdings to the first born son. The land and property was valued and close to 100 million dollars in the 1970s.

Her mother (birthed 14) lived to be 96 years old - 36 years past the death of her husband.

My Amother was the spoiled one and manipulated her mother into willing everything to her in her old age. She did this by inviting her mother to live with her during he later years. (She was resented by all of her brothers and sisters with the exception of a couple who were closest in age to her.)

She and her family put my grandmother in a nursing home right down the road from the multi-million dollar farms they owned and operated. She wasted away from 90 - 96 not knowing anyone once she was put "out to pasture". Yes I have a lot of resentment for putting people in nursing homes because it's yet again another form of fiscal convenience that equates to rejection.

My Amother was always self-righteous and spent enormous amounts of time justifying her position and proving that others were at fault. She claimed she was very well liked, but because all of her friends were politicians, you do the math.

My Amother was a perfectionist and took pride in tearing things down no matter the intent, the effort or the thought. Her greatest strength was in tearing down.

Though my Amother never ever told me, her marriage with my Afather was her 3rd. This was revealed to me at my father's military burial by one of my first cousins who was in her younger years when all this took place. Yes, she had been married early, only to end in divorce. Her second marriage was to a drug dealer in Kansas City, Mo in the 1940s and her family had to rescue her from this second husband when word got out that he was going to be arrested. A whole posse of family members went in and took her home. My Afather was a Marine and she and he married after only two weeks acquaintance for her third marriage. I cannot express how many times my Amom condemned divorce whenever it happened, especially in the famly. Talk about hypocracy! She was married 3 times by the time she was 24! Tell me there aren't issues with this woman!

My Amom had cancer in the 1950s which included a complete hystorectomy. For obvious reasons, they could not have kids. But get this, they didn't even have sex as the consequences of the major operation prevented this! They slept in twin beds and never had an intimate moment again! Now what social worker in their right mind would approve adoption for a couple that didn't have relations, were in their third marriage and were in the military being transferred every 3 or 4 years from military base to military base and then off to war (my afather was in three wars)! And they had been married for 19 years at the time of the adoption. No kids for 19 years. The good life for 19 years at the ripe age of 43, how are they going to settle down and have kids? A 4 year old and an infant? The "chosen" family only lasted about 5 years (including a stint in Nam by my Afather) and it blew apart. My amother was too much for my afather to handle and he found someone who he could love and spend time with that didn't bitch and nag and find fault with him at every juncture.

When an older child (older than one year) suffers loss via rejection or abandonment, they need time and attention. They carry the weight of the world on their shoulders because they don't have the vocabulary to articulate what's going on inside them. It's like being an animal that is sick and cannot talk. All they can do is lay their head on your lap and hope you'll spend time with them until they get better. My Aparents didn't even come within a foot of each other. There was no affection, no love, not sentiment, no nothing. Their idea of love was putting food on the table and a roof over your head and clothes on your back. Any responsible agency or social worker will use this very fact to separate the "wannabes" from the serious prospective adoptive parent(s).

So in summary, adoption is all about the influence of money and has very little to do with the children. It's a fault of our entire system. The agencies are out to make money, the parents are out to keep up with the Jones' and the state wants to get more kids placed so it can brag about the success of the "chosen" adoption programs. When it's about these types of motives, it's no mystery why the adoptees are the losers and take the abuse. This isn't true with all states. In the state of Massachusetts, they use the foster system to build budgets. Budgets are allocated by the services needed for the children. The administrators figured out a long time ago that the more needs a kid has, the more budget they can get to play with. This is why nearly 90% of all foster kids in the American system are classified with some form of ADD or ADHD! The therapist gets more counseling time, the directors get bigger budgets and the pensions and salaries grow and grow and grow. The kids are put on drugs and it's so much easier to run the group homes and the foster homes when the kids are drugged. Once again, we're back to money being the motive and not the kids.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Adoptee Secrets = "Unwanted"

This post is in response to Gwen's recent chat about "secrets". Secrets are simply the triggers to the term "Unwanted"

There is nothing more powerful than the want for acceptance in the life of an adoptee. The fallout from rejection and loss varies, but the reality is clear - it all stems from rejection (whether spoken or unspoken). Self-esteem becomes bipolar in nature as one goes from acceptance of temporary praise to condemnation of one's entire life. Every adoptee I've ever known suffers from PO or performance orientation and then they go into this funk when they start to compare their lives to others. If you claim you don't, then you're simply lying to yourself.

After rejection, one desires friendship via performance (humor, sports, academia) and then performs unordinary acts of behavior to prove to one's self that rejection is imminent once someone shows interest. It took me 15 years to get over the performance oriented method of doing things and to look at life as it is and not how it is wished. When I came to the realization that life is playing the hand you're dealt and not wishing it were different or better, things looked up. You just have to find a table where a pair of 2's might win or you're a damn good bluffer. I learned that if people liked me for what I did, stay the hell away! I found a whole new type of friend who simply liked me for who I was and not what I could do for them.

In my early 20's, I learned the power of forgiveness and let everyone off the hook including myself. I began to look at life from a fresh point of view and gave up pointing the finger at anyone. My relationship with my amom never came back, though I made a special trip from Massachusetts to Missouri for a 15 minute conversation with her to aske her forgiveness for all the things I did as a child to cause her grief. Though she did not forgive me, I walked away clean. This may sound cruel, but one cannot demand forgiveness and I had learned years before that she was never one to forgive. But I had to forgive to get the weight off my back and after being away from home for nearly a decade, I had learned that I wasn't the "bad" abnormal person my amom had portrayed me as for my entire upbringing. I no longer considered myself "unwanted".

Monday, January 29, 2007

Adoption Sucks - You can make it better

Posted as a comment on


I'm an adoptee that was adopted by an adoptee and now I have adopted children. Like you, I think adoption sucks. For years I was bitter and resentful of the "normal" lives people lived all around me. I was adopted in 1965 by a military family (Marines)having been relinquished from a Navy family. I was separated from my two older half brothers (like I'm supposed to consider them half at the age of 4). I was sent to a "receiving home" which was simply a glorified name for an orphanage full of unwanteds. My infant sister and I were immediately placed in a foster home with other children of the foster family. I never got to see my brothers again. At the age of 4, you don't know how to process what is happening and you don't have anything to compare life to. Being adopted was exciting but the joy was short lived. My new father was sent off to Nam in less than a year. We had to move to the midwest and live in the state of Missouri where all of my amom's family lived. I became the "adopted" bastard among all of my mother's 11 brothers and sisters and their children. My Aparents were in their early 40's when we were adopted and my mother was the youngest in the brood of 12 so you can imagine what going to a family gathering was like. I couldn't keep the names straight and I have 4th cousins instantly. All this to say that it sucked being the different one. The one that looked nothing like anyone else, who acted differently (raised in California my first 4 1/2 years). And then the threats and forced re-learning only caused me to ask myself every day "Why did my parents give me away?" "What did I do wrong?" And I cringed every time I heard the word "chosen". It is as though that was the ONLY training the social workers gave my parents was to refer to us as "chosen"! They sure as hell didn't teach them anything else productive. My mother threatened to "take me back" any time I didn't do things in line with her perfectionistic attitude. She couldn't be pleased and I have spent decades unlearning mannerisms which I assumed while growing up. After my father returned from Nam, he met someone who was easier to deal with and divorce happened. In the divorce proceedings, it came out that the adoption was to salvage a marriage gone wrong. I left home when I was 17, and only saw my mother once in my late 20's. My father and I got along quite well and I usually vacationed with him every couple of years. After I married at the age of 28, my wonderful wife and I waited to have children and a medical condition of hers prevented this once we decided we wanted a family. So once again, I had to address the only way to have a family being adoption. From the decision to adopt, we investigated the domestic options of fostering and then adoption, infant adoption and then international adoption. Living in the state of Massachusetts, we couldn't bear to deal with the only types of adoption they deemed us eligible for - older kids - because I knew what hell I had gone through. Infant adoption was too heart wrenching to even attempt because you have to go on parade, hope a bmom chooses you to parent their child and then hope they don't take you to court and take your child back. So we went through the trial of international adoption and i wouldn't wish this on anyone! We were ripped off by an agency who lied to us about their credentials in Russia (they weren't and the program was in the process of being shut down when they took our money and never told us their accredidation had been pulled). We had been given a referral for twin boys (our request) and then told they were claimed by their grandmother. This ripped our hearts out as we were led to believe all was well for over 12 months from the time we received the video referral. Then we sought out an agency of high caliber who did adoptions in Guatemala. We liked the program in Guatemala much better as children are fostered as opposed to institutionalized. We waited for only a few months and a referral for unborn twins was presented to us. We were ecstatic. They were still born. My wife and I promised ourselves we would only go through this once more and then we would call it a life without kids. We were called with "virtual twins" which were described to us as same age but unrelated and this particular referral involved 1st cousin boys. Knowing what we knew about the slimy creatures involved in adoption overall, we passed. Less than a week later, twin identical boys were born and we were called the same day. That was in 2002, and our boys are now 4 1/2 - the same age I was when I was relinquished. To look at them and think that someone abandoned me at that age causes me to cringe. I'd kill myself before I gave up a child knowing how the system treated me and I was one of the "lucky" chosen ones.
Adoption sucks, there is little to no interest in protecting the children because they aren't the customers. This world revolves around money and it always will. The child will always be the one who takes the hit, especially in a country that promotes education over every other major life goal, including family. It is considered OK to abort or relinquish if you've made an error. Simply erase the problem and go out and try try again. It is OK to hide the records of those who commit such deeds because they need the protection from their shady pasts, while we suffer wondering whether or not we'll ever find our original family. I did find my original family having been adopted in a state with sealed records. It took me 3 years and a lot of detective work, but I was one of the fortunate ones. I did it long before the internet was commercialized. I joined support groups, I visited libraries and I read every book I could find on the subject (not many). I used every available angle to try and find and it was with the help of another adoptee that I got the lead that led me to my grandfather who never knew I even existed as he had divorced out of the family during my mother's child bearing years. I accept my fate as one who was dealt adoption and though I think it is a putrid system, it has everything to do my wife and I now having a family. The surface hasn't even been scratched when it comes to reform, policy or regulation. The Hague is the UN method of trying to make the world play fair. It's not going to make a difference just as "oil for food" made Saddam rich. People cannot turn down the lust for money that they are born with. All we can do as a people is shout a little louder and get involved when opportunity presents itself. By doing this, we'll make small changes and persuade corrupt politicians to use us as a means to vault themselves a little higher with an air of humanity as part of their platform. But if that's what we have to do, so be it. Their means is power, so make use of it. It's what Gates and Buffett do with their money. They put it into charities to make the world step back and think they're great humanitarians. They're not. They're people like you and me and they simply have the power to use the charity card to increase their power. It's all about the money. Again, the children will continue to suffer except for those that you and I can help one at a time. Go see your congressman and get in their face. But pose it as a way for them to launch themselves and not simply to bitch and moan. They'll do it because now is the time. Adoption is center stage with the Evan B Donaldson folks, the number of families seeking to adopt because they have waited so long to have children in order to further their career and because it's a cause that has now become widespread and we as adoptees now have a voice through blogs and MySpace and so on. Speak up, pass stories like this one on and get in your politician's faces. They need more causes like opening sealed records to attach their names to. They can't save the world, but they can invoke change that will help if we get in their faces with something that will fuel their career paths.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Adoption - A view from two corners of the triad

As the adoptee of an adoptee and the adoptive father of twins, I've gotten to see life from two corners of the triad. As a first post, a little history:

My adoptive father, adopted in 1922 during the "hush" era didn't meet his birth parents until he went off to war in 1941. He simply looked them up, introduced himself and let them know he ended up just fine. He never revealed the tough life he led living on the streets from the time he was 12 due to the fact his adopted father was an alcoholic. He served 27 years in the Marine Corps and in three wars (WWII, Korea, Viet Nam).

I was adopted at the age of 4 (with an infant baby sister) through the courts of the state of CA in 1965 (sealed records). I would come to know a disruptive life not unlike my father. My adoptive parents divorced when I was 12 and I have been on my own since 17. Having been separated from my two older brothers when my birth mother left the 4 of us with a neighbor never to return, there were a lot of unanswered questions. I wanted the answers to some the questions my adoptive parents could never answer. After three years of searching, at the age of 24, I located all of my family members (using vital records), including my two brothers who had been adopted by foster parents in the CA system.

It's 2007 and my wife and I are raising adopted twins via an international adoption which took place in 2003. (We tried to have our own children, but were unable due to medical issues.) Our boys are 4 and were adopted at birth and came home to the US at 6 months of age. They have 5 birth siblings. Their parents were too poor to feed two more mouths and had no choice but to relinquish them. If it is their choice, I will do all that I can when they become of age to help them locate their parents in their native country.