Welcome to our first CUB newsletter of the New Year!
Dear Readers and CUB Members,
Greetings and welcome to our first issue of 2018 - we hope you are all well and will enjoy this newest issue of the CUB newsletter.
There have been a few technical updates and changes in the newsletter so we hope it is easier to read and navigate and that you enjoy all the news stories.
Also, we are always looking for members and friends to assist with the newsletter -- if you have story ideas, updates and news reports about adoption and/or birthparents that you wish to share, please send them to VPMEDIA@CUBirthparents.org
Help CUB Communicate!
A message and an appeal to CUB members and friends!
Do you like to code? Like to write? Like to blog? Like to post? Like to spend time finding good websites to share about adoption and adoption reform? Why not volunteer some time to work with the communications team at CUB? We need help in all these areas, and we would appreciate and welcome your support! Contact: VPMEDIA@CUBirthparents.org
CUB Retreats are great places to meet, listen, and learn!
Shout Out to our CUB President!
The Communications team would like to send a SINCERE thank you to CUB President PATTY COLLINGS! Patty is always working for CUB 24/7 and always available to offer her wise input, suggestions, support and advice in all CUB communications matters. We could not do this work without Patty and her brave and bold leadership. THANK YOU, PATTY!
Updates from near and far ...
We would like to let you know about several conferences and adoption-related events that are coming up soon: we do not endorse them but merely wish to let you know about them.
The American Adoption Congress (AAC): The Annual AAC Conference will take place in Albuquerque, NM from April 18-21, 2018 and it is the annual meeting place for all members of the adoption triad. The group was founded to serve as an umbrella for all adoption organizations in the United States. Three days of workshops (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) and professional day on Wednesday (April 17, 2018) will be held. For more information, visit: www.americanadoptioncongress.org
The Association for Study of Adoption and Culture (ASAC): ASAC's Biennial Conference will take place in the Bay Area in California, Thursday through Saturday, October 18-20, 2018. Please save the date and look for a call for papers with an exciting list of keynote speakers and events, coming soon. Updates will be posted on ASAC website: www.adoptionandculture.org.
Concerned United Birthparents (CUB) Annual Retreat: October 5-7, 2018
CALIFORNIA ADOPTION CONFERENCE: The California Adoption Conference is a two-day event featuring talks and workshops for adoptive and foster families, adult adoptees and foster alums, birthparents, and adoption professionals. They try to provide something for all members of the constellation—anyone whose life has been touched by adoption or foster care. The conference begins on a Friday, March 23, 2018 with a day-long training for professionals who work with adults and/or children touched by adoption or foster care. There will be a general session on Saturday and 18 workshops on topics such as attachment, transracial adoption, open adoption, searching for birth family, mental health issues, and adopted teens. Panels are scheduled specifically for prospective adoptive parents as well as adoption professionals, educators and extended family members. The California Adoption Conference is a collaboration between nine Bay Area non-profit organizations that serve youth and families.
CUB's 2018 Retreat
October 5-7 Safety Harbor Resort & Spa, Safety Harbor, FL
Donaldson Closes Shop!
The decision to end operations at the Donaldson Institute took us all by surprise! They have been a valuable partner in seeking to understand the birthmother experience in recent history, and we will miss their scholarship and research. Below is their statement about the recent decision.
"After more than twenty years of providing leadership to improve the lives of children and strengthen families, the Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI) will be winding down our operation. We are very proud of the contributions we have made in providing groundbreaking research, world-class education, and passionate advocacy--- all in service of shedding much-needed light and understanding on the topics that matter most to those closest to adoption and foster care.
Unfortunately, the challenge of raising sufficient funds to sustain and grow the organization was no longer feasible and thus, the DAI Board of Directors made the difficult decision to close. Please read the full announcement here.
An archive of DAI’s work will remain online and accessible however, today, our active engagement in adoption reform will come to an end. If you have recently made a donation to DAI, you will receive your usual acknowledgement letter for tax purposes and as always, the DAI Board of Directors will ensure any remaining contributions are put to the most effective, mission-related work upon final dissolution.
We thank them for their efforts!"
Viet Nam to Host First-Ever Gathering of Adoptees and Birthmothers!
Celebrating Viet Nam Mother-Adoptee Reunions
(Recognizing Adoptions that took place Prior to May 1975)
Next year will mark 44 years since the U.S. war in Viet Nam ended. During the past four decades, adoptees have witnessed vast changes in how the world, society and individuals relate and connect with Viet Nam. Over the years, many bridges of friendship, co-operation and family have been built, yet there is one important relationship to be formally acknowledged and celebrated, and that is the status of our Vietnamese mothers.
For that reason, the international organizers invite all Vietnamese mothers and their children who were separated from each other prior to May 1975 to an inaugural celebration event in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in April of 2019.
For the mothers, the organizers extend an open invitation, and everyone is invited to explore the healing potential in this shared experience. Being mindful of issues such as age, finance and distance, the organizers ask that the attending mothers need only turn up on the day, and their expenses will be paid for by adoptees.
For the adult adoptees, this event provides a unique opportunity to experience Vietnam from an alternative perspective. It will provide an opportunity to demonstrate the growing maturity within the adoptee community and how they wish to establish positive relationships within Viet Nam. Adoptees will have the chance to reach out and give back to Vietnamese mothers.
Since many adoptees may not find biological family members in their lifetime, this event will acknowledge the desire for personal connections for adoptees and mothers, through facilitating an event which is both friendly and nurturing. The organizing committee describes this event as, "... the chance to celebrate the influence that one's country of origin has on who we are now or how we see ourselves today."
They are asking adoptees to ‘pay-it-forward’ by paying for their own meals, and purchasing a meal and gift for one attending mother. Additional guests of the adoptee are warmly welcome, and only need to purchase a meal for themselves for the lunch.
The Vietnamese and Australian Governments are supporting the event. Support services will be provided such as data collection, DNA testing, counseling, translation and interpreting services.
This event is being organized by volunteers My Huong, Jason and Sue-Yen, and all team members have extensive experience in the international adoption community, working with government and non-government agencies, and managing business enterprises. Below are more details:
Where: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
When: April 18th-20th, 2019
What: Celebration, conference and reunion with site visit and Adoptee Memorial Service.
Sponsor: (in part) The Centre for Social Protection of Children
Who: Viet Nam and Australia are lead sponsors; organizers are Viet Nam Adoptees
My Huong Le (VN), Sue-Yen Bylund (AUS), Jason Kayser (USA), Joakim Kronqvist (EU)
Administator: Belinda Paulton (Australia)
Email address: email@example.com
Please forward queries to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CUB Retreat Re-cap of 2017 and Preview of CUB Retreat 2018
The annual CUB Retreat took place October 6 - 8th, 2017 in Carlsbad, CA, and according to several who attended, it was "The Best CUB Retreat Ever!" Highlights of the retreat included a Panel discussion on "Pushing Frontiers in Adoption" with Jane Edwards, JD, Gretchen Sisson, PhD, and Nicole Johnson; and a writing workshop on "Stigma and Shame in Adoption" with writers Annie Biggs, Anne Heffron and Sharon Taylor, moderated by "GOD AND JETFIRE, Confessions of a Birthmother" author Amy Seek.
That evening we presented a workshop on how to use DNA detectives to find your ancestors, called "Finding Family: Groundbreaking Discoveries Through DNA Searching" with Carol Rolnick, Genetic Genealogy Consultant.
Special presentations were given by Adoption therapists Tracy Carlis, PhD., and Lesli Johnson, MFT, on "Healing from Trauma," and please check our website for a list of "Common Terms Related to the Adoption Community" and a list of recommended Adoption Competent therapists. We also presented a panel presentation on "Adoption and Addiction" with Katherine Prince, Miguel Caballero and A&E Interventionist Candy Finnigan. We also were treated to a special reading of the new, award-winning play "The Lord of the Underworld's Home for Unwed Mothers" with playwright Louisa Hill and members of the cast.
The 2018 CUB Retreat is scheduled for October 5-7, 2018 in Tampa, Florida. Please mark your calendars and plan to join us in the fall!
Some Good News about Orphanages and Orphans (for a change)!
“Children belong in families, not orphanages!” - J. K. Rowling
"Many people believe that giving money to orphanages is a good thing to do, because they are helping orphans" says Georgette Mulheir, "but actually it's really just a business ..." Mulheir is the CEO of Lumos International, the British-based charity founded by renowned author J. K. Rowling.
Eight million children live in orphanages and other institutions globally. More than 80% are not orphans but have been separated from their families because of poverty and discrimination. Orphanages harm children, exposing them to all forms of abuse and trafficking.
Children need to be rescued from orphanages and reunited with their families. Education, health and social care systems need to change so all children and families can access the care and protection they deserve.
Because only families provide the building blocks children need to thrive and reach their full potential.
The sad truth is, some staggering 80-90% of children in orphanages (in other words, almost all of them) have at least one living parent.
But sadly, for every mother who cannot provide for her child, there are seemingly attractive institutions where children are placed by parents who believe they will provide their children with housing, education, fostering and loving care. Not always are those institutions the safest places for children, and often, they are woefully under-resourced, understaffed and they often become vehicles for promoting international adoption. A mother who believes she is doing the best and getting help for her child often unwittingly ends up losing her child forever by placing her child in an orphanage.
The good news is that into the breach has stepped a brand new and promising solution!
"Changing the Way We Care" is a new global movement designed to promote family-based care, and to provide a platform to change the way the world cares for children. (No More Orphanages!)
Four finalists chosen from more than 1,900 entries for this effort, and the winners are Catholic Relief Services, the Hilton Foundation, Maestral, and Lumos International. The MacArthur Foundation Board of Directors granted these four its $15 million award because of their commitment to their vision, and for daring them to dream. With their generous $15 million award, now they can do more than just dream.
"Changing the Way We Care" is first and foremost committed to keeping children in families. Research tells us that, even in the best orphanages, children lag developmentally. In the worst places, we often uncover abuse, neglect, and human trafficking.
Lisa Bohmer, Senior Program Officer at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation who represents the foundation as part of the initiative knows these heartbreaking stories well from her experience in Ethiopia, where she served with UNICEF and often witnessed American parents traveling to Ethiopia in search of babies to adopt. The parents were often ill-prepared to take newborn babies and children back to the US and were frequently unaware of the circumstances in which the children had been placed in orphanages. Many Ethiopian parents assumed wrongly that their children would be given food, clothing and an education, and returned to them. Tragically, that was too often not the case.
All children deserve to be with their families. Now, thankfully, this new effort is making that possibility a reality.
ICYMI: More Good News! Ethiopia has banned foreign adoptions!
Ethiopia: Why Parliament Bans Adoption of Children By Foreigners
By Abiy Hailu
According to a recent report by BBC, Ethiopia was among the biggest source countries for international adoptions by US citizens, accounting for about 20 per cent of the total. The most prominent of the adoption cases is that of Zahara Marley, who were adopted by the most famous Hollywood celebrities, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, back in 2005. Zahara's maternal grandmother once stated that Zahara was so "very fortunate" to have been adopted by Jolie.
But this has not always been the case. For instance, there is also this sad story of a teenage Ethiopian girl who was adopted by an American couple. Larry and Carri Williams of Washington state, starved and beat Hana Williams until she died in the backyard of their home in May 2011.
The couple was also convicted of first-degree assault of a younger boy they had adopted from Ethiopia. Hana's paperwork when she was adopted in 2008 indicated she would have been about 13 years old at the time of her death, according to reports at the time.
That is why, since 2013, the issue of Ethiopian children being adopted by foreigners have become a major issue of discussion. Some groups have been arguing that orphans and other vulnerable children should be cared for through locally available support mechanisms in order to protect them from unintended consequences.
Adoption has several negative consequences on the children. The children may suffer from identity crisis and problems related to psychological development and social relations. There are also cases of abuse and neglect abroad as the above mentioned case. _
Sadly, some orphanages in the country and agencies that facilitate adoption of children by foreigners have been engaged in various misconducts. Even at some point, the adoption process faced serious questions with rights groups saying that it was prone to abuse by human traffickers who saw it as lucrative market.
Two years ago, Denmark stopped the adoption of children from Ethiopia, stating Ethiopian adoption agencies often gave "inconsistent information" on the origins of children within the system, which could lead to trafficking cases.
Reports indicate that more than 15,000 Ethiopian children have been adopted in the US since 1999. Others were also taken to European countries such as Spain, France and Italy. Recent data shockingly revealed that the whereabouts of some 7,000 Ethiopians who are adopted by foreigners is not known.
Recently, Ethiopia has endorsed a proclamation that bans adoption of children by foreigners. Consequently, the endorsement was met with two opposing views. Some welcome it as a good step to protect the human rights of the children while others question what will happen to the thousands of orphans and vulnerable children who can no longer be adopted.
Legal affairs Directorate Director at the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Dereje Tegeyebelu recently told the Amharic Daily Addis Zemen that the main objective of the proclamation is to protect the safety of the children. Besides, it will also give the children a chance to grow up in their own culture and become aware of one's own identity.
Yet, on the other hand, during the recently held meeting, officials of various state children and women affairs bureaus stated that some agencies that are engaged in facilitating the children's adoption have complaints about the new proclamation. As the proclamation was passed while there are still children in their custody, they say, the lives of the children have been put at risk. They are also requesting the government to take guardianship over the children.
But in reality some of the children were adopted in exchange for money. According to the information the ministry had been receiving, foreigners who want to adopt children were required to pay from 30 to 35 thousand USD. But the government requires the agencies to pay up to only 25 birr for the services they get from public offices.
According to Dereje, as a lot of preparation was made to come up with the proclamation as a solution to the problem, it is not a sudden act or come about accidently with out a plan. And there is no prohibition on any children who want to support the children while they are here at home. Thus, though the agencies are claiming that the children are in danger, it is possible to facilitate means to support them here at home, he said.
However, it is difficult to tell agencies that do not have adequate income to continue to care for the children; he said adding, hence, it is necessary to discuss the issue with other orphanages to come up with solutions. As a lot of activities have been carried out nationally, it is possible to come up with a solution to the problem.
Birhanu Arega is a senior expert at the Women and Children's Affair Directorate at the Ministry of Education. He is also a children's safety board member. According to him, the complaints of the agency can be seen from two angles.
"If it is about making business from the adopted children, it is totally inappropriate and not acceptable," he stressed. "But if their concern is about making a living and an alternative, their concern would be appropriate.
Per the state women and children affairs bureau officials, due attention should be given to the issue to prevent the danger on the children because of the stance held by the orphanages.
"This is because; in these institutions are sick children who were meant to be adopted previously, children who need special care and others that do not know their families. Hence, it is important to provide support as per the country's law to prevent any harm on the children," Birhanu added.
According to Dereje, the main purpose for the establishment of the orphanages was to ensure the safety and security of the children by exploring favorable conditions both in Ethiopia and abroad. Currently, 64 agencies that are engaged in adoption of children abroad are terminating their activities.
"From this, one can presuppose that the agencies were first engaged in the adoption dealing not to protect the children but to pursue their own interests," said Dereje. "Thus, continuous assessments have to be made as they would continue to pursue their own interests next time and if they do so, they have to be charged with illegal child trafficking."
As to Birhanu, for children to grow up safely, it is necessary to make them grow up with their family if it is possible or within their community. If this not possible, it would be better if they grow up in an institution with the support of the local community. It is central to expand community based activities in this regard and open up various programs including those that incorporate the issues of the handicap.
It is to be recalled that Demitu Hamebisa, Minister of Women and Children have recently spoke to parliament that the adoption of children to foreign countries were not conducted as per legal procedures.
In the past ten years, brokers had been sending children abroad by deceiving their partners and by conspiring with others. Parents who do not know their children's whereabouts are still begging the ministry to find their whereabouts and statuses. As the necessary information about and address of the adopters are not properly documented, this makes the efforts to locate them very much difficult.
As to Birhanu, the solution is to create effective coordination among stakeholder as the issue may change its face in the future. It is mandatory to make strict follow up and assessment on the agencies even after the ban.
As it is not a good thing for the children to grow up in side an institution, as it creates identity, socio economic and political problems on them, it is salient to start the work at the grass root community level.
It is also decisive to convince stakeholders that are engaged in the issue to prioritize the safety of the children more than anything else and charity and children care activities, as to Birhanu.
Officials of the state bureaus advised that it would be better for the healthy children in the agencies to be supported by community based services. Thus it is better for the children to live their lives within communities or within institutions that provide them with special care.
Reprinted from the Ethiopian Herald. February, 2018
Mothers Share Post-Adoption Grief
Dear Readers, RISE is a wonderful organization whose goal is to reduce unnecessary family separations and increase the likelihood that children who are placed in foster care quickly and safely return home. They have generously granted CUB permission to reprint this interview from their recent publication. - The Editor
Mothers Share Post-Adoption Grief
May 23, 2017 by
Adoption: Broken Bonds
The grief parents suffer when they lose children to foster care and adoption is “invisible and often goes unacknowledged,” explains Toronto-based social worker Kathleen Kenny and parent advocate Sheryl Jarvis, who run a 15-week support group for women who use drugs and have experienced having one or more children removed or adopted.
Q: How would you compare the grief of a parent who loses a child to adoption to a parent whose child dies?
Jarvis: When a child is adopted, the isolation is devastating. The isolation is connected to stigma because the loss is seen as a failure. People just do not understand and are not supportive. This makes women’s suffering and distress all the harder.
There’s also often very little acceptance on behalf of the parent about what has happened because the process that led to the child being taken and adopted feels unjust.
Finally, there’s this state of unknowing. Unlike a death, the child is not gone and the parents are in an in-between state of wondering when and how they will see their child again. There’s also not knowing if the child is doing OK. This anxiety can be really debilitating.
Q: How does your group help parents heal?
Kenny: A lot of our group is focused on having a base to tell their story—the women talked about not having a space where they felt comfortable to talk about what they experienced.
We also use art as a medium for women’s self-expression and engage in social activism. There aren’t a lot of opportunities for women to share awareness of the system issues that contributed to their children being removed, so a lot of mothers shame and blame themselves. Part of the social activism piece is about identifying the barriers that women face that are not of their own making.
This article is reprinted with permission from RISE Magazine; read the article at http://www.risemagazine.org/2017/05/mothers-handle-post-adoption-grief/ and please visit their website at: http://www.risemagazine.org.
Interview with Andrew Solomon about Adoption
I recently had the extraordinary opportunity to meet with the renowned author Andrew Solomon, who is writing a new book about adoption. Below we reprint an interview with Andrew Solomon from RISE Magazine, in which he talks about his upcoming book. I felt it timely and relevant to share his comments since Solomon discusses the new forms that adoption is taking in our society today and the importance of listening to the experience of the birthmother in adoption and family preservation. – Sarah Burns, Editor
‘How do people get through unbelievable, harrowing difficulty?’ – An interview with author Andrew Solomon
National Book Award-winning author Andrew Solomon spoke at Rise’s annual benefit on October, 2018. Here he discusses his work, his own story and his connection to Rise.
Q: What do you see as the common theme across your work?
A: The theme that interests me the most is resilience: How do people achieve resilience? How do they manage to go through difficult circumstances and come out OK?
I’ve written on a broad range of subjects.With my book The Noonday Demon, which is about depression, I thought, “How do people get through this?” The question of my book Far From the Tree, about how parents cope with raising children who are very different from themselves, was, “How do people arrive at a sense of identity that lets them deal well with their situation?”
My first book was about a group of Soviet artists and how their lives changed in the 1980s when the Soviet Union ended. These artists had lived through really terrible things—prison camps, and Siberia, and all kinds of anguished, difficult experiences. And yet, they were making art, and by expressing themselves in their art, they felt they had a purpose in life. Their purpose was to keep the truth alive when they were living in a place where people wanted to erase truth completely. If you can find that sense of purpose, that’s central to resilience.
That’s what unites my work: How do people get through unbelievable, harrowing difficulty? How do you manage to cope and hold your head up? And how can we as a society acknowledge the strength and courage of people who manage to achieve identity and resilience in the face of severe challenges?
Q: Your book The Noonday Demon is about depression. Parents with child welfare cases report that dealing with the system causes depression. Other parents come into the system with depression. How can they cope?
A: I think if you weren’t depressed before you started dealing with the system, you would get depressed pretty quickly once you started dealing with the system. Part of the experience of depression is the feeling of powerlessness. I feel like this system gives people an immense and terribly dangerous feeling of powerlessness. And not just the feeling of it—it gives them the reality of powerlessness, which is deeply depressing.
Depression is very treatable but you have to be able to access good treatment, and it’s really hard to do. You have to first of all recognize that you’re depressed, and that can be confusing.
If you have a terrific life and you’re depressed, you think, “What’s wrong with me? Why do I feel like this?” But if you’ve just had your children taken away from you and you feel depressed, you think, “Well, of course I feel this way! My children were taken away from me.” It’s harder to figure out if you may also have depression. So the challenge, in a way, is to first identify that you have depression and then to try to find a competent doctor to deal with it, which is not so easy to do. It has to be good quality care because bad care doesn’t do anyone any good. If you know you have depression, you should know it’s treatable, and you should try to get treatment.
Q: How can parents find resilience within themselves?
A: Resilience comes from many sources. To some degree, I think it’s a choice, and parents have to say, “This is my reality. This is what I want to get to. What are the ways going to be for me to get there?”
Resilience comes from finding community. Rise is the kind of place, so far as I can tell, where people find community. You’re sharing your experience with other people that have been through the same thing. That’s a huge source of strength and power—having people around you.
If your problem has a solution, the sense that you’re working toward a solution can also help. If you’ve been given five hoops to jump through to get your kids back, if you can really figure out which you’re going to do first and make a plan for yourself, that can give a feeling of resilience.
A lot of resilience comes, if you can access it, from other people who can give you their love and attention. If there are other people who actually care about and love you, even if they’ve been difficult, try to spend some time with them and hopefully get built up by their love.
Don’t give up too soon. Don’t just think, “I’ve lost my kids and it’s all over.” There’s a pretty good chance that if you do what’s asked, you’re likely to get them back or have some access to them. Try to keep your eye on that shining prize in the distance instead of the horror of the present.
Q: Your book Far From the Tree focused on parents whose children were very different from them, including children with autism, dwarfism, or even geniuses. What did you see as commonalities in how these very different families coped?
A: If you have a child with a specific difference–for instance, a certain kind of dwarfism–if you decide that you only have something in common with other families with that exact difference, then you only have something in common with a few hundred people in the world. But if you discover, “Ok, I’m dealing with the experience of having a child who has a condition or a nature I don’t understand,” then you actually have something in common with a large part of humanity.
One message of the book is that it’s not so different having a child with Down’s Syndrome, or a child who commits crimes, or a child who is transgender. All of these families are facing up to difference, and difference is difficult to negotiate, but not impossible to negotiate. And many people have kids who are really surprising to them. Parents often look at their kids and think, “What planet did you come from?” It’s almost a universal experience to feel, “It’s really hard to know my child. It’s really hard to know what to do for my child.” So instead of cutting you off from normal life, difference can connect you.
The book is also about: How do we create a more open, tolerant society? Because almost every condition I looked at included some kind of medical problem, but the reason these people’s lives are so difficult is not just a medical problem. It’s also a social problem. How we mistreat, laugh at, or avoid people who are different is a big, tremendous problem. People should stop taking pictures on their phones of dwarves on the subway. That would make their lives a whole lot easier. We need to build a kinder society where you can have a medical problem but the social part of the problem goes away.
Q: Like Rise writers, you’ve written and spoken publicly in great detail about your own life story. What drives you to do that?
A: When I was growing up, I thought if anyone found out I was gay, it would be the end of the world. My family couldn’t know, nobody could know. I kept it as a big secret. Finally, I came out in my early 20s. I swore to myself that I would never be in a closet again. I’d done that, and I was never going to do that again.
So, when I had these things like depression, I wasn’t going to get into that all over again. I wasn’t going to try to pretend it wasn’t true.
Now, when I’m actually in a depression, I sometimes don’t want to tell anybody. It’s very hard to communicate about it. But in general, in life, I didn’t want to be lugging around a whole lot of secrets. Keeping secrets is exhausting. So that was one piece of feeling ready to tell my story.
It’s also that stigma comes from hiding. If you hide something, you’re indicating that you find it shameful. If you’re going to have a society with less stigma, there has to be less shame, and the only way for there to be less shame is that people have to speak about their differences.
I thought to myself, “I live in New York. I’m a writer. I’m not going to get fired from my job if someone doesn’t like what I say. If I’m not willing to speak out, how can I expect others to speak out?” I felt there was a moral push behind it.
Q: What impact do you hope that your work is having?
A: I would like it to make for a kinder world. I’ve had a number of letters from people. One was only one sentence long: “I was going to kill myself but I read your book and I changed my mind.” And I thought, “OK, if no one ever reads something else I’ve written, I’ve done something.” But I hope to help make the world open and tolerant, and to help people come in from the margins of the society. So many people are out at the edges, and don’t have much. I’d like to have a world that’s more sympathetic to them.
We now have an administration that is bullying and cruel and demeaning. We need to stand against that. Everyone deserves dignity, and respect. And we need to pay attention to injustice in the world. I hope my books make some people at least a little less unjust in their interactions with others some of the time.
Q: What made you want to speak at Rise’s benefit?
A: I’m now starting a book about new structures of family—which includes adoption, foster care, gay families, multi-parent families, single parent families. Of course, these all overlap all the time.
When I looked at Rise, I realized that I had been very aware of how difficult it is to be a foster kid and to go from home to home. But I had only given a little bit of thought to what it was like to be a mother who lost her child to foster care. The stories in Rise were so shocking to me—for what these mothers had been through when they lost their children, and for what they were required to go through to get them back. I realized as I read them: This is not happening to people who have education and money; it’s happening to people who lack those advantages. I thought this is such an important story. It needs to be amplified.
Every time there’s a story in the news about a child who social services didn’t take away, and was severely injured or died, there’s a huge explosion of press about it. And there should be, because when a child dies, it’s a terrible, terrible thing. But there’s no explosion of press around every time a mother loses a child she shouldn’t have lost. We need to protect children from being killed; we also need to protect parents and children from being unnecessarily separated. And we just don’t see that. It just isn’t in the news in the same way. People need to be awake to the fact that these tragic stories are unfolding.
When I started reading Rise, I thought, “Wow, the people who are writing for Rise seem incredibly brave and willing to tell their stories. The stories felt really honest, and honest writing is really hard to do. I felt they were really articulate, well written, absorbing. And I thought, “How great that people who we think of as not having a voice have found a place where they can have a voice, even if for just a few minutes.”
This interview with Andrew Solomon is reprinted with permission from Andrew Solomon and from RISE Magazine. Please visit the RISE website at: https://www.risemagazine.org
Do You Know Who/Where Your Children Are?
At the 2017 Annual CUB Retreat in Carlsbad, CA, we heard from DNA Detective Carol Rolnick, who provides services to adoptees and triad members. Here are several resources she recommended, and some more websites to help you in your search.
At this site, you can upload your raw DNA to www.GEDmatch.com, a volunteer site that accepts your raw DNA from any lab you may have used previously and they will compare the results with others who have sent in their DNA.
At this site, you can also send your DNA from Ancestry.com or 23andme.com at no additional cost.
Remember – Do your homework and be prepared! CUB does not specifically endorse these sites, but we certainly recommend knowing WHO you are and WHO and WHERE your children are! No more secrets, no more lies!
SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY TO PURCHASE CUB RETREAT CDs
Did you attend the CUB 2017 Annual Retreat and now you want to re-visit the great panels and workshops? Did you miss the retreat and want to see what you missed? Soon you will be able to purchase copies of the CUB 2017 Retreat on a flashdrive. Visit the CUB website very soon for more information on how to buy them - it's a great deal! www.CUBirthparents.org
We Want YOU for CUB!
Attention all CUB members and friends,
We want your help – we need volunteers to help with all aspect of CUB communications: we need copy editors, writers, bloggers and most importantly, we need technical expertise! Contact CUB if you or anyone you know can help us draft, code and post stories on the CUB website or in the CUB newsletter.
"NOT MY WHITE SAVIOR" - A Daring New Book on Adoption
"A provocative and furious book about race, culture, identity and what it means to be an inter-country adoptee in America"
Julayne Lee was born in South Korea to a mother she never knew. When she was an infant, she was adopted by a white Christian family in Minnesota, where she was sent to grow up.
Not My White Savior is a memoir in poems, exploring what it is to be a transracial and inter-country adoptee, and what it means to grow up being constantly told how better your life is because you were rescued from your country of origin. Following Julayne Lee from Korea to Minnesota and finally to Los Angeles, Not My White Savior asks what does "better" mean? In which ways was the journey she went on better than what she would have otherwise experienced?
Not My White Savior is angry, brilliant, unapologetic, and unforgiving. A vicious ride of a book that is sure to spark discussion and debate. It is available March 13, 2018 and is published by Barnacle Book & Record and can be found on Amazon.
Recommended Film / Somewhere Between
"Somewhere Between" tells the intimate stories of four teenaged girls united by one thing: all four were adopted from China because they had birth parents who could not keep them, due to personal circumstances colliding with China's "One Child Policy."
Ann Boccuti, Haley Butler, Jenna Cook
1 hour, 28 minutes
Available to watch on:
CUB Retreats are great places to meet new friends and old
CUB Retreats are great places to experience new ways to communicate