CUB ANNUAL RETREAT October 25-27, 2019
Reserve your room now!
2019 CUB ANNUAL RETREAT
Each year, CUB hosts a healing retreat for all members of the adoption constellation. We invite all who are interested in learning more about the adoption experience. We make sure to include birthparents, adoptees, adoptive parents, and professionals. We meet near the ocean where there is beauty as well as ample space for reflection and rest in between sessions. We focus on a core program that promotes a more profound understanding of adoption, and while we don't deny the inherent loss associated with adoption, we also draw attention to the potential for healing and joy during the weekend. While we surely recognize adoption's many challenges, we also try to make the most of our annual time together.
This year, we will meet from October 25-27, 2019 at the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach (Los Angeles), California. Please come join us!
National Book Award Winning Author Andrew Solomon is turning his attention to the topic of family!
Award Winning Author Andrew Solomon is writing a new book!Andrew Solomon
Would you like to share your story about adoption or birthparenthood or family formation? Would you like to learn more yourself and possibly contribute to the world’s understanding of what is meant by “family” today? National Book Award Winning Author Andrew Solomon attended the CUB Retreat in 2018 and met many of us who are affected by adoption and by the unique experience of being birthparents. Andrew’s next book is about expanding ideas of family: about divorce and stepfamilies; about interracial, interfaith, and inter-abled marriages; about adoption; about foster care; about assisted reproduction; about single parenthood; about LGBTQ families; about multiparent families; about paid childcare; and about so-called “childfree” families.
Obviously many families fit into more than one of these categories, and Solomon wants to understand how those points of overlap play out. His real focus is on giving voice to the people who go unheard, and for both the foster care and adoption chapters, Solomon is especially interested in the experience of birth mothers, who have been so little acknowledged in public discourse. He hopes to understand the questions of complex identity and often of grief that all come into play in the adoption story. He is interested in positive and negative stories of reunion, and in why some people don’t seek or don’t achieve reunion.
His book will include both theory and generalities and the stories of individual families, and he would love to talk to CUB members who are interested and willing. You can choose to share your story with your real name or if you prefer, it can be done pseudonymously.
If you are interested in talking with Andrew about his new book, you can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
"A Girl Like Her"
DVDS of Fessler's documentary film "A GIRL LIKE HER"
(based on the stories of women interviewed for "The Girls Who Went Away
") IS BACK IN STOCK! This film is only available on DVD. See trailer here: https://agirllikeher.com/view-trailer/
CUB: Who We Are and What We Do
How much do you really know about CUB?
The only national organization focused on birthparents – their experiences, healing and wisdom – CUB serves all those affected by adoption and all who are concerned about adoption issues. Although our focus is on birthparents, long the forgotten people of the adoption community, we welcome adoptees, adoptive parents, and professionals. We find that we all have much to learn from each other and that sharing our feelings and experiences benefits all of us.
Each year, CUB hosts a healing retreat for all members of the adoption triad, and all who are interested in learning more about the adoption experience. We usually meet by the shore so there is beauty and space for reflection and rest in between our sessions. You won’t find the schedule packed with too many choices. We focus on a core program so we can make the most of our annual time together.
TWO BOOKS BY TWO OF OUR OWN CUB MEMBERS!
Read more about ADOPTION BOOKS
We are proud to announce two books by two of our own CUB members: Linda Franklin and Fran Levin. We hope that both authors will join us at the CUB retreat this October in California, and we hope you will be there, too! Meanwhile, here is a preview of their work! Read on!
Here are the reviews. The first is “I’ll Always Carry You: A Mother’s Story of Adoption Loss, Grief, and Healing” by Linda L. Franklin.
Here are a few of the reviews that are already in about Linda’s new book. Look for it in bookstores in September and come hear her speak at the CUB retreat in October!
Linda Franklin exposes the emotional toll of a particular American Era as well as its ongoing legacy. Rather than simplistically representing adoption as a social and moral good, she demonstrates the ongoing error of a heartless policy and its detrimental effects not just on birthmothers but on families: children, siblings, parents, and spouses.
- JANET MASON ELLERBY, Author of Following the Tambourine Man: A Birthmother’s Memoir (2007) and Intimate Reading: The Contemporary Women’s Memoir (2001)
As a mother and a therapist, Linda Franklin writes with passion and authority about the loss of her first child to adoption, the long-term impact of that tragic separation and her resultant grief. It takes courage and insight to share this life-defining experience with others in a style which is both personal and educational. Her book poignantly illustrates the psychological and emotional significance of appropriate grieving.
- EVELYN BURNS ROBINSON, author of Adoption and Recovery: Solving the Mystery of Reunion (2006) and Adoption and Loss: The Hidden Grief (2003, 2018)
Linda Franklin has added her voice to a surging chorus: women speaking out against the social brutalities designed to facilitate the loss of their children to adoption. Franklin traces her own 20th century experience and the decades of suffering and recovery that followed. Franklin offers her story as a cautionary tale, clarifying the limits and damages that continue to characterize adoption today.
- RICKIE SOLINGER, author of Wake Up Little Susie: Single Pregnancy and Race before Roe v. Wade (1992, 2000) and Reproductive Justice: An Introduction (2017), among other books about reproductive politics.
CUB’s newly elected Vice President for Membership, Fran Gruss Levin:
FRAN LEVIN has written a book called, “THE STORY OF MOLLY AND ME,” published in 2017, and it is an important book for anyone who is contemplating adoption today, as well as for adoptive parents, birthparents, and adoptees. Come meet Fran at the retreat in October in Redondo Beach!
“Fran is a great writer, and this is a great memoir. I hope that it reaches many and that it is as cathartic for everyone as it must have been for Fran to write it. The perspective and voice of all of the birth/first parents is always essential. This voice is underserved and misunderstood. Thank you, Fran.”
— JOYCE MAGUIRE PAVAO, EdD, LCSW, LMFT, Founder and CEO
Center for Family Connections, Inc.
The Story of Molly and Me
is a deeply honest and intimate peek into an era prior to Roe vs. Wade, at the eve of the sexual revolution, when shame and blame were often the response to unwed pregnancy. Fran Gruss Levin tells the emotional cost of living through the heartache of becoming pregnant by her high school sweetheart and surrendering her baby to adoption. A baby never seen—never forgotten. She brings to life the cost of secrets and lies that resulted in living an unauthentic life until she claims her truth and finds the strength to tell The Story of Molly and Me.
Entertainment Publicist, Author of Good Girls Don’t
An important book that speaks to the issues of adoption, reunion, self-discovery and, finally, healing. The Story of Molly and Me
is a compelling memoir of a woman who sets out on a journey to find the child she surrendered to adoption as a teenager….. Her raw and candid sharing of the emotional impact the loss of a child had in her life … as well as the dawning sense of compassion and love she feels for Molly should be a must-read for adopted persons as well as mothers of adoption loss and those who love them.
Mother and Voice for Honesty in Adoption
CUB Statement on Coerced Adoption and Baby Trafficking
Concerned United Birthparents, Inc. (CUB) Statement on International Adoption
Editor's Note: The statement below is but one example of where CUB can use its voice and its influence in preventing unnecessary family separations, and we are proud to have made this public statement regarding inter-country adoption. We also strongly protest the treatment of (im)migrant children at the Southwestern US border and have submitted a statement to accompany the story on Family Separation at the Border.
"Concerned United Birthparents (CUB) is committed to family preservation and achieving outcomes that are in the best interests of children. The CUB board has resolved that this goal is best achieved by supporting the protection of children and affirming the right of individuals and couples to keep their families intact and maintain family connections, i.e., family preservation.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) released its FY 2018 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoptions
. The report shows that American families adopted 4,059 children through intercountry adoption between October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018. This is a decline of over 13% from the previous year, and over 82% decline since 2004.
Concerned United Birthparents (CUB) applauds the fact that the number of children removed from their homes and sent to American citizens for adoption overseas continues to decrease annually, reaching a new historic low of 4,059.
The DOS report put it this way: "There are millions of children who are now able to remain with their families and not be adopted out or away from their families, their homes, or their countries." CUB applauds the fact that children who previously were removed from their country of origin and sent overseas through adoption are now able to stay with their families.
CUB strongly rejects the idea that there are millions of orphans who are available for adoption and who would be better off by being separated from their families and sent abroad through intercountry adoption. We acknowledge the fact children are more often able to find equal or better solutions in their country of birth. We recognize that children are better off living in homes or communities with or near their families or parent(s).
Research conclusively shows that the majority of children placed for adoption will experience permanent emotional damage and harm and will enter a world that will often exploit them in degrading ways.
While there are countless individuals still determined to find “babies” for willing customers in the United States, fortunately, the U. S. has become more strict about child exploitation, trafficking, and selling, and is working with countries around the world to uphold the Hague Convention to protect children and end child trafficking.
CUB commends the Department of State, the Congress, the White House, and the American people for the bringing an end to corrupt intercountry adoption policies. We continue to try to work collaboratively to make the intercountry adoption process less prevalent and exploitative."
“CUB is heartened about the number of families able to remain intact internationally, and the State Department’s report is an illustration of that promising trend,” said CUB President Mandy Krahenbuhl.
“All children deserve to be with their families. As a nation, we should be working to strengthen family preservation, at home and internationally, and steer clear of the dangerous and deceitful child exploitation, trafficking and brokering business.”
“More immediately,” states Krahenbuhl, “we are heartened by efforts to promote family preservation. CUB strongly supports more efforts being made to prevent the unnecessary family separation that is caused by international trafficking, international baby-brokering and all-too-frequent forced and coerced adoption practices.”
Concerned United Birthparents. www.CUBirthparents.org
Calling all CUB friends: Want to help CUB?
CUB is currently seeking a REGIONAL DIRECTOR to serve in Region Four. Are you a Birthparent? Do you want to serve on the CUB Board of Directors? Do you live in one of these states: AR, IA, KS, LA, MO, NE, ND, OK, SD, TX, Canada-MB? If you live here and want to be considered for the position, please read the job description on our website (www.CUBirthparents.org) and let us know! CUB is also seeking support in the following areas: IT support, drafting articles, proofreading, editing, and identifying pices for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
if you can help with these tasks, please contact Mandy Krahenbuhl, at President@CUBirthparents.org.
Mother's Day Then and Now
A Mother's Day for All Mothers
Once again, as we do every year in the United States, we gather on the second Sunday in May to celebrate Mother's Day. But while the day is special for some mothers, it is often a difficult time for mothers who have lost their children through adoption. Despite the beauty of the spring season, as the month of May approaches, many of us begin to contemplate the meaning of this holiday that we dedicate to mothers.
Some of us might feel sad, excluded, left out or just plain lonely if we cannot spend the day with our children. Some of us may opt to spend the day alone. Some might want to celebrate with sympathetic friends and family who understand our loss. However we choose to celebrate, we will be forced to acknowledge all the restaurants, flowers, cards, and myriad displays of motherhood activities all around us. Although there will be celebrations everywhere, we might not be part of them or feel included. We get to contemplate the meaning of a day that is special for many mothers and their families, and yet maybe not for us. It can be very painful for some of us. As mothers who have given birth and lost our children to adoption, many of us feel excluded, isolated or ignored. Even those of us who feel encouraged with the joy of a good reunion, we may still feel the sadness and the anguish of having lost many crucial years when we were separated from our child. So let's pause and give ourselves some praise and some acknowledgment.
To start, let's give some recognition and a shout-out to abolitionist and suffragist Julia Ward Howe. Things did not go as she had planned, either. Howe was the original founder of Mother's Day in the United States. Mother’s Day has been celebrated in our country as far back as 1870, when Howe first wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” a call to action that asked mothers to unite in promoting world peace. Howe envisioned and campaigned for a “Mother’s Peace Day” to be celebrated every year. Instead, we got a version of Hallmark cards, gifts and hoopla. But Howe's original intent was inspirational. Here is an excerpt from the proclamation she wrote, explaining the goals of how we might celebrate the holiday. I invite all readers to contemplate the meaning of the words here, especially those in italics.
"Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears! Say firmly: 'We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.'"
“Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
So this year, no matter what your particular circumstances, we’d like to offer some suggestions on how to spend the day. We hope to bring you a little bit of happiness and relief in this issue of the CUB Communicator.
First, remember to celebrate YOUR DAY, too! YOU deserve to be recognized and remembered. But not because you gave birth and then you relinquished a child, and thus deserve thanks and gratitude! NO! Because you are you and you are alive and you are a mother. You deserve recognition and thanks just for being you, the mother of your child, be it a child you raised or a child you relinquished.
Most importantly, try to take good care of yourself in the days leading up to Mother’s Day. Know that you are not alone. (Some of us even celebrate "Birthmother’s Day" on the Saturday before Mother’s Day.) Find a support group meeting near you if at all possible, or consider joining a live online discussion where you can talk about your emotions and feelings. Reach out online or by phone to a friend. Be sure to take some time to yourself, and to practice plenty of self-care. Maybe you can plan a special meal, or watch a fun movie, or go for a walk and enjoy nature, or visit with family members. Maybe you can invite a friend along and take yourselves for a spa day or treat yourself to a massage or facial. But whatever you choose to do, be good to yourself! Know, too, that CUB is here for all birthmothers, whatever your circumstances or your situation.
Recently, we learned from our colleagues in Australia that they no longer distinguish between “Mothers” and Birth/First/Natural or any other type of mothers! We are all mothers if we have given birth.
And finally, why not write to us and tell us how you feel and what you are doing to cope with the sadness and the loss? We are here for you! But just don't forget to celebrate yourself!
You can reach us at: Editor@cubirthparents.org
YOU CAN HELP CUB!
Join a CUB Support Group!
MAKE A DONATION to CUB TODAY!
We need your support! CUB is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization run by people like YOU! We need you and we need your support. All funds raised go directly to support the work of CUB (no one gets paid!) and to help offset the costs of the annual retreat. (We try to keep costs low so more can attend!) No amount is too small, we appreciate it all!
If you have been supported by CUB, please consider paying it forward by helping another woman with an unplanned pregnancy who needs support and understanding in making her decisions.
Can you make a tax-free donation today? Please help us out. You can make a donation here.
or send a check directly to:
Concerned United Birthparents (CUB), Inc.
P.O. BOX 703486
DALLAS, TX 75370
MEET YOUR CUB BOARD MEMBERS
Do you ever wonder who we are and what we do as members of the Board of CUB? Well, here are profiles of four members of your CUB Board. We invite you to read their stories, and contact them if you live in their region, or want to attend a support group in their region, or simply wish to share your own story with them.
Member, CUB Board of Directors
Director Region 1
Facilitator Boston & New England Support Group
Kathy and her son Mark, before he was adopted.
At the end of 1963, at the young age of 18 years, I left England and arrived in Boston, alone. The following year, after meeting a young man who had just left the Seminary before taking final vows, I discovered I was pregnant. Alone and without financial or emotional support, I entered Marillac Manor, a home for unwed mothers. I gave birth to my son and was allowed to visit him for an hour each week until he was 3 months old, when I was told I had to sign papers releasing him for adoption or he would be turned over to the welfare department. When I asked the social worker if there was any way I could get some temporary financial help to keep my child, he said I could apply for assistance but then I would be deported for “lewd and lascivious” conduct.
Those words had the desired effect, and as surely as if there was a gun to my head, I signed the surrender. I kissed my son, whispered in his ear “I’ll find you again,” handed him to the social worker, and with tears streaming down my face, turned around and left the building.
In 1982, two major events happened: I discovered the name of the people who adopted my son, and around the same time heard of Concerned United Birthparents (CUB). These discoveries happened at a time when I was experiencing more loss: the deaths of my husband, my mother, my father and my mother-in-law. I attended my first CUB support group meeting in Boston at “The Paulist Center” on Park Street, and it was here for the first time I spoke of having had a child and having had to surrender him for adoption. At my first meeting, I also met Lee Campbell, the very brave woman, who at the suggestion of Jean Paton, founded CUB in 1976.
The following year, I found my son and have been in reunion with him since that time. I have been the facilitator of the Boston area group for many years. I have spoken to groups of university students hoping to enter the social work fields about the injustice and the coercion used to separate mothers from their babies, rather than helping them emotionally and financially to keep them together. I have spoken on panels at conferences, and I continue to help families stay together whenever and wherever possible.
CUB BOARD MEMBER
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT
At the opening reception of the very first CUB Retreat I attended in Carlsbad, CA in 2001, I was warmly greeted by CUB board member, Karen Vedder. She made me feel welcome, and she helped me realize I was in a safe place. I knew I would not be judged for having surrendered my only child to adoption in 1969 when he was only three days old. In that era, I was not allowed to hold or even see my son.
During that first CUB retreat weekend I learned from the experience of others that I was not alone. I learned that a reunion is possible, that it might not come as soon as we want, and that when it does, it might feel like a wild roller coaster ride.
I’ve been to the Retreat every year since 2001. I joined the Board of Directors in 2006 as Treasurer, transitioned to a Regional Director in 2008, and served as President from 2013 until September 2018. Now as Immediate Past President, it is still important to me to be involved with the important work of CUB: providing support for all affected by adoption separation, educating the public, advocating for fair and ethical laws and for open records, and working for family preservation.
These efforts, along with the satisfaction of leading a monthly CUB support group in Lakeland, Florida, allow me to give back to an organization that has given me so much comfort and support. I feel very fortunate to be able to meet in-person each month with a group of people who understand and often need understanding themselves.
After many years of searching for her, I found my daughter in October of 1998. When I made contact, she said she wanted to wait until after the holidays for contact. At that point, I began looking for anyone who had been through this experience before me. Fortunately, I found an adoption chat-room online that was very helpful to me. I learned a great deal from the people who shared their experiences in reunion and adoption. Over the years, I learned so much that I was able to help others, too.
In 2000, I joined that group for a march in Washington, DC, in 2000 to protest closed records. Later I joined Cal Open, the California group that was created to try to pass a bill for open adoption records in California. I went to Sacramento to support the legislation passed to open adoption records. I attended the National Conference of State Legislators in Philadelphia, where the adoptees’ rights coalition had a booth to educate and inform legislators of the truth about closed records.
In 2012, I was invited to become one of the State Representatives for the American Adoption Congress, representing my region in Southern California. I have served on several committees during my years at AAC, including the Election Committee, the AAC Conference committee, and others.
In 2016, I became a Regional Director for CUB, taking over and currently representing Region 6. I am also the founder and moderator of a monthly support group in Ventura California, and I attend most of the CUB support group meetings in Los Angeles. I have served on the CUB retreat committee for several years.
In my volunteer work for CUB, I try to achieve all of our goals: support those affected by adoption separation, advocate for fair and ethical adoption laws and open records, and work for family preservation. I believe CUB is a wonderful organization and I know for certain that it has been of tremendous support to many people for more than 40 years.
In October 1961, I discovered I was pregnant. I was scared. The father of my baby was scared, too. We talked about marriage, but I couldn’t even bring myself to tell my parents that I was pregnant and needed help. I couldn’t even say the words! Eventually, my mother figured it out, and my father called the baby’s father. NO, he said, we were not marrying!!!
There were three choices that my father discussed with me: Legal abortion (but first a psychiatrist would have to state that I was an unfit mother), illegal abortion, or adoption, and I could “go on with my life and forget about this incident.” I chose adoption because “that’s what we did in the 60’s” according to society’s attitudes and besides, ”What would the neighbors say?” My parents never offered to help me keep my child, plus, I was afraid to become a mother.
When I left for the Florence Crittenton Home I was excited to be out of my home, but my life was to change forever. It was actually a pleasure to find myself surrounded by other mothers-to-be, pregnant “out of wedlock” as I was. We washed toilets, pots and pans, and went in small groups to the nearby village to get ice cream, with our “wedding rings” and our big stomachs. I also learned to sew through the home’s sewing teacher, and I made a layette for my baby. (When I reunited with my oldest son in 1991 and met his mother, I learned that the agency never gave her these symbols of my caring deeply for my yet unborn child.)
At the home, I attended a type of support group. The important message from the group was: “Prepare yourself during your lifetime; your child might wish to find you when he/she grows up.” I wish I had followed that path. I was a voracious reader, yet I never thought to read more about adoption, due to my own DENIAL.
On December 18, I gave birth to a baby boy, and was home by Christmas, having recovered from my feigned “illness.” I was depressed, thinking daily I should have kept my baby boy, and 6 months later I became pregnant again. I was totally embarrassed. This time I went to a home in Vermont. Freezing, I knit my months away, and gave birth the following January 31 to a most beautiful baby boy. It was much harder to walk away this time. But my mother made a quick flight up to Vermont to sign the papers, since I was under age 21, and she took me home.
During the following years, I was often depressed, but didn’t pay attention to it. I kept busy with hobbies and work. I was also sick during the period surrounding the births, and I experienced a great deal of shame throughout these years. If I had known about support groups and had read the books I later read, it would have helped me.
In 1990, my youngest son found me. I cried just sitting and watching him. We have had our bad times, but good times, too. After 10 years, I would say for our reunion has evolved to a “great one,” especially since he became a father.
When my son learned he had a brother, he wanted to find him, so I searched and found him, and we all met in 1991. Tragically, my youngest son died in 2016 as a result of a fall. My world was shattered. We had grown to love each other deeply, and I am grandmother to his children.
In the late 90’s I returned to school at age 58 to get an MSW. I was determined to learn more about foster care and adoption and its real effects on the children. I also thought it would help me work through my major disappointment in myself: not having kept and raised my children. I was able to return a number of children to their families and this gave me a sense of empowerment.
Since 1993, I have been working on access to birth records for adult adoptees. The law that I worked on took 21 years, but in 2021, Maryland adult adoptees will be able to get a copy of their original birth certificate! With that in mind I will try once more, with the group ACCESS MARYLAND that I formed, to attempt to close the gap from 1947 to 2000 for those adoptees to get access.
I joined CUB in 1990 when my youngest son found me. CUB counseled me on what to expect, and how to respond, in early reunion. This has been my world, since I met my sons and learned how adoption really affects a child. BUT WITHOUT ANY QUESTION, THE HELP I GOT FROM CUB HAS BEEN THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF MOVING FORWARD!
The U.S. Southwestern Border Crisis: New Resources
The U.S. Southwestern Border Crisis:
New Resources on Parent-Child Separations
As we finalize this special MOTHER’S DAY edition of the CUB COMMUNICATOR, a tragic anniversary looms: it has been one year (between April and June of 2018) since more than 2,600 children—some as young as 8 months-old—were forcibly separated from their parents under the zero-tolerance policy of the Trump Administration. Most of the families have since been reunited, but the inhumane treatment of migrant families crossing our border continues.
When the Trump Administration refused to allow a UN Special Rapporteur to investigate the parent-child separation crisis on the Southwestern border, Dr. Karen Smith Rotabi partnered with colleagues Dr. Carmen Monico (Elon University) and Dr. Justin Lee (Idaho State University) to investigate.
(Editor’s Note: CUB members and our readers will recall that Dr. Smith Rotabi gave a keynote presentation at the CUB Retreat in Florida in 2018.)
Given the terrible lack of government transparency, Dr. Smith and her colleagues undertook a deep and extensive study (what the United Nations terms a “desk review”) of the situation: the only methodological approach possible for them. The research team collected investigative news stories, legal documents and reports from organizations such as UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) and the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) along with inputs from key informants. A summary of the findings resulted in two forthcoming publications in the Journal of Human Rights and Social Work, cited as follows:
Mónico, C., Rotabi, K. S. & Lee, J. (2019). Forced child-family separations in the southwestern U.S. border under the "zero tolerance" policy: Preventing human rights violations and child abduction into adoption (part 1). Journal of Human Rights and Social Work. Available from https://rdcu.be/btchE
Mónico, C., Rotabi, K. S., Lee, J. & Vissing, Y. (2019). Forced child-family separations in the southwestern U.S. border under the "zero-tolerance" policy: The adverse impact on well-being of migrant children (part 2). Journal of Human Rights and Social Work. Available from https://rdcu.be/byEEe
To accomplish this critical human rights research, the team first focused on their prediction of forced adoptions of children as well as the government’s loss of almost 1500 children nationwide. This work was predictive of what is now being widely reported, including a February 2019 Congressional hearing on the topic. Many children remain missing, there are hundreds of reports of sexual abuse, and some children are now entering into adoption arrangements even in the face of a California court order to expedite family reunions to avoid such abuses.
Another focus of the desk review was the impact of adverse early childhood experiences. Implications for child and family health and wellbeing is obviously deeply concerning and this is an additionally important advocacy area for social workers. Because many of the affected children originated from Central America with some of the most profound abuses affecting Guatemalan children (including two child deaths from that country) a look at that and other contexts of Nicaragua and Honduras was emphasized.
The research team was particularly well-suited to the project, bringing their experience and expertise. All three researchers have lived and worked in Guatemala. Furthermore, Rotabi has two published books on inter-country adoption while Monico has studied forced separations of children in inter-country adoptions from Guatemala. Lee’s research background is in policy and procedures to address the issue of unaccompanied refugee minors so as to ensure the best interest of the child.
Among their recommendations was the continued involvement of International Social Services-USA in the search and reunification process. Also, the importance of government transparency was also raised as critical, given the fact that adoption agencies were contracted as “foster care” providers. This latter issue is at the heart of matters since some of these “foster placements” are now transitioning over to child adoptions. (!)
As the situation continues to unfold, a year later, the Trump Administration has admitted that reunifications are “too difficult” in some cases, and that other cases may take upwards of 2 (two) years to complete.
The profoundly sad circumstances of parent-child separations will remain a reality until each and every case of separation is solved in a socially just manner that is effective and efficient.
We thank these researchers for their work and we encourage our readers to pay attention to this travesty being committed in our names!
Karen Smith Rotabi’s work combines historical, sociological, and ethical dimensions in a policy analysis framework, with a focus on the human rights of vulnerable populations. She has published extensively on inter-country adoption, particularly focused on the USA and its powerful interface with impoverished countries including Guatemala, where she has worked in a variety of initiatives. Her research agenda focuses on global social work practice, child protection, and family support, to include families impacted by war.
Dr. Smith Rotabi was involved in the early stages of USA implementation of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, and has evaluated dozens of US-based adoption agencies to ensure that they were effectively practicing within international standards.
More recently, Dr. Smith Rotabi has turned her attention to commercial global surrogacy as a replacement for inter-country adoption. Today, Smith Rotabi’s service work in this area also includes participating in an expert group on child rights and global surrogacy, convening under the leadership of International Social Services in Geneva, Switzerland.
CUB STATEMENT on FAMILY SEPARATION:
"Concerned United Birthparents (CUB), Inc., is the only national organization focused on
birthparents, and their direct experience of having lost their children through trafficking, guardianship, adoption, or fostering. CUB serves those who today are affected by adoption and who are concerned about adoption, trafficking, and fostering issues. Although our focus is on
birthparents, long the forgotten people of the adoption community, we work with adoptees, adoptive parents, social workers, researchers and other professionals. We find that we have much knowledge and experience to share, and much to learn from each other, and that sharing these experiences benefits all.
Knowing first-hand the often-irreparable harm and post traumatic stress that separation of a parent and child can cause one or both, we strongly protest the Administration’s continuing separation of parents from children at the border. We decry the placement of children in separate institutions away from their family members, and we denounce the cruel and abusive treatment these families are being subjected to. We ask the Administration to immediately apply all available resources and make every effort to reunite all separated families, to commit to keeping families together while being “detained” in the most humanitarian fashion, and to commit to never permanently placing children in foster or adoption homes when their families are alive and searching for them."
On the first anniversary of the implementation of this cruel policy on family separation, we strongly reiterate our demand that the Administration stop separating families and make every effort humanly possible to reunite all families.
Birthparent National Network
Did you know there is a new Birth Parent National Network? (BPNN) Here is an excerpt from their latest email and a contact to reach them: check it out! - The Editor
Many of the parents from the Alliance's Birth Parent National Network (BPNN) as well as birth, foster and relative caregivers from the Birth and Foster Parent Partnership, helped to inform this publication through their participation in a series of interviews conducted by the Information Gateway. The names of all of the individuals who participated in interviews have been kept confidential.
This is a very exciting step forward in strengthening partnerships between birth parents, foster parents and relative caregivers. We hope you enjoy the final product.
We are eager to hear your feedback.
Meryl Levine, MSSA, ACSW
National Alliance of Children's Trust and Prevention Funds