I Can See the Horizon 

Sleep found me easily and peacefully. I usually suffer from insomnia and will lay awake for hours praying that slumber will come upon me. A peace I’d never known before washed over me as all of my children were under my roof in the same place at the same time. The people I value and love the most in this world. The ONLY people whose opinions about me I care about. I felt complete and whole.

But sad. Sad for what could have been. Sad for the upcoming goodbye. Sad from what my choice had taken from all of my kids without their permission. There had always been a feeling that someone was missing and while she was here that feeling was gone. But it would soon be back. Nevertheless I tried to revel in how lucky I was to even have this moment, this time, at all.

I have three daughters and two sons. Of all of my children, she is the most like me in every way. It’s almost scary how similar we are. Many times people would comment “its like looking at you when you were her age!” Or “She’s JUST like you at that age!”

And she is.

She’s tenacious, she has no filter, she looks like me, she sounds like me, she has the same mannerisms as me. Admittedly she does have my husband’s nose.

Driving to Taco Bell one day we said the exact same thing at the exact same time with the exact same inflection. That happens within families all the time. Families that you share DNA with. “That’s never happened to me before,” she said with surprise. And it kept happening. My sisters and I are always speaking in stereo. It made me think how sad it would be to go through life without ever hearing someone who sounded like you.

And she’s just like her sisters. When a neighbor started up his motorcycle too closely they all screamed, shook, and started crying. All three of them. All at the same time. DNA is some powerful stuff.

But she’s herself too. It was lovely to hear her talk about the things she loves, the places she’s seen, the people in her life she cares about and how they’ve impacted her.

And still there was this thing hanging in the air. All the shared memories we had that she didn’t. My family is big on talking about “Remember when this happened…” and then proceeding to tell a funny or shocking story. So while she was like us in every way, and fit in perfectly, there was always the elephant in the room that reminded us that she had been gone.

So many mixed emotions. So much to untangle.

My husband was smitten. He reminded me of a new father doting over his infant daughter. Except we had already doted on her when she was born. I can read this man better than anyone and the looks on his face said, “I’m in love with this beautiful creature.” As he should be. She’s pretty amazing if I do say so myself.

And here is where I decided that this blog has served its purpose. For now, anyway.

When I was hurting it was here. When I needed to vent it was here. When I was scared, anxious, worried, happy, hopeful, suffering, it was here. You were here. Some of you lifted me with your thoughts and others pissed me off. And that’s okay. Because sometimes I just needed a good fight and you engaged me.

I know this journey is ever evolving and I’m not completely abandoning this space. There may be a time in the future where I need it regularly again. But this journey is no longer just my own. Now that our lives have come together again, and she is again a part of mine, our stories are intertwined and it’s not up to me what to share.

I have let adoption consume my life. That’s not an entirely bad thing. I’ve found sisterhood and courage in this community. I’ve found courage to stand up, stand out, and help make changes. I will always be an activist. Always. But I’m also a mother and wife. I can’t spread myself too thin so I’ve decided to focus my energy on certain endeavors that will allow me to balance things more equally. I lost my grandfather, who helped raise me, and a beloved pet who was my emotional support animal, this year. The wheels of time don’t stop turning for me to sit behind a computer.

So while I’ve already bowed out of this blogging thing pretty much, I thought I’d leave you all with a happy update. I’ll pop in once in a while. But it’s time to take back my life and focus on where I can really make a change, enjoy my family, and still remain a functional member of society.

 

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In the Matter of Carri Stearns

We are all familiar with the case of Carri Stearns and her son, Camden. If you have been living under a rock in the adoption community, please catch up by googling “Carri Stearns” and reading any of the numerous stories that have been published about the unethical and illegal attempted adoption of Camden. I have written a few and Claudia, over at Musings of the Lame, has written several – in addition to the many other news stories out there.

First let me say, what happened with Carri is wrong on so many levels. It should never have happened and it is just ONE example of these kinds of stories that happen EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. This post, however, doesn’t have anything to do with the sad case of Carri and Camden and how Adoption by Gentle Care has taken ownership of a child to make a profit from said child while fighting his mother and while she fights an agency, not a prospective adoptive parent. No, this post is a little different.

I’m sure many of you will leave here hating me. I accept that. I speak the truth and sometimes the truth hurts. Because I care for Carri I have sat on the sidelines and not uttered a word of contempt against her or her slow decline into the madness that adoption does to people. That is, until it became too much to ignore.

Let’s rewind. Saving Our Sisters, founded by Lynn Johansenn, is one amazing woman. Five years ago, Lynn was attempting to save as many mothers as humanly possible from adoption relinquishment. Being one woman and lacking time and resources the mission of the infancy of Saving Our Sisters was disorganized and not as effective as it could have been. Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy saw what Lynn was trying to do and stepped in, gave encouragement, wisdom, and offered her services to get SOS going into a direction that would be something permanent, effective, and truly making a change in the adoption community. With this guidance, Lynn was able to make Saving Our Sisters what it is today. It was only with this guidance, however. She has always affirmed that Saving Our Sisters was something that would never be possible without the help of thousands of people and a few entities. Without this network of caring and giving people, these moms would be left to their loss through adoption. I joined up with SOS later in the game and it has been an honor to be able to assist Lynn in anything that she may need. Sometimes that is fundraising, other times that is writing, and sometimes it’s helping keep up with contacts and potential moms to service. She has taken me under her wing, as Claudia once did for her, and has taught me, guided me, and inspired me to do great things.

In this day and age we all know how important it is to share these stories via the Internet in order to gain support, sway public opinion, and enforce change. The stories I have been directly involved with I have done my best to write about and keep you all aware. There are many other stories out there that do not need my assistance, or my writing, but, as always, can use as much support as possible. For this reason I keep up with their support pages and do what I can getting the word out. Some cases I have been personally involved with from the beginning, such as Kimberly Rossler’s case and the legal kidnapping of her son, James Elliott.

I became one of the first points of contact, and Kimberly’s voice when she had none, after our great leader, Claudia, went on a well-deserved break from adoption. Claudia’s reasons for her sudden disappearance in our community are her own and I don’t believe it’s really anyone else’s business to demand she state them. I do know that she has given so much of herself to adoption reform, education, and support to those hurting. She’s given more than any of us deserve and, for that, I thank her. I hope to see her return one day but, until then, these cases needed a voice. While I could never hope to fill such big shoes, I am doing my best to try. Honestly, I’m not sure how Claudia even did it. Juggling a home life, work, school, a husband, and kids is enough in and of itself. Add being a reform activist and it seems there are just not enough hours in the day. However, until my dying breath this is something I will remain passionate about. Until there are no more Carris, Kimberlys, Colbys, or Robs I will not shut up. Part of this passion and the sole reason that we are able to help so many mothers and fathers is because of Saving Our Sisters and the work that Lynn and I put into this (Lynn putting in the majority of the work because, apparently, she’s super woman and hasn’t yet shared her secret with me).

It started with a few questionable comments and messages right after we publicized Kimberly Rossler’s case. I understood the feelings Carri might be having. There was a new case in town and suddenly, to her, it probably felt like no one cared about her case or Camden. I replied with compassion and assured her that this was not the case. With new cases, in the very beginning, time is of the essence. If you don’t move swiftly to get the ball in your court, within a matter of days there won’t even be a game to play, forget who has the ball. We all know that Carri has been fighting for a long time. She has her legal team in place and has been able to do everything she possibly can in order to ensure a positive outcome – Camden coming home. She has supporters and those of us who would do anything to help see this through. I jumped into action to do the same for Kimberly.

Still, I could see the insecurity coming through. Claudia, who had been the person Carri could call several times a day, and who would be the main person writing about the updates to Carri’s case, was now absent which probably made Carri feel even more insecure. I took some time to take a break from Kimberly’s case, after things were in motion with her attorneys and all that could be done was being done, and worked on an update for Carri’s case here on my blog. I knew it had been some time since an update went out and one was certainly due. More importantly, I didn’t want Carri to think I didn’t care.

For a couple of weeks all was well and that made my heart feel better.

And then this popped up:

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Let’s back track a little bit. There is a page for Kimberly’s case called Bring Baby Elliott Home. It was started by Claudia and she added Lynn and I as admins to the page. Like I mentioned earlier, within days of Kimberly’s case coming to the forefront, Claudia had disappeared on her break from adoption. While Lynn and I are still admins there, we had offers from professional public relations people to help run things in order to give Kimberly the best chance. We agreed that was what was best and let them take over all duties on the page. We remained as admins, just in case inappropriate comments were being made but we literally have no control over things at this point. At the time Carri posted this to the Saving Our Sisters Facebook page, we had not been running the show on the Baby Elliott page for some time. Previously, Carri had been messaging the Bring Baby Elliott page asking that Kimberly’s page share Carri’s story.

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Because the page was being managed by a professional PR team, anything shared had to be run past that team. What Lynn did do, was to share Carri’s page on her personal profile and anywhere else she could on the Internet. This was Kimberly’s page, after all, and being in the beginning stages of her case we were all very careful about what was shared and how.

This did not satisfy Carri, however. I received this message.

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I would also like to point out that while Carri keeps saying her case is the reason these others were able to get help, this isn’t entirely accurate. Kimberly found Claudia’s blog because she stumbled upon a post about Camden, yes. But just using Google to search for help in revoking an adoption would have brought her to Claudia’s website anyway. Claudia worked very hard to ensure her search results were always at the top of Google for this exact reason.

So, while becoming slightly irritated, but still understanding, I did my best to be compassionate and understanding and this is the time period I did an update for Carri and her case. Shortly after she posted to the SOS Facebook page (see screen shot number 1) I received this message. The PR person who was in charge of Elliott’s case was doing a countdown for fundraising and one of the days happened to coincide with a day Carri was trying to get her fundraising out there.

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Still, I’m trying to be compassionate. It’s important to note that the person doing the fundraising for Kimberly and her PR stuff is not “in the know” about Carri’s case or even friends with her on Facebook. The next post was made on the Bring Baby Elliott Home page. Carri’s comment is the last one. “Ask any of us who have had to actually pay for them.” Again, the insecurity coming out but at this point I’m starting to think Carri is a bit risky for these other cases and I’m wondering what she is saying to people privately, especially if this is what she’s saying publicly. Could she purposely be trying to take these cases out of the lime light? I didn’t think so but I decided to watch. Especially given her public denouncement of SOS.

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Then, just a couple of weeks ago, a new case popped up. The one of Colby Nielsen whose daughter was legally kidnapped from him in the state of Utah. This was another case to take the focus away from Carri’s.  At first there were some comments about supporting ALL the parents’ fights. The following post was made in the public group, Birthmothers United, run by Wesley D. Hutchins. Wes had been posting a lot about Colby’s case and Carri had commented something to the affect of it being too much and that it was a group for birthmothers. I can’t find the comment now. I am thinking it was maybe deleted.

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And this post made on her own personal page. You will notice, if you care to look, some passive aggressive posts here and there in different forums eluding to the need for everyone to share everyone else’s story. This, I believe, is to give the appearance that she is all about the support while she is publicly and privately saying the things I have posted thus far.

And then, the most recent comment Carri made on a comment of support on Get Baby Kaylee Back to Her Daddy (Colby’s page)

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So now she is questioning Colby because he’s not sharing her story? Or others? He was kind of thrown into the adoption community and all that comes with it right before Thanksgiving less than 2 weeks ago.

Some of you may be reading and thinking, well, a lot of this sounds like someone who has been REALLY wronged and it’s just all coming to a head. I won’t disagree with that. However, there is more and it is the catalyst that made me decide to finally call a spade a spade. I didn’t want to and it wasn’t a decision I came to lightly.

Today there was a situation brought to the attention of Carri and Lynn as they were both tagged in a post that featured a GoFundMe account of a mother whose child was trying to be illegally adopted. Here is a screen shot of the post:

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And here was Carri’s comment (since Lynn was tagged)

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THIS. THIS. To all those who work for reform and family preservation THIS is dangerous. This is Carri directly messaging a mother in crisis to “warn” her about Lynn and Saving Our Sisters. This is the comment Carri left underneath Lynn’s on the GoFundMe page:

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Again, do mothers need to be warned about Lynn and Saving Our Sisters? Does Carri realize the magnitude of what she is doing? She is privately messaging people to steer them away from SOS? Why? Could it be my earlier theory that she didn’t want others in the limelight as it took attention away from her and Camden’s case? Only she can answer that question but I have my theories. Lynn, upon seeing this, messaged a mutual contact and later a new comment popped up with Carri “supporting” Lynn…yet, I’m going to assume this was all for show. What she says in private messages is another matter altogether.

This was the catalyst of this post. We have gone from insecure and hurting to dangerous. Dangerous for any moms that may need this network.

Like I said in the beginning, some may hate me for putting this out here. I really don’t care to be honest. I’ve already told you my passion is to prevent others from this hurt, this suffering. My reasons are not self-centered. When I see someone, no matter who that someone is, sabotaging this and putting others at risk I cannot sit and twiddle my thumbs and not say anything.

Take it for what it’s worth and do what you wish with it. I will always support Carri’s fight for Camden, but I will have to do so from afar from now on. I cannot let my relationship with Carri affect my work with SOS. Not just “affect” my work but actively working to achieve the exact opposite of what so many people are trying to achieve. Discouraging mothers from seeking help, slyly offering to “help” by giving advice and steering them away from Lynn and SOS.

In case you were wondering, the mom mentioned above is in contact with Lynn, has retained counsel, and we are now actively working to get her baby back. That’s a post for tomorrow.

I’m sorry, Carri.  We are all mothers who have been hurt, but you’ve taken it too far.

 

Get Baby Kaylee Home to Her Daddy; Miranda and Brad Larsen, Return Kaylee to Her Father

I had decided to spend the majority of this month in a hole, in la la land, safely away from triggering things about adoption. Unfortunately, thanks to some truly horrendous actions of two people, I have decided to not just crawl out of that hole, but to jump out guns-a-blazing.

Just before heading out for work this morning I was made aware of yet another adoption injustice coming from Utah. Go figure, Utah – no way! Surprise, surprise! If you’d like to read more about the back story to this situation, please see the Facebook page Get Baby Kaylee Home to Her Daddy.

Here’s the run down –

Colby and his girlfriend were expecting a baby and expecting to parent together. However, his girlfriend’s parents had other things in mind. After bringing the baby home from the hospital, his girlfriend, somehow, some way, decided (after talking to her parents) that she wanted to put the baby up for adoption. She told Colby of these wishes and he insisted on parenting and did just that, for a couple of weeks, until law enforcement came and removed the baby to be given to Miranda & Brad Larsen.

Miranda and Brad both knew that Kaylee’s father didn’t want to give her up. His name is on her birth certificate and paternity has been established. However, as those well-versed in adoption laws know, Utah plays by its own rules and, essentially, gives fathers next to nothing as far as father’s rights are concerned.

This didn’t seem to bother Miranda and Brad in the least. They wanted the baby and they made sure they got the baby. Who cares about if I’m taking someone else’s child against their will who NEVER CONSENTED TO AN ADOPTION, right? In my opinion, Miranda and Brad Larsen represent all that is evil in the world of adoption. Ethics thrown out the window to fulfill their selfish desires.

Upon doing some minor digging, you can see that, at least, Miranda has been “child shopping” for a some time.

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This was a post from this past February about an older child seeking a forever family. Miranda was tagged in it by a friend or family member and her reply is, “Seriously, Serenity (last name omitted)? Now I have to pray about it and ask Dad (name of dad tagged and omitted here). Ask Dad? That’s odd. This seems like something you would say if you were a child considering getting a puppy. “Ugh, thanks for showing me the cute little puppy who needs a home!! Now I have to pray about it and get permission from Dad!! LOL!” At least that’s how it reads to me.

Here is Miranda and Brad’s adoption.com profile:

http://adoption.com/profiles/BradandMirandaLarsen31711-3527

I’m sure that it will soon be taken down so here are a few screen shots for your viewing pleasure.

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“Congratulations on your adoption!!” Suck it adoption.com

This should read, “Congratulations on kidnapping someone else’s child!”

But seriously, isn’t that what they just did? They legally kidnapped someone else’s child because of the unconstitutional laws that allow Utah to get away with this crap. Not only unconstitutional, but a clear violation of civil rights – the right to parent one’s own child!

Within hours of this story getting out, there are thousand’s of likes on the Facebook page created for Colby’s fight, and thousands of dollars for his legal fees have been raised. Within hours of this story getting out, Miranda and Brad deactivated their Facebook profiles (one can only guess why) and created new ones – that aren’t so super secret and will probably be deactivated shortly as well.

Brad appears to be the assistant principal of Thomas Edison Charter School. Do you have your children enrolled here? Will you still continue to support a school that employees someone who would steal someone else’s child? Just throwing that out there.

As you can see, the public is not happy:

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Not quite sure I agree with the “great people” analysis on these two.

So, there it is. Pretty simple. In black in white. Just because they could, they did. Without any true concern with the true and real father of this child.

But Colby is fighting back. He has retained a fantastic lawyer, Wes Hutchins. Sadly, I do expect this to be a long drawn out battle, like they all are. His legal fees will surely be insurmountable. To donate directly to Colby’s legal fund you can mail donations to:

Wesley D. Hutchins

Attorney

6751 South Adventure Way

West Jordan, Utah  84081

If you’re more comfortable donating online there is a GoFundMe set up and you can visit that page here: https://www.gofundme.com/g8b7btmk?rcid=5cad896b96a54b1181f69a8f8c110407

Where does this leave us? I am calling on ALL ethical adoptive families to speak out against this injustice. This puts a smear on ALL of you if you sit back and say nothing, allow it to happen. No matter what you think of me and my blog, if you sit back and say nothing, you are just as bad as them.

I am calling on everyone in the adoption community to rally around this father and give him the love, support, and guidance he will surely need in the coming months. If you are able to donate monetarily that is always helpful as well, but it is not required to be an integral part of his journey. Share his page, share this post, lend an ear, offer support, just do something.

I am absolutely sick and tired of seeing these stories. What has our world come to? In the United States of America, babies are being taken from their parents with no just cause because someone else wants them. How long do we allow this to continue before we rise up, as a nation, and say NO MORE! How long before we go down that slippery slope and YOUR child is next? Or your grandchild? Or your niece or nephew?

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“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” -Desmond Tutu

To the Larsen family,

I am begging you to do the right thing, the ethical thing. Maybe you had a momentary lapse of sanity. You CAN redeem yourself and reunite this father with his daughter. You have the power to do so. It doesn’t need to drag out in court for months or years. I have complete confidence that it will not end in your favor so you are only delaying the inevitable. Please return Kaylee to her father. Restore my faith in humanity. Restore my faith, please.

I’ll leave you with a post from my blog that deals with how God feels about situations like this. Seeing as the Larsens appear to be deeply religious people of the LDS faith.

A Tale of Two Women and a Wise and Blessed King

Two women came before King Solomon. Both had given birth on the same day, three days before, but the first woman’s baby had died. Now the women were fighting over the living baby. King Solomon decided that the best way to figure out who would keep the child was to tell the women the baby would be cut in half. One half of the child would go to the first woman, and one half would go to the second woman. The true mother of the baby, the birth mother, cried out to the King. She would relinquish her rights to her child, to save his life. King Solomon, who is often referred to as the wisest man who ever lived because God blessed him with unsurpassed wisdom, saw the passion of the birth mother, and he did the right thing. He gave the baby to his own mother, the one with the selfless love, the one that would rather surrender her baby than see him die. King Solomon had no intention of hurting the baby. He had no intention of giving the baby to the more “deserving” parent. He just wanted to identify the true mother of the child. The woman who gave birth to the baby. It was a clever ploy.

When I think about recent cases in the media I can’t help but think of the shocking similarities with King Solomon’s story. You have two women, one is the true mother of the child, one woman is so desperate for a baby that she is willing to steal the child of another, no matter the consequences to the child, or the child’s true mother. I wonder if King Solomon thought about what kind of mother a woman who steals another person’s child would make? Maybe that’s part of the reason he wanted to be absolutely certain he was returning the child to his mother, and not the crazed woman who attempted to kidnap the child.

The Bible does speak favorably on adoption. Think of baby Moses in his basket, (Exodus 2: 1-10) swept down the river, and adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter. He obviously went on to do amazing things in the name of God and eventually returned to his natural family, the family of his origin. Esther, (Book of Esther) who was adopted by her cousin, was also a tool of God. But in almost every circumstance of ordained adoption in the Bible, there was a life or death situation that led to the adoption. Moses’ mother faced the reality that her son would die if she didn’t send him away. Esther was an orphan. Both of her parents were dead. God still chose to keep her in her family, and she was adopted by her cousin. The Bible only shows support for adoption of true orphans, or in the case of extreme circumstance. You will find infertile women in the Bible, (Hannah and Sarah are two examples.) but nowhere in either of their stories does God tell them to take the baby of another woman, let alone forcefully take a baby from its mother.

Adoption is a wonderful way for a child, an orphan in genuine need, to find a loving home. It should not be used as a tool to separate a child from the loving embrace of his mother.

It’s very clear how God feels about children. When the disciples tried to prevent women from bringing their babies and small children to Jesus, he grew angry and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Mathew 19:14, emphasis added.) He did not leave until he laid hands on the children. He takes especial interest in the fatherless child and defenseless women. Psalm 68:5 says, “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.”

Job laments the truly wicked, and part of his description of the behavior of a damnable person is, “The fatherless child is snatched from the breast; the infant of the poor is seized for a debt.” (Job 24:9) Someone who would take a defenseless, fatherless child from the breast of his mother, in exchange for money owed is listed as one of the many horrible and evil things a person might do to deserve punishment from God. He also mentions people who “drive away the orphan’s donkey and take the widow’s ox in pledge. They thrust the needy from the path and force all the poor of the land into hiding.” (Job 24:3-4) Clearly bullying and harassing single women and their young children, the meek and defenseless, is considered a detestable act. Other comparable sins he mentions in the same chapter are theft, murder, and adultery.

And how does God handle those who harm children? Those who would steal a child from its family? Exodus 21:16 says, “He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death.” How much harder will the Lord come down on someone who would kidnap one of his fatherless children?

Proverbs 127:3-5 says, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”  If the mother wants her child, and she is fit, what right does another woman have to pilfer the blessings given to someone by God for their own selfish desires? When considering the plight of women coerced into signing away their parental rights you need to ask yourself, “How would King Solomon rule in these cases?”

 

Behind the Curtain: Jessalynn Bills Speight

There’s an article going around from the Huffington Post. It’s entitled, “How Do Women Feel After Placing Their Baby For Adoption?”  The article was written by  who is the co-founder and CEO of an organization called Binti which claims it “uses technology to improve the adoption process and encourage empathy and understanding among members of the adoption triad.”

In this article, Curcuru interviews two first moms who have written a book called, “Birthparent’s Guide to Grief: A 12-Step Process.”  This book was written by Jessalynn Bills Speight and Alysia Foote. I’ve seen the article circulating in some adoption communities and support groups. Each time it pops up I cringe.

I’ve read the article. In my opinion, 90% of it is absolute garbage and is not applicable to the majority of first moms more than 5 years into an adoption. There was a lot the article left out, as far as a background on Jessalynn, a background that many don’t know about but that I’ve heard from friends who have had personal run-ins with this woman. We’ll get to that in a moment.

Jessalynn starts the article by sharing her story. This isn’t the first time Jessalynn has made her way into major media outlets touting her “birthmother rainbows.” In March of 2014 she was featured in an article in Cosmopolitan. For the subject of this post, we’ll focus on the HuffPost article.

The biggest red flag was when Jessalynn was asked about the father of the child she relinquished. She states that he and his family were against the adoption and there is no other mention of him after this. No, “He eventually came around and realized it was what was best.” No, “He was a very bad man and his rights were involuntarily terminated.” The fact remains that the LDS church has a long history of ignoring the rights of fathers when it comes to adoption. They will conceal, deceive, and lie, if needed, to facilitate an adoption. Utah, the state that has the highest population of LDS believers, even has the most horrible laws for adoption, especially for fathers. Women who are planning an adoption, where the father opposes, are often times sent to live in Utah, paid for by the adoption agency, to supersede the rights of the father as he would be problematic if the mother remained in her home state and the adoption would be threatened. So, when Jessalynn made no other mention of the father of her child, other than how he opposed the adoption, many questions came to mind. I do not know her story and it may be that everything was done ethically when it comes to the father. However, it does seem odd that no other information is given. One can’t help but wonder how that all went down.

The second thing I took issue with is this statement: “My birthdaughter calls me Jessa. She knows I’m not her Mom.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Adoption does not erase the fact that you are someone’s mother. You may not be their active parent, but you are still their mother. DNA doesn’t lie.

There is another quote that makes me, literally, ill. “I see so many birthparents who struggle to move forward because they are still thinking ‘I’m the parent’ and then they see the adoptive parent is using a certain brand of diapers and that bothers them. They can get hung up on different decisions adoptive parents make. They may still call themselves ‘Mom’ to the child.” I am the mom to my child. I wonder why Jessalynn spends so much time making sure that moms who relinquished understand they aren’t a mom anymore.

And again: “You are no longer the Mom. You are the birth mom.”

Thou doth protest too much.

The scariest statement in that article? “Jessa is also a Binti Birthmother Advisor, where she is a mentor to expectant women considering placing their child for adoption and other birthmothers.” You may wonder why. It’s terrifying to think of Jessalynn advising or counseling anyone considering adoption.

When I began to get involved in the adoption community, I slowly became aware that there was a “queen bee” in the LDS adoption world. Her name was Jessalynn and those who would cross her would pay dearly. Her power was contained, mostly, to moms who had relinquished in the LDS community. She had formed strong alliances with powerful adoptive parents and made sure to fully invest herself into the lives of these first moms. Under the guise of “helping” she would obtain contact information about their children’s adoptive parents and often be a “go-between” for the parties to come to a mutual understanding to facilitate openness. All of this sounds good, right? Well, for one, Jessalynn’s way of facilitating, as its been told to me, was to put the first mom in her place. She renders her powerless and totally at the will of the adoptive parents, no matter what promises had been made. Then there is the more pervasive side to Jessalynn.

I’ve had three first moms share their stories of Jessalynn. The variation in each mother’s story is minor. For the most part, it is pretty much the same story. Often times first moms need to vent their frustrations, their struggles, their insecurities. Sometimes this involves being mad at adoptive parents and sometimes with good cause. Not because they “don’t like the brand of diapers they’re using” as Jessalynn claims. Sometimes the need to vent is because contact is being withheld because the adoptive parents don’t like that the birthmom has come out of the closet as lesbian/transgender/transexual. Sometimes the venting is because a certain level of openness was promised and the adoptive parents are not keeping up their end of the deal. So, yes, justified anger. So, we have these women venting in these private groups sometimes. We have Jessalynn, with contact information of adoptive parents. Then we have open adoptions slamming shut in first mom’s faces because Jessalynn feels the need to run back and share screen shots from these private groups with these adoptive mothers. Yes, you read that right. As it’s been told to me, Jessalynn’s favorite pastime is finding negative comments by first moms and then finding out who their child’s adoptive parents are so she can send it to them and damage the relationship. I even caught her, under an assumed and fake name, in a group I admin, a while back, doing this same thing. Of course she denied it wholeheartedly.

I wonder if she feels it’s her duty to put every first mom in her place. I wonder where this passive-aggressive deceitful behavior comes from. Then I remember that all the rainbows and glitter she keeps showering on herself has not allowed for the truth to be present in her life. Maybe that’s why. I know of at least 3 first moms who have had their openness with their children greatly diminished or cut off altogether as a direct result of Jessalynn’s meddling. It’s truly vile.

When I see these articles featuring the “great birthmom” Jessalynn, I can’t help but puke a little in my mouth knowing the damage she has done in so many people’s lives. Advising expectant mothers? She says in the article. “Every woman has the right to choose. I am pro-informed choice. I believe every woman needs to be fully informed on all her choices: abortion, adoption, single parenting, and married parenting. Our job as citizens of the world is not to decide for them. You can say, ‘I know about this topic, here was my experience,’ but don’t force a decision or judgement on us. I know lots of birthmothers who had people from their communities try to influence their decisions.” Oh how I laughed. Jessalynn is a master of coercion. Reportedly she is a master at finding babies for prospective adoptive parents and actively farms them for people. Choice? Informed choice? Seriously?

The adoption community has remained silent about this woman for too long. Jessalynn Bills Speight is dangerous. She will be sunshine and rainbows to your face until you threaten the adoption machine that she is running. The machine now includes royalties for interviews, money from her organization, Tied at the Heart, and now a book. The book should be entitled, “12 Steps to Stay in Your Place So I Don’t Show Your Child’s Adoptive Parents That You’re Not Being a Good Little BeeMommy.”  Jessalynn is now profiting off adoption. Behind the scenes who knows what is going on. We do know, supposedly, as its been told to me, for some twisted reason, she destroys open adoptions, and helps find babies for people who are looking. We know she’s written a book. We know she does interviews for fancy magazines and newspapers. We can assume some things given that.

I fully expect to receive backlash from Jessalynn and her cronies after publishing this. Jessalynn isn’t the sparkling, squeaky clean, beemommy she portrays herself to be. Her hands are dirty. Don’t let her fool you. She is cunning, deceitful, and full of it. And she certainly doesn’t speak for me or the majority of first moms out there.

PRESS RELEASE: Concerned United Birthparents Partners with Saving Our Sisters

sos banner 2

The vision of Saving Our Sisters, founded by Lynn Johansenn, that has garnered overwhelming support from the adoption community, is coming to fruition with the help of Concerned United Birthparents (otherwise known as “CUB”). I am happy to say that, as of today, Saving Our Sisters (otherwise known as “SOS”) is officially partnering with CUB. I am so excited about this new partnership and know that good things are in the future of the adoption community. I’m sure there will be many questions and this post is to help answer them.

How does this partnership change CUB’s vision?

It doesn’t. It enhances it.

CUB’s official mission statement:

“Concerned United Birthparents, Inc. provides support for all family members separated by adoption; resources to help prevent unnecessary family separations; education about the life-long impact on all who are affected by adoption; and advocates for fair and ethical adoption laws, policies, and practices.”

As you can see, SOS will help to enhance this mission. CUB has been, and will continue to do, wonderful work in the adoption community. SOS will provide concrete tools in the prevention of unnecessary family separations via adoption.

What changes are coming to SOS because of this partnership?

There are many things that will be changing, but so much is staying the same. SOS will now have the ability to keep organized in all facets such as accounting and the ability to easily collect tax-deductible donations via the web. Additionally, SOS will gain heavy exposure benefiting from the many relationships that CUB has been able to create, maintain, and evolve over the last nearly 40 years. Part of this exposure includes SOS being launched on the CUB website, whereas, in the past, SOS has had a limited Internet presence relying on Facebook and blog posts to keep members up to date. Because of CUB’s gracious partnership, SOS will be able to continue the great work we do, focusing on moms and families, without worrying about the technicalities of website maintenance, accounting, and other things. All of these things enable SOS to focus on preserving families.

NEW THINGS

There is now an official SOS membership. If you visit the CUB website and wish to join CUB as a member you will now see “Saving Our Sisters/CUB Membership” as an option. This will give you all of the same benefits and perks of an official CUB membership. The annual membership fee is $40 and, as CUB states, “By becoming a member, you add your voice to the chorus, which seeks to educate the public about the life-long effects of adoption on everyone in the triad. We welcome adopted individuals and their family members, adoptive parents and professionals. Your membership helps us host an annual retreat for learning, healing and drawing strength from one another, and produce our quarterly newsletter, the Communicator.”  We can now add, “Helping families stay together” as one of the perks of a CUB/SOS membership.

Because CUB has taken a huge leap of faith by partnering with SOS, we have to do our best to ensure, when at all possible, that those we come in contact with are aware that all of our members are volunteers and that we are experienced in dealing with the sensitive situations we encounter. Paid SOS members will soon have the choice to go through training and become official Sisters on the Ground or “SOG’s.” These are our “boots on the ground” people who vet new moms, face to face, and stay in contact with them as long as the mother requests while she is making strides to improving her own situation. . The most pertinent part of becoming an SOG is the implication of a “code of conduct” so that you and all members of CUB/SOS can rest assured that we are conducting ourselves ethically and respectfully while representing the CUB/SOS name and reputation. By agreeing to go through CUB/SOS training the risk becomes minimal for our organization which will allow us to keep our non-profit status and continue to help families for years to come.

Just as before, you are not required to become a paid member to donate money or items, refer moms to SOS or participate in other ways. We are all one big community and it is that sentiment that we want to hold onto. Without our donors we would not exist. Without our eyes and ears, that are all of you, we would not know where to find our moms. You are important. The membership is not to exclude anyone.

Online donations of monetary value will now go through the CUB website and you may be able to deduct your donations on your federal taxes. Be sure to indicate, while donating, that you will need a receipt. You should contact your tax adviser for clarification. SOS can also accept monetary donations, by USPS mail, straight to CUB. Just indicate it is a donation for SOS.

How to Donate Online Online

Visit the CUB website and click on the “DONATE” tab.  You will have the option to click on Saving Our Sisters to have 100% of your donation allocated to SOS.

In Summary

I know this all seems so technical. By organizing, dotting our “i’s” and crossing our “t’s” we assure that we can help as many families as possible and that no mistakes are made that would risk the organization altogether.

These last few years have given SOS valuable lessons on how to best help mothers and the varying situations they may be in. We have learned so much. We have made mistakes, we have trusted when we shouldn’t have. Everything that is happening today is a direct result from those very important lessons. We want to protect our community, our donors, our organization, and, of course, the families we are helping.

This is an exciting time for Saving Our Sisters and Concerned United Birthparents. Together we are a force to be reckoned with. Together we can change our culture, our society, and work to fulfill our mission statement, together. Please join us in this exciting endeavor!

If you wish to become an official SOS member, and have a possibility of becoming a Sister On the Ground, please click on this link: Cubirthparents Sign Up

If you wish to donate to SOS please click on this link: Donate to SOS

If you wish to be part of the discussion and/or offer support in other ways, please visit: SOS Facebook page

http://www.cubirthparents.org

http://facebook.com/adoptionSOS

**If you are reading this post on Musings of the Lame, it is a syndicated post. To visit the links please scroll to the top of the page and click on “Beemom” to see the original post with hyperlinks included.**