When Does an Adoptee Voice Stop Being Elevated Above All Others

“I’m not traumatized by my adoption.”

“Not all adoptees feel that way.”

“You say adoptee voices matter most but I guess that’s only if they have a bad adoption story.”

A year ago I would presume to stick my nose into a debate between adopted people. Today I am very cautious and calculating about doing this because the adoptee voice SHOULD ALWAYS be the loudest voice in the adoption community. They are the ones who had absolutely zero choice at all. They are the ones who grew up separated from their biological origins. Not me. I know what it’s like to be surrounded by genetic mirrors. I know the names of the people who created me. I can sympathize but I can never fully empathize because to do so would mean I would have to have had similar life experiences in order to relate their experiences to mine. 

Nevertheless, when an adoptee asks me to be a voice for them, I will oblige and hope I can do my best to represent their voice. Such is the reason for this writing. 

In adoption communities online a war rages. In simplistic terms, and from the point of view of many adoptees who are content with having been adopted, this could be viewed as “happy adoptee” vs. “angry adoptee.” 

Let’s first go into more detail as to why the adoptee voice should be elevated above all others. The single most important reason to elevate their voices is to prevent heartache and obstacles for those adoptees who are still children. At least, this is my understanding from hearing their voices over the course of several months. Correct me if I’m wrong. Secondarily, we elevate their voices because no one else did. See: was given no choice in being adopted. It’s only fair they are heard now. 

“Well I wasn’t given a choice about who my biological parents would be.”

No, you weren’t. But that doesn’t matter. Because neither were they. This argument becomes invalid if you recognize the unique challenges or issues that arise for someone who is adopted. Even those who are perfectly content with having been adopted. At some point in their life at least one time a challenge arose directly correlated to their adoption. Whether that was a classmate once pointing out that their parents didn’t want them or a lifetime of emotional conflict over having been relinquished. At one time or another, every adoptee has had to face one or more issues or challenges surrounding their status of being adopted. So you don’t get to use the “I didn’t pick my parents either” card. 

“I’m not traumatized by my adoption.”

I’m glad you weren’t. I’m glad you are whole and content. I truly am. And not every adoptee feels as if adoption was a bad thing in their life. And that’s okay. Not every adoptee who rallies for adoptee rights and family preservation had a bad experience, in general, being adopted. Many love their adoptive families and grew up in warm and loving homes. You did not have to have a bad adoption experience to be a champion of equal rights, family preservation, and ethics. 

I see it often assumed that those who speak of the ethical issues in adoption MUST have had a bad experience with their adoption. Then I see them counter an adoptee’s point of view with, “I’m not traumatized by my adoption.” Because, you know, #notall adoptees feel this way. And almost every time I see this, it is to use their status as an adoptee (and the elevated voice the rest of the community is finally giving them) to further elevate their voice over the other adoptee. To “cancel out” their thoughts or life experiences. When someone points this tactic out they will hear, “You say adoptee voices matter most but I guess that’s only if they have a bad adoption story.”

Here’s the thing. If we look to the reasons we elevate an adoptees voice (see above) and your using your elevated voice to dismiss another adoptee who is trying to help prevent psychological damage, you are, in essence, cancelling out the reasons your voice is elevated in the first place. 

-You say you are content and never had any issues with being adopted. Then why do you take issue with others speaking about why they aren’t content to educate other adoptive or birth parents?

-You have a counter story for every story another adoptee has. These adoptees want to remind people why it’s best to err on the side of caution for certain topics. Essentially you’re telling an adoptive parent “Don’t listen to her. I was perfectly fine with not being told I was adopted until I was 8.” Or insert whatever other subject you’d like in those quotations. 

An adoptee’s voice stops being elevated when they use that voice to silence other adoptees who have experienced trauma. Who advocate for equal rights and equal access. Who advocate for ethical practices and ethical reform within the institution of adoption. Why? Because it is counterintuitive to the reason why your voice is elevated in the first place (again: see above). 

You are free to share how content you are. You are free to share how happy you are to be adopted. You are free to share why that is. But you are not free to spread misinformation. You are not free to use your voice to silence others. That is where other adoptees are free to stop elevating your voice above all others. And personally, I will interject, as a first mom, when I see misinformation being spread. This is because misinformation is dangerous. It is my duty to ensure the correct facts are presented. 

You have no issues with the current practices of adoption? Fine. But this is where we split ways. This is where I no longer value your voice. Because anyone who thinks it’s okay for birth records to be falsified and the original, accurate ones to be sealed away forever (or until birth parents give permission for those records to be released) doesn’t deserve an elevated voice. Anyone who thinks it’s okay for the way adoption works today to continue as it is wont get an elevated voice with me. Or any others like me, adopted or not. You are part of the problem. And your willful refusal to see the very real problems in adoption makes you an active participant in the trauma that so many adoptees DO experience. You fuel the flames, perpetuate the cycle. If ten adoptees say, “Please don’t do this. It was done to me and it hurt me deeply” all it takes is one adoptee voice to say “That happened to me and I turned out fine.” An adoptive parent or birth parent reads that and says “see, it’s not that bad. She turned out fine.” 

And then they do it to their adopted children – whatever it may be. And maybe they turn out fine too. Or maybe they don’t. But the butterfly effect is strong. Your one irresponsible statement, (most times to appease an adoptive parent who IS in fact doing it wrong, or maybe sometimes for your own appeasement that life wasn’t all that bad, right?) could be the catalyst in a child’s life. Your one statement could be the thing that finds you, in twenty years, in an adoption support group on Facebook…

The child of that adoptive parent from twenty years ago; the one you said “That happened to me and I turned out fine.”

And then that adoptive mother thinks to herself, “See, it’s not that bad. She turned out fine.”

And then she takes your advice and applies it to parenting her adopted child…

You might find yourself telling that child, “But I wasn’t traumatized by my adoption. Why are you so bitter? #Notall of us feel that way.”

Because it comes down to this. 

In every instance that I can think of where adoptees have a disagreement? The one arguing to err on the side of caution is never arguing for something that would ever have the potential to harm a child, emotionally or otherwise. 

But the other adoptees seem to always argue “But I’m okay.” And what they should be saying is “But I’m okay IN SPITE OF…

Why would you chance:

-Not telling your child they are adopted until they are older?

-Not allowing your child to be in contact with their otherwise safe birth family?

-Not being aware of the signs of trauma in an adopted child?

-Unethically obtaining your child and having to answer to that child one day?

The list could go on and on. 

Adoptee voices are the most important. When they are wearing their adoptee hat and advocating for ethical and fair treatment. Sometimes adoptees wear a birth parent hat. And sometimes they wear an adoptive parent hat. Even if they aren’t either. Their fierce need to protect the institution of adoption drives this. I cannot begin to understand why and I’d love to find out but they aren’t giving up their secrets thus far. 

I don’t want anyone to get the impression that I don’t fully support adoptees sharing their lived experiences, whatever they may be. What I don’t support is using those lived experiences to silence those who have experienced inequality or hurt from adoption. I don’t support that at all. 

Let’s look at this without the emotion. 

It’d be like if someone was seriously injured skateboarding without a helmet. They’d be all over the place saying “WEAR A HELMET!! This could happen to you!” Will it happen? Maybe. Maybe not. But I know for me I like people to have all the info – the helmet if you must. Since there’s already a million people talking about how great skateboarding is I may as well be the one screaming to wear a helmet. And when someone posts a story about how awesome their last skateboarding outting was and didn’t mention that helmet I’d be commenting “but don’t forget your helmet! I didn’t wear one once and it hurt me!” 

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Donna Ames Isn’t As Innocent As She Claims To Be, Neither Are Her Associates; Small Town Politics

Kimberly Rossler and her son, James Elliott Rossler, or Elliott as she calls him, are being victimized by a corrupt judicial system that involves pre-birth consent that is still allowed in Alabama. Since going public, Kimberly has received a lot of support but she has also received a lot of hate, as is to be expected. Suddenly, it seems, everyone is a lawyer and everyone knows everything about adoption and adoption laws because their sister’s friend’s cousin’s uncle’s third wife tried to adopt a baby. I want to go over some general adoption guidelines and then look closer at Alabama’s laws so there is clear and concise education out there for people to make judgments about this case from.

Adoption laws vary from state to state. There are federal laws (think of them as standards) that are broad but the details all stay within the state laws. Most states do not allow a mother to sign away her rights to her child before that child is born. That makes sense, right? Only a few allow a mother to sign her rights away before a baby is born and Alabama is one of them. States that DO allow this usually have a means to revoke this consent but, as we are seeing, having the law and whether or not a mother is aware of, or has the resources to, make use of the law to revoke consent are two totally different things.

Alabama’s law allows for a mother to sign a consent to adoption before the baby is born. The mother then has 5 days to revoke that consent after the birth of the baby. The paper is supposed to be given to the mother at the court hearing for pre-birth consent and the judge is supposed to explain fully how to go about doing that.

Why allow for pre-birth consent instead of just letting her sign after the baby is born, especially if there is a way to revoke that consent anyway?

Because adoption attorneys and agencies have lobbied the powers that be for these pre-birth laws knowing that it makes it way more difficult for a mom to change her mind after a baby is born. Adoption is littered with corruption and pre-birth consent is just one piece of the puzzle.

Donna Ames, who represented Kate Sharp in regards to the proposed private, independent adoption of Kimberly’s unborn baby, James Elliott, has stated that she did not, nor did she ever, represent Kimberly in this case. Her representation was limited solely to Kate Sharp. This statement can be followed by two very important points.

1. If Donna did not represent Kimberly in any way, then why did she bring her to court and advise her on how to sign the pre-birth consent and also advise her about “monthly gifts” from the prospective adoptive mother, Kate Sharp? Why was Donna advising Kimberly on how to go ahead with terminating KIMBERLY’S parental rights if she did not represent her in any way? Why was Donna giving Kimberly legal advice throughout her pregnancy whenever Kimberly asked questions?

2. If Donna did not represent Kimberly in any way, then who did? Who was looking out, legally, for Kimberly’s best interests? Who was advising Kimberly through a legal process that would require her to file legal documents in an official manner in order to parent her baby?

Why was Donna able to bring Kimberly to court to sign a pre-birth consent but did not complete the process that Donna initiated when she was informed that Kimberly would NOT be going through with an adoption? As an attorney, she led her into a legal process and then removed herself from the situation and left Kimberly with no legal representation to assure that her wishes, to parent her baby, were indeed carried out. At the very least, what Donna did was not ethical by the standards set forth in most Bar Associations.

Donna also stated that she had nothing more to do with this case, at all, after the baby was born. She removed herself, entirely, from the case. However, Kimberly has reported to me that Donna was present with Kate Sharp in Judge Brown’s court room, 3 weeks after Elliott was born, to testify and have Kim declared “mentally unstable” so that Kate could take possession of Elliott. Someone isn’t telling the truth here. From the history I’ve dug up I bet you can guess who it is.

Another point, when speaking of Donna’s removal of herself from the case, is Kate Sharp’s new attorney, David Broome. David is listed a few times on the Adoption Rocks website as a referral for adoption attorneys. His affiliation with Adoption Rocks is, at the least, an association by referral. However, readers may find it interesting that David Broome and Donna Ames were both part of Judge Don Davis’ campaign committee.

I’m not sure how many of you have ever worked on a campaign committee, but it’s not going out on a limb to suggest that Donna Ames and David Broome knew each other well. She recommends him (under herself, of course) on the Adoption Rocks website and they both campaigned together for Judge Don Davis (remember, the judge who approved the pre-birth consent as well as “monthly gifts” all in the same sitting).

Clearly these people are all involved with each other. For Donna to claim that she knew nothing after she removed herself from this case, well, it’s hard to believe.

broomeames

Additionally, and I’m not sure exactly what this may mean, you be the judge, David Broome (who we’ve established has, at the very least, a professional relationship with Donna Ames) is listed as an Associate with the Mobile Bar Association. Nothing out of the norm there since he IS an attorney. Except, in the same bulletin that lists him as an Associate, there is a blurb about Adoption Rocks (you know, Adoption Rocks who Donna Ames is the President of, Judge Don Davis is on the advisory board, and whose website lists David Broome for referrals). It states that the Mobile Bar Foundation donated funds to Adoption Rocks. Hmmm. Yeah, not surprising given the connections. Just one more thing that ties all of these people together. Money moving from here to there, from this non-profit, to this attorney, from this attorney, to this foundation, from this foundation, back to this non-profit. Is this the case here?

mobilebar

broome

And, of course, in the same bulletin a mention of Judge Don Davis – tooting his horn.

davisHow wonderful of him to waive filing fees so someone could adopt a baby, huh? It seems that a lot of hoopla was made about this adoption they are talking about in the article. Why did it take 4 years for this family to adopt this baby? Did Judge Don Davis help another attorney steal someone’s baby by waving fees for them? I don’t know. It doesn’t state names but I would encourage whoever this is about to come forward and tell your story. In the meantime, I’ll keep digging to see if I can find them.

Adoption Rocks and their associates seem to have their hands in a lot of different kettles. They are all intertwined in some way or another, it seems. Is it even possible for Kimberly to get a fair hearing with all of this “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” going on? Please continue to share her story so these people can be held accountable in their role in all of this.

It Was Meant To Be – Using Religion to Justify Adoption

In the adoption community, from birthmoms, adoptive parents, and even the occasional adoptee I often hear statements about adoption being the “destiny” for the adopted child. Some of these statements include, but, of course, are not limited to:

“I knew from the first time I met them (adoptive parents) they were meant to be -insert child’s name here- mom and dad.”

“It was God’s plan for my child to be adopted by -insert adoptive parents names here.”

“My mom and dad were meant to be my real parents. I can’t imagine my life without them!”

“I know why our previous placement failed. I was meant to be -insert child’s name- mom.”

These types of statements always irritate me. It implies that there is a pre-determined destiny for every person living in this world and that there is nothing you can do to change that. It implies that there is no free will. It was “meant to be.” It also implies (when you use the “God’s plan” phrase) that either 1) God makes mistakes and put the wrong baby in the wrong womb or 2) God is a cruel God and wanted people to suffer through the loss of adoption to fulfill his plan.

None of that makes sense, however, because it is quite contradictory to what the bible tells us. God’s original plan for your life does not include the pain of relinquishing a child. It does not include your mother suffering through relinquishing you and it certainly does not include a woman suffering the loss of relinquishment so that you can parent her child. It simply ISN’T MEANT TO BE. We have free will and the way adoption works today is man-made.

The biblical sense of the word “adoption” is the way that Christ “adopted” all of us sinners as His own children. In the spiritual sense. Through the Holy Spirit we are now able to inherit the heritage of the Lord – everlasting life and His kingdom in heaven. This spiritual adoption is also something we are free to choose, ourselves. How many newborn babies choose adoption? They can’t. It is forced upon them regardless of what they may or may not want in the future.

Another reason that adoption, today, would not be approved by “the Holy One” is the secrecy, lies, deceit, manipulation and betrayal that come with it. Let’s start with the first lie, and the most important that an adoption is based on. The birth certificate of the adoptee is changed and two people are put on it as the people who are biologically their mother and father. Maybe an adoptee is told they are adopted (I certainly hope so) but, all too often, this enables adoptive parents the ability to never tell their child that their birth certificate lies and that their mother did not give birth to them. “Thou shalt not lie.”  Secrecy. Adoption is shrouded in it. It’s a secret who an adoptee’s biological mother and father are. It’s a secret who gave birth to them. There ancestry is a secret. Even the adoption records (which exist because the adoptee does) are a secret. “For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” I’ve already written about deceit, manipulation and betrayal. We all know adoption is littered with it. I need not go into again.

“A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will not escape.”

“No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes.”

And my favorite:

“For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”

Adoption, the institution that exists today, is far from what God would approve of. Far far from it. How can one utter “It was God’s plan” while at the same time reading the same bible that I am? It was God’s plan for your mother to be tied down to a table while her child was taken away from her against her will the second it was born? It was God’s plan for your child to have the proof of his very existence shrouded in lies? It was God’s plan for a naive young woman to believe the lies an adoptive parent has told her about keeping an adoption open while they disappear after a few short years? The list could go on and on.

Adoption is not “God’s Plan.”

There are children out there who are truly not safe with their original families and there are no suitable relatives to care for them. Yes, even in this case, it wasn’t “God’s Plan.” God’s plan was for that mother to take care of her children properly and lovingly. It was her free will, not His plan, that changed everything. Was the removal of a child from a truly abusive home a way for God to revise his original plan and turn it around into a happy outcome for that child? Sure. That can certainly happen. It is NOT God’s plan for a woman to give her child to richer parents. It is NOT God’s plan for a woman not to parent her child when she is being offered all the resources she needs to do just that. Naive. That’s what these women are. And I do feel sorry for them. They have been led to believe that they are not good enough for their children and someone else will give them a “better life.” They draw this conclusion based solely on what agencies and attorneys (shoot, even Lifetime movies and commercials) have led them to believe. And then, to serve their own appetites, the adopt-o-raptors swoop in.

We have made ourselves gods. Determining the fates of these children without their permission.

Can we please stop with all the “God’s Plan” bull crap. None of this is what God intended for us or our children. Let’s be honest. This is just another way to coerce a pregnant woman. Nothing more, nothing less.