3rd Annual SOS Sponsor a Saved Family for the Holidays Thank You!

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Wow! I cannot even begin to express the gratitude that I feel for those who were able to help with the 3rd Annual SOS Sponsor a Saved Family for the Holidays this year. It truly was amazing what you all have done.

This Christmas there were 12 families that we sponsored and 28 kids in total. These are families who trusted SOS when we stepped in and said, “You are what’s best for your baby, regardless of your temporary situation. You are deserving of your baby and your baby deserves you.” Our entire network makes a commitment to these moms when they decide to let us help and it continues to amaze me what this network is able to do. The show of love, support, monetary donations, and giving is nothing short of awesome. You all rock!

Because of you, 28 children were able to snuggle up in some new jammies on Christmas Eve, with a bucket of popcorn and snacks, and watch a movie after making their gingerbread houses. Because of you, 28 children awoke on Christmas morning to the joy that all kids should feel – Santa Claus had made his rounds. Because of you, 12 families gathered, in love, together, their families in tact, on Christmas day, and feasted on a holiday dinner of ham, turkey, and all the fixings. Because of you, 12 parents didn’t have to worry about their children being disappointed or forgotten about on the most magical day of a child’s life. Because of you, the spirit of Christmas and giving was alive and well in these homes.

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In honor of making this possible, we would like to share with you some of the joy those families were able to have this holiday season. With permission from a few of the families assisted, we would like to present the 2015 SOS Sponsor a Saved Family for the Holidays photo album.

For many of us, the holidays are a trying time. I hope that these photos can brighten your day and provide some comfort. We are all making a difference.

Without further ado, the Christmas miracles you are helping put into action.

(If you are reading this post on Musings of the Lame, please click on “Astrid Beemom” at the beginning of the post to go to the original source and view the album)

Happy Holidays!!

(and don’t forget to read some thoughts from our families under the slideshow)

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From our families:

Thank you so much lynn and sos.”

They love the PJs! They fit perfect.”

Thank you SOS for sending these care packages to our family. Our gingerbread house was done by the boys “All Their Idea” I applied frosting to help out but they did the rest. Lily, Mom, Wade & Chris all In the same gingerbread house this Christmas.¬†We are so grateful to all you lovely ladies #WeHaveOurLilyGirl #BestGiftEver

“I want to wish Lynn Johansenn a very Merry Christmas, with out her an her group we wouldn’t have Kylie,they have made us so happy, this is a very special. Christmas. Thanks to you all an Merry Christmas.”

“To everyone who made this happen for my babies I thank you so much!! Without yall this year there wouldn’t be much of a Christmas for my family but thanks to yall there is ūüôā¬†and to sos I’d like to give a big thanks to all you ladies out there because without yall I wouldn’t have my e man with me for his first of many Christmas with his family. Or many days to come for that matter.”

“Santa came a little early here tonight from the amazing ladies at SOS! With special thanks to colleen and Lynn ‚̧‚̧‚̧ you guys and appreciate all you guys do for us!”

 

 

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SOS Alert: Family in Need; Critical and Time Sensitive

**Names have been changed to protect the identity of parties involved**

Sometimes it is not adoption agencies that we have to fight against. Sometimes our emergencies are because of people who are supposed to support, encourage, and protect us – family members. When Lindsey, who is 19, gave birth to her child 3 days ago, she never imagined she would have to fight her mother for her child. However, sadly, this is the case for this SOS emergency.

Lindsey is 19. She was discharged from the hospital yesterday with her baby. Lindsey’s mother, has since decided that she would like to have the baby removed from Lindsey’s care and has called CPS to assist her with this. While SOS does not typically get involved with anything CPS related, this situation is different. Mom and baby are healthy, mom has no drug or alcohol use, and no criminal record. We have a sister on the ground who has confirmed all of this and Lindsey is thoroughly vetted. I’m not sure how anyone can make claims that someone is a neglectful mother when she was just discharged from the hospital the day before, but this is exactly what her mother is doing. Her claim is that Lindsey isn’t eating and its not good for the baby, even though Lindsey is supplementing with formula; and Lindsey IS eating. That’s the best she could do as far as claims of negligence.

While we like to think that we can rely on CPS to be fair, the fact remains that many people use this system to get what they want and to have children unfairly removed from the care of their parent(s). For this reason, it was important to get this mom, and her boyfriend, as far away from the situation as possible, before things started to snowball and this mother was left without the resources she would need to fight such a big machine; a machine that is being driven by her own mother.

Lindsey is not alone. She has her boyfriend, Tom, who is also the father of her child. Tom is VERY supportive, VERY involved and has been by her side the entire way. She has Tom’s family, Tom’s mother and his aunt. The only down side is that Tom’s family is on the other side of the country and getting this young couple there is not going to be easy. ¬†As I write this, we have a sister on the ground. We are actually utilizing many sisters but this sister, at this moment, should be picking them up and bringing them to the bus station for a trip to Tennessee. Once in Tennessee, arrangements have been made for a hotel room for them to stay in. From Tennessee, they will be going to Kentucky and will need arrangements for another night there, another hotel room. After this their final destination will be Pennsylvania, with the paternal family, Tom’s family, where they will be sheltered, safe, and have the support they need to keep their family in tact.

Because of this, we need special, emergency fundraising. We need to recoup the costs of travel (the bus tickets) and the first hotel room as well as paying for the second hotel room in Kentucky.

All this mom and dad need are to get to their safe place, to Tom’s mother. Once they are there everything else will easily fall in place. Today we are asking our network if they can find it in their hearts to donate monetarily in order to get this couple and their baby to safety. It really is an emergency situation.

No one should have to be scared that their own mother will try to take their baby away. No one should have to flee to the other side of the country to make sure this doesn’t happen. Unfortunately this IS happening. Let’s help get Lindsey and Tom to safety and the support they need. Please see below for steps to donate.

To donate directly to this cause, please visit www.cubirthparents.org (opens in a new tab).

Click on “DONATE.”

Click on “donate” under the drop down menu.

Click on “Saving Our Sisters.”

Enter the amount you would like to donate and click “Donate” once again.

That’s it, you’re done! Thank you for helping save this family!

PRESS RELEASE: Concerned United Birthparents Partners with Saving Our Sisters

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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.**

SOS Update: Mom in Georgia

Update: Mom and sister are now attacking Lynn via her SOS page and have had her account removed from Facebook.

Update #2: To request your donation back, for not being used for the apartment and instead for sister’s bills, please contact Beverly directly here: Beverly Oliver Crowson

Sister’s name is Beverly Oliver Crowson

First I need to say that the mother in Georgia’s situation was totally legit. She was put on the streets by the hopeful adoptive parents. She did need money for her own apartment. Her sister did take her in so she had a place to stay. However, and regrettably, Saving Our Sisters is going to have to pull support from this case. It’s a long and drawn out story but I’ll do my best to explain it here. We never want to have to step away and leave a mother without our support system. We have an army of people ready and willing to help and help they do. We have helped numerous people avoid adoption relinquishment and successfully parent. The reason this works is because there is cooperation between the mother and SOS. The reason we are able to help all of these mothers is because of our credibility. You know that when you are donating to SOS your money is going to be used for the stated purpose. You know when you purchase baby clothes, car seats, or diapers that it is going for a child in need to help him stay with his mother. ¬†Our good name stands because of our transparency. We post receipts, we post all of our contributions, and we are totally honest with our donors. In exchange, we expect totally honesty from the mothers we are helping. It doesn’t matter what outlet is being used to gather the money (PayPal, Go Fund Me, personal checks, etc) the actual solicitation of donations comes from SOS. People give because we ask and that is so very awesome of them. Because of this, and to protect our credibility, SOS needs to be able to manage these funds and show total transparency to its donors and sisters. Without this there will be no more moms to help and how sad would that be? We do not use any donations for personal gain. As a matter of fact, many of us dig into our own pockets to help and spend hours of our time doing so. Our families suffer when we are not present because we are working on a case. Our bank accounts are that much smaller because of the gas money spent or the phone bill we ran up. At the end of the day, though, it is worth it and we will continue to do it. To imply that SOS is trying to obtain funds for personal gain or to use someone’s sob story to raise money for moms other than the mother in question is absurd. We have nothing to gain by doing so.

When the Georgia mom’s story was brought to the attention of Lynn an myself, we immediately jumped in to help. Her Go Fund Me account only had $60 raised and it seemed her situation was an emergency, and it was. Lynn immediately started to ask people for help and I composed a blog post pleading with urgency for help for this mom. What followed was the magic of SOS. People began to contribute to the campaign (which was linked in my blog as well as on various Facebook groups and pages per the SOS request) as well as offering to send baby items to the mother. That evening we had boots on the ground in Lagrange, Georgia with a local sister running to Walmart to purchase baby essentials and drop them off. Everything seemed to be running smoothly. The local sister reported that baby and mom were healthy, home was safe and clean, and mother passed the initial “vetting” that we do for all mothers. The vetting process is just to assure no one is trying to scam SOS. By the following morning over $1000 had been raised in the Go Fund Me account. Did I mention our network of people rocks? However, by that evening there was a problem.

There were some things that had not been initially disclosed. Nothing too big but definitely pertinent to the long-term success of this mother. Upon changing her mind Mom had child protective services called on her by the prospective adoptive parents. Yes, I know….despicable. Because of this mom is now on a care plan. CPS deemed her safe to keep the baby but she needed to have someone with her for now to help care for the baby. I won’t divulge why because that is her personal information but I will say its not due to neglect, abuse, drug use, or any of those things. Because of the care plan, baby is expected to be in a safe household that includes functioning utilities and baby is expected to be transported to all doctor appointments that are scheduled. Here is where the problem came in. Mom’s sister makes a frantic phone call to Lynn explaining they are about to repossess her car. The car is needed to transport baby to doctor’s appointments as it is the only working vehicle in the family, according to sister. While there is a good amount of money now in the Go Fund Me account, that generally takes 2-5 business days to complete the ACH deposit. The other glitch was that the Go Fund Me campaign that was set up did not disclose that the funds raised would be going to make sister’s car payment. Technically, using those funds for this purpose constitutes fraud. Lynn agreed to pay sister’s car payment right then and there on one stipulation. The Go Fund Me account and the We Pay account attached to it would be transferred to SOS for us to manage donations. Since our name was now on this, and we were the ones who asked our community to donate, it seemed only fair. There was some resistance initially. We had to calm down sister and mom and explain to them how this works. We had to explain that we would make sure the funds we had raised would be going to mom for expenses related to what it was originally raised for. Sister agreed and shared passwords with Lynn.

It must be noted, at no time did Lynn change any passwords. Sister still had access to all the accounts. SOS works on mutual trust and transparency. There was a verbal agreement between sister (campaign manager) and Lynn to let SOS handle the funds. This is always how we operate. Typically, however, donations are made directly to SOS via PayPal. This is not out of the ordinary. Any charity organization that participates in fundraising does not give cash to its beneficiaries to use at their discretion. Energy assistance makes payments directly to your power company. Catholic Charities will make payments directly to your landlord, so on and so forth.

As discussed between Lynn and sister, Lynn set up the We Pay account to manage the funds that SOS had raised. Like I said before, sister created the Go Fund Me but SOS raised that money. We put our name on it and asked for donations. We are accountable for it.

Lynn made the car payment for sister and things moved ahead. This morning there was another glitch. Sister calls again, frantic, because the electricity is going to be shut off on Tuesday if $600 is not paid. Keep in mind that mom has only been living with her for a few days. This is not mom’s bill. Yes, electricity needs to remain on in order for baby to stay with mom, but that is not what people were donating to. Sister is advised to call energy assistance, first, to see if they can help and we can go from there. This is also met with opposition and angry comments and accusations towards SOS. We devise a plan to make everyone happy. To avoid being accused of fraud, for them and for us, we decide that we can compose an email and send it to every donor on the Go Fund Me page. This is the email that was sent to everyone that had donated:

(names have been changed to Baby, Mom and Sister for privacy reasons)

“Dear Generous Donors,

In order to be as transparent as possible we are writing to each of you with a private update about Mom and Baby.

When Mom’s sister started the Go Fund Me campaign the intentions were to raise enough money for Mom to secure her own apartment. However, due to a change in circumstances, we need to ask your permission to apply the funds already raised to something else.

As you already know, the prospective adoptive parents involved DFS when Mom decided to parent. For this reason, they are checking in with her frequently to be sure everything is okay. Mom has a care plan in place and as long as everything goes smoothly she will successfully complete that plan.

As you also know, Mom’s sister generously opened her home to Mom. Without this it is almost certain that Baby would be in the care of DFS and Mom would be homeless. Because of Mom’s care plan, for now, Sister must be with Mom when she cares for the baby because [private].¬†This means Sister cannot work. Her fiance is pulling the weight, right now, for 7 children and 3 adults.

This is all temporary, but it is imperative that DFS see food in the refrigerator, utilities turned on, transportation to doctors appointments, and a functioning home environment.

We are writing today to ask if it is okay for the donations you supplied to be applied to something other than a security deposit and first month’s rent. There is a $600 electric bill and $400 car payment that needs to be made to avoid shut offs and repossessions. If the lights are shut off and the car is repossessed it is almost certain that Mom will lose Baby.

As far as a permanent plan, one is in place. Mom will be returning to work shortly and Sister, her sister, will be caring for Baby. Once Mom has successfully finished her care plan, she will be able to take more steps forward on the path to becoming entirely independent.

As stated before, we are writing to you to ask your permission, the donors, to use this money for these items. We want to maintain transparency and need you to know how appreciative we are for your generosity. It is because of you that this mother and baby are going to be able to remain together.

As this is an urgent matter, we request that you send an email to Wsbirthmom@gmail.com and include the following:

-The name you used to donate to Go Fund Me. If you donated anonymously please include it here.
-The amount you donated to Go Fund Me.
-If we have your permission to apply funds for expenses we mentioned, or if you would like your donation refunded. Depending on the timing of your response, we may be able to refund your donation via the Go Fund Me website. But, if we are not, please let us know if a PayPal refund could be sent or another means.

Saving Our Sisters will now only be handling direct donations for this mother through PayPal at Wsbirthmom@gmail.com

The deadline to pay the electric bill is by the end of the business day Monday. We are asking that a response be received by Monday morning, if possible.

Again, thank you all for your continued support of Mom and Baby. You are making a difference in the lives of a mother and child. We cannot do what we do without your support.

For continued updates on this case please see the Saving Our Sisters Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/adoptionS

Sincerely,

Saving Our Sisters
On Behalf of {sic} Mom”

We ran this by Mom and she gave the go ahead to send it out. We were hoping to gain the permission of the donors to use the money they had donated to pay the electric bill and car payment since this is not what the money being raised was supposed to go to. However, these were things that would indirectly benefit and help Mom, albeit not directly helping her as she would now have no money left from the fundraising for her own place. There are 2 reasons for doing things this way. 1) If anyone accused them or SOS of fraud we had a paper trail to show that wasn’t the case. 2) It was unlikely that the funds from Go Fund Me would be available, after transfer, before the electricity was set to be shut off. Because of this Lynn was going to have to, once again, use her own personal funds for the $600 electric bill. This time, however, she couldn’t afford not to be paid back. If the donors agreed, she would pay the electric bill out of her own money and recoup that and the car payment from the Go Fund Me funds. If the donors did not agree she would eat the $400 and process a refund to the donors. Honestly, we didn’t think anyone would have a problem with this but honesty and transparency has to be of the utmost importance here. We set out to log into the Go Fund Me page to gather the emails of those who had donated and found the passwords had been changed. We were unable to log into Go Fund Me or We Pay.

We questioned sister and mom about this. Mom claimed she has nothing to do with the Go Fund Me and it’s all on her sister. Sister said someone else must have changed passwords (insinuating SOS had) which was not the case. Eventually sister admitted she had changed the passwords and again questioned SOS motives. She wanted to know why we should manage the money that we had asked people to give. Lynn asked about the $400 she had given out of her own pocket based on trust and a mutual understanding and sister basically told her “too bad so sad.” We reiterated that we wanted to help mom but needed trust and cooperation from them. We reminded them that now our names were on this and if there were any accusations of fraud that we could help no other mothers in the future. We were still met with opposition. Finally, we told them that we did not want to have to contact the authorities but sister was forcing our hands as what they were doing DOES constitute fraud. The money raised was for an apartment and baby items. The money was going to be spent on car payments for sister and sister’s overdue electric bill. Reluctantly, and eventually, sister gave up the password. The email above was sent to all donors. We Pay was locked still because a code had been sent to sister’s phone in order to proceed in which she would not provide.

At this point it is assumed that sister has stopped the transfer of We Pay funds into Lynn’s account and that she is just out $400. We go into “damage control” mode in order to figure out a way to fix things so our donors still have faith in us since we have no way to account for how the money we asked for is going to be used. It is then that Lynn begins to get several text messages and phone calls from sister and mom.

As it turns out, We Pay did process the money from the account, per the original agreement between Lynn and sister (campaign manager). We were now being accused of stealing, scamming and fraud. The funds were not in the We Pay account but they are not yet in Lynn’s bank account either. Typically ACH transfers take 2-5 business days. I tell mom that we can still wait on the emails sent to donors to see if they’re okay with the payments being made and Lynn can still pay the electric bill tomorrow if they’re okay with that and recoup her costs from the Go Fund Me funds. This isn’t good enough. There were a whole slew of accusations and me reiterating much of the same stuff I’ve already said here. After going around and around with this mom tells me she wants to see proof of refunds to people who donated directly to SOS. SOS is a charity organization. If people donate and want their donations going to a specific mother, the money goes to that specific mother for items she needs at SOS discretion. This is how we operate. If donor wants a refund and no items for mom have been purchased with their donation we will comply. Typically, when someone donates directly to SOS and the money isn’t going to a certain mother they will ask that it be applied to the next mom in line. It is at this point that I gave up. After being accused of trying to scam a mother, when we are the ones who asked people to donate to her for baby items and an apartment, and being threatened with police and FBI it was decided that we would let the donors decide. If they wanted a refund of what they donated we would refund it. If they wanted it to go to Mom knowing it wasn’t going to an apartment we would do that too.

This is where we are currently. Working out what the donors want done with their money. In the mean time, Lynn is out $400. Her family is out $400. She will not be keeping that money from the Go Fund Me to cover this as that is not what people were donating for.

It really is a shame that some people would try to use the charity of others as a cash cow. I believe mom has no choice as her hands are literally tied. Sister is taking advantage of all this generosity. Where would they be had SOS not stepped in and asked people to give? A repossessed car and the lights turned off. Where will they be after this? The car payment is good for a few weeks and I’m not sure about the electricity. That depends on the donors. There is also a new portable crib coming via mail with sheets and baby clothes thanks to a good birthmom friend. Many other baby items were also mailed. Had we not stepped in they would not have these things and it really is a shame that anyone would try to discredit the work we do. This helps no one, including future moms. There has to be accountability for stuff like this. People don’t donate if they don’t trust that it will be used for what it says it will be used for.

In the future, we will not be dealing with or helping any moms with Go Fund Me accounts. Before receiving our assistance any campaigns like this will need to be taken down and donations will need to go directly through SOS to be managed.

I thank you all for your continued support with SOS. If you happened to be one of the one’s who donated via Go Fund Me look for that email.¬†(see update #2 at the beginning of this article) If you donated through SOS directly please contact Lynn to discuss what you would like done with your funds.

If anyone is interested in screen shots because they don’t believe what I’ve written I’d be happy to share. Shoot me or Lynn and email.

musingsofabirthmom@gmail.com

wsbirthmom@gmail.com

Clara’s Update; A Look at Other Families Saved by SOS; The Evolution of Open Adoption

Today I’m going to cover a few things, but they will all tie together and are all related to one another.

Last week I told you a story about a prospective adoptive parent who started a campaign of harassment, threats, and coercion against a new mother who had opted NOT to relinquish her child and instead parent. I wanted to let you all know that over $1200 was raised in Clara’s name to help her and other expectant mothers to parent their children. I am truly amazed by¬†the generosity of our community and how the efforts of all of us, for family preservation, have been so successful. I would like to share with you the receipt for Clara’s June rent in the name of accountability. Your money, your donations are going for exactly what they should be going for. Not ONE penny is used for anything else. 100% go directly to these families. Finding these moms, traveling, phone calls, fundraising – it is ALL done on a volunteer basis. We do not take ANY money that is donated.

check

Obviously we don’t want to show identifying information. We are still in the business of protecting these people since what we do is still considered “controversial.” Get a load of that. Helping mothers to parent their children successfully is what is controversial. When did this ever come to be? We’ll talk some more about that later. For now I would also like to share with you some other families Saving Our Sisters has helped over the past couple of years. To do so I’m going to ask you to click right HERE. Don’t worry, it will open up in a new tab or window so that you can continue to read the rest of this article.

Did you go to the link? Did you see all the smiling, unbroken families? This is why we do what we do. This is what your donations go for. (Right now the link is private but you are free to send Lynn Johansenn a friend request to view or see my collage made from some of the pictures below)

savingsisters

Where did we get to this place? This place where otherwise fit mothers were forever giving up their babies for financial reasons? We know that during the baby scoop era most women were literally forced to give up their children. Many (most?) came from nice upstanding families. While the women, themselves, did not have an income, their families would have been able to give the proper support for them to finish college and raise their child. This didn’t happen because of the shame a child out-of-wedlock would have branded the family with. So, instead of helping, these parents sent their daughters away to give birth alone and to have those babies taken and given to someone else. Threats and force ran a muck to make sure this happened. This is how we got the name “Baby Scoop Era.” It was literally a scooping of babies. (See more about my comparison on the baby scoop era and coercion era here)

Over time, laws were enacted, pregnancy out-of-wedlock became more socially acceptable and shame slowly became a moot point. No one was giving up their babies based on shame or force anymore, or at least in very rare circumstances. There was a transition period between the baby scoop era and the era of open adoption. This time period is where white newborn infants were slowly in decline while the demand for them continued to rise.

The adoption industry knew it had to do something.

This is where I will take some quotes from a NY Times article that was written on April 5, 1987 about adoption.

The article is entitled:

“ADOPTION MARKET: BIG DEMAND, TIGHT SUPPLY”

To summarize, the article goes into how the supply of healthy white newborns is on the decline while the demand for them is rising. The article cites the legalization of abortion and less stigma on pregnancy out-of-wedlock as the reasons. This is only half right, though. Let’s explore “less stigma,” shall we?

The article states, “According to the National Committee for Adoption, an association of 130 private adoption agencies, adoptions between unrelated people in the United States declined to 50,720, from 82,800, from 1971 through 1982, the last year for which complete data are available.” (Side note: why is there no longer any data kept?) 1971 -1982. The early 1970’s was about the end of the baby scoop era. Seeing as Roe vs. Wade was in 1973 I can see how adoption advocates would like to blame legalized abortion for the decline of infants available. I maintain that it was the END of the baby scoop era that facilitated this decline. My proof is the change of tactics from the industry. WHY did the baby scoop era end? This has nothing to do with legalized abortion. It has EVERYTHING to do with the cultural shift of acceptance of unwed mothers. No stigma, no shame. You are free to parent your child. And ever since this cultural shift there has been a rise in babies being born to unwed mothers. Even WITH legalized abortion.

Yes, less stigma means less women being forced into an adoption, does it not? What was that era called where shame and stigma were used to force a woman to hand over her baby? Oh yeah, the baby scoop era. So what happens when you can no longer shame women into giving up their babies? What do you do? You change the game plan. You offer them an “open adoption.” ¬†Let’s now focus on another article. This one is from the Chicago Tribune and was written December 15, 1985.

The title of this article is:

“When Adopted Children Know Their Roots”

This article focuses on the “radicalism” of open adoption during that time period and interviews one family with two adopted children in “open adoptions.” I use that term loosely, based on the article, because they really aren’t truly open adoptions but rather what would be considered a semi-closed adoption by today’s standards. There is no direct contact between the children and their natural parents.

“We were really worried about the number of children raised in this adoption-lie system, giving rise to adults now saying that it was their birth right to know what their parents looked like, what did they think, what did they feel,“ says Janet Cravens-Garner, the agency`s regional director.” This is a quote from Lutheran Social Services at the time. Let me point out, using today’s standards, that the reason she gives for starting to facilitate open adoption is, in my opinion, a lie. The adoption industry has fought, and is STILL fighting, for sealed records for adoptees. If they were so concerned about the adoptees rights then these agencies would be lobbying Congress for open records everywhere. Instead they fight it. No, the real reason they started offering open adoptions is because they could not get women to hand over their babies without the promise of knowing how they were doing. It was a tactic that began to become employed in an attempt to meet the demand of infertile couples everywhere. The supply wasn’t there and, as we learned earlier, was on a steady decline thanks to a cultural shift.

“By the end of the hour and a half meeting, Susan Dangerfield had charmed her. She was glad that Chris would have a father who would take him fishing.

‘It was kind of like a proud feeling, like I`d chosen the right family for him,’ she says. `I felt I wasn`t losing a son, I was gaining very close friends and some people who were really going to take care of Chris.”

This quote from the article. This one up here? This is the very definition of open adoption coercion. Susan Dangerfield, if you read the article, is the prospective adoptive parent. Chris is the newborn infant. Susan had managed to “charm” her and made the new mother feel, via the open adoption promise, that she could relinquish her son to Susan.

Open adoption coercion. Using the promises of contact to gain a child from a mother.

I did manage to find Susan Dangerfield on Facebook and am happy to report she does keep up friendships with both of her sons’ birthmothers (at least from what I can tell on her Facebook friends list). This still does not take away from the fact that open adoption was used to procure more infants that would probably, otherwise, be raised by their original families.

Open adoption coercion, since we are talking about that, leads me to another article. One I read today, a recent one.

“COURT UPHOLDS MOVE TO GIVE BABY TO BIOLOGICAL PARENTS IN OPEN ADOPTION GONE AWRY”

Written May 29, 2015.

The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that promises of an open adoption to a birthmother is a form of coercion.

In other words, if a woman is relinquishing her parental rights based on the promise of continued contact, and that contact is not carried out, or never was intended to be carried out, she has been COERCED out of her child.

I know this case rings particularly true for me. If I had not been promised an open adoption I would never had relinquished. I knew it wasn’t binding in court but I still believed that these were good people who would keep their word.

There it is, in writing. A legal precedent. THE SUPREME COURT OF NEBRASKA JUST RULED OPEN ADOPTION PROMISES, WITHOUT FULFILLMENT, IS COERCION.

And I quote, “Until the Legislature acts to approve of these open adoption arrangements ¬†in a private adoption context, this court will NOT recognize them.”

“Any agreements signed with the promise of an open adoption will remain invalid in the courts eyes.”

Are we finally recognizing that we have moved from forcing women to give up their babies to coercing them out of their babies? This is a BIG first.

How does all of this tie to Clara? Well, Clara didn’t fall for it. Clara was saved from the coercion of an “open adoption agreement.” Clara did not fall victim. The sad thing is that for everyone ONE Clara, there are thousands of other mothers who have no idea what they are about to embark on and believe the coercion. What Clara did was a #bravelove. She is courageous and selfless. I applaud ¬†you, Clara.

clara