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Lost Children Book Series

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Adoptions threaten culture #SNAICC

Any move to have Aboriginal children adopted by non-Indigenous families would be a backward step, according to Australia’s peak body representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
SNAICC (National Voice for Our Children) chairwoman Sharron Williams, a Narungga-Kaurna woman based in Adelaide, said all children needed to be safe and cared for but Aboriginal children shouldn’t be separated from their kin and culture.

Ms Williams’ comments came as federal Children’s Minister David Gillespie said permanent adoptions should play a role in finding new homes for abused or neglected Aboriginal children, including adoptions with non-Indigenous families.

Debate on the issue has raged following the alleged rape of a two-year-old girl in the Northern Territory town of Tennant Creek.

Mr Gillespie has described the situation as a child protection “crisis”.

Ms Williams told NIT this week that before upping adoptions, more work needed to be put into helping parents, families and communities care for their children.

“We don’t believe Aboriginal children should lose connection to culture through adoption,” Ms Williams said.

“We know from our history that (approach) has created some enormous problems with our children losing connection to their country, their culture and in many instances their community.”

Asked if she thought non-Indigenous families should be able to adopt Indigenous children, Ms Williams said: “I don’t think they should.”

She said in most states and territories adoption was not an option, but permanent and stability placement was.

“In most states, non-Aboriginal people can become foster carers of Aboriginal children and that happens and in those instances cultural connect plans and stability plans are developed for individual children in care,” she said.

“But adoption is one of those areas where it doesn’t happen.

“I know there is work happening in New South Wales where there is a push to go down the road of adoption.

“I’m unsure how far that’s got, but in South Australia that isn’t something that is on the drawing board.”

Need to look at underlying poverty

Ms Williams said more resources needed to be put into addressing the poverty in Aboriginal families, the lack of employment, difficulties with housing, access to early childhood services and health programs.

“I think if they were better addressed for our communities, we would have a far greater response to better parenting (and) building stronger and more resilient communities, therefore less children would be removed.”

Northern Territory Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation head Eileen Cummings said a bridging program was needed to help keep children who were removed from their homes for their own safety connected with their families, communities and culture and to also help the communities grieving the loss of the children.

“We don’t want the children at risk to be left in their home environment unless there is a safety net there somewhere,” she said.

“But what we want is programs for the parents and the community as well.

“A lot of them are upset because the children are being removed, but you can’t leave them if they are not safe.”

Ms Cummings said when her corporation worked with women who were being subjected to domestic violence, one of the shelters ran an outreach program so that women could work to revisit their families and reconnect with their children.

“I thought that was a good way of reconnecting the parents back with the children because I don’t want our children to lose their identity as young Aboriginal people,” she said.

Children need better home environments

The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples said in a statement vulnerable children should be removed, but they needed to be going to a better place.

“We are troubled by the knowledge from past Royal Commissions of the dangers of neglect and abuse perpetrated within institutions and of the failures of many out-of-home-care alternatives,” it said.

“We desperately need to know where we are removing our children to.

“Their new environment must allow them to thrive.

“Countless Aboriginal children who have missed out on care and support have already been ‘removed’ – they are currently in juvenile detention centres and jails.

“These are the children failed by support ‘programs’, failed by distant policy-makers, failed by families in over-crowded houses and failed by communities where local control and self-determination have been frustrated.”

Meanwhile, more than 100 people last week protested outside Channel Seven’s Sydney headquarters following a segment on Seven’s Sunrise program in which an all-white panel discussed the proposed removal of Indigenous children through an adoption scheme.

The program subsequently revisited the topic with a panel of Indigenous experts, but ignored calls for an apology,

It said it blocked out the protestors with a generic backdrop last week.

“We respect the right to protest as much as we respect the right of free speech,” a Seven spokesperson said.

“Some of the group was holding offensive signage and some began banging on the window and mouthing obscenities.

“To ensure regulatory compliance, and bearing in mind the potential for young children to be watching, the decision was made to utilise a generic backdrop.”

Wendy Caccetta

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Body Remembers

New research reveals that trauma experienced in childhood has long-term damaging effects on quality of life and lifespan. But the same research shows that adults play a critical role in helping children overcome this damage.

READ: The Body Remembers | On Being

Here’s a quick experiment about your past that will tell you a vast amount about your future.
Check all that apply:
  • Did you experience recurrent emotional abuse as a kid?
  • Physical?
  • Sexual?
  • Did you experience physical neglect?
  • Emotional neglect?
  • Did anyone in your childhood home have substance abuse issues?
  • Did anyone struggle with mental illness?
  • Did anyone participate in criminal behavior and/or go to jail?
  • Was your mother ever treated violently?
  • Did you experience divorce or parental separation?
How many checks do you have? This is what clinicians call your ACE score. It stands for “adverse childhood experiences” and study after study has confirmed that it has a huge influence on your lifetime health. For starters: The life expectancy of individuals with ACE scores of six or more is twenty years shorter than it is for people with no ACEs. And a person with four or more ACEs is twice as likely to develop heart disease and cancer.

Editor Note: Being adopted is high stress, too. We have posted about ACE on this blog - use the search bar.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

FREE test for adoptees - apply now - by APRIL 30

MyHeritage has launched a new pro bono initiative to help adoptees and their birth families reunite through genetic testing. We are providing 15,000 MyHeritage DNA kits, worth more than one million dollars, for free, to eligible participants.

Who is eligible?

Participation in this project is open to adoptees seeking to find their biological family members, and to parents and other family members looking for a child they had placed in adoption years ago. Preference will be given to people who are not able to afford genetic testing. Leveraging the power of genetic genealogy opens new doors in the search for relatives, and we believe everyone should be able to access this valuable technology.
Applications are open until April 30, 2018. Apply Now

National database for First Nations adoptees | #60s Scoop Peer Support Line #NISCW

60s Scoop

Eleanore Sunchild, a Cree lawyer who specializes in Aboriginal law and has represented Sixties Scoop adoptees, says, "a lot of times, they were so young they don't remember their family, they don't know what community they come from or even what tribe they belong to."

Sunchild says that loss of Indigenous identity coupled with separation from family is often devastating.

"The whole loss of being raised in a different home and not exactly knowing why, why they were removed — there's something wrong with them? Or was there something wrong with their family? And in a lot of instances it was just because of the policy that was in place at the time," she said.
Kicknosway says some people don't necessarily want to return to their communities.
She says they "only want to know they belong somewhere" and "have validation that they were alive" and that maybe someone missed them when they were taken away.
Author and Sixties Scoop survivor Raven Sinclair, an associate professor of social work at the University of Regina, has written extensively on the subject. She is in the midst of a five-year study with the aim of creating a national database of adoptees.
Her goal is to create a network that can provide practical, long-term support similar to what is available to some of the people affected by the residential school system.
Eleanore Sunchild
Cree lawyer Eleanore Sunchild, who represents survivors of the Sixties Scoop, says it's hard for adoptees to track down their biological families because many of them were so young when they were taken that they don't remember any details about their relatives or their community. (Connie Walker/CBC News)

"An adoptee you know here in town could call up a therapist who's been approved by us ... and get some help," she said. "For some, it's been a lifetime of abuse, so it's going to take a long time for them to recover."

NISCW has set up a toll-free number to help adoptees searching for family connections and to provide peer support.

Meet Melissa Olsen | Stolen Childhoods

The Indian Adoption Project (IAP), which resulted in the out-of-home placement of many Native American children, lasted from 1958 through 1967. It emerged during the U.S. federal government’s ‘Termination Policy’ that sought to assimilate Native tribes into the larger American fabric “as rapidly as possible.” This meant removal of federal protection of tribes and tribal lands and the transfer of civil and criminal jurisdiction to the states, affecting laws around “social services, child welfare, probate, those kinds of civil matters,” Melissa says.

“You’re telling me this thing I’ve lived all these years has a history and that history includes some policy and that policy has been unknown to me? I’m a second year PhD student. To be at that level of study and for that to just be known, it still floors me.”
 Source: Meet Melissa Olson | Pollen - Pollen
Stolen Childhoods, an audio documentary written by Melissa Olson, Ryan Katz, and Todd Melby aired during the Listening Lounge and Truth to Tell. You can listen to the podcast below.

To support the project, visit their
GiveMN page.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Indian Child Welfare Act attacks are a threat to tribes #ICWA

High Country News
This week, High Country News published a story by reporter Allison Herrera detailing a conservative think tank’s efforts to dismantle the Indian Child Welfare Act, an adoption law that turns 40 this year. The 1978 act was created to prevent the separation of Native children from their families and communities through adoptions, to “protect the best interests of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families.”
Groups like the Goldwater Institute that push for the elimination of ICWA are, intentionally or not, contributing to the continued attack on Native existence.
Such groups have attempted to capitalize on misinformation and stereotypes as a way to undermine ICWA. But ignoring the rights of tribes as both governments and as peoples to protect their culture not only ignores sovereignty, an all-too-common practice these days, it also overlooks, quite callously, generations of historical trauma.
Note from Trace Hentz
I am so grateful to Graham for writing this article and interviewing me and others on the topic of ICWA and keeping adoptees in the news. When I spoke to him, it hit me that I wrote the article for Indian Country Today in 2013 and very little has changed. other than Goldwater trying to end the important much-needed federal law Indian Child Welfare Act.

Right now, ICWA is the law, but legal challenges against it continue.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Finding Cleo: CBC podcast solves decades-old mystery of Saskatchewan girl lost in Sixties Scoop

Siblings separated in Sixties Scoop had been searching for sister for decades when they turned to CBC for help


A patchwork of information suggested Cleo Semaganis Nicotine had been killed decades ago while trying to make her way back to Saskatchewan from her adoptive family in the U.S., but no one knew for sure what happened until CBC News began looking into the case.

Source: Finding Cleo: CBC podcast solves decades-old mystery of Saskatchewan girl lost in Sixties Scoop - CBC News | Indigenous

Monday, March 5, 2018

Grandmothers on front lines of opiate crisis need to be heard and helped #ICWA

In Indian country, opiates and heroin are called dark spirits.

“...When you are in the throes of opiate addiction, it now owns your soul,” he added. “Pharmaceuticals was the gateway to addiction for our elders, and now some are experiencing addiction at 60, 70, 80 years old who had led a clean and traditional life but were prescribed without being told they were going to have a dependency problem.”

Meanwhile, the rate of drug-related out-of-home child placements in general in Minnesota has skyrocketed.

Of the 7,595 children placed into out-of-home care in Minnesota in 2016, parental drug abuse was cited as the primary reason in nearly 28 percent of cases. Of those 1,478 children covered under the Indian Child Welfare Act, 588, or about 40 percent, were removed for the primary reason of parental drug abuse, according to Department of Human Services data.
Nearly 90 percent of ICWA children, regardless of the reasons for removal, were placed with a relative while in out-of-home care.

READ: Rosario: Grandmothers on front lines of opiate crisis need to be heard and helped – Twin Cities

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

#AdoptionArmy | A Generation Removed #ICWA

Here's an older post (2014)  still relevant today:

An excerpt:

Margaret Jacobs’s new book, A Generation Removed, provides a thoroughly documented and heart wrenching account of good intentions gone wrong, both in education and in child welfare. Jacobs’s specialization is women’s history, particularly the interactions between Indigenous and white women in settler nations such as the United States, Canada, and Australia. I appreciate Jacobs’ stance as a scholar all the more because she is a white feminist historian who is able to cast a critical eye on the contradictory roles often played by women of European descent. It was from reading Jacobs’s earlier work that I first encountered the Maternalism movement: the proto-feminist reformers of their day who asserted female authority and expertise (before American women could vote or hold elected office) into the public spheres usually reserved for male leadership.

Jacobs’s previous work, White Mother to a Dark Race: Settler Colonialism, Maternalism, and the Removal of Indigenous Children in the American West and Australia, 1880-1940, is a massive scholarly tome. I drew on this work for my keynote remarks to the 2013 KAAN (Korean American Adoptee Adoptive Family Network) conference and at AAC (American Adoption Congress) 2014. White Mother to a Dark Race is a valuable resource, particularly for researchers with an interest in the origins of public school teaching and the social work profession. Having said that, White Mother is quite weighty and not nearly as accessible to lay readers as her latest book, A Generation Removed.

Jacobs’s new book provides highly personal accounts that help readers to make sense of the social reform experiments in Indian child welfare and education from the perspective of the Native women who lost their children in the process.

Those of us wondering what can be done in contemporary times to halt the widespread practice of family disruption still perpetuated by the adoption industry will gain inspiration from the chapter explaining how the Indian Child Welfare Act came into existence in the 1970s. This largely untold story may also inspire activists who want to interrupt the vulture-like “baby lifts” in impoverished communities around the globe that search for “orphans” for the marketplace of adoption. Readers will learn not only the faulty reasoning that leads popular opinion-shapers such as television’s Dr. Phil (who sympathized with the Capobiancos, the adoptive parents in the Baby Veronica case) to characterize ICWA as a racist law. Readers will also learn how the valiant efforts of a committed group of researchers, child welfare practitioners, and first/birthmothers combined to create an effective coalition to get ICWA passed in order to protect Indian families.

Key to that process, as Jacobs documents meticulously through archival records and interviews with key players, was the construction of a counter narrative that challenged the public perceptions of Indian mothers as unfit parents and drunk welfare dependents who didn’t love their children.  While not denying the problems plaguing many Native communities, such as alcohol addiction, child neglect and abuse, and poverty, Jacobs offers a more nuanced and complete portrait of Indigenous families and their struggles to raise children by maintaining extended family ties, drawing on the cultural traditions that had been systematically attacked dating back to the Great Indian Wars. The struggle for extended family integrity is all the more remarkable and poignant, given the subsequent onslaught of well-meaning educators in the boarding schools that for a lengthy period preached the inferiority of Native ways and tried to replace them with superior Euro-American, Christian ways.

Another way of putting it is this: There is no “post-adoption” until we have ended adoption, once and for all. Just as the boarding school experiment for Native American children has been discredited as genocidal, just as the Indian Adoption Program has been disbanded (you can read about its rise and fall in A Generation Removed), so too, I anticipate that the transracial and transnational adoption experiments will be replaced by a much more just and humane practice that is less about the business of selling children (and in the process, disrupting extended families of color), and more about ensuring justice and care for the most needy and vulnerable—namely, poor women of color and their children around the world.


John Raible has written a breathtaking article on how "child removal" affects us adoptees both past and present...It is true Margaret Jacobs has broken new ground in history with her new book A GENERATION REMOVED, and it's brilliant. It takes time to digest. After editing and writing four books on this topic myself, we have made HUGE STEPS in creating awareness of the Indian Adoption Projects and Programs that were genocidal in intent and purpose... We are living proof as American Indian Adoptees that we are resilient....Trace

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Adoption is trauma

 I am so sorry to read a tweet like this but it is the reality we face as adoptees... Trace

Monday, February 12, 2018

South Dakota's Federal #ICWA Ruling Heads To 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

The Indian Child Welfare Act lawsuit filed in Rapid City's federal court almost five years ago is going to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel is hearing oral arguments in St. Paul, Minn., on Tuesday, Feb. 12.

In March 2013, the Rosebud and Oglala Sioux Tribes, as well as tribal parents, brought suit against state officials in Pennington County. They claim the process for handling abuse and neglect cases routinely violates ICWA and due process rights.

After two years of litigation, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Viken found for the plaintiffs and ordered changes in the way emergency placements are handled. Immediate appeals were filed by the Seventh Circuit presiding judge, the Pennington County State's Attorney, and the state Department of Social Services. SDPB's Victoria Wicks has this story.

LISTEN AT LINK: South Dakota's Federal ICWA Ruling Heads To 8th Circuit Court of Appeals | SDPB Radio

Friday, January 19, 2018

Native Americans Confront the Legacy of #Adoption

Groups help ease transition back into families, tribes

Conrad Eagle Feather, a Sicangu Lakota, was only three when he was taken from the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota and adopted by a non-Native farming family in the state of Nebraska. His three sisters were removed to separate families.
He recalls a childhood with little joy.
“They used us for farm labor,” he said, detailing a list of chores that began before dawn and continued until bedtime. He said he still bears the scars of physical abuse.
“For every sin I had committed according to the Bible, I got one strike with whatever they had in their hands at the time — a garden hose, a broom handle, a wire hanger,” he said. “And all the time, they used to tell me, ‘Who knows what would have happened to you if we hadn’t saved you?’”

READ STORY: Native Americans Confront the Legacy of Adoption

Every. Day.

Every. Day.
adoptees take back adoption narrative and reject propaganda

To Veronica Brown

Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.


National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network (NISCWN)

Membership Application Form

The Network is open to all Indigenous and Foster Care Survivors any time.

The procedure is simple: Just fill out the form HERE.

Source Link: NICWSN Membership

Read this SERIES

Read this SERIES
click image


As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.”
The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.

Our Fault? (no)