Friday, December 12, 2014

An interview with Leland Morrill, Navajo adoptee

CLICK HERE: AMERICAN INDIAN ADOPTEES: My interview with Leland Morrill, Navajo adoptee (click)



Weaving a new life: My conversation with Dine adoptee Leland Morrill 

There was a reason Indian leaders went to the Senate in the 1970s...

Leland Morrill (Navajo) met recently with Chai Feldblum, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity  Commissioner (at left), to discuss the Real ID Act of 2005 and how it affects Native Americans who are adopted without an original birth certificate, census number, or certificate of Indian blood. Lack of documentation now affects employment, Morrill said, creating a sub-class of "former" US Citizens who are unable to get work without a state issued driver’s  license. Morrill, who is an adoptee, and Feldblum are writing an amendment and will present it to Real ID Act of 2005 author, Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin).”

Monday, November 17, 2014

Telling Our Stories

Becky shares her story and her mother's story in the new book Stolen Generations

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Book Review: Two Worlds, Called Home contributor Johnathan Brooks

Beacon Hill Training rated it 5 of 5 stars Good Reads
 
Johnathan Brooks (Cheyenne/Cree) Contributor to Called Home and Two Worlds
In the final countdown to BAAF National Adoption Week, I stumbled across a story on Twitter reported in the Kent and Sussex Courier about a Native American man adopted into a Western family in the mid 1960s. The article caught my attention, not only because of my interest in adoption but also because of the fascinating cultural implications of such a tale. Johnathan Brooks has contributed a chapter to the edited volume Two Worlds: Lost Children of the Adoption Projects, which I have now been able to read. Johnathan's is just one of several stories detailing the cultural assimilation of Native Americans into a wider American / Europe world, something about which I was previously unaware.

Johnathan was relinquished as a baby by his Native American mother and adopted by Countess Barbara von Bismarck-Schonhausen and her husband Hollywood publicist Steve Brooks. From a life of almost certain poverty in a Native American reservation, Johnathan was raised in London and received a progressive Steiner education in rural Sussex. As was 'the norm', Johnathan's history was effectively erased and he was issued with a new birth certificate. He was aware that he was adopted and was told almost by accident when his mother found him play-shooting the Indians who were 'baddies' in the Western movie he was watching.

Sadly, Johnathan's privileged upbringing was marred by his adoptive mother's mental health and addiction problems following the tragic deaths of her parents and sister. Johnathan felt that his relationship with her was always strained, perhaps due to the fact that he was not her biological son and she felt his place in her life was not necessarily permanent. This emotional distance was somewhat exacerbated by their lack of physical proximity; Johnathan lived with another family during term-time to prevent him from boarding at school.

Despite his adoption being almost taboo within the family (the main exceptions being when his birth mother was being disparaged), Johnathan's adoptive mother bought him a ticket to America when he was 21. He tells the story of his desire to trace his biological parents, juxtaposed with the ongoing routine of his life in England. I won't 'spoil' your enjoyment of this book by telling you much more, but it certainly is an engaging story and had me captivated.

As a human interest story, this one certainly is entrancing. But it serves more than that. Of course, given that the average age at adoption has significantly increased, there is less possibility to 'hush up' adoptions today. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that adoptive parents wouldn't do so if they felt able to, despite current thinking that honesty really is the best policy. The realities of adoption for both the adoptive parents and the children must be more thoroughly explored by the applicants and their social workers before the matching takes place. I'd suggest you try our previous blog post Opening the Eyes of Prospective Adopters for a real eye-opener about the realities of modern adoption.

Perhaps the more alarming aspect of Johnathan's story is the cultural assimilation (eradication?) of the Native American people in this period. The book as a whole contains many stories of 'transracial' adoptions where Indian children were raised by non-Indian families and their histories sealed by the government to prevent later re-entry into their tribes. The sad reality is that the children of this 'stolen generation' were removed, sometimes forcibly, in a methodical attempt at ethnic cleansing. The recent Nigerian baby exchange scandal shows just how easy child trafficking can be, preying on vulnerable people who simply wish to have a child. The popularity of international adoptions in the celebrity world has raised their profile and are often considered by people wishing to adopt a newborn. While ethnic compatibility is no longer considered the be-all-and-end-all of matching criteria (and certainly a stable and loving home should override this), I would certainly recommend that social workers and adoptive parents read this book to as a stark reminder of the damaging effects of closed adoptions and sealed birth records.

[Johnathan wrote an update in the new anthology CALLED HOME (book 2) Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects]

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Lost Birds on Al Jazeera Fault Lines

Cassandra, a producer at Fault Lines contacted Trace and others for this incredible sharing... LINK

Diane Tells His Name, Suzie Fedorko*, Julie Missing and Trace DeMeyer* are featured along with the first Lost Bird. The baby who survived the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 became known as Zintkala Nuni, or, in Lakota, "Lost Bird."

For more than one hundred years, U.S. policies and practices separated Native American children from their families. Prior to 1978, when the Indian Child Welfare Act went into effect, Native American children were regularly plucked from their homes and sent to live with non-Natives. Some children grew up surrounded by love; others suffered enormous hardships. Many had a powerful desire to reconnect with the culture that they had lost.
In "Lost Birds," we profile four adopted women who sought out their Native American roots. Read the stories of how each woman came to discover and connect with her true heritage. - from the Al Jazeera website

* Trace and Suzie are contributors and writers in the new anthology CALLED HOME: Book 2: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects. Diane Tells His Name is a contributor in the anthology TWO WORLDS (Book 1)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

CALLED HOME anthology: #BABYVERONICA case a part of our Lost Birds history

NEW EDITION!!!

We have removed the first edition - it's now a collector's item. Out of print...

By Editor Trace L. Hentz (posted here)

2014:  We have a new baby -- the brand new anthology CALLED HOME [Book Two: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects].

Whew - it took way more than nine months to make this baby!

I do treat books like babies, giving them love and attention while they grow. Eventually I let the book go off and travel on its own.  It's not hard to watch it travel to new hands and lands.

The 49 writers in this new anthology (plus one poet who is not an adoptee) didn't spare us any details of what it was like growing up outside of their culture and trying to fit back in. They are not "angry bitter" but changed by their experience of being adopted outside their culture and tribal families. (Many were small children and separated from their siblings too. This is heartbreaking to read.) Finding your way back is usually the most challenging part, then come the reunions!  Generations of families were affected and adoption does change all of us. That is the dilemma: adoptees feel we don't know enough to fit back in but we have to be back HOME to re-learn what we missed!

Writing personal experience actually heals you in many ways. The changes I have noticed in the writers in TWO WORLDS (up to now) is significant.  Each has grown more secure in themselves, most are still in reunions, and they have developed a unique voice as gifted writers! Some new adoptees had never been asked to share these personal details and for some, yes, writing was scary.

There is no shortage of talent in Native Americans, and these writers are from across North American (and one Lost Bird is from Ireland via Newfoundland and another is a LAKOTA living in Germany.) As much as I have changed in the past 10 years, you will see that clearly in the updates from Two World anthology adoptees in part two of CALLED HOME.

We cover topics like DNA tests, Baby Veronica (in depth), the movie PHILOMENA, Stolen Generations (60s Scoop history) and historical news like OPERATION PAPOOSE, one of Arnold Lyslo's Indian Adoption Projects.

My husband was saying that the book press release needs to interest people who are not adopted.  He said lots of people have difficulties being with their own family members.  That is definitely true.
So is the question: will the general public care to know that thousands of American Indian and First Nations children were adopted out to white families prior to the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978??  Will they care not every adoption was magical or perfect?  Will they care that adoptees have opinions about their own experiences and the BABY V case which stunned many of us Lost Birds?  Do Americans and others want to know what happened to the LOST BIRDS in this adoption history? That remains to be seen.

As a matter of record, every adoptee in CALLED HOME wanted to find and reunite with their tribal relatives. These are mini-biographies with twists and turns and so much courage!

Part Three, there is a section in the book for adoptees who are still searching and have been told that one or both birthparents are Native American.

They are all excellent essays, so I cannot begin to choose a favorite but Levi's THE HOLOCAUST SELF will definitely stop you in your tracks. It applies to many humans who are marginalized, but especially Native Americans and adoptees in general.

Co-Editor Patricia Busbee's introduction in the book is brilliant and heart-wrenching as she shares her reunion with siblings and shares pieces of the past in her adoptive mother's diary.
Here's an excerpt from a new writer Cynthia Lammers (who has found she has 5 brothers and they are Lakota.)
Cynthia1970
...My case worker told me I had to write a letter to my birth mother, explaining why I wanted to know her. I did this and sent it to her. Then I had to do some legal paperwork for the State of Nebraska and pay $15 to have it processed. Then I later received a phone call from my case worker, telling me to come to Omaha on a certain date. That I was not to come alone, to have a friend or family member come with me. My best friend Susan went with me to Omaha. We had no idea what this was about to happen? Was I finally going to meet my birth mother? We arrived at the address that I was given at the time they told us to be there. We were at a College Campus, in a classroom, filled with about 50- 60 people, sitting at round tables with 6-8 people at each table. We ate lunch. Then a Native American man started the meeting with a prayer. Then several different Native men and woman got up to speak, each one telling a story about their lives. The strange thing was, almost every story was almost the same about how they grew up and who they grew up with. Native people growing up in white families. We were all adopted. We all had alcoholic mothers who couldn’t take care of us. We all felt lost at some point in our lives and maybe some of us still did. We all had questions about who we really were.   What was our Indian Culture or Heritage about, we didn’t know. Were we all related? Probably not, I thought to myself.   Then suddenly, it hit me, I turned and looked at my caseworker from the Children’s Home. She had tears running down her face. I said to her, “You have been lying to me all these years, haven’t you?” She began to cry. I began to cry. Once I got myself back together, I told her it probably wasn’t her fault, that she was just doing her job. She’d been telling me what she was told to tell me..."
I am honored to be in this anthology too.  The new book CALLED HOME (ISBN: 978-0692245880, $12.96) is on Amazon NOW.  The e-book version will be on Kindle and all the e-readers in the next week or so.   We have a Media Blog here with a link to buy the book on Create Space or Amazon.
Help us get the word out and tell your friends. Patricia and I and all the adoptees in this book are available for interviews, too.

As I wrote in the Preface:
"For Lost Birds/adoptees coming after us, when they find this new book and the earlier anthology TWO WORLDS, adoptees themselves documented this history and evidence.  We have created a roadmap, a resource for new adoptees who will wish to journey back to their First Nations and understand exactly what happened and why.  There is no doubt in my mind that adoption changes us, clouds the mind and steals years of our lives, but there is something non-Indians can never steal and that is our dreams and the truth we are resilient!”
From my heart to yours, I am so grateful to be able to do this work.  Mitakuye Oyasin (We are All Related) and Megwetch (THANK YOU)....Trace/Lara

Facebook: CALLED HOME LOST CHILDREN (please click like if you visit)

MEDIA BLOG: http://lostchildrencalledhome.blogspot.com/ (lots more details there if you are interested!)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Book Contributors

We are honored that these adoptees (or relatives of adoptees) contributed to the 2nd edition of CALLED HOME:



Suzie Fedorko, Andrea Hill,
Anecia O'Carroll,    Ben Ani Chosa,
Cynthia Lammers,  Debby Poitras,  Elizabeth Blake,
Evelyn Red Lodge,   Gail Huggard,
Janell Black Owl,   Jessup Fasthorse Neubert,
Janell Loos,    Joan Kauppi,
Johnathan Brooks,   Lawrence Sampson,
Leland Morrill,  
Kim Shuck,    Mark Heiser,
Mary St. Martin,   Meschelle Linjean,
Patrick Yeakey,   Terry Niska,
Thomas Pierce,   Samantha Franklin,
Alice Diver,    Leland Morrill,
Patricia Busbee (editor),      Trace Hentz (editor),
Starla Bilyeu,    Douglas LittleJohn,
Mitzi Lipscomb
Karen Kaminawaish M.A., M.S.,
Thayla Barrett,    Jesse Stonefield
,

Karen Ann Jefferson,    Levi EagleFeather,
Brit Reed,   Catie Ransom,
Lisa Bos,   Drew Rutledge,
Michael Pintozzi,   
Amelia Cagle   
 


Friday, June 27, 2014

BOOK LAUNCH: Called Home: Book Two

OUT OF PRINT
 

List Price: $12.96
6" x 9" (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
358 pages
Blue Hand Books
ISBN-13: 978-0692245880 (Custom)
ISBN-10: 069224588X
BISAC: History / Native American
An important contribution to American Indian history told by its own lost children/adult survivors…
 

An impressive second anthology of American Indian and First Nations adoptee narratives... Editors Patricia Busbee and Trace A. DeMeyer are writers and adoptees who reunited with their own lost relatives. From recent news about Baby Veronica to history like Operation Papoose, this book examines how Native American adoptees and their families experienced adoption and were exposed to the genocidal policies of governments who created Indian adoption projects.
+++++++++++++++
One quarter of all Indian children were removed from their families and placed in non-Indian adoptive and foster homes or orphanages, as part of the Indian Adoption Projects….. One study found that in sixteen states in 1969, 85 percent of the Indian children were placed in non-Indian homes.
Where are these children now?
 

+++++++++++++++
This new anthology “CALLED HOME” and the earlier work “TWO WORLDS: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects” are very important contributions to American Indian history. The editors Trace A. DeMeyer and Patricia Busbee, both adoptees, found other Native adult survivors of adoption and asked them to write a narrative. In the part one of Called Home, adoptees share their unique experience of living in Two Worlds, feeling CALLED HOME, surviving assimilation via adoption, opening sealed adoption records, and in most cases, a reunion with tribal relatives. Adoptees who wrote in Two Worlds provide updates in part two. In part three, adoptees still searching for their families share their birth information, date and location. Recent history about the Supreme Court case involving Baby Veronica and The New Normal: DNA is also covered by co-editor Trace DeMeyer.
The new anthology CALLED HOME offers even more revelations of this hidden history of Indian child removals in North America, their impact on Indian Country and how it impacts the adoptee and their entire family.
These unforgettable accounts of Native American adoptees will certainly challenge beliefs in the positive outcomes of closed adoptions in the US and Canada and exposes the genocidal policies of governments who created Indian adoption projects.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lost Children Book Series

We ask you to tell your local library to please carry our book. It is available on Amazon expanded distribution and available through Ingram and Baker and Taylor.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

For Immediate Release: CALLED HOME published



CALLED HOME
 (Vol. 2) Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects   SECOND EDITION

An important contribution to American Indian history is told by its own lost children/adult survivors


An impressive second anthology of American Indian and First Nations adoptee narratives... Editors Patricia Cotter-Busbee and Trace A. DeMeyer are writers and adoptees who reunited with their own lost relatives.  From recent news about Baby Veronica to history like Operation Papoose, this book examines how adoptees and their families experienced adoption and exposes the genocidal policies of governments who created Indian adoption projects. 

One quarter of all Indian children were removed from their families and placed in non-Indian adoptive and foster homes or orphanages, as part of the Indian Adoption Projects….. One study found that in sixteen states in 1969, 85 percent of the Indian children were placed in non-Indian homes.
Where are these children now?

This new anthology “CALLED HOME: Stolen Generations” and the earlier work “TWO WORLDS: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects” are very important contributions to American Indian history.  The editors Trace A. DeMeyer and Patricia Busbee, both adoptees, found other Native adult survivors of adoption and asked them to write a narrative.  In the part one of Called Home, adoptees share their unique experience of living in Two Worlds, feeling CALLED HOME, surviving assimilation via adoption, opening sealed adoption records, and in most cases, a reunion with tribal relatives.  Some share their mothers and grandmothers story.  Adoptees who wrote in Two Worlds provide updates in part two.  In part three, adoptees still searching for their families share their birth information, date and location.  Recent history about the Supreme Court case involving Baby Veronica and The New Normal: DNA is also covered by co-editor Trace DeMeyer.
The new anthology CALLED HOME offers even more revelations of this hidden history of Indian child removals in North America, their impact on Indian Country and how it impacts the adoptee and their families.
Since 2004, DeMeyer was writing her historical biography “One Small Sacrifice.”  She met adoptees after stories were published about her work.  In 2008, she began to ask adoptees to send her their narratives.  Many more adoptees were found after “One Small Sacrifice” had its own Facebook page and DeMeyer’s blog on American Indian Adoptees started in 2009.  In 2010, Trace was introduced to Patricia and asked her to co-edit both books Called Home and Two Worlds which are the first books to expose in first-person detail the adoption practices that have been going on for years under the guise of caring for destitute Indigenous children.  Very little was known or published on this history using closed adoptions as a tool of assimilation and ancestral genocide.
These unforgettable accounts of Native American adoptees will certainly challenge beliefs in the positive outcomes of closed adoptions in the US and Canada and exposes the genocidal policies of governments who created Indian adoption projects.

As DeMeyer writes in the Preface:

"For Lost Birds/adoptees coming after us, when they find this new book and the earlier anthology TWO WORLDS, adoptees themselves documented this history and evidence.  We have created a roadmap, a resource for new adoptees who will wish to journey back to their First Nations and understand exactly what happened and why.  There is no doubt in my mind that adoption changes us, clouds the mind and steals years of our lives, but there is something non-Indians can never steal and that is our dreams and the truth we are resilient!”

Publisher: Blue Hand Books
www.bluehandbooks.org

 

Excerpt:


“Then several different Native men and woman got up to speak, each one telling a story about their lives.  The strange thing was, almost every story was almost the same about how they grew up and who they grew up with.  Native people growing up in white families.  We were all adopted.  We all had alcoholic mothers who couldn’t take care of us.  We all felt lost at some point in our lives and maybe some of us still did.  We all had questions about who we really were.   What was our Indian Culture or Heritage about, we didn’t know.  Were we all related?  Probably not, I thought to myself.   Then suddenly, it hit me, I turned and looked at my caseworker from the Children’s Home.  She had tears running down her face.  I said to her, “You have been lying to me all these years, haven’t you?”  She began to cry.  I began to cry.  Once I got myself back together, I told her it probably wasn’t her fault, that she was just doing her job.  She’d been telling me what she was told to tell me.” - Cynthia Lammers (Dakota)

(We lost our friend Cynthia in 2017)

AMERICAN INDIAN ADOPTEES

  • www.splitfeathers.blogspot.com
  • www.bluehandbooks.org
  • www.laratracehentz.wordpress.com