When NBC commentator Al Trautwig felt it necessary to point out that U.S. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles' parents are biologically her grandparents, some on Twitter pushed back. Trautwig briefly dug in, tweeting "They may be mom and dad but they are NOT her parents.", then deleted the tweet and apologized. Cece Lederer of the Daily Dot says that this is just another example of how we still don't know how to talk about adoption.
Stealing Hope: A longread series from the Charleston Post & Courier on a group of "emotional scammers" preying on increasingly desperate adoptive parents. (Design Warning: All Links Contain Autoplaying Animations)
At thirteen, a neglectful foster system tore me from the only woman I ever wanted to call “Mom.” Decades later I tracked her down and finally got my happy ending.
A growing number of parents in Illinois who are unable to access necessary mental health treatment through Medicaid are voluntarily abandoning custody to the state so their children can get the care they need for severe mental illness. [more inside]
An Open Letter To Supergirl Stars Melissa Benoist and Chyler Leigh, From An Adoptive Mom: "But it’s our oldest daughter that has gained the most from Supergirl. She identifies strongly with Kara Danvers. Like Kara, our girl has long blonde hair; she wears glasses; she was adopted. And just as Kara does, our girl misses her first family, and she struggles with feeling alien at times." (Spoilers for season 1 of the CBS TV series Supergirl.) [more inside]
How smart animal shelters aim for zero kill. Some shelters are euthanizing far fewer animals than others, and it's not because they have more funding: they're adopting different, smarter practices, including feline Trap-Neuter-Return, emphasizing spay and neuter in communities, encouraging owner retention, and making adoptions easier. Initiatives like Target Zero and The Million Cat Challenge help make it possible for cities achieve greater live-release rates. "In five years, Jacksonville’s shelter went from saving less than 30 percent of its animals to saving 90 percent, including many more dogs than before."
“Black Folk Don’t...” is an open conversation that invites everyone to take a second look at the grey areas between us all, no matter the race, and most importantly to do it with a sense of humor. This documentary web series is a special presentation of BlackPublicMedia.org, directed and produced by Angela Tucker, with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Did you know that black folk don't… [more inside]
The Fort of Young Saplings: Vanessa Veselka writes about family, the ownership of stories, and the meaning of military victory (or its absence) in the context of her father's adoption by the Kiks.ádi. (Veselka previously and previously, caution on the latter for sexual violence.)
The Badeau family have adopted over twenty children over the course of their marriage, spurred on by a mix of religion and a desire to help those who have no one left to turn to.
Georgia Tann was an influential adoption advocate who popularized adoption in the US from 1920s to the 1950s. She arranged adoptions for movie stars like Joan Crawford and Lana Turner and essentially devised the modern closed adoption. But Tann's babies were not necessarily unwanted, and in fact she frequently stole them from poor parents or told parents their children were dead. Worse, the children in her care were often neglected or abused, and Tann would adopt children to anyone with the money to pay her exorbitant fees. Remarkably, Tann's legacy of corruption, neglect, and child theft went unremarked until after her death.
"It took me eighteen weeks to heal. I never did manage to breastfeed properly, either gross incompetence on my part or possibly my body deciding: what the fuck, man. My hair went grey. I didn’t try to ask for support, at least until I started showing PTSD symptoms and developed Postpartum Psychosis. The experience had taught us that I was essentially disposable, and I didn’t trust the hospital enough to return. I sought help from other services instead. I heard voices, ringing in empty rooms. I heard constant crying while the baby was asleep." [more inside]
NYC Public Advocate Letitia James and 10 children in foster care have filed a federal class action lawsuit [PDF, trigger warning] against the child welfare agencies of New York City and New York State, alleging "that the city’s Administration for Children’s Services fails to provide the services, planning and caseworker training to help children find permanent families before they suffer irreparable harm".
"For my mother and women like her, now in the final chapters of their lives, people crave a narrative that forces adoption as the only possible solution." "Overwhelmingly then, adoptive parents, like myself, decide how the mothers who birthed our children should be perceived." [more inside]
Kate Mulgrew tells the Chicago Tribune's Heidi Stevens about giving her daughter up for adoption and reconnecting 20 years later (Video). [more inside]
"It's completely alone," I said. That baby, that poor baby. What had it done? "Nobody is coming for it."A meditation on adoption, heartbreak, and healing, by Sarah Church Baldwin for The Rumpus: Build-A-Bear.
Softly she asked, "Would it be OK if we called it 'her'?"
It was then as though my therapist's finger grew very long. It arced through the air, crossing the space between us, and touched my chest, the tip of it pressing into my heart, and my body collapsed around it, folded in on itself from pain, the worst pain I had ever felt because it had no source. I was the pain. I saw that baby on her back, alone, and I understood that she was me. In that moment I was flooded—intellectually, emotionally, physically—by the very knowledge I had so long barricaded myself against: that someone had given birth to me. And worse: that I had not been fit to keep.
"Re-homing" is the largely unregulated practice by which parents of adopted children in the U.S. hand over those children to new families, with little or no government oversight. While some states started cracking down last year, the issue has gained new attention with the story of Arkansas Representative Justin Harris and his wife. They adopted a pair of girls, 3 and 6, who proved more troublesome than they seemed. Harris and his wife gave the girls to a worker in the religious school he owned, who subsequently raped the 6-year-old. The girls' previous foster family has now raised questions about Harris' story. [Previously, a 2013 Reuters investigation: The Child Exchange - Inside America's underground market for adopted children] [more inside]
Friends often try to assure me that people mean well, urging me to go easy on them, to be gracious, to give people the benefit of the doubt. "People don't mean to be offensive," they tell me. "They just don't know how to say it without coming across that way."Nishta Mehra writes about her family's experience with learning how to navigate the landscape of interracial adoption in a "post-racial" America: Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair.
What these friends don't understand is that when the act of defining your family structure becomes an expected part of every day of your entire life, you grow tired of being gracious. It's exhausting to have strangers view your life as an up-for-grabs educational experience. For my kid, it's to constantly hear the underlying message: "Your life, your family, doesn't make sense to me. Someone needs to explain it to me. You owe me an explanation."
It's the people who live comfortably inside majorities who tend to discount any sort of commentary from minorities as being "overly sensitive." And I imagine that it's hard to step back and grasp the fact that when the world you occupy is built to accommodate you, you fit inside the boxes. You make sense. You are expected.
Best friends forever: Separated in China, 2 girls reunite in U.S.
Mae and Mai spent the first years of their lives in the same orphanage in southern China, before they were adopted by families on opposite coasts of the United States. They were inseparable in China. As close as sisters. They ate together and played together, and even after they were moved to separate foster families in the same town, they went to school together and often shared meals at one girl’s home. Adoption may have saved their lives, but they both lost someone they loved.
This week, four years after the best friends were split up, the girls reunited in Oakland, where they’re receiving treatment for the same genetic blood disease at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland.
The Limits of Jurisdiction: in Guernica, Erin Siegal McIntyre writes about her six-year investigation into corruption and crime in international adoptions from Guatemala, as exposed through the story of one little girl. "For the past six years, the child known as Karen has lived in Missouri with her adoptive parents, Timothy and Jennifer Monahan. But Loyda Rodríguez and Dayner Hernández, a young Guatemalan couple, are convinced the child is their daughter, Anyelí, who was kidnapped in November 2006. Although a Guatemalan judge ruled that Karen should be returned to Guatemala in 2011, the Monahans have kept her." [more inside]
Jennifer Peepas (aka Captain Awkward) writes about infinite parallel universes from the perspective of an adopted child.
Should we crowdfund families? The cost of some adoptions or fertility treatments have people turning to Crowdfunding. Growing your family has never been more public. [more inside]
Only a handful of all the animal species on earth can be tamed, but that doesn’t stop a homesick girl of 15 from trying
Studies show that abused or neglected children placed in foster care face lifelong challenges greater than children who remain with their families.
"After Florida cut down on protections for children in troubled homes, deaths soared. The children died in ways cruel, outlandish, predictable and preventable." [more inside]
Growing up in a Romanian orphanage, Izidor Ruckel just wanted to get out. Now, he makes it his mission to raise awareness of the suffering of other orphans who remain institutionalized. [more inside]
Foreign adoptions by large, evangelical families may begin happily, but patterns of neglect and dysfunction have Seattle area communities questioning their benefits. (SLSlate) [more inside]
Before the days of Roe v. Wade (and sometimes after) girls who got pregnant were sent away. Now one of the places that housed them is closing. [more inside]
In a long-running mumsnet.com thread, a UK foster mum tells the heartbreaking story of looking after a newborn baby girl suffering from drug addition. It's a long read, but worth it.
This had been his idea. He'd heard something about God helping people who help themselves. So here he was, on a Sunday in September, surrounded by strangers, taking his future into his own sweaty hands.
Many African-American and mixed race babies offered for adoption are finding new homes in Europe and outside of the US. (SLCNN)
"I am totally ashamed to say it but we do truly hate this boy!" Reuters has published an investigative piece on parents trading or giving away their adopted children. A disturbing practice brought to you by the internet, Yahoo! message boards, and a near-total lack of oversight by any authority.
A layperson-friendly analysis of a seminal (1100+ cites) study on obesity that found no correlation between environment/upbringing and obesity, whilst finding very strong correlation between genetic heritage and obesity. To sum up: adopted children's body weight matches their biological parents, not their adoptive parents.
"Orphan theology" in the evangelical Christian movement in the United States. One mother described herself as "a dumpster diving orphan lunatic" who was still "afflicted with my Orphan Obsession" after bearing two kids and adopting four more.
Callie Mitchell, a 25-year-old student and photographer, documented her pregnancy and decision to place her child for adoption. Photographs.
The face is angelic, the lighting soft and the subject is napping peacefully – just the way a newborn photo shoot should look. It took 13 years, but Latrell Higgins finally has his baby photos.
Animals Adopting Other Animals (SLYPlaylist)
Why People Really Love Technology: An Interview with Genevieve Bell The thing I love about Intel researcher Genevieve Bell is that she finds surprising things by looking at what's left out of the dominant narratives about technology. She finds data that's ignored because it didn't fit into the paradigm of, say, how people adopt technology. The dominant narrative is that young men determine the popularity of phones, computers, websites, and the like. But when Bell looked at the data, the story we told ourselves about how the world worked was not reflected in the numbers. That's why I wanted to talk to her about what gadgets people around the world might be using over the next decade. I figured she was someone who could look past the conventional wisdom and find the missing pieces of the future
"Farmer's Dilemma" is a short, sad and beautiful comic about family and acceptance. From Sam Alden's art blog, GINGERLAND.
In 2010, 1st grader Katie Goldman was the bullied kid at her school for being a girl who was into Star Wars (which is, of course, only for boys). Geeks and fans across the net rallied to give moral support to Katie ("The Littlest Jedi") for standing up for who she wanted to be. Katie and her mother went on to lead an anti-bullying effort at Katie's school (which now observes December 10th as "Proud To Be Me Day") and Katie became a symbol of geek pride and anti-bullying, standing up at a birthday party for a boy who wanted to have his nails painted like the girls were getting. The experience became the source of book Bullied. In 2012, it was Katie's turn to show geek solidarity. The 501st Legion/"Vader's Fist", who had been so supportive when her story went viral, were now among those being taunted online for their cosplay geekery at a con, and Katie wanted to be a stormtrooper for Halloween to show her support. When the troopers heard that, the 501st's First Imperial Stormtrooper Detachment came together to raise the funds/materials/expertise and build a full-on custom-fitted set of proper stormtrooper armor ('77 movie specs and all), with just days to spare before Halloween, as a gift for the little girl whose courage inspired them so much. [more inside]
"I'm a 41 year old mom of two teenage boys. My oldest is gay and has the full support of both of his parents and his brother. If your family won't accept you, in honor of the day, I will be happy to virtually adopt you if you want to come out to a family that will accept you no matter what. "
"Boxes where parents can leave an unwanted baby, common in medieval Europe, have been making a comeback over the last 10 years. Supporters say a heated box, monitored by nurses, is better for babies than abandonment on the street - but the UN says it violates the rights of the child." [more inside]
Given or Taken – an ABC television documentary by the usually excellent 4 Corners looks at a period in the nation’s history when unwed mothers were forced, coerced or tricked into giving up their babies- often without holding or even seeing their newborn. Writer Kim Berry describes a little of what it was like to be relinquished by her teen mum.