Adoptees React to Immigrant Kids in Cages (Family Separation Not New)

All the news of immigrant babies in cages has stirred quite a lot of resentment, pain, and outrage in the world. This is especially true among adoptees and first mothers. I have several hundred Facebook friends who reside in a world defined by separation. We are a varied and interesting brood from all parts of society. The one thing we have in common is that by force, or societal expectations, we were separated from our families. triggered.png

As a result, we adoption searchers and rights advocates are defined by a quest for reunion and the need to own birth-related documents that were stolen from us. If you are a non-adoptee, you may be surprised to learn that in most states adult adoptees cannot see their original birth certificates (even after reunion). All documents related to birth and adoption are sealed by state law, and until each state amends these outdated laws, they will remain so.

As detained immigrant children’s screams were broadcast and photos of them behind bars washed over us, the adoption community was triggered. We know what it is to lose family. Yes, we were re-assigned and given new families. Some good, some horrible. We lived to tell our stories, and to suffer because of them. To understand the damage inflicted by even the happiest adoption scenario, I highly recommend The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child by Nancy Newton Verrier

As hearts ache for the imprisoned immigrant children, we are warned by psychologists of the irreparable damage done to children when removed from their parents, even for a few days. I read that Rachel Maddow (American television host) interviewed a pediatrician who said, “even as little as 72 hours away from their parents can produce irreparable harm, as the heart, brain, and others organs are bathed in the stress hormone cortisol.”

Joe Sol, author and founder of the Adoption Healing Network  reacted on social media asking, ‘So, what does 30 YEARS do to you?”

In addition to the irreparable damage of separation, there is the question of babies as profit centers. Adoption and foster care are not hippie-dippy communes of free love and perfect placements. It is a money-making industry built on the backs of at-risk mothers and their children. It has been reported that 81 detainee children are now in the care of Bethany Christian Services, which is said to receive up to $775 per day from the federal government for each child. Cha-ching!

On its website, Bethany states, “We believe that all children belong with their families. However, in the current situation of children being separated at the border, we would prefer these vulnerable children be placed temporarily in a safe and loving foster home instead of remaining in a center for an undetermined period of time.”

This statement reflects a mindset that has defined adoption for decades. The rhetoric  might be easier to swallow if at the end it said, “for free and without profit.” Making money on the plight of children in unconscionable. Adoption and foster care is a multi-billion-dollar business. Even agencies that claim to be non-profit are making truckloads of money off babies. To understand how they do it, take a look at this article about agencies in my home state of Georgia – Nonprofit adoption agencies often profit someone other than children, families.

In addition to the ‘kids as cash cows’ problem, Bethany claims they are placing kids in foster homes that are ‘safe and loving’. Foster care children die at a rate that should warrant a total system overhaul. In fact, a 2017 investigation by the bi-partisan Senate Finance Committee found that “roughly 1,600 foster children die each year due to abuse and neglect.” Where’s the outrage, investigations? You can read more about the findings here- CHILDREN ARE DYING AT ALARMING RATES IN FOSTER CARE, AND NOBODY IS BOTHERING TO INVESTIGATE

I write this blog to expose a system that placed my adopted brother and I (as infants) into the home of a man who had beaten his first wife and child into hiding and who pummeled my adoptive mother daily.  I want people other than my adoption peeps to realize that children have been ripped from the arms of their parents for decades in America. The taking of children is not a new phenomenon. Immigrant children’s cries mimic those of all children stolen by adoption.

America’s adoptees and first mothers are triggered and you should be too!

Blessings for a world where family separation is the last resort,

V.L. Brunskill

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Happy Equal Access Day Ohio Adoptees!

On this cold, rainy day in Ohio, a line of colorful umbrellas line the walkway in front of the Cleveland Bureau of Vital Statistics. Under each protective canopy stands a hopeful adoptee clinging to the paperwork they have dreamed of for a lifetime. March 20, 2015 is independence day for Ohio adoptees, as they are now permitted to obtain their Original Birth Certificates (OBCs).

Photo by Adoption Network Cleveland

Photo by Adoption Network Cleveland

This photo brought me to tears. They are tears of relief for the 400,000 adoptees who now have the option of knowing who they are, and where they come from. As a reunited NY adoptee, I breath a sigh of relief for the blessed closure that is coming for these adoptees.

I also tear up for the millions of adoptees in the 40+ states where obtaining an Original Birth Certificate (without birth parent approval or court order) remains a hopeful dream.  The road to equal rights and open records is a long one, but Ohio’s success teaches us that it is a road worth traveling and that WE CAN DO IT!

Finally, I weep at the necessity of the line. That any human being should be forced to fight for information of such a personal nature is a travesty. Every American, non-adoptee has an inalienable right to obtain their original birth certificate. Yet, most adoptees are forced to accept amended certificates.  Access to OBCs should be a civil right for all!

The information is ours. Period.

Blessings & equal access for all adoptees,
V.L. Brunskill

Waving Backwards, a Savannah novel (SYP Publishing)
Imagine not knowing who you are,
until you find yourself in a statue 800-miles from home.
COMING TO Amazon/Kindle/Nook and a BOOKSTORE NEAR YOU JULY 2015

Adult Adoptee’s Messages to Adoptive Parents

Earlier this week, I shared things that adoptees would like to say to their birth mothers.  As moderator of the Facebook page –Adoptees who have found their biological relatives, I ask members to comment on reunion-related questions. Community members share their feelings with insight and honesty.

2953403454_7dd3a9740c_zToday, we look at the opposite end of the adoption coin, with answers to this question-

If you could say one thing about adoption to your adoptive parents (without guilt or censorship) what would it be?

  • “I love you. I’m thankful for the life you afforded me. I wish you’d been able to know me rather than trying to make me the child you’d wished for- who was more like you.”
  • “I wish you’d known how to act like parents. But we loved each other and in the long run you probably did me a solid. You weren’t a good mother. Dinner on the table every night, house so clean it shined, every game/toy that came out and I wanted, check check check. Love, kindness, understanding, acceptance, affection- not so much.”
  • “The one thing I would say to them again, and to ALL adoptive parents (and I am an adoptive mom myself) is ALWAYS be honest with a child about their adoption.”
  • “Thank you for being my mom and dad.”
  • “Thank you for always being open about it and giving me the option to search for my biological parents, and have a relationship with my mom.”
  • “Very simply, Thank you for being there with me every step of the way! Miss them oh so much!”
  • “I am thankful. I hope nowadays adoption is taken more seriously and they do home checks for years. Make sure the child is in a loving environment and not abused! Yes, that means you Catholic Charities!”
  • “You gave me a loving home & opportunities in life I would never have had with my biological mother. I will always love & respect you as my parents! Even more so after having met my biological mother! I now know what a lucky baby I was 45 years ago to be put in your arms!”
  • “Why did you go along with the farce, when there were far more willing and acceptable contestants available? I love you and I wish you could have loved and accepted me. All you left me was a sense of uselessness, hopelessness, lovelessness and death. I feel so sad for you. You don’t even REALIZE what you have missed. Thank you though for all you managed to do. I truly wish you all the very best. Love & Prayers.”
  • “To prospective adoptive parents: When you have a child for a reason, you better make sure that reason never ceases to exist, or it will be hell for that child.”
  • “Why the need for secrecy? You should have felt secure enough to share and be open.”
  • “You should never have adopted, but should have learned to live with your infertility. Saying you “love” an imaginary child who you pretend is your own, while lying to your adoptee about information you have about their real name, and referring to their mother as “that whore” is NOT love.”
  • “I love you both until the end of time. You taught me how to never give up or give in and thank you most for loving me when I was most unlovable or feeling unworthy of love.”
  • “I wish you would have filled in all of the gaps regarding the things I don’t know.
  • “Thanks Mom and Dad for being so forthright and open about my beginnings. You always allowed me the positive memory of my biological mother, Emma. Everything that I am or will ever become is because of your love for me. Now it is my great privilege to “pay it forward.” With love and gratitude, your daughter.”
  • “I love you and I miss you. I wish we had more time together.”
What would you like to say to your adoptive parents?
Leave a reply below.
Blessings for honest adoption conversations & healing,
Waving Backwards, a Savannah novel (SYP Publishing)
Imagine not knowing who you are,
until you find yourself in a statue 800-miles from home.


You are Not Alone- Famous Adopted Children

If you’re anything like me, the next couple of weeks will be a frenzied rush of work deadlines, family feasts, wrapping, mailing, cleaning, and making merry. I ran across an adoption site this morning that I just had to share with adoptionfind readers.

So pour yourself a cuppa, put your feet up, and enjoy this fun list of famous adoptees. From Truman Capote to John Lennon, the accomplishments of those listed should remind us that there is no limit to what can be attained by adoptees.  Adoptee-strong!

Re-posted from The site also lists famous adoptive and birthparents.

Blessings for a happy holiday and Merry Christmas,
V.L. Brunskill


Kate Adie (journalist)
Edward Albee (playwright)
Maya Angelou (poet and author)
John J. Audubon (naturalist)
Michael Bay (director)
Tallulah Bankhead (actress)
Layne Beachley (surfer)
Lynda Bellingham (actress)
Ingrid Bergman (actress)
Andy Berlin (co-founder of ad agency Berlin Camerson & Partners)
James Best (actor)
Les Brown (motivational speaker)
Surya Bonaly (professional skater)
Richard Burton (actor)
Senator Robert Byrd
Augustus Caesar (emporer of Rome)
Truman Capote (author)
Harry Caray (baseball broadcaster)
Peter Carruthers (professional skater)
Kitty Carruthers (professional skater)
Kristin Chenoweth (actress)
Eric Clapton (singer)
President Bill Clinton
Lynette Cole (Miss USA 2000)
Nat King Cole (singer)
Gary Coleman (actor)
Daunte Culpepper (professional football)
Rachel Crow (X Factor contestant)
Faith Daniels (TV news personality)
Ted Danson (actor, adopted child and adoptive father)
Tommy Davidson (comedian)
Toby Dawson (professional skier)
Eric Dickerson (professional football)
Bo Diddley (musician)
Carl Theodore Dreyer (filmmaker)
Larry Ellison (co-founder and CEO of Oracle)
Clarissa Pinkola Estes (poet)
President Gerald Ford
Jamie Foxx (singer, actor)
Scott Fujita (professional football)
Tim Green (professional football)
Jonathon Gilbert (actor)
Melissa Gilbert (actress)
Newt Gingrich (politician)
Faith Hill (singer)
Scott Hamilton (professional skater)
John Hancock (U.S. Founding Father)
Debbie Harry (singer)
Reese Hoffa (Olympic shot putter)
Jesse Jackson (politician)
Steve Jobs (co-founder of Apple)
Eartha Kitt (singer, actress)
Matthew Laborteaux (actor)
Patrick Laborteaux (actor)
John Lennon (singer)
Representative Jim Lightfoot
Allan “” Pineda Lindo, jr. (singer, member of Black Eyed Peas)
Art Linkletter (TV personality)
Ray Liotta (actor)
Charlotte Lopez (actress and Miss Teen USA 1993)
Greg Louganis (Olympic Gold Medal Diver)
Malcolm X (human rights activist)
Lee Majors (actor)
Nelson Mandela (human rights activist)
Nimmy March (actress)
James MacArthur (actor)
Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels (musician)
Frances McDormand (actress)
Tim McGraw (singer)
Sarah McLachlan (singer)
James Michener (author)
Tom Monaghan (founder of Domino’s Pizza, owner of Detroit Tigers)
Lucy Maud Montgomery (author)
Marilyn Monroe (actress)
Moses (biblical leader)
Mother Teresa (humanitarian)
Alonzo Mourning (professional basketball)
Dan O’Brien (Olympic gold medalist, decathalon)
Hugh O’Connor (actor)
Michael Oher (professional football, story inspired The Blind Side)
Jim Palmer (professional baseball)
Aaron Parchem (Olympic figure skater)
Lorraine Pascale (model, author and chef)
Dana Plato (actress)
Edgar Allen Poe (author)
Nicole “Snookie” Polizzi (TV personality)
Priscilla Presley (actress)
Michael Reagan (President Reagan’s son)
First Lady Nancy Reagan
Nicole Richie (TV personality)
Wilson Riles (educator)
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt
Victoria Rowell (actress)
Buffy Sainte-Marie (singer)
Paull Shin (state senator)
Dave Thomas (founder of Wendy’s, children’s advocate)
Leo Tolstoy (author)
Dr. Ruth Westheimer (media personality, sex therapist)
Mayor Anthony Williams (Washington, D.C. politician)
Jett Williams (singer)

Adopt-ist Entertainment: The Avengers Movie Slams Adoptees

What the cuss?

Universal Pictures-Problem Child

The recently released Marvel movie “The Avengers” is another example of entertainment media misrepresenting adoptees, the adoption process and even adoption searches.  This most recent adoptee slam comes in the form of a line spit out by the almighty Thor, claiming that his brother Loki is a violent whack job because “he’s adopted.” 

I am not a Comic-Con kind of gal, but I am sure that legions of fans will get a chuckle out of this reference.  It seems that more and more entertainment sources are off their non-adopted rockers when it comes to anything resembling adoption reality.

Case in point, in a recent episode of ABC’s General Hospital, a character named Samantha (Sam) strolls into the hospital where her husband (Jason) was born, asks for his birth records (he is adopted) and is handed everything she asks for without a court order, handshake or even his written permission. Oh, that it were so easy for any adoptee!

Another adoptee media slam from 2010, was in a commercial for  a company called ‘For Eyes’. In their commercial, a  Brad and Angelina lookalike couple  walk into a eyeglass shop, followed  by a bunch of multi-cultural children. They offer to adopt the clerk so she will have a  “better life.”  The DeClassified Adoptee blog has a great post on this.

Even ABC’s hit show, Modern Family, which addresses the sensitive topic of international and gay adoption, with surprisingly effective humor, has made mistakes.  In one episode the gay couple who was searching for a child to adopt, joked that a birth mom asked them to show her son, “all 52 states” and that they would “save him from a life time of trying to find East Dakota.” Not so funny to the birth mothers of the world.

Of course, there is also the 1990 movie Problem Child, which tells the story of an adopted seven-year-old, devil child whose is cruel to animals, sets fires, and pees in inappropriate places.   The list of Adopt-ist media formulas goes on and on.

I am not so thin-skinned that these things keep my awake at night. However, I believe that stereotypes, especially those that are hurtful, damaging or ignorant should die a quick media death. Adoptees portrayed as criminal misfits, birth moms portrayed as idiots, and general misinformation about our struggles to know where we come from, are unacceptable and really…not that funny!