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 All documents related to birth and adoption are sealed by state law, and until each state amends these outdated laws, they will remain so.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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Disappointment Day (a.k.a Father’s Day)

Here it comes. In shades of blue greeting cards, barbecues, and goofy tee shirts proclaiming World’s Greatest Dad, Father’s Day is upon us. At any minute, Facebook will overflow with gushing remembrances and salutes from little girls (long since grown) who adore their daddys.

I envy them. I envy all women loved by fathers who showed them respect, love, adoration, selflessness. I envy their happy memories of a daddy’s arms- safe, warm, tucked in.

Father’s Day is the saddest day of the year for me.

As an adoptee, a cat-drowning, wife-beating, son-of-a-bitch father raised me. Yet, I’ve spent a lifetime aching for his love. As a child, I tried to be a better daughter by appealing to his masculinity. I thought if I grew harder/more boyish he might like me better, or at the very least, stop trying to kill my mother and brother.

Later, it became apparent that toughness would never have appealed to Dad. His free-wheeling fists camouflaged a hidden gender rage that would blow up my life. My father transitioned to become a woman in her seventies. She died in 2015 on the very spot where my terrible, twelve-year-old self, planned to kill her. (My memoir Transgressions in Rouge coming soon).

My biological father, a retired Delta Force officer, whom I found after a five-year-search, is very much alive. At least I think he is, as we have not been in touch for years. He decided that rather than engage in the healthy father/daughter relationship I crave, he would continue to live in a paranoid state of distrust.

When I first found Delta Dad, he was ecstatic. It soon became apparent that he was still fighting the wars he survived. He raged at me like a mad dog one day, and I walked away choosing to distance myself from any further dysfunction. I reached out to Delta Dad again recently, and he decided again that he’s not interested in a relationship. I say again because he also denied me when he found out my birth mother was pregnant in 1963.

Having spent a total of 12-years (pre-internet) searching for the biologicals (closed book NY adoption in the 1960s), I am quite attuned to my needs. I always knew that I needed my history, my story, and the story of my ancestors to feel complete. I searched and found to become solid, defined. Before finding my blood relatives I could not focus on what I would be. I was far too busy finding out who I was.

Likewise, I see patterns in my behavior that reflect the blank space of lacking a father. I need one, and because it is unattainable, I find myself drawn to friendships (or fanships) with men of a certain age. I find solace in their respectability, honor, achievements. I guess they look to me like father material. Desperation casts fatherly shadows over strangers.

Fatherlessness is my wound.

I share my disappointments this Father’s Day for those who have a decent dad to hug; for those who recall tender moments with their father. You have my one missing thing. Love him, embrace him, keep his memory close, share his stories with your children. Make his love your legacy.

Blessings that my disappointments light your way,

V.L.

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Follow me on Twitter- @RockMemoir
Like my Facebook page-http://www.facebook.com/vlbrunskill
Buy my novel Waving Backwards for Kindle $4.99 at Amazon.com-amazon.com/author/vlbrunskill