November 2, 2014

Adoption: The Solution to "Orphan" Care?

Bear saving money
                                       © Photographer: Icefields | Agency: Dreamstime.com


There is a growing trend towards "Orphan Care" in the Church in America.

In fact, I've seen posters all over town this week advertising "Orphan For A Night," a fundraiser to raise money for the adoption of "orphans".

 There's even an upcoming conference in Austin entitled "Together for Adoption".

I am so saddened by the popular teaching in today's Church inaccurately equating God's "adoption" of His children to the same "adoption" we know of in our society.

The original Greek language (in Scripture) translated "adopted" (as God's children) could have been more accurately translated as "reunited" as God's children.

As an adoptee (and Christian) I am thankful that God is my loving Father & Creator, not just an "adoptive" Father. When adoptees are expected to believe it was God's perfect will for us to be "chosen" to fulfill a new identity & role in our adoptive families (hence, lose our original family & identity) it plants confusion & distrust into our very souls.

I am comforted by the words of a famous Bible hero, Joseph, who was separated and later reunited with the family of his birth. He profoundly concluded, "What the enemy meant for evil, God turned for good."

God is not the author of tragedy. Adoptees were not necessarily "meant to be" members of their new adoptive families. They landed there through profound loss, and should not be expected to celebrate with "Gotcha" parties and hurtful theological statements on how "lucky" they are to be "adopted". This just adds yet another layer of disenfranchised grief they must work through utterly alone, if ever, to become whole adults.

We also need to be very wary of the mentality in "saving orphans" by adoption (erasing & sealing their original identity) when the supply/demand princples in the business of adoption create an environment for gross conflict of interest and clouded ethics.

Adoptees are the only citizens whose identities are "amended" on their very birth certificates.  Archaic "sealed records" laws in adoption strips their God-given right to obtain their original identities indefinately.  Six US states have passed legislation restoring the unconditional right of adult adoptees to their original birth certificates, restoring their dignity and identities for not only themselves, but also their children and grandchildren. 

Are the "orphans" we are "saving" true orphans? 

UNICEF reports that the number of true orphans (the loss of both parents) may be lower than originally thought.

Are some children made "legal" orphans (on paper) for the purpose of making them "available" for adoption, when they have living relatives who could raise them?

Why is adoption so expensive? Could that same money and energy be used to help families of origin remain together?

Are children served best by being stripped of their original identity & culture or would it be more Christ-like to develop ways in which to care for orphans within their own homeland?

 These are just a few of the questions we need to be asking before the Church blindly accepts an over-simplified philosophy of "saving" orphans through "adoption".

Thank you, Mom




     Last Thanksgiving morning I held my Mom's hand as she journeyed to Heaven. 

It still doesn't seem real. 

(Originally published on 6/7/09)

     Mom has always been there for me.   

I marvel at her strength, inspiration, and tenacity, even through many medical problems in her older age.

She worked long, faithful hours for over 20 years at the same company.  She put me through college as a single parent. 


She has been my biggest encourager, and helped me believe in myself...because she believed in me. 
 
 A couple of years ago in December, she fell and hit her head on a step, and was in ICU for a week.  Laying in the hospital bed, barely able to speak, she motioned for me to bend down close...and asked me to go to the store for her and buy my son a Lego wagon she had seen advertised. 
She wanted him to have it for Christmas.  He still loves that wagon he got from his Grandma. 

When Mom went through a stem-cell transplant in 1998, she always kept a smile, even through weeks in the hospital.  I look back and cherish that time I spent with her. 
At the exact moment the stem-cells (blood transfusion) began, a song came on the radio in her room entitled, "There Is Power In The Blood". 
We all took notice and thanked God ~ she was healed from that day forward. 

My Mom is an eternal optimist and loved by many.
She gets her energy from helping others. 
It has been frustrating for me to see her neglect herself and her rest, health, and emotional healing, to be an eternal "caretaker" of others. 
She is depressed right now because she can't go to the senior center and help the "old people". 
 
She has been in the hospital for several weeks and although we finally found a doctor who is running the necessary tests that should have been done immediately, my Mom is tired.
And I am grieving to see her like this.

I regret so much. 
The times (even just a few months ago) when she would knock on my front door unexpectedly, and I would have a twinge of feeling "put out" at an inconvenient time. 
Now I cry for her to be able to do that again.

We have had to forgive each other a lot because we are very different in personality.
My Mom's out-going personality smothered me as a shy, quiet, insecure little girl.
She talked about me incessantly, causing me to retreat farther into my shell.
 
Unfortunately, neither of us got the "memo" about the needs of adopted children.
 We struggled. But we never, ever stopped loving.
 
Thank you, Mom, for letting me find myself.   

Mom is having yet more tests run tomorrow. Please pray for her strength to get through this, for the doctors to find out what is wrong and be able to help her regain her strength. She is a cancer-survivor, and they have ruled out all re-occurance. They found severe ulcers (completely missed by doctors just a month ago), which are finally being treated.
She is very discouraged and tired after a long ordeal.
My grandmother did this in her "older" age and then regained her health and lived to be 92 years old.
 
    Lord, please bless my Mom. Fill her with peace and healing and strength.
Give her your comfort right now and protect her.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
This was originally written in 2009. 
My Mom did recover and went on to marry at 80 years of age. 
She had two beautiful years with her husband.  They both passed away 9 months apart last year.
Our last conversation, when we both knew her time was short, taught me much.

We realized...

 None of our human foibles or misunderstandings mattered any more. 
Only the love we had always kept in our hearts. 
The important thing was that we were there. 
We never gave up on each other.

I reminded her, "He will surely make everything right".

The bitter tears after an unfair divorce and the loneliness and fatigue she endured as a single parent.  The painful disease that tried to take her life.  Even the hurts her heart still carried from childhood.  None of it mattered anymore;  she wanted to see her Savior face to face. 
The One who loved her and would never forsake.
The faithful One who had been her Father, Husband, Provider and Protector. And mine as well.
       
When the nurses came in to ask if she knew she was in the hospital, she would say,

"I'm with Sam"  

And my tears would flow. 
I realized we had given each other a beautiful gift. 
His presence had healed our hearts to the point that we could be truly present with each other. 

We spent our last days together doing what we loved.
In the hospital gift shop, we would peruse the lovely trinkets and comment on their meaning or significance.  They would remind us of a story and we would reminisce.

Our eyes were drawn to a beautiful plaque that now graces my living room wall.  

"Be Still...and Know that I am God"

  

When she felt well enough, I would bundle her up in a soft blanket
and we would stroll outside among the bright yellow autumn leaves.  They were so delicate.  
I realized how fragile life was during those times. 
And what a beautiful gift our presence is for each other. 
I never wanted to regret another thing. 
But enjoy and embrace every moment with my family and friends, from that point forward.

What I didn't realize was how deeply the pain of grief would affect me. 
With every loss we encounter, it triggers deeper losses that seem unbearable.  
We close off our hearts and put up walls we think are protective,
when really, they are suffocating us.
We spend our time distracted and numb, because it hurts too much to feel.
We feel broken. 

A grieving heart is at risk of becoming bitter. 
 
Every day surrounded by families who all look alike and support one other...
enjoying a "normal" life without the mess of reunion, radiology, and obituaries. 
Or overwhelming memories of such.

    This year has been hard for me. 
A year of isolation and sadness.  
        
I've felt orphaned.

My Pastor recently spoke of the story of Jacob and Esau.
When Esau's birthright was stolen by his brother, Jacob, he was hurt and angry.
Yet through the years, instead of allowing the pain to close his heart towards God, he trusted.
And God Himself took care of him.
Later, when he and Jacob were reunited, they ran toward each other and embraced.
They felt as if they were seeing God's very face. 
 
They blessed each other.

Lord, please help me trust You to be my Father, and take care of me.
Help me forgive everyone that has hurt me, and bless them.
Give others the grace to forgive me, as well.
Turn our hearts to You and fill us with peace, love and joy again.

Help me live life with no regrets.
Thank you, Mom, for teaching me this. 
I miss you so much.
I love you. 

"My Two Mothers"


October 28, 2014

Ties that Bind

Puppet
                              © Photographer: Limcheng-en | Agency: Dreamstime.com

                                                        (Originally published on 4/13/11)

Don't stealthily move back the boundary lines
or cheat orphans out of their property (identity),
For they have a powerful Advocate
who will go to bat for them.
(Proverbs 23:10-11, Message Bible)

Memories buried deep within my soul
Hidden from everyday existence;
To protect the mask I hold
Tightly gripped by shaking hands
That hurt and ache like frozen death.
Cover my face ~ the facade.

No life or love or personality;
the soul inside me tried to flee.
The terror of nothingness came
the day they "sealed" my name.

Lost: One "dead" baby at the courthouse;
Certificate of Live Birth "sealed" around it's neck
Tightly riveted to a desk of "this is best".

Found: One imitation life living "the lie"
Created the day they made her "sign".

Gone in a moment
Wake up to reveal
Amended reality
In courts to fulfill.

A shell of existence;
Underground hiding.
Scared to come out ~ revealing
The ties that bind.

The corpse baby comes to life
No tears it cries, it's dead inside;
Just rescued "bastard"
With no real name.

Legitimize me with
These ties that bind;
Undo the lies. 
Resurrection Power
Make me real ~ I plead.

October 15, 2014

Child Welfare or Conflict of Interest?

 
 
It seems like every day my sweet son decides he wants to be something different when he grows up.  The other day he came home from school proclaiming he wants to be a bull rider...what every mother wants to hear! 
 
As I sat through an all-day seminar recently, entitled
"Trauma: How it Affects Growth and Development in Children", hosted by the OK Adoption Coalition,
I felt as if I was getting a taste of my son's desired profession.

Being adopted feels like quite a ride in itself. 
Much less hearing "professional" commentators give the play by play, without any riding experience of their own. 
Adoptees are left to dismount and clean up after the animal ourselves. 
 

 

I can't tell you how difficult it is to live in a society which disregards the fact that changing an a child's name, sealing their history from them indefinitely, and then asking them, as well, to emotionally navigate a role as a "new" member of a family they share no genetic history with, and whose caretakers need to be emotionally and legally seen as "Mom and Dad", only serves to disenfranchise the child's trauma and loss, and piles on an added layer of complex loyalty issues. 

Does adoption, the way it is done today, truly serve the child it claims to serve, or those in the business of "building" families?  

I am certainly not advocating for children who need homes not to have them. 
I am simply asking if adoption may need a second look in order to serve those it claims to serve.

Must a child be required to relinquish his identity, name, and right to his own history in order to receive care? 

"Attachment Theory" labels a child defective if they fail to "attach" to a new care-giver (who get's to define this concept?), because, as the speaker stated...
 
"It's not in their DNA...babies will 'indiscriminately' attach up to six months old.  That is why it is SO important to terminate parental rights as quickly as possible and provide 'permanence' for these "kiddos". 
 
I felt more like a goat than a human being after hearing this.
We are not ducks who will "imprint" on the first person we see after hatching from the egg. 

We are humans who experience profound life-long loss when separated from our mothers and families.  Our society gives more respect to the need for animals to bond with their mothers than we do human-beings. 



If DNA and genetic mirroring were not essential parts of our human experience in relational development...why is the internet full of searching adoptees and first families?
 
And what of this:
 
 
 

This is a visual of a theory which the adoption industry works hard to dismantle. 
Nancy Verrier, a psychologist and adoptive mother, says...

"There exists a great need for legislative action and concern for the rights of adoptees.
Few dare give voice to that which they know in their hearts: that the connection between biological family and child is primal, mystical, mysterious, and everlasting.
Far more than merely biological and historical, this primal connection is also cellular, psychological, emotional, and spiritual."

The defining moment during this seminar, was the moment the entire room erupted in applause when the speaker made the assertion that...

"'culture" is defined only through 'relationship'".   
 
"Best interest" of a child cannot be undermined in the "name of culture".    
 
It was obvious, everyone was thinking of the Baby Veronica case and the role ICWA played in that long-drawn out tragic battle over a child's very identity and livelihood.

Veronica Brown is living her life separated from the blood that created her, the relationships that could have, and did, nurture her very core.  All because of this theory, unethical adoption practices, and the power it has garnered by an adoption community that still sees children as "blank slates" and, unfortunately, possessions.  Talk about (unnecessary) trauma this child continues to endure. 

When will America wake up and ensure an end to the commodifying of children and conflict of interest in our adoption system? 

This entire seminar asserted continual "put downs" of "bios".
According to the people in that room, it seemed as if the only relationships that matter are in man-made "legal" families.
There was not one word or acknowledgement of the need (or right) of a child to be raised in his/her own family if at all possible.


The inherent right of a child to be raised by his/her fit and loving family is often thwarted by a system which gives agencies and foster/ hopeful adoptive parents the legal ability to draw out a contested adoption in court and then argue "best interest" of a child to stay with the "only family they have ever known".

We need to ensure ethical adoption laws which protect natural families who contest adoptions.  Every child deserves his/her own attorney.

We need to ensure that "permanency" isn't influenced by financial federal incentives and tax credits which bring money into states each time they encourage "adoption" placements over reunification efforts with a child's natural family if at all possible.

Are federal adoption incentives influencing child welfare philosophy and policy, because states are rewarded monetarily for each adoption completed, but not for services towards natural families, family preservation, and reunification efforts?  

Building "Swift Adoption Programs" and utilizing "Bridge" foster programs which serve foster parents whose ultimate goal is adopting,  is yet another conflict of interest, in a child welfare system whose first goal should be preservation of natural families and kinship. 
 
"Attachment" to a caregiver is necessary for survival, but for an adoptee it feels like holding on for dear life, while dangling over a cliff-edge. 
There are many ways of coping. 
Some are more vocal, others will keep their silent screams inside.  

The last thing we need is a lucrative adoption industry feeding society myths and flawed theories which disenfranchise and exploit the very ones they claim to be serving. 
Yet these same "experts" are the ones who seem to have the ear of our court systems, DHS, legislators and behavioral health services. 
The ones making life-long decisions.
 
It feels like adoptees are perpetual children in the middle of a never-ending game of keep away. 
We are marginalized by being labeled "bitter" if we speak of the injustice of having our names changed, identities sealed, or families separated through coercion or conflict of interest.

I once spoke to an adoption attorney who asserted that a new "amended" birth certificate and name must be assigned to an adoptee in order to prevent them from being seen as "second class". 
The more I thought about it, the more I realized, that it is the act of changing and sealing our identities that actually makes us "second class".

We get the message that we are not acceptable unless "amended".

Separation from their biological connections, along with the added trauma of disenfranchised grief a child is forced to endure as their identity is changed and sealed; their survival in a new family dependent on loyalty to a splitting off of their true selves, could be the real culprit in a child's inability to soothe and
regulate. 

Instead, we now have "professionals" contracted by those who earn their living by adoption, defining terms such as "best interest", "psychological parent", "permanency", and "attachment" based on the perceptions of adoptive parents, rather than protecting the inherent right of a child to their identity, family history and connections. 

We need to start honoring the child, not who the child can become to complete a new family.

The fact foster and adoptive parents don't have a biological understanding of their child, the child is more at risk of being abused or drugged just to conform to unrealistic expectations. 

 When a child doesn't have any mirroring of their own self through their family, they struggle with anxiety and hypervigilance. 
It often presents as ADD or even sensory issues. Yet it is termed as "attachment issues" or "RAD" and the child is given a label for a truly natural response, rather than the problem being placed on the system that put the child in the unnatural situation in the first place. 
 
My heart went out to one mother who stood up asking for help for her eighteen year old adopted son.  She said he had gone through all "the therapy" and was still struggling.  What could she do? 
Out of an entire room full of self-asserted "expertise", she got no help whatsoever.  Instead of being given resources that could truly help her family and son, she was given a "band aide". 

The speaker described an exercise they do with "traumatized" children which consists of handing the child a band aide and asking them to put it on their body somewhere.  This supposedly helps the child feel more comfortable to "unload their baggage" because if they can acknowledge they have an "owie" somewhere on their body, they can then acknowledge a heart issue more readily. 
 
How willingly will a child (or adult) adoptee acknowledge true heart issues of genealogical bewilderment while also trying to navigate complex loyalty issues in a new role and family they are assigned; and receiving "therapy" which asserts their only "trauma" was caused by the "bios"?

Adoptees are forced to live a life-script written by others.  The conflict of interest issues and the myths perpetuated by those who profit off "placements" skew these narratives.

With flawed theories of "attachment" like defined in the comment below, no wonder adoptee's live a life-time of disenfranchised grief. 

  
 
We deserve better.  We deserve an adoption system not driven as a business, run by the economic principles of supply and demand.  The sealing of our records steals not only our identities, but also any accountability over the businesses who profit from us.

If adoption and state agencies are contracting with behavioral health "experts" who perpetuate these myths (and many others) to adoptive parents, what kind of damage does that do? 
Foster and adoptive parents deserve better.  Children deserve better. 

I was blessed with an adoptive family who supported my search and reunion. 
I grieve the time we lost as a family, and found that I could only truly embrace myself when I was able to know and embrace my dual identity as an adoptee...by both birth and adoption.
  
When I found the courage to grieve the losses that had been disenfranchised my entire life, I was finally able to feel both the good and the bad in life, and embrace my families fully.  Adoptee's developmental tasks are stunted by archaic "sealed records" laws and the myths that hold us apart and at bay in understanding and acknowledgment. 

The only other adoptee I could tell was in the building the day of this seminar was a darling baby boy dressed in business casual being cooed over and passed around the table like fresh meat. 

I pray for him, and for the eighteen year old son of the concerned mother. 
And for all of us.   

October 13, 2014

When Will Adoptees Be Emancipated?

 


A few days ago, my husband and I were blessed to be at the screening of the new film,
"The Good Lie". 
 
It is the riveting true story of Sudanese refugee children orphaned during the civil war.  
Brothers and sisters survived a thousand mile trek across the desert, through three different countries to find refuge in Ethiopia.
 
The eldest brother was tragically separated from the rest of the family, but his siblings never lost hope they would someday be reunited.    
  
Eventually they were brought to America and found jobs.
Those who helped them rebuild their lives honored and preserved their names,
their courage, and their journey's. 
 
What struck me the most was the dignity with which these refugees carried themselves, even in the midst of devastating loss. 
Many went on to college and became doctors, engineers and proud citizens of our country.     
 
Years later, a brother of the lost boy risked his own life to go back and search for him. 
Their only hope of finding each other in the crowded refugee camp was by reciting their names out loud, along with the names of their ancestors, which they knew by heart.  
They never forgot who they were and from where they came.   
 
Alex Haley wrote, in his classic novel, Roots,
 
“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage- to know who we are and where we have come from.
Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness. ”
 
There are over 6 million adopted people in the U.S. who aren't offered the dignity of being able to speak or even know their own birth name, or the name of even one ancestor. 
 
Adopted individuals are the only group of American citizens who are denied the
RIGHT of owning their original birth certificate.       

Several states have passed legislation, recommended by the
Child Welfare League of America,
restoring the unconditional right of all adult adoptees to have access to their original birth certificate.  
 
Kansas and Alaska have NEVER sealed original birth certificates from adult adoptees.  
 
There are two common myths surrounding adoptee access ~ the myth that abortion rates will rise if adoptees gain access to their birth information,
and that of "birthmother confidentiality". 
The good news is that data shows in states which have passed adoptee access laws, abortion rates have actually declined more than the national average.  
 
And to address the myth of birthmother confidentiality,   
in the past, just like today, if a mother surrendered her child for adoption,
but for some reason the child was never adopted,
his/her original birth certificate was never sealed or amended.   
"Sealed records" were not even implemented in OK until 1939  ~ 
not to ensure privacy for mothers. 
 
These laws were enforced upon mothers and adoptees, specifically to protect the newly formed adoptive family.
 
They fail adult adoptees, because they deny us and our children, 
the life-giving knowledge of our genealogies and on-going medical histories. 
 
Foster children "age out" of the system and are emancipated into adulthood,
but archaic sealed record laws treat adult adoptees as perpetual children, or even criminals, having to go around the law, to obtain even the most basic information about ourselves that every other American citizen takes for granted. 
 
Research has shown that as a whole, mutual consent registries and intermediary programs are not successful. 
 
My first mother, for example, was not allowed to see me after giving birth in 1968,
and was told that she had delivered a boy.  She passed away when she was 32, after having signed up on several registries; but they failed to provide a successful match.
Our first families have no way of knowing our new names, and sometimes even birthdays and birth places are changed during adoption proceedings. 
 
State adoption codes have evolved from a child-centered service model into a business-based economic model, legalizing fees and marketing strategies designed to increase the number of "available" children, rather than serving those already in need of care.
Who is the true customer in adoption when it is being used as a tool to "build families",
and has grown to an unregulated billion dollar per year industry?   
 
When unethical practices can be hidden behind a sealed record, we have reduced human-beings into commodities. 
This makes adoptees feel less than human.
 
I once spoke to an adoption attorney who asserted that a new name and "amended" birth certificate must be assigned to an adoptee in order to prevent them from being seen as "second class". 
 
This gives adoptees the message that our very being is shameful; 
 our identity must be "amended" to be accepted into society.   
The more I thought about it, the more I realized: it is the act of changing and sealing our identities that actually makes us "second class". 
Whose interest does this serve? 
 
Along with many other adopted people, I have realized that I could not fully understand and accept myself until I found and embraced my dual heritage...
by both birth and adoption. 
 
Every U.S. citizens deserves the dignity of access to their own unfalsified and accurate original birth certificate. 
 
I pray our lawmakers realize the importance of this issue and restore this human right for millions of adult adoptees and their families. 
 

September 24, 2014

Opening the Wells

Little Baby Child Reaching For Water Fountain
                                     © Photographer: Ansebach | Agency: Dreamstime.com

                                                      (Post originally published in 2010)

It was a true privilege to attend an OK Legislative Interim study (2010) on adoptee access to original birth certificates this week. Hearing the heart of the amazing people who spoke on the importance of restoring the human right of all adoptees to know their identity and histories was an inspiration and joy.

Thank God for the opportunity to be there, know them, and work beside them. Even though it wasn't heavily attended, it felt right.

We were able to dispel some common myths surrounding adoptee access, sharing the good news that in the states which have implemented this law, abortion rates have actually declined more than the national average, and that birth mother "confidentiality" was also a myth perpetuated by the adoption industry. In fact, birth mothers were never promised (nor asked for) confidentiality in the law. It was enforced upon them.

The TN and OR Supreme Courts have both ruled on this issue. "Sealed records" were not implemented until 1939 in OK ~ to protect the newly formed adoptive family, not birthmothers. In fact, even today, if a birthmother relinquishes her child for adoption, but for some reason the child is never adopted and remains in foster care, his/her original birth certificate is never sealed or amended.

I returned home so thankful to be able to spend time with my son and husband for a few hours that evening before bedtime. It was one of those nights of light sleep with many dreams, but not really remembering any of them.

When I woke up the next morning, "Genesis 26:18" was impressed on my heart and mind. Having to get up quickly and prepare my son for school, I didn't give it much thought, but briefly wondered what it meant.

Later that morning, as I sat in a Women's Bible Study I have attended for several years, I remembered the scripture reference, and quickly looked it up, curious as to what it said. I froze in disbelief when I read it, almost too shocked to believe what I was reading, but so encouraged.

"He reopened the wells his father had dug and restored the names his father had given them."

This scripture hit me so strongly, after just attending the interim study the day before, and waking up with this reference (which I've never read before) in my mind and before my eyes. Could it be that God is encouraging us? That He is the One who stands with us on this issue?

After all, names and genealogy are extremely important in Biblical text, and God is renown for restoring and redeeming (buying back) the lives of those separated from their God-given identities and people ~ Moses, Joseph, and a host of others.

Proverbs 23:10-11 says,

"Don't stealthily move the boundary lines
or cheat orphans out of their property (identity),
For they have a powerful Advocate
who will go to bat for them." (Message Bible)

As I read on in Genesis 26, I noticed that the entire rest of that chapter was concerning "rights":

"Isaac’s servants also dug in the Gerar Valley and discovered a well of fresh water. 20 But then the shepherds from Gerar came and claimed the spring. “This is our water,” they said, and they argued over it with Isaac’s herdsmen. So Isaac named the well Esek (which means “argument”). 21 Isaac’s men then dug another well, but again there was a dispute over it. So Isaac named it Sitnah (which means “hostility”). 22 Abandoning that one, Isaac moved on and dug another well. This time there was no dispute over it, so Isaac named the place Rehoboth (which means “open space”), for he said, “At last the Lord has created enough space for us to prosper in this land.”

Several U.S. states have passed Adoptee Access Legislation (supported by The Child Welfare League of America) restoring the unconditional right of adult adoptees to access their original birth certificate, just like every other American citizen. Wouldn't it be a miraculous wonder if Oklahoma became the next state to restore the identity rights of it's adopted citizens ~ a new beginning, setting a national example for restoring the dignity of over six million adoptees and their families. After all, Kansas, our neighbor to the north, has NEVER sealed obc's to adult adoptees.

It was really interesting to me the way the chairman of this committee ended the interim study. Even after listening to middle-aged (or older) adults speak for over an hour about the human right of identity, and how "sealed records" in adoption made adopted people "perpetual children" in the eyes of the law, she sincerely thanked us for coming and then went on to share how "special" adopted "children" are, being "chosen" in our families. (In reference to the term adoptees hear often, "chosen child".)

As I sat in Bible Study that morning, I thanked God for giving me this dream. It was such an encouragement in the midst of the journey. We left Bible Study that morning with these words and a prayer.

"Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him through all generations forever and ever! Amen."