February 19, 2017
[img]https://adoption.com/community/PF.Base/file/attachment/2017/02/a6be241a1245812cc5ae144ba890b6b1_view.jpg[/img] I told myself I wasn't going to reach out to them. As I looked at their names, I reminded myself that the whole point of getting my original birth certificate was to learn my identity and do some genealogy. Now that I had names, I could figure out my ethnicity and have a lot of questions answered. It didn't make sense to reach out to these people who---most likely---wouldn't want a relationship with me. But something Mary----my birthmother---had said in a letter to me all those years ago, kept echoing in my head: "My middle son is very excited to meet you someday". She explained that she didn't have much contact with her other two children, but that this particular son knew about me and apparently was at least somewhat pleased about my existence. It took me about 2 weeks of thinking it through, and wondering if I could cope emotionally with being told again that I was not welcome in someone's life. When I finally decided to take my chances, I sat down and wrote a letter to my brother---Don. I must have written about 7 different drafts, showing each one to my ever supportive husband, who finally deemed the last one "not overly emotional or rambling". With the support of a dear girlfriend who had been cheering me on through this journey, I finally worked up the courage to put the letter in the outgoing mail, and prepared myself for a less than positive response. It was almost a week later, while I was I on vacation with friends, that I received one of the best emails I've ever read: "I'm so happy you found us...we have so much catching up to do.....can I call you?" Within days, I had spoken with both of my brothers, Don and Ron, on the phone, and had exchanged emails with big sister Ava. I don't mind telling you that I was thrilled to learn all three have a wonderful sense of humor, and of course, most amazing of all.....they have welcomed me with open arms. It's as if my appearance has been completely natural to them. I honestly have been so touched by their kindness that it has more than made up for the sadness I felt so many years ago when 'our' mother chose to stop contact with me. The outcome has been better than I could have ever hoped for. Mary is not yet aware that we are in touch with each other......Because her contact with her kids is infrequent, I am leaving it up to their discretion if or when they want to share that information with her. In the meantime, I have spent the past few months feeling more "whole" in my heart than I ever have in my life. Pieces that were missing are finally being put in place. And as wonderful as its been, something else amazing is about to happen...... I'm meeting Ava face to face this weekend. http://simplysnarky.blogspot.com/2016/12/i-told-myself-i-wasnt-going-to-out-to.html

February 19, 2017
I want to share a real life glimpse into the world of adoption with you for just a second. Something as seemingly innocent and sweet as a Disney movie can have much larger implications for the family impacted by adoption. As my son and I were watching Tangled for the 101th time this morning, he asks me: “Mom, who’s she?” (in reference to mother Gothel) Me, choosing my words very carefully, replied: “She’s the lady who stole baby Rapunzel from her birthparents and acted as Rapunzel’s mother growing up” Because I believe it is central to my child’s healthy development to talk to him openly about his adoption and for him to be able to make the distinction between what Mother Gothel unlawfully did in this situation and what birth parents do when an adoption plan is made, I explained to him that mine and his birth mothers chose to not parent us because they were not able to take care of us and that no one “stole” us from our birthparents. My son’s immediate response was: “WERE WE BAD?” “No son. We were not bad.” Fellow friends, this is the inside mind of a 4 year old adoptee. Raw and unfiltered. This is the side of adoption that doesn’t get talked about. Doesn’t get published. Doesn’t get glamorized. Adoptive parents; Families affected by adoption in any shape, form or capacity- this is my call to you… Please, Please, Please, don’t pretend that your child’s adoption story is all roses and rainbows, and that your existence in their lives somehow negates a previous core loss. Their story matters to them, and they need to hear it throughout their lives. It is central to their identity and who they are. Yes it is hard for them to process, and yes you have to watch them endure sad and painful emotions. But you spare them no pain by ignoring this inevitable part about them throughout their childhood and then leaving them to grapple with it as teenagers and adults on their own. If you cannot handle these realities, then you are not prepared for the selfless sacrifices adoption requires on your part for your child. This made the difference for me in my life and I plan to pass it on.

February 19, 2017
My story is simple. It starts in my birthmother’s womb. She made her adoption plan for me during her pregnancy, and then just 13 days after she gave birth to me, I was placed in the loving hands of my new family. I grew up always knowing of my adoption, and understanding its implication within an age/development appropriate context. My identity as an adoptee is something I carried with great pride throughout my childhood and elementary years, but struggled with what it meant for me during the identity formative teenage years. At times I grasped for any type of connection to a biological origin. I grappled with questions all adoptees face, such as “Whose eyes do I have?” “Who do I look most like?” “Where do I come from?” “Which talents and traits did I inherit from which bio family members?” Of course during adolescence one doesn’t have the insight to fully be aware of where the flooding of their emotions or the ebb and flow of their self esteem is fully stemming from; it would take many years of piecing together for me to tie it back to my adoption. I just knew that from the day I discovered in 8th grade that I had a half sister 7 years my junior, I made it my personal mission and goal to meet my birthmother. You see, my adoption agency had been forced to close its doors when I was in 8th grade. So with my birthmother’s permission, the agency forwarded on to my parents a letter from my birthmother disclosing that I did have a 7 year old sister at that time that she had chosen to parent. The letter also included pictures of that 7 year old sister. I carried them around throughout my high school years as hope of something greater in my future- as hope that I would one day meet this sister that shared some of my features, and shared the same womb as me. That hope probably got me through some dark times in hindsight. By the time I was emerging as a young adult, I was well on my way of unofficially searching for my birthmother. I had done some googleing and some digging and just about as much as one can do before they turn 21 in my state and actually have any legal rights as adoptees searching for birthparent information. I had even convinced my then boyfriend/now husband to join me for an impromptu surprise unannounced visit at my former adoption agency’s director’s private residence. I just had this indescribable feeling that I was close to finding her; that it wouldn’t be hard; that she was physically close to me proximity wise somehow. Turns out, I was right on all three counts. What ensued over the next year was about as intense as one might imagine when reunifying with their birthmother. Yes, you read correctly. My birthmother sought me and found me a couple of days shy of my 20th birthday. She found me on the internet from a “Deans list” link I was on, and her friend had a daughter who attended the same university I was entering my sophomore year at. This friend’s daughter looked up my parents’ address, and my birthmother wrote a letter to them, personally asking for their permission in contacting me. It turns out she lived only 10-15 miles from where I was living at the time in my college dormitory at. For the next 10 years, my adoption would continue to shape and mold my identity and life season in various ways; but the adoption of my son was what would redefine and revalidate everything I ever thought I knew about adoption and the innermost emotions and thoughts of an adoptee. My husband and I brought our son home from South Korea when he was 18 months old; we stripped him from everything he knew. Watching him grieve reminded me all too well of the inevitable losses that defined the starting of our family; the same losses that defined the start of my life; losses that could not be ignored. Bonding was a delicate, intentional process. Adopting my son brought my own adoption and status as a reunified adult adoptee full circle, and I could not be more confident in my representation of two roles within the adoption triad now. Because of my own firsthand insight and unique position in the world of adoption, I will NEVER stop advocating for my son. My number one goal and priority is to bring awareness to the voice of the adoptee. I will be that voice for my son, as well as my daughter (who we will be bringing home from South Korea in less than 2 months), until they can be that voice for themselves.

February 15, 2017
Imagine for a moment that you are not allowed to know the name of your grandparents, your ethnicity, or stories of how your ancestors arrived in America. Pretend that you have a very distinguishable physical feature, but no idea where it came from. And every single time during your life that you go to a doctor's appointment, and they ask "Do you have any family history of (fill in the blank)?", your answer is an obligatory "I have absolutely no idea". For hundreds of thousands of people, this is a reality. Due simply to the circumstances of their birth, they are not allowed by law to know names of blood relatives, and in many cases, any pertinent medical information. For some, this poses only a slight inconvenience. But for many, many more, it feels as though their birth is considered shameful, and that they are being expected to "pretend" that they arrived in their adoptive families by an actual stork. January 1, 2016, the laws in Colorado---along with many other states---stated that all adoptees were not allowed to have access to their Original Birth Certificate (OBC). Colorado's laws were even more detailed, only allowing adoptees born during certain years to access their information. If you were born during the years 1949-1951 OR 1967-1999, you were completely out of luck. No real reasoning. Apparently only people that were born during those intervening years were better equipped to handle the truth. Fortunately some legislator recognized the utter nonsense of the law and it was finally amended to allow ALL Colorado adoptees to receive their OBC. On January 2nd, 2016, I mailed my notarized form and payment off, and waited anxiously for the information I had been searching for. And on January 30, 2016, I received a thick envelope that included a blurry copy of my OBC, and the name of the woman who I had once exchanged "anonymous" letters with. I cried for 30 minutes after staring at it. My birthmother's name is Mary. It's a very simple piece of information, but with that name, my entire world opened up more than I ever dreamed it would. I spent the next few weeks scouring the internet for pictures, names, and anything else I could find. I stayed up late at night filling out family trees. I learned information about my bloodlines that was previously a complete dead end to me. I didn't know it at that moment, but my family was getting ready to expand. http://simplysnarky.blogspot.com/2016/12/whats-your-name.html

February 14, 2017
I waited nine months to meet my daughter for the first time, and forty four years and nine months to see her again. On February 19, 1970, in the state of confusion, er, New Jersey, I gave birth to a girl. Though unmarried and unable to care for her, I actually wasn’t confused at all. I knew from the beginning that the only option for me was to give her to others to raise in a way I couldn’t at the time. Had I said ‘state of depression’, well, that would have been closer to the mark. Although I did what I felt I had to do, I lived with the consequences, day after year after decade. My heart was with her every day. I wished her happy birthday every year – I prayed she be happy and healthy. When she turned 18, I stopped thinking of her literally every day. I registered with the state and every organization I could find so that in the event she wanted to find me, the means were there. In 2004 I found and registered with Adoption.com, a website offering a host of services, including a forum for adoptees and birth families to reach out and connect. Every year that passed brought a decreasing sense of conviction that I would hold my daughter once more before my final breath. Then on July 4th, 2014, I received an email from another member of the forum who said, “Your birth daughter is looking for you but she is having trouble with her post. Please contact her . . . ” I logged onto Adoption.com right away, found her post and replied. She wrote back, “I think I’m your daughter – if you’re my other mother, please contact me. If not, just wish me luck . . .” She left an email address along with her phone numbers. As much as I wanted to grab the phone and call, I didn’t want to do so at a bad time so I emailed her first. Then came the phone call. We connected, and shared, and over four hours later, we ended the call. To paraphrase Kahlil Gibran, the gates of my heart were flung open and my heart flew. I even asked Rick if it was really happening. He said it was. But I thought, it feels so surreal. So unreal. Dreamlike. Like it’s happening to someone else. Like I’m not even in my body anymore. But it was real. We will meet, face-to-face, for the first time in forty four years and nine months, on Thanksgiving Day at my sister Laurie’s in St. Louis. Wish us well, and may the healing continue. (To be updated in December . . .) THE REST OF THE STORY (Added in December 2014) A message board friend wrote, “. . . I am happy to see you made it back safely from your once-in-a-life-time Thanksgiving trip.” I had just returned from St. Louis where I met my daughter for the first time since surrendering her for adoption over 44 years ago, and the term kept bouncing around in my head . . . “once-in-a-lifetime”. In the preceding weeks I couldn’t imagine what would happen when we would meet at last. What did happen in that magical (for me) moment? (Pregnant pause for effect) I took hold of Sandi and began to sob, holding my precious daughter and releasing years of fears and tears. We spent the next few days asking and revealing, listening and learning. Part of me was awed by this remarkably strong, compassionate woman and although I felt proud, I had no right to be. Her life and accomplishments are testimonials to the two loving spirits who nurtured and guided her, her mom and dad. Any doubts I’d harbored that I’d made the best decision for Sandi those many years ago, evaporated as she spoke. And then, I was amazed by what we had in common. We’d both been married four times, our third husbands being the really problematic ones. We both: – had a daughter, followed by two sons – enjoy rural life – have a strong dislike of shopping – don’t wear make up – like to travel and will go anywhere at the drop of a hat. Sandi has already realized two of my bucket-list dreams by visiting Ireland and Machu Picchu. Maybe I’ll follow in my daughter’s footsteps – had a son become an Eagle Scout – are strong proponents of organic gardening and are avidly against genetically altered foods – were hospice volunteers We’re both “wordies”, which I define as taking delight in the use of words; we are writers, pleased to share our published pieces. Even though Sandi is a Registered Nurse and my highest level was a Certified Nursing Assistant and Medical Aide, we have common fields/interests that have included in-home care, pediatrics, work with developmentally disabled and rehabilitation of those suffering from brain trauma. The old question of nature verses nurture arises and it would seem that we do possess a natural inclination toward some things, physical traits being only the tip of the iceberg. As far as nurture, well, I think it trumps nature and it turns out that my concern for Sandi’s well-being in the home in which she was placed was unnecessary. Her parents are two incredibly awesome individuals who did a magnificent job in raising Sandi. They have my eternal gratitude for the loving, supportive environment they provided for her. Special thanks to my sister Laurie for opening her heart and home to Sandi, me, Sandi’s husband John, and their friend Pat, who helped with the driving. We’re grateful for Laurie’s overwhelming hospitality. Well, we just wanted to share the rest of our story, our once-in-a-lifetime meeting and hopefully help bring together others in similar situations. Our message to you . . . When all seems lost, when something appears impossible, when there is no hope left, don’t give up!

February 10, 2017
[img]https://adoption.com/community/PF.Base/file/attachment/2017/02/bf26a017a9b8281d86c2afec10c1f6ad_view.jpg[/img] Adopted at birth by two wonderfully loving and supportive parents, I didn't give a lot of thought to searching for my birthmother---even though my adoptive parents had always offered their support of my doing so----until I had a child of my own, and the need to tell this faceless person that I was alright, that she had made the right decision, was overwhelming to me. I couldn't imagine never seeing my child again, and I suddenly became very concerned about the woman who had given me life. I could only suspect that her worry and anguish were unbearable. The media does an amazing job of portraying "adoption reunion" stories with fairy tale endings, where all the parties involved are blissfully complete, now that they have found each other. They are most oftentimes warm and touching portrayals of a lifechanging event, and although I don't doubt the authenticity of those occurances, I learned for myself in a very real and personal way that there are exceptions to these happy reunions.......there was no way for me to prepare for what I experienced, and given the abundance of evidence on these "feel good" reunion shows, it's no surprise that I was blindsided and heartbroken by what came to be. Starting my Search in Earnest When I finally made the decision to begin searching for my birthmother, I didn't have a lot of options open to me: My husband and I were newlyweds and living on a full time student income---very little---while I stayed home to take care of our new baby. We didn't have much access to a computer so I researched what I could about registries to join where my name might be matched in a database with anyone else who was looking for me. After 3 years of no results, my husband came to me with a plan: he would cash in his unused sick time from his new job and we would use that money for me to hire a Confidential Intermediary to contact my birthmother. At that time, hiring a CI cost $475 and that didn't include any extra expenses that might be incurred along the way. I was touched by my husband's unselfishness and, after filling out the required forms, I sent off my payment to Colorado Confidential Intermediary Services....and waited for the rollercoaster ride to begin. The Phone Call I was weeks away from my 30th birthday, when I received the call that would be the beginning of a life changing experience. The intermediary assigned to my case had located my birthmother---up to that point, I don't think I had entertained the idea that she might possibly reject me-----the television shows made it seem unlikely that would ever happen, and I think that somewhere in my mind, I reasoned that since I could never imagine rejecting MY child, it only followed that she would feel similarly. My only real fear was that she might be deceased and that I would have missed out on the chance of getting to know her. As fate would have it, she was still living at the same address as she had been at the time of my birth---and she was anxious to meet me. She informed the CI that she wished to get to know each other first through letters, if I was agreeable with that, with a meeting sometime in the future. The tears came and it became clear to me that I had longed for this outcome even more than I realized.....the relief was overwhelming. Secret Correspondence When I was finally given the green light to start writing to my birthmother, I had no idea the hoops she and I would have to go through in order to maintain a postal relationship. First, we were not allowed to put any sort of "identifying information" in our letters to each other---meaning we could not share our names, our addresses, or anything else that might give the other person a way to locate us. Second, we were not allowed to write directly to each other. All our letters had to be mailed to the home of the intermediary, where she would check to make sure our letters were "appropriate" and then put them in a new envelope, with her address in the sender's place, and mail it off to us. As strange as the arrangement seemed, I was eager for any opportunity to communicate with her, so I followed the rules. The anticipation of receiving my first letter from her was nearly unbearable, and when it finally arrived, I studied every word. I remembering thinking that up until this very moment, this woman had never seemed like a real person to me...she had been a fictional character I had been told about as a child. But now, holding a letter from her hand, she was an actual person. Someone who truly existed and had a name....although I still wasn't allowed to know it. Our letters to each other went back and forth for several months, both of us sharing what we could without being too overly descriptive. I learned that she had been a single mother of three small children when she became pregnant with me. Her husband (her children's father) had committed suicide sometime previously, and MY father (whom she only referred to once as 'the unkind man who produced you') was not part of her life, for reasons she never elaborated on. I learned many things about her that helped clarify why I felt so different from my adoptive family---I had always, always felt loved and accepted by them, to be clear. But there was no denying that my interests, views, and personality differed from theirs in many ways. It was easy to see that I didn't LOOK like any of them, but there were times when it felt like we weren't similar in ANY respect, and it caused me to feel a little "odd". When I finally realized that many of my interests were similar to HERS, it was an enormous comfort to me. I had a million questions I wanted to ask her about her childhood, her other children, her late husband, and family history that I was so curious to learn about. But I didn't want to overwhelm her with questions, and I figured we had all the time in the world to learn about each other, so I kept most of the questions to myself. I had no idea that "all the time in the world" was about to come to an abrupt end. The Mistake About 5 months in to our correspondence, I received a phone call one day from the Intermediary. She seemed to fumble over her words as she spoke to me and finally admitted that she had failed to let my birthmother and I know, at the beginning of this process, that we only had 6 months to write to each other through her. After the allotted 6 months time, we would either need to sign documents allowing her to release our information to each other---and be free to continue our communication at our own leisure---or the case would be closed and we would no longer have access to each other. The news took both of us by surprise, but my birthmother was blindsided and angered by the new "stipulations" and felt like she had been unfairly backed into a corner. I don't know what experiences she had faced in life that caused her to feel like she needed to fight back so fiercely about being given this sort of ultimatum, but in a final letter to me, she explained that she had not stood up for herself other times in her life, and had regretted it. She was not going to let someone dictate to her what the timetable of our relationship was and she was not currently able to reveal her identity to me. She would refuse to sign the papers. The following day, I received another call from the Intermediary, telling me that my birth mom (at this point, I had grown weary of calling her that so I had given her the nickname 'Sue') had asked her if there was a way for her to preserve HER anonymity but to receive MY information, thereby enabling her to write me letters directly and she would just get a PO Box. For a moment I hesitated; I wasn't sure how I felt about giving her all my information and still having NONE of hers, but I knew that if I wanted our communication to continue---and I did---this was the only option. It would be a long time before I would have the money to reopen the case, and from everything she had shared with me, her financial situation was no better. I had been given the opportunity to tell her thank you for giving me such a wonderful chance at life and I could walk away now. But I wanted her to be a part of my life and I wanted to know so much more about her and my heritage still. I made the decision to sign the papers, releasing all my identifying information to her. And then I waited for letters that would never come. Confusion Several months went by as I waited for that first letter to come. Each day I would walk to the mailbox, thinking surely today would be the day I would hear from her. At some point I began to worry, thinking something must have happened to her. Our letters to each other had been so pleasant and she had mentioned how she thought I was a really wonderful human being. She had even told me that all her children knew I had come back into her life, and that her middle son in particular was excited to meet me someday. I had grown up without any brothers, so this information had been especially touching to me. Finally, I contacted the Intermediary, hoping she would remember our case and be able to give me some sort of clues as to what was happening. I was disappointed to learn that she barely remembered anything about our case, and could only offer speculation as to why I hadn't heard from her yet. She suggested that, in order to help me get over my loss, I write one last letter to "Sue" and mail it off to her. She cautioned that she wouldn't be able to pass it along since the case was now closed, but maybe it would help me to be able to move forward. And in a moment of sadness and frustration, I did. I wrote a letter asking the woman who had given me life how she could be so devoid of feelings for her own child that she could not even allow me the privilege of knowing her first name, when I had been willing to allow her every last bit of information about myself. I sent the letter, and hoped healing would come Unforeseen Endings I wish I could tell you that a letter finally arrived or a phone call came, and I was able to have the reunion I longed for, but things didn't turn out that way. Ten years later, in a strange twist of events, CCIS was made aware of the Intermediary's error of not informing my birthmother and myself of the 6 month time limit from the very beginning, and ruled that it was partially to blame for the unfortunate outcome of our contact. In an effort to rectify the situation, they allowed me to reopen the case at a very reduced rate with a different Intermediary. I felt euphoric, knowing I would soon be in touch with my birthmother again, this time both of us knowing what the timetable would be. My only fear was that, because so much time had passed without hearing from her, that she had possibly passed away, so I prepared myself for that possibility. But nothing could have prepared me for what I learned the day my CI called me. She had easily located "Sue" and briefly explained why the case was being reopened. Given the Intermediary's understanding of the events, I'm sure even SHE was surprised at my birthmother's response. According to the CI, 'Sue' expressed her disbelief at being contacted. She said that she thought she had been quite clear about not wanting to pursue a relationship with me, and when questioned about the PO box, she denied she ever offered to get one and write to me, although she did admit to having all my information and knew that she could contact me if she chose to. She also said that she felt I had not understood or respected her wishes, given this intrusion in her life as well as the final letter I wrote her---the one where I poured out my feelings in the hopes it would help me "heal". The letter that I was told would never be sent to her. The CI waited quietly on the other end of the line as I struggled to speak through the sobs that were escaping. I couldn't explain why I was so upset. My whole purpose in finding my birthmother had been to thank her and reassure her that my life had turned out well. My adoptive family was the only family I knew and loved, and I certainly wasn't looking for this woman to replace them. I had only hoped that she and I could continue to be part of each other's lives in a way that was agreeable to both of us. I had never asked her to be a grandparent to my children, or to even meet face to face. I had assured her in one of my letters that if we NEVER met, it was okay with me, because I was just enjoying the opportunity to learn more about her through our letters. So why was I so distraught that she seemed to be rejecting me...again? Maybe I was disappointed to think I might never meet the "big brothers" I now knew I had. Certainly I was saddened to know that I might never have the chance to ask all the questions I had for her. But mostly, I was hurt to think that the woman who had given me life could now seem to be so cold. The mother who had raised me had been such an amazing example of a loving and nurturing human being, that I could only assume that ALL mothers felt that way for their children. The fact that "Sue" was turning me away was something I didn't know how to process. Saying Goodbye In order for the CI to close the case, she gave both of us an opportunity to pass along a final message to each other. My birthmother's message to me was brief and unemotional. She apologized for any misunderstanding but stated it had never been her intention to have a relationship with me. That was basically it. To say I felt devastated by the lack of warmth or concern for me would be an understatement, and I'm ashamed to say that my first impulse was to tell the CI that I had nothing to say back to her. But I knew this would most likely be my last words to her in this life, and the fact remained that her decision to put me up for adoption had indeed put me in a family that loved me and given me opportunities I would not otherwise have had. Clearly, if I had stayed with her, my experience with motherhood would have been vastly different. So I chose to look at the positives and decided that, if nothing else came from this experience, I wanted her to still know and understand that I would forever be grateful for her decision to place me for adoption and I would never regret the time I spent searching for her. It's been 7 years since I wrote my final goodbye to her for the CI to read, and although I have been able to work through most of the heartbreak I felt at that time, recognizing that all things have a purpose in our lives and that I am blessed beyond measure to have a family that loves and supports me, I still admit that a piece of me hopes to find a letter in my mailbox one day, saying: "I've had a change of heart--I'd like to be part of your life again". If that never comes to be, I take comfort knowing that I was able to thank her for giving me life and leave her with the knowledge that I care deeply about the woman who remains nameless. "I just want to express to you how truly sorry I am for making this unwanted reappearance in your life--- please know and understand that it was due to misinformation that was given to me by the first CI, and my obvious inability to read between the lines. I feel so terribly foolish. I find it sadly ironic that in my attempt to reach out to you, I have somehow managed to cause the very thing I was afraid of. For me, this had never been about burdening you with additional family or responsibilities...my only hope was to have a comfortable relationship between just the two of us, and to someday learn more about my heritage and roots. Although I am saddened by your decision, I continue to treasure the letters you wrote, and feel blessed at having had a moment in time to know you...my love and appreciation for you continue, and my door remains open." http://hubpages.com/family/finders-weepers

February 10, 2017
Almost a thousand prospective adoptive parents received an e¬mailed notice advising that Independent Adoption Center (IAC) was declaring chapter 7 bankruptcy and closing permanently, effective immediately. IAC is licensed in eight states, including Florida, with an office in Tampa. The abrupt closing of all IAC offices and its programs has left many families in dire straits, both financially and emotionally. Those in the middle of an adoption are now hampered in their ability to complete the adoption, and others have lost substantial sums of money which will hinder if not eliminate their ability to adopt. This is a situation that should never happen. The legislature should mandate that adoption agencies segregate and hold adoptive parent funds in a separate trust account, and prohibit use of adoptive parent money until earned. Comingling hopeful adoptive parent funds with agency operating funds allows the premature expenditure of these monies at the agency's discretion with little financial oversight. The end result can shatter the hopes and dreams of prospective parents, who seek to create or enlarge their families through adoption. Prospective adoptive parents should make inquiry with adoption agencies as to their fiscal management policies in this regard. The Fellows of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys have pledged to assist those families that now find themselves in an untenable situation as a result of IAC's bankruptcy. The Academy will assist these families in order for them to obtain their files from IAC, or to have them transferred to other reputable licensed adoption agencies. The Academy will also assist in advising those families as to be best way to proceed with regard to their prospective adoptions. There will be no charge for these services. A list of volunteer attorneys is posted to the Academy website at www.adoptionattorneys.org Jeanne Trudeau Tate, adoption attorney www.floridaadoptionattorney.com

February 9, 2017
Today I was with a friend and she asked me if she could ask me questions about adoption. She shared with me about how she fears adoption because she hates the thought about the deep loss. The tragic, traumatic, grief that is all encompassing. We talked about how I am constantly looking at my son and thinking about his birth mama and wondering how it will impact him as he grows. And about how much pain is all-encompassed in adoption. How its hard to just fully feel only joy regarding him, because loss is wrapped up so much in his identity and story and history. We talked about how we cannot imagine being strong and brave enough to say, "I am not in a place I want to be, to parent my child," and place them into another mamas arms. We talked about how openness helps with all of us -- that as my son grows, him knowing his bio mom will hopefully be nothing but a blessing to him. It was very emotional and very raw and I wish more prospective adoptive parents held this perspective...the balance of grief and joy, loss and gain, the goodness in openness.

February 8, 2017
• Information contained in this summary dates back to the time of your birth. • The abbreviation NIL means that the information is not available. • N/A means that this item does not apply to your situation. I. GENERAL INFORMATION A. Identification Present surname and given names (registration adoption judgment): Perez Guzman, Jose Marcelo Given name(s) at birth: Joseph Marcel Date of birth: Year/Month/Date 1967/01/24 Place of birth: Hospital: St-Luc. 1058, St-Denis Street Name of city or town: Montreal Date of baptism/christening: Year/Month/Day 1967/05/10 Place of baptism: At the chapel of the nursery St-Francois-d'Assise: 3601, de la Rousseliére, Pointe-aux-Trembles. B. Medical History At Birth: Weight: 6 pounds 5 oz Cranial circumference: 14 1/2 in. Conditions of childbirth: Good Weeks of gestation: 38 weeks Duration of labour: N/A Type of delivery : Normal without complication Length: 19 in. Thorax perimeter: 12 in. Blood group: N/A APGAR : N/A Other information on birth of the child: You were born at term with no malformation. You moved a lot and had a rosy complexion. You had a blood bump to the occiput. Your breathing was spontaneous, but fast. You will be placed two hours under oxygen in an incubator. Medical information: Good health. You receive the vaccines: DCT&Polio at 04/24/1967, 07/07/1967, 08/20/1967 and the reminder at 08/28/1968. 04/17/1967: You are suffering from chickenpox. 05/14/1967: You have ear infections in both ears. 10/21/1968: Note a wound and a hematoma on the ring finger. C. Adoption Date of declaration of eligibility for adoption: Year/Month/Date 1969/02/15 Date of placement with adoptive family: Year/Month/Day 1969/09/26 Date of legal adoption: Year/Month/Day 1970/06/03 Judicial district of legal adoption: Montreal Place of residence of adoptive parents at the time of adoption: 69, Avenida Bolivar, Apt. C l, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Your adoptive father chose you and you flew with him. Conditions leading to adoption: At the time of your birth, your mother was very young, unstable and did not work regularly. She could not answer to the needs of a child. You mother has reserved you, which means she left you at the crib, but did not want you to be adopted. She visited you a few times. She hoped to organize her life. However, as this situation persists and as you get older, a judge has authorized your placement in an adoptive family. Requests for information post-adoption : Your mother tried to see you again, but since the judge had made his decision about your adoption, this was not possible. D. Placement History (if applicable) Date and type of placements: The 01/27/1967: Admission to the crib St-Francois-D'Assise. The 09/26/1969: You left to start your new life in the Perez family. E. Development of Child The 10/14/1969: The adoption services receives news about you: your health is good. You are described as a lively, alert and smart little boy that grows well. Your adjustment to your new life is good. The small Patricia is happy to your arrival, but shows some jealousy, which is normal. She believed that you will be older. The families of your adoptive parents is pleased to meet you. Only downside: the mosquitoes! A few months later, your father wrote that you begin to learn Spanish and you were proud. You become tanned and you tolerate the mosquitoes. II. INFORMATION CONCERNING TO BIOLOGICAL MOTHER AT THE TIME OF YOUR BIRTH A. Description Age: 16 years Colour of hair: Brown Nationality: Canadian Weight: 125 pounds Colour of eyes: Brown Ethnic background: French-quebecer Height: 5 feets Complexion: Nil Region of origin of mother : Your mother is from the province of Quebec possibly the Chaudiére-Appalaches region. Civil status: Single Religion: Catholic B. Schooling: Grade 9 C. Occupation She had worked in a laundry. She had to leave this place because of an accident. The settlement of this accident was difficult because she had given a false identity. D. Health of Mother. Specific problems. Good. No particular disease was noted. E. Characteristics concerning your biological mother: description, personality, tastes, abilities? Your mother is described as pretty, smart and immature given his age. F. Relationship of your mother with her family and description of the family. His relationship with his mother was difficult. Your biological mother had run away from home. G. Was the family informed of the pregnancy? Yes, her mother was. III. INFORMATION CONCERNING THE EXTENDED FAMILIES OF YOUR BIOLOGICAL PARENTS A. Parents of your biological mother Occupation of her mother: Nurse Health of her mother: Good B. Siblings of your biological mother Brothers: 2 Sisters: 4 Rank in the family: Nil Family of children 7 Health status of siblings (presence of hereditary diseases or other): Good Cause and age of death of siblings if necessary: N/A Twins: Not indicated in file

February 7, 2017
In the last two years, I have found discovered how inappropriate our language can be as a society, regarding adoption. I have set out to really help others learn the most loving terms surrounding adoption. I feel that too often our society writes off people as "sensitive" or trying to be "politically correct" when really, the terms are detracting from the value of humans. Whether they are adoptees, adoptive families, or birth families. I want so badly to encourage healthy and positive language. But I am just one person. I get most discouraged when I receive emails and am in conversation with adoptive parents or HOPEFUL adoptive parents and they themselves are using poor language. Language like "My mom wanted me to have my 'own' kids." And such. I feel like anyone who is pursuing adoption or foster care should be forced to take an Adoption Language 101 Class. (https://www.nataliebrennerwrites.com/blog/thinking-about-adoption-read-this). You know? Like it seems really important. Our kids hear our words: we should be the first to correct our poor use of language.