Friday, April 28, 2006
A Note About Posting Comments
Let me be clear: I DO NOT CENSOR! I will post all legitimate comments. I screen out SPAM. All Bloggers have to our you get baraged with commercial spam. Occassionaly you say me see a comment deleted. That's me trying to edit our my typos. Comments cannot be edited once posted so I have to delete and repost it when I catch one of my notorious typos. :-)
Registering to post is very easy. It will generate NO JUNK MAIL and will get you on NO MAILING LISTS! It is done only to stop spam, nothing else.
If you want to find out if I will post your comment, even if it disagrees with me, PLEASE TRY IT!
Since telling this to Karen Buterbaugh, she replied that she doesn't "need to personally try it. I've said all I plan to say to you about this issue already."
So, I thought I'd post her other comments here for her:
"I just personally feel you are reinjuring mothers, myself included, by your determination to not only use the "b" term but to encourage the use of it."
"even after I have explained why using the "b" term hurts many of us, you continue to use it and you pubicly defend the use of it which I feel is wrong and hurtful, and so do many others."
We feel triggered by it. It is hurtful to hear it.
I don't have time for [posting here].
Everyone else can weigh on these matters."
Thursday, April 27, 2006
A Plea for Unity
(with excerpts and concepts from the forthcoming book, “The Stork Market: America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry"
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. Philo of Alexandria
Those of us working to fix the mess that adoption has become in this country, share a great deal in common with other movements to create change, such as civil rights, gay rights, feminist. We share with all these movements in that are all fighting for basic human rights, for an end of oppression and exploitation.
We also have in common the fact that all of these movements have camps/schisms/factions. All have their share of extremists, radicals and middle-of-the roaders, pacifists and militants. This is largely because all of their issues, as are ours, are very personal issues that strike deep in our hearts.
The more personal an issue, the more hotly debated and the more people cling to their beliefs. And yet, all movements grow, change and evolve throughout their history. Ours is no exception.
There are currently two “factions” or “camps” of women who have lost children to adoption. I will call these “old school” and “new school” to avoid any non-objective offensive descriptors. Before I describe these camps and what makes each somewhat unique, I want us to focus, however, on our similarities.
1. we have all suffered the tremendous irrevocable loss of our children to adoption
2. we all feel to varying extents, and expressed perhaps in different language, that we were duped, robbed, coerced, pressured in some way either overtly or covertly
3. we have not forgotten those children, that’s why we are here discussing these issues
4. we all “care.” We all want to change things and make it better
5. we all HATE adoption as it is practiced in this country today. It is corrupt, and exploitive, driven by money-makers to serve those who want babies, not at all what adoption once was – or believed it was when some us of relinquished our children
6. we all want it to STOP or change drastically
I hope that we can all affirm these similarities and remind ourselves of them as we try to work TOGETHER beyond what divides us. There is strength in umbers and putting an end to the corruption is more far important than any minor differences, or trying to prove which of us is “right” and which is “wrong.” We are all right because we are all expressing our feelings and feelings are never right or wrong, they just are! We need to put our differences aside and fight this battle together, using our limited resources and our strength to fight our mutual enemies, not one another!
OK. So now let’s look at what divides us and see how we can overcome these obstacles. Until recently I, and others, have seen the major obstacles in languages, semantics and word usage. At this point in time we are like peoples from to different countries, or two different plants speaking different languages. Those words cut many of us deeply – both ways, in both “camps” – and create walls and stumbling blocks to our ability to hear one another, much less understand or appreciate where we are coming from. We need to being to listen – really listen to one another – one on one worked best for me - in order to understand how these differences came about in order to ever reach any working and workable co-existence or better still cooperation.
I believe that we are standing at a crossroads and face two challenges. One is to honor this past and the other is to not get stuck in it but to allow us to evolve as a movement. Both are tough challenges, but we are touch and have never let what is tough slow us down! In order to honor the past, we need to have a clear understanding of our history.
Honoring Our Past
We started out with Jean Paton and her brave lone stance as an adoptee to stand up against the for the rights of adoptees to know their roots. To meet this end she proposed the first registry which still exists to this day. Like many good ideas, it was co-opted by states and thus corrupted and we now stand opposed to registries. This does not make what Jean Paton did any less brave or noble. The steps we all take now are upon the roads she helped to clear for us. We honor her, as we do others who added stones and pavement to our roads: Florence Fisher, Lee Campbell, and Sandy Muser who went to jail for what she believed in – the right of adoptees and those who bore them to be reunited. All brave pioneers.
We marched to Washington, we held rallies and press conferences. We worked hard to draw attention to our cause. We got bills introduced and even passed in some states – with lost and lots of blood sweat and tears! We were always there to help each newly emerging adoptee and birthmother out of heir closet of fear and shame. Using our righteous indignation to provide role models of activism and change. And we continued on through in-fights and good days and bad, successes and failures. Never tiring
In Oregon more than 500 birthmothers found the courage to go public and make the world face them. Women who had not even told their own husbands or therapists that they had lost a child to adoption, now erasing for themselves and those that followed the shame that had been cast upon them.
Others of us worked on getting new adoptions to be practiced in a totally new (old) way: truly open. And yet, we know too that as with registries, many open adoptions are used falsely and there is little enforceability of contact agreements. And, when they fail to remain open we are still left with adoption that start off with falsified birth certificates. But these are still baby steps to be honored too.
We need to honor this past. Not re-write it and not discard it. It is our collective heritage and it got us where we are now.
A rich part of our history is that we developed a cross-country underground network of search groups and connection without the assistance of an Internet! A pretty amazing feat. We practiced civil disobedience in searching – breaking laws that are unjust. Sandy Musser, birthmother, even went to jail for this strongly held belief! Yes, we called ourselves birthmothers. It was a name we gave ourselves. The facts are there in print. Beggars and Chooser by Rickie Solinger, Page 205 tells how Lee Campell coined the phrase and why.
We need to honor this too.
A Different Path
As in all movements, a more militant, “newer” faction has been added to the mix. They seem to be telling us “old schoolers” that we’ve been doing it all wrong. That our very name that we claimed for ourselves is wrong and hurts our cause. And like a kick in the shin it creates a knee-jerk reaction. I myself have written COPIOUS emails and articles DEFENDING our reasons for maintaining our birthmother name. I could go and on doing the same forever…there are lots of perfectly good, rational, reasonable arguments in favor of keeping the status quo. But if we get really honest, it is mostly because we are comfortable with it and change is hard. So unless someone presents a REALLY. REALLY good reason to change, why should we. And to be honest, no one has done that.
The “Birthmothers Means Breeder” article falls far short of that goal and simply added fuel to the fire by dishonoring our past and trying to make point that was not based on fact. One of the many things we have learned is that our enemies fight us with lies. We try to remain above that and use only the truth in making our arguments.
So, if we BOTH – all of us look at the truth, here it is:
Social workers or the adoption industry did not directly create the term birthmother to exploit us, Lee Campbell did. This is a historical fact that needs to be preserved and honored. Campbell “chose” the name birthmother, but she chose it because “natural” and ‘real” offended adoptive mothers. That’s a fact, too. And so it was, from the inset, a concession. I honor Lee Campbell for not accepting their choice of the term “biological mother” which immediately got shortened to bio-mother and we all HATED as it made us feel like incubators.
To be really honest, I was there at the time, and my first reaction was, “what’s the difference between birth an biological?” It was also chosen by Lee, as we choose our political leaders in this country. It was the lesser of two evils. It was better than biological mother. These are facts, just like Lee Campbell is a fact. Right out of the pages of Beggers and Choosers. It’s all there to read. And, if you look in the dictionary today, the word birthmother which she coined is there, but the first definition of birthmother is biological mother.
It’s not an easy truth to admit, because it has become such a part of each our personal identity. Thirty years, or all of my adult life for me. We accepted it, al of us, as the lesser of two evils, and then it became comfortable. And now it is OURS and we don’t want to give it up, or have anyone tell us it is wrong, because that is telling us that we are wrong, or have been foolish. The reaction is automatic: Knee jerk, defense, hurt, anger, more defensive arguments and comebacks.
What IS wrong with it?
What is not wrong with it is that it is not the major cause of what is wrong in adoption today or that it is he primary cause of our exploitation – the simple proof of that is that we were being exploited long before the term was used. The vast majority of us –simply because of demographics (the post-war baby boom) and other social factors (access to he pill and abortion) - lost our kids in the 60’s when they called us natural mothers! And women are exploited all over the world regardless of that they are called. So that too is a fact.
It is a gross exaggeration to believe that it is the cause of the problem. But is it part of the problem, I believe so.
Think about Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale which many of us have read, and began to think about language and words and how they shape things. Can you not equate being a birthmother with being a Handmaid? The “birther” of a child for another? Does not the word add to that mental picture of a woman who births a child for another, like a surrogate?
Am I asking each of us to stop and change what we call ourselves? No. Certainly not in any immediate or sudden way. Am I suggesting CUB to change its name. Never!
All I am suggesting is that we begin to see one another’s point of view and neither is all right or all wrong. That we begin to dialogue and not let words get in the way. That those of us using the word, start to be more conscious of it. And those who never have used it be a bit more tolerant, as it is in all the literature and that is not going to change, not overnight and not retrospectively.
Are the “new schoolers” anti-adoption? You bet your bootie, although they quite smartly – being very aware of how powerful words are – prefer to be known as Family Preservationists, just as pro-lifers dislike being identified in the negative as anti-abortionists.
How can one be against adoption, you ask? Does that mean they favor kids languishing in foster care for life? What is being proposed is really nothing new or shocking. It has been proposed by our beloved friends Annette Baran and Reuben Panor for years and years at adoption conference: legal Guardianship.
To understand this we must begin at the beginning again. We, ALLL of us – in both “camps” – agree in Family Preservation and that adoption is about finding homes for children who need them because their parents truly cannot or will not raise them, despite being offered every opportunity and support to do so…and who also have no other relatives to take them. It is NOT about finding kids for those who want them and infertility has nothing to do with it. OK, so far, so good, we’re al on the same page: finding child-centered care options that are in the best interest of the child when in this situation. Such children need a stable, loving home. But do they need a falsified birth certificate? Does that in any way improve his life or does it add complications for him down the line? (And bear in mind that even the most open adoption today still starts with a falsified birth certificate.)
So we need to provide long term, stable care but not falsify a birth record or sever the relationship with his original kin, no matter what their failings that caused them to not be able to parent him. All agree? How can this best be accomplished? Many have long thought that legal guardianship best fits this definition. It provides that addition of care without taking away the child’s birthright or heritage. Seems like a win-win for the child! And the mother and father remain their child’s mother and father, just as when people divorce and loose custody and/or another becomes their child’s step-mother or step-father.
Is it an idealistic, pie-in-the-sky, pipedream. Yes. But does that it make not worth even trying? How many other great ideas were once thought to be just as crazy? Finding parents to accept being guardians is no easy task … unless they have no other option, and even then there is no guarantee against guardians moving away and braking all ties as so-called “open” adoptive parents do. And, I maintain mixed feelings, at best, about whether a child’s name being different than his family’s is in the child’s best interest and hold that there may other solutions such as leaving the original certificate and attaching an certificate of adoption or guardianship to it, with both being accessible, or allowing a child at say age 12 to decide if he want to take on the last name of his day-to-day family.
But I am quite willing to entertain the possibilities. Because I begin with knowing one truth more than anything else: that what adoption has become today is do far a field of what it was when some of us thought we were doing a loving thing by allowing our children to be adopted. At the root is the corruption and exploitation, driven by opportunistic money-makers feeding of a lopsided supply ad demand for infants. And, our legal practices support this corruption every step of the way…beginning with the falsified birth certificate that confirms that adopting a child is “the same as” giving birth to one. It says so right there in black and white with an official seal on it! Until we get rid of that nothing we do – open adoption, open records, changing what we re called…they are all Band-Aids, fingers in a dam. Like trying to repair a house built on a crumbling foundation. The foundation of adoption is built on corruption. It once as a social institution to find homes for children. It has gotten so fare from that model all that is left of that is a fading myth…Today adoption is the last route in the booming multi-billion dollar reproductive technology business. Resolve, the infertility support group has considered it the last stop on that fast moving train for decades! And our lawmakers continue to make it easier and easier to fill their demands by turning their back on baby mills, by shortening the amount of time mothers have to decide or to revoke a consent t adoption, with ‘safe havens: and putative father registries. All to obtain more ”product” to sell! Our governments – state and federal - not only does nothing to stop it, they encourage it with subsidies and tax incentives which give more to those who adopt infants than those who find homes for the older children in foster care who really need it!
As Burton Z. Sokoloff concludes in his history of adoption entitled Antecedents of American Adoption “History shows adoption as a unique and ever-changing phenomenon.” We need to see it for what it really is today and ask ourselves is it fixable? If so, how? If not, does it need ot be abolished and started over?
These are huge issues and so it will take ALL of us working together to accomplish these monumental goals. There is no one, easy or right way…it will take dialogue and debate and consensus and then action! Lots ad lots of hard work to fight the money in this country that fights us back. We cannot afford to ]waste another minute in-fighting. We need instead to focus on the fact that we are all fighting – in the end – for the same thing. If we keep our focus on those distant goals we may even begin to join forces toward reaching them.
Mirah Riben, April 24, 2006
We are ALL Mothers (and fathers) and we can all become MUTHAS!
Monday, April 24, 2006
Adoption Langauge and DisUnity
I am a mother who lost a child to adoption. I abhor pregnant women being called “birthmothers” before they are even mothers. I am appalled at those who speak for us and say that we want anonymity from our children. And most of all I abhor women being used as breeders. I have written extensively on all of these issues.
I have no objection, however, to identifying myself as a birthmother for clarity because it is part of the current lexicon used by the media and in legal documents. I do this not in resignation nor am I naïve or lacking an understanding and appreciation of the exploitation and corruption in adoption. Quite the contrary. I have been actively researching, and fighting for adoption reform for nearly 30 years, and co-founded Origins, a search and support group for women who lost children to adoption, and was on the board of the AAC. In 1988 I wrote “shedding light on…The Dark Side of Adoption” a ground-breaking expose on the adoption industry.
My second, even harder-hitting, book will be released, hopefully, within a year and expresses my vehement opposition to the exploitation of poor single women and the coercive techniques to get them to relinquish their babies, and the issuance of falsified birth certificates. I am vehemently opposed to the entrepreneurial aspect of adoption as a $2-3 billion a year industry that sells babies with virtually no regulations whatsoever.
When it comes to what we call ourselves, let me be clear. I am not saying that one name is better than any other, or trying to impose my preference on anyone else. Each person should be able to call themselves whatever they are personally comfortable with: first, natural or birth. I am not even saying that I totally disagree that birthmother is perhaps not the best term and might engender thoughts of a surrogate or Handmaid.
However, I do not agree with the thesis in Diane Turski’s article “Why Birthmother Means Breeder,” which is posted on both Exiled Mothers (a group which exclusively uses the term “Natural” mother) and Origins USA (which exclusively uses “First” mother). Turski argues that the word birth implies breeder and that the word ‘birthmother’ is the cause of us being exploited or used as breeders, or thought of as incubators, and she also relates it to the lies about us wanting anonymity, though nothing in her article proves such connections.
She states the obvious problems in the adoption industry that we all agree on, and then somehow, makes the preposterous cause and effect leap that it is all because of the word “birthmother.” The fact is that it is supply and demand and capitalists who see such situations as ripe for money making that causes exploitation of mothers for their babies, and would remain no matter what we are called! Her article did not convince me otherwise.
Turski mentions that in other countries the term natural mother is used, but offers no indication that they are any less exploited for their children because of it. The fact is that poor women are exploited for their babies both domestically and internationally. All over the world babies are seen as a product to be sold by flesh peddlers.
Turski is also incorrect on the history of the word birthmother. It was not “invented” by social workers or the adoption industry. It was coined by Lee Campbell, birthmother, founder and first president of Concerned United Birthparents in 1976. This history is recorded in the CUB archives, and documented in Rickie Solinger’s “Wake Up Little Susie.” Campbell created it as one word (though it often appears incorrectly as two words) just as the word grandmother or grandparent is used – all terms of respect. Children love their grandparents no matter if they choose to call them Nanna or Popop, gramps or grandma Rose. The love we feel for people in our loves is rooted in our relationship with, and respect for them, not in the name we call them. And while it is true that adoptive parents expressed objection to the term “natural” mother, I do not know that birthmother is any less a thorn in their side as it is a constant reminder of the connection they are incapable of having with their children.
For those who still just don’t like the word birthmother, and seek to change it, the civil rights movement offers a perfect model of oppressed and exploited people who fought for the self-determination to be called what they preferred, instead of “colored” or “Negro.” However, no attempts to change those terms were made until AFTER winning the basic rights they sought! This indicates two very important lessons: 1) it was not important to change what they were called in order to obtain the rights they were being denied; 2) they did first things first. They tackled the most serious problem first, and won those rights without the necessity of changing what they were called until after that was accomplished.
Further, the terms defining them were somewhat demeaning or had serious negative connotations, such as signs stating “No Colored Allowed.” Birthmother, however, is not an inherently derogatory term, at least not for many of us who use it, although, as I have said, I do see why it bothers many and can engendered misocnceptions. Many accept being called birthmother because they see birth is a joyous occasion, in both scientific and religious literature, and is defined as: 1. The set of characteristics or circumstances received from one's ancestors; inheritance: strong-willed by birth; acquired their wealth through birth. 2. Origin; extraction: of Swedish birth; of humble birth. Noble or high status: persons of birth.
Nothing at all mean or derogatory there. No condemnation, and nothing even close to being a “breeder.” I have no more shame that I gave birth to the daughter I surrendered than I do having given birth to any of my children. I am proud that I gave each of them life and that I have a unique biological connection with them that the word birth clearly reinforces. Birthfathers and other family members also share that special blood-related connection that is only accorded those related by birth. Being identified in the media and laws as birthmother or natural mother in no way changes who I am. They are two terms for the same thing, like woman or female; pregnant or expecting. Neither term is emotionally charged or carries any inherent negative image. First mother, the term preferred by Origins US, does not identify who I am as my daughter was first “mothered” by her foster mother. Whether I am first or second, my connection to my daughter and hers to me, is blood-related and genetic by virtue of my conceiving, carrying and giving birth to her.
This is how I feel. I do not object to other shaving their feelings expressed in what they call themselves. Liekwise, what any of my children choose to call me is their personal choice, as is how they talk about me to others, as long as it is clear in communicating with others. When I found my daughter I guess it would have been cool if, in time, she would have called me Mom. But it would not have changed our relationship one way if she didn’t, nor would I make no issue of it. If she preferred to call me by my first name, as many adoptees do, that would have been fine. If she referred to me when speaking with others as her mother, her first mother, her natural, or her birthmother would be of no consequence to me, either. None of those words are pejorative in any way, they just distinguish my unique role from the mother who raised her, just as the word mother and father describe different roles, with one inherently including the birth process.
Returning to the civil rights analogy, there are those within the movement who prefer to be called Black and others who prefer the use of African-American. Such personal preferences are resolved by each person calling themselves what they prefer to be called with the national organization that supports them all, still, after all these years, and all the changes, remains The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Likewise the national birthparent organization, CUB, remains Concerned United Birthparents after investigating, in depth, the issue of what we are called (back issues of the newsletter in which it was debated are available). They considered all the options, and decided not to change their name, perhaps for the same reason the NAACP does not change its name: public recognition.
Clearly each of us needs to heal our personal pain and loss, first and foremost. (This is why CUB remains today, as it always has been first and foremost a support group.) The steps in healing a trauma and loss are many, including denial and anger and perhaps some final resolution. For myself, a great part of my healing process occurred when I was able to refocus my anger. I see many analogies for this process among mothers who have experienced loss: MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers is perhaps the most widely known example. These mothers determined to not just sit and cry over their lost kids. They organized and got legislation changed in order to prevent other mothers suffering similar unnecessary losses. Channeling our anger constructively is by far the most healing thing any of us can do!
I suggest that each of you ask yourselves, individually and as a group, what your major goal is in terms of your adoption loss. Ask yourself what you can do to make a change, to see to it that fewer mothers suffer the unnecessary loses we did. What can we do to fight the lies about “promises” made to us that keep our children second-class citizens denied their equal right? Based on my decades of work in this area I see no evidence whatsoever that what we are called is in any way the cause of thw rost aspects of adoption, or our most pressing issue. Whike I have na open mind, Turski's article did nothing to change opinion, becaus eit did ntoing to indicate that changing what we are called will in any way reduce future exploitation of women for their babies, which appears from the Exiled Mothers website to be a collective goal that unites all mothers who have lost children to adoption, nor will it stop lies being told about what was promised to us, another concern of Exiled Mothers.
I respect and support the right of those who do object strongly to the name to do what they can to change it. I would by no means be opposed to supporting such an effort.
But, none of us have unlimited time and energy, therfore it just seems prudent to use it toward its highest good. There are many ways of achieving our goals that seem more direct and therefore more worthwhile than working toward changing what we are called. And certainly, arguing amongst ourselves over it id a counterproductive watse of energy. I would much prefer see us all unite and work together in order to eliminate or reduce exploitation. There is much that needs to be done. There ar ereal enemies pout there that need fighting, not one another. Here is a tiny sampling of suggestions which will be outlined in detail in my forthcoming book, “Money, Myth and Adoption”:
- We need to work toward getting the money out of adoption.
- We need to ensure that open adoption agreements are legally enforceable and in states where they are not, that expectant mothers are clear about that.
- We need to get untrained adoption facilitators out of the adoption ‘business’
- We need to outlaw taking expectant mothers across state lines for the purpose of taking their children for adoption
- We need to stop the practice of “matching” expectant mothers with those seeking to adopt their child and allowing pre-adoptive parents in the delivery room, in labor classes at doctor cists etc. as these are inherently coercive practices
- We need to get tougher on screening adoptive parents to weed our pedophiles and other abusers
- We need to fight the lies of alleged “promises” made to us that keep our children from having the “better life” that was promised to us
Bottom line is if an expectant mother considers adoption and contacts an adoption agency, facilitator or broker of any sort, she is seen as a source of a very highly sought-after commodity and she will be pressured, coerced and exploited for her child, even if her name is Queen Mary, Mary Magdalen, or the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God! I say this with no offense to anyone but to illustrate that what we are named is not the cause of our problems and renaming ourselves will not change a thing. All arguing baout it does is to keep women who have experienced such loses divided, which does not help us reach any goal, nor is it healing or healthy for new mothers as they come online and see all the back and forth debates and angry name calling.
Self-imposed exile from the rest of the adoption reform community is a choice, as is joining with us to work together. There is strength in numbers and divided we fall. We have so many enemies who look to exploit us and deny our children their rights even when they are adults. It would behoove us to join forces and all work together toward putting and end to the exploitation of future women.
Elizabeth Samuels, discussing the pressures put to bear on expectant mothers because of the supply and demand of infants domestically states: “Mothers in the stressful situations that lead them to consider placing their infants for adoption are not an organized group and are relatively powerless and socially disadvantaged.”(1) If the civil rights movement allowed themselves to focus on what they were called, they would now – Coloreds, Negroes, Blacks and African-Americans – all be sitting on the back of the bus together. Instead they simply allowed one another to use whatever is comfortable for them, as I am proposing, as thay fought for what was importnat - equal rights.
We can choose to remain unorganized, powerless victims in exile, or we can choose to overcome petty differences and unite to make a difference.
Mirah Riben 4/19/06
(1) The to Decide? The laws Governing Mothers’ Consents to the Adoption of Their Newborn Infants. Tennessee Law Review, Vol. 72, Number 2, Winter 2005. Pages 509-572. By Elizabeth Samuels, Associate Professor, University of Baltimore School of Law.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
WARNING: Graphic violent content re child abuse
Former NFL Player, Wife Charged With Child Abuse
April 21, 2006
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Former NFL offensive guard Rich Tylski and his wife were accused of hitting their adopted daughter with a belt, slamming her head on a table and other abuse that left the girl with broken bones in her hands and leg.
The 35-year-old former Jacksonville Jaguars player and wife Jane, 36, were free on $20,000 bond each on the child abuse and neglect charges. They were released Wednesday after turning themselves in. A message left on their home answering machine was not immediately returned and it was unclear if they had lawyers.
The child, whose age and name were not released, was taken to a Jacksonville hospital on March 10 for a fractured right thigh bone. Her parents said she had fallen down the stairs about eight hours earlier.
Doctors found extensive bruising in various stages of healing. A skeletal survey found six or seven healing fractures in the child's hand, the police report stated.
The girl later told investigators that she lied about falling down the stairs and she demonstrated on a doll how her mother had pushed her leg over her head until they heard a pop, the report said. The report also stated that Rich Tylski said he had hit the child with a belt.
The Department of Children & Families told police the girl missed 14 days of school from October to March.
During an interview on March 24, the child told investigators that her mother slammed her head on the table when she would not eat. She said both her mother and father hit her. She said a scar on her forehead was from her mother slamming her head into the table, but denied her mother hurt her leg, the police report said.
In a second interview on April 3, the girl described how her mother would bend her fingers backward.
All Pro Dad, which promotes active fatherhood, listed Tylski as an NFL player involved with the organization on its Web site. A call to its Tampa office was not immediately returned.
A call to the DCF about the case was not immediately returned.
Tylski played the first four years of his career for the Jaguars, then spent four years with the Pittsburgh Steelers and one year with the Carolina Panthers before retiring after the 2004 season.
On the police report, he said he was self-employed. His wife did not list an employer on her arrest report.
Friday, April 21, 2006
August 29, 1971 Maimomonides Hospital, Brooklyn New York
This young man at at 17, was charged with killing his adoptive parents ,(though very few reprotes mention that he was adopted anymore). Most, if not all of his family stand by him and have sworn his innocence throughout al of this ...read on...
Tankleff case cries out for answers: Murder probe needs to be reopened to learn the truth - and what happened to justice
BY SCOTT CHRISTIANSON
Scott Christianson is a former executive assistant to the New York State director of criminal justice and author of "Innocent: Inside Wrongful Conviction Cases."
April 21, 2006
Martin Tankleff's lawyers now have turned to the state Appellate Division to overturn Suffolk County Judge Stephen J. Braslow's decision not to grant their client a new trial. The drama is far from over.
Those who followed the latest hearings saw Tankleff's defense team marshal much more evidence against three career criminals - Joseph "Joey Guns" Creedon, Peter Kent and Glenn Harris - in the murder of Seymour and Arlene Tankleff in 1988 -than the prosecution has ever presented against the Tankleffs' son. That evidence indicated the murder was allegedly done at the behest of the Tankleffs' estranged business partner, Gerard Steuerman. But Martin Tankleff remains wrongfully convicted and imprisoned.
Citizens need to know why District Attorney Thomas J. Spota refused to step aside for a special prosecutor, although he had represented people involved in the Tankleff case as a private defense attorney. And what was Braslow thinking?
Tankleff, who was 17 at the time of the 1988 murders, was convicted in 1990 based in large measure on a questionable "confession" obtained by Det. James McCready, who at the time of the murders was a target of a state probe into Suffolk County police and prosecutors - although no charges were filed against him. In those days, Spota represented McCready.
Spota says that in 1983, his law firm represented Gerard Steuerman's son, Todd Steuerman, against charges of selling cocaine, and shortly after the murders, Spota's former longtime law partner, Gerard Sullivan, defended Gerard Steuerman in unspecified matters and defended Steuerman's son in another drug-dealing case. (There was evidence at a court hearing that relatives of the slain Tankleffs say the couple's dispute with Gerard Steuerman over his son's stake in one of their bagel stores was a major factor in their murders.)
Records show that Suffolk authorities had police reports about Steuerman-Creedon connections long before Tankleff went on trial, but McCready said publicly "Jerry Steuerman wouldn't hurt a fly" and Spota's office has denied there was any Steuerman-Creedon link despite a trail of contrary evidence in police department records.
Some of this documentation raises the question of why, for instance, Todd Steuerman wasn't prosecuted in the shooting and wounding of Creedon (the alleged leader of the Tankleff "hit team") in April 1989. At the time, Creedon gave police an affidavit saying he was shot by Todd Steuerman, a "drug dealer" who wanted him to "collect money," "wanted somebody whacked for $10,000," and suggested to Creedon that he should talk with Gerard Steuerman "about cutting Marty Tankleff's tongue out of his mouth." The DA's office allowed Todd Steuerman to quietly plead guilty to greatly reduced drug charges.
Other court papers reveal that Creedon told the district attorney's office about the shooting incident on June 2, 1989, but his statements were kept out of the Tankleff trial in 1990. Three months after Tankleff's conviction, Creedon signed another affidavit saying an assistant district attorney "clearly was attempting to have me back off my statement."
Spota was elected district attorney in 2001. In 2003, when Braslow ordered an evidentiary hearing in the Tankleff case, Spota selected as his investigator Walter Warkenthien, a former homicide detective who was one of those named along with McCready in the State Commission of Investigation's inquiry into Suffolk law enforcement. No charges were filed against him. To argue the case and conduct what he called an independent investigation, Spota hired Leonard Lato, a flamboyant former federal prosecutor.
As soon as the proceedings started, Tankleff's defense contended, Warkenthien began intimidating potential witnesses and Lato proceeded to dispute every pro-Tankleff witness, including Creedon's son, who testified that his father told him he had done the murders.
Tankleff's side acted like a prosecutor, identifying the killers, establishing a motive, finding the murder weapon and laying out the crime and its aftermath in graphic detail, whereas Lato responded like a defense attorney, by attacking defense witnesses and trying to raise reasonable doubt.
Judge Braslow would not grant immunity to Harris, prompting him to decline to testify about the murders. Braslow also refused to require a special prosecutor and denied Tankleff's bid to conduct advanced DNA tests on pieces of human skin scraped from Arlene Tankleff's fingernails after the attack. On every motion, Braslow ruled in favor of the district attorney's office and refused on legal grounds to recuse himself from the case.
The Tankleff case begs the question of what happens when officers of the court refuse to uphold justice. Somebody needs to not only reopen the case, but probe exactly what the truth is in this case.
Copyright (c) 2006, Newsday, Inc.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Mother said "I deserve death penalty" after killing her son
A Mesa, Arizona woman, Vicki Lynn Hulsey, 45, was arrested Monday night on suspicion of first-degree murder and child abuse after her adopted 10-year-old son, Jarod "Jerry" Hulsey, was found dead in their home. Mesa police found the boy dead Monday evening around 5 pm after responding to a 911 call made from the home. A woman who called 911, later identified as the boy's grandmother, told officers the boy was unresponsive and cold to the touch. Police found him dead in his bed, with bruises on his back, side and arms.
Hulsey told police she was raising her son on her own and had taken pills because she wanted to die. When asked if she killed her son, she replied "Yeah, I guess so". Hulsey asked an officer for his gun so she could shoot herself saying "I deserve the death penalty for this". Hulsey was previously investigated on a low-risk physical-child-abuse in Jan 2005 but allegations were unsubstantiated because of a lack of visible injuries on the boy's body.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
ATTN: CANADIAN ADOPTEES BIRTHFAMILIES
RE: ADR not taking applications after 23 April 2006 - PASS ON!
FROM: Coalition for Open Adoption Records (COAR)
Attention birthfamily members, or adopted people age 18+ wishing to apply on the passive registry of the Adoption Disclosure Registry in Ontario.
Effective April 24, 2006 this function will cease completely. After April 23, the Adoption Disclosure Unit will no longer be taking applications for the passive registry. This will mostly impact members of birth families, in particular mothers, fathers and siblings.
ACTION: If you are a member of a birth family, or an adopted adult who wants to find out if there is a match for you on the passive registry, register now, before April 23, 2006.
After April 23 2006, if you are a sibling or grandparent, or other birth family member of an adopted person (except for birth parents), you will not have this opportunity. It is very unfortunate that the new Adoption Information Disclosure Act, set to become law in about May 2007, does not include the opportunity for you to use Ontario government services to help you locate an adopted person in your family. Therefore, you must act now.
Adoption Disclosure Unit Contact Information:
The Adoption Disclosure Unit
Ministry of Community and Social Services
2 Bloor Street West, 24th Floor
Toronto ON M7A 1E9
Tel: (416) 327-4730
Fax: (416) 326-6867
We recommend that you immediately contact the ADU and ask for an application
for the passive registry.
Please share this bulletin with other adoptees and relatives.
mgrand @ uoguelph.ca
ccnm @ rogers.com
wrowney @ hotmail.com
Coordinating Committee of the Coalition for Open Adoption records
Friday, April 07, 2006
Hysterical Parody Meets Real Life Lunany
My Adopted Daughter Is The Most Beautiful Child In The Third World
April 5, 2006 | Issue 42•14
After months of hoping, praying, and waiting, we learned this week that our adoption of three-year-old Xuan was finally approved, and we'll soon be flying to Vietnam to escort her back to suburban Connecticut.We can't wait to give Xuan a real home, in a real country.
Roger and I already have three perfectly good natural children, but we desperately wanted to adopt a child from the Third World, to further demonstrate our love and generosity. It was not an easy process: there was a tremendous amount of paperwork, and the interviews with adoption agency staff were endless, but in the end we were convinced it was all worth it, because our little Xuan is the most wonderful, bright, and precious girl in all the developing nations.
Of course, everybody thinks their child is the most beautiful, but I'm a little more justified in this case, because not only am I not this child's real mother, but I specifically selected her from the agency's catalog. Roger and I instantly fell in love with her picture. With her jet black hair in sprightly little pigtails and an adorable, curious grin, she could almost be called a cherub, albeit an Asian one. At first, I feared that the precious little thing was only a sample picture, and was either unavailable for adoption or no longer resembled her photo, but, to my immense relief, I was told that the photo was current, and she was still up for grabs. She far outshined the other children in her orphanage: most looked thin, jaundiced, and listless, as if they weren't even aware that they were being photographed for an adoption catalog. Every child deserves loving parents, but that doesn't mean they can automatically assume they will get some. Would it hurt to put their best face forward? A bright personality has universal appeal.
When the agency showed us videos of Xuan with the other orphans, we saw that she was clearly the most sweet-natured, active, and poised. Her smock was the cleanest, and she avoided playing in the courtyard drain with the others. She even outclassed the potentially cuter and younger infants, who seemed to prefer spending their day lying tightly swaddled in rickety old cribs.
Xuan was already an expert with chopsticks, which is ideal because our family loves to go out for Japanese fusion. Best of all, she was disease-free. I can't tell you how thrilled Roger and I were about that one. We knew that Vietnam was no sub-Saharan Africa, but still, we didn't want our real children catching malaria or AIDS from her.
You really couldn't hope for a better child from the Third World. When I look into her brown, almond-shaped eyes, I don't see light-absorbing blotches so much as a window to another perspective, another way of life. By that I mean the American way of life. And she's going to love it.
We're renaming her Whitney, by the way, so the kids at school don't pick on her. (I'm not even exactly sure how to say "Xuan," but I do know that the "x" is definitely not pronounced like "x-ray.")
But please don't think that we'll deny Whitney her cultural heritage. We have already made plans to serve rice as a side dish for dinner a couple times a week. And once a year, ideally on the anniversary of the day we collected Whitney, we'll have some sort of Vietnamese culture celebration, with cake and ice cream and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, maybe even a piñata.
It was pretty magical when we adopted our first stray, Buster, from the animal shelter, but not as magical as this will be, I'm sure. Whitney and the Hardesty family are going to be a match made in heaven.
Welcome to your new home, Whitney Marie Hardesty.
Copyright The Onion, Inc. 2006
Sadly true and NOT a parady:
Jessica Simpson has adoption plans like Angelina
Will Jessica Simpson be the next Angelina Jolie? Well, once she gets enough of the fame-game, she may settle and focus on more important issues that hair and beauty. Just like Angelina Jolie, Simpson has plans for adoption.
She wants to “touch someone in a very special way” and she expressed that she plans to do it through an orphanage.
We’ll see. This is certainly one way to touch someone’s life…and to leave those sexy curves of Jessica intact!
The 25-year-old singer-actress, who filed for divorce from Nick Lachey last December, recently told TV's Extra: "I want to adopt, and I plan to adopt before I have my own kids.
Simpson's ex-husband Nick Lachey reportedly "fears that adoption is just another one of Jessica's spur-of-the-moment decisions that she'll end up regretting." he bases this on her history of her impulsive behavior -- like spending $750 on two sets of bras and panties or $1,400 on sheets, adding those things were "expensive but harmless."
Adopting internationally has been called, in entertnaiment rags having the "latest accesory."