Thursday, October 25, 2007


This comment was left on my blog today. I thought I would answer it. I am also going to post it here so that a natural mother from Suemma Coleman Home For Unwed Mothers can answer it too.

Beth G said:

I used the St. Elizabeth Coleman agency and Katrina as my search specialist in 2005. I was adopted from Suemma Coleman in 1952. I would recommend Katrina Carlisle to anyone, and have already, for the process of searching for a bith-family. The money used for the research and time they spend looking through years of records, birth certificates, marriage records, and death certificates isworth spending. I spent hours searching through books. The web sites were asking so much money and wanted private information.Katrina showed me and my birth family nothing but respect and kindness. As an adoptive mom, she understands what we are going through. I talked to Katrina about 6 months before I decided to go thru with the search. She informed me from the start that my birth mom may not want contact with me, or she may not be found. I went into the process knowing I might have to accept the word "no." Yes, it would hurt but it still needed to be respected!When Katrina contacted me the first time she had my files and read several items from it. I was told to ask questions as she read because the files would be sealed afterwards. I learned several things about my birth mom from the files. She was very popular. And she was treated with the utmost respect. I received a call from Katrina about 3 months into the search. She not only found my mom but had talked to her. Katrina told her about the paper work she needed to fill out, sign and send back, then we could contact each other.She could have changed her mind before receiving the paperwork but Katrina could not contact her again because of privacy and harrasment issues.She said her stay at the home was good. She remembered many people, made many friends, and kept in contact with some of them for many years.If she had not given me up for adoption, my life would not have been as good as it is. I was adopted, CHOSEN by a couple who could not have children. They did not have to raise me, have many sleepless nights, and spend money on me and my education. But they CHOSE to do so. And for that I love them very much.I know she made the best decision she could in her circumstances. I am thankful for the life she gave me, both in birth and future family.I inform anyone that asks me about searching for birth families that there are many ups and downs to the search process, outcomes not expected, but must be respected, and laws not accepted by everyone, that are made to protect everyone involved in the process.I believe health records for adoptees should be made available, not at the expense of disrupting an unexpecting, unknowning family but through doctors who can review your files. I was blessed to have Katrina find my birth family. Not all searches are as fast and successful as mine. Not all outcomes are good. Be prepared to accept the decision of the birth mom. It is not the fault of the agency or the CI. Ask questions and ask about the laws having to do with adoption searches. Think about it and make sure this is what you want to do. Understand the outcome may not be what your expect.

My answer to you is no, you have drunk too much of adoption koolaid. I have heard from many people in Indiana that Katrina does not reunite adoptees and mothers. There is Vincent who had the same exact story as I did. I know another adoptee who had to ask three to four times for her information to be sent to her. Her mother approved the contact. Another mother friend in Indiana said herself that Katrina screws adoptees and their families over. I will not accept no contact unless my natural mother herself tells me. Only her. I feel that Katrina is a liar and a scam artist.

Did you know how our mothers were treated? Ask Janice when she posts about this and she will. She is the resident Coleman mother. Our mothers were tied to the bed. Don't be fooled by Katrina. They were not allowed to touch their stomachs, not allowed to see us or hold us. They were fed three sparse meals a day. Did you ever wonder why you didn't weigh as much as your children? I was six pounds and three ounces. Why did my children weigh 8 lbs, 6oz and 7 lbs, 9oz? They didn't feed OUR mothers. Ever wonder why your adoptive parents didn't get any paperwork? Mine didn't either. All adoptees and adoptive parents didn't get squat. My adoptive mother called up there asking Katrina to contact her and find my father. It is not against the law to contact my father. I have read the laws. All this agency is doing is covering their butts. They shamed and humiliated our mothers. Don't believe me? Read The Girls Who Went Away by Ann Fessler. Its in paperback now so it should be cheap to buy. Go to the library and read it. Also read Wake Up Little Suzie by Rickie Solinger. Our mothers were verbally and emotionally abused by this agency. Natural mothers from all over this country were treated this way. Every story I have heard from natural mothers is consistently the same.

I too had great adoptive parents. Even my adoptive mother is ticked about my natural father. Do you know what it is like to be told that your natural father wanted to raise you but you can't make contact because your natural mother supposedly refused? I do. Then again being told that your mother said yes and then changed her mind is just as cruel. Is that the true story? I don't know. You should be PISSED. I bet more than not Someone somewhere dropped the ball in your case. How do you know that Katrina didn't call her back and tell her that you didn't want contact? For Christ's sake, she is the former director of the agency. How do you know that she doesn't have something to hide?

Why should you always be grateful? Don't you know that abortion wasn't an option back in our days? The only way she could redeem herself was to give you up. It was never a choice of your natural mother. She was treated like a breeder. She was coerced all the way. I can guarantee it. Did you know that Catholic Charities is known for taking adoptees money and not providing an information? Did you know that the agency itself changed the names our mothers gave us? I have done my research extensively. Check out my other blog, Adoption and Its Triad.

Sorry to be so angry. I want you angry. I want you to write the Indiana legislators. We are adults and should be afforded that courtesy and respect. We should have the same rights as other non adopted individuals. The state of Indiana is violating our right to privacy. The right to privacy is about the right to be free from governmental interference. I challenge you to read the other adoptee blogs. I challenge you to read the natural mother blogs. It would open your eyes wide. I highly suggest some cool clean water to drink instead of the koolaid.


Lizard said...

OMG yes that KoolAid is poison. But so many of us adoptees are so well trained to be compliant and to politely nibble the crumbs we are fed and to gratefully believe all the lies.

I was not a Coleman baby. I was adopted through of one of the supposedly most advanced agencies in the country. Well, as agencies go, yes they are advanced (CERTAINLY compared with Coleman). They contacted my natural mom several times, violating absolutely NOTHING, Beth G.

Wow. What a great way to put the kabash on a reunion - just tell the adoptee the mother said "no." End of search. Adoptee goes away. Sweet.

Despite the fact they had all the information right there, my agency nevertheless charged $500 to crack open the file and make a few phone calls. No "search" was necessary, but they took their $500 anyway. At least they didn't claim either one of us said "no." They actually let us reunite.

Once I met my mother, I discovered that "my" non-identifying information that I had from the agency since I was 16 was a crock - a boilerplate story that hundreds of adoptees were told.

Oh hey my mother was "very popular" too, and "treated with the utmost respect" ummm despite the fact they lied to her when she asked to see me after I was born. They told her I had already gone to my adoptive family. The truth is, I was institutionalized for 6 weeks.

There is a lot more I could tell you, Beth G, but my fingers are tired and I have stuff to do.

MOL_Am_Ris said...

Dear Beth,

I think that you missed many important facts about what many of these agencies do, including the Katrina agencies, and the Catholic Charities.

They have very coercive and extortive methods of getting these "glowing" stories from first mothers. When a first mother comes to these agencies in order to get her information and to ask that her child be contacted, she is carefully screened.

If she responds properly to questions, and shows that she thinks the adoption was delightful, and is willing to write a glowing letter that says so... she is allowed to leave this message that she wants contact. She is then allowed to meet with her child if the child is willing.

When the adoptee goes in, they receive the same screening. Does the adoptee repond properly to questions about her adoption? Does the adoptee toe the party line and praise adoption and the adoptee's adoptive parents? If the answer is yes, then the child is told that her mother (assuming the mother also toed the party line) would like to meet her.

But if either party shows signs of being unhappy about the adoption, they are refused their information. They are lied to and told that the other person wants no contact.

Now... if they are willing to change their minds, and write a lovely letter of recommendation, why... the agency might be able to find the other party and convince them to change their minds...

No adoptee or firstmother who refuses to give the "right" answers to these questions are allowed contact. They call it "counseling," and the person is only allowed contact if their "counseling" leads them back to the "Adoption is good. Adoption is great. I am better off. My mother/child is better off. Thank god for adoption" zombie mantra.

You make assumptions that you were better off, just because of some things told to you in an old file. An old file that was created in a time when ALL single mothers were villianized and were considered to be the lowest possible scum. So of course, they gave the worst possible view of your mother and your possible life in these files.

It would be completely stupid to give anyone the idea that they might not have been better off. If you weren't better off... then what they were doing was wrong. No one is going to admit that. It's only logical that your mother's file paints her in the worst possible way- not only because of the stigma of an unwed pregnancy, but also because it would be an obvious wrong if they admitted that you might have been just fine.

Next... your adoptive parents didn't have to do all those things they did for you? Why the hell didn't they? OF COURSE THEY HAD TO CARE FOR YOU.

They chose you? No, they didn't. They got the next warm body in line when it was their turn. Period. "A baby was just born, you want it?" "Well, is it healthy?" "Yes." "We'll take it."

I appreciate the fact that they tried to romanticise it to make you feel better, but you're what, 5 years old still? Wake up and smell the coffee. Your parents didn't do you any favors. What other kid has to say, "Well, it was awful nice of my parents to feed me and to not beat me"? Who but adoptees have to tack onto their "gratitude" to their parents, "and they treated me well, too" as if it was some kind of special favor?

Biological parents are just EXPECTED to treat their kids well and to feed them. But because you weren't THEIRS, your parents are heroes for doing the basic things that one is SUPPOSED to do for their kids?

Wow, your parents spent sleepless nights? Your parents paid for your education? Well, hot damn, what saints!

Thank god they didn't throw you back, right??


You've got some serious issues, and you don't even see them. Not only do you buy the very likely lies in your file about your mother (lying was standard proceedure back then- by the way, poor people didn't give up their children for adoption, they just let mom or dad raise the baby as theirs and kept the whole thing secret, it was wealthy and middle class people who sent their daughters away out of terror of what the Joneses would think- so you were almost 100% likely to be from a middle class or even wealthy family, not poor white trash like they usually put into those files), but you buy those lies AND perpetuate the stupidity that says that adoptive parents are some kind of saints for treating the kids they PAID MONEY FOR like everyone else is just EXPECTED to treat their kids.

Are you your parents' child, or aren't you? If you are, then seriously, quit acting like them doing for you what is EXPECTED for parents to do makes them some kind of saints.

I feed my kid. Where's MY halo?


MOL_Am_Ris said...

PS: Do you expect them to admit to treating someone with anything less than "utmost" respect?

Use some vcommon sense. These women were the deadbeat dirtballs ion the minds of society at the time and "deserved" to be punished for thei "misdeeds."

But sure, I'll believe they were treated with "utmost respect" when the person with a vested interest in my money and in hiding the truth from me tells me so... and I'll ignore the people IN THE SITUATION who were the victims in it all.

Because that just makes sense...

Abby and Mat Berry said...

All I can saw is wow.
I have been reading the accusations and comments on this blog. And I am appalled.

I am an adult adoptee who had the desire to search for my birth-family and fortunately had success.

I was treated with the utmost respect from Katrina during this process. And I am pleasantly surprised my birth-mother wanted to talk with me.

I think there is a lack of "correct" information on this blog and I am disturbed by it's contents.

Everyone has a right to their own opinion. I hope mine is posted so there is a positive view on adoption.

I read numerous comments that were malicious and callous. I think perhaps, it is not the agency or the State, but your own insecurities which are at the forefront of this "attack".

I would suggest a different approach, rather than pointing the finger, seek a therapist. I am not a therapist; however, it seems there is an overabundance of bitterness and revulsion.

Amyadoptee said...

Hmmmmm Are we touching a nerve? Why are you creating all these blogs just for little ol' us? I have spoken with countless adoptees out of Coleman. Guess what? Most of them said that Katrina screwed up their reunions. You won't when this battle with me. Sorry go bark somewhere else.

Mary said...

The whole CI process is a crock. Adult adoptees should have their records period with out some paper pusher getting in the way. Agencies are about the $$, not helping adoptees or natural families.

Linda said...

To those on this blog who have made comments about St. Elizabeth Coleman and, specifically, Katrina Carlisle, Search Specialist at St. Elizabeth Coleman:

I was adopted through the Suemma Coleman home over 40 years ago. Last year I initiated a search for my birth mother at St. Elizabeth Coleman and worked with Katrina Carlisle. I cannot speak highly enough of the work that she has done. Not only did Katrina pursue the search for my birth mother thoroughly, she has also provided wise counsel and support over the last year and a half. Although I live outside Indiana, I was able to visit St. Elizabeth Coleman where Katrina spent time with me, talking about my situation.

I was fortunate that my birth mother agreed to receive letters from me, though she has not agreed to meet yet. We correspond with Katrina as an intermediary, which she has done faithfully for a year and a half, and will continue for as long as is needed.

I am sorry that some on this blog have had disappointing experiences with their birth mothers and the search process. My own search has been disappointing as there has been no reunion yet, but Katrina has been a bright spot through all of it with her good advice and encouraging words. I could not have managed this process without her.

I would urge those reading the comments on this blog to take very seriously those positive comments before drawing any conclusions about St. Elizabeth Coleman and Katrina Carlisle.

- lisa

MOL_Am_Ris said...

Yes, there is a lack of "correct" information on this blog. Too bad the "correct" information is in the blog entries and lies and manipulation are in the comments being posted by a certain deceptive con artist with multiple personalities.

Wouldn't you say so, "Beth"?

PS, there is treatment for multiple personality disorder now. A bit unconventional, but you could still try it. I hear so far it's been very effective.

PSS, I am interested in seeing which personality you are going to post under next!

Now... where's my popcorn?

Linda said...

Just to clarify, the simple fact is that several of us who have worked with St. Elizabeth Coleman and Katrina Carlisle feel compelled to respond to the hostile comments that are being posted on this blog.

Melanie Recoy said...


You seem to be a very trustworthy and honest adoptee. If Katrina doesn't have anything to hide, she will surely let you correspond with your mother directly after all this time.

Why don't you ask her about that?

Linda said...


The problem is not that Katrina won't let me correspond with my birth mother. My birth mother is not ready to meet me and does not want to correspond with me directly so my only option is for us to continue to write one another using Katrina as the intermediary. Thankfully, my birth mother is willing to do this. I am grateful that Katrina offers this service on an ongoing basis. Otherwise, I would have no means for contact with my birth mother.

Melanie Recoy said...


Do you get the letters that your mother writes? Does she get yours? Or does Katrina just tell you what they say, and vice versa?

Have you ever seen your mother's handwriting? Do you know her first name?

Heck I can hook you up with several people who can probably find her for you, in fact I might be able to do it myself. Not one of us would charge you thing.

Just say the word.

Marley Greiner said...

The CI system is BS. They just want to protect their boss's lies. If you can afford it hire a PI or a real searcher (with good recommendations, do it. Kick Coleman to the curb.

Mary said...

Our records are ours, not some agency. The power a CI has in this situation is unreal and unfair. Perfect job for a control freak.

Unknown said...

Yes, the CI system is just more exploitation, don't insult my intelligence with the foggy notion that adults need intermediaries to communicate, how patently absurd.

As far as I am concerned anyone who earns a living being a CI is dealing in dirty money, no thank you.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Linda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda said...

Well, it is unfortunate that there is so much hostility and inaccurate information swirling around this blog. My final word is that the intermediary system has worked quite successfully for me. I am in communication with my birth mother through letters (yes, I know her name and have received several letters in her own hand). There has been absolutely nothing in my year and a half experience to cause me to question the integrity of St Elizabeth Coleman. Is it an ideal situation? Certainly not. But if birth mothers like mine want to continue to preserve their privacy until they are ready to proceed more openly, I am extremely grateful to be able to communicate with my mother as much as I do through a faithful intermediary.

Anonymous said...

Then by all means continue drinking the Koolaid. I have presented the evidence. As long as you wish to continue being treated like a forever child, then go right ahead. I know better. I have been doing this for two years. Its a shame that you can't open your eyes and realize what your rights are. Its a shame that you can't stand up for those rights.