Thursday, October 30, 2008
Its one of the many myths continually perpetrated with adoption. Another thing that bugs me is how society, adoption industry, and the adoption underground views us.
1. We are still children or property of our adoptive parents.
2. Besides the grateful crap, oh those mothers have moved on.
3. Oh you will hurt your parents.
On the other side,
Adoption is filled with corruption which it is but how is an adoptee supposed to reconcile their adoption with the rest of the adoption industry.
Sometimes I feel that we just can't win.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
There are three other legislative areas that we need to look at. We need to look at the vital statistics legislation, stalking and harassment laws and the constitution.
The non adopted are allowed access to their original birth certificates without asking for special permission. That is considered separate treatment under the law. Separate is not equal according to Brown vs. Board of Education.
This kind of law also gives special immunities and privileges which is strictly forbidden by the Indiana constitution.
Stalking and harassment laws are also specific. It does not specify the number of times that contact becomes harassment or stalking. It just states repeated. What a contact veto does is give a priori against an adoptee or natural parent without ever having committed a crime. There is also free association that is not addressed.
You can click on the link to the side to get much of this information.
This is the list of people who will be against adoptee access. Know your enemy well.
Indiana Right to Life - they will have other states involved in this issue. Ohio will probably help right to life. But we have powers that would help us too. So remember that.
Indiana Planned Parenthood but I think they just might stay out of this argument.
Indiana ACLU - Several state ACLU groups have opposed adoptee access laws.
Catholic Charities is well known in all states for fighting adoptee access laws. There are counter points for that though.
NCFA has a presence but they are not that strong in Indiana. Do not discount them though. Bethany and LDS Family Services are in that state.
Kirsch and Kirsch are also big time adoption attorneys. They have helped in creating laws that cover their rear ends.
Know the laws in Indiana.
Research the Right to Privacy Laws and the court cases deciding them. I.E. Roe vs. Wade, Griswold vs. Connecticut, and Eisenstandt vs. Baird.
Research the Stalking and Harassment laws.
Research the adoption laws.
Research the vital statistic laws. What do the non adopted have in comparison to the adopted. Court case Brown vs. Board of Education comes to mind. Separate is not equal.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Family Matters goes into detail about the issue of when and why records were sealed. I think it would be important to me as an adoptee to understand the full issues as to why the records were sealed .
So I will write about this book after I get it from the library.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Here is the link and the story.
Decision 2008: Stem cell debate
Embryo adoption grows as option
Feds promote it as family alternative
Kim Kozlowski / The Detroit News
FALMOUTH -- At a routine ultrasound eight months into Rachelle Rife's first pregnancy, a technician turned the monitor to her and her husband, Troy.
"Here's an ear," the technician said, pointing to the developing baby. "Whose is it?"
The Rifes looked at each other and laughed.
"Neither one," said Rachelle, who later gave birth to Greyson Kent, who has no genetic relation to her or Troy.
Greyson was one of seven frozen embryos left over from another couple's in-vitro fertilization treatments. The couple allowed the Rifes, of Falmouth, east of Cadillac in northern Michigan, to adopt them.
"This is God's promise to us," said Troy. "This is our baby boy."
One of an estimated 314 "snowflake" babies in the United States, Greyson represents one of two divergent, but equally hope-filled possibilities for frozen embryos -- human life or medical breakthroughs through human embryonic stem cell research.
The federal government is promoting embryo donation as a family-building option, while some opponents of human embryonic stem cell research have embraced it as an alternative use for excess embryos.
Scientists in Michigan are barred from destroying embryos for research, which is the only way to create stem cell lines, but a state ballot proposal will give voters a chance to reverse that Nov. 4.
Scientists argue that unfettered access to embryonic stem cells, which are typically derived from 5- to 6-day-old frozen embryos, could do for health care what the Internet has done for global communication because they have the ability to transform into any type of cell scientists want to study. Because they can be turned into any type of cell, researchers hope to pinpoint genetic triggers for diseases such as cancer and diabetes and study potential treatments. Adult stem cells, by contrast, are found in a limited number of tissues and organs and can generally only replicate the type of cells from which they were derived.
Though the coalition opposing the ballot initiative has focused primarily on the ballot language, saying it goes too far, other opponents object to the research because of the potential life these embryos can create.
Advocates, however, say a few people choose this option and the miracle of life and embryonic stem cell research can co-exist.
"One does not in any way negate the other," said Marcia Baum, executive director of Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research & Cures. "There's enough (frozen embryos) for both."
For the Rifes, adopting the embryo that became Greyson had nothing to do with politics. It simply provided an opportunity they never thought they would have: giving birth and having genetic siblings available for more children.
"This," Rachelle said, "is the biggest miracle of our life."
'So out of the ordinary'
The Rifes learned about embryo adoption at a seminar put on by Bethany Christian Services, a Grand Rapids-based national adoption agency and a leader in embryo adoption. Troy, 42, was intrigued, but Rachelle, 29, needed to be convinced.
"It seemed so new and so out of the ordinary," she said.
When she realized she could experience all the emotions that come with pregnancy and childbirth, at a fraction of the cost of in-vitro fertilization, Rachelle decided to pursue it.
Over five months, the Rifes were interviewed and counseled by social workers and had a home study. They received detailed health profiles of potential embryo donors and were able to review the eye and hair color, body type, hair texture, ethnicities and even the likes and dislikes of the donor couples.
This was a nice option, Troy said, but they had other priorities.
"We wanted to make sure they were healthy," he said.
The Rifes picked a couple who had similar physical traits and were willing to communicate with them and the child over the years.
In July 2007, they traveled to the National Embryo Donation Center, a private organization inKnoxville, Tenn., for the embryo transfer.
Doctors implanted three embryos in Rachelle's womb, but the transfer didn't take.
"We were devastated," Rachelle said.
They returned to Knoxville that September for another attempt. This time they achieved success using embryos from a couple that chose to remain anonymous.
'Not spare parts'
The world's first "snowflake baby," Hannah Strege was born with little fanfare in December 1998, a month after researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison created the first human embryonic stem cell line. Embryo adoption and stem cell research collided in 2006 at the White House, when President Bush vetoed a bill that would have expanded federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.
Standing behind Bush were 18 families that had adopted embryos.
"These boys and girls are not spare parts," Bush said. "They remind us of what is lost when embryos are destroyed in the name of research."
Exact figures are unavailable, but various federal studies suggest less than 1 percent of frozen embryos are adopted; and some couples do not want other people to raise their biological children.
Rachelle admits that at first she wasn't comfortable with the idea of giving birth to someone else's baby. But as she gave it more thought, she realized she and her husband consider each other family even though they are not genetically related.
"Over time you become one family," she said.
With more than 400,000 frozen embryos in clinics and tissue banks nationwide, the federal government has been promoting embryo adoption as an option for infertile couples.
Since 2002, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $10.8 million in grants to organizations, most of them faith-based, to promote awareness of embryo adoption. The government has also allocated $216.4 million since 2002 to the study of human embryonic stem cell lines that were created before 2001, when Bush limited the number of lines.
Among the groups promoting awareness of embryo donation is RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, an advocacy group for infertile couples.
Unlike faith-based groups, RESOLVE believes couples with excess frozen embryos should be able to donate them for embryonic stem cell research.
But the organization also promotes embryo adoption, said Barbara Collura, RESOLVE executive director.
"It is one way out of many, many ways a couple could build a family," she said.
'I feel very blessed'
Three weeks before her due date, Rachelle woke up at 4 a.m. and knew the baby was coming.
Six hours later, Greyson Kent Rife was born with a lot of hair and weighed 6 pounds, 6 ounces.
"The first thing I said to him when he was born was, 'I love you, Greyson,' " Troy said. "And then I started kissing him."
Rachelle sees Greyson's birth as part of a divine plan.
"I feel very blessed I got to experience pregnancy and labor and delivery in all of its glory and to be able to breast feed now," she said.
The couple still has four other frozen embryos, genetic siblings of Greyson, which they plan to use in a year in hopes of giving him at least one brother or sister.
In the meantime, they still look at a black-and-white photo that looks like three flowers with several petals.
The picture is actually of the three embryos that were implanted in Rachelle's womb, one of which developed into Greyson.
"Isn't that crazy?" she said. "Out of that tiny little speck came this beautiful child."
You can reach Kim Kozlowski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is the link and the story.
Adoption is a minor political football in American politics this election season. Cindy McCain shined a spotlight on the issue of adoption even before the Republican National Convention. Yet, in The Baby Bazaar , there’s a disturbing fact about international adoption most “orphanages” hide: the children are not always orphans.
In the worst cases, children are taken from parents or extended families—by force, coercion, or monetary persuasion.
Many children…come from backgrounds of poverty and conflict. Since the war in Liberia ended several years ago, the country has become a popular adoption spot where orphanages “recruit” children from families for adoption abroad.
Reforms such as the Hague Convention give hope to prospective parents and advocates that a balance can be struck between adoption and human rights. A few countries, like Thailand, seem to be on the right path…offers extended families incentives to keep children whose parents have passed away or need help with care, while ensuring that genuine orphans find loving homes.
I witnessed such fraud in 1997 when I was stationed near Seoul, ROK. I volunteered at a local orphanage on weekends, mostly sharing meals and playing with children. These weekends continued for a few months until Christmas, when we distributed gifts and held a big party with Santa Claus and lots of food. Only, there were a lot more parents present, and suddenly the atmosphere seemed like a reunion. A sergeant, with years of experience volunteering explained, that most of the parents were too poor to care for the children full-time and depended upon the orphanage for long-term housing, food, education, and medical care. Christmas was one of the few days the parents visited.
During these months, another NCO with whom I worked, decided to adopt an adolescent girl with a rare debilitating bone disease. I can no longer recall the particulars of her condition, but her height was stunted, and the officials at the orphanage relayed, that the girl would probably not survive into adulthood. She couldn’t receive medical treatment in ROK, but there were hospitals in the US which could perform the treatments. If the NCO and her husband adopted her, the US government would have effectively picked up the tab through their health insurance. However, the girl was not an orphan. Her parents suddenly appeared after the orphanage notified them of the sergeant’s request. The parents refused to allow the sergeant to adopt, and explicitly refused for their child to become an American citizen.
I wonder how many children there are in the world living horrible lives where being an orphan might be better than being the victim of a crooked dealer.
Powered by ScribeFire .
I am pretty sure that they are looking at it as way of stemming the abortion issue. I sent them the statistics that show that adoptee access does not cause more abortions. Adoptee access actually increases more adoptions as seen in Oregon.
So lets write them and let them know we want unfettered access to our original birth certificates.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Here is the first article with Angelina Jolie.
Angelina Jolie is waiting for her newborn twins with Brad Pitt to grow another three months before she can begin the adoption process for her seventh child.
The star and Pitt welcomed twins Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline in July.
Jolie was interviewed on "The Today Show" with Matt Lauer on Thursday, when she was asked if she had plans to adopt another child.
Jolie coyly replied that she's already explored options to expand her brood, which includes four other children -- Maddox, 7, Pax, 4, Zahara, 3, and Shiloh, 2.
But she admits she is unsure when the adoption will take place.
She adds: "It depends. You can't start the process until any new children are six months old to understand how the new family is settled to see what you can absorb into a new family. I think that's a smart thing anyway, to understand when it's the right time to bring a new child in."
And Jolie insists she doesn't long for her former life before becoming a busy mother-of-six.She adds, "I haven't been alone for so long now -- with (Maddox). I've met the right person (in Pitt). ... I don't like being without him. I don't love being alone like I us
Here is the second story with Madonna.
adonna may have publicly branded Guy Ritchie 'emotionally retarded', but that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of her grievances against her soon to be ex husband.
The couple are said to have endured a string of bitter rows and mud-slinging in recent months over a wide reaching range of issues.Madonna is said decided to end the marriage after Guy became increasing irritated by her obsession with Kabbalah and his refusal to move to New York.
She is reported to have told friends he also failed to support her plans adopt a three-year-old Malawian girl, which she still intends to push ahead with.
She also apparently complained that he was tight with his purse strings and declined to tap into his own £30million fortune to pay for their lifestyle.
A source told The Sun: 'When Guy heard the reasons Madonna was divorcing him he hit the roof. He thinks she's trying to make him out to be the villain of the piece. He's incandescent with rage.
Sticking point: Madonna, pictured here leaving a Kabbalah center earlier this month, is said to have argued with Guy over the faith and her plans to adopt another child
'The situation is on a knife edge. Guy can't believe some of the things Madonna has said about him.
'Noone knows if this is going to be settled easily or turn into an absolute bloodbath.'
The rows culminated in an almighty fall-out last Friday in which the singer gave her husband an ultimatum to move from London to New York with her.
Ritchie, 40, reacted furiously and refused to relocate - sealing their fate.
'Guy just went mad saying there was no way he was moving abroad away from his roots and family on a whim just because Madonna desired another of her notorious image changes,' a well-placed source told the Mail.
'Madonna was incensed, telling him, "either you're in or out".'
The couple have also argued about their religious beliefs.
A source adds: 'Madonna believes the reason she is a world icon is that she has somehow been chosen to channel messages to the masses.
'She feels her destiny has been preordained. Guy on the other hand thinks that's a load of b*******.'
Guy is believed to have branded Madonna a control freak, with a source saying: 'Guy felt emasculated through the marriage.'
Madonna's close friendship with her former lover Carlos Leon is also rumoured to have been a source of tension between the couple.
New York based personal trainer Leon, who is the father of Madonna's 12-year-old daughter Lourdes, has become the singer's 'rock' in recent times, according to sources.
He is known to have been staying in the singer's New York apartment, overseeing redecoration, and the pair have been under the same roof while she's in the city as part of her Sticky & Sweet tour.
An insider tells says: 'Guy and Carlos always had a very friendly relationship. But that recently turned sour because Madonna had been getting closer to Carlos'.
And of course there is her rumoured relationship with relationship with baseball star Alex Rodriguez.
The two have been linked since early July when it was reported by the same magazine that he had been making late-night visits to her Central Park West apartment in New York.
Rodriguez's wife Cynthia then launched divorce proceedings because of his 'extramarital affairs'.
Cynthia told friends at the time she believed her husband and Madonna had 'an affair of the heart'. Madonna vehemently denied a relationship with Rodriguez at the time.
Earlier this month, Madonna reportedly invited Rodriguez to spend the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur with her and her three children.
A family friend told American magazine Life & Style: 'On Oct. 8, they went to a special Kabbalah service at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. They all left around the same time.'
They reportedly returned to the hotel the next day for seven hours of spiritual readings.
'It’s a very sacred day, so one can only assume she’s feeling very serious about Alex,' added the friend.
A source added: 'Guy was horrified to learn that she invited Alex to [spend time with] her and her children.'
Another insider concluded: 'What started out as love has now ended with real acrimony. It’s very, very sad.'
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I moderate the Indiana Open organization and email list. I am getting more and more complaints about the information adoptees are entitled to receive. Their forms are becoming lost in the "mail." Many adoptees are also having issues with receiving false information on their records. Agency confidential intermediaries are intentionally changing that information to keep adoptees and their families from finding each other. Our organization has proof of this. Our organization has further proof that no one was promised forever confidentiality.
I have enclosed documentation from Ohio's HB 7 and Maine's adoptee access laws. I am also including information on Oregon's law. With a contact preference form, it gives the relinquishing parents a say in how they want to be contacted. It does not deny the adoptee access to their own original . in this country and state are having more and more issues with getting passports, other forms of identification, and even being allowed to vote. Why? Their amended birth certificates look suspect. Indiana only offers us adoptees a short form. We as a group need to be able to prove our American citizenship. If you look at Roe vs. Wade, Griswold vs. Connecticut, and even the Eisenstandt case, you will see that these cases represent the right to privacy as the right to be free from governmental interference. This includes state and federal interference. Another case to look at is Brown vs. Board of Education. This case stated that separate is not equal. Adoptees and their families are being treated unequally by the separate laws in the state of Indiana. Any one who is not adopted has access to their birth certificates and other documents with their names on them. Adoptees and their families do not have that same access. Currently relinquishing parents do not have a say at all. They do not get a copy of the original birth certificate. If you look at the laws, the records are sealed at finalization of the adoption, not at relinquishment. If a child is never adopted, then their records are never sealed. Keep in mind we are discussing adult adoptees. I am lucky in the sense that my adoptive mother has not only been supportive but has encouraged me to take this road. She helped in creating the fighter that I am. Once an adoptee becomes an adult, just like the non adopted, neither set of parents should have any say over the original birth certificate. Look at it this way. Do your parents control your birth certificate? No they don't. The same laws should apply to adoptees. This is blatant discrimination.
The state can earn money by just providing copies of the original birth certificate. Here is a video about Oregon's Measure 58. It also shows how handled their financial report on it.
This is Oregon's official website on the statistical information on the records issued:
Here is what the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute said about both relinquishing mothers and adoptee rights. They quoted 90% of relinquishing mothers wanting contact.
Here is the information for the New Hampshire debate and subsequent passage of their law.
Its all on You tube but its very informative. Janet Allen was essentially in the passing of this bill. You will see that it did not cost the state any extra money. This state has not had any issues with stalking adoptees or relinquishing parents. Neither has Oregon, Alabama, Alaska, or Kansas.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHB0mCSnRE4 part one
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDv4EBe9wcE part two
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfBMiKGUDLs part three
Here is my rough raw data that I gathered on the Oregon and New Hampshire Laws.
OREGON STATISTICAL INFORMATION
ADOPTEE ACCESS LAWS
# OF RECORDS # OF RECORDS # OF NO CONTACT # OF CONTACT
YEAR REQUESTED PROCESSED PREFERENCE THRU CI
2001 5832 5565 79 (1.4%) 27 (0.4%)
2002 6722 6439 80 (1.2%) 28 (0.4%)
2003 7459 7296 81 (1.1%) 29 (0.4%)
2004 8021 7811 81 (1.0%) 28 (0.4%)
2005 8486 8190 83 (1.0%) 29(0.4%)
OREGON STATISTICAL INFORMATION
YEAR # OF ADOPTIONS
The law went into effect in May 2001. Adoptions have not gone back down to the level of 1998.
NEW HAMPSHIRE STATISTICAL INFORMATION
ADOPTEE ACCESS LAWS
# OF RECORDS # OF CONTACT # OF NO CONTACT
YEAR PROCESSED THRU CI PREFERENCE
2005 778 6 (0.7%) 11 (1.4%)
2006 137 1 (0.7%) 1 (0.7%)
2007 139 0 (0.0%) 0 (0.0%)
2008 91 0 (0.0%) 0 (0.0%)
It was in 2005 that the law allowed adoptee access to their records in New Hampshire.
You can check their statistics with the following link.
http://www.sos.nh.gov/vitalrecords/Publications/Contact%20Preference%20Form.pdf contact preference form
http://www.sos.nh.gov/vitalrecords/Publications/Medical%20History.pdf birth history form
This is how I would like our bill to look like:
http://gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2004/SB0335.html (New Hampshire)
It gives the adoptees their OBC. Relinquishing parents have their say on the contact portion of it. Contact is already legislated in the law in the form of stalking and harassment laws. This will increase adoptions and it will decrease abortions in our state . This is even more obvious in Oregon where none of the federal regulations that have been passed did not affect the statistics in Oregon.
If you need to ask me any further questions, please contact me.
Amy K. Burt
Friday, October 10, 2008
Here is the release of this year's contest:
This year we continue that tradition. Until November 1 you will have the opportunity to vote for the recipient of this year's award.
The nominees are:
* for using coercive tactics in obtaining infants for adoption and for not respecting paternal rights;
* The makers of Juno for helping to groom and brainwash a whole new generation of girls and young women to be walking incubators for the the adoption industry;
* Adoption.com for systematically banning voices that oppose current adoption practices and their continuous pro-adoption propaganda;
* Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute for awarding persons and organizations that promote the one sided point of view of the adoption industry;
* for their continued cooperation with the totally corrupt Indian orphanage Preet Mandir;
* Amici dei Bambini for being the driving force behind the concept of European Adoptions, as a way to re-open adoptions from Romania;
* CPS in various states for pushing for quick adoptions on flimsy allegations to meet targets and quotas;
* UK Local authority Social Services for pushing for quick adoptions on flimsy allegations to meet targets and quotas;
* Canadian for pushing for quick adoptions on flimsy allegations to meet targets and quotas;
* District of Columbia Child and Family Services Agency for for not checking up on Renee Bowman.
You can cast your vote by following this link: http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/21959
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Here is the story and the link.
United Way paints bleak baby picture
By Dan McFeely
More than half of the babies born in Marion County are born to a
single mother, one of the startling statistics released today by the
United Way of Central Indiana.
The agency unveiled its 2008 Community Assessment to a large crowd at
the Madame Walker Theater Center early today.
The survey, which uses data from a variety of national, state and
local sources, has churned out more than 500 pages of statistics and
trends in the Central Indiana area. The results help the agency
determine where to direct donated dollars.
Among the findings:
>> Births to unmarried parents have steadily increased and now exceed
50 percent of all births in Marion County. And they exceed 35 percent
of those in more than half of all Indiana counties.
>> One fourth of the population growth in the metro area comes from
>> Between 1999 and 2006, the percentage of uninsured folks 65 and
older in Indiana grew by 10 to 13 percent, almost 50 percent higher
than the national growth as a whole.
>> In 2007, more than 60,000 people in Central Indiana suffered from a
serious and chronic mental disorder, and such problems often go
undiagnosed and untreated, especially in minority communities.
The study was completed with the help of more than 150 people,
including United Way staffers, independent researchers and volunteers.
Here is the link. Here is the story.
Ind. woman seeking her roots lands in Ogden
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Thursday, October 9, 2008
By SAM COOPER
OGDEN -- Nearly 61 years after she was left for adoption at a New York
City hospital, Indiana resident Rosemary Sorensen Hollis found her
birth father, Orvil Mural Sorensen, buried in an unmarked grave at
Ogden City Cemetery.
Now with some help from the public, she wants to get to know the man.
Hollis, now a grandmother herself, began a 1,500-mile sojourn to Ogden
from Indiana last weekend with her husband in hopes of learning more
about the father she never knew.
"Never did I ever suspect that my roots were out West," Hollis said in
an e-mail before her visit.
"Needless to say, I am very interested in finding out all that I can
about him and my Sorensen relatives."
The trip is the result of a search that began in 1992 with a scrap of
information from the adoption agency.
"They only told me that I was born in a hotel in Manhattan and my
birth mother had gone to the hotel with a soldier," she said.
Hollis said she's been able to piece together part of her family's
story through an assortment of records she has collected over the years.
From what she has discovered, her father, known to be a
rough-and-tumble kid from Ogden, joined the Army after a stint at a
local reform school and met her mother while stationed near Welfare
It was in a hotel near there where Hollis was born May 2, 1947, three
months premature. Hollis said her then-21-year-old father rushed with
her and her mother in an ambulance to the New York Foundling Hospital
following her birth.
She isn't sure what happened next, but apparently her father returned
to military duty and her mother disappeared.
The only explanation Hollis has received is from the social services
department at the hospital, which informed her that while her mother
was recovering from labor, she received a visit from her upset mother,
who said she couldn't bring the baby home.
"I was at the hospital for six months, and then my grandmother
suggested I be sent to the adoption home," Hollis said.
Tracking down her mother has proven fruitless because she checked
herself into the hospital under an alias, Hollis said.
Decades later, she was able to find her biological father's name on a
baptismal certificate and traced him back to 859 Canyon Road in Ogden.
It was a eureka moment, she said.
"I can't begin to explain to you what finding the name of my dad has
meant to me.
"I have searched for so many years. Unfortunately, due to my age and
the fact that my father is now deceased, I realize that many of the
older people are now gone."
Standing by her father's unmarked grave, Hollis said she had mixed
feelings about her discoveries.
"I feel like I finally have found a root, a connection. Everyone needs
to have that ... It makes me feel sad that I didn't know him," she said.
Orvil Mural Sorensen, called "Sarge" by friends, would be in his 80s
if he were alive today.
Hollis said he worked at Defense Depot Ogden, was very active in CB
radio circles and loved to camp in the Monte Cristo area. He also
loved to collect records and ride his motorcycles.
She hopes to find anyone who may have known Sorensen, even secondhand,
and might be willing to share memories of him.
"I just want people to understand that we're not looking for anything
other than to get to know who he was and what he was about," Hollis said.
She said she plans to compile all the information she's learned about
Sorensen into a scrapbook for her grandchildren.
"I want to be able to put everything together and eventually give it
to them, so they can have it," she said.
Anyone with information about Orvil "Sarge" Sorensen is encouraged to
call Hollis at (765) 432-7121 or e-mail her at indianahollis@AOL.com.
She said she plans to stay in Ogden until the end of this wee
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Here is the link. Here is the story.
|Many DSS caseworkers lacked experience when hired|
Carol Thompson 10-01-2008
by Carol Thompson
A typist, a fitness instructor, a gym teacher, a postal worker, and a debt collector all became caseworkers for the Oswego County Department of Social Services. Two others worked in the office of the District Attorney and one is the wife of the District Attorney.
The Valley News made the request for the applications and/or resumes of all caseworkers Aug. 22, 2008, one week before the death of 11-year-old Erin Maxwell.
State Police say Erin was found in deplorable conditions with bags of garbage on the porch and over a hundred cats living inside the home. Friday, Salvatore Lanza, the family’s attorney, produced the official death certificate that shows Erin died of asphyxia as the primary cause of death. Sexual trauma is listed as a contributing factor.
The child’s home had been visited by a caseworker in 2006 and reportedly twice in previous years. One resident has been said to have called agencies in more recent months and alleged that he was told that they cannot tell others how to live.
Since the time it was learned that DSS had visited the home, the department has come under fire from the public for not removing Erin from the deplorable conditions.
The name of the caseworker involved in the Maxwell case has not been released, not even to Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann, who said he has been given little information in regard to the circumstances surrounding the girl’s death.
The applications provided by the county indicate that while all caseworkers now have a college degree, one-half of them had no experience in human services or a related field when hired and several had only a minimal amount of experience when hired.
Others came to the department well qualified with experience from other social-service agencies and some were welfare examiners prior to taking the civil-service test for the caseworker position.
Caseworkers are hired to entry-level positions, according to information provided by the county, at a current pay rate of $18.83 per hour. In-service training is provided and they work under the general supervision of a senior caseworker.
In order to qualify for the civil-service test, an applicant must have a been graduated from a regionally accredited or New York State registered college or university with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, sociology, social work, human services, or a closely related field; or graduation from a regionally accredited or New York State registered college or university with a bachelor’s degree including 30 credit hours in the behavioral sciences.
One applicant was graduated with a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology with the only work experience listed as that of the owner of a fast-food restaurant. Another applicant with a degree in English worked as a bank teller, as a mental-health counselor for an apartment treatment program, and three years as a paint-project advisor with the home-improvement store Chase-Pitkin prior to receiving employment with the county.
An applicant with college credit but no degree worked as a bill collector, an insurance agent, a forklift operator, and “ran a machine that paints the various wall accessories” prior to being hired as a caseworker. That application did list a two-month internship with the county probation department.
The caseworker exam does provide for a combination of education and experience.
According to Patty Familo of the county personnel office, there was a time when candidates could apply prior to finishing their required college course work. “Sometimes what we did was announce it conditionally,” she said. “You could apply if you were about to finish your degree.”
Some counties go beyond the state’s minimum qualifications and mandate a year of actual Social Service experience.
“We don’t do that,” Ms. Familo said. “If we wanted to and we had the candidate pool, we could raise the qualifications. We’ve never had such an overwhelming response that we’ve had the luxury to do that.”
Ms. Familo said that while she believes Oswego County requires qualifications that are higher than some, she acknowledged that there are those who may have qualifications that are higher than the county.
Leemann said the legislators do not get into the every-day operations of the Department of Social Services but added that it may warrant a further review.
“If there appears to be a problem, the legislators will have to look into it,” he said.
The Valley News requested the applications of all caseworkers based on another allegation from another person that DSS had failed to respond properly to situation similar to the Maxwell case.
In that matter, an infant was living in a cockroach-infested home with a dozen cats, a pit-bull, and a pet rat that was allowed to roam freely through the home.
The complainant was able to provide photographs of the living conditions as well as voice messages from hospital personnel who were assisting with efforts to remove the child from the home.
Although the complainant alleges that DSS refused to remove the child from the home, the father of the child, who resided in another county, was able to recently secure custody and the child is now living in a clean environment.
Create a specific children's services office to oversee foster care administration.
Create a 24-hour centralized hotline for calls about abuse and neglect.
Hire more foster care workers and caseworkers to reduce caseloads.
Reduce the amount of time between removing a child and either reunification or removing parental rights.
Reduce the amount of time between removing parental rights and adoption.
Register family members with DHS to receive support services for caring for a child.
Ensure better access to health care, including mental health; appoint a medical director for foster children; reduce the use of psychotropic medicines as discipline.
Recruit and retain more foster parents and adoptive families, and provide better oversight of foster homes.
The DC area is also facing heat and are itching to make changes in its system because of the Bowman case and another case where another child died. We are throwing money at the foster care system but there is no accountability for those funds or those children. Its time that we get that.
In Oklahoma, Children's Rights has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Human Services for the issues within their department. There is a recent case where DHS worker, Antiffany Daniels, walked into a Catholic Charities maternity home and took a newborn from the care of his mother and grandmother. This worker should not even be working for this organization due to financial issues of her own. Ms. Daniels Fears has several charges of theft by check in Oklahoma and Arkansas. She also has several bad debt issues as well. These companies have filed lawsuit against her. She was also fired from the Oklahoma's Attorney General's office. Its my understanding this case has now been added to the lawsuit. This was an unlawful seizure of the child. It is also my understanding that this woman is under investigation. Yet the child and mother continue to be separated. The DHS has accused the mother of drug addiction. When she was test by DHS, it was positive but when the mother was tested by an independent lab, those tests were negative. The tests were taken within a hour and half of each other.
Indiana too has had its share of problems with its foster care system. We as a society owe it to children in foster care to give them the best. The best might be adoption from foster care or best might be a reunion with their families. We must protect these children while they are in the care. They do not need to suffer even more so.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Here is the link. Here is the story.
By Jim McNally | Statesville R&L
Published: October 7, 2008
Nine-month-old Nevaeh is a thief.
In a matter of seconds, the little girl will steal your heart.
That's what happened to Ron and Karen Bell.
In March, the Bells agreed to bring Nevaeh — that's "heaven" spelled backwards — into their Statesville home as foster parents.
Nevaeh's mother, the Bells said, was 14 when she gave birth to the girl in January. The baby's father, a 28-year-old from West Virginia, has never faced charges, despite impregnating the 13-year-old girl, the Bells said.
If the age of Nevaeh's birth mother was strike one against the child before she was even born, strike two was the teen's use of drugs and alcohol during her pregnancy, they said.
The Bells believe the third strike will come in the form of an Iredell County Department of Social Services worker coming to their front door and asking them to hand over Nevaeh.
"It could happen any day," Ron said. "Any car that drives down that street could be the one coming to take her away."
Shortly after birth, Nevaeh was diagnosed with drug withdrawal problems and fetal alcohol syndrome, the Bells said. She spent several weeks in the hospital before the Bells took her in, joining two girls for whom the Bells have served as surrogate parents for the past two years.
They were told it would be a temporary arrangement. So with time on their hands, they agreed.
That's when the little girl stole their hearts.
"We fell in love with her," Karen said.
Ron and Karen are 62 and 58, respectively, but both have passed physical examinations with flying colors. This is true despite Ron's having had bypass surgery and Karen's diabetes.
Their age is not supposed to be a factor in deciding their fitness as adoptive parents.
Indeed, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services encourages folks from all backgrounds to adopt.
Under the heading of "Who can adopt?" on the DHHS Web site, the department vaguely addresses the issue of age. "Adopting families can be older or younger, wealthy or of modest income, two-parent or single-parent," the site page reads in part. "The primary requirement for adoption is that you can provide a healthy, loving and nurturing home for a child."
And the Bells say they have dedicated themselves to doing exactly that.
But, they say, their age has come up.
They contend that Angela Williams, an Iredell County DSS supervisor, told them they would not be considered as prospective adoptive parents for Nevaeh "because we were too old and had health problems," Ron said.
When asked by the R&L, DSS Director Donald Wall said he could not discuss specifics of the case. When asked general questions about the department's adoption procedures or age requirements, Wall hung up the phone.
On Oct. 1, the Bells were told by the state that they were being turned down as adoptive parents of Nevaeh. They were told to contact the Iredell DSS to find out the reasons for their rejection.
The Bells say DSS won't tell them either and that efforts to contact Wall have given them the impression he was intentionally ignoring them. Ron Bell said he has left about a half-dozen phone messages for Wall and written him three different letters.
"I don't know why he won't call us back," Bell said. "But you'd think that if they were worried about the best interest of the child, we would all be able to talk about this."
Karen Bell said that while they love Nevaeh, it is not their love that is driving their desire for the baby to stay with them.
"She's comfortable with us. She is thriving with us," she said. "Nevaeh is part of our family. Her personality is already made and it includes what she has learned here."
Her husband agrees.
"I would do anything for that little baby," he said, adding that he has already bought Nevaeh's Halloween costume.
"It's a pumpkin," he said with a hint of both joy and concern in his voice. "We just hope she gets to use it."
Sadly this is an example of how the military does close ranks when it comes to one of their own. I know because I have seen it. This child should have been protected. It sounds like the father should not have ever been allowed to raise this child.
Here is the story and the link.
Mother of Slain Daughter Files Suit Against Government
By Ron Mizutani
The mother of a young girl allegedly beaten to death by her father has filed a lawsuit against the United States government. The suit claims the government failed to report suspicion of abuse to authorities. Tarshia Williams believes enough people knew Schofield Barracks soldier Naeem Williams and his wife Delilah were abusing her daughter.
Tarshia Williams describes the child she sees in pictures taken shortly before she was killed.
"She looked so sad and unhappy in this picture and I just knew something was going on," said Williams in an interview in 2005.
On July 16, 2005, Talia Williams was found in a blood-stained home at Wheeler Army Airfield.An autopsy revealed she died from "inflicted head trauma due to battered child syndrome." The attorney for the child and her birth mother says there was much evidence of abuse. A week before her death a chilling phone call between the girl's step-mother and a cousin.
"The step-mother reported that the father was brutally torturing and beating the child and in fact the cousin heard in the background the child screaming," said attorney Mark Davis.
The cousin anonymously called state authorities.
"The child protective services immediately started looking through their records and found no evidence of the a child by this name they couldn't track the child down," said Davis.
For seven months, Talia was under the care of her father Naeeem Williams, a Schofield soldier and his wife Delilah. In that time there were other reports of suspected abuse.
"We know that neighbors had called the police, we know that they had appeared at certain doctors appointments with suspicions of allegations of child abuse," said Davis "I think there were 3 or 4 incidents with the MPS where they were called out there."
State agencies were never contacted, although Davis says the father's commander was informed.
"It's not up to a commanding officer or military police to investigate child abuse," said Davis.
In the end, Talia suffered. According to court documents, Delilah Williams told police her husband spanked Talia with his belt for wetting herself. She said blood splattered throughout the home was caused by her husband whipping Talia with his belt on her back bursting open scars.
"It was certainly without any questions whatsoever enough to trigger their obligations to report this to the state agencies," said Davis.
Delilah Williams pled guilty to first degree murder in 2006. Naeem Williams faces two counts of first degree murder which could get him the death penalty.
Story Updated: Oct 6, 2008 at 6:06 PM HDT
I am sure that they do good works but not when it comes to adoptees and their families. Many have said that the reason that they are against open adoptee access is to prevent further exposure of the priest scandal. In fact, that priest scandal is still in the news. Victims are now starting to get paid for some of the many lawsuits.
In San Francisco, they are ending a two year relationship with a gay adoption agency. What Catholic Charities and other agencies do not understand is that if you accept federal funds, you can't discriminate against gays, women or any other group of people.
Catholic Charities and various parishes have also been sued on birth control issues. They do not allow the health insurance companies to provide birth control to their female employees. I have seen countless lawsuits against them for this issue.
They are also being sued for age discrimination. This organization seems to be well known for its discrimination against various groups of people. Whether you be an adoptee, gay, natural parent, woman, or elderly, you are just wrong. Its time to end this kind of discriminatory action against people. If you receive federal funds, you can't discriminate.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Here is the article:
|Special to IBJ|
Years ago, I wrote an article about Sheila Suess Kennedy, an Indianapolis author who’d written a book called “What’s a Nice Republican Girl Like Me Doing in the ACLU?”
I didn’t know Sheila. I didn’t know much about the American Civil Liberties Union, either. So I stopped by her office (she directed the organization’s Indiana chapter back then) for an education.
Sheila, now a faculty member at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI, explained to me that she’d grown up a Goldwater Republican. And how that brand of Republicanism was, in her view, consistent with the mission of the ACLU: to ensure that a limited government never takes away our civil liberties, even when the majority of citizens would like the government to do so. In deciding whether government is overstepping its bounds, Sheila said, it often comes down to a simple question: “Who decides?”
Who decides whether a preacher may shout his hallelujahs on a street corner?
Who decides whom I may love and marry?
Who decides whether a couple may adopt a child?
Who decides what we may say, write and read?
Who decides which god or gods we may worship—or choose not to?
Who decides whether we may pack Colt 45s?
Who decides when life begins?
Sheila said that the late Sen. Goldwater and the ACLU are in synch on this one: In our sweet Land of Liberty, under its Bill of Rights, we, not Big Brother, should have the right to decide for ourselves.
She also said, with deep regret, that Goldwater Republicanism is dead and gone, buried by those who would employ the power of government to impose their own brand of morality.
I remembered Sheila’s civil liberties lecture last week, as Sen. John McCain announced that socially conservative Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin would be his running mate and we subsequently learned that Palin’s 17-year-old unwed daughter is pregnant.
I have two regrets over the hullabaloo that ensued: One, that young Bristol Palin, her boyfriend and their families were pilloried in the public square as a consequence of her mother’s candidacy; and two, that the tabloid treatment of this circus sideshow overshadowed the bigger issue—a civil liberties choice that may affect your freedom and mine for decades to come.
Last week, during an interview with Washington Post editors, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis said, “This election is not about issues. This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates.”
With an economy in tatters, unemployment raging, home foreclosures skyrocketing, tens of millions of Americans without health insurance, a widening gap between haves and have-nots, and a tarnished U.S. image around the world, Davis is wrong. The election is about issues.
And with all the talk about fighting for freedom, one issue should be a reminder of what freedom means. Four examples:
As Sarah Palin was introduced to the nation, we learned that she made a choice to give birth to a son, knowing full well that he would have Down syndrome.
I honor her freedom to choose.
As Bristol Palin’s pregnancy was announced to the nation, we learned that she’s made a choice to keep her child and marry the father.
I honor her freedom to choose.
When Sen. Barrack Obama was asked by Rev. Rick Warren when life begins, he said such knowledge is “above my pay grade”—in other words it’s divine knowledge, not mortal, and certainly not governmental.
I honor his freedom to choose.
When my wife and I became pregnant, we knew there was a chance our twin sons could inherit my eye cancer and suffer blindness. We chose life (and our sons have sight!).
I celebrate our freedom to choose—and our choice—every day.
But we’ve also learned that McCain and Palin would deny such freedom of choice to others—replacing it with a government mandate that all pregnant women must give birth, even in cases of rape or incest.
And we’ve learned that they oppose the comprehensive sex-education programs that give teens like Bristol and her boyfriend more choices in avoiding pregnancy.
And we’ve learned that, while they support Bristol and her boyfriend’s planned marriage, they, along with Sens. Barack Obama and Joseph Biden, believe government should continue to deny the same privilege of marriage for same-sex couples.
Knowing all that, even if civil liberties and related public policies don’t rise to the level of Rick Davis’ “irrelevant” campaign issues, they’re fair game for our “composite view of the candidates.”
Which brings us back to Sheila’s question: Who decides? You? Or Big Brother?
Election Day is Nov. 4. Sorry Sheila, Barry Goldwater is not on the ballot. •
A new legislative year is about to start. With that comes new legislators. If you are in Indiana, its time to start writing to find out where they stand on this issue. Its time to begin writing again. You can use the links to the side of this post to help with that. You can also find many copies of letters that I have used in my efforts.
So if you want additional help, advise or just support, please join the email list for either Coleman Moms and Babes or Indiana Open.