Essay published in High Country News – Adoption Didn’t Solve the “Indian Problem”

During the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, American Indian children were placed with white families at a phenomenal rate.  By 1974, approximately 30% American Indian children were removed from their American Indian families and placed with non-Indian families.  Neglect was cited most often, a vague term that was responsible for changing the lives of Indian children, […]

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The Importance of ICWA – Bringing Our Children Home

The Indian Childwelfare Act of 1978 was established to stop the wholesale removal of American Indian kids from their families and communities.  Prior to its legislation, Indian children were placed and hidden behind closed adoptions, with no way to find our way back to our families, our tribes.  We were forced to live in a […]

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Adoption and Suicide

No one wants to talk about suicide.  But NO one wants to talk about adoption and suicide.  Because, as Judith Modell writes in her book A Sealed and Secret Kinship: the culture of Policies and Practices in American Adoption (2002),  “Adoption is a benign, pleasurable and apparently uneventful event–except to those who are involved.”   I’ve heard […]

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Bitterroot – Interview by Deborah Kalb

Last September I spoke with author, editor and blogger, Deborah Kalb.  It was the first interview I had done regarding the writing of Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption, and it was eye-opening for me.  I’d finished writing the book, but I had not spent a lot of time reflecting on it; after three years […]

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Aftermath

Prior to 2013 I was considered, by some, to be an anti-adoption activist, specifically with regard to American Indian child adoption.  And there was good reason: I wrote fiercely about adoption as an aspect of historic trauma.  I vehemently questioned the moral role of legislation in determining and defining the legitimacy of a family, a […]

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Tightrope

Being a transracial adoptee is to walk a tightrope that connects history to the present, all the while realizing that the time-space compression is colliding with such violent force as to make that crossing dark and perilous and sometimes people die…

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