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Dillards 44: Still Pretending to Missionary to College Students


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On 11/7/2017 at 1:56 AM, KelseyAnn said:

If you really wanna have a bad day, google Romanian orphanages. To this day, they are dreadful places. 

They are awful. A lady from my parents' church is a fairly senior physiotherapist, and she periodically goes out there to assist in therapy programs. She takes funds and specialist equipment that can't be procured out there, and she works with the children and staff in whatever way she can. I've heard her talk about the standards and how the children are, and it's heartbreaking.

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@Meggo, our oldest two were brought home from the hospital... we did know the gender before birth, and we posited names to the birth mothers... they approved of our choices, and even gave reasons why they liked them. I felt grateful to have been able to build a little bridge between the birth and adoptive families in this way.

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53 minutes ago, Four is Enough said:

@Meggo, our oldest two were brought home from the hospital... we did know the gender before birth, and we posited names to the birth mothers... they approved of our choices, and even gave reasons why they liked them. I felt grateful to have been able to build a little bridge between the birth and adoptive families in this way.

I like being able to give him that connection to her too. His middle name wouldn't have been on our list at all - but it's the name SHE gave him. So that's important.
(We didn't know about him at all until he was already born & a few days old. He was in the NICU for a few weeks so we had a TINY bit of prep time...)

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39 minutes ago, Meggo said:

I like being able to give him that connection to her too. His middle name wouldn't have been on our list at all - but it's the name SHE gave him. So that's important.
(We didn't know about him at all until he was already born & a few days old. He was in the NICU for a few weeks so we had a TINY bit of prep time...)

I kept my kid's Chinese names but dropped her sir name.  The same one was given to all the children from the same town. They also gave all the kids born in that particular Chinese year's  animal the same name. So her name looked like this:  Town, animal name, her unique name.  She is now:

American animal name, unique name, Hebrew name.  So when I call all four names she knows I'm really really mad.

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1 hour ago, onekidanddone said:

I kept my kid's Chinese names but dropped her sir name.  The same one was given to all the children from the same town. They also gave all the kids born in that particular Chinese year's  animal the same name. So her name looked like this:  Town, animal name, her unique name.  She is now:

American animal name, unique name, Hebrew name.  So when I call all four names she knows I'm really really mad.

Cultural norms for names are so interesting.  I know when I was in South Korea, showing the proper respect for an elder was hugely important (seriously, you can't even conjugate your verbs properly to ask a question of others if you can't determine who's older or younger).  I discovered that one work around was in a new group, people could start to talk about their Chinese astrology animal. Since there are 12 year cycles, the other cues about the person will let you know if s/he is older/younger than you are, and then some conversation can occur.  We're just not that formal in the US, and I would never have known that could potentially be a social issue.

 

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My daughter and son-in-law kept their daughter's Chinese names as part of their new names.  The older one's Chinese name became her middle name and the younger one's name had been adapted at the orphanage into an English name and they kept that. 

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We think we'll let Mr. C's parents pick out the Chinese names for our children since it'll be special in his family, the only caveat we've decided is I'd like to be able to easily pronounce the chosen names too. I can practice, but my attempts at Mandarin so far are pretty dismal.

My attempts at making fried pickles last night were not. They were successful and the perfect accompaniment to chili from the freezer and salad (his new favorite salad topping). I know everyone just got over the craving for them, but I couldn't let it go. We tried, we watched the game somewhere and ordered some for them to be just sad, which made me sad, which led to me doing it myself. 

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22 hours ago, BobTheWalrus said:

If you really wanna have a bad day, google Romanian orphanages. To this day, they are dreadful places. 

I am from Romania. Most pictures I could find are from the comunist era or imediatelly after. I won't say now it's great, but for sure I didn't see in real life what I found in those pictures when I googled Romanian orphanages. I used to go with a group of friends in orphanages around Bucharest near Christmas, Easter, and maybe few other random times. It made me sad, but the kids were fed, dressed, and were really happy to play with us, we read stories, gave them gifts and so on. They didn't have nice furniture, but they did have their own clean bed- ironically the setup was mostly like in Duggar bedrooms, but without decorations. Last time I went they were learning to make plastic jewelry and stuff like that, wich they sold to people that visited, and with the money received they were going on a day-trip to a very beautiful area. Also they go to public school (as most kids in Romania). Just wanted to mention this because many times jurnalists take a certain angle to present a situation- to make a point, but it is not really accurate and can create a false image.

I just read a study by Unicef (in romanian unfortunatelly), that said Romania is getting better by closing many traditional institutions/orphanages and integrating kids in familial environment.

Also I admit  there may be a different situation in rural areas/ poorer areas of the country , I can just talk about what I saw.

And for sure there is a looong way to go, those kids deserve better.

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@Palimpsest Your adoption story shook me, and for a second there I was like... this is another side to my own story. Allow me to explain, and please excuse any ramblings.

When I was 17, many moons ago, I found out that I had an older sister, who was adopted. My mother was 19 at the time, she was finishing her nursing training in the UK. She was also very much unwed, and as far as I know, was seeing a married man, an exotic Spanish doctor no less. This was Ireland in the 1960's so it was quite the scandal. Most women in her predicament were shipped off to mother and baby homes and the official story was that they'd "Gone to stay with an aunt in England"

My mother was the eldest of 7 girls, and my Grandfather was a man ahead of his time. She was the apple of his eye and he told her that he would support whatever decision she took. There was and still is no abortion in Ireland, I'm not even sure if it was an option in England then either, so her choice was to keep her baby or go through an adoption process.

For whatever reasons, my mother decided to have her baby adopted. In those days, adoptions in Ireland were handled by the Catholic church, were mainly illegal and the children went to the highest bidder. Her birth certificate probably names her adoptive parents as her biological ones, because that is how things were done in Ireland in those days. 

My sister was born on February 1st, 1965, taken away from my mother immediately and whisked off to America. My mother, like yours, also gave her firstborn a name and really, that's all I know.

My mother married and had me ten years later. Unfortunately, she died when I was 11 months old so, I never got the chance to talk to her about this. The adoption  is a badly kept secret in my family, and one I'm not supposed to know about, to this day.

I've tried to find my sister and came to nothing but dead ends. I'm her sister, not her parent so I have no rights. I've been told that the chances are that there are no records and she possibly doesn't even know that she's adopted. Like you, I've left a letter for her with the adoptive services, I've included this story and a medical history. This was 10 years ago and so far I've heard nothing back. I'm just hoping against hope that she received that letter and that maybe some day, I'll get that call. 

Thank you for sharing your story, it's helped me to tell mine x

 

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"I've tried to find my sister and came to nothing but dead ends. I'm her sister, not her parent so I have no rights."

 

Have you tried a search angel? They're trained for this, free and you can Google to find one.

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     My SO has a story like this, both his parents have passed on.   A few years ago, an elderly aunt, no longer thinking clearly, slipped and mentioned about his mother being sent away in the 40s to have a baby girl. It was news to everyone. Unfortunately, she wasn't in a position to share any useful information due to her poor health.  We searched for this sister, but quite frankly there was nothing to go on, no reasonable belief the sibling wanted to find biological family after all these years or she was even still alive. He gave up.

   They found each other last year due to a DNA kit. DNA is truly remarkable.  Once he found her, we discovered, that now well into her sixties, she had been searching her ENTIRE life.

    I consider their relationship to private to share the details of, but I will say this, it has been truly beautiful to witness.  I wish everyone could find the answers they are looking for, whatever that might look like for them. 

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@Fjrocks similar. There was an unexpected, but not unwelcome phone call from someone who'd gotten their birth certificate and tracked down our family. I was pretty young when we traveled for the reunion and my great aunts crying as her name and her children's names/ birthdays were added to the family Bible. I'm not the genealogist of our family, but I think the family Bible was a big starting point for my aunt, not sure if that's a thing.

I also remember being paranoid I wasn't in it and making my aunt show me my name, which was misspelled :my_confused:

 

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@patsymae Thank you! I've had a look at the search angel site and completed the form. 

From what I can understand after a brief skim,  it's a site based around helping the adoptee find family through DNA. Being a sibling, there's so many barriers there but,  I will submit DNA in the hope that there's a match waiting there for me.

Thank you again for this info, it's greatly appreciated.

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26 minutes ago, ShadowCat said:

@patsymae Thank you! I've had a look at the search angel site and completed the form. 

From what I can understand after a brief skim,  it's a site based around helping the adoptee find family through DNA. Being a sibling, there's so many barriers there but,  I will submit DNA in the hope that there's a match waiting there for me.

Thank you again for this info, it's greatly appreciated.

You can also try 23 and me.  I have 2 family friends that have met relatives that they didnt know existed after submitting a sample to them.  One found a FULL brother that had been given up for adoption before his parents were married and even his father didnt know that baby existed. (They were holocaust survivors and mom made it to the states 3 years before dad did.  Apparently she never told him about the baby and died 10 years ago)

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4 hours ago, ShadowCat said:

Thank you for sharing your story, it's helped me to tell mine

And thank you for sharing your story too.  Quite aside from the rest of the story, I am so sorry you lost your mother so young. :romance-grouphug:

Leaving a letter is probably all that you can do - and perhaps some day your sister will search for her family.  In my case, and in your sister's, it sounds as though it was voluntary surrender not coerced.  Your mother almost certainly thought by choosing adoption she was doing the very best thing for her baby and giving her a better life.  Let's hope that the adoptive parents were wonderful people - and I expect they were.

There are so many dead ends.  Those mother and baby homes (in both Ireland and England) in the 1950s and 60s were not required to keep good records.  Also, a surprising number of the ones that did keep records had mysterious fires and floods that destroyed them.  Many of the people who can get hold of their files are shocked to see how little information is in them.  My adopted retired racing greyhounds have much better records kept on them.

It is a good thing the baby scoop era is over.

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1 hour ago, ShadowCat said:

@patsymae Thank you! I've had a look at the search angel site and completed the form. 

From what I can understand after a brief skim,  it's a site based around helping the adoptee find family through DNA. Being a sibling, there's so many barriers there but,  I will submit DNA in the hope that there's a match waiting there for me.

Thank you again for this info, it's greatly appreciated.

There are DNA sites, but there are also people called "search angels" who go through records, etc. I know a lot of people that have had great luck/finds with genealogy/DNA sites. Good luck.

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9 hours ago, Georgia3112 said:

I am from Romania. Most pictures I could find are from the comunist era or imediatelly after. I won't say now it's great, but for sure I didn't see in real life what I found in those pictures when I googled Romanian orphanages. I used to go with a group of friends in orphanages around Bucharest near Christmas, Easter, and maybe few other random times. It made me sad, but the kids were fed, dressed, and were really happy to play with us, we read stories, gave them gifts and so on. They didn't have nice furniture, but they did have their own clean bed- ironically the setup was mostly like in Duggar bedrooms, but without decorations. Last time I went they were learning to make plastic jewelry and stuff like that, wich they sold to people that visited, and with the money received they were going on a day-trip to a very beautiful area. Also they go to public school (as most kids in Romania). Just wanted to mention this because many times jurnalists take a certain angle to present a situation- to make a point, but it is not really accurate and can create a false image.

I just read a study by Unicef (in romanian unfortunatelly), that said Romania is getting better by closing many traditional institutions/orphanages and integrating kids in familial environment.

Also I admit  there may be a different situation in rural areas/ poorer areas of the country , I can just talk about what I saw.

And for sure there is a looong way to go, those kids deserve better.

My ex bf was also from Romania, and he had VERY poor things to say about the Evangelical (often Fundie) "missionary" groups who go over to Romania and often try to convert people on the promise that with their conversion they will be helped to immigrate to the US.  It's been years since we dated/talked about this, so my details might be fuzzy.  

It deeply offended him on several levels, first because people were basically being bullied into conversion to obtain the help they needed, and secondly because he felt that it damaged the image of the Romanian immigrant community in the US (for example, he would be very clear that HIS family was a LEGITIMATE immigration obtained on their own merit, whereas these people were somewhere between abusing the system and committing immigration fraud).  

We've never discussed this issue here to my knowledge, despite the fact that several fundies we snark on here have actually been a part of these missions (the Bates girls, for example).  Do you have any thoughts on these groups?  Even if not from personal experience, I would love to get another perspective on how these "missionary" groups are perceived in Romania or the Romanian Diaspora.  

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2 hours ago, Fjrocks said:

I consider their relationship to private to share the details of, but I will say this, it has been truly beautiful to witness.  I wish everyone could find the answers they are looking for, whatever that might look like for them. 

I'm very glad it worked out so well for your family, but I'm going to add a word of caution here.  Not all reunification stories have happy endings.  Some of them have very bad endings.

The UK changed the law on adoption records in 1976 so that children adopted prior to that date did gain the right to their adoption files (such as they are.)  However, one of the things the UK insists on is that  children adopted before that date have professional counselling prior to being given the file.  You have to provide proof.

It sounds incredibly patronizing - and it is - but on balance I think it is a good thing.  Properly done, it explores the reasons you are searching, gives you a reality check about what you might find, and explains that (even if you are able to track down your birth mother by using that file) she may want nothing to do with you.  In fact, she may be horrified to be reminded of you. 

She may have buried the memories deep and never told anyone, including a spouse, that she was one of the girls who went away.  You on her doorstep could wreck her life, and she was promised that no-one would ever find out her "shame."  Also, many of these young women were not just shamed.  They were tortured.  Some were verbally abused during delivery and refused pain medication to punish them for their "sin."  They may just want to forget.

No-one wants to think that they are the product of incest or rape.  Everyone wants to believe that they are the result of a loving relationship that just did not work out.

Everyone wants to think their birth mother gave them up reluctantly and remembers them on their birthday.  That is not always true.  Some birth mothers do indeed grieve throughout their lives but there are absolutely no guarantees. 

There are support forums for both adopted children and for birth mothers who are searching.  Most are members only.  Sadly, many of the successful searches talked about there don't end well.   I would estimate about half.  That is not a reliable statistic, obviously, but it is sobering.

 

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19 minutes ago, Palimpsest said:

The UK changed the law on adoption records in 1976 so that children adopted prior to that date did gain the right to their adoption files (such as they are.) 

My cousin was adopted (in the late 60s) in the UK by two church-related people (they're my aunt and uncle). They took her to several different foreign countries after the adoption, including the USA, China, Peru, Greece, India, and Sweden. She was issued a US passport (her adoptive mother is American) at some point before she was ten, and has always had it renewed. Now she doesn't know how that even happened.

Sadly, as a child, she was molested by her adoptive parents, and also other missionaries that were "friends" of the family.

When my cousin was 30, she found out that her adoption had actually never been completed. There was no record - anywhere - of her adoption. Suddenly, her identity - her name, family, everything she thought to be true about herself - was ripped out from under her. She was trying to get her UK passport, since her "adoptive" father is a Brit, but was denied because her birth certificate only showed a "provisional" adoption. Not a completed one. She confronted her "adoptive" parents, who told her they didn't see what was wrong.

She has since found her birth parents, and has severed all ties with her "adoptive" parents. Her adoptive mother is dead, but her father is still alive, in England. She currently lives in Switzerland, and is in contact with our family, all of whom support her and consider her our cousin, even though the adoption was never completed.***

 

***Many, many identifying details/locations have been changed in this story, but the story itself is 100% true.

Edited by SapphireSlytherin
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I will only say that the above story by @SapphireSlytherin is not an adoption story.  It is a story of kidnapping a child, transporting said child internationally illegally, possible forgery of birth certificates in order to get a US passport, now add in sexual abuse -- multiple criminal activities in various different countries in short.  One wonders why "adoptive father" was never brought to justice, although the SOL on those crimes may very, and why this never hit the press.

Also, a UK birth certificate from the 1960s (and probably today) lists the child's name (or "baby girl" or boy).  The date, town and county where the child's birth took place.  The mother's name, and the mother's stated town of residence  at the time of the birth, which is frequently different from the child's place of birth.  Most of the girls were sent to unwed mothers' homes far away.  It also lists the father's name (if known) and his town of residence. 

There is no place on the birth certificate for "provisional adoption."  Separate "provisional adoption" papers were issued when the child was first placed with the adoptive parents, pending finalization before a judge 6 months later.  The provisional papers stated that the adoptive parents were forbidden by law to leave the country with the child until the adoption was final.

When the adoption was finalized in court, a brand new birth certificate was issued with the child's new name, the date of birth, town and country stay the same.  The adoptive parents names were substituted for the birth mother and father, and the adoptive parents' town of residence listed.  The new birth certificate does not state "adopted." 

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15 minutes ago, Palimpsest said:

Separate "provisional adoption" papers were issued when the child was first placed with the adoptive parents, pending finalization before a judge 6 months later. 

True. I mis-wrote/misspoke in my narrative. Her "provisional adoption" papers were what she found - not her birth certificate. Thanks for catching the error. :)

The Adoption Act of 1958, which was valid for about 18 years, allowed provisional adoptions by people who stayed in the UK for six months (whether or not they were UK citizens) with the baby - as long as the adopters promised to make the adoption fully legal in their own country. Perhaps that's what my cousin's parents intended to do (complete the process in the USA, where my aunt was from), but didn't.

 

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All these stories are so incredibly illuminating. Thank you to everyone for sharing! I was just told a story recently by an acquaintance who did 23 and me and found out he had an older maternal half brother that was adopted and living several states away. So crazy, but I guess not as unusual as I previously thought? Anyway, he contacted this half brother and they apparently had a nice reunion. I always wonder how I would feel, if a mysterious half sibling came out of the woodwork one day. I know for some people it would completely shatter their reality. 

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1 minute ago, Hashtag Blessed said:

I always wonder how I would feel, if a mysterious half sibling came out of the woodwork one day. I know for some people it would completely shatter their reality.

My dad and his siblings had that happen. It was at their parents' 50th Wedding Anniversary party. A woman walked in with a four-year-old child and introduced the child as my grandfather's daughter.

It was... Awkward.

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2 minutes ago, SapphireSlytherin said:

My dad and his siblings had that happen. It was at their parents' 50th Wedding Anniversary party. A woman walked in with a four-year-old child and introduced the child as my grandfather's daughter.

It was... Awkward.

Yoooo that's straight out of Downton Abbey! Wow. Did he invite her or was she making a dramatic reveal against his wishes? Tell me more!

I mean that's horrible and no doubt heartbreaking for everyone involved. Fuck. I'd lose my shit, and my family is not exactly a portrait of stability. So I can't even imagine having the image of a happy marriage of 50 years bulldozed like that in one fell swoop. Yikes. Everyone needs therapy. 

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Oh, it was the dramatic reveal, for sure. Nobody knew about the woman OR the child - except, possibly, my dad's sister-in-law. She said she'd been "followed" by a woman, two teenagers, and an infant, in a grocery store. Twice. She said they watched every move she made. After the woman/child showed up at the reception, she told this story, but had never mentioned it to anyone prior to this. Of course, she's a bit odd, so who knows?

The really scary/weird part is, when my grandfather died - the child (who was about 20 at the time, I guess?) and her half-siblings all showed up at the hospital. One of the older half-siblings walked up to me, addressed me BY NAME and said she knew I was at the hospital because she'd seen my car in the parking lot. I told her to get the fuck out of my face and to stop fucking creeping on my life. That "alternate family" knew everything about every single one of us.

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