JM & The Coalition for the Protection of Indian Children & Families

Johnston “John” Moore has been making the rounds on some adoptee / pro-ethical adoption blogs to try and clear up his name and image, which were likely heavily tarnished after his appearance on Dr. Phil’s Oct 18, 2012 episode about the “Baby Veronica” case.

In case anyone missed it, here is the episode. John first appears at around the 18:30 mark and it snowballs from there.

On October 13th he made these comments on Ethical Christian Adoption’s blog post An Open Letter to Focus On the Family and iCareAboutOrphans Regarding Orphan Care here

johnstonemoorecomments

His second post is particularly disingenuous.

Really one need only watch his Dr Phil appearance to see what a raging bigot he is. At one point he holds up a picture of one of his adopted sons and angrily exclaims over how inappropriate it is that a child like that is being protected by the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Like that quite clearly being a fair-skinned, dirty blond with freckles instead of the caricature Injun that John has decided are the only ‘real’ Indians. His adopted child wasn’t really Native because they weren’t red skinned, didn’t wear a headdress, didn’t run around in a loin cloth with long braided hair therefore it was ridiculous that ICWA was applied to them. Even more than a decade after the adoption (that went through) John still carries so much pent-up anger and racism that he was chomping at the bit to appear on Dr Phil to confront any Injun and wasted no time laying into people who had nothing to do with his adoption outside of sharing ethnicity.

Were his appearance not enough, John also belongs to the Coalition for the Protection of Indian Children & Families. Oh it sounds so benign and helpful doesn’t it? They always do.

johnstonemoore

In fact he’s a founding member. The Coalition takes a very Richard Pratt approach to Natives. Kill the Indian, Save the Man as Pratt stated in his writings. The Coalition wants to protect Indians…from themselves. Their entire mission, as stated, is to amend (obliterate) ICWA:
coalition_amendingicwa

1. Ensure an Indian child has a ‘parent’ as defined by the law and the parent has properly established paternity under state law.

This is what’s known as the “existing [indian] family doctrine” and is a very controversial part of ICWA that is generally only acknowledged by a handful (such as the Coalition) for good reason. It puts the burden of proof on parents to essentially prove that they are “indian enough” to qualify for ICWA protections and makes it almost impossible for unmarried Native fathers to assert their paternal rights and contest adoptions because unmarried men (Native or not) are not considered part of a ‘family unit’ in any state.

2. Provide fit birth parents of Indian children the right to choose healthy guardians or adoptive parents for their children without concern for heritage.

The second word is key in this statement. Founding and ‘Individual’ members of the Coalition have repeatedly shown that they basically believe that there are essentially no ‘fit’ Native parents, ever. That a child is always better served being adopted by whites.

4. Clarify that the ICWA does not apply to family court disputes, not just divorce proceedings, over Indian children.

This one probably sums up the Coalitions aims better than any other. Considering that ‘family court’ can (and does) mean basically all legal proceedings that deal with children…well…saying you don’t want ICWA in any ‘family court’ means that you don’t want ICWA at all. ICWA is not being applied to cars or small loans or to criminal cases, it’s being applied in ‘family court’ issues.

6. Clarify that an Indian birth mother does not need to consent to adoption in court.

This is pretty standard for a pro-adoption group. They all constantly lobby to have less protections, less independent counsel, less time for first mothers. Requiring that first parents sign away their parental rights in court, in front of a Judge, removes them from the influence of adoption agencies (such as the one John runs), ensures they know their rights and cannot be lied to by agencies. Had this been standard in Oklahoma Dusten Brown would never have signed his rights away. They know this.

Points 5 and 7 deal with lowering the timespan parents have to rescind their consent to have their child adopted. Again, standard pro-adoption / agency lobbying fare. They’ll whittle it down until every state has immediate irrevocable termination of parental rights.

8. Clarify that final adoptions may only be vacated for fraud within limits under state law.

Again they take advantage of people’s ignorance. There basically are no rules for fraud in private adoptions and few enforcements of fraud in foster-to-adopt dependency (foster care) cases either. For examples of this one can look at the class action lawsuit currently underway in Utah precisely because of Utah’s fraud-immunity laws regarding private adoptions. Christopher Carlton’s case is a good example of what many first fathers have and continue to experience. His ex cut off contact under the advisement of her adoption agency setting up a faux “he abandoned the baby and I” scenario, placed his daughter for adoption in Utah and then told him that they’d had a son and the baby had died shortly after birth. Even after this was proven conclusively in court Carlton was unable to overturn his daughter’s adoption. An example of how fraud-immunity is applied in dependency cases is the Sonya McCaul case which saw Tennessee foster parents repeatedly lying and breaking their resource (foster) parent contract and sharing confidential information without consent (a felony in TN) with no consequence or enforcement of said contract or law. Neither the Carlton or McCaul case involve Native children but fraud-immunity stands regardless of whether a child is Native or not and is allowed to proliferate across both private and dependency adoptions and all ethnicities. So to say that adoptions should only be vacated for a fraud that can never be proven and is not even recognized as a crime by most if not all states…..

In the end no first parent can likely meet all the demands of their amendments to ICWA, thus giving their child ICWA protection, which is the entire point of their organization. To make ICWA so hyper-specific that it cannot be applied to any child ever.

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JM & The Coalition for the Protection of Indian Children & Families

Is adoption in Veronica’s best interest?

ImageI see so many people who are so quick to use their anger, frustration and judgments of Dusten as a reason to “give Veronica back to the Capobiancos”. Please try to remember that Veronica is not an item or a trophy to be won by the ‘more worthy’, more likeable, wealthier, longer married or ‘less jerky’ family. Veronica is her own person with rights that are all hers as an individual citizen of the United States of America, that have nothing to do with ICWA or either side.

The Declaration of Independence granted all US-born people the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. The right to pursue happiness protects the individual’s ability to live for his own sake, rather than for the sake of society. It is based on the idea that the pursuit of one’s self-interest is one’s highest moral purpose.

The Constitution of America grants all citizens the right to ‘Due Process’ which means that each citizen legally must be able to access all their rights without discrimination or being skipped over.

Things that adoption takes from her:

– Her right to be raised in her culture.
– Her right to genetic mirroring.
– Her right to her original birth certificate, which will be altered to list the Capobianco’s as her genetic parents. Both Christy and Dusten’s names (if his is on there) will be removed. Her hospital of birth will be removed. South Carolina adoption law does not allow even adult adoptees to access their original birth certificates. This can make it difficult to trace lineage, access tribal rights (since your birth certificate which is often used as proof now lists two non-Natives as her biological parents).

It mean the TRUTH. I currently possess a ‘Birth’ Certificate which lists my adoptive parents names as if they were my bio parents – even my adoptive ‘rents found it weird and wrong that a vital record was made up with lies. I want to be able to walk into the Vital Records office and order a true copy of my true Birth Certificate just like anyone else can. It’s humiliating to stand in line (with my natural mother in tow!) watching everyone being issued their records with no questions; only to be told once I reach the counter that no, I’m not entitled to THAT (my own birth record!) [The Lost Daughters: What Does your Original Birth Certificate Mean To You]

– Her right to timely medical history and information. ‘Open adoption’ is not legally enforceable. The majority become closed within a few years. There’s little reason to believe that they’ll still have an open adoption 10 years from now and when it becomes closed, all that medical information from Christy and Dusten about any genetic and potentially inherited diseases go with them. Does Christy have the BRCA1/2 gene? She’s young yet. If she develops breast cancer in 10 years Veronica will have little way to know that she herself is much more likely to develop it. Same with other issues like Diabetes (more common in Natives). I was 25 before I was able to learn, by luck, that my natural father is insulin dependent.

The fact she can ‘google herself’ does not really negate any of these issues. Fox News blogs or Facebook posts are not accepted forms of identification. It’s easy for people who are not adopted and have not had to grow up with a fake name, raised by people outside your family, who have not lost a strong cultural identity to simply go “Meh! None of that matters!” but most of you would not accept a different name and family if it was forced upon you now but that is what adoption is and it’s not necessarily any easier for young children. Children grow up…often into confused adolescents with self-esteem issues because they don’t ‘fit’ or accept their adoptions. This is especially prevalent for Native children because they miss out on so many rituals, such as naming and coming of age rituals, gatherings and so forth.

The loss of culture, heritage and language seemed to encompass the total lifestyle that the respondents had missed. One said, “I was supposed to have a naming ceremony when I was two years old, and I didn’t get it. I don’t have a name. How can I go back to my tribe if I don’t have a name?” Another wrote, “Somebody said that we could learn all we needed to learn about our culture and heritage from books and videos from our school. What a laugh! What we got was a watered down, Indian-style-Sesame-Street version of what some white person thought all Indians were like.” [Split Feathers Syndrome by Carol Locust]

Veronica is her own person. If she does not NEED to be adopted — if she is not being abused, molested, neglected, deprived of medical care and education (which she is not) — than it should be HER right NOT to be adopted, PERIOD. That should fall into part of life, LIBERTY and the pursuit of happiness and her own self-interest to NOT have to even chance facing the myriads of issues that adoptees face.

Division of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio: Adoptees differed significantly from nonadoptees on 4 of 26 variables. They were more likely to have attempted suicide (7.6% vs 3.1%) and to have received psychological or emotional counseling in the past year  (16.9% vs 8.2%), and their mothers reported higher parental education and family income.

A recent study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found that adolescents adopted as infants were twice as likely as nonadoptees to be diagnosed with externalizing disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD) and oppositional defiant disorder.

Marshall D.Schechter. M.D., Beverly Hills California. In his paper on the Observations of Adopted Children. In a series of cases seen by him the percentage of adopted children was 13.3 as compared with the national average of 0.134. This indicates a hundredfold increase of patients in this category compared with what could be expected in the general population.

Mental health professionals are surprised at the alarmingly high number of their patients who are adopted. Studies show an average of 25 to 35% of the young people in residential treatment centers are adoptees. This is 17 times the norm. (Lifton, BIRCO–Pannor and Lawrence)

60 to 85% of the teens at Coldwater Canyon’s Center For Personal Development, are adopted. That is 30 to 40 times the norm. The center is a private acute-care psychiatric hospital/school in Southern California. (Ostroff)

50 to 70% of the teens at The Haven in New Trier Township, Illinois, are adopted. That is 25 to 35 times the norm. The Haven is a resource center for street kids. (Henderson)

You do not have to like, accept, encourage or support Dusten to support Veronica’s rights [to not be adopted]. Being adopted is not ‘fun’ for the majority [it seems] of adoptees and money and a nice house does not make those issues better. Her rights have never really been framed in this context. It’s ALWAYS looked at as “Well, who had her longer! That side should keep her!” “Who has her now? That’s where she should stay!” “Who signed X paper first/second?” That is NOTHING to do with HER rights.

Is adoption in Veronica’s best interest?