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This is a work of non-fiction; the events are entirely true. Nothing is imagined or fabricated. Most names, some places and other identifying information have been changed. Some names used by permission. Names of deceased people are real names, names of celebrities and public people are real names. There are no composite characters. Events and conversations are written without embellishment from memory, notes, eyewitnesses, tape recordings, letters, and documented research. Some very traumatic events have been omitted.
The photo used on the back cover was approved for publication by a literary attorney as the identities of the people are not known and the photo is blurred with printed words over it. No permissions were needed. My mother is pregnant with me: this is our family portrait, referred to many times in the book. This is my Forbidden Family.
All content was reviewed by a literary attorney, once with my natural father sitting in the same room. My natural father, step mother, and adoptive mother reviewed the book, adding their input.
The psycho-social aspects and birth certificate status are important issues raised in this book.
I have no contact whatsoever with the three sisters who found me. They write their own blogs spreading filthy lies about me, saying that I am actively harming them. I am not. They let the world know they were in the book because they identified themselves. They are doing this all themselves. They are the ones bashing me.From the Back Cover:
Born the youngest of five children, Doris was relinquished to prospective adoptive parents following the death of her mother. Eighteen years later, siblings she never knew found adoptee Joan Wheeler in 1974. Shocked, Joan immediately accepted that she had two sets of real parents. Knowing her adoptive parents lied to her and didn't want her to ever know the truth, she also learned this closed adoption was anything but private. Secrets were traded across prohibited family lines--just don't tell Joan or her father.
Joan's circumstances sparked her interest in the larger issues unique to adoptees. She became an activist in the International Adoption Reform Movement advocating for adoptees' personal and civil rights in response to discrimination against, and segregation of, bastards and orphans. As Joan's knowledge increased, her adoptive and natural families held onto stigma, myths and taboos of secrecy. No one approved of her `going public'. They labeled Joan as `obsessed' with adoption. She had to be silenced.
This is Joan Wheeler's incredible 35-year journey.
"State Law presumed my illegitimacy, sealed my birth certificate, and issued a false one to legitimize my `new' birth by adoption. I present my documents here as evidence of fraud by the State and the Catholic Church. State-by-State efforts to restore adoptees' civil rights to our original birth certificates should continue, but are not enough. Equality-in-Access to birth records is a Federal issue. Our government must stop producing false birth certificates for adoptees -- and require true birth records for the donor-conceived. Family preservation and guardianship must replace adoption. Until we can achieve that goal: 1 Birth Certificate + 1 Adoption Certificate = Adoption Truth."
Joan Wheeler shows us both the legal and social obstacles for adoptees. She details the damaging effects of closed adoption and family rumors on first the unsuspecting adoptee, her adoptive parents, her natural family, and later, her now ex-husband and their children. Negative social stigma and personal attacks drove this author to the brink of suicide as she was terrorized by both adoptive family (because she dared to accept her natural father back into her life) and natural family (because the siblings who found her didn't want her to go public with their intertwined lives). Neither family wanted her to publish her views on adoption reform.
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