Thursday, May 15, 2014

Pro Choice or Only Choice?

By Philip Foley

Not everyone believes that an unwanted pregnancy is always an occasion for celebration among family, friends, and community. 

Emily Letts had the courage to speak about her right to her own body through YouTube and dispel the gross misconception (no pun intended) of people like Governor Christie by stating:

"My goal was to reach at least one woman, to make her breathe easier and to let her know that she is not alone," Letts said. "My video is not about me. It's about using my story as a jumping off point for conversation. Women do not need to be shamed into silence."

There will be no State social worker or predator adoptee showing up on Ms. Letts door in 30, 40 or 50 years.

Critics of Ms. Letts choice should consider that her decision was less of a Pro Choice and more of an Only Choice since States are now opening once guaranteed Sealed Confidential Adoption records.

Ms. Letts has claimed her personal power and is her own authority.

Good for her.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

An Open Letter to Governor Chris Christie

Dear Governor Christie,

Hey there!  Just wanted to thank you for signing that bill into law, you know, the one that will unseal confidential birth records and vilify the girls and women who suffered catastrophic, unwanted pregnancies and had the nerve to think they could keep that kind of thing secret.  Thank you for exposing us to the public.  I realize now that it’s for our own good.  We’re pretty weak and we cry a lot, so we need a male with a strong arm to put us in our place.  For a lot of us that’s what got us in the predicament originally.  We’re accustomed to cowering.

At first, Governor, I admit I was a little upset at you and your people for all the fist-pumping over the passage of this bill.  I have always regarded celebrating a win at the expense of another’s agony as low-class, ignorant behavior.  I see now that I must lighten up.  I take life much too seriously.  I must develop a better sense of humor for the absurd.  I’m working on it. 

Which brings me to lemonade and one of your colleagues and how informed and eloquent she came off when she chastised impregnated rape victims that they will just have to make lemonade out of lemons.  I assume she was chastising any girl or woman impregnated against her will, not just rape victims.  Believe it or not, I do find humor in this.  Same goes for your comments that—and I’m paraphrasing here—every pregnancy is a blessing.  I’m coming to appreciate your comedic skills.  Clearly those who call you a know-it-all bully are wrong.  You’re just witty, as all politicians must be.  Back in the days before rape was a crime, politicians used to joke that (potential) rape victims should just lie there and enjoy it.  I laughed at that one, too.

As an obedient, private citizen of the State of New Jersey, please allow me the honor of becoming the very first woman who endured a catastrophic pregnancy and was rescued by the confidential adoption process and promised anonymity to submit to your authority and confess all my secrets.  I promise I will lie still and try to enjoy it.  Even as a young girl I realized when I was beaten.  Onto the lemonade.

It’s a sad fact of my life that nobody wants to listen to me whine about my illnesses, aches and pains, general malaise, and obsessions, or rants about estranged family members, or complaints about my past.  But now that I have you and your people who actually want to listen to my list of problems and grievances, my sadness has miraculously lifted.  It’s a wonderful life when you can make lemonade out of rotten lemons.  Thank you for this opportunity, Governor.

First, about my personal history.  I’ve already written the book, Woman In Hiding, A True Tale of Backdoor Abuse, Dark Secrets and Other Evil Deeds.  The title says it all, but I’ll send it to you anyway.  This will save all of us time so I can move on to the good stuff which is my fascinating family history you and your people are so obsessed with. 

I’m really excited about forking over the skinny on my family heritage for public consumption.  Never before have I had the opportunity to air all this dirty laundry to such attentive ears.  Again, thank you.  I know you and your people will be impressed that I am related to rapists, a pornographer, a pedophile lesbian, drunkards (sorry, politically incorrect term for alcoholics), drug addicts, sex addicts, thieves, con-artists, kidnappers, child abusers, sex abusers, physical abusers, elder abusers, regular run-of-the-mill abusers, predators, stalkers, pathological liars, and a would-be-murder (unfortunately, the two attempts failed).  It would take too much space to go into full detail here.  But do send your people by.  I’ll be delighted to provide them with full names and complete addresses and in the case of the deceased, directions to their final resting places.  I think, as you do, that every skeleton must be dug up.  Plus, I could use the psychological counseling you’ve offered.  Ever since I worked at a state-run mental institution I’ve been overjoyed by the competence of state social workers.  Of course, it took me a while to get over my fox-in-the-henhouse worry, but then I started thinking about lemonade and decided that I can trust you and your people.  I think the Valium helped. 

Anyway enough about my relatives and more about ME! and my problems.  I confess that I think I might have Multiple Sclerosis.  But it could be Guillain-Barre Syndrome.  I’m not sure if I inherited either of these conditions, so I thought I should mention them.  I consulted Reader’s Digest about my symptoms and confirmed them on the internet.  The numbness in my foot has nothing to do with the fact that a board fell on it and the fact that I did not receive proper attention and sympathy for my pain.  I am glad that you and your people take me seriously.  I am sure I am suffering from a dread disease and not just a bruise.

Also, I am an old lady.  I’ve suffered many diseases over my life.  Cancer.  Gout.  Diabetes.  Heart Disease.  Chronic Fatigue.  And Polio, just to name a few.  I think just to be sure, you and your people should check “all of the above” on my official medical records.  That all of these maladies were figments of my over-active imagination do not make them any less scary.  Reader’s Digest and the internet are trusted diagnostic tools.  I use them frequently.  Recently I had a rash.  I was sure it was skin cancer.  But I got top-notch advice from one of those medical websites.  Gnat bites!  Who knew?  But one can never be too careful. 

Currently I am dealing with occasional headaches.  According to Reader’s Digest I probably have a brain tumor.  Or maybe migraines.  Or an allergy to milk chocolate.  Or sensitivity to pollen.  But they might be due to aggravation caused by the aforementioned relatives.  I haven’t had a chance to verify anything on the internet yet.  I’ll let you know for sure.  But if the brain tumor thing ends the way I think it will, my husband will contact you so you can update my records.  I wouldn’t want to cheat you and your people out of my five year check in.

Forgive me Governor, because I am so embarrassed to tell you and your people this, but I realize that I am obligated.  I suffer from low estrogen.  Which probably explains the mustache.  And the limp.  But not the harelip.  According to my family the harelip is a genetic deformity passed down by imbeciles.  Again, sorry about the politically incorrect term, but that’s what my family calls the deformed imbeciles they keep locked-up in their attics.  I blame flimsy locks for all the inbreeding.  

What has me confused, though, are my crossed eyes.  I have no idea where they came from.  Not that there aren’t advantages to being cross-eyed.  If we were to meet, Governor, I’d see two of you.  How great is that?

As long as I’m giving an official confession, I better tell you this: I see ghosts.  I always thought I was nuts.  But according to reality TV, I’m just psychic.  I don’t want to cause you and your people any trouble or force you to do something you hadn’t planned on, but could you create a slot on your official forms for this sort of thing?  I understand if you can’t.  If you have to, just list me as nuts.  It fits in pretty well with the rest of my relatives.

One more thing, Governor.  I’m genetically disposed to fat.  I feel so close to you because I know we have this in common.  I know my being a fat lady had nothing to do with cupcakes and bread.  That fat gene was a direct deposit from the rapist side of my ancestry.  Oh, did I tell you that I’m adopted?  That I’m a spawn of a rapist?  Those darn rapists ruin everything, don’t they?  At least my Rapist Daddy could’ve had the decency to be skinny.

About my Rapist Daddy.  Now that you’ve unsealed those pesky confidential records, I think I might do some sleuthing around.  My Rapist Daddy is probably…what?...ninety now?  I better hurry if I’m gonna’ find out where all my fat came from, not to mention my crossed eyes.  I’m sure the old man and his old, fat, cross-eyed children will be thrilled to hear from me.  I can’t wait to tell those kids that our daddy is a rapist.

Good luck to you, Governor.  Congrats on your courage in signing that bill.  Don’t worry about all those old ladies hanging out there twisting in the wind.  They’re half dead anyway.  Trust me—like I trust you and your people—they’ll never know what hit them. 

I’ll keep in touch!
Kathleen Hoy Foley

Monday, May 5, 2014

Governor Chris Christie signs death warrant for aging and elderly women in New Jersey

By Philip Foley

Governor Chris Christie has signed the emotional, if not actual, death warrant for aging and elderly women in New Jersey, who as juveniles were impregnated by rape and were rescued by the confidential adoption process. 

The Governor shows his total disregard of the life long trauma inflicted on a girl/women impregnated by rape when he stated, "Advocates on all sides, however, share the view that life is a precious gift, and that the birth of a child is always an occasion for celebration among family, friends, and community”. 

The Governor finds himself so far to the Right with such a statement that he is in danger of falling off the Square Planet he still lives on.

As a witness to the devastation inflicted on my wife Kathleen, when a stranger adoptee forced her way into our life, I know what is in store for these women. Yes Governor; these aging and elderly women are living in fear of that day when the letter from the State arrives at their door imposing under extreme duress the requirement to strip themselves naked for the will of the a few heartless individuals.

Along with the Governor, the Sponsors of S-873 share his contempt for victims of sexual violence.  I have spoken with many of them in person to no avail. They include Senators Joseph F. Vitale (D-Middlesex), Diane B. Allen (R-Burlington), and Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), and Assemblymembers Vincent Prieto (D-Bergen, Hudson), David Wolfe (R-Ocean), Angelica Jiminez (D-Bergen, Hudson), and Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen).

Our hearts go out to the aging and elderly women who are about to be hunted down as a result of Governor Christie's action. The Governor has failed in his responsibility to protect these women.

If you are a women in hiding, Kathleen and I hope the following strategies will be helpful.
You need to know and completely understand that many stranger-adoptees are extremely aggressive in hunting down the *Biological Source/Carriers and refuse to take no for an answer.  If these stranger-adoptees are not successful or satisfied with gaining access to you, they will track down members of your immediate family, extended family, friends, neighbors and acquaintances.  They will circulate your personal information over the internet.  They will not keep your secret.  Understand that they feel entirely and obsessively entitled to you and everything about you.  They do not just go away.
With the current political trend of releasing personal and private information, chances are good that you or someone in your family will be contacted by the State, the adoption agency and/or directly by the stranger-adoptee.
Each woman's situation is different.  The strategies we offer here are only suggestions based on our experience.  Unfortunately no suggestion is guaranteed to work, but hopefully some will prove helpful.
Know that you have the courage and strength to deal with the situation confronting you.  Yes, it is extremely, sometimes unbearably difficult, but you can and must face it.
If you haven't been contacted by the adoption agency, State or adoptee, but are concerned that this is going to occur, consider contacting the adoption agency/State first.
--Send a certified letter to the State or agency in charge of your records directing them not to release any of your information.
--Direct them to notify you immediately if any inquiries are made regarding your records and if any information was divulged and to whom.
Sign and date all correspondence.
--Keep copies of all correspondence.
If confidentiality is vital, consider a P.O. Box for correspondence; use public computers, (available at libraries, etc.); and a personal cell phone that only you have access to.  Consider a safety deposit box for copies of all communications.
It is in your best interest to respond.  They will not go away.
Contact them in writing (all correspondence should be signed and dated) stating you want no further contact from them (the agency/State) or from the adoptee.  Remember: you are not required to divulge any personal or medical information.
Keep copies.
If you've been contacted by the agency/State, but not yet the adoptee, you must seriously consider revealing your secret to your loved ones or at least a loved and trusted person who can offer support and comfort.
Revealing your secret yourself will allow you to tell your own story in the way you want and need to tell it.
It is your ordeal.  You get to set the boundaries.  You get to say there will be no compromises, if you so choose.  Set your boundaries and stick with them.
If you think you need an attorney to advocate for you with the agency/State/adoptee, be absolutely sure the attorney understands and respects your case and your boundaries.  If she/he pushes you into compromises you are absolutely against or tries to make you feel guilty for your position, find another attorney.  Quick!
If you are contacted by the adoptee, tell the adoptee you wish no contact.
If the adoptee refuses to stop contacting you, have your attorney contact the adoptee advising the adoptee that any further contact will be considered harassment.
DO NOT give the adoptee any personal information hoping the adoptee will go away.  It won't work.
Non-compliance with your/your attorney's direction to stop contact with you can be interpreted as Stalking.  Stalking is a CRIME.
Stalking is any unwanted contact that communicates a threat or places the victim in fear. This communication could involve repeated visual or physical contact, verbal, written or implied threats, non-consensual communication, or a combination of these measures.
*We reject and never use any familial terminology relating to catastrophic and traumatic pregnancies.    
*We reject maternalizing sexual violation of girls and women.

Friday, May 2, 2014

"It was a very highly inappropriate relationship,"

A recent news article covered a story about a Delaware English teacher accused of having sex with a 13-year-old boy who she sexted with on multiple occasions. The police thought "It was a very highly inappropriate relationship,"  Talk about a gross understatement.

 Did Dover Police Cpl. Mark Hoffman miss the overwhelming evidence that this is "RAPE" when he stated "It was a very highly inappropriate relationship," "Especially with a 13-year-old and a 22-year-old, and, of course, being a teacher." 
A 13 year old can never give consent.  I suspect the officer is unaware of the statistics that point out just how many boys and men are sexually assaulted. 
Perhaps some sensitivity training is in order!

The college initiative proposed by the Obama administration needs to be put into place everywhere, not just on a campus. As Vice President Biden stated in the report - "speak up and step in".

We need to move out of our ignorance about sexual assault.  We have the personal and collective power to stop this epidemic.

As a society, both men and women need to take a proactive approach to stopping sexual violence in their respective social, cultural and residential environments.

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Compassionate Thief

By Phil Foley

There was a strange twist to a news article covering a burglary at an office complex.

Looking for a lead the police questioned several homeless people in the area of the burglary.  The officer provided the homeless people with background information on the services provided by the organization targeted in the theft. 

The very next morning the officer was called back to the scene and was shocked when informed that everything was returned along with a note of apology.

After the thief became aware that the items taken belonged to an organization that helps victims of sexual assault, the thief was compelled to return everything.   It turns out that the thief had compassion for victims of sexual assault. 

Part of the trauma suffered by victims of sexual assault is the stripping away of their dignity. How many times do they suffer additional cruelty at the hands of an ignorant and judgmental public pointing the finger of blame at them for what they had to endure?

Many of those who find themselves homeless understand this type of judgmental cruelty. They understand the loss of dignity for things that are out of their control.  When  the officer solicited their assistance they were able to show compassion for others and rise up to encourage the return of the stolen items. 

Victims of sexual assault can help themselves towards wholeness if they work to understand the limitations the general public has when it comes to  knowing the personal journeys they were forced to walk. The general public, the politicians, the church and society as a whole seldom show the compassion they should to those who have suffered from atrocities and calamities they cannot/will not fully understand. Victims of sexual assault can work to overcome  the pre judgment’s our society, culture and religions place on them. 

If you suffer from the devastation of sexual assault, raise your voice, if only to yourself, to identify who and what was done to you. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Brutality of Philomena Lee

By Kathleen Hoy Foley and Philip Foley

In case you don’t keep up with Hollywood, Philomena Lee, adoptee advocate and blogger, once voiceless and faceless to the world, is now famous.  Made so by Judi Dench who portrayed Philomena in a movie about her trials at the hands of the totalitarian Irish Catholic Church.  Philomena, now an old woman in her eighties, was banished to a convent for the sin of becoming pregnant out of wedlock when she was a teenager in Ireland.  The Catholic Church forced Philomena to place the child in the closed adoption system.  The film tells the story of two consenting and willing adults forging a connection.
Philomena now uses her new-found notarity to brutalize other women as she was once brutalized by the Catholic Church.  By championing the cause of pursuing, stalking, tracking, and hunting down private citizens by stranger adoptees, Philomena advocates abuse of innocent, often times elderly, women.  Philomena enspouses militant tatics to expose the names and information of women who have lived with devastating shame and held desparate secrets for much of their lives.

Philomena’s situation is specifically her experience and must not be generalized and used to justify and encourage the criminal behavior of bullying and stalking old women.  Philomena ignores the significant issue of sexual abuse, the horror of impregnation by rape, the desperation of a girl impregnated against her will with no legal means of termination.  The confidential adoption process stood as the single means of rescue.  Those girls are now aging and elderly women being sought by the elderly Philomena.  It is woman on woman abuse.

No individual, no state, no church, no laws must be permitted to force a girl/woman to make public the most intimate details of her past, or forced to reveal and relive the most traumatic time of her life, or be bullied into apology for being a victim of an unwanted pregnancy.  Confidential adoption equals a catastrophic, unwanted, traumatic, crisis pregnancy.  Hunting down a woman because of what happened to her in the intimate confines of her body is ignorant, heartless, and abusive.  

Women In Hiding Press supports consenting and willing adults who have the adoption process in common forging a mutual connection.  We support a national/worldwide registry where biological sources and adoptees can mutually connect. 

Philomena was condemned by the Catholic Church as an undesirable, just like the aging and elder women she believes it is OK to hunt down, marginalize, harass and eventually destroy for selfish purposes.  As thinking adults we must remember what hunting down, marginalizing and harassing innocent people really is.  Elder women are often powerless and voiceless, as once was Philomena.  These women, victims of horrendous ordeals, must be protected with compassion, not threatened with destruction. 
So it is that Ms. Philomena Lee is outraged that the State of Pennsylvania is not currently willing to facilitate this hunting of elder and aging women because they will not open sealed, confidential adoption records.  Philomena stands outraged that the Pennsylvania legislation is thwarting her efforts demanding all access to the confidential past of elder women’s lives and screaming unfair!! Oh, the injustice of being hindered from exploding an old woman’s life to bits…
We are thankful to the legislators in Pennsylvania that have the wisdom to understand that sealed confidential adoption records were established for very valid and life affirming reasons.  We must protect the aging and elderly women who do not have the physical, emotional and/or financial resources to protect themselves from elder abusers like Philomena.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Mutual Consent and the Burger King Baby

By Philip Foley

Personal stories like this cause me great concern.  First because they are “Personal.”

Another  concern is that they perpetuate the myth of Love and Loss and always use the misnomer of Birth Mother.  Ms. Deprill’s mother is Brenda Hollis, the woman who nurtured her from infancy and is still supporting her today.  Ms. Pochek, woman that gave birth to Ms. Deprill, was the victim of a horrific violent crime, placed in an impossible situation and made the only decision she believed available to her 16 year old self.

Both Ms. Deprill and Ms. Pochek made the mutual personal decision to meet.  This is their choice and should not in any way imply that other victims impregnated by rape want to make that choice.  Again; “Personal Choice.”

Thousands of women in this country now in their 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond experienced catastrophic pregnancies when they were teenagers and with no other options available, were forced to give birth.  For many of them, being rescued by the confidential adoption process, gave them their lives back.  Giving birth does not make a girl a mother.  Though our society chooses to see it differently.  Birth mother—a term forced on girls impregnated by rape is completely offensive. 

Being hunted down by an adoptee, being publicly exposed to family and friends; while being subjected to the condemnation it promises is a devastating trauma.  Kathleen and I have emails—all anonymous—from such women drenched in pain.  One woman’s husband divorced her after an adoptee showed up at their door.  Another woman’s beloved brother abandoned her for the adoptee.   
While our country is in love with the romance of happy endings, flesh and blood elder women are being terrorized by threats of being found, with many of them forced to endure those threats materialized.

There are many other people in both Ms. Deprill and Ms. Pochek’s lives that will be impacted by their mutual personal choice.  

I hope it all works out for them.