Tonia’s Story

THE IMPACT OF NATIVE ADOPTION

National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network, NISCWThey often say that it’s in the best interest of the child to be taken away from their parents, but do they truly know the future and the impact on that child’s life, once they are taken and given away to a family that is not their own, by being biologically and culturally impaired.

I am a result of this cruel system, as many of our native children and babies are, I was given up for adoption and made crown ward at birth, an Ojibway kwe that never got to meet her mama because the system failed to do what was right and in the best interest of my life, they failed me and my mama because they gave me into the hands of a white family, and from then on they gave them the power to do what they liked, even if it meant to assimilate me by taking me to another country on the other side of the world.

As a teenager I once again became a part of the harsh system, lost in a world that was not my own, a family a culture that was not my own, but looking for love and acceptance that was never found, until the day, I stepped back into the country and to the family that was my own.

My question is, how do the judges and Cas workers sleep at night, once their duty is done, not knowing if this innocent child that was placed in their hands, would truly have a life that was better than the one with their biological family. My heart and my tears go out to the children that have no choice in the matter of where they go or to whom they go, all I can see is them growing up with confusion and not knowing their true identity that our culture provides for us to give us strength and love and wisdom and truth and honesty and humility.

Given in to the wrong hands they will know nothing of our proud culture but only pain and suffering of longing to know who they truly are, I count myself fortunate that I did have a happy ending, through all my tears and stubborness is the one thing that made me persevere to find my beloved family, even though my beloved mama has already past, but to me the most precious gift of all, was not me finding them, but them accepting me.

 


 

THE REPLICA

In the eyes of an innocent child there is no black or white, or in between,

Only that of what they see through their innocent eyes.

Their life is simple, so when as an adoptee did we come to realize we were different to the family we entered that was not our own. I don’t recall any certain time or place or incident, but could it be that somewhere in our minds we see things differently growing up.

Situations around us have changed, or feelings somewhere along the way have been exposed and we don’t understand what we are feeling or even what these feelings truly mean, but somewhere underneath the surface is something that has brought up these emotions to make us feel inferior to the things that were once a normal part of our life.

To somehow make our world crumble that we no longer want to be a part of what was, or what was meant to be. Underneath the smiles, the fun and laughter is a child who does not belong but how can they identify with what they want it so desparetely to be.

Could it be that beneath this growing child is the absence of a mothers nurturing touch, her voice and her scent, which while inside of her womb the fetus could embrace and feel the comforting rhythm of their maternal mothers heartbeat, when suddenly they enter into the world and no longer can they hear that comforting sound of love that carried them.

Somehow the loss of something so strong, and intimate would cause a psychological effect on this innocent child that was once the maternal love, has been replaced with a imitation love.

So somewhere between the lines of being wanted and loved is a lost child going through the motions of who they are adapting into a family that carries surface love, but not the true fulfilment of maternal love.  The child finds themselves walking in the shoes of a family that can show no identity to this child, and so this child is walking in a pair of shoes that doesn’t fit, neither match. Have you ever tried walking in a pair of shoes put on the wrong feet? It is really uncomfortable and awkward, and so it is to this child that is growing up into a family that is not genetically made to fit her personality, traits, and characteristics of someone who is supposed to have the same, finds they are in a world of misfit feelings and incomplete by chaos, because the footsteps that were supposed to guide them as one unit doesn’t fit, only as a counterfeit.

As the adoptee gets older and learns more about themselves in a world of chaos, it is up to them to try and find their true identity, with or without the support of the adoptive family, but in most cases it is the adoptee that struggles through their determination and desire to make this living chaos into a haven by seeking knowledge of where and whom they came from. For some this can take a short time, and for others it can take long, while others search without finding anything, due to restrictions on birth records, or possibly from being deceased.

It is then, that you must find your inner strength and beauty, and let the love of those that gave life to you, become your haven, by imagining yourself as a replica of them, by allowing yourself feel the nurturing touch of a mothers great love that she sacrificed to try and give you a better life, something that she could not provide for you, and take her unselfish love and bind that with the love you have for her, and let yourself be nurtured, knowing she did her best of what she could for you, and build on it, by being the person, you want to be, and how they would’ve wanted you to be.

Blood is thicker than water, and when you find yourself, only then can you be the replica of what they wanted you to be, as their little miracle.


Woman with Curve Lake ties reunited with family after nearly 40 years

Tonia Taylor seeking help to start adoption support group for people with aboriginal backgrounds

 

Tonia Taylor

Tonia Taylor and her two sisters Roxanne and Kelly reconnecting after more than 13 years.

For more information on adoption contact the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. For resources on the welfare of First Nations Children or to get involved in various initiatives and programs, contact the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada.

Peterborough This Week

By Sarah Frank

198PETERBOROUGH — Tonia Taylor doesn’t have any memories of traditional Aboriginal culture to recall from her childhood.

Although her family’s roots are with the Curve Lake First Nation, she was made Crown ward at birth and put into foster care. At 18 months, she was permanently adopted into a non-Aboriginal family. Now 43, Ms Taylor is coping with a disconnected background that’s left her frustrated with the province’s adoption system. She’s finally getting to know some of the family she never had a chance to meet, but the experience is bittersweet.

Ms Taylor describes tracking down any information about her birth family as extremely difficult, largely because her birth mother and her mother’s siblings were all also wards of the state as children and living with different families.

She’s not sure of the situation that led to their adoption. Ms Taylor knows her mother was 17 when she was born. She’d come from a broken home and was in foster care at the time she gave birth.

Ms Taylor says her may have become a Crown ward as part of the “60s Scoop.”

“(Native children) were taken and put into residential schools to assimilate them and to have their culture removed from them, to ‘take the Indian out of the child.’” Ms Taylor says.

Ms Taylor’s adoptive family moved to New Zealand when she was three. It was only years afterwards, when she was 18 and had just had a child of her own that Ms Taylor put in a search request with the Children’s Aid Society. Eleven years later she finally heard back: Her mother had been killed when she was hit by a car in Marmora in 1975.

“That very moment my dreams shattered,” she says. “I was carrying my fifth child, a baby girl, so I named her after my beloved mother so that I could be connected with her even though I didn’t get to meet her.”

She was given the names of some other family members so she could still pursue her search. The names ended up helping her make contact with her grandfather in Curve Lake. During a month-long stay with him she learned she has two sisters. She also connected with her grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins. Another 10 years later, when she was back in New Zealand, she found more family members on Facebook.

Today, she’s living in Hamilton and has reunited with cousins and with her two sisters. She’d like to see her children join her in Canada, but she says it’s a tricky process to have them legally move here. They range in age from 14 to 25 and she says she’s leaving the decision up to them.

Her own plans for the future depend on where her kids plant their own roots, she says.

In the meantime, Ms Taylor wants to help others who are facing similar situations by starting an adoption support group. She’s also hoping to see children’s services do more to place aboriginal children with aboriginal adoptive families, so they can maintain their culture.

“I know what it’s like to feel alone,” she says.

She’s unsure of where to start and urges anyone who can help to contact her at tonya.wessel@hotmail.com.