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The Gumm murder-suicide, Kylie and Tyler were adoptees

Brent Wojahn/The Oregonian

Brent Wojahn/ The Oregonian

Friday May 29th Kylie and Tyler Gumm were murdered by their adoptive father, James Gumm, in Oregon before he turned the gun on himself.

While there are a fair number of stories covering the deaths, there’s been very little coverage of the fact that the children were adoptees.

Here are a few links by way of general backgrounder:

Ore. father who killed kids, self was upset over divorce

HILLSBORO, Ore. — James Gumm took his two young children to the Jackson Bottom Wetland Preserve in Hillsboro on Friday morning and shot them at close range, killing them, before turning the gun on himself, police said on Saturday.

The bodies of Gumm and his two children, 7-year-old Tyler Gumm and 6-year-old Kylie Gumm, were discovered by a hiker near the Otter Marsh viewing area shortly before 1 p.m. Friday.

A medical examiner confirmed Saturday that Gumm murdered the two children and then committed suicide with a 9mm handgun. A handgun was recovered from the area on Friday that was likely used in all three deaths, police said.

The investigation led detectives to believe the children had no idea they were about to be shot. They may have thought they were going on a dayhike, police said.

How does Hillsboro heal? Entire county touched by tragic Jackson Bottom shootings

This implication gets credence from an anonymous friend of the Gumm family, who was bothered no press outlet pushed the angle that Jim Gumm lost a lucrative contract engineering job recently, the first time he’d been out of work in his adult life.

“I am not making excuses for the guy, but going through your first job loss can really screw with you,” the friend wrote in an e-mail. “All of a sudden you are radioactive to all your former co-workers. If that is all you had developed as friends, you are screwed. Add a divorce on top of that, the guy obviously cracked.

“All this is just as much a casualty of the crash in the local economy as anything. It has put some folks in a very tough place. Some have no ability to deal with the stress.”

Schools Mourn Children Shot To Death

Funeral set for kids killed by father

Classmates of slain Hillsboro girl release balloons with messages

Also see Adoptive Parents: Not a Breed Apart? on Birth Mother, First Mother Forum for a Mother’s perspective on the way adoptive parents are often viewed by those on the “supply” end of the adoption equation:

When I surrendered my newborn daughter for adoption six years earlier, I believed that adoptive parents were a breed apart–dedicated, stable, educated, la crème de la crème. After all, adoptive parents spent many years and thousands of dollars to become parents; they were screened by social service agencies and courts. I thought it was ironic that the infertile made the best parents while those of us who could conceive were–at best–only marginally fit to raise our child.

Despite the perception, no amount of vetting guarantees a kid much of anything.

The sad truth is that it is a lottery, a game of chance, as John Sayles depicts in Casa de los Babys. Adoptive parents may or may not be June and Ward Cleaver. Like other parents, they may or may not divorce, suffer from alcoholism, become unemployed, or commit murder.

The only guarantee about adoption is that the child will have a different life. If parents want to assure that their child is reared in a safe, loving, nurturing environment, they need to do it themselves.

So, per my usual question, has anyone bothered informing these children’s original parents that they were murdered by their adoptive father? (If such is even possible at this point.)

Yeah, I won’t be holding my breath on that one.

4 Responses to “The Gumm murder-suicide, Kylie and Tyler were adoptees”

  1. robin Says:

    THe birthmother who was the mother of both children, and the birthfather of the the boy were at the funeral. They stayed in touch with the mother. People need not speculate on what they have no idea of what they know nothing about.
    All Oregon adoptions are open by law.

  2. Baby Love Child Says:

    Robin, perhaps you can provide some form of citation for this? Are you speaking from your own personal experiences?

    I have no seen any reporting of the attendance or of it having been as you characterized it an “open” adoption.

    To the best of my knowledge closed adoptions are still perfectly legal in Oregon. It appears you are conflating “open adoption” with “open records.”

    As for the open records situation in Oregon, I am well aware of the successful effort for adult adoptees to regain access to their authentic documentation, as I am a member of Bastard Nation, one of the key groups that fought to regain those rights.

    That said, though, open records (upon adulthood, for the adoptees themselves) are not the same as, and have nothing to do with “open adoptions.” Also, in most states so called “open” adoptions do not equate to the people involved having full access to the state held paperwork. And of course, in international adoptions, even in open records states, the adoptee may not be able to access much even upon meeting the age requirement.

    As you claim to have information that to date has not been reported in the media pieces I’ve seen, perhaps you can elaborate, has Kylie’s original father been notified?

    Can you provide any documentation that what you claim is true?

    As for “speculation,” coming from someone who doesn’t even appear to know the differences between open records and open adoption, you might want to pause for a moment and realize that adoptees such as myself DO know a thing or two about adoption, and that yes, we care, and even dare blog about it when other adoptees are murdered by the man who adopted them.

  3. Heather Says:

    I am a personal friend of Tyler and Kylie’s birth mother and I know that her and the children’s birth father were in fact at the funeral.

  4. David Wood Says:

    My name is David. I am Tylers biological father. Yes, I was at the funeral. So was Kylies biological father. The adoptions were open adoptions, so we were in the loop for the kids. James was not their father, he was a foster parent. And not a very good one, obviously. Tyler (Benjamin) was my only blood son. I let him down…
    I hope that one day, I can forgive myself.

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