Sunday, December 10, 2006



When you pass out privileges, you pick and choose.
When you pass out civil rights, it’s all or nothing.

The Bastardette at wrote an eloquent blog about New Jersey Bill S1087 and the New Jersey Dimwits associated with it, some of whom support the bill as amended and others who think the bill is giving away the farm.

I’d like to say a few words about the Deformers in New Jersey who continue to support this bill with the conditional amendments added in a Senate Committee. The Deformers are as much the enemy of equal rights for all adoptees as are the Dimwits.

Deformers, unlike Dimwits, are for the most part adopted men and women who have worked very hard for many years to see an equal access bill pass in New Jersey. They are not governmental officials. They are adoptees just like you and me. They want original birth certificates be issued to adopted adults. Their hearts are in the right place. But heads are needed too, in order to pass legislation that will benefit ALL ADOPTED ADULTS.

The Deformers in New Jersey have fashioned a “Mother, May I?” amendment allowing birthmothers 12 months following passage of the bill in which to file an affidavit of nondisclosure. This means that if a birth mother signs a statement saying she doesn’t want her identity known to her child of adoption, then that adoptee doesn’t get his or her birth certificate- possibly forever.

New Jersey is actually handing over its constitutional responsibility of issuing birth certificates to birth mothers who claim they want their privacy. These are the same birth mothers, I might add, who legally and irrevocably gave up all legal rights to their children at the time of the relinquishment.

Giving birthmothers this veto power is a crucial point in adoptee rights negotiations. And it is at this point where the Bastards part ways with the Deformers.

Bastards believe ALL adopted men and women are entitled to unconditional access to their original birth certificates. Bastards believe that “Mother, May I?” clauses are demeaning to all adopted adults. Bastards believe that endowing birth mothers with veto powers turns the issuance of original birth certificates into a privilege rather than a right. Bastards believe that equal access for ALL citizens to the documents of their birth is a human and civil right.

When you pass out privileges, you pick and choose.

When you pass out civil rights, it’s all or nothing.

I’m not a deformer and I can’t speak for them. But I don’t understand why they chose to fold at this crucial moment. I don’t understand why Deformers are willing to sell out for less than unconditional records for all adoptees. And I don’t understand how Deformers can rationalize leaving some adoptees out in the cold. How can it be okay for the state to give original birth certificates to some, but not all adoptees?

Passing a bill is a long and arduous task. Going back to the legislature for changes the following year isn’t realistic. History has proven that once conditional legislation has passed, it is not revisited any time. Deformers, remember the old saying, “Be very careful what you wish for. It might come true.”

Besides dividing adoptees into two classes, I wonder if Deformers seriously consider the reality of setting precedents. When one state passes a controversial law, its effects are felt in other states. New Jersey is a very large state. Other states will look towards the bigger ones when it’s their turn to craft an adoptee rights bill. If it’s okay with all those millions of folks in New Jersey, then it must be okay for us. Deformers - that’s what it means to set a precedent. It’s dangerous.


S 1087 is a search and reunion bill. Both the Dimwits and the Deformers will agree on this. They both blabber about how much or how little the state should be in the business of managing the private affairs of adopted adults and birth mothers. Some want more state interference, others will settle for less. Bastards want no part of a search and reunion bill. Bastards want no government interference in the private issues of adopted men and women.

The state sealed the records long ago and the time has come for the state to unseal them. Reunions, good or bad, have absolutely nothing to do with adoptees having equal access to their original birth documents.

Bastard Nation leaves no adoptee behind. Bastard Nation will never support conditional legislation where some adoptees will be left to the whims of the birth parents who legally relinquished all claims to them many years ago. We have always opposed those equal access bills that contain conditional sections and we always will.

Bastard Nation is working to bring ALL adopted adults the same equal access to their original birth documents that non-adopted people take for granted. We’ve done it in Oregon. We’ve done it in Alabama. We’ve done it in New Hampshire. And we are working for similar laws until the government treats ALL adopted adults in America equally.

As New Hampshire State Senator Lou D’allesandro said on the eve of his state passing its equal access bill, “It’s the right thing to do.”


Marley Greiner said...

Fantastic blog, Anita. Deformers and Dimwits. Dimwits and Deformers. Joined at the hip. I love the phrase, "Mother May I?" Perhaps the Deformers, many of whom have a clear hang-up about their mommies, are subconsciously trying to win back some imagined love or respect they lost through relinquishment by grovelng before the substitute mommie, the state. I'm not worthy, but if you'd be so kind... Get it through your head Deformers: Records and identity retrieval is not about me. It's not about you. It's about a corrupt state system of identity seizure that no amount of begging will fix.

Anonymous said...

As an adoptee, I insisted that my medical providers earned their degrees and tested me for whatever they resonably could assume may be inherited. I believe I have received better care than others who have known their families medical history. As for having access to an original document listing the name(s) of my sperm and uterus donors (not my parents)serves no purpose whatsoever.

AdoptTalk said...

Hi, I'd like to share with ya'll a new and very important book about adoption:

America’s Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry
by Mirah Riben
Foreword by Evelyn Robinson

Projected Release Date: Feb 15, 2007


Stork mar·ket. (stôrk märkt) n. 1. exposé of the corruption in the adoption industry; the fine line between black and gray market adoption; scams, coercion and exploitation. 2. an in-depth report on the international market where children are the commodity being bought and sold to the highest bidders including pedophiles with prices based on quality (i.e. age, skin color) of the merchandise and set as high as ‘desperate’ consumers continue to be willing to pay. 3. an examination of the myths of adoption that put the needs of adults, and those who profit from their desperation, before the needs of children who need homes. 4. an extensively researched and documented book that asks if adoption can be fixed -— the money aspect removed and government controls and regulations put in place -— or abolished in favor of permanent guardianship, or informal adoption sans the issuance of falsified birth certificates. 5. goes further than Riben’s groundbreaking, award-winning “shedding light on…The Dark Side of Adoption” (1988) which was excerpted in Social Issues Review Series, Utne Reader and Microcosm USA. 7. reveals, for the first time in print, Riben’s role in the notorious Joel Steinberg murder case.


“Riben has done it again. Once again, as in Dark Side, she has pulled back the covers and exposed the unpleasant truths and problems that need to be addressed in American adoption practices. While difficult, when we remove the rose-colored glasses many view adoption through, the conclusions that Riben comes to are inarguable. Most impressive on every count….well researched and thought out.” Annette Baran, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., co-author The Adoption Triangle

Mirah Riben writes that she refuses to give up. This book -— a wonderful and well-integrated mix of approaches—part analysis, part case studies from the front lines, part handbook, part up-to-date law and policy review -— is a testament to Riben's powerful and enduring commitment to the rights and needs of vulnerable women and their children. Riben's book is a clear, bright blueprint for change. Rickie Solinger, historian and author of Pregnancy and Power: A Short History of Reproductive Politics in America

“Combines the historical and legal perspective with really hard hitting journalism.” Maureen Flatley, political consultant and media advisor specializing in child welfare and adoption