Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nebraska Grandma Moses Law





INTRODUCING NEBRASKA’S NEW SAFE-HAVEN LAW


THE GRANDMA MOSES LAW



“If we save even one old person…. We’re doing the work of the Lord.”

NO SHAME. NO BLAME. NO NAMES.


NO CLAIMS. NO GAMES.


IS THIS YOU?






Are you ready to murder Grandpa Billy for farting at the dinner table twice every night and five times on Thanksgiving?

Does Great Grandma Tillie ask you over and over again, “When are we going to eat?” even though you have just finished supper? Are you ready to tape her mouth shut forever?

Has Uncle Joseph ever walked through your house in his underwear when your children’s teacher has come for a visit?

Does your father change the television station to “The Lawrence Welk Show” when you are in the middle of watching The Super Bowl? Are you ready to hit your father upside his head?

Does your mother call you every single evening wanting to know why you don’t call her more often? Do you shudder with fear each time the phone rings

Has your Aunt Harriet ever peed on your sofa, causing you severe heart burn?

Does your neighbor, Mr. Rogers, ever tell you, in front of all the other neighbors, how much fun it is to mow your lawn or rake your leaves and you should try it some time?



Don’t panic!
Relief is on the way.
There are people who will help you with NO QUESTIONS ASKED.
CALL 1-888-OLDPERSON


Nebraska is proud to announce its newest safe haven law, The Grandma Moses Law. This law provides a safe and legal option to unsafe old person abandonment.


The Grandma Moses Law provides a safe alternative to caretakers who may be under severe emotional distress or are unable to provide for the basic needs of their old person. It offers hope to those who might otherwise dump their Old Persons at the nearest loony bin or abandon them in an underground parking garage. Best of all, this law provides immunity from prosecution for caretakers who relinquish their unharmed Old Person to a safe haven under the terms of this law.



HOW DOES THE GRAMDMA MOSES PLAN WORK?


An Old Person may be permanently given to the state of Nebraska at any state-approved safe haven. The giver of the Old Person will herein be known as the Dropper. The Dropper does not have to supply any identifying information to the agent on duty at a safe haven. All the Dropper has to do is bring the Old Person to the state designated safe haven. He or she must then push, pull, shove, carry or otherwise manage to get the Old Person through the door and declare three times in a loud voice, “ATTENTION: SAFE HAVEN DROP.” Then turn around and run like hell!


Once the Old Person has been placed or otherwise moved into the safe haven, the Dropper is free to leave the premises without being followed, harassed, or bothered by any safe haven agent. The Dropper does not need to give his or her identity or answer any questions. There will be a health questionnaire available at each safe haven but filling it out is completely optional.
Once the Dropper has left the premises, it’s up to the Old Persons to offer their own identifying information, if they can remember it.


WHO IS ELIGIBLE?


An “Old Person” is any person, male or female, who has reached the biblical age of three score and ten. There is no upper limit on age.





Every Old Person must have a state certified Birth Certificate pinned to his or her shirt or coat to prove date of birth, which must be clearly written or typed. White outs of other identifying information are permitted. No adopted persons are allowed to be safe havened because the Department of Health does not trust the authenticity of any adopted person’s birth certificate.


Old Persons are allowed to bring health aids, such as a cane, walker, wheel chair, dentures, eye glasses, and/or hearing aid. Old Persons are allowed to bring up to 6 bottles of pills. Old Persons are not allowed to bring any medicinal “bottles” inside brown paper bags.



WHERE ARE THE DESIGNATED SAFE HAVENS?


State designated Grandma Moses safe havens for Old Persons include, but are not limited to: all accredited hospitals; all fire stations; any police station; FEMA Headquarters ; any branch of the Department of Health; any national guard unit; any grocery store that has at least two working cash registers; Walgreens Pharmacies, so long as there is at least one registered pharmacist on duty; any state park where there is at least one Park Ranger on the premises at the time of drop-off; any branch of the State Vital Records Department, and any nursing home with a population of 5 or more residents.


Every state approved safe-haven has this sign prominently displayed on the front door.




WHAT HAPPENS TO THE SAFE-HAVENED “OLD PERSON?”

ADOPTION IS AN OPTION
Old Persons may be adopted by any couple who have at least two minor children living with them and who wish to have a grandparent join their forever family. All adoption records will be impounded and sealed for 99 years.

SEE THE USA WITH AMTRAK
Old Persons may be enrolled in a “See the USA with Amtrak” program. The Old Persons will board the Amtrak train in New York City. Nursing assistants will accompany them. As the train makes its way west, it will make designated stops. At each of the cities, the old persons will be brought out onto the platform where the good citizens of the city may look them over. Any citizen of good moral character who wishes to have a household helper or an extra farm or factory worker may have an Old Person.

No more than two Old Persons to any family or business.

If there are any left-over Old Persons when the train reaches San Francisco, the state of California must take over the care of these Old Persons.

OLDPERSONAGE INSTITUTION
Some old persons may be sent to live in an OLDPERSONAGE, which is a state operated home for old persons who have no parents.

WORK-STUDY PROGRAM
Some old persons may be selected to work and learn at the George W. Bush Presidential Library.


WHAT IF I CHANGE MY MIND? (SUCKER!)
Any Dropper may return to the safe haven station where he/she dropped said Old Person within fifteen (15) days of the drop. The Dropper must fill out an Old Person Return Request. (Form OPRR). If the Old Person can be found in no more than thirty (30) days, he/she will be returned to the Dropper, AS IS. All sales are final!





Tuesday, November 18, 2008

No Abandonment in Nebraska




My letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune, which ran an Op/Ed piece about Nebraska this morning. November 18, 2008

Dear Editor

Legal, anonymous abandonment is a bad thing, whether it is for infants up to 72 hours old, children up to one year of age, or "children" up to the age of their maturity. Nebraska should repeal entirely its safe-haven law. ("Beyond Nebraska and infant safe-haven laws," Richard P. Barth, Chicago Tribune Op/Ed, Nov. 18th.)

Child abandonment had its "hey day" at the turn of the 20th century. Child welfare workers and other professionals worked very hard for over 100 years to stop the uniquely cruel practice of abandoning children – no matter the age. Orphan trains were wrong then and safe havens are wrong now.

I am an adopted woman who was born way before safe haven laws were allowed. So I was abandoned instead into the murky world of black market adoptions where anonymity was achieved through falsification of all birth documents. I am a senior citizen now and I have no clue whatsoever to my original identity. And this is precisely what happens to infants who are legally abandoned into a safe haven situation. They grow up with a blank history. Believe me; it's not fair to any infant to permanently erase its biological family. I know because I've been there.

All states should have policies that will help keep families together when at all possible – not write laws to make it easy for them to separate. I am hopeful that Nebraska , as well as all other states, will look for better ways in which to more easily identify families in crisis and then find ways to assist them before their issues explode into crisis proportions. Allowing a mother to legally abandon her infant is not the answer.

Thank you for your consideration.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


STILL CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS….

Illinois Adoption Reform and IlOpen are having a great media event. Write a letter to Santa and ask for your original birth certificate. All the letters will be hand delivered personally by Santa to the Vital Stats Department in Springfield, Illinois.
http://ilopen.org/


My husband and I wrote letters and I asked both of my adult children to write too.


Our oldest granddaughter is 8 years old. She is such a good writer and I thought, “Hey, this would be a great experience. Ella can write a special letter to Santa for her Nana.”


My very next thought was, “ Oh No! I don’t want to tell Ella anything about her Nana being adopted. I don’t want Ella to know that Nana’s mother gave her away.”


There! It’s out. I’ve said it. And it’s true.


Years of psychological counseling were flushed down the drain in that one instant. Decades of being an outspoken advocate for adoptee rights flew right out the window as feelings I didn’t know I still had swept over me. For one moment, I was that little adopted kid again - the one who thought she was the bad seed.






The one who thought that there must be something wrong with her because her mother didn’t want to keep her.


Someone else will have to tell the grandkids much later on about their Nana – probably when they have a school assignment to make a Family Tree. For now, I’m remaining mum.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

NEBRASKA


BABY DUMP HEAVEN







All eyes are on Nebraska this month, as well they should be.


They would be the laughing stock of North America if their misdeeds weren’t so shameful!


By now nearly everyone must know that in July Nebraska passed their unique version of a Safe-Haven law. They decided not to write in any age limit for fear that some children might get left out. In order to garner enough support for their bill, the lawmakers wrote that any “child” may be left at a hospital safe haven. The legal eagles in the state can’t quite agree what “child” means in the law. It could be any person under the age of 19, or maybe under 18, or maybe under 14.


And what happened since July? Seventeen children have been abandoned under Nebraska’s new safe-haven law, including nine from a single family. And yesterday a 14 year old girl from across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa was dropped off. That’s 17 children - not 17 infants.


Between October and January, when Nebraska’s legislature goes back into session, Nebraska could become the Mecca for abandonment. That’s because nothing was written into this law about precisely “who” can abandon. Heck, how far is it to drive over the border from Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas, Colorado or Wyoming.


Hop in the car, children. We’re going for a vacation.


Climb in Grandpa’s truck, kids. He’s taking you for a ride.


“The number of children left will continue to climb, possibly including children left by desperate parents pushed to the brink by the souring economy,” said child advocate Kathy Bigsby Moore.


Translation: It’s not our fault. Blame it on the failing economy.


”It really concerns me that [people from] other states are possibly going to be leaving their children here,” said state Senator Arnie Stuthman, the very guy who introduced the bill.

Duh. Senator Stuthman is so not in touch with reality. Could it be he was on another planet during June and July? Otherwise, he had to have at least considered these very real possibilities. It’s not as if he weren’t warned. Child welfare organizations of every ilk, adoptee rights organizations and groups concerned with the ethics of laws all wrote to the Senator and his pals to tell them that this bill was too dangerous to pass. They pointed out to him in fax, letter, the media, and by phone the pitfalls he was getting into if he passed such a law.


Translation: Oh dear, nobody told me.


State Senator Brad Ashford, who helped craft the law, said that these abandonments prove a law like this was needed. “We’ve had parents shoot their children. This is about safety. If what’s happened is shameful, it’s just uncovering what’s out there. People are really hurting.”


Translation: People who are hurting are going to shoot their children unless Nebraska allows their parents to dump them.


I am opposed to all Safe Haven laws, be they for infants 72 hours or less, infants 7 days old or less, or any aged “children” as Nebraska’s new law is written. I detest all of these safe haven laws.


I am convinced that legal and anonymous abandonment of ANY child, no matter the age, is barbaric. Over one hundred years of hard work on the part of social workers and child welfare professionals to protect children from being abandoned has gone down the drain.

Infants who are abandoned become forever foundlings. Their origins will always be unknown. Or, as the Massachusetts Supreme Court called them, “Genealogically bewildered.”


Older children who are dumped suffer untold permanent emotional trauma.


How can it be that people in this great country of ours cannot work out any other way of helping infants, babies, and even teen age children who are in troubled families besides abandoning them?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

ACTION ALERT: MICHIGAN


PLEASE FORWARD FREELY

MICHIGAN HOUSE BILLS 4896 & 6287


The Michigan House of Representatives has just passed two very restrictive adoptee rights bills, HB 4896 and HB 6287, by the frightening majority of 90 – 10. The bills have now been forwarded to the Senate Committee on Families and Human Services.
Please contact ALL of the Michigan Senators immediately and urge them to vote NO to HB 4896 / 6287.(These bills are tie-barred, which means one cannot pass without the other) This bill is a perfect example of what happens when a clean bill gets amended. We will not accept the leftover table scraps. Let's make sure that they hear our voices loud and clear.

With HBs 4896 & 6287 a birth parent can file a disclosure veto preventing her adopted adult offspring from getting an original birth certificate. This is unacceptable. Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization advocates for full restoration of rights to unconditional access to original birth certificates for 100% of adopted adults. HBs 4896 and 6287 won’t get this job done!

We believe that ONE adoptee left behind is too many!

Please explain to the Senators the kind of bill that you want to see in place of HB 4896 & 6827 – a new bill that will put adopted adults on a par with all non-adopted citizens of the state. Tell them that adopted adults want to be free of all state interference in their lives. [Contact information below]

Bastard Nation is adamantly opposed to both bills for several very important reasons.
· HB 6287 contains a disclosure veto. The "former parents," as they are called in these bills, will have the power to prevent an adopted adult from getting his or her original birth certificate.

· The sponsors of HB 6287 have made up their own version of a contact preference form and have buried their disclosure veto in the middle of the form. The Michigan legislators borrowed parts of the GENUINE CONTACT PREFERENCE FORM, as found in the adoption law of Oregon, Alabama, New Hampshire, and Maine, to trick people into thinking that HB 6287 & HB 4896 are the same as the laws passed in these other 4 states.

· A GENUINE CONTACT PREFERENCE FORM never contains a disclosure veto or any other restriction to the issuing of an original birth certificate to any adopted adult who requests it. A GENUINE CONTACT PREFERENCE FORM has been used since 1998 when it was created by the authors of Measure 58 in Oregon. It is now part of Oregon’s adoption law as well as Alabama, New Hampshire and Maine. A GENUINE CONTACT PREFERENCE FORM is meant to be a respectful and private means of personal communication between a birth parent and his/her offspring. A GENUINE CONTACT PREFERENCE FORM is never tied in any way to the issuance of an original birth certificate. Shame on the Michigan sponsors for suggesting differently. They all had ample time and opportunity to examine GENUINE CONTACT PREFERENCE FORMS from these 4 states. They know the difference but they don’t want anyone else to know it.


· Also, there is new and disturbing section which gives a "former sibling" the power to keep the state from issuing his or her name to the adult adoptee.

· Finally, these two bills would create a dangerous precedent if they were to pass. We do not want legislators from other states to copy this bill and use a Michigan “pretend contact preference form” which we know contains a disclosure veto. It is purposely misleading and we must put a stop to it right now!

WHY TWO BILLS?

HB 4896 is the bill that gives the state the power to issue original birth certificates to adopted adults if the request is accompanied by a central adoption registry clearance reply form. This clearance reply form must be completed by the Department of Human Services.

HB 6287 is the bill that contains the nitty-gritty dirty work. HB 6287 contains all of the details of the central adoption registry clearance reply form. It’s long and complicated – all the better to hide former parent vetoes, former sibling vetoes, and pretend contact preference forms.

Text of bills
HB 6287; http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(xkgr0b55350gnvvgqhjr3a55))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=2008-HB-6287
HB 4896; http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(xkgr0b55350gnvvgqhjr3a55))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=2007-HB-4896

Michigan Senate Committee on Families & Human Services
Senator Mark Jansen - Chair
Senator Bill Hardiman - Vice Chair
Senator Gilda Jacobs




CONTACT INFORMATION :
senjallen@senate.michigan.gov,
senatoranderson@senate.michigan.gov, senjbarcia@senate.michigan.gov , senrbasham@senate.michigan.gov, senpbirkholz@senate.michigan.gov senmbishop@senate.michigan.gov, sendcherry@senate.mi.gov, coleman@senate.michigan.gov,senhclarke@senate.michigan.gov,senacropsey@senate.michigan.gov, senvgarcia@senate.michigan.gov, sentgeorge@senate.michigan.gov, senjgilbert@senate.michigan.gov, senjgleason@senate.michigan.gov , sentahunter@senate.michigan.gov, sengjacobs@senate.michigan.gov, senmjansen@senate.michigan.gov, senrjelinek@senate.michigan.gov, senrkahn@senate.michigan.gov, senwkuipers@senate.michigan.gov, senmmcmanus@senate.michigan.gov, sendolshove@senate.michigan.gov, senjpappageorge@senate.michigan.gov, senbpatterson@senate.michigan.gov, senmprusi@senate.michigan.gov, senrichardville@senate.michigan.gov, senasanborn@senate.michigan.gov,senmschauer@senate.michigan.gov, senmscott@senate.michigan.gov, ofctstamas@senate.michigan.gov , senmswitalski@senate.michigan.gov, senbthomas@senate.michigan.gov, sengvanwoerkom@senate.michigan.gov, sengwhitmer@senate.michigan.gov

*All phone numbers are toll free unless stated otherwise.
* Should you wish to contact a senator by snail mail the senator should be addressed as follows: [example]

The Honorable Jason Allen
State Senator
Farnum Building, Room 820
PO Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536


MICHIGAN STATE SENATE

Senator Jason Allen
Majority Caucus Whip
Office: Room 820, Farnum Bldg.
866.525.5637
senjallen@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Glenn Anderson
Assistant Democratic Floor Leader
Office: Room 610, Farnum Bldg.
866.262.7306
senatoranderson@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Jim Barcia
Office: Room 1010, Farnum Bldg.
866.305.2131
senjbarcia@senate.michigan.gov


Senator Raymond Basham
Democratic Caucus Whip
Office: Room 715, Farnum Bldg.
NO toll free number.
517.373.7800
senrbasham@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Patricia Birkholz
Office: Room 805, Farnum Bldg.
888.28.PATTY
senpbirkholz@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Michael Bishop
Majority Leader
Office: Room S-106, Capitol Bldg.
877.9BISHOP
senmbishop@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Liz Brater
Office: Room 510, Farnum Bldg.
866.305.0318
senlbrater@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Cameron Brown
Assistant Majority Floor Leader
Office: Room 405, Farnum Bldg.
866.305.0316
sencbrown@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Nancy Cassis
Majority Caucus Chair
Office: Room 905, Farnum Bldg.
888.38.NANCY
senncassis@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Deborah Cherry
Office: Room 910, Farnum Bldg.
866.305.2126
sendcherry@senate.mi.gov

Senator Irma Clark-Coleman
Office: Room 310, Farnum Bldg.
866.747.7803
coleman@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Hansen Clarke
Office: Room 710, Farnum Bldg.
877.252.7537
senhclarke@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Alan Cropsey
Majority Floor Leader
Office: Room S-8, Capitol Bldg.
866.305.2133
senacropsey@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Valde Garcia
Office: Room S-132, Capitol Bldg.
1.800.516.0026
senvgarcia@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Tom George
Office: Room 320, Farnum Bldg.
866.305.2120
sentgeorge@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Jud Gilbert
Office: Room 705, Farnum Bldg.
877.445.2378
senjgilbert@senate.michigan.gov

Senator John Gleason
Assiatant Democratic Caucus Chair
Office: Room 315, Farnum Bldg.
866.268.2914
senjgleason@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Bill Hardiman
Room 305, Farnum Bldg.
866.305.2129
email & website are the same:
www.senate.mi.gov/hardiman

Senator Tupac Hunter
Assistant Democratic Leader
Office: Room 915, Farnum Bldg.
866.262.7305
sentahunter@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Gilda Jacobs
Democratic Caucus Chair
Office: Room 1015, Farnum Bldg.
888.937.4453
sengjacobs@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Mark Jansen
Assistant Majority Caucus Chair
Office: Room 520, Farnum Bldg.
866.305.2128
senmjansen@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Ron Jelinek
Office: Room S-324, Capitol Bldg.
866.305.2121
senrjelinek@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Roger Kahn
Assistant Majority Whip
Office: Room 420, Farnum Bldg.
866.305.2132
senrkahn@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Wayne Kuipers
Office: Room 1005, Farnum Bldg.
877.KUIPERS
senwkuipers@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Michelle McManus
Assistant Majority Leader
Office: Room S-2, Capitol Bldg.
866.305.2135
senmmcmanus@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Dennis Olshove
Assistant Democratic Caucus Whip
Office: Room 920, Farnum Bldg.
NO toll free number. 517.373.8360
sendolshove@senate.michigan.gov

Senator John Pappageorge
Office: Room 1020, Farnum Bldg.
877.SEN.13TH
senjpappageorge@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Bruce Patterson
Office: Room 505, Farnum Bldg.
866.262.7307
senbpatterson@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Michael Prusi
Office: Room 515, Farnum Bldg.
866.305.2038
senmprusi@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Randy Richardville
President Pro Tempore
Office: Room 205, Farnum Bldg.
866.556.7917
senrichardville@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Alan Sanborn
Assistant President pro Tempore
Office: Room S-310, Capitol Bldg.
888.353.ALAN
senasanborn@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Mark Schauer
Democratic Leader
Office: Room S-105, Capitol Bldg.
888.962.6275
senmschauer@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Martha Scott
Office: Room 220, Farnum Bldg.
800.SCOTT.78
senmscott@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Tony Stamas
Office: Room 720, Farnum Bldg.
866.305.2136
ofctstamas@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Michael Switalski
Office: Room 410, Farnum Bldg.
866.303.0110
senmswitalski@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Buzz Thomas
Democratic Floor Leader
Office: Room S-9, Capitol Bldg.
866.348.6304
senbthomas@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Gerald Van Woerkom
Office: Room 605, Farnum Bldg.
866.305.2134
sengvanwoerkom@senate.michigan.gov

Senator Gretchen Whitmer
Office: Room 415, Farnum Bldg.
NO toll free number. 517.373.1734
sengwhitmer@senate.michigan.gov









Saturday, September 06, 2008

Cook County Birth Certificates

One of these things is not like the others...



We all know what an original birth certificate looks like and what information it contains. Ditto for an amended certificate for those of us who were adopted.



Cook County, Illinois, is now issuing something brand new, a computer print out they are calling an “abstract.”In April, 2008, my cousin went down to the Cook County Department of Vital Statistics to get a copy of his son’s birth certificate. His son is not adopted. My cousin was given a computer print-out that looked just like this.
________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

_
Certificate of Vital Records
Certificate of Birth
Birth Number


Name:
Date of Birth:
Sex:
Place of Birth:
Date Filed:

Date issued:


This is to certify that this is a true and correct abstract from the official record filed with the Illinois Department of Public Health.

DAVID ORR, Cook County Clerk
[Note: This document has the embossed seal of the county court and the county clerk’s signature.]
_______________________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________






Wanna play a game of “WHAT’S MISSING?”



My cousin certainly did. He asked the clerk what happened to all the other information. In particular, WHERE ARE THE PARENT’S NAMES? The clerk told him that if he wanted any more information, he would have to write to the Illinois Department of Public Health in Springfield.

I taught in the Chicago Public Schools for about a million years and I’ve registered hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of youngsters. Every registration week, the one thing that was always hammered into our heads was to be absolutely sure to get an authentic birth certificate or incur the wrath of the entire Board of Education. To register a child with a bogus certificate, from the US or any other country, was like a Class One Felony. You were in big trouble. In my day these computer print outs would not have been considered to be authentic birth certificates.


We were also under strict orders never to be fooled and take hospital certificates instead of the real thing. But you know what? Hospital certificates contain more data on them than this new shortened version being used by Cook County.

And most important of all, we had to establish that the person registering the child was indeed this child’s mother. We could do that by reading the birth certificate and then requesting ID information from the parent. Not hard to do and makes sense, don’t you think?

Chicago, being the third largest city in the United States, does a booming business in birth certificates every August and September. We are a city of immigrants whose first language is not English. Advertisements in English and Spanish appear routinely on TV and radio, in the newspapers, and even on benches and billboards - all reminding parents: “You must present your children’s birth certificate in order to register them for school."

In my day, the kindergarten rooms would be standing empty if parents carried in this latest Cook County document and tried to register their children for school.

It used to be that the Chicago public schools, together with the County, worked to make it as easy as possible for parents to get their children’s birth certificates. The quickest way was to go downtown to the Cook County Dept. of Vital Statistics and apply in person. Shucks. In Cook County, you can even get a copy of your birth certificate at any currency exchange in the county. But writing a request to the Board of Health in Springfield is a very long and cumbersome way, fraught with bureaucratic obstacles, to obtain the needed certificate in time for the opening of school. Especially for parents who do not speak much English.

I am perplexed. I really wonder why Cook County is looking for ways to shorten birth certificates by eliminating so much information from them.

Will the person who dreamed up Cook County’s short-cut to birth certificates please stand up and tell us – WHY?









Monday, August 11, 2008





OF BLESSED MEMORY...........


GAVI, BELOVED BASTARD GODDESS



GAVRIELA MAXIME ZE'EVE PERSON



aka Amy Louise Akins



1968-1997



REST IN PEACE


Let My Bastard People Go!

It Is Apparent
I Have Two Parents
Big Brother Makes Five
But He's So Jive
He Says Two Parents
Are Not Alive!
Where Can They Be?
Where Did They Go?
Big Brother Does Not Know!
Let My Bastard People Go!
Let My Bastard People Go!
Let My Bastard People go!

By Gavriela Person (1968 - 1997)

Friday, July 11, 2008

SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING



SOMETHING IS BETTER
THAN NOTHING!








YOU THINK?



SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING is an idea that has been raising its ugly voice in civil rights issues for a long long time. Opponents of unsealing original birth documents have persistently and relentlessly echoed this phrase, SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING.


The SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING concept has been spoon fed to the general public as well as to us adoptees as “the Compromise of Choice.” The people who are serving up this distasteful fare have the audacity to try to put the blame on us, adoptees who believe in equal rights for ALL adoptees. We believe that not one single adoptee should be left behind. We do not adhere to the policy of SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING.

“Shame on you,” the deformers tell us. “You want to deprive access to birth documents to 97% of the adoptees because you don’t like the amendments to our bill. Have you no heart? You want elderly folks to go to their graves not knowing the identities of their birth mothers because you cannot accept any restrictions on our bill.”

NO, NO, NO. We don’t want to deprive any adoptee of his or her original birth certificate. We want 100% of the adoptee population to be able to access their original documents of birth. Put the blame right where it belongs – on the STATE.







Don’t you see? It’s the state’s fault. They are the ones who are trying to force you all into supporting a bill that will deny an original birth certificate to possibly 3% or more of the state’s adoptee population. They are the ones who are attempting to pass a bill that would cause little old adopted grannies and grandpas to go the Great Beyond without knowing their original identities. It is the state who could live very comfortably with a law in which adopted adults would not be treated equally.


The well known author Anna Quindlen told the story about a young mother who asked her for advice. What, the young mother wanted to know, was she to do with a 7-year-old who was obstreperous, outspoken, and inconveniently willful? "Keep her," Ms. Quindlen replied.... “The suffragettes refused to be polite in demanding what they wanted or grateful for getting what they deserved. Works for me.”


Works for me too. It’s time to be obstreperous, outspoken and inconveniently willful.

Say NO to the state. Don’t accept their restrictions. Tell the state that SOMETHING IS NOT BETTER THAN NOTHING. Say NO and if the politicians refuse to accept your terms, then walk away. Kill the bill. Withdraw your support. Wait for the next legislative session where you can start over with an empty slate or a different sponsor or different leadership Shout it to the rafters of the State House. SOMETHING IS NOT BETTER THAN NOTHING.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. If birth mothers feel that they aren’t getting a square deal or that their rights are being trampled, then let the birth mothers get together, form organizations, and file a bill that would give them their “rights.” It’s up to them to take care of themselves, not the state.


The one and only time I ever saw or heard a “gathering of birthmothers” fighting for rights was in Oregon on November 1, 1998, the Sunday before Measure 58 was to be presented to the electorate for a vote. Over 500 birthmothers signed a full page advertisement in Portland’s main newspaper, the Oregonian. ALL 500 birth mothers signed their names and messages of support for ADOPTEE RIGHTS in this unique full page ad. Take a minute right now to look at it. It’s quite remarkable! You can find it at: http://www.plumsite.com/oregon/oregonian-ad.html


So where should we point our finger? Who’s guilty?

The state will agree to deny an original birth certificate to possibly 3% or 4% or 5% or more of adoptees.

The state doesn’t care about Grandmother Goodfellow’s death bed wish to know who she really is.

The state actually believes that it’s morally acceptable to pass a law under which all adopted individuals will NOT be treated equally.


It is THE STATE. The state goes to great extremes in order to preserve its 60 year old law of sealing adoptee’s original birth records forever. During the last decade, progress has been made in repealing this ancient law and too many legislators don’t like this. So the state fashions restrictive amendments to access bills which trample the rights of all adoptees, young and old and in the middle. The state wants you to believe that SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING.




Wednesday, July 02, 2008

MICHIGAN HB 4896 – BAIT & SWITCH



BAIT & SWITCH – MICHIGAN STYLE



The original Michigan HB 4896, filed in March, 2008, was such a good bill. It would have allowed adopted adults to access their original birth certificates, unconditionally and without falsifications. It contained a non-binding contact preference form. The bill had no strings attached. It was heard in the House Children & Family Services Committee on March 5, 2008 and passed by a vote of 5-3.

However, on the way to the House Floor, HB 4896 was amended. The original intent was gutted.
Here is how HB4896 looks now:

1) Adoptees may request their original birth certificate from the Department of Human Services. Their request must be accompanied by a copy of clearance from a central adoption registry.[note: see HB 6287]

2) A Confidential Intermediary may request the original birth record of a client. The birth record will be marked “sealed record only.”

3) This amendatory act (HB 4897) does not take effect unless House Bill No.6287 is enacted into law.


See complete text at http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2007-2008/billengrossed/House/htm/2007-HEBH-4896.htm

House Bill 4896 passed on the floor of the House on June 27, 2008.

And the original supporters of HB 4896 cheered.



A brand new companion bill to HB 4896, HB 6287, has been filed and is now making its way very quickly through the halls of the House.

The strings are all attached in this bill. And remember, the amended HB 4896 (HB 4897) cannot go into effect unless House Bill No.6287 is enacted into law.


HB 6287 will establish a central adoption registry to control the release of identifying information.

Forms will be developed for “former parents” to use to consent to, deny, or revoke a consent to or denial of, the release of identifying information.

The sponsors of this bill have the audacity to continue to use the term contact preference form. A true contact preference form does not legally bind the filing of any form with the issuance of an original birth certificate. This is not the case in HB 6287. What the lawmakers are calling a contact preference form in this particular bill is in reality a disclosure veto or an Affadavit of Nondisclosure.

HB 6827 even provides a form for “adult former siblings” to use to provide notice of the death of a former parent and to consent to the release of the ”adult former sibling's” name and address to an adult adoptee.

Complete textofHB6827
http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/20072008/billintroduced/House/pdf/2008-HIB-6287.pdf


And the original supporters of HB 4896 are also cheering on HB 6827.






How much better it would have been if Representative Lisa Wojna, sponsor of the original bill, and her supporters, had pulled their original HB 4896 when the talk of amendments began. The bill should have been killed right then and there!

True, there would be no adoptee rights bill this year in Michigan but there would be the opportunity to try again next year with a clean slate!

Instead, the Michigan people who worked so very hard on the original HB 4896 have given up the fight to have a true adoptee rights law in their state. They have become “Deformers.”

The term “Adoption Deformers” is a phrase coined by Bastard Nation Founder and Executive Chair Marley Greiner. Deformers are adoptees who want us to proceed in baby steps. They ask us to accept compromise bills which contain parental restrictions, disclosure vetoes, contact vetoes, redactions, or confidential intermediary systems in place of unsealing birth records to all adopted individuals in the same way as all non-adopted citizens get their birth certificate.

Deformers claim that these conditional access bills have a better chance of being passed and that is reason enough to grab them. Deformers say that legislation which gives some adoptees access to their original birth certificate is “better than nothing.” They tell us,”It’s the best we could do. It’s all we could get.” They hope that conditional access legislation will serve as an intermediate step to someday getting true adoptee rights legislation. And in the meantime, they tell us, some adoptees will receive their original birth records.

History knows better! Once laws are passed, legislators are very reluctant to revisit the same issue again any time soon. They believe they’ve “fixed the problem” and they want to move on to other issues – not go backwards. Even if some lawmakers do revisit the original issue in the future, there is no indication that they would be more inclined to openness than before the conditional access legislation passed.

Bottom Line: The MICHIGAN BAIT & SWITCH BILLS do not treat all adopted adults equally because “former parents” will be able to block the issuance of an original birth certificate to the adoptee. Some adoptees will be more equal than others in Michigan.




Wednesday, June 25, 2008

ADOPTEE RIGHTS LEGISLATION: THE BIG LIE


















NO COMPROMISING

Compromises are on my mind these days. Illinois State Representative Sara Feigenholtz is asking adoptees to compromise and support her bill, HB 4623, which contains a disclosure veto. State Representative Wojna from Michigan is getting ready to introduce two new adoptee rights bills that both contain disclosure vetoes. She has convinced the original supporters of the bill that the only way to get anything passed is to compromise. Representative Feigenholtz says the same thing.

I got to thinking about Oregon’s Measure 58 ballot initiative. It didn’t compromise, did it? Still the Oregon voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of adoptee rights.


I looked at Measure 58 again and the light bulb went on. The really important reason the Oregon electorate approved Measure 58 is because it was presented to the voters as a single issue, without any compromises or birth mother confidentiality clauses. The Oregon voters were asked to say YES or NO to this one sentence:

“Upon receipt of a written application to the State Registrar, any adopted person 21 years of age and older born in the State of Oregon shall be issued a certified copy of his/her unaltered, original and unamended certificate of birth in the custody of the State Registrar, with procedures, filing fees, and waiting periods identical to those imposed upon non-adopted citizens of the State of Oregon.”


YES or NO? That’s it. What could be easier! There were no confidentiality issues to cloud Oregon’s ballot. There were no compromises offered. No “ifs”, “ands,” or “buts”. It was a single issue to be answered Yes or No. And the YES’s won. If ballot initiatives patterned after Measure 58 were allowed in all states, I believe that they too would be victorious.

Unfortunately, we adoptees cannot look to ballot initiatives to solve our issue. Only half of the states allow them. The financial issues are overwhelming and they carry many complicated rules and regulations which pretty much puts them out of our reach. So we have to look to the state legislatures to make changes.

But the legislators in most states don’t want to address that single issue that was victorious in Oregon. Instead, they want to offer adoptees a compromise. Oh joy! A compromise!



Our great country was founded on compromise. At The Constitutional Convention, James Madison of Virginia received the title of "Father of the Constitution" with his speeches, negotiations, and “attempts at compromise. “

The very structure of our government was agreed upon in the great compromise of 1787. The number of members and duties of both the House of Representatives and the Senate were hammered out in this compromise.




We are steeped in the paradigm of compromise. We are taught from a very young age that we must give a little to get a little so that no one loses everything. We learned at our mothers’ knees that we cannot have our own way all the time. And that’s all well and good.


So here we are. Us. We. Bastards. How do we fit into this paradigm? We are asked to agree to compromise with the state on adoptee rights legislation and when we say NO, we are scorned. We are belittled. We must be left-over radical Commie-Pinkos because we are not conforming to the good old American principle of compromise.

The reality of the issue is that we Bastards will only deal in truths; we will never agree to a compromise which is based upon a lie. But that’s exactly what the state expects us to do. The state expects us to enter into a compromise that is based on the MYTH that birthmothers were promised confidentiality. I call this myth THE BIG LIE. Remember, if you repeat any lie long enough and loud enough, it will eventually become “the truth. “

The state wants us to agree to honor
the birth mother myth. The state actually wants us to buy into THE BIG LIE. The state’s compromise is for adoptees to agree that the adoption act should give all birth mothers an option to deny the issuance of adoptees’ birth certificates; a restriction based upon THE BIG LIE.




If we will agree to this compromise, says the state, then it will agree to give something to us. The state will change its sealed records law to enable some adopted adults to get copies of their birth certificate. If only we’d be reasonable and compromise, says the state, everyone could be satisfied. After all, compromise is the “American Way,” isn’t it?

How slick. How insidious! The state insists that we must agree to honor a premise that we know to be false. We refuse because we will not give validity to their myth. If we did consent to the state’s compromise plans, we would be planting roots for THE BIG LIE right inside the state’s Adoption Code; roots that were never there to begin with.

SO WHAT ABOUT ALABAMA, NEW HAMPSHIRE, AND MAINE


The legislators in Alabama, New Hampshire, and Maine didn’t believe THE BIG LIE. These lawmakers believed that the time had come for adopted adults to be able to access their birth certificates like all other citizens of the state. Very importantly, these state legislators understood that birth records were not sealed to protect the privacy of birth mothers. They knew that birth certificates were never sealed at the time of birth parent relinquishment but only upon the finalization of an adoption. They could see how these facts didn’t fit together with THE BIG LIE. And these lawmakers chose to go with the facts instead of THE BIG LIE.

Thus, Alabama, New Hampshire, and Maine agreed to issue original birth certificates to all adopted adults, unconditionally and without any falsifications. Adoptees in these states, recognizing the emotional issues involved, agreed to include a voluntary, non-binding contact preference form for birth mothers to use as a private and respectful way to communicate with adoptees. Both sides agreed that either 18 or 21 years of age would be a good age to begin accepting requests from adoptees. Both sides agreed to the procedures that each state would use to issue the certificates.

Now these are compromises made in Heaven!















Sunday, June 22, 2008






“Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.”
… Franklin D. Roosevelt



Birth mothers were promised confidentiality at the time they relinquished their children.



Unsealing birth certificates to adopted adults will cause higher abortion rates and lower adoption rates.



If adopted adults learn their birth mother’s true identity, the adoptees will stalk them and force themselves on their birthparents.



Birth mothers’ rights to anonymity trump adoptees’ rights to know the truth about themselves.
Don’t search for your birth mother because she’ll slam the door in your face.



Birth mothers don’t want to remember their painful pasts.



Adoptees are just not interested in finding their first parents.



Adoptees are psychologically challenged. They have more difficulties in dealing with their emotional problems than non-adoptees.



An adoptee who searches for a birth parent takes a big chance of wreaking havoc on his or her Forever Family.



Unsealing birth certificates to adopted adults will harm the institution of adoption and harm the lives of many innocent people.



BUDDAH taught:



Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it. Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held. Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books. Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin. Believe nothing just because someone else believes it. Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true. [paraphrased]

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

DEAL OR NO DEAL


HB 4623, WHERE ARE YOU?



Illinois HB 4623, the compromise birth certificate bill that does not treat all adopted adults equally, has been revived to live another day.



A QUICK REVIEW


On March 13, 2008, HB 4623 whizzed through Sponsor Representative Feigenholtz’ Adoption Reform Committee by a vote of 8 -1. And just imagine! It was sent on to the House for a first reading on that very same day in March. In April, it had a short second reading. Now, according to the rules of the General Assembly, it was time for the bill to stand before the entire House of Representatives for a vote.


The bill received three different deadlines to come to the floor of the house for a vote and as each deadline rolled around, the bill received yet another extension. The third extension came on the last day of the official House Session, May 30th. But this time the bill was rereferred to the Rules Committee where according to House Rules it will remain potentially viable until the November veto session, when its sponsors are allowed to bring it back to the floor of the House for a vote.



WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?






During this summer interval House rules allow sponsors to amend and alter the bill in any way they see fit in an effort to garner enough votes for passage. Summer is the time for negotiations, especially for contentious bills such as HB 4623. The politicians and their flunkies will not take the bill back to the public. Why should they? We already had our chance at the super speedy hearing held back in March.


This summer interval when the bill stays in the Rules Committee is like “Let’s Make a Deal.” I’ll vote for your bill if you vote for mine. Favors are called in and leverage is applied.


When a bill is rerefered to the Rules Committee, it does not need to go through any more committee hearings or any short House readings. HB 4623 may very well have been chopped to pieces and completely rewritten. But no matter. The bill can still go directly from Rules back to the floor of the house for a vote during the veto session. No more input or votes needed from committees. No more input needed from opponents or supporters. No more publicity needed!

Just schedule the bill and then vote as quickly and as quietly as you can.


This is all kosher, folks. It’s part of the Rules of the House of Representatives.


PREDICTIONS


I continue to oppose HB 4623 because it is a compromise birth certificate bill. It does not treat all adopted adults equally. Some adoptees will get left behind. Of that I’m certain. And I’ll bet the farm that we won’t recognize any “new and improved” version of HB 4623 that comes through now. It won’t get better; it can only get worse.


I predict that there will be more restrictions and conditions added to the new and improved version of HB 4623. I predict confidentiality for birth mothers will be granted for longer time periods. This in turn would create even more tiers of adoptees who can or cannot request an original birth certificate. And I also predict that birth mothers will be granted even wider powers and more options for preventing the state from issuing an original birth certificate to adoptees.


SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?


A little bit of schmoozing with lawmakers during the summer may pay dividends when the November Veto Session comes around.


“It will not always be summer: build barns.”… Hesiod


Many state offices are now dark. Everybody down in Springfield has gone fishing or they’re out on the golf course. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t working. Almost all of the members of our House Representatives keep an office open year round in their hometowns and here is where you can reach them during the summer recess. Plan to contact your representative. You’re a constituent, after all!


Telephone for an appointment. When you meet your representative find out what her or his position is on adoptee rights in general and on HB 4623 in particular. Exchange viewpoints. Look for some common ground. It helps any negotiations when you can first find some part of the bill upon which you can both agree.


Just keep your goal in mind. You’re there to remind your representative about the failure of HB 4623 to address the rights of all adopted adults. Explain how the bill compromises our rights. Tell your rep what a true adoptee birth certificate bill should be like. Urge him or her to vote NO to HB 4623 in the veto session so that next year we can write a true adoptee birth certificate bill; one which will unseal original birth certificates for all adopted adults, unconditionally and upon request. Also, be sure to leave some literature about the bill. A single page Bullet Point Sheet is good.


If making a personal visit to your representative doesn’t work for you, why not try a telephone conversation. Ask for a few minutes when he or she has time to chat with a constituent. Follow the same guidelines as above. Then follow up by mailing him or her some printed material.


If you prefer to communicate with your rep by mail, then by all means, go ahead and write. But please remember to keep it short and sweet. Long and detailed personal histories and pages of explanations about HB 4623 will probably be sentenced to the shredder. Very few legislators want to wade through some lengthy legislative packet, beautiful and informative as you know it to be.


Write to the media. Any time is a good time to get your opinions into the newspapers. Most of us who write may never see our letters in print. But if even one of us gets a letter into one newspaper – just think of how many people you are reaching. So I urge everyone to write to their local newspapers because your letter could be that “one.” Watch your newspapers for any sort of related adoption stories. Often you can piggyback on them. These articles can be your foot in the door.


And while you’re at it, why not write to lots of the state representatives.


And don’t forget to blog, blog, blog.


It’s not over till the fat lady sings. And this fat lady ain’t singin’!



















Tuesday, June 10, 2008

CONFIDENTIAL INTERMEDIARIES FOR EVERYONE




"Confidential Intermediary: Marriage"
Illinois Adoption Act 750ILCS 50, Section 18.12

Legislative Intent: The General Assembly recognizes that it is the basic right of all persons to apply for and receive, uncondtionally, at the age of majority, a license to wed. The General Assembly also recognizes that there are circumstances under which a parent of the bride or groom may have compelling reasons for forbidding the marriage. In an effort to balance these interests, the General Assembly supports the public policy that a marriage license shall be issued to petitioners only after all parents have signed an Affidavit of Approval of Marriage.

Section 18.12 (a)


Any couple wishing to enter into the holy state of matrimony shall first petition the esteemed state of Illinois for a Marriage Confidential Intermediary .(MCI) The court will appoint a state sanctioned social worker to be the couple’s Marriage Confidential Intermediary. (MCI)The couple will pay a $250 filing fee to the court, $1000 to the Midwest Confidential Intermediary Marriage Agency, and must show receipt from an authorized jeweler that a diamond engagement ring of no less than 1 caret has been purchased.











Section 18.12 (d)

The MCI shall have the duty of inspecting all public and private information databases and gathering detailed information concerning any previous marriages and divorces of the bride and groom. Relationships of one year or more with a member of the opposite sex will be examined and recorded. Relationships of one month or more with a member of the same sex shall be noted with a red flag. The MCI shall also report any broken engagements, including the size of the diamond in the engagement ring and who kept the ring.

The MCI will make certain that a registered birth certificate is on file for each applicant. Additional, twelve (12 ) of the bride and groom’s genealogical family trees going back at least 4 generations, must be submitted. Adoptees – don’t even bother!

The MCI will scrupulously study all medical histories of both parties. The MCI will rate each petitioner on a Marriage Confidential Intermediary Medical History Information Exchange Scale (MCIMHIES) that will document any history of mumps, measles, chickenpox, whopping cough, or sexually transmitted diseases. One point shall be assigned for each disease. The MCI shall have the authority of the state to subpoena medical records from all doctors who have ever treated the couple.








The total medical scores are as follows:
0 – 1 A marriage made in heaven
2 -3 Risky business
4 + Not a chance.
.
The MCI will look through all criminal court records for the past 20 years and will report all indictable offenses. A separate report will be filed for any jail sentences served. Both Parole Officers and cell mates will be interviewed by the MCI.
The initial MCI investigation shall be deemed “concluded” after 6 months or 50 typed pages in the file, which ever comes first.

Section 18.12 (f)
The MCI will contact the natural parents of the bride and the groom.





Each parent will be presented with the MCI Top Secret Marriage File (MCITSMF) to scrutinize. The MCI will explain to the parents that upon completion of reading the MCITSMF, they will have 3 options to choose from:

1) This parent does not approve of the wedding. No marriage license shall be issued. Case closed.



2) This parent has concerns or issues about this marriage and therefore the petitioning couple will have to attend MCI counseling sessions 3 times/week for three months at the Midwest Confidential Intermediary Marriage Agency


If there is a blue moon during any of these months, the petitioners shall have to complete one extra month of counseling. . At the end of the sessions, the parent may then chose to agree or not agree to the marriage and a license will be issued or be withheld accordingly.

3) When all four parents agree to the marriage, they will sign an Affidavit of Approval of Marriage. At such time, the state will issue a marriage license to the petitioners.


4) All four parents must agree on the marriage before a license can be issued. Should any of the parents be deceased, the oldest sibling in that person’s family will be designated “in loco parentis” and will cast his/her vote in place of the deceased parent. The oldest sibling will be required to fill out the Marriage Confidential Intermediary Permission to Issue Marriage License Form (MCIPIMLF) as well as show proof of a score of at least 1300 on the SAT exam. If there are no living siblings, then the duty will fall to the Dali Lama.

Section 18.12 (i)

At the conclusion of the MCI investigation, All INFORMATION in the MCI Top Secret Marriage File (MCITSMF) shall be impounded and sealed for 199 years.

Any couple who marries without express permission from the MCI will be charged with the felony criminal charge of “Marrying An Unacceptable Person” and each party shall be subject to a fine of not less than $10,000. If convicted of the felony criminal charge, the bride and groom must serve a sentence of one year as volunteers to help build the George W. Bush Presidential Library.


Any clergyperson who officiates as an unofficial wedding will be subject to a misdemeanor charge of “Marrying a Couple Who Does Not Have an MCI Marrying License.” The collection plate for six consecutive Sunday services will be turned over to the state as a fine for this offense.

Any MCI who does not abide by all of the regulations of the MCI Secrecy Laws shall be subject to the felony criminal charge of “Spilling the Beans.” Imprisonment will be for the rest of his or her natural life.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Withdrawal of Bastard Nation from "A Day for Adoptee Rights"

June 1, 2008

Re: Withdrawal of Bastard Nation from A Day for Adoptee Rights

The Executive Committee of Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization announces with regret the withdrawal of our organizational co-sponsorship and official participation in A Day for Adoptee Rights, (DAR) scheduled for July 20-25 during the National Conference of State Legislature's annual meeting in New Orleans. We had planned to hold a "Bastard Boot Camp Teach-In" on July 20, participate in the protest on July 22, and help staff the DAR space inside the Mariol Convention Center July 23-25.

We sincerely regret any inconvenience or discouragement this decision may cause.

As of this writing the event itself has not been canceled, only Bastard Nation's co-sponsorship and participation. Please check the DAR website for updates on the status of the event. http://adopteerights.net/nulliusfilius/

Bastard Nation has been concerned for some time about the cost effectiveness of the project. While many people exhibited an interest in attending all or part of the event, the number of people who actually registered or made a serious commitment to attend was minimal. There were also hidden costs at the convention center, of which DAR and BN were not aware of until recently, which put our participation extremely over budget.

Bastard Nation believes that the Day for Adoptee Rights project is a sound idea. There is no dispute between BN and DAR. We have concluded that this is not the time or place for Bastard Nation to take part in a Day for Adoptee Rights. The cost of the event this year spiraled and did not balance with the number of participants coming forward to show our strength to the politicians who hold the keys to the records cabinets. Bastard Nation is an all volunteer organization that works on the foundational financial principle of bringing you the best bang for your buck. Spending several thousand dollars in member dues and donations on a project that at this point was sputtering is fiscally irresponsible, movement careless, and takes time and funds away from legislative and educational activities that can make a direct difference now.

Moreover, we are concerned with the unsolicited and unwanted participation of Abrazo Adoption Agency in San Antonio, Texas. Unknown to DAR and BN until just a few days ago, Abrazo has been raising funds for the event in DAR's name. http://apps.facebook.com/causes/85456?recruiter_id=15092383
These funds went and continue to go directly to the agency, raising huge ethical issues for Bastard Nation and the equal access movement. Records and identity access is about our rights and has no connection with the marketing schemes of adoption agencies. BN has a long-standing, hard-line policy of accepting no support from the adoption industry. Bastard Nation and the adoptee rights movement in general cannot and should not be co-opted or used by the adoption industry to promote its own agenda. We disavow all industry involvement in our work. Any entanglement with the adoption industry endangers the integrity and credibility of the adoptee rights movement.

Although BN solicited funds for our specific DAR activities, the only official fundraising site for DAR is on the DAR site. Do not send funds to any other solicitor.

Bastard Nation is in the process of working with the Country Inn and Suites by Carlson to release the rooms in our reserved block. We will personally contact everyone who registered under our agreement with the hotel about the procedure for you to cancel room reservations should you desire to do so.

We greatly appreciate the work that volunteers from Bastard Nation and A Day for Adoptee Rights have put into this event. Without them and you there is no movement. We applaud your enthusiasm, commitment and we look forward to future activities to restore our rights.

Please write to our Executive Chair, Marley Greiner (maddogmarley@worldnet.att.net) if you have any questions.

Yours in Bastardy,

The Bastard Nation Executive Committee

Anita Walker Field
Patricia Marler
Marley Greiner, Executive Chair

Sunday, May 25, 2008

THE CHEESE STANDS ALONE

THE CHEESE STANDS ALONE




GRANNY’S NOTES ON THE ILLINOIS CONFIDENTIAL INTERMEDIARY LAW

I have recently read two of the most enlightening, scathing, and sorrowful blogs written by Triona Guidry, an Illinois adoptee who describes her botched Illinois Confidential Intermediary Search and the inhumane treatment she received from those very people entrusted by our state to manage the CI program. You can read her blogs, “Caveat Emptor on Confidential Intermediary Programs” and “Case Closed! Another Adoptee Becomes A Confidential Intermediary Statistic” at
http://73adoptee.blogspot.com. Bottom line, the CI’s “accidentally” revealed Triona’s private identifying information to her anonymous birth mother, without Triona’s permission.

Triona relates the painful personal details of what happens when a state uses a law ostensibly to help adopted adults find some truth about themselves. But in reality this very same law allows the state to operate in secrecy, and in Triona’s situation, with out any accountability, transparency, or humanity.

The Illinois Adoption Registry (a gigantic flop) and the Illinois Confidential Intermediary Law ( a gigantic sham) were very cleverly constructed to give adoptees the appearance of receiving help from the state while at the same time making sure that any identifying information to be forthcoming would be carefully monitored and totally controlled by the state.










The Confidential Intermediary Law is a state owned and operated program that appoints social worker-nannies to adoptees to try and locate their birth parents. Nanny gets to read all our adoption documents and our original birth certificate but she must never show them to us or even tell us about them. The overriding rule governing the entire CI system is that no identifying information will ever be issued to any adoptee UNLESS THE BIRTH MOTHER CONSENTS.

Yet they call it a law for adoptees. How clever is this!

GRANNY’S MEMORIES


I signed up with the CI program in 1994, about two years after its inception. I understood from Day One that only my CIs would be given access to my adoption file and my original birth certificate in order to locate my birth parents. It was also made clear to me that all adoption documents as well as all identifying information discovered by the social workers would always be kept secret from me. I accepted this stipulation because I was dazzled by the prospect of possibly locating some birth relatives. The thought of an adoptee controlling her own destiny was unheard of to me. I was so dumb back then that I didn’t think an adoptee could ever ask for her original birth certificate.


Midwest Adoption Agency holds a total monopoly over the management of the CI program in the entire State of Illinois (How sweet is this). In fact, Midwest’s owners, Gretchen Schulert and Nancy Golden, were assigned by the court to be my very own Confidential Intermediaries.

When I was signing on, I was told in a sales talk by Ms. Schulert and Ms. Golden that the beauty of the CI program was that CIs had the full power of the courts behind them. CIs could go where others couldn’t. The CIs could present a court order for information which otherwise would not be given out to adoptees. In other words, the CIs had super powers.

I fell for it – hook, line and sinker. If these people could get their toes into doors that had been slammed in my face, then it was worth the money. I signed on the dotted line and wrote a check for $500. I also had to pay an additional $220 to file my petition with the Cook County Circuit Court, a fee that has subsequently been waived.

My search seemed to have its roots in Indiana. CI Nancy Golden wanted to obtain an Indiana birth certificate of a woman she thought might be my birth grandmother. Indiana told her to get lost. Her super powers didn’t extend into any other state. How na├»ve I was to ever believe that a confidential intermediary or even a judge in one state might issue any type of order to a judge in another state regarding the release of information.


Indiana’s solution for me was to apply for a Confidential Intermediary in Indiana and pay all their fees. Then and only then would an Indiana CI go to court and act on my behalf to try and obtain the desired document. Of course, the Indiana CI would only share the information on the document with my Illinois CI. The CI system reminds me of a typical “old boys network.” They sure do stick together!

By this time Ms. Golden decided that the Indiana woman in question was not a birth relative so I declined Indiana’s offer to join their CI program.

Somewhere towards the end of that first year, I began to really sour on the program. I continued to do my own searching all the while the CIs were working on my case. I shared all of my resources and information with them. But I needed feedback from them, too, and I didn’t get it. Now it finally sunk in just how stinky the CI system really is. It doesn’t give adopted men and women a chance to make any personal decisions regarding their search. By this time, I wanted to be able to make my own judgments about where and how to proceed with the search. But I could not to do this.

In 1996, after two years, the Confidential Intermediary Nancy Golden dismissed my case, declaring it unsuccessful.

Another two years later, in January, 1998, I decided I would have to go to court. I SUCCESSFULLY petitioned the Circuit Court of Cook County, pro se, to release to me copies of my entire adoption file as well as my original birth certificate. The day I actually held these records in my own hands was one of the most empowering days of my life!

By then I had already figured out that the information in these records would more likely than not turn out to be falsified or non-existent - and I was right. Nevertheless, these were my documents, I owned them, and the very fact that they were altered tells its own story.

SO YOU WANT TO SEE YOUR CI FILE?




Any searching adoptee will tell you that there is no clue too small to be considered. Ninety-nine people can look at a set of facts and reach the same conclusion. Then along comes one other person who uses the same raw data but looks at it in a totally different light and draws a different conclusion. I wanted to look at all of the raw data gathered by my CIs. Maybe I could be that hundredth person.


In April 2001, I wrote to Nancy Golden at Midwest Adoption Agency requesting a copy of my confidential intermediary file. I presented as evidence Judge Stephen Yates’ written order releasing to me copies of all of my adoption documents and my original birth certificate. I wanted to prove to the CIs that I was now in possession of all information considered by the state to be identifying.


I also pointed out to Ms. Golden that in 1998 when my case was dismissed, there was NO PROVISION in the current CI law that mentioned any instructions as to the disposition of the CI file at the conclusion of an investigation. At the time of my request, April 2001, there was still no provision for the disposition of closed CI files. [This “forgotten” hole was subsequently plugged up in a 2004 change to the CI law.]

I received a letter back from Kathleen Hogan Morrison, Attorney for Midwest Adoption Agency, who also happens to be one of the original authors of the Confidential Information law. It was her legal opinion that the Illinois CI law does not permit CIs to ever release any data that they collect during a search. She did not address the fact that the law as written at that time contained no provisions for completed CI investigations.

The section of the law that Attorney Morrison referred me to states that any CI who improperly discloses information identifying a birth parent shall be “liable to the birth parent for damages and may also be found in contempt of court.” She continued to site the law, which says: “(2) Any person who learns a birth parent’s identity, directly or indirectly, through the use of procedures provided in this Section and who improperly discloses information identifying the birth parent shall be liable to the birth parent for actual damages plus minimum punitive dames of $10,000.” [750 ILCS 50/18.3a.) (Emphasis is Attorney Morrison’s)

Ms. Morrison concluded her letter with this paragraph:

“Ms. Field is incorrect in her assertion that ‘the legal barrier of confidentiality has been lifted.’ In fact, confidentiality continues. Neither Midwest Adoption Center nor any Confidential Intermediary has the right to share identifying information about other people, which may or may not be in the Confidential Intermediary file. The prohibitions and sanctions set forth in Sections 18.3 (a) are intact. The Confidential Intermediary file may not be released to Ms. Field.” [Emphasis is mine]


THE CHEESE STANDS ALONE

Triona’s blogs will describe to you how her Illinois CIs “accidentally” gave out Triona’s personal & identifying information to her anonymous birth mother - without Triona’s permission! I was appalled to hear this. So I went back to reread the appropriate sections of the IL Confidential Intermediary law. Maybe things had changed since I went through it. But there it was, staring me in the face, Section 18.3. (1)

Any confidential intermediary who improperly discloses confidential information identifying a sought‑after relative shall be liable to the sought‑after relative for damages and may also be found in contempt of court.

Notice that only the sought-after relative can claim damages if a CI improperly discloses confidential information. Not the adoptee! And believe me, I looked carefully for any section that might deal with any legal recourse adoptees might have. There is none!

The Confidential Intermediary Law is accountable only to the state and to the birth mothers.

So what happens to Triona? Where are any adoptee protections in this law? We are out in the cold.

“Aw gee, we’re sorry,” they told Triona. But do they really care? OF COURSE NOT. After all, Triona isn’t a sought-after relative.




Yet they continue to call this a law for adoptees. When pigs fly!






CAVEAT EMPTOR


So now I add my caveat to Triona’s. Be very certain of what treatment you can live with before you sign on with the CIs. Ask yourself if you can give up complete control of your search to a third party who is prevented by law from telling you any identifying information about yourself. Remember, your confidential intermediaries will arbitrarily tell you only those facts they want to. And they will arbitrarily withhold from you any facts that they want to. And you can bet the farm that the Confidential Intermediary law itself as well as Midwest Adoption Agency and its lawyers will support all of these decisions!