Sunday, November 28, 2010
In an article in the Nov. 27th N. Riverside Suburban Life, Representative Sara Feigenholtz said,
“Illinois is the 10th and largest state in the nation to enact such a law, according to Feigenholtz. She said she believes “all eyes are on Illinois” now to see how the legislation pans out. It is her hope that Illinois’ example will serve as a catalyst for other states to take similar action.
“I’m working on doing a film on the Illinois experience so we can help states large and small,” said Feigenholtz.”
Since Rep. Feigenholtz managed to foist this beastly law on Illinois, she’s developed what we used to call a “swelled head.” Not satisfied with botching up Illinois for years to come, she is now setting her sights on “helping” other states. Run for the hills if she comes to yours.
I used to call her the Adoption Maven of Illinois because she is adopted and she has owned adoption in our General Assembly for a long time. Lord help us, now Sara wants to become the Adoption Maven of the United States.
Please don’t ever compare Illinois to any of the six Free States where adoptees can get their original birth certificates with no conditions or restrictions. KANSAS, ALASKA, OREGON, ALABAMA, NEW HAMPSHIRE and MAINE are the Free States. No adoptee in any of these states has to worry about Denial Forms or Disclosure Vetoes. They don’t exist in the Free States. Instead, every adoptee is treated equally with their fellow adoptees and they are also treated equally among all the citizens of their state.
Don’t be fooled by Representative Feigenholtz and her gang. They can blab forever about how wonderful Illinois’ new law is, but no matter what they say, they can never say that Illinois is a Free State. Under the new Illinois law, BIRTH PARENTS ARE ALLOWED TO FILE DENIAL FORMS WHICH WILL RESULT IN ADOPTEES NOT GETTING THEIR ORIGINAL BIRTH CERTIFICATES.
DON'T COPY ILLINOIS.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
FOR THE RECORDS II: An examination of the History and Impact of Adult Access to Original Birth Certificates. (July 16, 2010)
ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACK
WOW! After separating the wheat from the chaff from the EBD's latest report, I found two major contradictions right on page one of their report that astound me. They can't help but cast a dark shadow over the rest of the material in this report.
ONE STEP FORWARD
"EVERY STATE SHOULD RESTORE UNRESTRICTED ACCESS TO ORIGINAL BIRTH CERTIFICATES FOR ALL ADULT ADOPTEES, RETROACTIVELY AND PROSPECTIVELY."
TWO STEPS BACK
"CONFIDENTIAL INTERMEDIARY SERVICES SHOULD BE AVAILABLE THROUGHOUT ALL STATES, EVEN AFTER ORIGINAL BIRTH CERTIFICATES ACCESS IS RESTORED."
"A NATIONAL ADOPTION REGISTRY SHOULD BE IMPLEMENTED TO ENABLE ALL ADOPTED PERSONS AND THEIR BIRTHPARENTS, NO MATTER WHERE THEY RESIDE, TO PARTICIPATE."
How in the world can EBD recommend a National Adoption Registry and a CI system in their Top Five Recommendations and a few pages later, in the body of the text, tell us what we already know - how woefully inadequate these alternatives have always been. We all know about Registries and CI Programs which were started over 30 years ago to try and keep adoptees "in line." These search and reunion systems were supposed to appease adoptees who dared to speak out about the civil and human rights of all adopted adults. EBD, how can you possibly recommend them today?
Later in the text, you yourselves write about the inadequacies of these alternatives:
"Proponents of unsealing OBCs to adult adoptees hold that other alternatives - such as mutual consent registries and confidential intermediary services - are costly and generally do not work. The evidence indicates the least effective are mutual consent registries, which have a very low rate of matches...
Confidential intermediary services are costly and do not give adopted adults either the power to control the process or to continue searching if the parties being sought are not readily found."
So why do you recommend them?
You all at EBD know that we already have an International Adoption Registry, the ISRR, which serves anyone around the world and is free besides. We don't need no stinkin' National Adoption Registry!
By advocating for a National Adoption Registry, the EBD gives opponents of open records an excuse to drag their feet on passing open records bills. EBD is advocating for that very alternative it said doesn't work. HUH?
Ditto for CI Systems, another excuse to drag feet. Your report recommends, right up there in the Top Five Recommendations, that Confidential Intermediary Systems should continue, even after OBCs are issued. Yet everyone at EBD knows perfectly well that CI Systems, every last one of them, are an anathema to transparency and openness. Why on earth would you condone a system that is fueled by confidentiality and secrecy? Why do you support a system whose one and only goal has always been to help adoptees search for birth records while at the same time "protecting" the needs of the birth mother's confidentiality and anonymity?
It just doesn't compute. You've shot yourselves in your collective "foot."
This blog is my personal opinion and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of any organizations to which I belong.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
re: DEFORMERS DO THE DARNDEST THINGS
I could not fit this answer into the comment section so I've opened another blog instead. I'm in blue.
Okay, so if I am following you. You worked to get records opened in Illinois for 20 years.
No, you are not following me. I worked to get records opened in Illinois for 5 years.
And you failed.
Yes, we failed in IL. Deformer Sara Feigenholtz passed a different bill. But I don’t have to tell you what it says. You can just go to the text and read all 74 pages by yourself. Remember, if you don’t know a word, you can sound it out.
So you want our endorsement because you want another 20 years of no records for anyone?
Hell no, I don’t want your endorsement. Who are you and who do you represent? I never accept anyone’s endorsement who signs themselves “anonymous.”
I mean, I just want to be clear here.
You are not clear here. I think you didn’t read beyond the first few paragraphs. (Was it too hard?) In Oregon, Alabama, New Hampshire and Maine, all (Don't forget; all = 100 %) adoptees have their full rights to their obcs.
You are against most adoptees getting their rights?
WRONG! I am for all adoptees (Remember: (all = 100%) getting their rights.
I believe the executive chair of Bastard Nation used a tiered system to get her rights. Why did she not stand in solidarity with those that had not been given their rights? Why do you rail against arbitrary discrimination and yet at the same time take advantage of it?
Our exec chair speaks for herself and she can be reached through BN at www.bastards.org I do know that she has single handedly done more to bring our goal to a reality than you and all of your anonymous friends put together.
How are we supposed to take you seriously when you also rail against people fighting for unconditional access?
Who are these people that I am supposedly fighting against? I have never railed against anyone who supports unconditional access. Name some names, anonymous.
Like you did with the folks you belittled for lobbying state legislators for unconditional access?
HUH? What are you talking about? I’ll say it one more time. I have never belittled anyone for supporting UNCONDITIONAL access.
I mean WTF?
Right back at you.
You are against people lobbying for unconditional access, you are against the Green Ribbon campaign, so much so that you want to put discord as a tag-line in your email.
I did not put a ‘DISCORD” against The Green Ribbon campaign. What is a “discord?"
My colleague and I put a DISCLAIMER on our website and on our newsletter so that our organization, IllinoisOpen, www.ilopen.org would not be confused with any other adoptee group with a similar name. We never said anywhere that we were automatically against the Green Ribbon Campaign or what it stands for. All we wanted to do was to make sure that people knew we were two different groups.
The disclaimer was added only after an adoptee wanted to send us money. We have no treasury, we are purely voluntary, and we collect NO dues, donations, or other gifts of any kind. The person in question was confusing us with another organization, associated with Green Ribbon, that was soliciting for funds at that time, Adoption Reform Illinois. We wanted no problems about the possibility of us accepting money that was earmarked for another group.
You want to stop everyone from moving forward so we can admire how you have failed for 20 years?
I used to teach reading. If you were in my class, I would give you an F for comprehension and criticial thinking. I would write across your paper, “Are you sure you read the entire passage? Did you skip over the part about Oregon and Alabama and New Hampshire and Maine
Have you ever considered getting therapy?
Because, you crazy.
I believe the correct way to write that sentence is “you are crazy.” Sorry, another F.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
On July 28, someone called "Anonymous" replied to my blog "Deformers do the Darndest Things." I had so many things to reply that I decided to open up this new blog to discuss the things He/she brought up:
"Everyone (whether labeled a "reformer for a "deformer") agrees that, ideally, access to records for adult adooptees should be unrestricted. What's your solution? What's your strategy? In which state(s) have you made this happen?
The internet abounds with armchair quarterbacks on this topic. Only a handful are actually having an impact -- whether all at once or incrementally. Meanwhile, millions are dying "left behind."
I don't agree with you that deformers believe in access to records for all adult adoptees. If they did, they would work to support every good bill that comes along and they would oppose every bad bill that pops up. They would not change the good bill into something they didn't really believe in, would they?
I am not an armchair quarterback who sits at Starbucks and criticizes the plays. I am an active player in the game and I have made an impact in the arena of equal rights for adoptees. I have been a player for 20 years now.
My solution is nothing new. My solution and my ideals are at the very backbone of the adoption reform movement for at least 30 years. My solution is to get bills passed that will restore to adopted adults their unconditional right to access their original birth certificate, without any strings attached.
My first five years I worked strictly in Illinois where I reside. My first activity was in the summer of 1996. I got together with other Illinois adoptees on the Internet to fight the Uniform Adoption Act (The UAA) which had come to our state.
If you don't remember, the UAA was an abominable piece of legislation that legislators, attorneys, agencies and social work professionals were proposing throughout the country. If the UAA had passed, all of our original birth certificates (obcs) would have been sealed for 99 years!
I guess in those days Illinois lawmakers actually paid attention to us because in the fall of 1996, I received a letter from Representative Patricia Lindner, sponsor of the bill. She wrote that after listening to all of the opposition across the state, she had decided NOT to propose the UAA in Illinois.
So now we were on a roll and several of us decided that we didn't want to stop now - we wanted to continue on working to try to capture the gold - an unconditional open records bill. (that's what we called it in those days.)
We spent hours every Sunday in different libraries around the state, painfully writing our bill. Every word was analyzed and re-analyzed. We sweated over each sentence. We poured over each paragraph. It was our labor of love. When we were finished, we had a beautiful, 3-page pure "open records" bill.
When our two companion bills came back from Legislative Publishing, we were in heaven. HB 343 and its companion bill SB 600 were now official.
As we began to lobby for our bill, we of course began to run into opposition. At a meeting of the Adoption Committee of the Chicago Bar Association an attorney told us we should fix up the Adoption Registry instead. And that must have planted some seeds in people's brains because when the deformers got through with our bill, HB 343 had been turned into The Adoption Registry and Medical Information Exchange, passed into law in 2002. Our original bills had died in committee.
I had my fill of Illinois and so turned my efforts to the national scene. I became a life-time member of Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization. I attended the Chgo convention where the idea for a ballot initiative in Oregon began. After we all went home, about 3 weeks later, Helen Hill (a BN member) was posting to us all her ideas for running a ballot initiative in Oregon.
BN was intimately involved with the campaign for Measure 58. It consumed us for almost 2 years. We all helped out in so many ways and we were ecstatic when it passed overwhelmingly on Nov. 3, 1998. Two years of court battles ensued, but in May, 2000, the law went into effect.
If you have any doubts about Bastard Nation's close involvement with Measure 58, please read Prof. E. Wayne Carp's book, Adoption Politics: Bastard Nation & Ballot Initiative 58. c2004.
Next came Alabama. A member of BN's Executive Committee, Dr. David Ansarti, a resident of Alabama, joined his hands and BN's with the grassroots group AWARE, and by summer of 2000, Alabama passed an unrestricted law.
Then came New Hampshire. Bastard Nation member Janet Allen was elected to the New Hampshire State Legislature. She toiled for almost 3 years and it paid off. In 2005, New Hampshire became another state with open records.
Maine came in 2009. BN was not involved directly with this state, but we do believe that all of the work that we did in the other states surely had an influence on other states then and now.
During this entire 10 year period, BN also worked to keep restrictive bills from passing and we have been pretty darn successful at that too.
You ask what my strategy is. I can send you to our BN website to read our goals - http://www.bastards.org/.
My personal strategy is too long to write here. I'll try to summarize and give you the top two points that would be part of my strategy.
Most important - you absolutely must have a very powerful and influential sponsor. Sometimes it takes a long time to either find one or develop a relationship with the right one. The sponsor needs to be totally committed to passing your bill and totally committed to seeing it all the way through.
Once your find a solid sponsor, you have to develop your core group who are dedicated enough to hang in to the very end. No giving up and no giving in. A core group must be totally in agreement as to the goals of the group. The sponsor and every member of the core group must be in harmony as far as passing only an unconditional bill.
All members must be on the same page as far as what they will do if their bill gets deformed. They must be in agreement that if any restrictions get added and it looks as if they can't get rid of them, then they will pull the bill rather than send on a bill over which they no longer have absolute control. There must be a really firm covenant between sponsor and core group.
With the above two strategies, you won't get a deformer bill in your state.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Historically, there are many groups who oppose our objectives of unconditional access to original birth certificates: Right to Life organizations, church groups, adoptive parents associations, attorneys, bar associations, the ACLU, adoption agencies, the NCFA and other lobbying groups, and many state legislators. Even the courts are not on our side. The judges almost never rule in favor of issuing an original birth certificate to an adoptee unless it is a case of imminent life or death.
Considering all these big and powerful groups pointing their guns at us, we "old-timers" can pat ourselves on the back.
Facing so much opposition wherever we turn, we used to be able to always depend upon two special groups to always work with us - birth mothers and adoptees themselves. We "old timer" adoptees are still around and we are still fighting for equal rights for every adoptee. Our goal - we will not leave one adoptee behind.
But a new group of adoptees has come onto the scene. They are impatient with what they call our slow progress. They are eager to get a bill passed. They will trade away the civil rights of many adoptees in order to pass a conditional bill which is centered on adoptee searches and reunions. In fact, this is how Registries and Confidential Intermediaries were born. These programs were offered up by the states as alternatives to bills that sought to unseal original birth certificates and some adoptees jumped right onto the search and reunion bandwagon.
These new groups of adoptees started out in the back rooms of politician's offices. They were on the spot when a bill was in trouble. They would come forward to offer alternatives and compromises in an effort to keep a bill alive. They told everyone that it was wise to take baby steps first because in the long run they would reach the goal sooner. We tried to tell them that a civil right is not a civil right at all unless it covers 100% of the people. But their battle cry is "Something is better than nothing."
They think they are adoption reformers. They are not!
They are ADOPTION DEFORMERS and it is most discouraging to see them moving into the center ring. No longer do they wait for a good bill to be proposed and then wait in the wings to see how it is faring. Now-a-days, deformers are actually authoring bills which contain all sorts of conditional access alternatives: disclosure vetoes, contact vetoes, white-outs, contact preference forms, black-outs, tier systems. registries, sandwich bills, intermediary systems, and all sorts of mixed-up combinations, all of which, in one way or another, pit birth mother against adoptee and all of which deprive some adoptees of getting their original birth certificate.
The new Illinois deformer law has a provision for the left-out adoptees, the ones against whom birth mothers file a denial form which prohibits the state from issuing them an original birth certificate. They get to come back in five years and try again. If their birth mothers still want their denial form enforced then these adoptees must wait yet another 5 years. Altogether, these adoptees may have to wait 10 years to try and get an original birth certificate.
"Today, we're opening a new chapter in adoption history in Illinois where we can finally say that all families are created equal."
[Representative Sara Feigenholtz, The Illinois Observer, May 21, 2010. "Representative Sara Feigenholtz to Grant Illinois Adoptees Original Birth Certificates Gets Governor Pat Quinn's Approval."]
Deformers pretend to be concerned about restoring a statutory right to all adopted men and women but if they can make a fast "deal" - they'll trade in poor old grandma.
One huge shock recently is that the 38-year-old American Adoption Congress ( AAC) has gone "deformer." Their shameful mission statement on adoptee rights legislation reads:
"American Adoption Congress supports state-by-state legislative efforts to obtain access for adult adoptees to their original birth certificates. AAC prefers unrestricted access to this document for all adult adoptees but will accept compromise legislation if, in the opinion of AAC and local supporters, such a compromise is necessary to obtain the greatest access for the greatest number of adopted persons."
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
What do you to have to say about the insult that was sent out in an Email post dated April 26th under your official Email address - the letter that referred to us as "ungrateful bastards."
HB 5428 says adoptees whose birth parents signed denial forms may come back and try again in 5 years. What will you say to the adoptee who comes back 5 years later and tells you that his or her birth mother died two years ago?
What will you tell the adoptee who was born on January 2, 1946? Why can't he or she get a birth certificate just like the adoptees born on January 1, 1946? How are they different?
You say that somday you will revisit the situation of the adoptees whose birth parents filed a Denial Veto against them. Do you have evidence that any other deformer law has ever been revisited by the deformers and changed to encompass all adoptees in the state?
STATE OF ILLINOIS
Homeless children need your help. Adopted adults do not. What makes you think they do?
Why are you in the adoption search and reunion business?
Why can the State ever uphold an implied agreement between two parties when the agreement violates a third party's civil rights?
Why are you hiding underneath the skirts of birth mothers? Why do you use them as an excuse to keep the records sealed?
Where are you all? Why don't you speak out about your own civil and human rights that are being held hostage by the State? Don't you care what happens to the adoptees in your state?
Friday, May 07, 2010
*I am angry at a state that continues to dictate who can and cannot get their birth certificate.
*I am angry at a state that creates a new law that gives birth parents the right to veto adoptees' requests for their original birth certificate.
*I am angry at a state that treats adoptees differently in the law because of the circumstances surrounding our births. If not for being born out of wedlock, we would have our birth certificates.
My granddaughters often say to one another: "You're not the boss of me." This is how I see my relationship with the state.
HB 5428 is a bill that I hate and so do many other adoptees; yet it is loved by thousands more. I ask myself, "What separates us?
I'm a purist. I believe that the state should restore to all adopted adults their right to access their original birth certificate at the same time and in the same way = the way that non-adopted citizens get their birth certificate and not in the ways outlined in HB 5428.
So long as the state has control over even one adopted adult, the state is in essence still controlling all of us. It is way past time for the state to get itself totally out of our lives. When we reach the age of maturity, just give us our birth certificate and our adoption documents and kick us out of the system. Do that and you will be giving us the biggest gift of all - the chance to be just anonymous citizens of Illinois.
The irony here is that there never were any promises or contracts or agreements concerning anonymity made between the state and birth parents. It is a big lie. But for a lot of reasons, too complicated to go into here, the state needed reasons for keeping our records sealed. So the state began telling this lie every time adoptees raised a voice in protest.
"OH NO," says the state. "We promised birth parents that we would keep their identities secret from their offspring and we must uphold this promise." Tell it enough times and people start to believe you.
I always thought that when birth parents relinquished their children to adoption, it was irrevocable. It was a "forever" act on their part. After 30 days, the adopted child is legally the child of his/her adoptive parents - forever.
FINAL AND IRREVOCABLE CONSENT TO ADOPTION
I, .....(relationship, eg., mother, father, relative, guardian) of ....., a ...male child, state:
That such child was born on ..... at .....
That I reside at ....., County of ..... and State of .....
That I am of the age of ..... years.
That I do hereby enter my appearance in this proceeding and waive service of summons on me.
That I do hereby consent and agree to the adoption of such child.
That I wish to and understand that by signing this consent I do irrevocably and permanently give up all custody and other parental rights I have to such child.
That I understand such child will be placed for adoption and that I cannot under any circumstances, after signing this document, change my mind and revoke or cancel this consent or obtain or recover custody or any other rights over such child. That I have read and understand the above and I am signing it as my free and voluntary act.
Dated........ [750 ILCS 50/10]
HB 5428 has set a new precedent by changing the rights of birth mothers.
I wonder ----- How much litigation will stem from HB 5428?
I wonder ----- Is it really legal for a state to honor or uphold a promise made between private citizens when this promise stomps on a third person's constitutional, civil, and human rights?
I wonder ----- Now that the state has created a new law for birth parents, what other new laws may follow? I've got a really great idea for a new law.
Why not write a bill in which all non-adopted citizens must have parental permission to get their birth certificates. How would that go over with the general public? Do you see how absurd this whole situation is? Why should any adult need permission from a parent before accessing a birth certificate? It's stupid! But it is exactly what is going to happen after 5428 becomes a law.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
I was horrified to read the ugly reply to Lori Jeske's email post to you on April 26, 2010. How in the world can you, an elected public official, condone such an outrage as this post? Didn't they teach you anything in politician school?
From Lori to Representative Feigenholtz:
The bill and your efforts to pass this bill are inhuman. This bill will prove to a huge population of citizens that Democrats should no longer govern the State of Illinois. It is with deep regret, as a Democrat, to see this bill and your inability to stand up for ALL citizens in the State of Illinois.
Lori Jeske, Spokane, WA
We will never know for certain if you, in a temper fit, fired off the nasty reply below, or if it was someone in your office who is authorized by you to answer your mail. Either way, Representative Feigenholtz, you are ultimately responsible for what is sent out from your state contact Email address.
To: Lori Jeske
Sent: Monday, April 26, 2010 10:00 PM
Subject: Re: HB 5428
Thank you so much for your kind remarks about HB 5428.
We will pay for your travel expenses if you will come here and start working on a new bill that completes the effort so that all adoptees get their obc. Are you ready to move to Illinois and sacrifice your life to work for adoption reform for the next fifteen years in the frigid winter tundra of Illinois?
Would you consider giving Representative Feigenholtz the key to your (delusional) Eutopian worldwhere all ungrateful bastards think it's easy to pass a bill that makes everyhone happy AND CAN ACTUALLY PASS? Pass a law? what a concept!!
Many Illinois born 65+ year old adoptees will get their birth certificates BEFORE THEY DIE -- very soon.
We wil tell them that you would prefer to throw good under the bus while waiting for perfect and that you think they should wait a little longer. Good luck in Washington State with your efforts. We can hear the unsealing now........
[reprinted with permission of Lori Jeske]
Didn't you know how much opposition there was to HB 5428? It's true that Illinois adoptees had very little chance to write to you before this because frankly, Sara, you kept this bill a secret from us just as long as you could. So perhaps you've been insulated from our opposition to HB 5428. Nevertheless, I would have expected a seasoned public servant such as yourself to be able to control your temper (or that of a staff member) when answering the mail, even from your opponents.
We in Bastard Nation call ourselves Bastards - with a capital B. We reclaimed the name of Bastard which had been placed on us by those who would attempt to shame us for our parents' marital status at the time of our births. We use this name because we see nothing shameful in being adopted nor in having been born out of wedlock. We use it to take the sting out of the shameful name-calling of yesteryear.
What unbelievable irony it is that you, an adoptee yourself, or one of your co-workers, would hurl the term bastard at us in the "old-fashioned" way.
And then, you coupled it with a very special adjective resented by so many adoptees over the years - "ungrateful." This incredible insult, "ungrateful bastard," is the last straw! This time you or someone who works directly for you has sunk to an all time low. We won't forget. And neither should you.
BTW, I have lived in the frigid white tundra of Illinois all my life. I work well in the cold weather so I guess I have good qualifications. Believe me. One phone call or one Email back in icy January or snowy February and my colleagues and I would have been elated to work with you and your staff to pass a bill that would help all adoptees attain equal rights. It would have been a labor of love.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
PLEASE FORWARD FREELY
Illinois HB 5428, the bill that is supposed to help adoptees get their obcs, but doesn’t - is on the move again. It was rushed through the House and passed on the House floor by a vote of 74 – 67. Now it’s going quickly through the Senate. It must be stopped right now in the Judiciary Committee.
The Illinois Judiciary Committee has scheduled a public hearing for HB 5428. It will be held on Tuesday, April 13, at 2:30 pm in Capitol 400, Springfield, IL. We hope that some of you will be able to attend and speak to the committee. This will be our opportunity to speak out and talk directly to these senators.
If public speaking isn’t your thing, then please consider coming anyways because we really need to have the committee members look out into the audience and see a lot of people who object to this bill. Your very presence in that room is extremely important!
We are also asking everyone to write and/or call the committee members before the hearing on the 13th. (Contact Information below)
The only way for Illinois to be a truly open state some day is to stop conditional legislation such as HB 5428 from getting a foot in the door now. We want a state where every single adoptee is free to request his obc, with no restrictions or alterations. We want a state where adoptees will be equal among themselves as well as with all other non-adopted citizens.
We need an unconditional bill to accomplish this goal. HB 5428 won’t help. It is a conditional bill (see specifics below) which will keep some adoptees locked out of the system for good.
The legislators will not revisit adoptee problems any time soon if they can get HB 5428 in the law now. History has proven this to be true.
The legislators do not care about the percentage of adoptees whose birth mothers will file a disclosure veto and keep them from getting a birth certificate. If the law makers really cared, they would change this bill right now so that 100% of Illinois adoptees could get their obcs. The legislators have absolutely no incentive to come back again another year – and they won’t.
Here is the law from Oregon. It is simple, to the point, and does the job. This is the kind of law we want but we will NEVER get it if HB 5428 passes.
“Upon receipt of a written application to the Illinois Dept. of Public Health, any adopted person 21 years of age and older born in the State of Illinois shall be issued a certified copy of his/her unaltered, original and unamended certificate of birth in the custody of the Dept. of Public Health, with procedures, filing fees, and waiting periods identical to those imposed upon non-adopted citizens of the State of Illinois.”
The State of Illinois must no longer be allowed to honor an archaic sealed records law enacted in 1946 that took away from 100% of the adoptees their right to access their original birth certificate without restrictions or falsifications. Now, in 2010, we want the State of Illinois to restore that right to 100% of the adoptees in the state. We want all adoptees to be equal to all other adoptees and to all of the non-adopted citizens when it comes to accessing their birth certificate.
WHAT ARE SOME SPECIFIC OBJECTIONS TO HB 5428?
1. HB 5428 would give birth parents a right to stop an obc (original birth certificate) from being issued to their adoptee. Any birth parent would have an entire year to file a Denial Form. The bill details several ways in which the state will advertise the new bill to try to reach as many birth mothers as possible and let them know about their new option to file a denial form. And remember, these are the very same birth mothers who irrevocably relinquished all legal rights to their children decades ago.
2. The state will allow birth parents to legally veto an obc. Therefore, it follows that the state is actually transferring to birth parents a part of its statutory authority to issue official birth certificates. Birth parents have no legal standing in the law and must not be given any such standing.
3. This bill would permit the state to white-out historical birth information from either a copy or an original document that the state officially issues – both unacceptable.
4. The bill would divide adoptees into two arbitrary categories: those born before January 1, 1946, and those born after. The adoptees born before this date would be allowed to get their obcs without any restrictions or falsifications. Those born after Jan. 1, 1946 will comprise the pool of all adoptees who will be eligible for a birth parent veto.
5. This bill will cost the state a lot of money and the state is nearly broke; it’s laying off teachers and closing public schools right now.
6. HB 5428 is a search and reunion bill – not an adoptee civil and human rights bill. If adoptees want help from the state in search and reunion matters – then let the social workers and the searchers write a separate bill. Search and reunion issues do not belong in a bill to own one’s birth certificate.
7. HB 5428 is a birth mother- rights bill – not an adoptee civil and human rights bill. Birth parents have no standing in the law and should not be given standing in an adoptee bill. If birth mothers want the state to protect their anonymity, then let them write their own bill.
The archaic 1946 law should be repealed. In its place a new and simple law can then be enacted, one similar to the states of Oregon, Alabama, New Hampshire, and Maine. Kansas and Alaska never sealed their records and adopted adults in those states have always been able to freely access their birth certificate. Unsealing obcs for all adoptees can be done very easily. Just ask anyone from these 6 states. They have been no litigation, no birth parent uprisings, no citizens coming back to the legislature demanding that the law be changed, and no social upheaval, as some had predicted.
You can read the full text at: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&SessionId=76&GA=96&DocTypeId=HB&DocNum=5428&GAID=10&LegID=50466&SpecSess=&Session=
Status of the bill : http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=5428&GAID=10&DocTypeID=HB&LegId=50466&SessionID=76&GA=96
Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization
Questions? Please write to anita5000@comcast. net or firstname.lastname@example.org
We are very much aware that some of these email addresses may not be correct. It is extremely difficult to get any senate email addresses. They “don’t want them to be given out.” So please do the best you can and try and get through to as many as possible.
A short phone call to the senator’s office is an excellent alternative. FAX’s are good too.
ILLINOIS SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE
Phone 217-782-8148 FAX (630)-969-1007
RANDALL M. HULTGREN
Phone 217-782-8022 FAX (217)-782-9586
Phone 217-782-4471 FAX (847) 776-1494
DALE A. RIGHTER
217 – 782-6674 FAX (217)-235-6052
template on personal page
WILLIAM R. HAINE
217-782-5247 FAX (217) 782-5340
217-782-8181 FAX (847-735-8184)
217-782-7746 FAX (217) 782-2115
217-782-5338 FAX (773) 681-7166
IRA SILVERSTEIN Co-Sponsor of bill
217-782-5500 FAX (217-782-5340)
217-782-8176 FAX ( 708) 848-2022
A.J.WILHELMI Chief Sponsor of the bill
217-782-8800 FAX (815) 207-4446
campaign page template or
Representative Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chgo) is the main sponsor of the bill in the House of Representatives.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW – IN ILLINOIS
Illinois HB 5428 is a 72 page bill that purports to give adopted adults access to their original birth certificate. This bill deals with a very controversial law that has been debated back and forth for over 40 years:
Should the State of Illinois continue to honor a sealed records law enacted in 1946 that took away from adoptees their right to access their original birth certificate without restrictions and falsifications?
The sponsor of HB 5428 is of course Representative Sara Feigenholtz (Dem-Chgo).The thrust of the bill is to give obcs to some adoptees, some of the time. But this bill contains a birth parent denial form masquerading as a Contact Preference Form. It has a section on when identifying information can be redacted. It splits adoptees into two distinct groups: those born before Jan. 1 and those born after this date and each group is treated differently.
Representative Feigenholtz knows that there is a very strong and out-spoken contingency in Illinois as well as around the United States that believes ALL adopted adults must have equal access to their obcs.. IllinoisOpen Org. and Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization are two such groups. They do not accept compromises, restrictions, or falsifications. So the problem for Representative Feigenholtz became – how to keep this bill out of those brash adoptees’ hands until it’s too late for them to act.
Representative Feigenholtz and her cronies began by building up an invisible wall of silence and secrecy around her and the bill.
Tracking the bill was made harder by giving the bill a "generic" name; a name that wouldn't call attention to itself as being about adoptee rights or birth certificates. HB 5428 is titled "Adoption Registry - Info - No Sunset."
There were no press conferences called, no press releases sent out, and no newspaper articles written about this bill. Silence was maintained on the Internet too. Nothing on FaceBook or MySpace and no twitters or blogs.
But the most surprising thing of all –there is nothing at all on Sara’s official website at http://www.staterepsara.com/index.php?pageId=4 She writes about lots of her legislation, but not one word about a bill called HB 5428.
Representative Feigenholtz did not play on an even field. She kept all info about the bill on her side while the public didn’t even get into the ball park. There were no opportunities for the public to read about the bill and conversely, no opportunities for the legislators to hear any feedback from Illinois adoptees.
What really makes me the angriest is that there were no public hearings called by the Adoption Reform Committee. Oops, did I forget to tell you who is the Chairperson of this committee? Why it’s Representative Sara Feigenholtz, of course.
Normally a public committee hearing is scheduled by the sponsor so that both supporters and opponents can come to Springfield to testify before the Committee. Both oral and written testimony is accepted. When a lot of people show up from one side or the other, it often has a lot of influence with the committee. New amendments are deleted or added, wording is changed, and alterations are often made to whole sections of the bill following the public hearing . Legislation is not supposed to be discussed only in the smoke filled back rooms that Cook County is so famous for.
The silence worked for Representative Feigenholtz. At the end of the day, HB 5428 passed on the floor of the House by a vote of 74 Yes to 39 NO. The bill is now in the Senate awaiting a committee assignment.
Usually, Representative Feigenholtz would call a press conference to announce and celebrate her victory. After all, this is the first time an adoptee rights bill has actually passed in the full House. Lesson Number One in politics: Keep controversial bills far away from the media.
Since we uncovered the news of this bill, we have been blogging, twittering, calling, writing and faxing our legislators and media all around the state. It is imperative for us to inform the public about the bill’s very existence and of course, express our opposition to it.
And finally our efforts have begun to bear fruit. Last week, Mary Lynn Fuller, Co-Founder of IllinoisOpen Org, had her Letter to the Editor published in both the Champaign News Gazette and The Paxton Record. Yesterday (Monday) Triona Guidrey had one letter in the Chicago Sun Times and one in the Chicago Daily Herald. At last! The bill is beginning to take on an identity to go with its number.
Talking and writing about a bill validates its existence Now that we have been instrumental in getting this bill some publicity, it’s no longer just a number– it’s a real adoptee bill, it’s actually written down, it’s terrible, and it’s really very important to oppose it.
So everyone – keep on writing! Continue to break Representative Feigenholtz’ sound barrier!
WHY HB 5428 IS NOT A GOOD BILL AND SHOULD NOT PASS
1. HB 5428 would give birth parents a right to stop an obc (original birth certificate) from being issued to their adoptees. . Birth mothers would have an entire year to file a Denial Form. Remember, these are the very same birth mothers who irrevocably relinquished all legal rights to their children decades ago.
2. The state would be transferring a part of its statutory authority to issue birth certificates to Illinois citizens by allowing birth parents to have a legal role in who does and who does not get an obc.
3. HB 5428 has provisions in it where the state can actually redact all identifying information from some adoptees' original birth documents. The bill would permit the state to white-out historical birth information from either a copy or an original document that the state officially issues – both unacceptable.
4. The bill would divide adoptees into two categories: those born before January 1, 1946, and those born after. The adoptees born before this date would be allowed to get their obcs without any restrictions or falsifications. Those born after Jan. 1, 1946 are the ones whowill be eligible for a birth parent veto.
5. This bill would have to have a fiscal note. Illinois is laying off teachers because it can't pay them. It's outrageous to think of the state spending even one dollar of taxpayer's money on a year-long campaign to tell birth mothers of their new "right" to file Denial Forms. This unique campaign is spelled out in the text of the bill.
Friday, April 02, 2010
There is a very bad adoptee rights bill going through the Illinois General Assembly. HB 5428 has already passed the House of Representatives and is in the Senate Assignments Committee now, awaiting a referral to a regular committee.
1.HB 5428 would give birth parents a right to stop an obc (original birth certificate) from being issued to their adoptee. Any birth parent would have an entire year to file a Denial Form. Remember, these are the very same birth mothers who irrevocably relinquished all legal rights to their children decades ago.
2. HB 5428 has provisions in it where the state can actually redact all identifying information from some adoptees' original birth documents.
3. The bill would divide adoptees into two categories: those born before January 1, 1946, and those born after. The adoptees born before this date would be allowed to get their obcs without any restrictions or falsifications. Those born after Jan. 1, 1946 will comprise the pool of all adoptees who will be eligible for a birth parent veto.
4. This bill would have to have a fiscal note. Illinois is laying off teachers because it can't pay them. It's outrageous to think of the state spending even one dollar of taxpayer's money on a year-long campaign to tell birth mothers of their new "right" to file denial forms. This campaign is spelled out in the text of the bill.
5. HB 5428 would also need new monies in order to print all of new forms that the bill calls for. Money will also be needed to hire people to manage the several layers of new red tape that is written into this bill.
We must stop this bill in its tracks. HB 5428 has already passed in the House, which means it's half-way home. The bill's sponsor, Representative Sara Feigenholtz (Dem-Chgo) put this bill on a fast track in order to keep the bill hidden from the public.It was kept so quiet that it did not even have a public hearing to accept oral and written testimony from the citizens of the state. Not one word about the bill was ever written about or talked about in the IL media. I guess that's what the reps do with a contentious bill.
Tracking the bill was made difficult by giving the bill a "generic" name; a name that wouldn't call attention to itself as being about adoptee rights or birth certificates. HB 5428 is titled "Adoption Registry - Info - No Sunset."
Ironically, I read about the bill on March 18 or 19th, a day AFTER the bill passed on the House floor. I opened one of my Google Alerts and what do I see but a link to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Newspaper - yep, that's St. Louis, MISSOURI. I understand that some folks in southern Illinois read this newspaper. But it sure is odd that this is the one and only place the bill has received any publicity. If this were such a wonderful bill, I would expect Representative Feigenholtz to have called a press conference to announce that her bill had been approved by the House of Representatives.
The best thing that could happen to this bill would be for it to be pulled. Since I don't envision Representative Feigenholtz doing anything of the sort, the next best thing could happen in the Assignments Committee. This committee could chose not to release this bill, and the result would be a dead bill in June.
If the bill does get a referral to a Senate Committee, then this will be the next place to kill the bill. We'll keep you informed.
Please write a short letter to the members of the Assignments Committee, asking them to keep this bill out a Senate Committee until the legislative session is over. You can also write to the sponsors of the bill in the Senate. Ask them to please revisit and reconsider the ramifications of HB 5428. Ask them to change the bill so it becomes a true adoptee rights bill.
ASSIGNMENTS COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Senator James F. Clayborne, Jr. email@example.com,
Senator Don Harmon firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Louis Viverito, email@example.com
Senator Kirk Dillard firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Dale Righter email@example.com
SENATE SPONSORS OF HB 5428
Senator A. J. Wilhelm firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Ira Silverstein email@example.com
Senator Iris Martinez firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, March 21, 2010
BASTARD NATION: THE ADOPTEE RIGHTS ORGANIZATION
March 22, 2010
For Immediate Release
Anita Walker Field, 1-847-677-0594
Marley Greiner, 1-614-571-2999
Mary Lynn Fuller, 1-217-722-4814
ADOPTEE RIGHTS SQUASHED AGAIN IN NEW ILLINOIS BILL – HB 5428.
On March 19, 2010, The Illinois House of Representatives passed a bill that purports to give all adopted adults access to their original birth certificates. On March 23, 2010, HB 5428 GOES TO THE SENATE, awaiting committee assignment.
Under HB 5428, birth mothers will be allowed to file affidavits of denial – meaning that a birth mother can veto an adoptee’s right to access his or her original birth certificate.
THIS IS A DANGEROUS STEP TO TAKE. IT CREATES AND CODIFIES A NEW RIGHT THAT HAS NEVER BEFORE BEEN IN OUR ADOPTION ACT.
2. Allows the state to delete a variety of identifying information from official documents, depending upon a birth mother’s response.
HB 5428 needs to be amended in the Senate so that it would restore to ALL adoptees access to their original birth certificates, without any restrictions, such as prior parental approval. If that cannot happen, then HB 5428 must be pulled or left to die in committee.
Text of Bill: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=09600HB5428lv&SessionID=76&GA=96&DocTypeID=HB&DocNum=5428&print=true
Monday, February 15, 2010
SOUTH DAKOTA –SB 152 – Unconditional Access to OBC's - Vote Yes
SB 152, a 100% unconditional open records bill, will be voted upon on the floor of the South Dakota Senate on TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2010.
Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization, urges everyone to write to the Senators of South Dakota immediately and ask them to vote YES on SB 152, which will give all adoptees equal rights. SB 152 will allow any adoptee 18 years or older to obtain a copy of that person’s original birth certificate upon written application, with no conditions or restrictions.
SB 152 is sponsored by Senators Adelstein, Jerstad, and Merchant and Representatives Lederman, Feinstein, Lust, McLaughlin, and Sly.
The bill was heard first by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The only change made in committee was omitting a contact preference form in the bill. It was felt that this form was not necessary to the bill. The Senate committee passed the bill with a vote of 4 to 2.
Help make 2010 the year South Dakota goes over the top! Please bombard the senators with your letters of rousing support!. You can read the bill at:
South Dakota has made it very easy for everyone to write.
Go here to get started: Start out with first Senator on the list. Put SB 152 in your email subject line. Write your letter or attach it, click Send, and then in the Drop Down Box, choose next Senator in line and click Send, etc... It’s like an easy cut-&-paste arrangement. All you need is one letter.
PLEASE FORWARD FREELY.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Illinois has gone and done it. They enacted a new amendment to their Infant Abandonment Protection Act on January 1, 2010. Illinois changed its law so that infants 30 days or less can be anonymously dropped off at a state designated safe haven. The previous law allowed infants up to 7 days old to be dumped.
Ten years ago, the safe haven provisions were mandated for infants 72 hours old or less. Today there are 23 states, including Illinois, which have safe haven laws to "protect" babies up to 30 days of age. And listen to this. Some states go higher: Indiana 45 days; Kansas 45 days; New Mexico 90 days; North Dakota 365 days - yes, a whole year; South Dakota 60 days; and Texas 60 days.
Pardon me for being cynical, but I think that this latest round-up of older babies is to bolster the inventories of adoption agencies and attorneys. Prospective adoptive parents with big bank accounts are waiting in long lines for infants.
First of all, I do not support any Safe Haven law because I do not believe that the state should sanction the abandonment of children. That said, I am very angry that instead of trying different methods of protecting both mother and child, the state decided to expand its program by upping the age limit to 30 days.
It is my opinion that mothers of babies 2 or 3 or 4 weeks old should not be allowed to use the safe haven act - ever.
Dumping a baby anonymously and getting away with it all started in Texas with what we now call the Baby Moses Law. Their law said that infants up to 3 days old could be abandoned legally to a safe haven, where the mother need not identify herself at all; she could just leave the infant and disappear into the ether.
These original infant protection bills were enacted to prevent mothers from leaving their newborns in smelly garbage Dumpsters and on cold bathroom floors. Women who throw away their newborn babies are extremely mentally disturbed. They are so paralyzed by the crisis that their minds abandon all logic. Their capacity to reason has been so severely diminished that saving the life of the newborn is not uppermost in their minds. They don't care about criminal penalties. What they want is something - anything - to "make it go away."
In literature there is a writing technique called "Deus ex machina." In some ancient Greek drama, an apparently insolvable crisis was solved by the intervention of a god, often brought on stage by an elaborate piece of equipment. Today the term is still used for cases where an author uses some improbable plot device to work his or her way out of a difficult situation and make everything come out alright.
In the beginning, well intentioned but short sighted community members and good hearted but vulnerable legislators came together and came up with a deus ex machina ending for the problem of young women murdering their newborns. They put together a stupid plan that was supposed to save the infant. At the same time, however, the plan throws away the mother. Under all safe haven laws, the mother is quite dispensable; it's okay to discard her.
Illinois' new amendment gives a new mother an extra gift of time - 30 days. "To Keep or Not To Keep" - that is her question. Remember, children who are legally abandoned under the safe haven laws have their genetic, medical, and ethnic histories stolen from them at the front door of the safe haven.
What are social service agencies and adoption agencies and child welfare agencies for if not to help the confused or overwhelmed mother with a 2 or 3 or 4 week old baby? What about faith based organization or your pastor? Maybe the mother will benefit from parenting classes or a mother's helper. For some, counseling sessions may be the answer. Or possibly the baby may need to be placed into foster care temporarily. And of course, there is always adoption. These mothers already have many different options for help and a safe haven drop should never be one of them. These mothers should not be allowed to legally abandon a baby!
The Safe Haven motto throughout the United States has become " ...if it only saves one baby," probably one of the most successful and oft-repeated sound bytes ever heard in the adoption world. That motto created gale force winds which blew up tidal waves of infant protection laws. It drowned our nation in illogical and shameful safe haven acts. But hey, who doesn't want to save a baby?
Every time I pass through the portals of my local hospital, I see this Illinois Safe Haven sign posted at the entrance and I think, "That's one more mother we didn't save."
Saturday, January 02, 2010
Ode to Illinois
30 days hath the mothers
To dump your sisters or your brothers.
Most of the states have only seven
But not here in Baby Dump heaven!
It’s 30 all the time here. No line.