Monday, May 29, 2006



I’m sitting here on pins and needles, waiting for the phone to ring. Our son and daughter in law are expecting a baby boy and if he doesn’t show himself today, then they will induce labor early tomorrow morning. So he’s on his way!

Interspersed with my elated state are the feelings I am having while reading a new book called “The Girls Who Went Away” by Ann Fessler. It’s a really good book so far and when I finish it, I’ll write a proper review.

In the meantime, I can’t help but compare the happiness of having a baby now with how our mothers felt back then. What should have been a joyous occasion was turned into a shameful, disgraceful and gut wrenching experience for both mother and child.

One paragraph from Rickie Solinger’s book, WAKE UP LITTLE SUZIE, c1992, p.151, is imprinted on my brain forever. It’s so close to home for me. It was taken from a report by the Child Welfare League, 1939.

“The Doctor is sometimes less worried about the survival of the unmarried patient’s baby. Contrast the feeling of relief throughout the hospital when an illegitimate child is stillborn with the sorrow manifested when a much desired baby is lost. As [the social worker] points out, ‘Our culture is actually hostile to the illegitimate child whom it sees ... as a burden and as a menace to the monogamous family.’”

This kind of says it all when talking about not being wanted - BY SOCIETY!

Now I move on to a most joyful event that is also burned in my memory forever - the birth of our first grandchild in 2000. We got to the hospital about 6 hours after she was born.There was our precious granddaughter Ella, lying on her mommy’s chest, nearly burrowing herself back into her mommy’s womb. Seeing that moment was an epiphany for me. Infants, NEW BORN ones, already know their mothers. It cannot be otherwise.

Yes, I understand the past. I know that in most of the last century, unwed mothers didn’t have any support from family, friends, or strangers. They didn’t have a chance! No one was on their side and so they did what they were told to do. Give away their baby. They were forced into the prevailing theory that only by giving away their baby could they have salvation. Giving away their infant was a ticket back into society.

With our adoption history that is riddled with cruelty and sadness, you would think that people today might want to make up for a past society’s wrongs. You would think that issuing birth certificates to adopted adults would be looked upon as a kindly thing to do - sort of a way to “pay back something” for the actions of another generation. Maybe a way for society to say, "Hey, we're sorry about what happened to the mothers and their children. We'd like to give them a chance to at least get to know each other now." As New Hampshire State Senator Lou D’Allesandro, himself an adoptive parent said, “It’s the right thing to do.”

But society today still believes they are right about unwed mothers. They *know* without a doubt that God’s law was broken, and they also *know* that mothers and infants must suffer for their sins. And they still believe it in the year 2006.

Isn’t this a tragedy?

Sunday, May 21, 2006



Pull up a chair, fill your coffee cup or grab a beer, and sit awhile. Grannie Annie will tell you the story of how birth mothers have metamorphosed. (yep, it’s a real word – I looked it up in my dictionary.)

For at least 30 years now birthmothers could be found at the very bottom of the adoption food chain. No one gave two hoots for birth mothers. Why, that word wasn’t even in our vocabularies yet. Just sign on the dotted line and hand over the baby.


Revisionist history made it possible for birth mothers, unbeknownst to themselves, to be swept up to the very top. According to the revisionists today, birth mothers of yore have rights of confidentiality that the state must uphold forever. Birth mothers, according to the people who would re-write the past, were promised eternal privacy from the children they relinquished and put up for adoption.

I don’t recall any recent birth mother marches, or birth mother petitions, or birth mother articles or birth mother gatherings or birth mother conferences where birth mothers have demanded a right to privacy from their own children. They’ve always been a pretty quiet bunch of women, I thought. When they do speak out, it’s to tell us that what they want most is to be able to find out if their children are okay and many of them hope to be able to meet their children some day.

Changing birth mothers from caterpillars to butterflies was a magnificent choice. A fragile butterfly is vulnerable, fragile -it needs protection. And it became the perfect LIE to hide behind.


Adoption is BIG BUSINESS. I just meandered over to the website of one of the oldest not for profit adoption agencies in the United States, The Cradle of Evanston, IL. The fee for a domestic adoption is $25,500. For an international adoption, the fee ranges from $14,500 to $37,500. And The Cradle says it is a not for profit organization. I can only imagine what private attorneys charge.

Imagine this scene if you can. Adoptive parents are getting someone else’s baby, a practice that is almost unheard of in many other cultures around the world. An unwed mother is GIVING you her most precious possession in this universe - her baby - for keeps! Money will be changing hands but it won’t go through hers. You get to raise that baby as if he or she were your very own biological child. And it gets even better. The birth mother disappears. WOW.

How much easier it is for an adoption agency or an adoption attorney to broker an adoption if they can assure the prospective adoptive parents that this baby is all theirs, to have and to hold - FOREVER. So long as the states will keep adoption records sealed, the adoptive parents will feel comfortable and the adoption agencies will feel rich.

Sealed records = lots of adoptions = lots of money = emotional security for adoptive parents


Since World War II, original birth records were sealed all over the United States. Well meaning professionals believed that adopted children would benefit by being shielded from the shame of being born on the wrong side of the blanket. It didn’t always work that way. Lots of adopted kids were still looked at as being tainted with sin.

When I was in 7th grade, a teacher called me a guttersnipe. "You’re all alike" she hollered to me in front of the whole class.

But I digress.

Once you shield an industry from public scrutiny, you unfortunately invite all sorts of "irregularities" to occur. You don’t have to look any farther than Guantanamo Bay to see how it works.

Agencies and adoption facilitators, in their zeal to move all the illegitimate babies into financially sound adoptive homes as fast as they could, began doing business in the shade. You know, those gray areas of adoption practice. These baby sellers began to do whatever they needed to do and to charge as much as they possibly could to move babies. They were greedy. So what if they lied! Everyone involved knew that the adoption documents were never going to see the light of day!

With a wink, wink here and a wink wink there, judges were signing and sealing adoption decrees like crazy during the 30+ years following World War II. Laws were bent, laws were broken, and laws were ignored. No questions asked.

Then, in the 1970’s, along came the first adoptee rights movement headed by courageous people such as Jean Paton and Florence Fisher. These people actually dared to break the silence and the secrecy of the adoption industry. These people had the AUDACITY to ask for their original birth certificates.

"Oh no no no. This will never do", said the agencies. "We can’t afford to have our adoption practices scrutinized in any way. Give one adoptee his birth certificate and pretty soon they’ll all want them." So the adoption agencies and the attorneys and the facilitators got together and formed official sounding associations such as the National Council for Adoption (NCFA). who in turn hired lawyers and lobbyists to maintain the status quo – at any cost. .

And that’s how the birthmother privacy protection plan got started. The NCFA and their lobbyists told a lie. Tell the lie often enough and to the right persons and before you know it, that lie becomes the truth. Everyone knows that If you give original birth certificates to adopted men and women, they will ruthlessly track down their birth mothers and make those womens’ lives miserable. Birth mothers were promised privacy. Now they are going to suffer extreme pain and suffering, Their entire lives will go up in flames - even the suicide rate will rise.

Sealed adoption records = lots of adoptions = lots of money = emotional security for adoptive parents = cover ups

Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization knows better. They do know the facts and they will tell. They will shout the facts to the rooftops until the antiquated sealed records laws are repealed. Please join us.

Thursday, May 11, 2006



I wish to pay tribute to 3 WONDERFUL mothers:

My birthmother, Margaret M. Walker, who bore me and whom I have never found.
My adoptive mother, Tillie Abramson, who passed away in 1962.
My mother in law, Toby Finkelman, who died in 1989.

I miss then all very much! Each one is special to me.

I also want to pay tribute to my WONDERFUL family. Through their lives I get a glimpse of the future and this is truly a blessing.

My husband, Bob
My daughter, Andrea
My son, Ted
My daughter in law, Ann
My two darling granddaughters, Ella and Olivia
My grandson, due to meet the world on June 5th.

They fill my heart with joy. Each and every day I thank the Gods and Goddesses for their love.

Monday, May 08, 2006



Augusta, Maine: LD 1805, an adoptee rights bill that would have recognized the right of all adopted adults in Maine to unconditionally access their original birth certificates passed away last week. LD 1805 is survived by its sponsor, Representative Gerald M. Davis and its near and dear cousin, New Hampshire Senate Bill 335.

LD 1805 was feeling well until it was sent to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary where it’s health began to falter. Representative Pelletier-Simpson and Senator Faircloth started carving up the bill, finally causing septicemia to set in. The bill became a skeleton of itself. Alas! It was an adoptee rights bill no more.

LD 1805 is survived by its many devoted friends in Bastard Nation who steadfastly stood by the original LD 1805 until it was rendered brain dead by the Judiciary Committee. Bastard Nation members know that bad bills cannot be allowed to be passed into law. They wrote letters and made telephone calls to the bill’s sponsor, to Access 2006, and to the members of the Committee, asking them to kill this bill. Access 2006, unable to let go of an old friend, would not agree. They could not see that LD 1805 had been poisoned beyond recognition. They did not understand that the contaminated LD 1805 would spread to bills in other states. They were not aware of the dire consequences to all Maine adoptees if this bill had been allowed to live.

Mercifully, LD 1805's sponsor finally pulled the plug.

Friends may call at

Friday, May 05, 2006



Once upon a time in Massachusetts Senator Fargo introduced an adoptee rights bill. It was a bill that would allow ALL adoptees to unconditionally access their original birth certificates upon reaching the age of maturity. It contained a contact preference form, which addressed birth parents’ feelings in a private way but would not affect the issuing of original birth certificates. SB 959 was an excellent bill and folks supported it all over the state and indeed, all over the country.

SB 959 had a hearing way back in October 2005. The room overflowed with supporters of the bill. People from near and far traveled to the capital to tell The Committee on Children and Families how excited they were about this bill; it’s time has come. The sweet smell of success filled the air.

Then, from October through May, the bill sat in the hands of the Committee and no one heard so much as a "boo" from them. Rumors were flying that the committee was changing the intent of the bill, but until today, it was hard to imagine that the rumors were true. But they were, and then some!

The Committee on Children and Families has turned into the "Committee on Children & Families Who Live On Animal Farm." The new Committee’s motto, of course, is "All adoptees are equal, but some are more equal then others."

Here’s how this committee of elected representatives and senators massacred a bill that started out treating ALL adopted adults equally.

Adopted ADULTS in Massachusetts will be sub-divided into three separate categories based upon arbitrary years of birth. The Animal Farm Committee has set forth different rules to govern each sub- group, who are "really all equal." Wink, wink.

1) Adoptees born before 1974: They may request and receive their original birth certificates.

2) Adoptees born between 1974 and 2008. These adoptees will continue to have their original birth certificates sealed. The existing law will still govern these adoptees. They may petition the court but if any birthmother says NO - then "no" it is.

3) Adoptees who will be born after 2008, These unborn babes will be able to request and receive their original birth certificates when they reach eighteen years of age.

I think The Animal Farm Committee figured that adoptees born before 1974 will die off soon or grow too old and decrepit and will stop bothering the Commonwealth for their original birth certificates.

Adoptees in the middle group, born between 1974 and 2008, continue to be screwed by the state because they’re too young, they’re still all around, and they’re the "trouble-makers." Gotta shut them up.

And the unborn babes? Well, the members of the Animal Farm Committee will most likely not be around in 2026, at least not in the legislature, so adoptees will become some other lawmakers’ "problems."

Adoptees, friends and relatives of adoptees, and every citizen of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts - speak now or forever hold your peace. If you all sit silently now and let this group of adoptee-hating legislators treat you as second, third and forth class citizens, then you will deserve what you get:

A state that discriminates against adopted men and women, all of whom are United States Citizens.

A state that systematically withholds identity documents from adopted adults.

A state that blatantly says adopted men and women are not capable of managing their own personal issues like all the other citizens.

A state that looks with shame on adoptees.

A state that penalizes adoptees whose only crime was to be adopted.

A state that announces loud and clear - through this new bill - that adopted adults just don’t matter to the state in the same way as all other citizens.


Call or write your senator today. Tell him or her that you believe ALL ADOPTED ADULTS must be treated equally under the law. Tell him or her that ALL ADOPTED ADULTS must be able to get their original birth certificates, now, -with no strings attached!

This website will tell you the name and contact information for your Massachusetts senator. It’s as easy as two clicks on your computer.


Monday, May 01, 2006



I often wonder why “the powers that be” will do almost anything they can think of just so they don’t have to give original birth certificates to adopted adults.

As new bills are filed in state legislatures asking for equal treatment for all adoptees, you can bet the farm that these good bills will not go through the legislative process without the addition of a variety of restrictions.

Legislators just don’t want to let go of our original birth certificates. They prefer to keep them impounded and sealed in perpetuity. 45 states have sealed records laws.* Some states will issue original birth certificates to adopted adults but only after any number of restrictions or alternatives have been added.

Restrictions go like this. They are mix and match, to suit your state.

STATE REGISTRIES: For a fee, you can have your original birth certificate IF your birth mother happens to have signed up on the same registry and IF she says it’s okay for you to make contact with her.

CONFIDENTIAL INTERMDIARIES: For a fee, an adoptee may petition the court to appoint a confidential intermediary - a court approved social worker - who will then get your complete adoption file from the state.. He/she will use that file to search for any biological kin. You are not permitted, at any time, to see your own adoption file. IF the confidential intermediary finds your birth mother, then she must agree to contact. If she does not agree, the case is closed, all records are returned to the vault, and the adoptee who paid for the expensive search in the first place - gets NOTHING.

BLACK OUTS - WHITE OUTS: An adoptee will be issued his or her original birth documents but all identifying information on original documents will be blacked out with a Sharpie pen or obliterated with “white out.” Variation: If one birth parent agrees to issuing a birth certificate but the other parent does not, then all information pertaining to the objecting parent is whited or blacked out.

DISCLOSURE VETO: These come in a variety of forms but essentially they go like this. You can have your original birth certificate if your birth mother says it’s okay.

Variations on this theme:

**You can have your original birth information but the state must first locate your birth mother and get her written permission to issue the documents.

**You can have your original birth certificate if you can produce the name of your birth mother.

** Prior to passing an open records law, birth parents will be given a certain length of time to sign a binding document that prevents the state from giving you your original birth certificate.

** You can have your original birth certificate if you can produce an affidavit from your birth mother saying she gives her permission.

**You can have your original birth certificate so long as there is no disclosure veto on file that was made by either birth parent.

**You can have your original birth certificate if you have affidavits from your birth parents and sometimes your adoptive parents giving their permission.

CONTACT VETO: These vetoes come in different sizes and shapes too. Basically, a contact veto is a form, signed by your birth mother, that says she does not want to have any contact with you. If you’re a “does not,” then the state can enforce penalties on the adoptee who breaks the veto. A hefty fine, in the 5 figure amount, may be levied against the adoptee. Sometimes the adoptee may be indicted of a misdemeanor and in some states, a felony, for making any contact when a birth mother has said no.

PROSPECTIVE-ONLY CLAUSES: Gaining popularity is a prospective-only clause that gives adoptees born AFTER an arbitrary date unrestricted access to their own birth documents. For example, Connecticut has just gotten a bill through both houses stating that only adoptees who are born after October 1, 2006, may have their original birth certificates when they reach the age of twenty-one. That will be in 2027. The Governor of Connecticut has not yet signed this bill into law.

MULTI-TIERED STATUS: Some states have created an elaborate labyrinth of tiers, or categories, of adoptees, based on arbitrary dates. For example, Massachusetts is about to become a multi -tiered state. Their bill says that 1) adoptees before 1974 may have unrestricted access to their original birth certificates. 2) adoptees born between 1974 and 2006 may not have access to their original birth certificates. These documents are to remain sealed. 3) Adoptees born after October 1, 2006 may have their original birth certificates when they reach the age of majority. This group of adoptees, not yet born, will have access some time between the years 2024 and 2027. Ohio is another state where adoptees get lost just trying to figure out into which category they fit. To confound the problem, many states liberally sprinkle in disclosure and contact vetoes within these tiers.

STATE COURTS: Nearly every state has a provision in its adoption law for adoptees to make an appeal for their original birth certificate to a judge in the county where they were adopted. In over half of our states, the burden of proving “good cause” falls on the adoptee. Three years ago Georgia actually voted down an open records bill, using this provision as their reason. They said you can always ask the court - no need for any new law.

Going to court is a long and expensive process. You must pay big filing fees to the county court in which you were born, and that could be 3,000 miles away from where you are currently residing. Many states require that you hire an attorney to represent you, especially if you aren’t currently living in the same county and that’s another hefty fee.

You almost never win! You can count on the fingers of one hand how many adopted adults petition a court for their own records and are successful. Westlaw is overflowing with cases from around the country of adoptees being turned down by judges. Reason? The states really don’t want adopted adults to ever have their original birth certificates.

FEDERAL COURTS: It’s extremely difficult to get a judgment for open records from the federal courts simply because adoption laws falls within the powers of the states. In the past, adoption reform groups have brought cases to federal courts, citing constitutional reasons for releasing adoptees’ original birth documents. These court cases have been ajudicated in favor of the state and not the adoptee.

Recently, a federal case did rule in the adoptee’s favor - Doe v. Sundquist. However, this ruling is not a mandate for any state to issue records to adoptees. It does open the door for state judges who are so inclined to view the privacy of a birth mother in a different light. Thus far, the rulings in Doe v. Sundquist have not been used enough to bring about any real changes in the way the individual states are doing business.


THE AVERAGE CITIZENS: They’re not afraid of giving adopted adults their original birth certificates just like everyone else. This was proved by a ballot initiative in Oregon, begun in 1998. The people voted overwhelmingly in favor of adoptees. The case was appealed all the way up the state and federal ladders, but was turned down every time. When the electorate speaks up, the “powers that be” do listen and also hesitate to overturn a measure that the voters have approved.

Ballot initiatives are only legal in 24 states. Each step of a ballot iniative is governed by specific and often difficult regulations. They all begin with a petition. Each state rules who writes the petition, what it states, how many signatures will be needed on it, what geographic areas must be represented and in what percentages, and who is eligible to collect the signatures, There will be a time limit in which to gather and file all petitions. And to top it all off, some of the states have sections stating that the state, at its whim, can overturn the results of any ballot initiative. Illinois states up front that no ballot iniative is binding.

Ballot initiatives are an extremely costly venture. It is estimated that Oregon cost $125,000 just for the initiative portion. More funds were needed to fight the inevitable court battles that followed.

*ALABAMA, ALASKA, KANSAS, OREGON, NEW HAMPSHIRE recognize the equality of adopted adults and issue to them, upon request, their original birth documents, without any conditions.

How does your state treat adoptees? Find out at: