Friday, July 11, 2008




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:

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



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

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

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.