Wednesday, September 17, 2008




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!


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;
HB 4896;

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

CONTACT INFORMATION :,, ,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,

*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


Senator Jason Allen
Majority Caucus Whip
Office: Room 820, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Glenn Anderson
Assistant Democratic Floor Leader
Office: Room 610, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Jim Barcia
Office: Room 1010, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Raymond Basham
Democratic Caucus Whip
Office: Room 715, Farnum Bldg.
NO toll free number.

Senator Patricia Birkholz
Office: Room 805, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Michael Bishop
Majority Leader
Office: Room S-106, Capitol Bldg.

Senator Liz Brater
Office: Room 510, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Cameron Brown
Assistant Majority Floor Leader
Office: Room 405, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Nancy Cassis
Majority Caucus Chair
Office: Room 905, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Deborah Cherry
Office: Room 910, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Irma Clark-Coleman
Office: Room 310, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Hansen Clarke
Office: Room 710, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Alan Cropsey
Majority Floor Leader
Office: Room S-8, Capitol Bldg.

Senator Valde Garcia
Office: Room S-132, Capitol Bldg.

Senator Tom George
Office: Room 320, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Jud Gilbert
Office: Room 705, Farnum Bldg.

Senator John Gleason
Assiatant Democratic Caucus Chair
Office: Room 315, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Bill Hardiman
Room 305, Farnum Bldg.
email & website are the same:

Senator Tupac Hunter
Assistant Democratic Leader
Office: Room 915, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Gilda Jacobs
Democratic Caucus Chair
Office: Room 1015, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Mark Jansen
Assistant Majority Caucus Chair
Office: Room 520, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Ron Jelinek
Office: Room S-324, Capitol Bldg.

Senator Roger Kahn
Assistant Majority Whip
Office: Room 420, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Wayne Kuipers
Office: Room 1005, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Michelle McManus
Assistant Majority Leader
Office: Room S-2, Capitol Bldg.

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

Senator John Pappageorge
Office: Room 1020, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Bruce Patterson
Office: Room 505, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Michael Prusi
Office: Room 515, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Randy Richardville
President Pro Tempore
Office: Room 205, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Alan Sanborn
Assistant President pro Tempore
Office: Room S-310, Capitol Bldg.

Senator Mark Schauer
Democratic Leader
Office: Room S-105, Capitol Bldg.

Senator Martha Scott
Office: Room 220, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Tony Stamas
Office: Room 720, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Michael Switalski
Office: Room 410, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Buzz Thomas
Democratic Floor Leader
Office: Room S-9, Capitol Bldg.

Senator Gerald Van Woerkom
Office: Room 605, Farnum Bldg.

Senator Gretchen Whitmer
Office: Room 415, Farnum Bldg.
NO toll free number. 517.373.1734

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

Date of Birth:
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?