Wednesday, June 30, 2010


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 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, 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?
Have you?

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."

Dear Anonymous,

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 -
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



Deformers: Adoptees who have "just given in. They support bills that fall short of being unconditional birth certificate access for all adopted adults.

Social change is traditionally a very slow process. Adoptee rights are no exception. But no matter how long it takes, it is vital that we continue to pursue the goal of UNCONDITIONAL access to birth documents for ALL adoptees. A defeat in one state is never a reason to stop reaching for our goal in other states.

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.

Pure civil rights bills for adoptees have been passed in four states since 1998: Oregon (Ballot Initiative, 1998), Alabama (2000), New Hampshire (2005) and Maine (2009). Kansas and Alaska had the good sense to never seal their adoption records.

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.

But wait a minute! Illinois adoptees born before January 1, 1946, can get their original birth certificates today. Those born after January 1, 1946, will have to wait until November 15, 2011, to see if their birth mothers have filed denial forms. And Representative Sara Feigenholtz has the nerve to call this new law an equal rights bill for adoptees. It it weren't so sad, it might be laughable

"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."

Don't let the deformers persuade you that passing a true adoptee rights bill cannot be accomplished. Recently, both New Hampshire and Maine had problems with getting their bills through the first time out. Supporters of the bills pulled the bills rather than allow them to continue on through the legislative process. The supporters were not willing to take a chance on passing a bad bill. So, they came back the very next year and the good bills were passed in both states. Today, 100% of adopted citizens in Maine and New Hampshire get their original birth certificate exactly as all the non-adopted citizens do
Why not get  on board.