THE BASTARD BYLINE

News From Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization
February 2004 Vol. 1 No. 6
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MARLEY PUTS CALIFORNIA TO SHAME

Marley Greiner, Executive Chair of Bastard Nation, knows her stuff when it comes to Safe Haven Laws. Marley's voice was one of the very first raised in opposition to these laws and she is a leader in raising the consciousness of people all over the country.

Marley publishes a weekly e-newsletter, Baby Dump News, where you can find out the truth about infant abandonments. Marley documents her research with numerous newspaper accounts of every case and she relentlessly compiles her research by state and by year. Unlike California, Marley can count.

Marjorie Lundstrom, a columnist for the Sacramento Bee, recently wrote an article about California's safe haven law in which she used state figures that claimed there had been a drop in illegally abandoned babies found dead - 11 in both 2001 and 2002, and only 1 (one) in 2003, making the infant abandonment law look like it was working wonders.

Marley was blown away by the large discrepancy between this "statistic," and what her research told her. According to Marley's records, there were 8 (eight) more baby deaths during 2003, for a total of 9 - quite a significant difference.

Marley immediately contacted Ms. Lundstrom about the validity of the statistics. After talking with Marley, Ms. Lundstrom decided to do some research on her own. And lo and behold! The following week, Marjorie Lundstrom wrote another column, "Surrender Law hasn't reduced number of infant deaths after all." Ms. Lundstrom did her own checking which confirmed all 8 of Marley's cases. Even more startling, Ms. Lundstrom discovered 3 more cases, bringing the total to 12 for 2003 - not one (1) as the state reported.

California's Surrender Law is up for renewal in 2006. How is the state going to decide the effectiveness of this law when they aren't even bothering to count?

Read the story from the Sacramento Bee


UK TO MANDATE IDENTITY RIGHTS FOR DONOR-CONCEIVED KIDS

The United Kingdom is poised to give children born from donated sperm, eggs and embryos identifying information about their biological parents when these children turn 18 years of age.

Health Minister Melanie Johnson says the decision will remove the discrepancy between the rights of the donor-conceived and people who have been adopted.

The United States, on the other hand, is still trying to keep the secrets. An article in the Chicago Sun Times on January 4, 2004, "In the IVF World, No Names, Please," reported that many couples who donate embryos insist on remaining anonymous. "Some don't even tell their families. And they worry that if their identities were known, a child born from their embryos might show up on their doorstep some day."

Same old, same old.

Story from ABC News


NEVADA SUPREME COURT DECISION

In January, The Nevada Supreme Court ruled that a teenage girl in foster care has a right to learn the whereabouts of her three younger sisters.

Bastard Nation applauds this decision. We cannot help but see a reflection of our mission in this decision. The Court clearly recognizes the doctrine of "best interest of the child" in its rejection of the State's attempt to deny information and contact among minors separated through adoption. It only follows that adult adoptees should be "allowed" the similar right of identity, records access, and free association.

We hope that this decision is a precursor to open records for adult adoptees in Nevada.


REALLY COOL WEB SITES TO CHECK OUT

THE ADOPTION HISTORY PROJECT

http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~adoption/index.html
http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~adoption/people/bastardnation.htm

Make this excellent web site your first stop! Ellen Herman, University of Oregon history professor, takes a good look at all aspects of the history of adoption. Bastard Nation is featured in the section on "People and Organizations." We are one of only three organizations that Professor Herman chose to write about; the other two are the Child Welfare League of America and the U.S. Children's Bureau. We travel in good company.

Other areas of interest on this website are Adoption Timeline, which begins in 1851 and goes through 2000. The timeline is succinct and easy to read. It's a nifty way to get a good overview of adoption history at a glance.

You can find primary sources and historical documents in the Document Archives. Adoption Studies/Adoption Science offers links to chronological lists of adoption studies, with descriptions of particular studies as well as excerpts from them.

Be sure to bookmark The Adoption History Project! It's a keeper!

A JOURNALIST'S GUIDE TO ADOPTION

http://www.adoptioninformationinstitute.org/journguide.html

A new website, A Journalist's Guide to Adoption is a must reading for all adoptee rights advocates. It is published by the Institute for Adoption Information (IAI), a nonprofit organization of adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents, adoption professionals and others who have united to enhance the understanding of adoption and to advocate for balanced, accurate coverage of adoption in news and entertainment media.

This new website is super! It's written by journalists - for journalists - and they've done a pretty good job of covering all areas of adoption. One interesting section is called "Kudos and Complaints." This page presents direct links to major media around the country and invites you to talk back.

Two Bastard Nation members, Marley Greiner and Brenda Romanchik, were among the professionals who reviewed the material when this web site was in the making. They liked what they saw and so will you.

FIRST AMENDMENT PROTECTIONS IN STATE CONSTITUTIONS

http://fact.trib.com/1st.stateconst.html

This website records the First Amendment protections found in all 50 state constitutions. Selections have been made to show how the states protect the liberties relevant to the First Amendment - of speech, of the press, of religion, of assembly, association, and petition - found in these constitutions.

Many state constitutions, as interpreted by the respective state supreme courts, provide greater individual liberties than the current U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

At the end of each state page, you will find a link to the entire state constitution, when available.

CONGRESS.ORG

http://congress.org/congressorg/home/

Congresss.org, a free public service of Capitol Advantage, is a "one-stop-shop" where you can identify your congressional representatives; research congressional voting records; learn about the issues of the day; and send e-mail directly to Congress.

Of special interest to people working with state governments is the section on State Elected Officials. Key in your state and find out about it's laws and it's representatives. Go to "Media" and you'll find a complete list of media for your state with links for direct contact.

Where The Action Is

Open records bills are in various stages of consideration in:
New Hampshire
New York
Massachusetts

Stay tuned for updates and action alerts!


GET INVOLVED:

Louisiana Adoption Advocates

Nevada Open Website

OORAH - Oklahoma Open Records

Missouri Open

Florida Records Equality Effort (F.R.E.E.)

Arkansas Open Needs Volunteers for Future Efforts!

Virginians for Adoption Reform and Education


PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

JANE EDWARDS, Bastard National, had a letter published in the January 19th edition of Newsweek Magazine. Jane's letter, "Black, White and Family," was in reply to an earlier Newsweek feature on Strom Thurmond's daughter. Jane wrote how Essie Mae Washington-Williams' world would have been a very different one if she had been born to a white woman and a black man. Mrs. Washington-Williams' story, says Jane, "speaks volumes not only about racism but about sexism as well."
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3918622/

DAVID ANSARDI, Executive Committee, Bastard Nation, has recently been appointed to the Board of Directors of Alabama CASA - Court Appointed Special Advocates. He will be serving on the Legislative and Public Relations Committees. This organization trains volunteers who have been appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in court.
http://www.alabamacasa.org/

JEAN UHRICH was a guest on the radio program Adoption in Las Vegas which was broadcast on KNPR on January 12, 2004. This show featured several professionals who discussed the procedures and legalities of adopting children in Nevada. Our own Bastard National Jean Uhrich, founder of Nevada Open, spoke about unconditional open records for adult adoptees born in Nevada.
http://www.nevadaopen.org/

And we're gonna open records in Georgia! And then we're going to New York! And New Hampshire! And Louisiana! Nevada! Texas! And then we're going to Washington, D.C. and we're going to pass that Constitutional Amendment for Open Records!!!!
Booooooooooo-Yahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!


VERY SPECIAL BASTARD BOOKS
by very special Bastards

TEACHING THE ADOPTED INNER CHILD TO HEEL: A GUIDE TO TRAINING
Combines the latest child psychology with dog training techniques to insure a REALLY grateful adoptee.

LETHAL SECRETS OF THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA
A dirty old sailor who makes extra rum money down at the sperm bank is made to walk the plank by a whole town of his offspring when they discover they are all half-siblings.

BIRTHBOND, CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
Raskolnikov becomes a Late Discovery Adoptee and finds, to his horror, that the old woman he has killed was his birthmother.

HORTON HEARS A FAMILY SECRET
The Whos come out of hiding to tell the story. Horton, most faithful of all elephants, is a late discovery adoptee.

SEQUEL: REVENGE OF HORTON, LATE DISCOVERY ADOPTEE
Horton lays egg and keeps baby! Read this incredible tale of a birthfather who raises his young.

http://www.bastards.org/fun/


JOIN BASTARD NATION

Want to make a difference in how adopted people are treated and viewed in society? Want to support the efforts of the only adoptee-led national organization dedicated to promoting the equal treatment and dignity of adopted citizens? Want to enjoy all the benefits of membership? Join Bastard Nation!

Fill Out an Application now at http://www.bastards.org/members

Learn: http://www.bastards.org

Join: http://www.bastards.org/members/

Fight: http://www.bastards.org/alert/index.html

Talk Back: e-mail us at bn@bastards.org

JOIN BN TODAY!

BASTARDS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!
YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT YOUR SHAME!

Editors: Anita Walker Field and David C. Ansardi
c. 2004 Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization

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