News From Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization
November 2004        Vol. 1 No. 11
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Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization advocates for the civil and human rights of adult citizens who were adopted as children. Millions of North Americans are prohibited by law from accessing personal records that pertain to their historical, genetic and legal identities. Bastard Nation campaigns for the restoration of their right to unconditionally access their birth records.

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BASTARD IN THE TRENCHES

  MISSOURI-BORN LINDSAY WOODSIDE FIGHTS FOR ADOPTEE RIGHTS

Several times I've thought I had a neon sign on my forehead blinking, "ADOPTEE - ADOPTEE," because of some of the looks we've gotten from legislators who can't seem to understand why we can't be thankful for what we have instead of wanting the truth.

I was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1942, just one year after Missouri closed its adoption records. I was placed for adoption when I was 9 days old but I have lived in Kansas most of my life.

Being adopted in 1942, people thought differently about adopted children in that era than they do today. My adoptive grandmother wrote in a letter to one of her cousins: "Benton and Florence have adopted a boy and a girl and we found them to be as bright and normal as any other child." At first I was offended, then I laughed, considering the mindset of the time she wrote it.

In Missouri until 1944, adoptees were considered property of the "Humane Society" - I guess we were like pound puppies.

I have two sons, both in their early 40's, a stepdaughter, and we lost my husband's son when he was 17. We also have 4 grandchildren. Eight years ago my husband and I got custody of one of my grandsons and he's lived with us ever since. When he came to us he was 4 and he is now 13. He loves to play with our 3 cats.

Anyone who knows me knows my passion -- making quilts and hand quilting them. I also volunteer at the local grade school and spend about 20 hours a week as a librarian. I am medically retired after spending 24+ years as an accountant at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.

I've always been active in trying to correct injustice so it was a normal progression for me to go into adoption activism. Jeff Hartung and Dee Harding helped get me going in the right direction. Shea Grimm also helped in getting the right language to present our bill to the first sponsor we had in Missouri.

I am the co-founder of Missouri Open and Missouri Adult Adoptee Rights Coalition (MAARC). We have presented legislation four times in Missouri which, when passed, will allow all adult adoptees 18 and over the right to receive their original birth certificates. I have spent many days in the Missouri Statehouse lobbying for our bill and visiting legislators and aides.

One of the biggest obstacles we've had to contend with is one Senator, no longer in the Missouri Senate due to term limits, who is an adoptive parent and doesn't want his adopted son to be able to get his records. He also doesn't want his son to know he was even adopted.

To anyone else who is starting the process of presenting open records legislation, I want to tell them to look carefully for their sponsor. Don't take the first person who says they will sponsor your bill. Make sure they are on the same page with you. Make sure they really UNDERSTAND the rights issue and will be willing to fight as hard as you will to see it passed as a clean bill.

I believe that social workers and adoption agencies are our biggest adversaries today. They continue to make money from the adoption process as long as the adoptee lives. They can sell us our non-identifying information, they hire themselves out as confidential intermediaries, and literally hold our lives in their hand while the other hand is out for money.

The open records movement is fighting an uphill battle. Most legislators don't want to make waves, so to speak, by making any birth or adoptive parent angry. They aren't considering the fact that records are sealed not to protect the birth parent, but to protect the adoptee from cruel remarks and to protect the adoptive parent from the possible stigma of infertility. I believe we have to keep fighting, year to year, and keep our message in front of those who make laws. We have to be firm in our conviction, but also not combative. Threats and angry words will do more harm than good when dealing with the lawmakers.

To win this struggle for our rights and records we will have to be persistent. We must keep our message and our bill in front of the legislators each session. We must let them know we aren't going to put our heads in the sand and just go away. We have to continue the struggle.

EDITORIAL

ADOPTEES! YOU DON'T NEED MANAGED CARE

The ink had barely dried on the New Hampshire open records legislation when in jumped the folks who like to manage lives. Social workers and other professionals have set up symposiums and workshops at which they are offering a whole array of services for adopted men and women based on the assumption that all those who search will need serious counseling.

These same "do-gooders" crawled out of the woodwork in Alabama in 2000. In they marched, touting the need for social worker intervention during searches and reunions. "Use our intermediary services," they shouted, "You're too fragile to handle it without us."

It is the insidious internalization of pop psychopathy that tells these professionals that there's something wrong with adoptees who want their own information or a reunion. There is nothing in the world any intervention expert can't cure. If it's not sick, make it sick and cure it; if it's not broken, then break it and fix it. They can't stand being out of the loop. Adoption is their turf and they won't give it up. The rest of us are just stupid.

Cradle to grave supervision and intervention by misguided adoption professionals. That adopted persons go along with this is stupefying--and stupid.



SPENCE-CHAPIN OPPOSES SAFE HAVEN LAWS

This November, in celebration of National Adoption Month, Spence-Chapin Services will be widely distributing an educational publication, "Adoption, A Safer Haven," that takes a critical look at Safe Haven laws.

In a press release dated November 1, 2004, the Agency states: "The "safe haven" laws as currently enacted do not help pregnant women before they reach a state of crisis and ignore the future consequences of anonymous abandonment to both mother and child."

"While saving babies' lives is of critical importance, these laws offer limited help to women in crisis. The mother has no counseling or support available and the anonymity provision leaves her facing a lifetime of insecurity about what happened to her child. The child is denied the possibility of any knowledge of his origins as well as crucial medical information. Moreover, her act is, in most cases, irrevocable. Birth fathers, and extended family members, who could be a resource to a child are denied access to the baby."

To read the Spence-Chapin's entire statment and to download Adoption: A Safer Haven, go to: http://www.spence-chapin.org/saferhaven.html.

BASTARDS WRITE LETTERS

New Jersey Health, Human Services Committee
Re: S 1577 which would form a SH Awareness Promotion Task Force.

Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization is deeply concerned about S1577, now in the Health and Human Services Committee. Bastard Nation makes two recommendations to the Health and Human and Services Committee regarding S1577:

1) Creation of a dedicated slot on the Safe Haven promotion task force for an adopted adult experienced and well versed in the areas of identity rights, the lifelong effects of secret or anonymous adoption, and ethical adoption and child welfare practices.

2) Creation of a unified promotional program in which both Safe Haven and boarder baby abandonments are discouraged that will educate parents on public and private resources that can assist them to maintain their families or if necessary to responsibly make an adoption plan for their child.

Sincerely yours,

Marley Greiner
Executive Chair
Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization



ADOPTED CHILDREN GROW UP - NATIONAL ADOPTION DAY, NOV 20, 2004

Dear Editor:

Adopted men and women are the only group of American citizens that need to get permission from their parents or from a judge before they can get their original birth certificates. Unless we were adopted in Alaska, Kansas, Oregon, Alabama, or New Hampshire, our original birth documents are permanently sealed; our original identities are hidden from us. The states have their own unique brand of identity theft.

November 20, 2004, is "National Adoption Day" and it will be celebrated as hundreds of children around the country have their adoptions finalized in local courts and jurisdictions, to raise awareness about adoption. We rejoice for these children and their new families; their futures are brighter because of adoption.

But unless the current sealed-record laws are changed, when these children reach the age of maturity and want to see their original birth documents, the answer will be the same as it is today. "Sorry, but no. Your records are permanently sealed!"

It is unconscionable for our enlightened and democratic country to continue to perpetuate post W.W.II taboo-driven laws that force one group of its adult citizens to ask a court or parents for permission to receive their original birth documents. New laws must be passed to give back to all adopted adults their unconditional right to request and receive their unaltered, unamended, original birth documents in the same way as all other citizens of the state.

Aristotle taught us, "Even when laws have been written down, they ought not always to remain unaltered."

Anita Walker Field



UPCOMING LEGISLATION

Watch These States:

Minnesota
Texas
Oklahoma
New Jersey
New York
Nevada
Arizona






Where The Action Is

Stay tuned for updates and action alerts!

GET INVOLVED:

Nevada Open Website

OORAH - Oklahoma Open Records

Arizona Open

Missouri Open

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

California Open

Arkansas Open Needs Volunteers for Future Efforts!

Virginians for Adoption Reform and Education

Louisiana Adoption Advocates


LATE-BREAKING NEWS FROM SHEILA GANZ ABOUT HER FILM, UNLOCKING THE HEART OF ADOPTION

Dear Friend,

EXCITING NEWS!! Unlocking the Heart of Adoption has been picked up by NETA, National Educational Telecommunications Association for broadcast on public television. We are working with stations for a Mother's Day / Father's Day air date.

In order to have this holiday broadcast I need to meet the February 13, 2005 deadline, when the film goes up on the satellite feed. Station programmers need two months lead time.

It will cost $20,000 for closed captioning, additional editing to conform to NETA's standards, mail Press Releases and preview tapes to 170 public television station programmers with follow-up by phone and email, and six months of tracking when and where the film airs. NETA does not pay me to do this, so - once again - I find myself on the fundraising trail.

If you would like to help launch Unlocking the Heart of Adoption on public television, you can make a tax-deductible donation on the secure Film Arts Foundation website here: http://www.filmarts.org/
sponsoredpr/projectsdonsz.php#sp152

Or you can send a check made out to Film Arts Foundation to:

Sheila Ganz
Pandora's Box Productions
1546 Great Highway, Suite 44
San Francisco, CA 94122

Here is our timeline for the public television launch:

-Official announcement from NETA goes out to all of the public television stations, January 2005.

-Complete closed captioning and editing changes to conform to NETA standards, January 2005.

-Mail Press Release and preview tape January 2005, to the 170 station programmers, who make the decision for over 300 stations, so they have a chance to watch the film before the satellite feed.

-Follow-up by phone and email to station programmers.

-Unlocking the Heart of Adoption goes up on the satellite feed February 13, 2005, when station programmers can download the film for broadcast. They need two months lead time before the broadcast in May 2005 for Mother's Day.

-May 2005 begin tracking 300 public television stations to find out when they broadcast the film. Update film's website with this information.

You can also help out by purchasing the VHS tape for HOME USE ONLY for $39.95 - for yourself, or as a holiday gift to a relative or friend.

Adoption Agencies, Professionals and Organizations: $175.00 - includes a Workbook, with a Viewer's Guide and Discussion Guide.

Go to the film's website to purchase the VHS tape through PayPal at - http://www.unlockingtheheart.com/
A_buy_tape.htm

Or you can send a check made out to Pandora's Box Productions to:

Sheila Ganz
Pandora's Box Productions
1546 Great Highway, Suite 44
San Francisco, CA 94122

It is a dream come true for me to have Unlocking the Heart of Adoption make a positive difference in so many people's lives. And I hope the broadcast will encourage legislators to give adult adoptees unconditional access of their original birth certificate. I am holding the vision of a headline that reads: "Unlocking the Heart of Adoption - Unlocks the Records!"

I could not have gotten this far without the generosity of hundreds of individuals like you and I will be forever grateful. Thank you!

Best wishes to you and yours,

Sheila Ganz
unlockingheart@hotmail.com
http://www.unlockingtheheart.com

PLEASE FORWARD TO OTHERS INTERESTED SEEING OUR STORIES ON NATIONAL PUBLIC TELEVISION. THANK YOU!

PRESS RELEASE FROM DONNA MARCHAND, CANADA

"Please circulate and inform:

"On November 12th at 10:00 A.M. in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice at 393 University Avenue, preliminary motions will be heard in:

"INFANT NUMBER 10968, also known as D. Marie Marchand "Applicant

"and

"Her Majesty the Queen In Right of Ontario,
"Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto"

"Respondents"

"We will not only be challenging sealed records but the entire Ontario Adoption Regime on the grounds of discrimination under the Charter, the illegal seizure of documents and criminal falsification of a statement of life birth."

"Please come out and show support."


QUOTE OF THE MONTH

BASTARD OUT OF CAROLINA
by Dorothy Allison

"As for the name of the father, Granny refused to speak it after she had run him out of town for messing with her daughter, and Aunt Ruth had never been sure of his last name anyway. They tried to get away with just scribbling something down, but if the hospital didn't mind how a baby's middle name was spelled, they were definite about having a father's last name. So Granny gave one and Ruth gave another, the clerk got mad, and there I was - certified a bastard by the state of South Carolina."

"Mama hated to be called trash. The stamp on that birth certificate burned her like the stamp she knew they'd tried to put on her. "No-good. Lazy, shiftless."




The Bastard Quotient
by Dr. Abbandonatta Mensa-Bastarda, Ph.D.

After years of detailed scientific study, I have concluded that there is a high degree of variation among individuals in regard to their Bastard Quotient, i.e., that ability to support the constitutional rights of adult adoptees to the original records of their births in the same manner as other citizens. Accordingly, I have plotted a chart, using some of the old nomenclature of the IQ system, which is not meant to be a reflection on those persons who are genuinely mentally challenged.

25 - Cretins and morons -- Bill Pierce, Frank Hunsaker, Warren Deras, Tom Atwood and other anti-adoptees -- require institutionalization

60 -- Idiots -- Adoption reformers who capitulate when any scraps are thrown to them by legislators with no thought toward the future impact of their legislation on adoptee rights

80 -- Do-Bees -- educable adoptees, those who have not yet perceived that open records are their right, are perhaps afraid of hurting their adoptive parents, or don't like the word "Bastard"

100 -- The general public, who by and large "get it" when presented with an unbiased account

150 -- Bastard Nationals -- Geniuses of adoptee rights






JOIN BASTARD NATION

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

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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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