February 2006        Vol. 1 No. 20
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WHERE THE ACTION IS
Open Records for Maine?
Maine Representative Gerald Davis, sponsor of LD 1805, has filed a true open records bill. The Joint Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on LD 1805 on Tuesday, February 28, 2006, 1:30p.m. State House, Augusta, ME. LD 1805 would allow all adults to have unconditional access to their original birth certificates. The bill does contain a section on contact preference forms. Bastard Nation supports LD1805, as written, Our support of this bill, however, is conditioned upon the fact that the filing of a contact preference form will have NO bearing upon whether or not adopted adults will be issued original birth certificates. The Portsmith Herald, a New England newspaper, has endorsed LD 1805.
Much to the surprise of its supporters, The Joint Committee on Children & Families, on Januar 25th, voted to table a vote on SB 959. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Susan C. Fargo, would have given adopted adults unconditional access to their original birth certificates. At the hearing held on October 27th, there was strong support for the bill and it was felt that the Committee had been favorably impressed. Thanks to everyone who wrote those great letters to the committee members. Keep tuned for further information.
New Jersey's perennial anti-adoptee rights deform legislation has been assigned a new number (S1087) for the new legislative session and awaits committee hearing. This bill contains unacceptable disclosure and contact veto provisions and should be opposed by all who support adoptee rights.
Marley Greiner, Executive Chair, has been the guiding light, cheer leader, often angry, always creative, always there, ever innovative, FIRST BASTARD. She created THE organization that so many of us were just waiting to appear on the scene. Marley has always been the heart and soul of Bastard Nation. She has been at the helm since Day One. We salute Marley, Bastard Nation's First Mother.
Bastard Nation was born in early 1996 on the Internet Usenet newsgroup, alt.adoption (a.a.). Marley coined the term "Bastard Nation" and started signing her posts with it, with others soon following suit. The name was meant to explode the myth of shame by reclaiming the word "bastard" and all of society's myths and fears regarding adoption.
Bastard Nation was incorporated as a 501c(4) non-profit organization in December, 1996, by Marley Greiner and co-founders Shea Grimm, Damsel Plum, and Lainie Petersen. The only unifying concepts for membership were those of being committed to the equal access to their own original birth certificates, combating negative stereotypes of adoptees, and providing a forum for the wide spectrum of adult adoptee experience.
In June of 1996, Damsel Plum came up with the idea to create a Bastard Nation website. She collected material from people on a.a. and on June 19, 1996, the Bastard Nation website with its official logo, created by Founding Foundling Gavi Person, was announced to the internet community. It received rave reviews.
The first Bastard Quarterly was published in Spring, 1997. It's editor was Shea Grimm, associate editor was Damsel Plum, and creative director was Julie Ann Andres.
Birth of a Bastard Nation, our first annual Conference, was held July 18-20, 1997 in Chicago. Activist and author Randy Shaw was the keynote speaker. It was at this conference that the seeds of Measure 58 were sown. The sparks of a ballot initiative were ignited by Randy Shaw and carried home by Bastard Nationals Helen Hill and Shea Grimm, who then made history by turning Measure 58 into a reality.
The Basic Bastard, BN's handbook, is considered to be the bible of adoptee rights. It was edited by Cynthia Bertrand Holub and published in 1999 (revised in 2003). The Basic Bastard is the source for the material in this article. You can read it in its entirety at http://www.bastards.org/bb/.
Watch for more fascinating facts about Marley in future issues.
CHANGES IN EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP
The Executive Committee has accepted the resignation of Donna Martz effective December 31, 2005. BN treasurer since 1999, Donna, has gone above and beyond the call of duty of "keeping the books," handling often confusing matters of incorporation, banking, taxes, PayPal, and myriad matters effecting the day-to-day operations of BN. Donna will stay on as a special technology consultant to the Executive Committee and remain active with BN.
The Executive Committee, in accordance with its bylaws, has appointed Oklahoma Bastard Pat Marler the new treasurer. Over the last few weeks Donna and Pat worked together to assure a smooth transition.
Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization
GET WELL WISHES
Charles Filius, Bastard Nation's graphic designer, has been under the weather. We send loads of Bastardly good wishes for a speedy recovery.
Reading Adoption: Family and Difference in Fiction and Drama
Congratulations to Marianne Novy, Bastard National, upon the publication of her latest book, Reading Adoption: Family and Difference in Fiction and Drama. She is also the author of Imagining Adoption.
Marianne's new book, Reading Adoption, explores tradition and experiment in the ways literature has represented adoption-especially in how novels and plays portray the connections linking adoptees with their adoptive parents and their birth parents. How differently do works written by Shakespeare, George Eliot, and Barbara Kingsolver answer the questions "What makes a parent?" and "How do parent-child connections make identity?"
Novy meditates on the cultural mythologies, influences, and insights she finds in works by Sophocles, Shakespeare, George Eliot, Dickens, Albee, Kingsolver, and other twentieth-century novelists and playwrights, and on how her relationships with her parents, birth parents, and daughter now affect her reading of adoption literature. Using adoption as a lens, Novy identifies a literary tradition spanning centuries and genres; authors of many of the later works knew the earlier ones and sometimes refer to them in writing stories that end differently. Works in this tradition use adoption to dramatize questions of parenthood, nature, nurture, stigma, identity, heredity, family structure, national, class, religious and ethnic difference, trauma, memory, and commodification.
The book should appeal not only to literary critics and teachers but also to others who deal with adoption personally or professionally.
Where The Action Is
"I knew at that moment that I had crossed an invisible line and that I was finally equal."
"Bastard Nation leaves no one behind."
"Honk, If you're my Daddy"
"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile - hoping it will eat him last."
"As a mother who relinquished a child in 1962, I believe adopted people have the absolute right to all existing information about their origins, right down to the last detail. It's their information, not the birth mother's nor the state's."
"Judges and lawmakers must stop subrogating the majority's need for access to the desire of a few for secrecy."
"Responsible and honest adoption professionals should welcome such an examination as Masha, Faith, and Primetime offer, but instead, they gather their wagons to protect the holy--and lucrative--institution of adoption against the truth to power courage of a 13-year old girl."
"It may be expected that one day the number of states opening birth records will reach a critical "tipping point,' a point after which a majority of states will reject lifelong secrecy as expeditiously as they once embraced it."
JOIN BASTARD NATION
Editors: Anita Walker Field and David C. Ansardi
c. 2006 Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization
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