Archive for March, 2007

ADOPTION REFORM IN TEXAS

March 31, 2007

Is adoption reform even possible in Texas? I think it is. I don’t think Texans really know what is going on behind the scenes of adoption. Here you have the most powerful lobby and adoption agency centered here in Texas. Texas for the most part is about business. It is a business oriented state. Adoption is a very big business. Estimates used to be 2 billion dollar business. I hear closer to 11 billion dollar business. That is a lot of money. Money that is centered around human lives. Money that is totally unregulated. I am seeing many many forms of corruption come out of this business.

Adoptees in 45 states don’t have their rights to view the very documents that record their birth. Texas is one of them. It is not as bad as some states like my own birth state of Indiana. An adoptee can go to a courthouse and get their records but they have to petition the court. It is a hassle to beg for the records that we should own anyway. It is a humiliating experience.

In the last ten years, a grassroots group has begun fighting to change the laws. Now by my standards I think what they have come up with is too restrictive and condescending to adoptees. An adoptee actually wrote the bill. I agree with Bastard Nation is that it should be trashed. Point blank it is a mother, may I bill. I have seen it on their site and many many others. If adoption records were sealed to protect the first parents, then the relinquishment papers would have been sealed. If you go back and look at old newpapers, you will find in the legal notices that this was not the case. Those relinquishment notices were published. The bill was expected to go through pretty fast. As one member of the group told me, it would allow 95% plus adoptees in the state of Texas to have access to their records. That is better than the current status. Birth certificates and adoption records were sealed to protect adoptive parents. It isn’t about the first parents. The first parents didn’t want confidentiality. As more and more younger adoptive parents begin educating themselves on adoption, the more that they want adoption reformed. Here is an example of this: http://justenjoyhim.wordpress.com/2007/03/27/what-is-the-infrastructure-of-adoption Just read her and she gets it.

One member was told by a Heidi Cox to make it prospective only. That would be the only compromise that Gladney Adoption Center and the NCFA would allow the bill to go forward. That they would kill this bill period. Now this ticked me off. I have argued with these people for contact preference not contact veto. I have argued against the confidential intermediary portion of it. I do realize that these people have already compromised beyond belief. That is what the profiteers of Gladney and the NCFA don’t realize. The profiteers don’t want their secrets out. Its that simple. They will argue it will increase abortions. Alaska and Kansas never had a high abortion rate as Texas does. We are in second place just behind New York. These two states who have never closed their records have some of the lowest rates of abortion in the country. Is it related to adoption? Good question ~ I don’t know. It does make you wonder though. The other misconception is that the first mothers were promised confidentiality. There has yet to be presented one piece of paperwork with this promise. Their implied promise was “Go on with your life, forget this ever happened.” Sorry these women never forgot. These women never really got on with their lives. Look at the Adoption Institute’s research study on first mothers. They concluded 90% of first mothers needed contact with their children, wanted contact with their children, and never wanted the confidentiality that these agencies are proclaiming. These women never got over the loss of their child. These women are now standing up and fighting along side with adoptees of Texas.
Adoptive parents are also doing the same. In both Oregon and New Hampshire, an overwhelming 99% of first parents wanted contact. Only 1% wanted no contact. Only .4% wanted contact through a confidential intermediary.

In Oregon and Tennessee, the NCFA and adoption agencies, ACLU, and many others fought against this. In Oregon, it was a voter referendum. In Tennessee it was the state legislators that fought to change the laws. The court cases in these two states both ruled in the favor of adoptee access to their own original birth certficiates. Here we have the statistics, research, and the laws on our side. Here we go again. We have been fighting ignorance, lies and corruption for years. We will win this one. In fact if I were the one writing the law on this, because of Ms. Cox, I would have open the flood gates and asked for the full access for all adoptees with no restrictions. That is just me. I can be an ornery little bastard. Many of us living adoption are sick and tired of adoption attorneys like Ms. Heidi Cox running our lives. They treat our first mothers like producers. They treat adoptees like products. They treat adoptive parents as the demand.

Future adoptive parents, please don’t use any agency that is associated with the NCFA nor the Gladney Adoption Center. They do not have your best interests at heart. That was the reason why they were sued twice by adoptive families. They did not give truthful information to them. Future first parents don’t use them. They will violate your rights. Adoptees have to fight their secrecy, lies and corruption. Its time to let these folks know that we know that they are wrong. Adoption as it was supposed to be is NOT how it really is. We know that it didn’t work that way. It still isn’t working that way. WE live adoption. We should be the only ones that have input on the adoption law. Adoption agencies profit from us. They don’t support our rights. They only support their own self interest in the profit.

Lets get this battle going. Its time to fight for what is rightfully ours. State legislators we won’t be silent any longer.

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PASSING ON THE THINKING BLOGGER AWARD

March 30, 2007

I found my friend, Wraith, nominated me for the thinking blogger award. I have to come up with five people that have made me stop and think. My choices are hard and limited. The person who nominated me and the others on his list would have been top choices for me as well. These are the ones that really made me think and grow up.

1.) http://adoptionroadkill.blogspot.com/ She has made me think the most. Its her anger that got my attention. It made me think outside of the box.

2.) http://www.adoptalk.blogspot.com/ / She was the first to teach me about the darkside of adoption. She was the first to expose me to it. She even wrote a note to my first mother which I posted at her request.

3.) http://bastardette.blogspot.com/ She is also another that widen my horizons. She helped me truly understand the challenges that we adoptees truly face. The ignorances and bias that she showed me took my rose colored glasses off.

4.) http://justenjoyhim.wordpress.com/ She is new to the blogging world. She really gets it. It was hard to pick between her and Thirdmom. Both really deserve it. Thirdmom is an older Mom that has really stepped outside of her comfort zone. I wish there was an honorary list for her as well. Screw it. I will make one. Its just too hard to limit it to five.

5) This one is the tough one. I am stuck between two of them. Both were there for me when I found out my first mother denied contact. I am back and forth between the both of them. Tears were streaming down my face when I read what they wrote. So I am putting both of them up here. I don’t care if it breaks the rules. I guess its just the bastard in me.
http://cookiespeaks.blogspot.com/
http://reunionwritings.wordpress.com/

HONORARY MENTIONS:

Thirdmom has nominated five as well that are good. The ones that Wraith nominated were good as well. I also like two others just for their pure snark. Faux Claud is also another pure favorite to read as well.

http://lilwalnutbrain.blogspot.com/
http://ungratefullittlebastard.blogspot.com/
http://thirdmom.blogspot.com/
http://motherhooddeleted.blogspot.com/

Maybe if we extended this to 10 or 20.

TWO POSTS THAT I COMPEL AND CHALLENGE YOU TO READ

March 29, 2007

These two posts are ones that I challenge and compel everyone to read. The woman that wrote both of these is one of the most spunkiest, kindest, loving, compassionate, generous, open minded, smart, and talented women that I have ever ever had the pleasure of knowing. This woman would fit perfectly down here in Texas. Texans love women like her. She is along the same lines as Ann Richards and Molly Ivans but she is about adoption politics. She is a mother in my heart. She is a natural mom who fights for adoptee access laws up in New York. If you really want to feel impassioned by something, read this woman’s blog. She will inspire you to greater things. I know because she along with Mirah Riben, Marley Greiner, Mary Anne Cohen, and Betsey Holt have inspired to think outside the box known as adoption.

Two Powerful Posts By Faux Claud

http://soulofadoption.com/forum/index.php?topic=22078.msg257929;topicseen#msg257929

Sitting in the computer cache deep in the NY legislator’s recess, is a little bill numbered 9823. It will silently wait for the coming elections and the torch or responsibility to pass from one hand to another and sessions to begin again in January. Number A9823, or its companion bill in the Senate 446, bares the name “The Adoptee Rights Bill”. For thousands of adult adoptees and their families in our state much rests on the passing of 9823 if they are ever to be allowed to have the knowledge of their medical history, know their original names, or seek out their heritage. For thousands of families separated by adoption, this is their only hope. Many people might not care about number 9823 because it does not effect them. In fact, many people, including the legislators that need to vote on the bill, do not even understand the facts and principles behind the bill. It is actually quite interesting to see how little people really understand about adoption and it lifelong implications. It is one of those subjects that has many details and subtle nuances, plus as many different personal interpretations as there are people willing to listen and talk about it. Most of general society has only enough information about adoptees and adoption to fill in the basic plot of a bad made for TV movie or make some great tabloid’s headline. In other words, little in the way of hands on truth. Even without having first hand knowledge of the intrinsic ins and outs of adoption, in essence, number 9823 is very simple. The bill will allow an adult adoptee over the age of 18 to have access to their original birth certificate, called in the adoption circles, the much coveted OBC. Often, people don’t even know that adoptees do not have access to their OBC or know that they are sealed. Many an adoptee has been quite perplexed and then often enraged that the state can withhold this basic piece of information from them. After all, they declare, it is within their civil rights. It is their records, with their names on it, but in this state, only adoptees and those in the witness protection program are denied access. Even New York, considered a liberal “blue” progressive area, the status quo for adoption is based on antiquated laws. In 1935, the then acting NY Governor Lehman, an adoptive father, signed a bill making NY a sealed record state. As a portion of the estimated 6 million adoptees, our New York adoptees have two “official” birth certificates. The original one, which truthfully states the information about their physical birth, including their original names, their natural parents names, the hospital, doctor, date, time and weight, becomes forever sealed under a court of law when their adoption is finalized. At that point, the new adoptive parents are issued a new amended birth certificate which might or might not state the real birth information such as date, time, hospital and weight, and replaces the natural parents names with the adoptive parents names “as if” the child was born to them. The name of the child is also reborn and all identity from the point of finalization on is replaced. The OBC is forever more sealed under Domestic Relations law and never to be seen in the light of day by anyone. No one has access to it but the clerks that hold the keys and they are sworn to the subjective secrecy. The adoptive parents have no rights to it, not the adoptee, and not the original parents whose names are also listed. This 71 year old law continues to frustrate and mystify all to this day Some might ask why anyone would even care. To some adoptees denied, they want it because they cannot have it. It’s the mere principle. Given that all anyone usually has to do to obtain a copy of their birth certificate is write a letter to the county clerk from which they were born, state their pertinent information such as name, birth date, mother’s maiden name, a copy of one’s driver’s license and a 10 to 15 dollar fee; being treated differently simply because on is adopted is unconstitutional and prejudicial based on the situation of one‘s birth. The adoptee had no say as to the conditions of their birth and parentage, being the innocent party in decisions made by adults, and continues to be treated like the perpetual child in the eyes of the state. The United Nations seems to agree that children, even grown up children, do have rights to their identity. Article 8 of the 1989 drafted UN Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly states: 1. States Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference. 2. Where a child is illegally deprived of some or all of the elements of his or her identity, States Parties shall provide appropriate assistance and protection, with a view to re-establishing speedily his or her identity. To date, all nations have signed and ratified the UN convention and either currently have open records or are in the process of doing so. The US seems to think us above such flim flam and unimportant drivel like a Child’s Bill of Rights. To date, the US is one of two UN nations who have not incorporated the rights of a child. At least we are in good company as the other country, Somalia, is long known for it’s fair and human treatment of it’s people. Or maybe we should be thinking why we are in the same category with Somalia. Even if the United States as a whole, which was very discouraging in the last election, wants to make that statement to the world, at least NY should declare it’s humanity and listen to the what the UN has proposed over 16 years ago. Clearly, though, this bill is not based on just principles or an unknown UN convention as most people are not so idealistic. Violations of civil rights aside, adoptees can do all things with their amended birth certificates that all non adopted persons can do with their non alter birth certificates. They can get jobs, be enrolled in school, prove their citizenship, get a driver’s license, etc. even if the ABC looks “different” and sometimes even fake. The one thing that the OBC does that a ABC cannot do is give them their natural parents’ names. This is often the reason why the governments get all wiggy when asked to allow access. When adoptees want access to their OBCs it is usually because that would be the easiest way for them to search and find their natural parents. With internet databases galore literally at their fingertips, finding a lost family member is sometimes a quick click away, but still the search is hastened when one has the actual name of the person they seek. With the secrets of adoption and the silence of agencies swore to carry those secrets, the OBC is the clearest sure fire way to have that name. The question is: why does our government care about what family members we have contact with and why do they seek this control? The answers are deep within adoption history. To fully understand why adoption records should be open, one needs to comprehend why they were closed in the first place. Adoption first occurs in history not as a way of meeting the needs of neither a child nor the parents who wish to raise a child, but as a legal way to declare an heir for inheritance rights. While there have always been child who have a need for a family, the formal legal relationship though adoption was not necessary. People simply took in children when they could and raised them if needed. By the mid 1800’s conditions of industrialized cities, teeming with new immigrants, poverty and diseases, left thousands of homeless, parentless children and necessitate the birth of the Children’s Aid Society. Adoption, at this point still only seemed to seek homes for children as opposed to seeking children for homes though the motivations do begin to become corrupted early on. Around the time that NY’s records closed, down in Tennessee, Georgia Tann was beginning her evil rein as a baby stealer. Though perhaps she had good intentions in the beginning, Tann placed or sold over five thousand infants and small children under the age of six, frequently by lying to the children’s mothers, claiming still births or having them sign fraudulent paper work when they asked for help with medical expenses. Most of her victims were poor, uneducated and had no intentions of losing their children . Tann was reported to earn over a million dollars from such sales which continued on into the 1950‘s, but died before she could be held for her crimes. Many a doctor, lawyer, and social worker also received various profits from the transfer of parental rights from the poor to those who could pay for the privilege of being a parent. Prior to 1917, all birth certificates were a matter of public records until a Minnesota act closed the first set of state records and began the current trend. New York closed early in ‘35, and by 1960, there were only 20 states where the OBC was still available. The last state to fold was South Dakota in the 90’s. Only Alaska and Kansas remained open though out history. Whether it was influenced by the corruption and needed to cover tracks of those like Tann or truly had the noble intentions that we are told of today, the closed records were originally said to be a form of protection. Our Puritanical forefathers were all too quick to pass judgment on both mother and child if born out of wedlock and adoption was thought to spare a innocent babe from the stigma of illegitimacy. There were no social services nor day care for young mother at this time and being with child and unwed was much cause for speculation and ostracized from society. Women who succumbed to love and found their fertility to be an enemy, had little hope of finding home nor employment and turned to various charitable organizations in desperate need of help. Some of these homes, such as the Florence Critteon Homes, had ethical beginnings, housing and caring for women and children together until they were able to move on. They gave them support and medical care, parenting and job placement, but changed their focus as society’s and various “professionals” views were redirected. It was during this change of focus that closed records were thought to be best for all involved. The mother could free herself from the tell tale proof of her sinful digression, the child had the stamp of bastardization removed, and the adoptive parents were free from any undue influences and interference from the original mother. Infertility was not discussed and it was common for many an adoptive mother to fake her pregnancy and then pretend to all society that she had, in fact, born a child. Closed records enabled this deception. By the end of World War II, the adoption industry in America had all their ducks in a row. It was considered one’s “patriotic duty” to reproduce and create greater numbers of free American’s to combat the numbers born in communist Russia and China. The American dream was in full force, creating the suburban sprawl and the perfect family values we now hold dear. Coupled by war wounds and just general infertility as suffered by women, being “barren” and unable to produce the requisite 2.5 children was seen as a social flaw, but not openly addressed. Newly embracing the study of the human mind, social work become a true profession and many a social worker thought themselves more knowledgeable and infiltrated the maternity homes which were dens of social woes waiting to be ‘corrected“. With Freud as their guide, a woman who dared to exercise her sexuality was seen as “immoral” and deviant in mental nature. Rather than helping mothers and children the shift began to move to the realm of punishment: “Unwed mothers should be punished and they should be punished by taking their children away.” – Dr. Marion Hilliard of Women’s College Hospital, Daily Telegraph, (Toronto, November 1956) Also popular in the day, was the concept of eugenics. While much of the studies went underground in light of Hitler’s horrors, eugenics and adoption from that time still share a similar root of thought. Past beliefs about infant development and genetic importance were also influencing the act of adoption. Children were seen as “tabula rosa”, a blank slate, from which the adoptive parents and society could shape at will, forming a better race, since the children were removed from their dubious beginnings and given to more qualified parents. Often the only prerequisite to be a “better” parent was a “Mrs.” in front of the intended mother’s name and the ability to write a generous check.. Nurture trumped Nature and it was thought that the origins of one’s birth did not need to be addressed with any differential treatments. Many an adoptive parent was handed over a child and instructed to just “love like one’s own” and, that’s just what they did. It was frequent to hide the fact of a child’s adoption from all including the child and lie about one’s true origins well until adulthood. These thoughts provided the foundation for what is now to be called the “Baby Scoop Era”, the period in time from WWII to the passing of Roe vs. Wade, where an unwed pregnant woman had little choice at all to keep and raise her child. As self documented by the women who lived it in Ann Fessler’s The Girls Who Went Away, conditions at many of the homes were anywhere from cold and uncaring to downright cruel. Sent away and paid for by their own families, mother’s were drugged, strapped down, left to labor alone with no pain medication and treated with disdain, threatened with life long shame and poverty, made to feel worthless and bad. Often they were lied to, tricked to sign paperwork and threatened with various medical repayments if they dared to desire their own children or question their rights and abilities to parent themselves. The great majority of “girls” didn’t forget their first babies and failed to “get over it” as they were told but waited in shame and secrecy, always wondering about their first born but believing that, with sealed records, there was nothing that could be done. Truthfully, it was a social experiment gone wrong. What we have seen of human nature though time proves it. While many good adoptive homes were formed, the ideal and the reality of perfect adoptive parents has not erased the need of an adoptee to know their origins. Many adoptive parents were hurt when they found that their love alone were not enough and their adult child still wondered about their life before adoption, though this is really no judgment about the quality of love nor care. Likewise, the threats and promises made to the mothers also proved to be untrue . Women simply do not forget the babies that they cradled and natured in their wombs for 9 months. Despite removing all evidence of the birth, these women went thought the biological and emotional changes that made them mothers and they continued to walk about as exiled from their young, forever hiding their wounds. What was protected by sealed records is now accepted as normal human nature. Slowly, our societies views on premarital sex and single motherhood began to morph, as adoptees reached legal age and mother’s began to free themselves from shame, and the need for closure, clarity, and truth has shed new light on the emotions surrounding adoption. No longer could the agencies use shame to manipulate a woman for adoption nor could the industry ignore what was so obvious, both mothers and children faired better if information could be exchanged. Plus with the ability of birth control and the legalization of abortion and the stigma lifted from single motherhood, less children were being placed. This began the new dawn of adoption as we see it today. Though now the trend of many adoptions are “open”, sharing various information regarding identity, medical history, with shared pictures and letter, visits, and life long contact, there is still little hope for those who were born or gave birth during the times of the past. The face of adoption has changed with new advances in the nature of human responses, but the laws still remain the same, ignorant to new information and ways of thinking. Opposing any signs of opening sealed records is the National Council for Adoption. This group is funded and complied from heads of agencies that have a vested interest in maintaining status quo. Despite it’s official sounding name, the NCFA is a lobby group and support for agencies and other adoption professionals, not individuals affected by adoption, and that is their directive. Opening records will lead to reunions. Reunions spread the truth about one’s relinquishment. Many agencies fear that the stories they told to the hopeful adoptive parents and passed on to the children, “the babies mother was just unable to care for babe so she thought it best to give the baby a better life“, can be questioned once the mothers are found and the lack of choice regarding the actual surrender of the child is brought into the light of day. What the moms remember as truth of their treatment greatly conflicts with the fairy tales that agencies have told. Possible reunions also question the agencies directive that “just love him or her as if they were your own”, when it is clear that many adoptees need what their adoptive parents do not possess, the origin of their beginnings. The NCFA is joined by the Pro-life movement and together they attempt to connect the idea of open records to abortion. According to various propaganda, they help maintain the myth that if women were not protected by the confidentiality of adoption, then they will turn to abortion instead to keep their secrets of pregnancy. Fortunately, they cannot back any of these claims with facts. Alaska and Kansas, the two states who never closed their records, have always had a lower number of abortions preformed per state when compared to the surrounding geographical areas. When sealed adoption records were opened in Alabama, the abortion rates actually began to decline in state. The industry of adoption itself saw a marked increase in available babies and women considering adoption when the induction of no shame and secrecy created open adoptions according to the a Wall Street Journal article. Many an agency had their supply of babies almost dry up before introducing various open situations to their programs and saw a huge influx of interest. The bottom line is that a woman is more apt to look into adoption for an unplanned pregnancy, rather than abort, if she believes she will have continued contact with her child.

By far, though, the greatest resistance to any pending open records legislation, is the stigma that they still try to attach to the mothers who had relinquished. Laws that were created to provide for ease when harvesting her children and protect the new adoptive parents from her are suddenly getting redefined as there for her “protection”. The former deviant and immoral woman has become a productive member of “normal” society but with a tenuous hold on her place. She is thought to still be a scared impressionable young girl who has followed the orders of family and society and “never spoken about this again”. Hiding the secret of her shame, she has married, had other children and now managed to blend into daily life. Even our Albany politicians get very worried about what will happen to the mystical unknown “Birth” mother if her prodigal child dares to knock up her door and turn her carefully constructed world upside down. With cries of “promised confidentially”, the opposition of open adoption records continue to ignore the facts and research. The great majority of relinquishing mothers were never promised privacy nor confidentiality and if they were, it was not something that they ever asked for nor wanted. Studies by Cornell University and the Child Welfare League state that 86 to 96% of mothers want to know their children. Often when an adult adopted person begins a quest, the real names of their parents of origins are found within the adoption paperwork held by the adoptive parents. If there were promises, many were broken long ago by the agencies and social workers who allowed the names to slip out. They had ,in actuality, not made promises to the mothers, but rather the implied promises were for the adoptive parents so they could be free from the meddlesome interventions of the unwilling and heartbroken mothers. For the real feelings of the exiled mothers all we have to do is look into history. New South Wales has had unsealed records for over 20 years. Like all the new legislation, including New York’s bill number 9823, they have built in confidentiality clauses, called consent vetoes and preferences. The concept is simple. When an adoptee asks for their records, the parents of birth are contacted before anything is released. At that point, the mother, and father if found, may choose to allow their names released on the OBC, choose what form of contact they prefer ( phone calls, letter, another intermediary to assist) or to remain in their privacy. In this way the mother, since we worry most about her, is protected from the “horror” of having her long lost child appear on her doorstep. In NSW, during the first 10 year period less than 6% of the mothers of adoption loss used the veto option. After ten years they had to reapply, and the number that continued to warrant veto use was so small that it was less than 1%. Adoption recommendations for new NSW legislation calls for the dissolution of the veto as they just do not see a need for it at all. The state of Oregon which televised it’s battled to open records including testimonials from a handful of “Jane Doe” mothers, released it’s five year statistics. In that time, 8,190 birth certificates were issued, only 503 birth parents filled out contact preference forms and only 83 chose “No contact” following the 1% rule. In New Hampshire, the last number reported for “no contact” was 11 out of the 701 OBC applications making the facts pretty universally clear. Exiled mothers do not fear their children and support being contacted. Despite it being technically illegal, many stopped being helpless young girls and figured out that they were never going to “get over it” and began to search themselves. Many others report that they do not care how they are contacted, as long as they are. The internet is filled with countless search and reunion registries, search “angels” who have sources for inside information, and the names and dates of millions, adoptees, exiled mothers, and adoptive parents trying to find their lost family members. Currently the only supported recourse for searching in New York state is the Adoption Information registry under the Department of Health. The NY registry is like many of the Mutual Consent Voluntary Registries ( MCVRs) in various US states and the only means of reunion supported by the NCFA lobby group. The thought behind MCVRs is that if both parties are willing to have contact, and they both register, then a match is made. The problem is that the great majority, including NY state is grossly understaffed, under-funded and under-publicized. Passive reunion registries, where one just signs up and waits, have a success rate between 1.5 and 10%, some states can only report a handful of “found” registrars despite being in business for 15 years. A more active registry which assists in finding a family member brandishes an 80% find rate, but these are not state sanctioned nor funded. NY’s registry is also limited to those born and adopted in NY, so anyone born and adopted outside of the state is barred from the limited assistance and stuck in limbo. NY does allow biological siblings to register for an adoptee lost to the family and will pass on “non-identifying” information with out consent. “Non-identifying” information is basic information relating to nationality, parental age, birth details, that might have been available a the time of an adoptees birth. It is suppose to give the adoptee everything but the means of finding out the identity and making contact with the parents of origins. The problem with non identifying information is it is based often on the whim of the person and the availability of the records. While some later adoptees can find enough information to really get a good picture of who they are, some might even get enough to start a successful search, many only get a generic basis: “Caucasian mother, father had blue eyes, good health” which is hardly enough to answer many questions that plague adoptees through life, but that is all the state is willing to do right now. Adoptees have shown that they want more than just generic genetics. They wonder where they get their traits and talents from. They long to look into a face that resembles their own, a condition of biological parenting called Genetic Mirroring. They want to know to the stories of their births, not just their pick-ups. They deserve to know the stories of their ancestry, how great grandfather was a moon shiner, or nutty Aunt Betty was a dancer in Paris. Adoption’s legacy of sealed records has permeated our society so much that the National Genealogical Council’s newsletter claims that in 4 generations about half of the countries true roots and genealogy will be bogus. Grafting branches of trees onto other trees might work for hybridization and agriculture, but makes a mockery or what we know as advanced science. Probably the most profound and understandable reason for an adoptee to search out their origins is for the obtainment of their medical history. This does not just effect the immediate adoptee, but their children and their offspring. A great majority of adoptees will enter a search in order to find out what disease and health risks they truly have inherited. Being barred from searching for this truth is in direct conflict of the advisories made by the US General’s Family Health Initiative which cautions us to do this research for our own good. While the current NY passive registry will allow for the transfer of medical history, they will not find a person no matter how dire an emergency. Also to consider that the medical information known and left by a young woman whose parents still live will be much less than the medical information passed on by a more mature adult who now knows what she, her parents, and her siblings have suffered. With the technological advances in medical sciences and genetic links to many of the ailments that plague us, denying the true medical heritage is putting a large population at risk and denying them adequate and preventative health care, causing an increasing financial drain on our already rising healthcare costs. In the case of a true medical emergency, an applicant can put forth to a judge to get the adoption records open for “good cause”. Unfortunately, even in matters of life and death, good cause applications are rarely granted, When applicants say they need medical history for their own health crisis, requests often are denied leaving those desperate to take matters into their own hands and conduct an illegal search. There is no reason for a government to cause further strife to a person seeking a basic fundamental right. But there are those in Albany that worry about family members getting in touch with other family members. They think that doing that causes risks. Even though in New South Wales 20 year history of open records, there was only one documented incident of an adoptee not honoring the veto request, some of our legislators still think that adult adoptees cannot be trusted to take no as an answer. Even after talking to calm, intelligent members of our tax paying society who happen to have lost their children to adoption, they still fear “what kind” of woman might be at the end of the search. And a small number still seem to get confused and wonder how “this searching stuff” will effect the “poor adoptive parents” who only wanted a baby, never mind that the babies are now thinking feeling tax payers themselves with rights and onions. Adoptees report that 96% felt that a reunion has not changed the relationship that they have with their adoptive families and that 2/3 or adoptees in reunions find it satisfactory and are “friends” with the natural parents of birth. In fact, open records is the one issue in adoption that all triad members seem to agree on. Cornell University reports that the greater majority of adoptive parents support unsealing our records and the adoptees feel closer to their parents for their support. Even when a reunion does not go as planned and expectations are built more on fantasy, most adoptees will report that :knowing is better than unknowing” and most moms are happy just to know that the babies they born are still alive and prospering as hoped for. Some of our legislators even have tried to introduce their own version of records bills that only make a mockery of the principles and cause further unnecessary discrimination. Senator Saland of Poughkeepsie is convince that the mothers of adopted children were promised anonymity and has introduced a laughable proactive bill, S7392 which allows for a child adopted after bill’s enactment be allowed to access identifying information. It will be the only upon the consent of the natural parent’s at the time of birth and can be revoked at any time. This information and consent shall be entered into the faulty NY registry. It has nothing to do with the discriminatory action of denying adult adoptees access to their birth certificates, but will allow it to continue. The adoptee no matter when they are born will still have a sealed OBC. What it might do is allow for an ease of searching in the future, but a great number of adoptions that are happening now will have little use for searching anyway as the parties involved are opting for open adoptions. As more opt for open situations, the sealed aspect of the OBC is often moot anyway. Educated moms are requesting additional copies of the birth certificates before the adoptions are finalized and retaining copies of themselves, for the intended adoptive parents and for the child’s later use in life. Even with copies of the sealed certificate in hand, Saland’s bill will still make the government guilty in the bias of denying a basic human right and treat adoptee’s differently. It is also worthy to note that Senator Saland is an adoptive parent, so any law that helps allow only later adoptees to searching and finding their heritage will not disrupt his families existence, Though one does wonder what he might feel if, say, one of his children or grandchildren finds themselves in need of a bone marrow transplant or a new kidney. There is hope for number 9823. This year past year, it silently moved out of a ten year stalemate in the judiciary committee where Helene Weinstein from Brooklyn sat on it. It went into the Health Committee and after extensive lobbing, passed into codes in June. The future of Codes committee looks bright with enough support for it to pass, and at one point it must journey into Ways and Means. Sponsored by Senator Larkin in the Senate who is an adoptive grandfather, and Koons in the Assembly, it keeps on gathering more multi sponsors and support. Even Ulster county’s Kevin Cahill finally got on board. With luck this coming elections and more appointments to Lobby the Albany halls of marble planned, this little bill might just do the trick. Slipping under the radar of the NCFA, and with much needed support of The Catholic Archdiocese of Albany, New York might be able to avoid the dog and pony show that has confused the issues and made adoptees’ rights the causalities in other states such as Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maine this past year. It is hoped that New York can join the ranks of Alaska, Kansas, Alabama, Tennessee, Delaware, Oregon and New Hampshire and be the 8th state in the union to recognize that adoptees have just as much right to their birth certificates as any one else on the street. New York should be able to realize that adult adoptees can enter into relationships with anyone they choose even if that person happened to give birth to them.

A CALL FOR A CHANGE IN ATTITUDE AND RESPECT FOR ALL

March 27, 2007

I have just spent the last couple of days arguing with a person who is very angry at adoptive parents. Let me say this much. I get why she is angry. You don’t even have to explain why. I understand that she is a first mother in pain. I understand she lost her son to the closed era. I understand her parents forced her. I understand that the agency treated her like crap. I totally get this. The way that I look at it is this ~ I am a mother. I could not handle someone else raising my children other than my husband and I. I could not live the rest of my life not knowing my children. If every adoptive parent would look at this in this manner, you would understand exactly where this type of person is coming from. I don’t care what you say. I have heard them all even from my own adoptive parents. One of them is ” Well she was an adult ~ she gave up her rights and she knew what she was doing.” When the only choice a woman can make is adoption, you don’t get to make a choice. When there was no support systems in place for women to keep their children, you don’t get to make a choice. The women from the closed era have dealt with this. Women to this day are still persecuted for having children. Men are not and are not even held accountable. That is my biggest fear for my daughters. In this day and age when Medicaid services send you to a crisis pregnancy center to be harassed to give your child up for adoption. That is coercion. This is all before giving a woman the result of her pregnancy test which she already knows the answer. That is why we must make changes. All of us. That means you Adoptive Parents. You have to come to terms with your infertility and other issues. It is not your fault that an adoptee searches. It is also not your place to sit in judgement of the natural parents. You were not in their shoes. You can not say what you would have done in their shoes.

I have said this repeatedly. When you diminish your child’s natural parents, you diminish your child. When you diminish the adoptive parents, you are also diminishing your child. Your child was raised by someone else. Your child was loved by someone else. It may not have been ideal. It may have been abusive. That adoptive parent is still a part of your child. Adoptive parents for the most part only want a child. Isn’t how you feel? Even when you were pregnant with your child. You wanted your child. Is it really their fault that adoption agencies were cruel and punishing? How are they even supposed to know? My own adoption agency had a superior reputation. I have found out that they treated mothers the same way if not worse than many others. There are situations like the Rashad Head case, Allison Quets, Stephanie Bennett and many many more where the adoptive parents knew exactly what was going on. Shame on them. I am the first to condemn them. When you don’t have full parental consent from both the mother and the father after the birth of the child, it is child stealing. Many of the adoptive parents that I have spoken with via my blog and other forums are just as appalled and condemning in those situations.

When I see adoptive parents and natural parents feuding like this, I am appalled. Folks we must get past this. As an adoptee, I am part of both the nature and the nurture. I feel like property when adoptive parents say that their adoptee is a gift from God. Adoption is a man made societal experiment. I find it hard to believe that God supports the destroying of a potential family. I find it hard to believe that God supports the tearing down of woman to get what she has. Yes adoption agencies do just that. At the same time, I am no longer your lost child. I am an adult. I know that you see me as that baby. I understand that we have to come across alot of road in a short span of time. I am constantly torn between both sides of the battle. If you want adoption to be reformed, then stand up and be counted. I understand that some of you would like it abolished. To reform adoption, to make adoption agencies and their attorneys accountable is a step in the right direction. Do you realize that they like it when we argue like we do? Dissension amongst the troops lets them continue to do what they want. We must be a united front. I am still an adoptee torn between two sets of people. Its time for us to stand up and make our voices heard. Its time for the state legislators across this country to see us as the sanity in the world of adoption.

When you think about adoption as it should be, remember it is supposed to be about the child. Not about the adoptive parents nor the natural parents. Today it has become about the adoptive parents. It is about finding that perfect child for the adoptive parents. Adoptees did not have a choice in this thing called adoption. In 45 states we still don’t have a choice. Adoptees may not want to search. They may regret searching. They may want to search for medical information. They may even want to know their natural parents. There are times when the tempers are flaring so badly that I do feel that it should up to the adoptees. Then I think again adoptees, natural parents and adoptive parents should have access to the original birth certificate. All should be allowed access to the adoption paperwork. All should be allowed copies of the adoption paperwork. Any information concerning medical information does need to be kept private. As long as we keep arguing the way that we do, it will stay the same. Every story is different, we need to accept that. We have to move forward and fight the laws that interfere with our lives.

AN ADOPTEE’S VIEW ON "ITS NOT ABOUT YOU"

March 26, 2007

http://musingsofthelame.blogspot.com/2007/03/its-not-about-you-but-it-is.html

Faux Claud never ceases to amaze me. Sometimes she just gets it. Here I have been pondering this very same topic. We have to get it together. All of our stories are different. All of our histories bring a different point of view. WE must have a centralized voice.

I got an email from a list that I am on. It set me on fire. The Gladney Center and a Ms. Heidi Cox told this person that she had better compromise on this new bill. Now I don’t like this bill. It puts the adoptee at a financial disadvantage. It makes the adoptee financially responsible for the confidential intermediary. It also requires that first parents must give a full medical disclosure. It is also a contact veto, not a contact preference. If the first mother refuses contact, the adoptee gets nada. This group has compromised all that it can. It is not willing to compromise any further. Ms. Heidi Cox point blank said that she would kill this bill. I did forward the email onto my legislator here in Texas. Sorry folks this kind of tyranical, egomaniac type of person ticks me off royally.

This post is a call out for all of us. I am doing same thing as Faux Claud. WE need to stand up. The adoption agencies, attorneys, and their lobbyists are the ones writing these laws. We have the law cases backing us up. We just have to look at Oregon and Tennessee. Both of those court cases supported what we have been saying for years.

They have been putting out myths about us for years. We need to tell our stories. WE LIVE ADOPTION. The laws should reflect our choices. Not the choices of adoption agencies, attorneys, and their lobbyists. They profit from adoption. We don’t. Its time for all of us to stand up and make them hear us.

99% of first parents don’t want confidentiality. They will tell you that they were not promised it. There is no contract signed with that promise. What more proof does our legislators need? How many first parents do they have speak to understand this point? When many many women have suffered deep depression, post traumatic stress disorder, low self esteem, and many other things, isn’t it time to change things? When adoptees want the answers lost to them, are we ever going to listen to them? It is time to change the laws in this country. It is not about those that profit from adoption. It is about those that live adoption. Let us make the laws that govern us.

A COLORADO BILL

March 25, 2007

Bill expands adoption
It would allow ‘second parent’ to get legal rights
Steven R. Nickerson © News Debra Johnson, who has two children with her partner, Barb, waves to supporters after testifying Thursday for the adoption bill. “I am here for my kids,” said Johnson, who worries about what would happen to the children if something happened to her.

By Alan Gathright, Rocky Mountain News March 9, 2007
The sponsor of the bill says it’s a common-sense measure to help children of single parents.
Focus on the Family says the bill is a back-door effort to legalize adoption by gay couples.
On Thursday, a House panel sided with sponsor Rep. Alice Madden, D-Boulder. House Bill 1330, dubbed the “Second Parent Adoption Bill,” swiftly advanced on an 8-3 vote in the Health and Human Services Committee.
“More than half of children in the United States are in nontraditional homes, like a single mom or single parent or with a grandparent,” Madden, House majority leader, said Thursday.
“This bill would allow more Colorado children to have two parents,” she said. “Children don’t choose their parents, and society shouldn’t put up obstacles to two-parent homes.”
Under current state law, only single people (gay or straight)or married couples can adopt, Madden said. That bars cohabitating couples (gay or straight) from adopting.
HB 1330 would allow a child’s adopted or birth parent to support adoption by a second parent.
The bill has been condemned by conservative religious groups, including Focus on the Family, who call it a thinly disguised effort to legalize adoption by gay couples.
“All the high-minded discussion of ‘protecting children’ and ‘parental responsibility’ is merely a smokescreen for the true intent of this legislation: paving the way for homosexual adoption,” Jim Pfaff, president of Colorado Family Action, was quoted as saying on the Focus on the Family Web site Wednesday.
He said the bill ignores the wishes of Colorado voters, who last year overwhelmingly defeated Referendum I, which would have legalized domestic partnerships and gay adoption.
This is Madden’s third attempt to get the bill passed. Earlier efforts died in committee when Republicans controlled the legislature. With Democrats in charge, Madden is confident it will reach the desk of Gov. Bill Ritter, who has indicated he would sign it.
Adoption specialists testified that current restrictions in state adoption laws hamper gays and heterosexuals alike, including grandparents, aunts and uncles.
Often, relatives are raising a family member’s children but can’t provide them with health insurance coverage unless they adopt the children. But they can’t adopt if the child’s biological mother and father refuse to renounce their parental rights.
“In my opinion, this bill protects the best interest of kids,” said Cynthia Newkirk-Noah, associate director of The Adoption Alliance, a nonprofit adoption agency. “It offers protection and peace of mind to both the parent and to the children.”
At the hearing, Madden said the bill also would prevent abortion, for example, in the case of a teen who becomes pregnant but can’t support her child.
She cited the example of a 16- year-old Pueblo girl whose baby was denied health insurance coverage under her parents’ policy.
Under the bill, the teen wouldn’t have to renounce her parental rights in order for her parents to adopt the baby and provide health coverage.
During the hearing, Judi von Gaia told how after her son, Brandon, was born 17 years ago, she and her female partner moved for 18 months to Washington state, where it was legal for his nonbiological parent to adopt him.
“We were concerned that he could be ripped away from us, if I were to die . . . and taken away from his other parent,” she said.
Rep. Spencer Swalm, R-Centennial, warned that the bill was a troubling step toward broadening the traditional family structure.
“I don’t think it’s an accident that the traditional family structure has served not just our society but civilization over the eons so well,” said Swalm, who voted no.
What about nontraditional families?
Colorado singles (gay or straight) or married couples can adopt. Cohabitating couples cannot. House Bill 1330 supporters say it would update the law to serve children in nontraditional families. Here are some examples of legal obstacles under existing law:
SINGLE TEENS
• A pregnant single teen doesn’t want to abort or give her baby up for adoption. If the teen’s parents want to help raise the baby, however, insurance firms can deny the infant health coverage under the parents’ policy. The only way the girl’s parents can adopt their grandchild and provide health coverage is if the teen renounces her parental rights. The bill would allow the teen to choose a parent (or aunt, uncle or grandparent) to become a second adoptive parent, while retaining her own parental rights.
GAY PARTNERS
• A lesbian gives birth or adopts and her live-in partner works to support the family. Currently, the partner can’t adopt the child. If the birth mother dies, her parents could fight the nonlegal mother for custody based on Colorado law protecting grandparents’ visitation rights. The bill would help avoid a court battle by allowing the biological mom to choose her partner to be an adoptive parent.
GRANDPARENTS
• Grandparents have raised their granddaughter, 5, because the mother has substance abuse issues. The grandfather’s health insurance won’t cover the girl because the grandparents cannot adopt her unless the birth mother gives up her parental rights. If Grandpa dies, the child won’t get his Social Security. The bill would allow the widowed grandmother, worried about who will care for the child if she dies, to choose another adult daughter or son to adopt the child.
FOREIGN ADOPTIONS
• A single woman adopts a girl in China. If the woman dies before appointing a child guardian in her will, the child could end up in foster care. The bill would allow the adoptive mother to designate a sibling or other relative to become the second adoptive parent.
Sample of gay adoption laws
• Arizona: Permits single GLBT* adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption unclear.
• California: Permits single GLBT and joint adoption. Second-parent adoption allowed.
• Colorado: Permits single GLBT adoption. Does not clearly prohibit joint gay adoption. Second-parent adoption not allowed.
• Florida: Prohibits single and joint gay adoption.
• Illinois: Permits single GLBT and couples adoption. Second-parent adoption allowed.
• Michigan: Permits single GLBT adoption. Prohibits joint adoption. Second-parent adoption unclear.* Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered Source: About.Com
or 303-954-5486
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BASTARD NATION’S ACTION ALERT

March 24, 2007

This is for all Massachusetts’ bastards. They want to separate us. They want to put us into different classes. They want to blacklist certain adoptees. Bastard Nation of which I am a member does not believe in separating adoptees. I believe all adoptees should have access to their records. Folks, plain and simple, we need to fight this kind of legislation. The Massachusett legislature does not get it. Now this type of legislation has drawn the ire of both the Safe Haven groups and the Right to Life groups.

What they don’t understand is that abortion and adoption have nothing to do with each other. Women don’t go running from adoption because of open records. They do run to abortion because of closed records. It is a basic principle. Could you spend the rest of your life not knowing if your child was alive or dead, if your child was thriving with his/her “forever family”, and if your child was happy? Many of you would say a resounding “NO.” Yet you expect women to make that choice and be joyful and blessed with that decision. Most women are not happy and joyful about that decision. The so called way adoption was supposed to be is not the way it is. Look at all us adoptees speaking about adoption. Look at all the first mothers speaking out now. Look at all the adoptive parents speaking out against adoption as it used to be. The legislators should be listening to us. Not adoption agencies, their attorneys, and most definitely their lobbyists. The right to lifers and the safe haven groups do not live adoption. We do. These laws affect us. It should be our decision on them.

This article below nails it to the wall. It is written by Marley Greiner. She has put this out for all to read. It is time for us to fight back against these types of laws. Write legislators, newspapers, and others to make our voices heard.

March 22, 2007

If the legislature has its way, some Massachusetts adoptees may soon find themselves on a state-established blacklist that bars them from accessing their own original birth certificates because of the date of their birth. Other adoptees, however, born, during the “correct” timeframes will be allowed access. Blacklist Bills SB 63 and SB 77, passed unanimously on March 21, by the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Disabled Persons create two categories of adoptees. Adoptees born on or before July 14, 1974 and on or after January 1, 2008 will be allowed unconditional access to their original birth certificates now sealed by the state. Adoptees born between those dates, will continue to be governed by current Massachusetts adoption law and forced to get a court order to get their own birth certificates. If they’re lucky.Adoptees and their families should look their legislators in the eye and ask the very important question: what makes one adoptee worthy and another one not? And tell them SB 63 and SB 77 are not acceptable–for anybody. SB 63 and SB 77 turn back the clock. While other states, including neighboring New Hampshire, move forward to restore the right of all adopted persons to access their own birth certificates and other state-held records about themselves, Massachusetts lawmakers have decided to toss thousands of the state’s adoptees in a 34 year black hole. These politicians claim that the state needs to “honor” promises it allegedly made to women who relinquished between the black hole dates (including the rest of this year!) that their names would not be revealed to their offspring. These “implied promises” have been debunked by legal scholars, activists, natural mothers, and the documents themselves which offer no promises implied or otherwise.Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization is the largest adoptee rights group in North America. We advocate for unconditional access to original birth documents for ALL ADOPTED ADULTS. Bastard Nation vigorously opposes SB 63 and AB 77. We are outraged by the discriminatory actions of the Joint Committee. Bastard Nation leaves no adoptees behind. Neither should Massachusetts.

AN INDY STAR ARTICLE

March 24, 2007

Star fights to open adoption court case

Paper wants state’s challenge of complex out-of-state adoption to be debated in public
Multimedia

PDF: Petition for Access
PDF: Request for Evidentiary Hearing

By Kevin Corcoran
kevin.corcoran@indystar.com

An Indiana appeals court soon will begin reviewing in secret the case of a single 60-year-old New Jersey man who hired a surrogate mother to deliver twin girls for him. IN THE LEGISLATUREIndiana lawmakers are considering legislation that would make it a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine to accept anything of value for arranging surrogate births in the state.• Senate: The Indiana Senate passed Senate Bill 199 by a 48-0 vote Feb. 27 and sent the measure authored by Sen. Patricia L. Miller, R-Indianapolis, to the House.• House: In the House, Rep. Peggy Welch, D-Bloomington, is the sponsor. The measure has not been scheduled for a hearing by the House Judiciary Committee.IN THE BEGINNINGWhen legal adoption began in the United States, all records were open.• History: Adoption records filed in Indiana before July 9, 1941, were open at the time they were filed and remain open today. But by 1960, more than half of all states had shut down access to modern adoption records, often in response to a 1941 amendment to the Social Security Act that required child welfare records be kept confidential. Some states seeking to meet the federal mandate interpreted this to include adoption files.• Elsewhere: No state makes adoption records from recent decades available to the general public, but at least 35 states, not including Indiana, allow access to non-identifying information. The Indianapolis Star on Thursday filed a petition to open records in the case, which is pitting Indiana’s adoption secrecy law against the public’s right to know how the courts do business.Indiana’s adoption community was roiled by the adoptions of Kathy Zee and Karen Zaria Melinger that followed their premature births at Methodist Hospital in April 2005.Today, the girls are almost 2 and living in Union City, N.J., with their adoptive father, Stephen F. Melinger.The Indiana Department of Child Services is challenging the Melinger adoptions. Child welfare officials have told the Indiana Court of Appeals they intend to question whether the children were hard to place and thus eligible for an out-of-state adoption, according to a person who has seen the court filings. Hard-to-place children can have issues such as a physical or mental disability or a health problem.State officials also have told the court there were violations of interstate laws meant to ensure children placed for adoption across state lines end up in safe homes.The Star, in its petition, said the public’s interest would be served by having the legal debate take place in public.”There is an incredible amount of interest in the issue of adoption,” Star Editor Dennis Ryerson said. “This one raises critical questions about child welfare, how the courts operate, and guardians ad litem. There is a public interest in knowing if things worked as they should have.”The girls’ adoptions drew the state’s attention after hospital employees raised concerns about Melinger’s ability to care for the girls before they were discharged from a neonatal intensive-care unit.He showed up in Methodist’s neonatal unit to visit the girls with a live bird in the left sleeve of his suit jacket and, later, bird feces on his clothing.A juvenile court judge allowed public access in 2005 to the Melinger child welfare case file, which included information about the adoptions, citing the legal and ethical issues raised by the case. Several months later, a different trial judge removed the child welfare file from public view.The clerk of Indiana’s appellate courts, Kevin S. Smith, won’t disclose records in the appeal, citing a state law that makes adoption filings strictly secret. Some Indiana lawmakers say his stance takes their goal of creating a zone of privacy around adoptions too far.”The principals involved in that case are not confidential,” said Senate Judiciary Chairman Richard D. Bray, R-Martinsville. “That’s public policy.”A constitutional challengeThe Star argues that the clerk’s denial violated the Indiana Constitution and rights of access under the First Amendment to records the appellate judges will rely on to issue their ruling. The first substantive document, a brief by the state laying out its legal arguments, is due April 9.State lawmakers have given the Indiana Supreme Court wide latitude to set disclosure rules for the state’s courts, while making adoption records strictly secret. Under the court’s administrative rules, petitions for access to confidential court records must show extraordinary circumstances that justify making them public.The Star’s petition argues that the benefit of openly debating the Melinger adoptions outweighs any harm from further publicizing the children’s names and the circumstances surrounding their births.The petition also questions the constitutionality of Indiana’s adoption secrecy law, arguing the legislature overstepped its bounds by passing a law telling the judiciary that adoption records cannot be disclosed.”There is a presumption of openness in the operations of our courts, and it’s important to preserve that,” Ryerson said.Melinger’s attorney, Steven C. Litz, won’t talk about the case. His Monrovia-based company, Surrogate Mothers, advertises for clients, surrogates and egg donors on the Internet and arranged the twins’ births to a then-23-year-old South Carolina woman.Melinger has not returned phone calls to his New Jersey home. After taking a leave of absence to adopt the girls in Indiana, he is back at Roosevelt Elementary School in Union City as an instructor, according to the school’s Web site.Hamilton Superior Court Judge William J. Hughes, who handled the adoptions, won’t comment, citing criminal penalties for disclosing adoption records.An attorney for Shelley Hiles Haymaker, the children’s Hamilton County guardian ad litem, or court-appointed child advocate, said Haymaker would review The Star’s filing. “We will let the process take its course and act in what we think is the best interest of the girls,” said attorney Timothy Stoesz.Degrees of secrecyHamilton County attorney Steven M. Kirsh, who helped write the state’s adoption laws, said adoption records should remain out of public view, regardless of how high-profile the case is.Kirsh said adoptive parents’ privacy would be invaded if home studies that included personal information were publicly available. In other instances, adopted children might not want birth parents to find them because those parents abused or neglected them, he said.State Rep. Bob Kuzman, a Democrat from Crown Point who was adopted, said he favors confidentiality to protect families. But he said significant adoption cases should be handled by courts in an open process.Courts across the country appear to allow varying degrees of public access to adoption records during appeals. Rulings by appellate courts in Indiana have always been public.However, The Star’s petition notes the state’s adoption secrecy law was written so broadly it appears to prohibit the issuance of public court rulings in adoption disputes.These rulings are published by online services such as Westlaw and Lexis and in hardbound law books so attorneys and judges can refer to them for legal guidance. A review of Indiana adoption opinions shows they sometimes refer to the parties by name, including the children. They also disclose details about what transpired in secret before the trial court and quote from closed adoption records.Some favor opennessKatrina Carlisle, an adoption counselor with St. Elizabeth/Coleman Pregnancy & Adoption Services, said she would prefer that adoption records were public, as long as birth mothers are informed from the outset.”The stigma of having a baby and not being married is much less today,” she said. “We have many women now who are proud of their choice.”In addition, Carlisle and other advocates say, the Melinger records should be opened to shed light on steps taken to ensure the girls’ welfare.”The case has already been opened and been in the paper so much, I don’t see how keeping this particular case closed is in the best interests of children,” said Cynthia K. Booth, an attorney and executive director of Indianapolis-based Child Advocates.A member of her staff regularly supervised Melinger’s visits with the twins at the request of Marion County’s juvenile court while they were in foster care.Booth said she would like to know how the trial judge was able to reopen the adoption case months after issuing the initial adoption decree. She also has questions about the process used to determine the children would be safe in New Jersey.”Sometimes the light of day is really good for cases involving children.

Here is my response in their comment section

Now the Star knows what it means to be an adoptee in the state of Indiana. They won’t even allow adoptees to see their own records. Adoptees have to have someone look at them for them. We are the forever children of adoption. Well I am all grown up. It should be my right to view records that record my birth. It is not up to the state legislature nor the adoption agencies of the state. Adoption agencies use this secrecy thing to cover up what they did to the women back then. What they did was not a pretty picture. Prison inmates were given better treatment than the Girls Who Went Away. Adoption records should be open to those actively living adoption. This includes adoptees, their birth parents, and their adoptive parents. But no we are the forever children of adoption.

Here is my letter to the author of the article:

Dear Mr. Corcoran:

I believe the Indy Star is just now finding out what adoptees, first parents and adoptive parents have been saying for years. I have been fighting with the state legislature for the last year. Many many others have been fighting this long before I came along.

You see, I am an Indiana adoptee. I even had Ms. Carlisle find my first mother. Because of the confidentiality issue, I and thousands like me are not allowed to even see their own records. We are the product of adoption yet we can’t even look at them. My own adoptive parents aren’t even allowed to look at them. If adoptees and their families live adoption, don’t you think that we should be able to decide the legislation concerning our records? Sadly that is not the case. It is the adoption agencies, adoption attorneys like Mr. Kirsh, and the National Council for Adoption that decide for us.

One of the arguments is birth mother confidentiality. Lets look at this. In abortion, contraception, and parenting, women are exercising their right to privacy. In adoption, women sign away ALL their rights when they sign the relinquishment paperwork. In both Oregon and Tennessee, the Appellent courts and Supreme Courts in both of these states have seen this. In Oregon, adoption rates have increased. In both New Hampshire and Oregon, birth parents refusing contact is 1%. Yep a very low number. Yet Indiana law continues to protect them over the rest of us. Another number that was interesting. .4% want contact with a Confidential Intermediary which is what Katrina Carlisle is. Yes POINT FOUR PERCENT. In Oregon this numbers have been consistent for the last five years. New Hampshire has the same statistics.

The bad thing with confidential intermediaries is they control the conversation that they have with our families. If one of them is having a bad day, then that affects the conversation. How do I know? I work for Cingular Wireless as a customer service representative. I know that I control the conversation. It is up to me to make sure that the customer gets their needs taken care of. Its a job that I take a great deal of pleasure in. Katrina Carlisle used to be the executive director of Coleman Adoption Agency. She is also an adoptive parent. She has also written a book called Adoption for Dummies. She is a good person, but as the person paying her to find my birth mother, I question her ability to make contact in good faith in my best interests. I believe that she has her own adoption agency’s best interest at heart. I also believe that she doesn’t have anyone searching for their families interests at heart. I have spoken with thousands of women across this country including many in Indiana and Illinois. They don’t want to be contacted via a confidential intermediary. In Indiana there is no laws regulating confidential intermediaries. They can and have nickled and dimed searchers to death. Catholic Charities is known for taking money from searching individuals and not tell them anything. I know of one woman who was contacted by her adoption agency in order to get her to sign a waiver not to sue them for the wrongs that they committed against her.

I recently made contact with a birth mother who was at the same maternity home a few months after my mother was there. I was told in agonizing detail how those women were treated. They were combed for lice. They were given three sparse meals a day. No snacks allowed. They were not allowed to even go to Church because they were bad girls. They could only walk the block of the home. They would name their children one name but the maternity home staff changed those names. These were pregnant women. Their only crime was to be pregnant. That is the reason why adoption agencies want that secrecy so badly. They don’t want it getting out how badly that they treated these women. One of these women were my birth mother. Many of these women are my friends. It horrifies me.

Now the Indy Star knows what it means to be an adoptee from Indiana. I agree with the Indy Star on this issue. Those records need to be opened. The lies, coercion, and secrets need to see the light of day. That is the only way that the adoptees and their families can truly heal from the wrongs of the past.

Sincerely,
Amy K. Burt
aka MIchellin (also means mixed blood in German)
aka Amyadoptee
website: Http://amyadoptee.blogspot.com

TEXAS LAWMAKER WANTS TO PAY WOMEN TO HAVE THEIR CHILDREN

March 23, 2007

If this ain’t a riot, I don’t know what is. I hope this man realizes that he is further profitizing adoption. I don’t think he even realizes that there is a human side to this.

Lawmaker wants to pay women for choosing adoption3/23/2007 9:40 AMBy: Associated Press
A proposal by state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, would pay pregnant women $500 for choosing adoption over abortion.
The anti-abortion Republican said his bill would provide an incentive to forgo abortion. But critics question whether such payments would be viewed as baby selling or coercion. They argue the idea of paying women to choose adoption oversimplifies the decision the women face.
It’s against Texas law to offer to give a thing of value to another for acquiring a child for purposes of adoption.
Patrick disputes any portrayal of the bill as baby selling. He said the babies would still go through the normal adoption process.
The bill has not yet been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press, All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

ADOPTEE FEELINGS

March 20, 2007

Today went good. I worked out at my gym. I made my stats at work. I can’t complain. I visited with my hubby. I got to kiss my girls goodnight.

We had two visitors this weekend. One that came by Friday night and stayed until Saturday morning. The other came by Saturday night and stayed until Sunday afternoon. I didn’t get to visit with Steve that much. It was a payday weekend. I had grocery shopping and other stuff to get completed. I did visit with Sue though.

Sue is the most awesome woman in the world. I guess it says alot about me that I am comfortable being her friend along with her being my husband’s friend. This woman is drop dead gorgeous. My exact opposite. She is a tall statusque horsewoman. I was a little nervous but she quickly put me at ease.

Of course we talked horses. By We I mean Sue, my husband, and myself. Shorty was a main topic. Each other’s history was also a topic. So many things this woman as been through are the same things that I have been through.

Adoption was a topic. When is it not for me? She made a comment that sums it up for many mothers out there. She couldn’t imagine the pain of wondering about a child. She truly understands many of my mother friends. If a person were to really look beyond the adoption crap, they could understand why mothers across this country have felt loss and pain. Its not one parent better than the other. They are mothers just like I am. I so get where these women are coming from. If you think about your own child, could or would give that child up for adoption? For the most part people can’t begin to fathom it let alone do it. We allow women who have lost their children either by accident, death, or illness get to feel that grief. Why can we as a society allow them to feel their grief? Why do we have to punish them for the rest of their lives? Why do we have torture them with closed records? Lets be honest here. Closed records protect only two groups of people here. The adoptive parents and the adoption agencies (and their cronies of course). As I venture further and further out in the adoption world, I am realizing that most adoptive parents want the truth for their children.

Closed records have further stigmatized adoptees. Granted some don’t let it consume their lives and some do. In my personal life, I have been asked would this complete me. I honestly don’t know but I have not been given the chance to find out. I can’t come to any resolution for it. I am blocked by a state that don’t believe in children including adults as having rights. I can get any adoptee to talk to me about their experiences. I know many who are a helluva lot more honest with me than they are with their parents, coworkers, friends and so forth. Many want to search. There are those that say they don’t want to search but they come a callin’ when everyone’s back is turned and don’t see. Its funny because many times they don’t want contact but just the records that accurately record their birth.

Adoptees are for the most part an interestng group. We are vocal, raunchy and fiesty. You just never know what we might do.