Friday, June 27, 2003

Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization raises its voice in unqualified support of The Adopted Peoples Association of Ireland. We join them in opposition to the bill ADOPTION INFORMATION, POST-ADOPTION CONTACT AND ASSOCIATED ISSUES BILL This bill clearly represents an abrogation of the rights of Irish adopted people, including more than 2,000 United States citizens.

Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization is the largest adoptee rights organization in North America. Our mission is focused solely on the unqualified recognition of the civil and human rights of adult adoptees. We believe all adult adoptees must be able to unconditionally access the records that document their births in the same manner as all other citizens of the country.

To that end, we oppose ADOPTION INFORMATION, POST-ADOPTION CONTACT AND ASSOCIATED ISSUES BILL because it includes a proposed contact veto which includes imprisonment penalties for violation. Adult adoptees must not be looked at as potential criminals. We also oppose the section of the bill, which would establish a "Consultation Process." This process specifically excludes any adopted adult representation, including representation for the more than 2,000 children, now adults, who were sent to the United States.

The fundamental rights of adult adoptees cannot be met by laws that make records access conditional on the permission of the courts or abirth parent. Adult adoptees everywhere have a right to the same access to their own vital records that other citizens enjoy and takefor granted.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Dear Editor, PEOPLE Magazine

Congratulations on your article, "Home Safe" (March 17, 2003)
Finally, someone has presented both sides of the question of whether or not the laws that legalize the abandonment of infants are indeed good ones. Thank you for interviewing Bastard Nation Executive Chair, Marley Greiner.

Those of us who oppose "safe haven" laws are not baby killers.

I am an adopted woman who dreads to think of any infant being stripped
of his/her identity. I am also a retired schoolteacher who cringes at
the thought of telling young people there is a legal way to avoid
taking responsibility for one’s actions. And I am a mother who cries to
think of even one young girl having to go through a pregnancy and birth
all alone.

Wouldn’t it be better if the states would focus their resources and
energy into developing programs that would target young women during
their crisis pregnancies? The young women would have the opportunity to
receive professional counseling, good medical care, and help in making
the best possible choice for the child’s future, all before the baby is

Wednesday, February 19, 2003


A few years ago when the Ohio legislature was debating Safe Haven legislation, one of the chief concerns among even the bill’s most ardent supporters was medical history. What happens if a child, abandoned legally, anonymously and with no history, develops a serious medical condition that demands family and genetic history for diagnosis and treatment? One of the dumpster-do-gooders, a neatly dressed woman from Akron, informed a rather discomforted committee, “If the child is sick, he’ll just have to live with it.”

The only problem with that is that some won’t “just have live with it.” They’ll die.

Kailee Wells, 6 was abandoned anonymously in China, At the age of 10 days she was left on the steps of a teacher- training college in impoverished Chandge, Hunan province. After spending the first year of her life in a local orphanage, under the name of Changban (Never Alone) she was adopted by Linda and Owen Wells from Alburquerque, New Mexico. Last year Kailee was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, which prevents the creation of new blood cells. The disease, unless it can be stemmed through a bone marrow transplant, will eventually cause her body’s supply of blood to dry up, and she will die. Blood relatives, especially siblings, offer the greatest donor compatibility, but because she was abandoned anonymously, Kailee has no likely genetic donors. Doctors have searched for a match among 9 million names in global bone marrow donor databases, and have found none. For the last year she has been kept alive by blood transfusions, chemotherapy and steroids. Kailee will die within months if a compatible donor cannot be found.

This week, Linda Wells left the critically ill Kailee in New Mexico to make a desperate journey to China in a last ditch attempt to save her daughter’s life. The Chinese Red Cross, in an unprecedented publicity campaign and with only three days notice, has launched the largest bone marrow donor drive in the country’s history with plenty of domestic and international media coverage. Officials expect thousands of people “touched by the love story” to volunteer in a long-shot attempt to find a donor. Soon Linda Wells will visit Chandge hoping to locate Kailee’s biological family. It is unclear, however, if Chinese welfare officials will help or hinder her search. They have so far refused to waive the child abandonment penalties, including fines and imprisonment, that could be brought against her biological parents if they come forward to save her.

Baby abandonment in China is illegal, yet over-population, rural poverty, the one-child policy and other coercive reproductive practices as well as the thousands-year old tradition of female infant abandonment, make anonymous, secret abandonment inevitable. The United States suffers no such disability, has no such excuse. Yet to date 42 states have passed Safe Haven laws, which permit “legal” newborn abandonment. Many states make no provision for collection of medical and genetic histories; all support and encourage the creation, on purpose, of undocumented, unhistoried and dehistoried children like Kailee.

Linda Wells knows she’s shooting against the odds, but says, “We are prepared to do whatever it takes to keep our baby girl alive…..At least we’ll know we did everything possible, everything within our power, to save our little girl.”

Safe Haven advocates, especially in those states where bills are currently pending, need to take a long hard look at Kailee.

How many Kailees will be created in Safe Havens?

How many Kailees will be sick?

How many Kailees will just have to live with it?

How many Kailles will die?

Kailee is Never Alone. But how many others will be?

For more information on bone marrow donation visit the National Marrow Donor Program or call your local Red Cross.

Marley Elizabeth Greiner
Executive Chair, Bastard Nation

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Choose Life License Plates are Not About Adoption

I strongly oppose the "Choose Life" license plate program that is being introduced in various states across our nation. The Choose Life, Inc. organization wants us to believe that it supports adoption. They tell us, "The Choose Life license plate is "coming of age" in 2003. Adoption is surely the answer to the tragedy of abortion."

Indeed it is not!

Historically, adoption is the process of finding homes for children who need them. Adoption is NOT about filling up homes of infertile couples. Adoption is NOT to promote the welfare of birth mothers. And adoption is NOT a way to prevent abortions. It is first, foremost and always a system to benefit live children who need families. Adoption is not and never has been a system to find homes for fetuses.

Mr.Jim Finnegan of the Illinois Choose Life program wrote these words in a recent Chicago Tribune " Voice of the People" article: "The license plates would have the words 'Choose Life' on them because this is what the birth mother wants to give to adopting parents." Mr. Finnegan wants us to believe that all birth mothers want their children to be adopted and therefore, state revenue should support them in this process.

The Choose Life folks conveniently forget to tell us about the thousands of young women all over this country who find themselves in crises pregnancies and want desperately to keep their children. They do not want their children to be adopted. . They do not want to "give" anything to adopting parents. What they do want is to be able to raise their own children. The only thing that is keeping them from that choice is money. Would the "Choose Life" license plates program give financial support to birth mothers who want to keep their children? Of course not.

I am all for raising funds to help children in need of homes. I was once a child without a home. Thanks to the system of adoption, a wonderful adoptive home was found for me.

If Choose Life, Inc. wants to raise money for adoption, then let them design a license plate that says, "Support Adoption," and earmark all of the revenue towards finding homes for children who are alive today and who need families.

Thursday, February 13, 2003


On January 13, 2003, Bastard Nation joined France's adoptee rights organization Les X-en-Colore--Angry X--in a demonstration in Strasbourg, to support French adoptee Pascale Odievre and her suit to overturn her country's Accouchement sous X laws.These X laws, permit women to give birth anonymously and allow parents to expunge their identity from all medical and official records. Since their establishment in 1941, hundreds of thousands of men and women have been "born under X" anonymously. The legacy of the X laws can be found in the United States with the passage in 42 states of Safe Haven laws which permit the "legal abandonment" of newborns anonymously. Bastard Nation is happy and proud to support Angry X in their struggle for their records and their identites. Below is the text of our remarks


Greetings from the United States! Greetings from Canada! Greetings from Bastard Nation!

It is an honor to be here today to support Pascale Odievre and Les X-en Colere in their battle to overturn the archaic Accouchement sous X laws which for decades have allowed the state to confiscate and hide the identity of hundreds of thousands of French citizens whose only crime was to be born inconveniently. We inconvenient Bastards in North America have watched closely your struggle and stand in solidarity with you our sisters and brothers.

As you may know, since 1999, 42 states in the US have passed laws similar to your X laws. (Canada has no such laws yet, but there will no doubt be an attempt to enact them there soon.)

Though the details of our own X laws--so-called Safe Haven laws--vary from state to state, they all include provisions which permit parents to “drop off” an “unwanted infant” at a Safe Haven center (hospital emergency room, fire station, police station or even a church or an adoption agency.) For those parents who are too afraid to abandon their baby in person, organizations have been established that will pick up the baby and then abandoned it for them! In at least three states, a Safe Haven is designated as “any reasonable person!” No questions are asked. No identification is required. No social or medical history is necessary.

Safe Havens are advertised as “No Blame, No Shame, No Name.” In some states, brochures, flyers, and posters are distributed in schools, churches, and places where teenagers meet to inform girls “it’s OK to dump your baby.” In some cities, stickers pleading, “Don’t throw your baby away” are glued to trash bins. In California “baby abandonment education” has been introduced into the school curriculum so everybody will know that it is not only OK to abandon your baby with no blame, no shame, no name, but that the state wants you to do it.

Unlike in France, laws in the US have not yet been passed which permit the identity of parents to be expunged from all medical and official state records, but these proposals cannot be far behind. We believe that the next step will be laws that permit women who promise to put their babies up for adoption instead of killing them (what little respect these people have for women!) to give birth not only anonymously, but at tax payer’s expense.

Recently, a leading Safe Haven advocate published an Internet essay attacking Pacale’s lawsuit, calling it an assault on the right of “anonymous choice.” He took the extraordinary measure of defending the Vichy government—not exactly known for its humanitarian impulses-- claiming the Vichy X laws were an” humanitarian” attempt to protect women and children from persecution and humiliation after liberation--a liberation that in 1941 was not even a bad dream for these guys. If one wants to believe this piece of nonsense (and we don’t!) then why is a law enacted by the Vichy government to protect itself from the consequences of rape and other sexual crimes perpetrated on the female population by its Nazi associates, remaining in place more than 60 years later? Very simple. Because once identity erasure became institutionalized, it became normalized giving the new government the same benefits that it gave the Vichy government: The X laws maintained bourgeois standards of family honor, paternity and sexuality. The X laws obscured criminal and abusive sexual relationships. The X Laws relegated and continue to relegate the victims and their offspring, not to mention just plain inconvenient children, as official state secrets.

Are you a state secret?

In France and the US, the same people cry the dire consequences if anonymous abandonment is not permitted. The Church, showing little respect for women or understanding of crisis pregnancy, says women will kill their babies if they can’t abandon them with no blame, no shame, no name. Feminists, who should know better, insist that “maternal secrecy” is a reproductive right like birth control or abortion. No! Anonymous abandonment is not a reproductive right. A baby has been born, a person with a right to identity and heritage. The adoption industry declares that anonymous abandonment protects women and children. How does a system that not only encourages secrecy and government cover-up, but discourages prenatal and post- natal care protect women and children?

Crisis pregnancy, poverty, substance abuse, domestic violence, denial, shame, and mental illness are the real causes of child abandonment. X laws, and Safe Haven laws create a “trouble-free” policy that turns its back on the very women and children they purport to help. The Safe Haven promoter just mentioned says that anonymous abandonment is a response to the growing open records and identity rights movement in the US, which he sees as an assault on “the privacy of women.” He refers to Safe Havens as "non-bureaucratic [adoption] placement" for parents who find best practice standards such as informed consent, counseling and even paper-signing, too confusing and complicated. There is not one iota of evidence to suggest that those babies surrendered anonymously under Safe Haven laws were in danger of neglect, mistreatment or death. Parents whose newborns are truly at risk continue to harm.

Today Bastard Nation stands in solidarity with those throughout the world whose identity has been stolen, hidden, and obliterated by archaic laws and public policy, social engineering, and government malfeasance. We stand with The Disappeared of Central and South America and their Abuelas. We stand with The Lost Generations of Australia. We stand with those undocumented children sold in the international and domestic black markets of the world. We stand with the stolen children of Guatemala and Cambodia. We stand with those conceived through anonymous high-tech reproductive procedures with its anonymous donors that rob them of all chance of identity recovery. We stand with those adopted in Canada and the US and other countries where records are confiscated and sealed and in any other country where identity is erased for state convenience. And we stand proudly in solidarity today with Pascale Odievre, and Les X-en-Colere.

Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization
Executive Committee
David Ansardi
Anita Walker Field
Donna Martz
Nathalie Procter Servant
Pamela J. Zaebst
Marley Elizabeth Greiner, Executive Chair

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

How ironic can the government get?! Illinois has a bill pending in the state legislature, HB0003, which would allow the state to prescribe and distribute a form for a certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth. The bill would require the person who files a fetal death certificate to also prepare a certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth.

I have all the sympathy in the world for families who endure a stillbirth. It is a terrible tragedy. Perhaps a certificate of birth would help ease their pain. I don’t know.

But here’s the irony of the situation. I am an adopted adult in Illinois and I am not entitled to access my original birth certificate without a show of good cause and a court order, something that is extremely hard to come by.

As an adult citizen of this state, I demand to be able to access my original birth certificate in the same way as every other person. Just think! If this bill were to pass, Illinois would issue certificates of births to dead fetuses but still refuse to release to adopted ADULTS the original certificates of their own births.

Saturday, January 25, 2003

Currently the New Hampshire legislature is debating HB104 and its companion SB33 which if passed will legalize baby abandonment in the state.

I have followed the safe haven phenomenon since it started over three years ago. Although well intentioned, safe haven laws are not the solution to the abandonment of babies. Safe havens reverse a century-long child welfare policy of discouraging abandonment. They, instead, encourage abandonment and discourage pre-and post-natal care for mother and child, putting both at serious risk. In states with birth mother revocation periods, the timeframe is disregarded. The laws breach sections of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (which New Mexico recently learned). Furthermore, the giving of social and medical history, important to both the abandonee and her potential adoptive parents is discouraged. The right of identity, one of the cornerstones of child placement policy in the US, is ignored.

HB104/SB33 contains no checks against non-custodial parents who don't want the responsibility of a child; distraught grandparents who want to get rid of an "embarrassment,” and even the mentally disturbed.

One of the most disturbing aspects HB104 is the exclusion of the rights of the non-custodial parent--usually the father. Oakland County, Michigan Circuit Court Judge Patrick Brennan has refused to terminate the rights of absentee fathers stating that his state's safe haven law, which is similar to HB104/SB33, denies due process to non-custodial parents. (Detroit Free Press, January 30, 2002.) Polk County, Florida Circuit Judge Robert L. Doyel has shown similar concern for parental safety and rights. Last week he took the helm of the search for a woman who safe-havened anonymously at Heart of Florida Medical Center. Alarmed by the mother’s statement that she had used the safe haven out of fear for her safety and that of her 18-month old child and the new baby, Judge Doyel contended that the state has a constitutional due process requirement to not only find the infant's mother, but the father as well. " (Polk County News Chief, January 17, 2003; Lakeland Ledger, January 18, 2003.)

New Hampshire’s safe haven pushers are using the well-publicized case in Kenosha, Wisconsin where last week a teen father tossed his newborn son into an open pit toilet and left him to die. They say a safe haven law could stop such tragedies from happening in New Hampshire. Yet, according to the Kenosha County Sheriff, the baby’s mother knew of her state’s law and asked her boyfriend to take the baby to a drop-off spot. Instead, he decided to kill him.

Crisis pregnancy, poverty, substance abuse, denial, shame, and mental illness are the real causes of child abandonment. Proposals such as HB104/SB33 simply create a no-fuss-no-muss policy that turns its back on the very women and children it purports to help. Baby dump advocate, Dr. William Pierce, retired president of the reactionary adoption lobby, The National Council for Adoption, refers to safe havens as "non-bureaucratic placement" for those who find best practice standards such as informed consent, counseling and even paper-signing, too confusing and complicated. There is not one iota of evidence to suggest that those babies surrendered anonymously were in danger of neglect, mistreatment or death. Parents whose newborns are truly at risk continue to harm.

Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization has led the opposition to safe havens nationwide. The American Adoption Congress, Spence Chapin Services for Family and Children, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, Holt International, Child’s Best Interest, and Massachusetts Families for Kids, are but a few of the other professional and activist organizations also opposing safe havens. BN believes that it is no coincidence that safe haven laws neatly coincide with the passage of Ballot Measure 58 in Oregon and legislation in Alabama, which restored the right of adopted adults to their own state-held records in those jurisdictions. Dr. Pierce, who for over 20 years has also lead the battle to keep records sealed from adult adoptees, wrote recently that that safe havens are a response to open records.

Public welfare programs and private adoption agencies are the traditional means by which women have been able to relinquish their children legally and safely. These should be well publicized and encouraged for those women and girls who feel they cannot or will not rear a child. If New Hampshire wants to spend money to help women and babies in crisis, then why not pump money into existing programs or create new programs? Using taxpayer money to teach parents how to abandon their babies is bad social policy, bad economics, and in the end counterproductive to strengthening families and to healthy children

Last year, a similar proposal to HB104/SB33 was allowed to die. This one deserves a similar fate. The State of New Hampshire should not be in the business of encouraging and facilitating personal irresponsibility and covering up the dirty deed after the fact. It should most certainly not be in the business of erasing identity and heritage.

Marley Greiner is the Executive Chair of Bastard Nation and the editor and publisher of Baby Dump News: A Weekly eChronicle of Baby Abandonment that covers national and international news on baby abandonment, infanticide, safe haven legislation, and related news. She can be reached at