Friday, April 21, 2006

CONNECTICUT AND MASSACHUSETTS - What Are You Going To Do With Your Adopted Adults?

Ask around your neighborhood or your workplace. Any adoptee will tell you that their birth certificates were impounded long ago when their adoptions were finalized. Their birth certificates have been permanently sealed away from them. They cannot go into any Department of Public Health or Office of Vital Statistics and get their original birth certificates! Ever!

It's the state's policy of "Shame Shame! YOU can't know your name."

A bill is making its way through the General Assembly of Massachusetts. It's purpose: What to do with adopted adults who want their original birth certificates? Currently MA and CT are putting condtions upon which adopted adults can or cannot get their birth certificates.

Connecticut's Senate just passed a bill that would allow only adoptees born after October 2006 to access their original birth certificates eighteen years hence.

Both Massachusetts and Connecticut legislators have the opportunity to right a decades-old injustice to all adopted men and women. They can write their bills so that ALL ADOPTED ADULTS, regardless of when they were born, can uncondtionally get their own birth documents in just the same way as all the other citizens. Isn't that only fair?

Please call, fax, or email your elected representatives . Tell them that you
believe all adopted men and women to be able to uncondtionally get their own original birth certificates. It's the right thing to do.

Anita Walker Field

Friday, April 14, 2006


Dear Cathy,

I am writing in response to your comments on my guest blog that appeared on The Daily Bastardette, “Open Letter To Maine Adoptees.”

Cathy, how many ways must I say that Bastard Nation was NOT with the opposition? We vigorously supported the bill in early February, before the hearing.

I have collected “all” Bastard Nation’s communications about LD 1805 from February 25th until the very end of March. This is not a “selection,” Cathi, this is every single one:

1) Testimony to Joint Judiciary Committee, “7 Reasons to Support 1805”

2) Bastard Nation Action Alert, February 25, 2006, “Support 1805”

3) Fax sent to the Joint Judiciary Committee while they were in work session,
“Why You Should Vote For LD, as written”

4) Fact sheet to our membership, “Important Information Regarding LD 1805”

5) My letter to the Kennebec Journal, “Support 1805”

>You state that you "were disappointed when instead of the bill being voted on in the committee, it went into a work session." ALL BILLS GO INTO WORK SESSION. It is the way things work here.>

Good to know. Why didn’t you correct us at the time?

>You also state "Ironically, Senator Faircloth, who was a co-sponsor of the original bill, proposed an amendment that prospectively would allow all adoptees unrestricted access to their original birth certificates when they reached the age of 40." NO, THIS WAS RETROSPECTIVELY. >

I have before me a copy of an Internet post entitled “Breakdown of Maine Amendments” and it is signed “Thanks from much more hopeful souls, Bobbi Beavers and Cathi Robishaw” In this post, you state that Senator Faircloth’s proposal as: “ **prospectively allows all adoptees unrestricted access to their OBC upon reaching the age of 40 and to adoptee descendants if the adoptee is deceased.”

The error that I made about prospective and retrospective was made by you and Bobbi Beavers. I only quoted what you wrote. When did it change? Why didn’t you alert everyone to the fact that your own breakdown report was either in error or had been changed?

>You state "We saw no movement at all that Representative Davis’ bill was garnering any more support."

Each and every report that I received stated that Representative Davis’ bill had 5 votes. By the end of March, it still only had 5 votes. I deduced from this that his bill had picked up no additional support from the committee members.

>You state "At this point, we felt we had no option but to act." Oh really? Who are you, our parent? Somehow I must have missed the memo putting you in charge.>

NOBODY puts Bastard Nation in charge. We are an international adoptee rights organization that advocates for equal treatment for all adopted adults concerning unconditional access to their birth certificates. We speak out on issues in many different states or countries whenever we feel a need, and we shall continue to do so. We do NOT need an invitation from any state to act or not to act.

This is America. Communication from people in one state to those in another is not prohibited. We enjoy freedom of speech.

>You state "We hope when this bill is voted down, we can start over and all work together to pass a pure open records bill."
You were not informed, because you are not part of our group. We are not dependent on your participation, and WITH GOOD REASON as all can see. Something that we have been working on for 14 months was completely destroyed within a few days time. >

Your bill was destroyed in the Judiciary Committee by Representative Pelletier-Simpson, and your own co-sponsor, Senator Sean Faircloth!

Please remember that we sent representatives to the Hearing on February 28, 2006. Marley Greiner, Chair of Bastard Nation, traveled from Ohio to Augusta to give full support to LD 1805. The Honorable Janet Allen, State Representative of New Hampshire, also traveled to Augusta to give testimony in full support. Bastard Nation member Craig Hickman, a Maine resident, traveled from his home in Maine to the capital to support your bill. Bastard Nation was well represented at the hearing to support LD 1805.

>This blog along with the hateful emails resulting from your action alert has destroyed our credibility. >

Any credibility you have lost was not caused by Bastard Nation. You are looking for a scapegoat - don’t look to Bastard Nation. We have always supported bills that give unconditional OBC access to adopted adults. Likewise, we have always opposed bills that put restrictions upon adopted men and women with regards to their OBC’s. This has always been our policy and it will always remain so.

>We had much help lined up to defeat these amended versions of the bill; now you and your ilk have taken that away from us. We had a chance, and you people took it upon yourselves to ruin it.>

This is the second time I have read this same statement that you had “much help” lined up to defeat the amended versions of the bill. Why on earth didn’t you share this information?

>You should be completely ashamed of your actions.

No, we are NOT ashamed of our actions. We are PROUD that we could help stop a BAD BILL FROM PASSING, a bill that we originally supported but one that was turned into a restrictive mess and would have locked up adopted adults for many decades.

>You are career victims, and love the struggle. You can say it's free speech all you want. It still doesn't excuse the blame you have in this debacle. As far as DEFORMERS go, you people are at the TOP OF THE LIST. >
"We created the term "Deformers" to describe adopted adults who are willing to accept restricted, conditional legislation. We do not accept conditional legislation.

If you are looking to blame someone for the mess in Maine, please look elsewhere for your scapegoat. We reject all of your claims.


Anita Walker Field
Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization
Executive Secretary

Do No Harm

A member of Access 2006 has left comments for Bastardette. I can forgive the majority of her comment and chalk it up to her great disappointment for the Maine bill that drove her to write. However, there is something that needs to be said and I feel that I am qualified to say it. Many of you may remember that NH had a bill in 2000 that went before the Children & Family Law Committee. We worked on that bill for many, many months and I never missed one of the subcommittee work sessions. That committee was very similar to the Maine committee, with amendments that were simply not acceptable. I was emotionally and physically tied into that bill with fund raising, state house demonstration and zillions of NH OARC meetings. However emotionally tied up in the bill I was, I was also able to see the writing on the wall. That bill was not going to come out of committee as written and it was going to go to the House floor with amendments. It was at that point that I asked NH OARC to write to the committee and ask them to please kill the bill. The point is, I have been there and I do understand how hard you have all worked and I do understand what a great disappointment it is but I also know that the amendments you were willing to let it go to the floor with, would have set adoptees back decades. One of the legislative mottos at the NH State House is, "Do no harm". Maine was about to do great harm. Not just to Maine adoptees but to adoptees throughout the United States.

This is the point where Access 2006 & I part company. We repeatedly asked what the procedure was in the Maine legislature for majority reports and order of amendments. I had to assume that the majority amendment would be voted on first and that that amendment would have to be voted down in order for the reps to even hear any of the other two amendments. Since no one would answer my question on procedure, again, I had to assume that they either did not know or did not wish to share the answer with me. I guess that came as no surprise since Access 2006 was very selective about what information was given out and who it was given out to. When Access 2006 was first formed, I asked to become a member and was told that I couldn't. It was only for Maine folks. I was, however assured that they they wanted help from everyone. Then there were legislative meetings featuring our NH Senator and the Maine legislators that I read about on the "public" Access list but I was not invited to. That's okay, I was still willing to help in any way that I could. So when it was time for the hearing, I drove three hours each way to testify on behalf of the bill as written. The hearing went very poorly and it didn't take a rocket scientist to see where this committee was going. To be blunt, the committee members were not ready and the testimony given did nothing but lead them down the wrong path.

BN has spent a great deal of time trying to get information, writing in favor of the bill as written and trying to understand what the strategy of Access 2006 was. I am not the least bit apologetic or disappointed that this bill is dead. In fact, I will sleep much better tonight knowing that Maine adoptees are free to fight again in the future without further obstacles to overcome.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Dear Fellow Adoptees,

Bastard Nation has vigorously supported Representative Gerald W. Davis’
excellent original bill, LD 1805, which would give adopted adults unconditional access to their original birth certificates.

Bastard Nation was well represented at the bill’s hearing on February 28, 2006. Our Chairperson, Marley Greiner, as well as New Hampshire Representative Janet Allen and Maine resident Craig Hickman, all traveled to Augusta to testify at the hearing. At that time, Bastard Nation issued a letter of support to the Judiciary Committee as a whole in full support of LD 1805.

We supported Representative Davis’ bill wholeheartedly and were disappointed when instead of the bill being voted on in the committee, it went into a work session.

Bastard Nation issued two Action Alerts in full support of LD 1805. We asked our members to write letters to the representatives and senators on the Joint Judiciary Committee, urging them to vote for Representative Davis’ original bill, LD 1805. One Action Alert was issued at the time of the hearing and a second one was sent out when the committee went into its work session.

We quickly learned that certain members of the Committee were not in favor of Representative Davis’ bill and these members both offered amendments during the work sessions.

Representative Pelletier-Simpson added the following amendments to LD 1805: remove the provision for adoptee access to original birth certificates prior to August 8, 1953 as encoded in Maine law; prospectively provide restricted access by adult adoptees; prospectively allow original parents to submit a confidentiality request (a disclosure veto) within 7 days of surrender of parental rights; and impose a confidential search business on the Probate Courts. [Please note: this information was taken directly from reports received from representatives of Access 2006.]

Ironically, Senator Faircloth, who was a co-sponsor of the original bill, proposed an amendment that prospectively would allow all adoptees unrestricted access to their original birth certificates when they reached the age of 40. Senator Faircloth also embraced some of Representative Pelletier-Simpson’s amendments, among them the one removing the provision for adoptee access prior to August 8, 1953.

It is our firm belief that adding any one of the above amendments would be unacceptable. If more than one were added, it would be a full blown disaster.

We have been waiting and watching. As of Friday, April 7, 2006, our resources told us that the count in the committee was:

Representative Pelletier-Simpson- 6 votes.
Senator Faircloth - 2 votes
Representative Davis - 5 votes

We did the arithmetic and realized that things looked mighty grim for Representative Davis’ original bill.

We were told that the 3 amendments could come to the floor of the House as soon as Monday, April10th. We deduced that with 3 amendments coming out of the committee, the one with the most supporters would be the first one voted upon: that is, Representative Pelletier-Simpson’s amendment. If that passes, what would be the use of presenting any other amendments?

We saw no movement at all that Representative Davis’ bill was garnering any more support. In fact, a last minute report indicated that Senator Faircloth and Representative Pelletier-Simpson were now working together to somehow combine their amendments.

At this point, we felt we had no option but to act. On April 8th, we issued an Action Alert and a Press Release asking the representatives to vote down LD1805 as amended. We know that historically, restrictive bills are not readily revisited. Once a bill is encoded into the law, it stays there for many years. It is far better to lose a battle but come back to win the war.

It’s a sad time for us all when we see an excellent bill such as Representative Davis’ LD 1805, turn into a bill with extremely repressive amendments which are totally unacceptable to every self-respecting adopted adult.

We hope when this bill is voted down, we can start over and all work together to pass a pure open records bill.

Bastard Nation