Monday, June 30, 2008


In December 2007, members of Bastard Nation attended the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute's "For the Records--National Conclave" in New York City. At the end of the day, nearly everyone agreed that compromise legislation to restore the right of birth certificate access to some adoptees and not others, is unacceptable. Participants never heard back from the Donaldson-- until June 25, that is, when we received an email from Susan Hicks, recently hired project administrator of the Donaldson's open records project. Ms. Hicks, self-described as the lead advocate for the Massachusetts "access" bill, sold a generation of Massachusetts adoptees down the river to get access for some.

Below is our Open Letter to the Donaldson Institute that we faxed and emailed earlier today regarding the hire of Ms Hicks. If you agree with us that the appointment of Ms Hicks is a slap in the face of adopted persons and activists who have worked tirelessly for acess for all, and calls into question the Donaldson's commitment to us, please let the Donaldson know.

P.O. Box 1469
Edmond, OK 73083-1469
Voice/Fax 415-704-3166

Mr. Adam Pertman, Executive Director

Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute

120 E. 38th Street

New York, New York 10016

June 30, 2008

Dear Mr. Pertman:

We are in receipt of an email dated June 25, 2008 from your new project administrator, Susan Hicks. The subject line of the email is: Re: EBD "For the Records" National Conclave - FOLLOW-UP!

We at Bastard Nation were stunned to read that Ms. Hicks is now the new project administrator for the EBD and that she apparently became qualified for the appointment through her work on the Massachusetts adoptee access bill. Some of us at BN dealt with Ms. Hicks during the legislative process of SB 959. During this time, we found Ms. Hicks to be extremely secretive and unwilling to share any knowledge of the bill whatsoever. She was the opposite of collegial.

Moreover, for her to state, "I was the lead advocate and played an instrumental role in changing the birth certificate access law in Massachusetts" is not something that we feel deserves congratulations, never mind a job offer. The bill is not an equal access law because it does not allow all adopted adults access to their original birth certificates. The law is a compromise that leaves more than a generation of adoptees behind without the same rights as all other non-adopted adults.

Your own 2007 EBD statement, "For the Records," clearly recommends that every state should restore to all adoptees unrestricted access to their records. This report also recommends that state laws that do create a "sandwich' situation" in which some adult adopted persons get access to their records and others do not, should be revisited within three years of enactment. In 2009 will Susan Hicks revisit the legislation that she herself supported?

If it is EBDs intention to bring all adoption reform groups together, then we must state up front that we do not understand the appointment of Susan Hicks to this position. Not only do we not understand the appointment, we are left to wonder at the future direction of the institute. Certainly Ms. Hick's background strongly suggests that the institute is headed in a direction that rewards compromises instead of genuine equal access for all.

We appreciate your time and hope that you will address our concerns.


Marley Greiner, Chair

Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization

Executive Committee

Marley Greiner

Anita Walker Field

Pat Marler
Legislative Advisor
Janet Allen, New Hampshire State Representative

The following blog was written on September 12, 2007, by Anita Walker Field. It was an open letter to Susan Hicks and the ABC Grounp. You can find it at It is copied here with permission.



The Massachusetts Committee of ABC was one of the prime supporters of SB 63. I have read over your webpage and discovered that something very important is totally missing from ABC's laundry list of superlatives about SB 63. The missing link is your feelings and attitudes toward the "Blacklisted Ones" – you know, the adopted men and women who happened to have been born on the politically incorrect dates between July 17, 1974 and December 31, 2007. What do you say to these adoptees who will still have to go to court to get their birth certificates?

Will you look them in the face and tell them how good SB 63 is?

Will you pat them on the back and thank them for being martyrs to the cause?

Will you tell them that you'll come back in a year or two to revisit the law and then you will support changing it to include the Blacklisted Ones?

Will you tell them that with all political issues there are bound to be scapegoats? And with SB 63, they are the scapegoats.

Will you look them in the eyes and tell them that this bill was the right thing to do?

Will you tell them that leaving them out in the cold was the politically expedient thing that you all had to do in order to get this bill passed into law?

Will you tell them you're sorry?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

To: Members, Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization

Re: Withdrawal of Bastard Nation from A Day for Adoptee Rights


The Executive Committee of Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization announces with regret the withdrawal of our organizational co-sponsorship and official participation in A Day for Adoptee Rights, (DAR) scheduled for July 20-25 during the National Conference of State Legislature's annual meeting in New Orleans. We had planned to hold a "Bastard Boot Camp Teach-In" on July 20, participate in the protest on July 22, and help staff the DAR space inside the Mariol Convention Center July 23-25.

We sincerely regret any inconvenience or discouragement this decision may cause.

As of this writing the event itself has not been canceled, only Bastard Nation's co-sponsorship and participation. Please check the DAR website for updates on the status of the event.

Bastard Nation has been concerned for some time about the cost effectiveness of the project. While many people exhibited an interest in attending all or part of the event, the number of people who actually registered or made a serious commitment to attend was minimal. There were also hidden costs at the convention center, of which DAR and BN were not aware of until recently, which put our participation extremely over budget.

Bastard Nation believes that the Day for Adoptee Rights project is a sound idea. There is no dispute between BN and DAR. We have concluded that this is not the time or place for Bastard Nation to take part in a Day for Adoptee Rights. The cost of the event this year spiraled and did not balance with the number of participants coming forward to show our strength to the politicians who hold the keys to the records cabinets. Bastard Nation is an all volunteer organization that works on the foundational financial principle of bringing you the best bang for your buck. Spending several thousand dollars in member dues and donations on a project that at this point was sputtering is fiscally irresponsible, movement careless, and takes time and funds away from legislative and educational activities that can make a direct difference now.

Moreover, we are concerned with the participation of Abrazo Adoption Agency in San Antonio, Texas. Unknown to DAR and BN until just a few days ago, Abrazo has been raising funds for the event in DAR's name.

These funds went and continue to go directly to the agency, raising huge ethical issues for Bastard Nation and the equal access movement. Records and identity access is about our rights and has no connection with the marketing schemes of adoption agencies. BN has a long-standing, hard-line policy of accepting no support from the adoption industry. Bastard Nation speficially,m and the adoptee rights movement in general, cannot and should not be co-opted or used by the adoption industry to promote its own agenda. We disavow all industry involvement in our work. Any entanglement with the adoption industry endangers the integrity and credibility of the adoptee rights movement.

Although BN solicited funds for our specific DAR activities, the only official fundraising site for DAR is on the DAR site. Do not send funds to any other solicitor.

Bastard Nation is in the process of working with the Country Inn and Suites by Carlson to release the rooms in our reserved block. We will personally contact everyone who registered under our agreement with the hotel about the procedure for you to cancel room reservations should you desire to do so.

We greatly appreciate the work that volunteers from Bastard Nation and A Day for Adoptee Rights have put into this event. Without them and you there is no movement. We applaud your enthusiasm, commitment and we look forward to future activities to restore our rights.

Please write to our Executive Chair, Marley Greiner ( if you have any questions.

Yours in Bastardy,

The Bastard Nation Executive Committee

Anita Walker Field

Patricia Marler

Marley Greiner, Executive Chair