Bastardette’s speech at the Rally for Adoption Equality, Texas Statehouse, May 21, 2021

Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization

PO Box 4607

New Windsor, New York 12553-7845

614-795-6819 [email protected] @BastardsUnite

Texas Contact:

Marley Greiner

Leander, Texas 78641

Press release and speech

My name is Marley Greiner. and I am Executive Chair and co-founder of Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization. In case you don’t know us, we are the largest adoptee civil rights organization in the US and a proud core partner of the Texas Adoptee Rights Coalition. We support only the full unrestricted right for all adopted persons, to their original birth certificates (OBC) and related documents. BN has worked in Texas for 25 years. We’ve walked the halls, supported good bills and killed bad bills. It is a pleasure to be here today. I would especially like to acknowledge the superb work Carolyn Evaine Shaw Counterman did as our Texas lobbyist many years ago and the groundwork she laid for BN for what we have now. She is an important part of adoptee rights history in the state. Unfortunately, she cannot be here with us today in person, but she is with us in spirit.

We are here today to support SB1877/HB1386. The House version passed with only 1 dissenting vote. We need to get the Senate to unstick the bill, currently stuck in the Jurisprudence Committee, and get on to the floor for a vote. We have the votes there that will free nearly 1 million original birth certificates to the adopted people they belong to when it goes up for a vote.

It’s the right thing to do and here’s why”

  •  Practically speaking the current sealed OBC system in Texas         compels search and contact, often involving third parties such as relatives found in DNA databases like ancestry or 23 & Me, or through social media advertising that alerts the general public to the adoptive situation. Conversely, the simple release of an OBC to the adoptee to which it pertains creates a quiet, confidential, non-intrusive system that lets adoptees control their own information and what is done with it.
  • There is no evidence in any state that records were sealed to “protect” the reputation or “privacy” of biological parents who relinquished children for adoption. On the contrary, records were sealed to protect the reputations of “bastard children” and to protect adoptive families from birthparent interference.
  • Identifying information about surrendering parents often appears in court documents given to adoptive parents who can at any point give that information to the adopted person. The names of surrendering parents are published in legal ads. Courts can open “sealed records” for “good cause” without birthparent consent or knowledge. Critically, the OBC is sealed at the time of adoption finalization, not surrender. If a child is not adopted, the record is never sealed. If a child is adopted, but the adoption is overturned or disrupted, the OBC is unsealed. Please remember that the OBCs of persons with established relationships with biological parents as in stepparent and foster adoptions are also sealed.

If you haven’t already, contact your State Senator and ask them to support SB1877/HB1386 out of committee and on to the floor for passage. Tell you friends and families and neighbors and co-workers, to do the same.

The State of Texas must stop keeping adopted people secret and hidden. Free our birth certificates. Normalize bastardy. Make Texas a pioneer in the restoration of our rights. When Texas cracks its locked adoption vault open, states will crack, too.

End with chant:  Oregon has OBC rights why doesn’t Texas?…etc.

Bastard Nation Mission Statement

Bastard Nation is dedicated to the recognition of the full human and civil rights of adult adoptees. Toward that end, we advocate the opening to adoptees, upon request at age of majority, of those government documents which pertain to the adoptee’s historical, genetic, and legal identity, including the unaltered original birth certificate and adoption decree. Bastard Nation asserts that it is the right of people everywhere to have their official original birth records unaltered and free from falsification and that the adoptive status of any person should not prohibit him or her from choosing to exercise that right. We have reclaimed the badge of bastardy placed on us by those who would attempt to shame us; we see nothing shameful in having been born out of wedlock or in being adopted. Bastard Nation does not support mandated mutual consent registries or intermediary systems in place of unconditional open records, nor any other system that is less than access on demand to the adult adoptee, without hindrance.

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