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.
BASTARD NATION: THE ADOPTEE RIGHTS ORGANIZATION
P.O. Box 1469
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
Anita Walker Field
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 www.grannieannie.org. It is copied here with permission.
OPEN LETTER TO SUSAN HICKS & ABC
WHAT WILL YOU TELL THE “BLACKLISTED ONES?”
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?