NOTE: Due to a strange clash of formats, the letter is not spacing properly.)
I write today as the Executive Chair of Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization. We are the largest adoptee civil rights organization in North America with members in nearly every state, including Louisiana. In the early 2000s we worked on a bill that would have restored the right of all Louisiana adoptees to their original birth certificates (OBC).Consequently, we are aware of the state’s unique legal system which makes restoration of that right a little different than in other states. Nonetheless, we believe that Louisiana can and will recognize that all of the state’s adoptees should be returned to their pre-restricted access.
Unfortunately HB 1028 is not the vehicle to move that right forward.
In my 20 years of adoptee rights advocacy and activism, I’ve not see a bill as confusing and convoluted as HB 1028. In an email to me, one Louisiana adoptee who attended hearings in the House describes the bill as “hoops and hoops.”
I have read the bill and its amendments several times, and frankly don’t see how this restores the right to anything for anyone. Registries, redactions, birthparent consents! They all continue to infantaize, degrade, and insult adopted adults who simply want a state-generated and held- document that records their birth information. A document that any non-adopted Louisianan can get for the asking and a small fee.
HB 1028, in fact, will make it more difficult for the state’s adoptees to obtain their OBCs and information about their pre-adoptive lives than it already is. As states throughout the country move to restore OBC access, Louisiana should not be making attempts, no matter how well intentioned, to make access more difficult.
At this time Bastard Nation is not submitting written testimony in opposition to this bill. We will if hearings are scheduled. At this point, we are asking you and your fellow committee members to listen to the voices of adoptees, study the consequences of HB 1028, and let it die in committee.
Louisiana adoptees deserve equal treatment and access under law, but HB 1028 continues their unequal status and stigma. Please do not let this bill pass out of committee.
Exe. Chair, Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organizaiton
Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization—PO Box 9959, Spokane, Washington 99209
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 condition, and without qualification.