I admit I had never heard of the Gladney Adoption Center Blossoms Awards until last night (thank you, Shawna Hodgson!). Established in 1964, the Blossoms Awards are named for the 1941 Academy Award-winning film, Blossoms in the Dust, where Hollywood memorialized, valorized, romanticized, and fictionalized Edna Gladney, purveyor of adoption anonymity in perpetuity. In case you aren’t familiar with the film here is the trailer. Watch the lovely Greer Garson pretend to be secret-keeper Edna Gladney. (Personally. I am fond of the film as a historical document from the Golden Age of Hollywood adoption. Please note the patriotic subtext at the end of the trailer.)
But enough of waxing nostalgic!
The other day, (April 4) the Gladney Center for Adoption honored six lucky recipients with the much sought-after
Oscar Blossoms award for “advocacy, education, and collaboration” in adoption.
Now, we know that the adoption industry is shrinking, making the circle jerk tighter. Nonetheless, we were surprised to read that all the awards went either to Gladney itself or close fellow travelers. (OK. One is actually set aside for a Gladney volunteer) .
The most relevant award (to me), Legislative Advocacy, went to Gladney’s own General Counsel and Executive VP Heidi Cox. According to the award description
With a multitude of legal topics that impact our cause, it is imperative that lawmakers understand the variety of issues that exist in any given adoption situation and give adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents a voice.
Over the years, Bastardette has spent some while-away time with Ms Cox in the hospitality suite at National Council for Adoption (NCFA) conferences. Ms. Cox is not the Great Satan that she has been portrayed, (and we share the same dislike for certain adoption luminaries who hog the press), but I have yet to see any indication from her that the Gladney Center has given a voice to adoptees other than a big shriek. In fact, if they didn’t need us to keep their gravy train running they would kindly ask us to leave the grounds. (Actually, Bastard Nation Founding Foundling Marlena Villiers was kicked out of a 2002 Gladney Center event after a Gladenyite learned she was a Bastard.) Gladney is still the Keeper of the Seal in Texas and has done little to dissuade us otherwise. If Gladney intends to stand down on the current clean Texas HB2725, scheduled for a hearing in the House Public Health Committee on April 10, the Texas Adoptee Rights Coalition (TxARC) would be happy, I am sure, to sit down and tutor Ms Cox on support testimony. I will elaborate a little bit on Gladney and HB2725 in a day or so.
The Leslie Amend Award for outstanding volunteer went to Ashley Stern, current president of the Gladney Family Association. She also sits on the Gladney Center board. A quick net search indicates she has also been the Overseas Home Study Specialist for Children’s House International Adoptions (broken link), and attached to the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian. Ms. Stern must be a real salary-free headbanger since she also received the award in 2012.
Coincidently, this year’s winner of the Outstanding Educator award was Dr. David Cross, director of the Purvis Institute. For the uninitiated, Dr Puvis, aka The Story Lady, presented at two of the NCFA conferences I attended about 10 years ago. She was severely weird. An Anne Heffron forerunner, Purvis equated wheeling your kid around the store in a grocery cart to child abandonment. She believed that adoptees should carry around small plastic film canisters stuffed with cotton balls soaked in vanilla extract to snort if they become stressed over their adoption MO. Blowing through plastic straws (worn around the neck) might also help.
The National Council for Adoption, an organization Gladney founded in 1980 with showrunner Bill Pierce, specifically to promote adoption and keep adoption records sealed from bastards copped this year’s Outstanding Organization in Child Welfare award. Unlike Mother Gladney, NCFA has pretty much backed down from the sealed records advocacy.
And now the $$$$$$ guys
Outstanding Corporation in Adoption Advocacy went to Frost (Banking, Investment, Insurance) a banking service that offers Adoption Financial Assistance (going into Gladney’s pocketbook).
The Family in Adoption Advocacy award went to the Stephensen Family Fund. According to Gladney annual reports, the Fund, (via Mr and Mrs. Randall Stephensen) has poured at least $450,000 into agency coffers since 2014. Stephensen is the Chair of the Board and CEO of AT&T.
We hope Frost and the Stephensens got more bang for his buck than this
.May the circle jerk be broken
Recently, HB2725 was introduced in the Texas House and is scheduled for a hearing in the House Public Health Committee on Wednesday, April 10. The bill, supported by Texas Adoptee Rights Coalition (Equality for Adoptees. Gladney Adoptees for Rights and Equality, Adoptee Rights Law Center, Bastard Nation, Reclaim the Records), TxCare, Texas STAR, American Adoption Congress, and Concerned United Birthparents (CUB).
- Restores the right of all Texas-born adoptees, at age 18, to obtain noncertified copies of their own original birth certificates upon request;
- Allows, deceased adoptee descendants, adult siblings, surviving spouse, or adoptive parents to request and obtain the adoptee’s original birth certificate;
- Contains genuine contact preference form (CPF)
- Allows birthparents to file a supplemental medical history form that would provide additional information to the adoptee;
- Requires adoption agencies to inform birth parents of the provisions of the new law and the availability of the contact preference form
Don’t let big money keep Texas OBCs sealed
If you would like to support HB2725 in the House committee hearing but can’t attend the hearing, please send written testimony to [email protected] and txadoptees will file your testimony at the hearing. Please email all testimony by noon on 4/9/19.
What’s a *real* Gladney? A knee that’s met a deformer in the crotch!