I mistakenly posted the BN Action Alert a second time instead of the letter. Here is the correct post.
Here is the letter Bastard Nation sent to the Texas House Committee on Public Health regarding HB 4470 and SB 499. We called for instructions to submit written testimony and learned that the legislature will only take in-person testimony. In other words, if an individual or organization wants their testimony on any bill to be on the record they may have to make an 8 hour drive or fly to Austin. And forget about faxing. It clogs up their machines and takes too much time. Please email! (See previous action alert for details)
HB 4470 and SB 499 appear to be the handiwork of the so-called adoption reform organization TxCare. (webpage out of date.) So don’t‘ blame it all on the adoption industry.
BASTARD NATION: THE ADOPTEE RIGHTS ORGANIZATION
P.O. Box 1409
Edmond, OK 73083-1409
Phone/Fax (415) 479-3741
May 4, 2009
Re: HB 4470 and SB 499
Texas State Legislature
House of Representatives
Committee on Public Health
Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization, the largest adoptee rights group in North America, opposes HB 4470 AND SB 499. We advocate for full restoration of rights to unconditional access to original birth certificates for 100% of adopted adults. HBs 4470 and SB 499 won’t get this job done!
The two bills are different with issuing adopted adults their original birth certificates now; however, both are extremely restrictive and demeaning to adopted men and women.
In the House bill, the state registrar may, if resources allow, on request provide to a person who was adopted before January 1, 2010, a noncertified copy of the person’s original birth certificate only if an adopted person’s birth parent has filed a contact preference form with the state registrar authorizing the release of a noncertified copy of the person’s original birth certificate.
In the Senate bill, an adopted adult can receive an original birth certificate now if he/she knows the identity of each parent on the original birth certificate, without obtaining a court order.
Both bills contain disclosure vetoes and contact vetoes designed to keep many adoptees from ever receiving their original birth certificate. These veto sections will be prospective beginning January 1, 2010. The vetoes will keep yet another generation of adoptees, their state-held information, and their personal relationships in the hands of the state, rather than with the individuals involved. No other group of citizens in the State of Texas must have a parent’s permission to obtain an original birth certificate.
Relinquishment documents signed by birth mothers are legally irrevocable. At the time of relinquishment, birth mothers gave up all legal rights to their offspring – forever. These bills would cause unnecessary and intrusive hurdles for adoptees without legal justification.
A genuine contact preference form, as created in Oregon, is non-binding. It never contains a disclosure or contact veto or any other restriction to the issuing of an original birth certificate to any adopted adult who requests it.
These two bills have a new and disturbing section which contains mandatory postadoption counseling for adoptee and birth mother before an original birth certificate will be issued. The bills require verification of the counseling “in a form satisfactory to the state registrar.” This provision puts the final decision of issuance of an original birth certificate into the hands of the state registrar, which arguably could be considered a most arbitrary method of issuing birth certificates.
Adopted adults need legislation that will put them on a par with all non-adopted citizens of the state. They do not want to be treated differently because of the circumstances surrounding their birth.
Please vote NO to HB 4470 and SB 499. Start all over again with a true adoptee rights bill – not a birth mother rights bill. A good adoptee rights bill gives all adopted adults the right to request and receive their original birth certificate, unconditionally and without any falsifications.
Thank you for your consideration.
Anita Walker Field, Secretary
Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization
Marley Greiner, Chair
Anita Walker Field, Secretary
Patricia Marler, Treasurer
Nina Greeley, Member
Peter Kristian Mose, Member
Marla Paul, Member
You people must be the bastard children of the Gladney Adoption Centers. This is small step FORWARD for Texas adoptees. By killing these bills, you are essentially siding with Gladney and all others who would prefer to deny adoptees their birth rights. Big strides forward are made one small step at a time.
It’s not a small step It’s a death step for Texas bastards.
If these pieces of trash actually pass do you think the Tx legislature in your lifetime will ever revisit and pass equal acceess? If these bills pass it will screw every adoptee and bastard whose records are held in Texas.
Big strides forward are Oregon, Alabama, New Hampshire, and Maine.
Big strides back are 470 and 499. Unless your whole agenda is creating class privilege and special rights.
You accept the arguments and language of the enemy and then expect respect from Gladney and the state? Obviously, you have no self-respect so why would you want anyone else’s?
Anonymous says, “Big strides forward are made one small step at a time.”
You should have your drinking water checked. Baby steps result in horrendous bills sometimes becoming law and then it has to be wondered what century adoption reform might move forward in that particular state. I have to question the motive of baby step supporters. I agree that you have no self-respect.
Please show us ANY state where “small steps” have led to full open records and adoptee rights. Maryland? Ohio? MA? TN? Once a “baby step” bill is passed, that baby never walks again, and never is allowed to grow up to be an autonomous adult.
Big strides forward are made by passing true adoptee rights legislation, not convoluted compromises.
Folks born and adopted in Texas lost the right to access their originnal birth records in 1935. It is past time for Texas to restore equal rights to those adopted persns. SB499 and HB4470 are “dirty little secret” bills that are unacceptable because they do nothing to restore equal access for adoptees. They actually prepetuate the stigma and further the discrimination. A ballot initiative in OR in 1998, and recent legislation in AL in 2000, NH in 2005 and Maine in 2007 restored equal access to birth records for folks born and and adopted in those states. Adoptees in Texas deserve the same. Nothing more, nothing less!
I am absolutely furious over this bill. If you compare this bill to the actual law, we go BACKWARDS not forward. We are NOT EVEN MAKING SMALL STEPS FORWARD.It will change these registries to prospective only. So adoptees born before Jan. 1, 2010 will not be able to sign up with these registries. They will not be allowed to register after this date. These bills will do not help adoptees at all. In fact, they further deny adoptees their rights.
Texas is unusual because it has birth, marriage, divorce, and death indices that are PUBLIC RECORD. Adoptees and their families have been finding each other without that elusive document for decades. Adoptee Access is about equal treatment under the law. It is not about search and reunion.
By the way, an inside source of Texas Care has stated that Nancy Schaefers made a deal with the devil themselves, Gladney Adoption Center. She did this to keep them from arguing against these bills. In fact, Katy Perkins of the AAC is pushing this as good law to the AAC. She is also a member of Texas Care. Read the comparison of the law vs. the bill.
The counseling is already part of the law right now. Much of all of this part of the law as it stands. It just changes it to prospective only now. That is why adoptees and mothers have been going to search angels. We have been able to get around it because of these search angels.
Texas Care needs to friggin get a grip.
That’s a pretty dramatic charge to make What would either TxCare of Gladney have to gain from this?
They jailed Sandy Musser for taking search and reunion out of the hands of the states, agencies, and “experts.” The phenomenon of those separated by adoption seeking each other has rocked the world of those that wish to control adoption…ie., those that benefit from the industry and that is definitely NOT the adopted person or the mother.
Search angels, peer/support/activism groups for mothers and adopted people and the publication of truth-telling books like “The Girls Who Went Away” have scared these self-appointed experts into some really convoluted legislative gymnastics. They are making an attempt to wrest back some control. What they are trying to control is free association; the right of adults to associate with whom they choose….AND the civil/human rights of both adopted adults and mothers. I firmly believe..No, I KNOW that what happened to most of us mothers during the EMS/BSE era was a violation of our basic, human rights.
Why is it OK to permanently stigmatize a woman, deny her adult child his/her true heritage but not OK to discriminate against anyone else? Neither the Texas nor the California attempts could really do the job that needs to be done. In an effort to play nice with the Triad(read industry and adopters), these bills have evolved into something like throwing meager table scraps to starving people.
And, the truest truth is that all this is, in no way, about, so-called, protection for the mothers. It is about control for the lobbyists, the pro-adoptionists and placating the customer/those who adopt.
The baby steps have already been taken. It is time for giant strides.
Texans for Adult Adoptees OBC Access has it right. “Adoptees access is about equal treatment under the law. It is not about search and reunion.” We need to keep hammering this point home again and again. We can do this!
No, the purest objective of open records, on either end, is about civil rights and knowing the truth, not reunion. BUT, it is the reunion phenomenon that has the nay-sayers, and adopters, running scared. And, let’s be honest…that is where a lot of those who gain access to their records will go..reunion.
And, as a human being, a woman, a mother and a voting adult…my medical records are for ME to share as I see fit and should not be demanded from me by any law. The red herring of medical information only is a farce anyway.
There are personal aspects of my medical history that I don’t even tell my raised children. The day the state can start demanding personal information from me because of an open-records law is the day I dig in my heels.
Now, if my adult child were to meet with me, face to face, and ask me about these things, then I could share what is necessary to know. I have done this, as a matter of fact. Both my reunited, adult children know their maternal, family medical history and it wasn’t forced out of me by some stupid piece of unrealistic denial integrated into a piece of legislation.
Opening records to both mothers and adopted people would pull aside the veils of secrets and lies…something we all need.
And, as I said above, I am getting sick and tired, to the bone, of being used as an excuse for keeping anyone’s records closed. The truth is that natural mothers’ “privacy” is just a smoke screen. We are shouting that as loud as we can, but there are some who seem to be deaf to what we say.