The testimony is over, the vote is in: Just before 4 PM Pacific Time, AB 372 passed out of Assembly Judiciary Committee.

Frankly this doesn’t surprise me much. CARE has made clear that its current strategy is to “fool” certain members of the committee with its laundry list of adoptee insults and lies, and then excise them out later—even on the Floor. Sponsor Asmb. Fiona Ma, in fact, actually admitted during the hearing that she was foolin’ her colleagues, though her confession was framed in the more discreet language of “we’d really like unrestricted access, but we respect the current law too much to ask for it and rock your boat.” Maybe the committee is stupid after all. Maybe it wants Senate Pro Tem President Darrell Steinberg, who never met a bastard who didn’t need locked up in vault, to do its dirty work. Maybe the committee doesn’t want to look like a total Grinch. How CARE intends to fix things is a matter of faith. You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool Mom. (Captain Penny).

The testimony was really too short to critique. Nobody brought up the idea to just exempt original birth certificates from the “privacy code” (btw, courts already are exempt—they are not “agencies.”). It would be real nice to know exactly what records CARE wants us to have, too. So far we are playing don’t ask/ don’t tell. Trust us! Nobody was bothered with this, either.

Attorney Joe Wood (for CalOpen) and first mother Linda Franklin were given a whopping 2 minutes each to oppose AB 372. (To be fair, CARE lobbyist Stephanie Williams and Sarah Burns for AAC/CUB got only 2 minutes, too.) Everybody else got about 20 seconds or less. I liked Wood’s point that in class action suits, there’s a 15-20% bounce rate on notices. Unfortunately, no mention was made that the rate would be much higher in adoption cases due to women’s name changes and the fact that many women were sent off to maternity homes. “Best matches” are irrelevant, legally, ethically, and practically.

Laurie Dunfield-Baker, whose first mother is dead, testified that in the current draft, adoptees whose birthmothers are deceased would not be able to receive their obc since dead people can’t give or withhold permission (though I suspect you can send them mail.) Others, also, brought up this hard fact in their allotted 20 seconds.

Asmb. Ma countered she was “open” to several amendments including one that would permit adoptees of deceased birthmothers to receive their obcs. Of course, the adoptee would have to prove her or his mother is dead, and how does one do that when identity is sealed for most? Will the State of California search through the California Death Index, death records of every state, the Social Security Death Index, Railroad Retirement Board records, Will they rent permanent space at the Sacramento LDS Family History Center and spend days checking out obscure records and leads–like adoptees do?

Even funnier, Ma said she was open to a provision to notice by publication. I kinda like the idea of entire classified sections of the LA Times and Sacramento Bee dedicated to tracking down shamed, desperate women hiding in closets and orange groves.

Marley Greiner: your bastard has contacted us to get his obc. We couldn’t find you where you lived in 1965 so we’re chasing you down in the newspaper. Hopefully your parents, neighbors or boss will recognize your name and contact us.

Or how about this:

If you had sex in or around August 1942 in or around the County of Sonoma, do you give your consent for some 67-year old retired English professosr whose conception and birth location approximates the location of your personal fall and shame to have a birth certificate?

Hey, didn’t they try that in Florida with the Scarlet Letter law?

Here’s a true story from the Ohio:

Several years ago an Ohio adoptee and alledged father were “matched” by the Ohio Reunion Registry operated by Ohio Vital Stats. The race of the adoptee was wrong and his date of birth and name of mother close but wrong. Nonetheless, Vital Statistics informed the adoptee not only of the match, but that his mother was alive since she was not in the Ohio Death Index. (Apparently nobody ever leaves Ohio). When the “match” was exposed as a mismatch, a professional searcher was able to identify the correct name of the mother in less than a day, and to verify that she had died breast cancer years earlier. The mother never changed her name hoping her son would find her. She died in Ohio, her death was listed in the Ohio Death Index, and her death certificate was filed at Ohio Vital Stats, the same place that mismatched father and son and claimed Mom wasn’t dead! oops!

Why anybody would trust the government to do anything but release the obc is a mystery. And that’s overly trusting to boot. Just get the hell out of our lives!

Most states—even the worse–show adoptees a modicum of respect and acknowledge that equal access bills are a highly emotional and intimate issue. It’s not like air pollution regs or speed limits. This is about people’s lives. Listening to the hearing this afternoon, though, was kind of like listening to Is That All There Is?

Drive-by testimony must be something peculiar to California. I’ve attended hearings in several other states where witnesses can talk to theier heart’s content but might sometimes l be limited to 5-10-15 minutes of oral testimony, but all witnesses are heard within an equal limit unless time runs short after several hours. Hearings in New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts I’ve testified at have gone for hours. (New Hampshire’s lasted about 8 ½ hours.) The Massachusetts hearing started with panels of 3-5 witnesses in specialized areas, then opened to the public. Of course, in those states there were things like co-sponsors and competent lobbyists and activists.

I think we all understand that the real political work goes on in smoke-filled rooms outside of the reach of the public and that many hearings are just show trials. (Look at the records access section of Ohio HB 7 last year, which had no public opposition, and was gutted0on- demand of Ohio Right to Life behind closed doors.) Cal committee rules just move the smoke-filled room on to Front Street.

But then, this is California. Today, one gets the impression that nobody in Sacramento cares about much other than Darfur, which is distant and safe. While we waited around for a quorum to arrive and a vote taken, a long convoluted discussion went on and on in the committee about Darfur, due process, Armenian Genocide, state’s rights, Constitutional supremacy, and the commerce clause of the US Constitution. Not to belittle the Darfur situation, but too bad nobody could get as heated about the documentary genocide of thousands of Californians.

Witnesses: I missed a couple of proponents, but think I got all the opponents. Names may be misspelled in some cases.

Proponents: Stephanie Williams (CARE) Sarah Burns, (AAC/CUB,) Cal Assoc. of Adoption Attorneys. Jean Strauss, Tom Martin, Cheryl Cook, CA Alliance Child Family Services, Jim Dunn, Jennylee Balantine, Karen Vedder, Bonnie Burnell, Kristina Cook, Rachel Smith, John Smith, Bruce Reeves,

Opponents: Joe Wood CalOpen) , Linda Franklin, Laurel Erichs, Jean Ulrich (CalOpen) , Laurie Dunfield-Baker, (“adopted citizen”), Burt Brosnan, Imogene Speed (adoptive mother, Kathleen Cox.

AB 372 is a mattress war for the hearts and minds of bastards everywhere. Both sides, in theory, want access, only one side wants to limit access and leave people behind for practical reasons, the other will leave no one behind. Politicians don’t partiacularly understand the differfence and don’t want to hear about internicene fights. This has to be fought by us and us alone. Do we want table scraps from the deformer’s table, or dinner at The Ritz? This isn’t 1967. I consider CARE and its cronies more dangerous than NCFA, ACLU, RTL, or anybody who seeks to keep our rights in abeyance.

That the AAC spoke in support of AB 372, though expected, takes some of the sheen off its remarkable conference this past weekend.


  1. I guess I am grateful to get a say after the warning I would get none. I believe all of the persons who spoke against the bill were members of Cal Open.

    Next time I will be better prepared for sure.

    Laurel Ehrichs

  2. You cannot compromise quality. That is my mantra. I hope it catches on.

    Think of brown vs Bd of Ed.

    You cannot compromise equality. It’s either equal or it’s not.

  3. Having a couple of seconds to state one’s position is difficult, to say the least. I only support unfettered access by all adopted citizens to their OBC’s.

    I wasn’t to point out, though, one of the logistical problems with the bill for those who supported it. As you pointed out, Marley, my first mom is deceased, so even if mail was correctly sent to her last address, she obviously couldn’t receive it. So, no return receipt would be sent back, and that would be that. End of story. No OBC for me. (I do, however, have 2 copies of her death certificate.) But, she moved many times before settling in Illinois with her 4th husband. So, even if she were alive, I’m pretty sure any attempt to contact her would result in a bounced piece of mail, which would also result in no return receipt, and thus, end of story. No OBC for me.

    This bill is such an insult to adopted persons. The non-adopted don’t need permission from mommy to see their birth certificates. I expect the same. Other states have passed clean legislation. I can’t accept any less in California.

  4. HOORAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    AB 372 Passes Assembly Judiciary by Unanimous VOTE! AB 372 is a very reasonable approach to achieving >99% Open Records.

    It passed because it makes sense.

    It passed because the opponents views make no sense!

    ‘t let emotionally attached opponents tell you privacy is not a real issue. It is very real plus California has agreed to keep birth certificates private via the AD908 adoption forms. There is no way the legislature would pass a so called “clean Bill” as IT DOES VIOLATE SOME BIRTH PARENTS PRIVACY protected by both the CA constitution and the AD908 contractual obligations. The contract liability and CA Supreme court will stop it. Its dreaming and magical thinking. AB 372 achieves OPEN RECORDS for the statistically demonstrated 99.5% and will avoid being shot down. Don’t be a fool an let a few radicals who are a bit crazy convince you a Clean Bill is possible. It will not happen in anyone’s lifetime. That is dumb and punishes the 99.5% of adoptees who could GET THEIR RECORDS NOW. Come on, be real!

  5. No anonymous, AB 372 will not let 99.5% of adopted persons receive their “records” (whatever those “records” may be. Care to tell us?)

    The egregious veto and government tracking of women says it all. Name changes, maternity homes, deaths, movement from listed homes, movement across state and county lines says it all. Permitting rape, incest, religious and “personal reasons” exemptions says it all.

    AB 372 is a straight Mother May I bill on steroids rooted in reunion. And notice that the medical exception doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the veto decision of parents.

    This bill would take away the rights that some adoptees have now of getting their records through the courts,. How does this bill effect the 10 open counties Haven’t heard a word about that. Care to explain?

    This bill is an abomination. “Trust us.”

  6. Dear Anonymous(1):

    CARE to explain yourself? You’re the one who is not making sense. Maybe you’ve been smoking what Jean has been smoking? CARE’S pitiful excuse for an open records bill is disgraceful and you should all be ashamed of yourselves.

  7. Hmmmmm > 99% of adoptees must be young enough and have good enough genes for their birthparents to still be living, is that right? Personally, my birthmother is deceased….although, I wonder, can her son, my brother, and soul heir, be allowed to sign said documents giving me access to MY records?

    This is utter BS…the only way for this to be right is for a full unfettered bill like in Oregon…Hell, I now live in Alabama, do you know how embarrassing it is to know that Alabama is more forward thinking than my home state of California???

  8. Anon Hoorah;

    Do you really believe that 99.5% of birthmothers will ever get a letter sent to the address they gave at the time of surrender? I would consider it a miracle if 2% ever got that letter. US Postal Service forwards for 6 months, sends back with the forwarding address for a year. After that, it is a dead letter, “return to sender” as Elvis said.

    Many birthmothers gave the address of the maternity home, and many of these maternity homes are long gone. Others were staying with with strangers in wage homes, or with relatives that have long since died or moved. Ditto for those living with parents. It has already been brought up that a dead birthmother cannot respond.

    This bill as it now is written and amended is worse than nothing. Even for those who would accept some compromise like a contact veto, which I do not, this bill would only help a very, very small number of adoptees to get their information and search. Certainly not your “99.5%”!

    If you have a magic potion or spell that will accomplish this, please explain. I do not see any logical way in the real world this could happen.

  9. In a broader context, I think it went much better than I expected. There were no weeping bmommies with pictures they had drawn for the legislators about how awful adoptees are, a la NJ.

    The overarching message was not should we release birth certficates, but how will we. That is movement in the right direction.

    The opposition was simply saying the bill doesn’t go far enough. It is still nebulous, actually more so for me than it was.

    Personally, I thought the avoidance of the ACLU, the CA Family and Services et al was kind of brilliant.

    I mean for crying out loud beyond the open counties you can read the CA birth index for free. I am on there 3 times, am planning on writing a memoir called, “Thrice Born” to one up Lifton.

    No srsly, the testimony on both sides was good, the points were made, although the promised top secret razzle dazzle was forgotten, AGAIN. I was expecting a fabulous burlesque with all the surrounding hush-hush and excitement. Oh well.

    This will be a very interesting battle.

  10. Joy, if this abomination gets out of the House and into the Senate, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Darrell Steinberg will tear these people limb from limb.

    The Judiciary pulled it’s 2 minute scam. In any other legislature, testimony would have gone on for hours. Zilch was said yesterday. It’s all Kabuki. And bullshit.

  11. “AB 372 achieves OPEN RECORDS for the statistically demonstrated 99.5% and will avoid being shot down.”

    It is intellectually dishonest to claim that the state of California is in possession of the current and valid addresses 99.5% of first mothers and you know it. The state is under no obligation under AB 372 to pursue due diligence to find these women, and I predict that whatever process they come up with will produce costs that will be recouped by filing and other fees borne by adoptees.

    At this point the politics look favorable for AB 372 to pass. It will provide a marginal benefit to adoptees in search, but still not be as useful or expedient as hiring a search consultant in possession of and working knowledge of the California Birth Index (which the state sold at the same time it was promising disclosure vetoes, hmmm class lawsuit anyone?).

    AB 372 passed through Judiciary without comment from the ACLU and other opponents because they got what they wanted, a “birthmother protection” bill. And that’s what AB 372 is, not a recognition of adoptee rights but a strong assertion of the rights of “birthmothers” to determine adoptee access.

    The reality is that AB 372 will probably pass into law with a few tweaks and that few California adoptees will use it. It will be a headache and why jump through burueacratic hoops if you can successfully assert your right through a legal private transaction? That is until 2028, when the adoptees born in 2003, the year the Birth Index was pulled off the market, become 25 and the state becomes the sole recourse. Then they’ll be the ones blogging about how dumb CARE was…

  12. Actually, BB I’ve been thinking more about this since my initial reaction earlier today, which was more or less kneejerk. I’m still tired and need to separate myself from this for awhile. Not being in Cal is a distinct disadvantage to the thought process.

    Anyway,you are absolutely correct that this is a birthmother protection bill. It is not an adoptee rights bill. The big thing that niggles me is the bmother contactand veto business. Tracking down by best match is a joke. Ma talks about notice Another joke, but I can’t imagine that flying. Remember Florida’s Red Letter Law. Nobody is going to go for that kind of outing.

    Nobody should have to ask their mother for permission to get their birth certificate to start with. A state-sponsored tracking system is simply not acceptable for a lot of reasons. And, of course, dead people don’t respond.

    Have you heard any analysis of how passage would affect the 10 open counties? I’m very unclear. But it certainly affects rights currently in force.

  13. Why do you and all the negative people look at everything as “the glass is half empty”. Is that the way you live your life. It’s sad. This bill is very good and with a little more fine tuning, will give access to over 99% of adoptees. Why do you keep whining about current language when you full well know it will be tweaked ( its only on its 3rd round). Is it because you have a dark ulterior motive and are trying to manipulate others?

    Records are whatever birth records that the Department of Social Services has on file. Records are lost for everyone. Adoptees are not unique in that way. The vast majority of birth records are on file either in your county of birth or in common DSS files or both.

    Oregon, Alabama and New Hampshire have all implemented some form of new Open Records legislation. They have been collecting statistics on:
    1) how many records they have,
    2) how many adoptee requests have been made for records,
    3) how many birth parents responded to the notification
    4) how many birth parents failed to respond, said giving records were ok and how many said NO

    You can find the latest statistics here:

    There have been just 15,191 adoptee requests which is 3.5% of the total number of adoptees in the 3 states. That is a large and statistically significant sample size. That means the data from these three states is a reasonable approximation of what can be expected in CA. If you don’t understand Statistics, there is not much I can do about that. Based on how the latest CA AB372 is written, only the actual responses during the 6 month period that said “NO” would be denied access. Only 101 out of 15,000 requests came back “NO”. That is about .66% which means that 100-.66 = 99.34% of the requests would have been allowed in CA under the current AB372 language and that is the intent.

    The egregious veto and government tracking of women says it all. Name changes, maternity homes, deaths, movement from listed homes, movement across state and county lines says it all. Permitting rape, incest, religious and “personal reasons” exemptions says it all.
    Please turn your brain ON and Victim’s role OFF and say something meaningful! The government TRACKS everyone! Do you really think this will change how the government tracks people? It tracks men just as much as women? The credit card companies and 100’s of private companies track people too and the government has access to their records.. If you drive, the DMV tracks you. If you work the IRS and State, SS, Medicare etc. track you. If you die you are recorded. If you own property you are tracked. Do you really think they focus on women?

    If you knew anything about politicians you would know language like “Rape, Incest etc.. are only there for political purposes. What difference does it make? You must have lots of problems to get hung up on VERY TYPICAL things or it’s a strategy by you to manipulate others. Which is it?

    The intent of the AB372 is NOT to kick out everyone where the parent is dead or can’t be found. Be real! It will be revised as it has 3 times and fine tuned to make sure that if the government makes a “best effort” to locate the birth parent during the 6 month period, the records will be released. Even the language now requires they use the “best available address” which could be argued means whatever the government has access to. If the government uses the “best” than far less than 1% of people can be found and of course they need a death clause. Complaining about a few wording problems when the bill is the best possible given privacy laws and AD908 obligations is insincere and you know it.

    “(1) shall be sent to the BEST available address for each birth parent who is listed on the original birth certificate.”

    If they can’t, the records will be released because the birth parents privacy expectation and the AD908 contract obligation can’t carry over after a “best effort and reasonable” attempt to locate the parent has failed. Get with it!

    What is wrong with you? You are so angry. Get a life and stop playing victim!!! You sound ridiculous. You can’t even explain yourself. You are so angry and so deeply sunk into your victim role, you think others understand your twisted assumptions. How about explaining like an intelligent person trying to communicate.

    AB 372 is a straight Mother May I bill on steroids rooted in reunion. And notice that the medical exception doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the veto decision of parents.
    BRAIN ON – VICTIM ROLE OFF PLEASE! “Mother May” – Come on get off your victim’s soap box! The current law and doctrine put “medical necessity” above privacy. Duh!

    This bill would take away the rights that some adoptees have now of getting their records through the courts,. How does this bill effect the 10 open counties Haven’t heard a word about that. Care to explain?
    No it doesn’t. It does not modify existing law unless it is specific. The medical necessity clause doesn’t change what a judge can do.

    Instead of venting like a victim, why don’t you list any concerns about specifics in a way that is sensible so it can be seen as input to the fine tuning process. A bill goes through many adjustments and POSITIVE suggestions are good. If you didn’t have an ulterior motive (which I believe you do), you would offer constructive criticism and make suggestions as to plugging problem areas. Why are you so angry? How about being genuine and authentic and just saying what you really feel? Then turn off the emotional BS and use your brain to help adoptees rather than just doing damage.

    “An abomination” – Get real!

  14. AB 372 wll probably be tailored to meet Sen. Steinberg’s (and Se, Corbett’s, Chair of the Sen. Judiciary Committee) concerns, as it was tailored to meet the Asm. Judiciary’s concerns.

    How will it impact the Open Counties? I honestly couldn’t tell you. Maybe that’s where CARE’s secret judicial strategy comes into play.

    I’m fixing to fold my hand on AB 372. As pathetic and illegitimate as CARE is, they have found a resource in Stephanie and Asm. Ma against which there is no viable political opposition in place. There is simply no “there” there in adoptee rights anymore…

  15. Hey Anonymous:

    “There is no way the legislature would pass a so called “clean Bill” as IT DOES VIOLATE SOME BIRTH PARENTS PRIVACY protected by both the CA constitution and the AD908 contractual obligations.”

    If the compromise is simply CYA for past disclosure vetoes, why make DV’s prospective? Because they’re so delicious and yummy?

  16. Quoting BB-
    …a “birthmother protection” bill. And that’s what AB 372 is, not a recognition of adoptee rights but a strong assertion of the rights of “birthmothers” to determine adoptee access.Actually it’s a bill that once again allows others to act in the name of “birthparents”.

    The parents themselves, as has been pointed out repeatedly, will in many cases not be actors as this plays out at all.

    The default setting under this bill will be without an affirmative from a “birthparent” (despite potentially being dead, unfindable, etc.) the system maintains the sealed records.

    Parents are not being “protected,” if anything under this the bill active encourages at least a posturing at tracking them down.

    This is just another bill that sets the State as supposedly “acting in the best interests of” parents, regardless of their own authentic desires.

    All designed to pit parents against Bastards by reinforcing the none existent “Triad” by once again hiding the other interests and motivations of the other two points in the adoption pentagon– the State itself and the various other usually industry related players.

    Bills like this create a new “say” for those whose parental rights are (by either consent or deception) legally long out of the picture.

    In practice, however, the “say” rarely makes it down to the level of the individuals, though. More often than not, through “default settings” etc the newly created “say” actually remains firmly ensconced in the hands of the State.

    It’s lip service to “birthparent protection” while in practice doing nothing of the sort.

    Taking their false gambit at face value, calling it authentic “protection” for parents only falls into the trap laid for us, that of pitting Bastard interests against those of our blood relations.

    It’s a false dichotomy (notions of either Bastards will gain OR parents will be protected.)

    In practice all it amounts to is further hiding of the genuine pentagon, or “five legged stool” structure and the long term interests of those other two hidden legs.

  17. Brilliant analysis, BLC! I really like the “adoption pentagon” idea, with the state and the industry really controlling everything while giving lip service to “protecting” birthmothers.

    Under this bill, whether the adoptee would ever try to contact his birthmother or not, in order to get any information at all the state WOULD at least try to track her down, possibly outing her to relatives who might get the letter if they are still at her old address. Somehow I think most adoptees would be much more careful and sensitive in contacting their own mother than the state would be.

  18. BLC,

    That’s why I put “birthmother protection” in quotation marks, because of course the real protection is state CYA.

    It was interesting to contrast CARE’s weak advocacy for adoptees with Asm. Kerkorian’s advocacy for victims of the Armenian genocide yesterday. His bill would, according to his opponents, violate the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution and surely lead to litigation, yet he got it moved out of Judiciary. Would that adoptees have such a strong advocate…

  19. CA AB 372 reminds me of children playing a game and the goal is to see how few will walk away happy. For this bill to pass out of judiciary was a very sad day in the adoption reform movement. It makes me even madder that we have adoptees who do believe this is great. Are they just ignorant, trying to cash in some how if this bill would become law or just what is going on? Jean Paton would turn over in her grave if she knew this was going on.

  20. Ron, you are so right that this is a CYA bill for the state and industry. As I and many other mothers have stated, no where in what we signed or what we were told was there any guarantee of “privacy.” We were there and were the only legal parent when those OBC’s were filed. Both we and our adult children should have open access to these documents. The bogus bugaboo of “(natural)mother privacy” is a farce.

    Those weepy, good “beemommies” that are trotted out by the closed records advocates represent a tiny minority. They drank the Kool Aid of shame and need a a cold bucket of reality thrown in their faces. These people really had to beat the bushes to come up with these women. I’m glad they didn’t try that crap in CA.

    If we adult men and women don’t want to see someone, we don’t have to. I don’t know about anyone else here, but I consider myself and my adult, surrendered children to be grown-up enough to make those decisions ourselves. I don’t need the state to “protect” me from my own child.

    Here is the real idiocy surrounding this. I have been in reunion with both my adult children since 1993. We have good, strong relationships. Yet, we still cannot get their OBC’s and I had to threaten legal action just to get my medical records from when each one was born. SC, of course, is way behind in everything.

  21. “AB 372 achieves OPEN RECORDS for the statistically demonstrated 99.5%…”

    Okay…anytime someone starts spewing “statistics”, my kneejerk reaction is to hunt for a citation. And really, how could this 99.5% in ANY way be statistically feasable?

    gimme a break.

    Now that this is going to the Appropriations Committee, I can’t wait to see the discussion of the fiscal impacts. This ought to be laughable.

    Count me among the “0.5%” of lucky California bastards who will never see their OBCs the way this mess is going. Just what California needs…more bureaucracy that doesn’t make sense and will cost its citizens $$$ and cause more problems than it solves.

  22. I am one of the people whose ‘right to privacy’ this bill is supposed to protect. I have read the response anonyomus posted and am suprised at the level of negative emotions and questionable ‘statistics’ it contained. I make my living with statistics and find these to be very questionable at best. The conclusions based on this flawed ‘statistical’ analysis are equally as questionable. This is not the place to go into detail about why I challange the premises . It is the place to challange some of the very emotional conclusions of the author. First, there is an assumption that there ever was a ‘right to privacy’. Factually, that right was implied but never stated. The common terminology was that “it is best for all parties that the birth record are sealed” I believe that the State of California negated that position when they mandated open adoption laws. However, this change did not stop the practice of ‘sealing’ birth certificates. If this practice is to protect ‘privacy’ of natural parents, why are those records sealed? Denying access to the knowledge of when, where and to whom a person was born causes harm to that person. Aside from the emotional consequences, that person is denied important medical information, may be denied a passport (please refer to laws governing acceptance of an ammended birth certificate for passport applications), and the right to excerise rights based on age (please refer to laws on legal age for voting etc. and changes to birth dates allowable on ammended birth certificates). Based on these very real denials of basic rights by denying access to official and accurate birth records, how can any implied privacy rights have any precedence.

    On a personal level, I am offended by people who think it is necessary to protect my privacy. I am an adult who is perfectly capable of protecting my own privacy by simply refusing contact with a reliquished child if I so choose. This is not a matter that is any business of the State of California and I do not appreciate their interferenhce in my life and decisions. It is well past time that emotional appeals are used to justify secrecy on the part of the state. It is past time that my percieved ‘right to privacy’ can be used an excuse to perpetuate secrecy. It is time to question who these people are who presume to represent my intrests.

  23. Fuzzy Rat Mom…just as the state keeps treating adult adoptees like eternal children, they also keep treating us like wayward, slutty teens, still hiding from the world to salve our parents’ wounds.

    Message to the lawmakers and the adoption industry in general: I will not longer be stereotyped by you, nor will I allow you to speak for me! I don’t need your specious version of “help” and “protection.” I am a big girl now, and, at age 63, can take care of myself and make good decisions on my own.

    I have been reunited with both my adult surrendered children for 16 years. Neither has ever done anything against which I might need any kind of “protection.”

  24. It’s all about identity!

    Your reference to Darfur is germane. Lots of the trouble there has its “roots,” pun intended, in a peculiar practice that had Muslim Africans seeking to create a genealogy that linked them back to the prophet. As a result you have to groups of Sudanese nationals, one black Africans and one black Muslims who style themselves as Arabs because they have adopted Arabic culture. Much of the conflict grows out of the ignorance of many native Sudanese of how much they have in common as opposed to their differences. Of course, the real problems have little to do with genealogy, and more to do with occupation, climate change and the need for land reform but many Americans think it’s racial; no doubt that includes some in the California legislature.

    If they buy into the “Save Darfur” propaganda, then they should be easier to convince that we need to know who we are. We know that nature will “out.” Life would be a lot easier for adoptees if our own nature was not such a –bleep– secret.

    Remember the political slogan” “It’s the economy stupid”? We should get some buttons made that say, “It’s about identity, stupid!”

  25. An Open Letter to the Leadership of the California Adoption Reform Effort (CARE) Regarding AB 372
    **Please circulate freely**

    Dear CARE Leadership,

    Why have you not posted a link to the actual AB 372 bill version that passed out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee on 4/27? Your Website’s front page lists a link to the bill as introduced on 2/23 as well as a link to the bill as amended on 3/26. These versions of the bill are a far cry from the 4/21 amended version of the bill that passed out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee. The 3/26 amended version contained a contact preference form by which first parents could state a preference regarding contact with the adult adoptee. However, it would have still given all adopted persons over the age of 25 access to their original birth certificates upon request, whether the first parent(s) desired contact or not. However, the 4/21 amended version, which is the version that passed out of the Assembly Judiciary and is now on its way to Appropriations, contains a disclosure veto and vague language regarding the requirement of the state to contact first parents in order to obtain their permission before adoptees could be granted access to their original birth certificates.

    In reading the front page of your Website and following the links, one could easily be led to believe that the bill as amended on 3/26 (with no disclosure veto) was the version that passed. This, however, is not the case. The 4/21 amended version that did pass, disclosure veto and all, can be found on the directly on the State Assembly’s Website at or via link from the front page of California Open’s Website at

    Please update your front page to include a clear link to the actual bill version that passed and is being considered by the California legislature for passage into law.

    Thank you,

    Concerned California Adoptee

  26. OK, so we all agree AB 372 is wrong and an abomination. What’s the next move to open records up in CA?

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