Today’s Lawrence Eagle Tribune has a story on yesterday’s fiasco in the Joint Committee: Law giving adopted children their birth records gains steam . (The full article seems to be available only for a fee, so I’ll post the text at the end of this blog). For those interested in the response of our Axis of Evil popinjays, however, here are pertinent quotes and comments by Bastardette. (NOTE: Amended SB 959 is still not online.)
Bethany Christian Services bloviates:
Pam Wood, director of Bethany Christian Services in North Andover, which arranges adoptions, said the legislation reflects an increasing openness. “Older adoptions were in the dark and people hid that they’d had a child,” Wood said. “The trend is toward more openness.” Her agency arranges adoptions where birth and adoptive parents are in touch for years, allowing the children to know their heritage while permitting parents access to important medical information.
Excuse me, Pam! So-called “open-adoption” has nothing to do with access to birth certificates or court documents that belong to adults. Amended SB 959 has nothing to do with the natural right of identity–except to selectively abrogate that right. Amended SB 959 just continues the bad old system you pretend to tsk tsk. Under Amended SB 959 “old adoptees “stay hidden.
And while I’m at it, check out what Bethany says about “confidential adoption,” which it continues to flog under the rubric of “choice.” You’d think that Bethany, a flagship National Council for Adoption (NCFA) agency, would know better than to post lies on the Internet:
(1) Access to finding a birthparent is limited by law and must be by mutual agreement at the time the child is of legal age.
There is no law anywhere against searching for anybody.
Access to “finding a birthparent” is NOT limited by law NOR is it determined by mutual agreement when “the child is of legal age.”
Thousands of adoption searches are completed each year by adult adoptees, underage adoptees, and adoptive parents without the consent of anybody.
The vast majority of searches are completed without an original birth certificate or court documents.
In some adoptions, birthparent identity is on court documents given to adoptive parents when the adoption is ordered– without birthparent consent.
Judges can open adoption records whenever they please–without birthparent consent.
In some states (ex. Ohio, Illinois and Oregon) adoptive parents can request the court to keep original birth certificates unsealed– without birthparent consent.
Laws change all the time–without birthparent consent.
If a child is surrendered but never adopted, the original birth certificate remains unsealed.
(2) The adult child must contact the state central adoption registry.
And what “state central adoption registry” might that be? According to Bethany’s website, it operates in 75 locations in 30 states with “ministries” in 16 countries. It seems, however, to have no clue about registry operation, rules, and availability.
Not every state operates a “registry.” Bastardette has not been able to find the number of current state registries, but according to NCFA Factbook 3 (1999) (I know! but what’s a Bastardette to do?) 20 states don’t. Some states have stipulations that limit use. New Jersey’s registry, for example, applies only to those adopted through the public system. Bethanyites need not apply!
No law anywhere requires adopted persons to join a “state central adoption registry” to locate a birthparent nor could a state make such a requirement.
Of course nobody bloviates on secret adoption better than NCFA:
Thomas Atwood, president of the National Council for Adoption, said his group opposes the legislation. He worries that the contact preference form that a parent fills out won’t prevent adopted children from seeking out their birth parents once that information is made public.
SORRY TO SCREAM BUT…
Amended SB 959 does NOT contain a contact preference form. It contains a birthparent DISCLOSURE VETO: an enforceable contract between the state and the birthparent where the state promises it will not release the adult adoptee’s birth certificate to the adoptee without the written consent of the birthparent. Since no certificate can be released, it is a physically impossible for the adoptee to use it to “seek out” birthparents.
Amended SB 959 (and the original clean bill) does not pertain to “adopted children.” It pertains to adopted adults.
Amended SB 959 (and the original clean bill) does NOT release the original birth certificate to the public. The birth certificate is released to the adult adoptee only or to the under-age adoptee’s “forever parents.” You know, those parties NCFA claims to represent and protect from something-or-other.
For all the good it does, NCFA may as well complain about state laws that mandate release of non-ID information– to adopteees–information often used to facilitate their searches. Or for that matter… the phone book. The former Soviet Union outlawed phone books. If it was good enough for Stalin, it should be s good enough for NCFA.
He also thinks making future adoptions public could have unintended consequences. “We believe a woman with an unplanned pregnancy should have the right to chose a confidential adoption,” Atwood said. “If you remove the confidential option, then the only confidential option left is abortion.”
Tom! Tom! Tom! Childbirth is not a “confidential” act. Bone up on Sundquist. You–or should I say my Beloved Mentor Billy Lee– paid enough for that bath.
Surrender and adoption are not reproductive rights. Surrender and adoption are not covered by medical privacy laws. Surrender and adoption are legal procedures to which any number of individuals are a party to–including the adoptee.
Court adoption documents are not available to the public for the asking. If birthparents and adopters want to publicize the happy event they’re free to do it on their own dime, not yours. I know it’s painful, but if they want to do the Maury Povich Baby Daddy Dance, you can’t stop them.
And while I’m at it, what’s so awful about abortion? I realize it’s difficult for the theocons currently helming NCFA to comprehend that some women just don’t want to be pregnant. And (gasp!) they don’t feel a personal duty or civic responsibility to do something they don’t want to do (be pregnant) to furnish “desperate couples” with their dream baybee. The US isn’t Romania–yet!
In February 2003. The Weekly Standard published a letter from Bastardette taking Terry Eastland to task for bemoaning the lack of adoptable newborns available to worthy couples. WS archives are available to subscribers only, but you can read the text of the letter here.
Bastardette gives the same advice to NCFA now as she did the womb sniffing Trotskyites at the Weekly Standard then:
If you really want to make adoption a more attractive option, stop treating adoption and adoptees as a dirty little state secret, and give us our records. And while you’re at it, stop acting as if women are breeder cows. Moo!
COMPLETE TEXT OF ARTICLE
LAWRENCE EAGLE-TRIBUNE, MAY 5, 2006
Law giving adopted children their birth records gains steam
By Ed Mason
BOSTON – Adults who were adopted would have greater access to their
birth records under a plan gaining strength among state lawmakers.
Massachusetts has kept birth records sealed since 1974. But a bill
being considered by the Legislature would allow adopted children, who
are now 18 or older, to have access to their birth certificates.
Adoptive parents could request records for their children younger than
To access the records, the adopted person would have to have been born
in Massachusetts on or before July 14, 1974, or after Jan. 1, 2008. The
2008 start date was chosen to give prospective birth parents
substantial notice that the law was changing.
People born between those years would access the information through
the Registry of Vital Statistics. A connection between biological
parents and child would be made if the birth records indicate the
parents want to be contacted. Going forward, birth parents would sign a
form indicating if they want to be contacted by their child.
State Rep. Karen E. Spilka, D-Framingham, said the exemption of nearly
34 years protects birth parents who gave up children for adoption
during those years when records were sealed.
“We’re trying to say that we’re not changing the rules midstream,” said
Spilka, co-chairwoman of the Legislature’s Children and Families
Committee, which approved the bill yesterday.
The bill approved by that committee was a compromise. The legislation
originally would have opened all birth records.
State Rep. Barbara A. L’Italien, D-Andover, said there shouldn’t be any
restriction on birth record access. L’Italien, also a member of the
Children and Families Committee, said she is concerned the legislation
excludes a large group of adopted people just because of when they were
“Everyone should be able to obtain their birth certificate,” she said.
L’Italien noted that adopted children also need birth certificates to
find out their medical histories. She said it’s possible the bill could
be amended to allow for medical histories to be obtained
Adopted people born in Massachusetts now must go to court to get their
birth records. People born after the nearly 34-year exception period in
the bill also would have to go to court if birth records indicate the
parents don’t want their information disclosed.
But concerns over divulging the identities of anonymous birth mothers
has been a central reason why the bill has failed to become law in the
10 years its sponsors have pushed it. Some lawmakers blocked the bill
for fear the Legislature would be breaking an implied promise of
confidentiality made to birth parents.
Parents with adopted children have pushed for the change in the law.
Helen Killian, an adoptive parent from Concord, who attended the
Statehouse hearing, said her 39-year-old daughter should be able to
have an accurate record of her birth – not a certificate with her
adoptive parents’ name on it.
Killian also said advances in medical treatment make it important for
adopted children to know their family medical history.
Pam Wood, director of Bethany Christian Services in North Andover,
which arranges adoptions, said the legislation reflects an increasing
“Older adoptions were in the dark and people hid that they’d had a
child,” Wood said. “The trend is toward more openness.”
Her agency arranges adoptions where birth and adoptive parents are in
touch for years, allowing the children to know their heritage while
permitting parents access to important medical information.
Thomas Atwood, president of the National Council for Adoption, said his
group opposes the legislation. He worries that the contact preference
form that a parent fills out won’t prevent adopted children from
seeking out their birth parents once that information is made public.
He also thinks making future adoptions public could have unintended
“We believe a woman with an unplanned pregnancy should have the right
to chose a confidential adoption,” Atwood said. “If you remove the
confidential option, then the only confidential option left is
Bastardette, you rock. You are one of the few people today who are telling it like it really is. Your blogs should be required reading for every adoptee in Massachusetts. Maybe, just maybe, they’d get off their lazy butts and try and do something about this humiliating bill.
Thanks. But how to we get them up and at’em? Nothing seems to upset deformers.
Good question, Anita. They need to be called out. But how to grow activists for adoptee rights? Ya got me? Enough people want their records and rights, but they want other people to get them for them. It’s that way in all movements unfortunately.
Just thought I would share a little of what we “lazy butts in Massachusetts” have been up against regarding this bill.
There is indeed a contingent of activists who have worked hard to bring about change. The last time there was a scheduled hearing on the bill was almost two years ago. Since I testified (More later on that!)I have not only located my birthmother but I have been reunited with all sorts of birth relatives from Texas to Maine and this includes the six long months it took my birthmother to come around!
Unfortunately, this bill has been ended up as the punching bag for those folks that are upset by the gay marriage bill passing.
There has been some sort of version of this bill on the table for almost 5 years and there are very talented people working hard on both sides. When I attended the last hearing, there was a huge contingient here from New Hampshire because that version was modeled exactly after their bill that passed.
Unfortunately, our hearing was postponed due to a special hearing regarding the new shaken baby bill.
We were asked to leave our testimonies in writing which at least 30-40 people including myself did.
It is a very difficult political climate here in Massachusetts and both sides fight hard! I think at this point we are looking to get a foot in the door and if we can get that accomplished, we will work on the improvements from there.
Just some thoughts…