Ohio: Sub SB250 passes; Ohio Right to Life tramps on first parent and adoptee rights

Ohio-Statehouse-I intended to get this up last Wednesday night or Thursday morning, but time got away from me. I finished a rough draft and then got called into work and that was that.  I’m back now, cleaning it up, and getting it out.


Fuck the State is the name of one of my music playlists. The Dead Kennedys, NWA, old Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Country Joe, Public Enemy, Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young, Ice T, Body Count and old IWW organizing tunes. I’ve been playing Fuck the State  since I got home from my morning at the Ohio Statehouse, where the cheap sages of the Ohio Health and Aging Committee, passed Sub SB250, Ohio Right to Life’s first major foray into moulding Ohio’s adoption law in its own image.

If you haven’t read my previous posts about this bill, here’s a rundown. Sub SB307:

  • decreases the time an adoption after finalization can be challenged  in Ohio from one year to 60 days;
  • increases the state tax credit to adopters from $1500 to $10,000  that can be spread over a  5-year period ;
  • creates a mechanism for adoption agencies and lawyers to make direct  “birthparent living expense” payments  (rent, mortgage, utilities, medical)  to service providers rather than the current practice of distributing funds collected by paps to “birthparents” to make their own payments;
  • authorizes potential Ohio adoptive parents who have passed a home study to advertise for newborns in the state and lets “qualified” paps advertise that they want an adoption-ready newborn..  Currently only out-of-state paps can advertise here.

The most controversial changes occur with the Ohio Putative Father Registry, the rights of fathers to notice if an adoption is filed, and ultimately to contest the adoption if they so choose.  Proponents argue nonsensically that the new PFR restrictions give men a “better opportunity”  to become involved with the child AND the adoption plan! Sub SB250:

  • decreases  the timeframe from 30 days to 15 days after the birth of a baby in which a man can file with the already established  (but virtually unadvertised) Ohio Putative Registry  (PFR) to guarantee his right to notice if an adoption is filed. (He can file before the birth as well).
  •  Adoption agencies and lawyers will be required to inform putative fathers of an upcoming placement  and about the PFR, but only with the  written consent of the mother.

The odious pre-birth putative father voluntary TPR  was removed from the final draft. Apparently it was holding up passage; otherwise it would have stuck like dogshit on a shoe

So, Ohio Right to Life, as usual got just about everything they want. The pre-birth TPR was its throwaway. Women have never been forced to tell their adoption agent  or lawyer the name of the putative father(s)  but now they’re off the hook some more. It looks like they can actually give out their sex partner(s) name (s) to her adoptcrat, but it’s a legal secret without her consent to release.  Gee, does  that sound familiar?


Picture 001I arrived at the hearing early, but due to the packed hearing room was dumped into the “overflow” room next door.Don’t get too excited!.  The hearing room was jammed but not with Sub SB 250 folks–for or against.  Wednesday was the next-to-the- last-day of the session, and the Health and Aging Committee was voting out bills on everything from Lyme Disease to veterans healthcare.  The goal was to get home for Christmas.

Buchy's back

Buchy’s back

Shortly after I was shoved into the overflow room Jim Buchy, sponsor of the original HB 307 which was consolidated into 250 showed up.  He stood beside me for a moment.  I was tempted to  (1) trip him or (2) introduce myself.  After all, I’ve been ragging on him for months, but thought better of both.  Buchy placed himself in front of me and remained seated in his usual somnambulistic state throughout the hearing.

As far as I could tell only the bill’s two main sponsors (Sen Shannon Jones and Sen Frank LaRose), Jaime Miracle from NARAL, Carri Stearns, and I were there for the show. ORTL director Mike Gonidakis was on the witness list but failed to show. Why should he? He’s already done his dirty work, and it was clear the bill would pass with flying colors without his shining face and pious words.

Jones and  LaRose, glad-handed their bill going on about the need for newborn adoption (for who?) and pretending that getting the state to encourage the public to adopt newborns (who are apparently, unlike every other state, in low demand in Ohio) is reasonable.

rumplestiltskinThe T&T Duo pimped out stressed-out paps living in fear of some drive-by sperm donor banging on their door a few years from now demanding back his child. (Note: Back in 1996 I heard this exact same argument in the same committee on why OBCs should remain sealed from adoptees: fathers would show up in the middle of the night to steal adult adoptees from their forever families. At least nobody brought up crack smokers and ex-cons this time). A fleeting image of Rumpelstiltskin came to mind., but I wasn’t sure who is more rumpled by this nonsense: paps or bio dads.

I was almost embarrassed for Jones and LaRose.

During the Q&A for the sponsors, co-sponsor Rep. Nickie Antonio, who is usually good on adoption issues, called  the bill “proactive” Now I personally like Rep. Antonio, but I have no idea what this bill is proactive about except getting passed. Some of the committee seemed to have a problem with the bill, but  “we want to pass this his rotten bill now, and ‘fix’ it later” was the dominant theme of the liberal division of the committee.Of course, they won’t fix it unless someone files a lawsuit.

And speaking of litigation, Rep. John Carney, usually  good for our side, but as I learned later another co-sponsor, made some solid comments regarding the PFR. He’s the only committee member who seemed familiar with the Utah adoption mill and the numerous lawsuits grinding out of it. He worked hard but unsuccessfully to change the PFR language in the original Buchy bill  “The state” he said, “has a duty to protect the rights of biological fathers.” At previous hearings in both houses, committee members met questions about Utah with blank faces.).

Only Carri Stearns testified in opposition.  Carri,as you may remember, is currently in litgation for the return of her now 9-month son Camden, from the raggedy  clutches of local agency Adoption by Gentle Care, the 2014 recipient of the much coveted Demons of Adoption Award.You’t think that Carri would have had her fill of obscene Ohio adoption law already, but she subjected herself to utter humiliation before the committee, making herself into a true Goddess (or is that martyr?)  of the Cause. Huzzah!

I don’t have a copy of Carri’s testimony, (If I can get one I’ll post it)  but it was real and  moving.  From the heart. What the commitee needed to hear instead of the la-la is its head.  She asked several times, “where is the money for family preservation?”   “Where is the support for mothers?” while telling her own horror story. I suppose her big mistake was gently reminding  members what they think adoption is is not what adoption really is.  She also reminded the committee that those actually affected by adoption and this bill, that is, lowly first parents and adoptees were stonewalled out of Sub SB 250 by sponsors and ORTL. What the hell would we know anyway? (No she didn’t say that–at least not out loud–that’s me talking now). Unlike the Gentle Care Facebook propaganda machine and Twitter sock puppets portraying Carri as a nutter, Carri came off  as someone who is pro-life and pro-adoption, but calling for actual compassion and positive state action that helps mothers and their children, not ORTL baby snatching.

The committee had no questions or comments for Carri.

Within 30 seconds the vote was called.

After a long pause, John Carney, who although a co-sponsor seemed to have serious issues with the bill, voted to pass it on to  the House floor.Later he told Carri that he voted for the bill since it’s an “improvement” over the current “status quo.” Improvement?  I guess I need a new dictionary. I’ll be contacting Rep. Carney this week to get a statement, and if he replies I’ll post it here.

 Final score 17- 1 with  Rep. Heather Bishoff voting no.,

Its the law

sheepSub SB 250 passed the full House the next day  (4- 4  (with Rep Nicholas Celebrezze, Sean O’Brien, Debbie Phillips, and Mike Stinziano voting no) and was sent to Governor John Kasich immediately  He signed it Friday. Now he can go home to Westerville, stick on his headphones,and listen to HIS Grateful Dead playlist for the rest of the year

ORTL dir. Mike Gonidakis bloviating against adoptees & first parents in OH Senate hearing

ORTL dir. Mike Gonidakis bloviating against adoptees & first parents in OH Senate hearing

Ohio Right to Life

Ohio Right to Life issued a press release after the signing.  It says in part (my emphasis) without any explanation of how gutting the PFR and throwing out tax credits to paps encourages pregnant women to surrender their newborns into the adoption spammer:

For too long, the choice to give new life and a new home to a child in Ohio has been slow and expensive, fraught with both red tape and fraud. In truth, adopting my son in Cleveland was much more difficult than adopting my daughter in Guatemala.

These reforms were made possible by those who believed that Ohioans–adoptive families, birth parents, and most importantly, children–deserved something better than the status quo.  

There is a saying that goes, “Adoption means you grew in her heart instead of her tummy.” With an accelerated and safeguarded adoption process, Ohio families will hopefully find that their adopted children have grown in their hearts much more seamlessly and without the unnecessary burdens and heartbreak of our current system. 

It’s been said that Sub SB 250 has its genesis in Mike Gonidakis’ hassle in adopting a child domestically, He has said it was easier to adopt his daughter in Guatemala than his son in Cleveland. If true, Gonidakis inconvenience zone trumps the rights of biological families to stay intact.

What’s the word on that, Mike?

You can respond to the press release on the ORTL page.


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