On January 23, 2018, The Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (formerly known as the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys–Quad A) did the unthinkable. The traditional adversary of the adoptee rights movement came over to the dark side. It endorsed the right of Class Bastard to our own adoption records. In fact, AAARA went a lot further than OBC access. Taking a page from the Bastard Nation Handbook, it resolved:
The societal norms which previously supported closed record laws have evolved and are no longer consistent with prioritizing the confidentiality of adoption records over the expressed need or desire of adopted persons to access their adoption records.
THEREFORE IT IS RESOLVED, that the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys supports the inherent rights of adult adopted persons to their personal biological family information and to have access to their:
1. original birth certificates;
2. agency records which relate to them and their biological family; and
3. court records of their adoption.
IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys supports the inherent right of adult adopted persons to access and obtain these records regardless of when their adoption occurred.
IT IS FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys will take action, consistent with its By-laws, to promote the revision of laws and policies governing the right of adopted persons to all information regarding their personal history as expressed above, both within the United States and throughout the world.
I had heard rumors about six weeks ago that something was up with AAARA, but never dreamed that the adoption industry’s steely legal bicep would make such a strong inclusive turnaround. ( I bet organizational debate was “interesting.”) Court and agency records? Holy Moly! Busy with current legislation and other “business” issues I sort of ho-hummed over it and forgot all about the rumor until I read the statement yesterday. My bad!
As for taking a page out of the Bastard Nation Handbook, this is from our mission statement:
Bastard Nation is dedicated to the recognition of the full human and civil rights of adult adoptees. Toward that end, we advocate the opening to adoptees, upon request at age of majority, of those government documents which pertain to the adoptee’s historical, genetic, and legal identity, including the unaltered original birth certificate and adoption decree. Bastard Nation asserts that it is the right of people everywhere to have their official original birth records unaltered and free from falsification, and that the adoptive status of any person should not prohibit him or her from choosing to exercise that right.
With the National Council for Adoption pretty much out of the sealed records business, and adoption attorneys skating around the frozen waters of hell, little official adoption industry opposition is left. Adoptacrats have enough trouble keeping themselves from slipping and sliding to bother with a bunch of ungrateful grown-up bastards who disappeared from the landscape decades ago. Adoption secret-keeping, thus, is becoming mostly limited to politicians, third parties, and special interests, who continue to use us, without our consent, to prop up their own spurious agendas.
I truly believe that Bastard Nation, our allies, and friends, with our willingness to hold the line, persevere, and most important, say what we want and win what we want, has influenced AAARA decision-making. We changed the discourse. We’ made sealed records radioactive. We changed history. We bastardized them.
It’s probably good for business, too. How much credibility do adoption lawyers have if they continue to battle their alleged beneficiaries–adoptees. For whatever reason AAARA did what they did, I’m glad and thank them. Only time will tell, though, how this will play out. But I am optimistic.It can’t hurt.
Now. if we could gain similar commitment amongst lumpen deformists (you know who you are!) who continue to attack bastards as unrealistic dreamers while their own half-assed go down the drain each year. Please let us bastardize you! We promise it won’t hurt. If the AAARA can survive it, you can.