Recently adoptee rights activist Lori Jeskie emailed a short note to Sara Feigenholtz at her listed Illinois House address stating her disappointment with the representative’s sponsorship of HB 5428, which under the guise of”records access” has eviscerated adoptee civil rights in the state. We do not know if the reply Jeske received was actually written by Feigenholtz or a staffer or her “assistant” Melisha Mitchell. We have heard stories, however, about Feigenholtz’s personalization of political criticism and attacks on those who disagree with her whom she thinks should be her friends. Until now, we have not had a written document. No matter what the source (in the past Feigenholtz has blamed staffers for SNAFUs that she clearly owns), the email was sent from Feigenholtz’s address. This response, says much about her professional demeanor and respect for the adopted people and our interests she claims to represent.

Below is Feigenholtz’s response to Jeske’s email, followed by Jeske’s original email, reposted with Jeske’s permission.

—- Original Message —–

From: Sara
To: Lori Jeske
Sent: Monday, April 26, 2010 10:00 PM
Subject: Re: HB 5428


Thank you so much for your kind remarks about HB 5428.

We will pay for your travel and housing expenses if you will come here and start working on a new bill that completes the effort so that all adoptees get their obc. Are you ready to move to Illinois and sacrifice your life to work for adoption reform for the next fifteen years in the frigid winter tundra of Illinois?
Would you consider giving Representative Feigenholtz the key to your (delusional) Eutopian world where all ungrateful bastards think it’s easy to pass a bill that makes everyone happy AND CAN ACTUALLY PASS ? Pass a law? what a concept !!
Many Illinois born 65+ year old adoptees will get their birth certificates BEFORE THEY DIE— very soon.
We will tell them that you would prefer to throw good under the bus while waiting for perfect and that you think they should wait a little longer.
Good luck in Washington state with your efforts. We can hear the unsealing now…….
YOu sound so positive and committed to opening all records

that I wish you could give me the key to your adoption

The bill and your efforts to pass this bill are inhuman. This bill will prove to a huge population of citizens that Democrats should not longer govern the State of Illinois. It is with deep regret, as a Democrat, to see this bill and your inability to stand up for ALL citizens in the State of Illinois.
Lori Jeske
Spokane, WA


  1. Are you freaking kidding me? This is a reply? Who the hell does this person think they are? Oh goody people 68+ can get their OBC- yeah that’s great chances are their parents are dead and buried so they get to find a grave! Post her email again please having been born in Illinois and having my child stolen in Illinois I think I get to spout off about this crap!

  2. I’m going to email Sara and ask if she is offering the job to anyone living in IL to establish reform instead of the deform that she has done with HB 5428.

    She knows darn well that she would have had a lot of support for a clean bill but she chose to give priority to politics instead of humans. Yes, there would have been opponents but she could have swept them under the rug like she did some of us at the Senate Judiciary committee public hearing.

    I’ve been angry over HB 5428 but now I’m furious over the response that Lori received.

  3. Is it any wonder that someone advocating the so-called “baby steps” approach to legislation would be infantile?

  4. Very sad to see.

    We may disagree completely at times, but (speaking for myself at least,) my correspondence with the legislators has certainly been courteous and respectful.

    It’s shameful to see a legislator, (or perhaps her office,) treat what appears to be one of the very class of people whose interests she claims to represent as if they were little more than dirt.

    If this is her bedrock attitude towards the adopted people who disagree with her tactically, is it then any wonder when some of us reject any notion that she speaks for us, or speaks on behalf of our interests?

    Perhaps other Illinois legislators simply never get to see this side of her. Behavior like this appears to be reserved for those whose rights she claims (falsely) to champion.

    With ‘champions’ like this, why should she be the least bit surprised when those of us who will accept nothing short of human and civil rights for adopted people speak out?

    Human rights are for everyone, not merely a lucky few.

    If Representative Feigenholtz believes that, she should have pushed for a genuine adoptee rights bill.

    If she doesn’t believe human rights should apply to all of us, then naturally, other adopted people are going to state the obvious, why the hell not?

    If she (or her staff?) are unable to deal with adopted people’s demand for full equality, not yet another broken system of rights for some at the direct expense of others, then perhaps it’s long past time she relinquish this self bestowed mantle of advocate for adoptee rights and leave the work to those in Illinois, more than willing work for the real.

    Representative Feigenholtz, your condescension and outright contempt for your fellow adoptees is nothing short of appalling.

    -Lauren Sabina Kneisly

  5. Wow. I called the gov twice, but this one needs more than email or phone calls. I’m writing Sara a paper letter to say that this halforphan is very insulted. And Sara, she calls herself an “adult adoptee” on her website. That means she’s a, a , she’s a bastard! No. wait, no every adoptee is illegitimate. But Sara just insulted all of us. No wait. Only those who are over a certain age…how old is she? If she herself is one of us, will this Bill give her HER birth certificate?

  6. I think someone needs to accidently forward this to every media source in Illinois.

    And no one is throwing ANYONE “under the bus” but Ms. Feigenholtz herself. She appears to be using those who “might” gain “some” sort of “access” as pawns for a bill that clearly has other motives. Then when the reformers step in to say, “hey, this isn’t right,” she claims we’re the ones ruining people’s chances.

    We’d all be happy to write a bill for her. It isn’t hard when you don’t include a bunch of CRAP. The bill it would require to put adoptee access under the same law the non-adopted use wouldn’t be more than a sentence long. It’s not rocket science.

  7. There is also the mother being thrown under the bus by the section of HB 5428 that excludes and protects everyone from any kind of “wrongful adoption” litigation EXCEPT for the natural mother. Since there are other nmoms in the bunch that pushed this bill, we all have our own tripping us at the curb.

    That is a very unstateswoman-like response, isn’t it?

  8. This email needs to be sent to The Sun Times in response to Peter’s article. I am an Illinois born adoptee still living in Illinois and this makes me sick.

  9. I find this somewhat of a relief–appalling, yes, but not surprising to anyone who has tried to achieve true adoption reform in Illinois. I wonder if she is getting so cocky that she thinks her bill will pass and that it no longer matters if she shows her true colors. I, for one, shared it with my legislators. Sara Feigenholtz is NOT the sole opinion on adoptee rights in Illinois.

  10. I agree with Triona – the arrogance of Feigenholtz is outrageous. She really thinks she has it in the bag.

    And to think that an elected official would stoop to the level of snark that she (or someone representing her) does, could be the break we’ve been waiting for. Comments like these continue to infantalize adoptees by implying that throwing this pithy little bone should be enough to shut the little bastards up.

    I agree, Lori should send it to every major media outlet in the state including Springfield’s daily.

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