Maine State Senator Paula Benoit believes that simplicity of language is the key to passage of records access bills. She is correct. Compare the simplicity of language of Oregon Ballot Measure 58, Alabama HB 690, HB New Hampshire SB 335 and Maine LB 1084 to the convoluted 77-page Illinois HB 4623 with its plethora of forms, preferences and vetoes which would confound a busload of Chicago lawyers. Would adopta-doyens Rep. Feigenholtz and Melisha Mitchell care to explain why it takes them 77 pages to write a bill that was covered in two sentences in Oregon, and only a couple pages in Alabama, New Hampshire and Maine? Where’s the pork? OREGONBallot Measure 58:Upon receipt of a written application to the state registrar, any adopted person 21 years of age and older born in the state of Oregon shall be issued a certified copy of his/her unaltered, original and unamended certificate of birth in the custody of the state registrar, with procedures, filing fees, and waiting periods identical to those imposed upon non-adopted citizens of the State of Oregon pursuant to ORS 432.120 and 432.146. Contains no exceptions. ALABAMAHB 690Rep(s). By Representatives Dolbare and Fuller HB690EngrossedUnder existing law, an adopted person born Continue Reading →

SPRINGFIELD SHENNIGHANS: Illinois Adoptees Hustled and Shuffled

Tuesday, I wrote that Amendment 1 to HB 4623, would be heard by the Illinois House Adoption Reform Committee the next day. This amendment would add limited records access language to the CI fix-it bill which had already passed Rules. I was told by sponsor Rep. Sara Feigenholtz’s office that this hearing was for language approval only. If approved, the amended bill would be published on the Illinois legislative site probably on Friday. I posted that information in good faith, wondering how it would really play out. Now we know. Late yesterday afternoon I was forwarded the email below sent by Melisha Mitchell, the putative author of the bill, with the news that HB 4623 had passed out of the Adoption Reform Committee, 8-1. The only opposition came from Illinois Right to Life. Dear All: I am happy to report that HB 4623, Illinois’ obc access bill, waspassed out of the House Adoption Reform Committee today, 8 votes to1. We had letters of support from most of the state’s prominentadoption agencies and adoptive parents’ groups as well as the supportof the Dept. of Public Health, Dept. of Children and Family Services,NASW, and IL Psychiatrists Assn.; in addition, the Chicago Bar Continue Reading →


I spoke to Steve in Sara Feigenholtz’ office this afternoon. As I suspected, the current HB 4623 (CI fix-it bill) will become the records “access” bill. The hearing tomorrow is for reading and approval of the new access records language–which will become Amendment One. If passed the new bill will go up on the Illinois Legislative site probably on Friday. Hearings on that will be scheduled later. When the new bill goes up, I’ll post the link here. After that, the fun begins. UPDATE 3/13/08, 10:05 PMMelisha Mitchell has posted a copy of the proposed amendment on her White Oak Foundation website. The amendment is 77 pages long! Here is her fun FAQ on the bill which is being flogged as “a simple fee-free way for an adoptee who was born in Illinois to request a non-certified copy of his or her original birth certificate.” Well, not ALL adoptees!


HEADS UP! According to Kristen Kridel in Tuesday’s Chicago Tribune, Sara Feigenholtz’s alleged “records access” bill will be heard in the Adoption Reform Committee of the Illinois House on Thursday. (SF is the committee chair). Feigenholtz and professional confidential intermediary money hound Melisha Mitchell gushed proud during their Monday press conference, which included former Denver Bronco’s fullback and adoptee Howard Griffith and Chicagoland radio personality Steve Cochran. Ms. Feigenholtz, in her prepared speech, glommed a line from DMC, without credit, Chapter 1 of everyone else’s life begins with a birth certificate, a document I and everyone behind me are prohibited from having. WLS elaborated: “We have been deprived of our history and our identity. We have been deprived of the chapter that everyone else in this state simply gets.” Ms. Feigenholtz may talk the talk, but she doesn’t walk the walk. Under her cowardly compromise bill some adoptees are more equal than others. Since the bill doesn’t seem to be on the Illinois Legislative webpage (more about that in a minute) we can only judge from the summary posted in the Trib: Anyone born before January 1946 will get their original birth certificates immediately (their records were sealed retroactively) Anyone Continue Reading →


Today Anita Field, founder of Illinois Open sent a letter to Illinois adoptee rights activists updating them on the “open records” situation in that state–the new bill that’s supposed to liberate all of their OBCs from the file cabinets of oblivion. The news is not good. Below are my comments followed by Anita’s letter. On November 19, 2007 the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Illinois State Representative Sara Feigenholtz (D-12) intended to file legislation that would make available to all Illinois adoptees, their original birth certificates. Bastard Nation collectively rolled its eyes and waited. Some BN members had experienced Ms Feigenholtz’s “devotion” to access in the mid-1990s, when she abandoned them and a clean records bill to a seriously dysfunctional registry scheme that treats adult adoptees like 7 year olds. Due to her new press-reported putative interest in adoptee rights, Ms. Feigenholz was invited to attend the December 2007 Donaldson roundtable in New York City. Like some other interested parties, she was unable to attend in person so she and her “assistant” Melisha Mitchell sat in by phone. Mitchell is the proprietor of The White Oak Foundation, a professional CI service (Mitchell pays herself $65k a year–Guidestar) that passes itself off Continue Reading →