Why is Adoptee Rights Still an Issue? the 20/20 question

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National Adoption Month 2013 opened with a bang today.  Clicked on a link to “Bethany Christian Services” and “NAM” and got a live sex site. (No, I won’t put up the link)

Then there’s the real porn.  ABC/s 20/20 Facebook question:

Do you think all adoptive children should have access to their biological parents?

Excuse me?   Some production intern, without much thought or grammatical skills, must have posted the question.

I’m not even sure what the question even means:

Does it refer to actual children, open adoption, the right of adult adoptees to their own original birth certificates? Or what?

For the last 80 years, for their own specific  and sometimes unrelated reasons,  the state and its  politicians, along with social engineers, private industry, therapists, churches, and social do-gooders across the political spectrum have moderated the public and private lives of adoptees and their families.  Nowhere is the entwining of the personal and the political so grotesquely practiced as in adoption in the United States today.  Nowhere is the conflation of adults with children in public policy and public imagination so blatant..

Hence, even those deeply involved in bastard rights, don’t know for sure what the clumsy 20/20– post even asks.

There’s well over 100 responses so far, and nearly everyone (including myself)  translated the question to ask if adopted adults should be “allowed” to know pre-adoption information about themselves via reunion” or records access.  If the question was meant to address open adoption relationships for minors, then the joke’s on us and we’re suffering from a collective bastard moment.

Nearly every commentor says YES to the 20/20 question.; A few cite the need for medical histories (sigh!)  but  nobody, unlike just a few years ago disputes that adoptees at the age of majority should not be barred  absolutely from OBC access and/or family identifying information if they want it.  A good number of adopees  say they aren’t interested in meeting their biological parents, but want information about themselves and their histories.. Some have had bad experiences with reunion,but don’t regret it. Some  nurse primal wounds.  And the old Family Tree project rears its head again.

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The question then should be, why is this even a question in 2013? Hasn’t enough water gone under the bridge since 1998 to make this question moot?

Since 1998 five states have restored our right to OBC access (and in Oregon more.) with none of the “social disruption” opposition cowered in.

Fifteen states addressed semi- or complete restoration of rights bills this year alone. Last week the Pennsylvania House passed unanimously   HB 162  that will restore unrestricted access there. The bill has been sent to the House.  In Ohio, a bill to restore the right of 1964-1996 adoptee  access passed the House  and the Senate  Medicaid and Human Services Committee unanimously, but  is now stuck waiting a vote by the full Senate.  (Due to the Ohio compromise of 1996, those adopted after that date still sit at the whim of birthparent veto backed by the force of a state guarantee that the OBC will not be released; a law that will be  very difficult to overcome).

Clearly adoptee access to our own birth records is no longer controversial.  It’s gone mainstream.

Why. then.  when NSA, TSA, and Homeland Security  and other government alphabets penetrate  the depths of our computers, telephones, and bank accounts to plumb our most private communications, medical histories, and financial status, destroying  any sense of privacy as well as the Fourth Amendment,  do our OBCs remain sealed?

Why. then,  when most of the adoption industry, including the National Council for Adoption, has virtually given up the fight, do our OBC’s remain sealed?


Bad politician

One word:  politicians.

These men and women are either uninformed (unlikely) or entrenched in their own agendas: personal “family secrets” and political relationships with organizations and lobbyists that have picked up the banner that the traditional adoption industry, for practical survival purposes, dropped. You know, the boys who pay their bills and keep their seats warm. Some are even worse.  They might be adopted or be a first parent, but they’re afraid to offend their special interest buds.

Although always a presence (and is some states such as New Jersey a big presence), the secondary opposition consisting of anti-aborts and civil libertarians, with little understanding of adoption, its procedures, and consequences, are now pulling the political strings. Fixated,  with “reproductive rights” and fetishizing the female body, they argue either that OBC access will force women to seek abortions or that access attacks “reproductive privacy.”  No matter what the political leanings, they  see women as little more than incubators and baby machines to be protected by the state. By keeping our rights in abeyance, they pimp their own special interests and protections.  Bastards are the nail; special interests are the hammer.

Nothing I’ve said so far is new. The secondary opposition in most states has been around for decades, shoring up arguments for the adoption industry and in some cases spreading their own tripe around.   During Doe v Sundquist in Tennessee Pat Robertson made a claim on the 700 Club that the adoptee rights movement was a branch  of the “abortion industry.” I guess he thinks adoptees are angry they weren’t aborted . Around that same time I caught him  discussing human cloning.worrying that  that human clones would “feel like they were adopted.” Yikes!

Where does all this lead then?  Straight to deformers; those shiny happy people who sell our rights for favors. One has only to look at their records in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Washington, and Illinois, for example to see the lengths they’ll go to to get something passed on their watch. know.  They’re tired.  So am I, but I’ not throwing bastards into a black hole if they don’t qualify for special favors from the government.

Strategic thinking is out of their league.  Year after year they flog their same old bills to the same old politicians and the same old opposition beats them back. I understand impatience, but not all states are ready for liberation. Wait for opportune moments. Don’t stop practicing Einstein’s definition of insanity.

The director of one ACLU organization that opposes records access told me that she never understood just what the so-called rights advocates there wanted. With each discussion she got a different response that muddied the rights issue.  She told me all she wanted was a uniform reply, whether she agreed with it or not. Medical historeis and primal wounds don’t count.

Conversely, here in Ohio, Ohio Right to Life after nearly 20 years of opposition  endorsed and testified in favor of the the current bill, even offering an apology of sorts.  This came through long-term strategic planning and several years of hard work by and with insiders.  I doubt ORTL’s motives were all that pure, but it also saw that the time for its demand that OBCs remain sealed at passed.

The alliance of deformers and politicians is the biggest reason that records remain sealed in 43 states. Deformers take what they can get (if anything) bow to demands of special inserts to compromise who  then turn around and defeat the watered down versions, and fcome back the next year with the same dreck. This is not strategic.

Adoptee rights is mainstream.  Deformers need to either get out of the way or sign on to no compromise. This doesn’t mean that all bills will pass, but it means a united front that grabs attention.. Women didn’t get the vote by letting politicians create voting and non-voting classes  based on age or spousal consent.

Why OBC access be any different? Until deformers stop letting themselves be manipulated and by politicians, nothing will change on their states.

And the 20/20 question will still be asked.


Nocember is not only the dreaded National Adoption  Awareness Month, but also the almost as dreaded NaBloPoMo open month where bloggers attempt to blog every day on any subject..  I’m not taking NoBloPoMo prompts since I’d spend half my day trying to figure out what to write about  how adoption relates to water or clocks or silverware  I successfully completed NaBloPoMo in 2009, 2010 and 2012 ,but flopped last year due to my weird work schedule which had me working at 3 one morning and 9 atr night.  This is the perfect time for adoptabloggers to rip our thoughts.

I had to rush this one through and didn’t say exactly what I was trying to say but I guess it’s god enough for tonight.  I need to get this in before midnight, so I’ll close for now . I’ll come back later to fix any typos I find. and put in a couple more links.

NaBloPoMo November 2013


One Reply to “Why is Adoptee Rights Still an Issue? the 20/20 question”

  1. I have to say one thing, and one thing only- please don’t lump all of us who oppose abortion together with the likes of Pat Roberson. The man is an outdated straw-man that is held up with others of his ilk every time someone wants to make an anti-Christian statement seem sensible. (and opposing abortion doesn’t necessarily mean opposing abortion “rights”- I don’t vote against a woman’s right to make her own choice, but I do support organizations whose mission it is to support women facing one of the most difficult decisions of their lives.)

    There are idiots on every side of every issue. Only by finding common ground and uniting, can we make progress, especially in light of the special interest lobbies that are pushing our government around.

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