Changes

I think that each and everyone one of us has the capacity for change.  Heck change is what I’m all about, and what this blog is all about.  I an an Adult Adoptee Advocating For Change, after all.

It’s not just me, I feel change in the air.  We are all growing, all changing, maybe we’ll all be better for it.   

Change takes inspiration and no one has inspired me more than Marley today.  Just to think a year ago her position on adoption agencies went like this…

Records and identity access is about our rights and has no connection with the marketing schemes of adoption agencies. BN has a long-standing, hard-line policy of accepting no support from the adoption industry. Bastard Nation specifically, and the adoptee rights movement in general, cannot and should not be co-opted or used by the adoption industry to promote its own agenda. We disavow all industry involvement in our work. Any entanglement with the adoption industry endangers the integrity and credibility of the adoptee rights movement.

 

And today when she says, in reference to her groups partnership with Holt International, commenting on my last post….

 

 We are partners with many groups with CalOpen. 

 

This includes 3, count them 3, adoption agencies, by the way.

 

I’ve always said that in order to get records opened up we must work with all kinds of people and organizations related to adoption, and here’s Marley living by that example.  

And I can only think that her presence will go on to inspire more good things.  More openness at Holt, an easing in the attitude that they display to natural mothers, a brand new day at Holt International.  I’m sure Marley, above all others, is working to make Holt the kind of adoption agency we’d all like to see.  Gone will be the days of half truths and difficulty reuniting.  

Change is good and I’m proud of you Marley.

So Much I Want To Do

I want to do so many things.  I want to direct you to my other blog and show you all the fiber arts stuff I’ve been up to.  But I haven’t been up to much.  I want to tell you about the reunion I have working in my life, but that is sort of on hold too.  I’d also like to be on a beach with my toes in the sand and a drink in my hand.  This is  the least likely to happen anytime soon.

So I’m going to hit the high points here.  

As some folks are aware, my state, Missouri, has at least 2  birth certificate access bills at some stage in the legislative process.  Not to mention a couple of more bills that pop up here and there that could have some effect on adoptees.  The only bill that is still breathing is far from perfect, and has, at present, one of the craziest contact preference clauses I’ve ever seen, here’s the summary in it entirety, with the contact preference section bolded….

 

SB 53 – This act modifies provisions regarding adoption records. The State Registrar shall develop and, upon a birth parent’s request, distribute both a contact preference and a medical history form to the birth parent. The contact preference form allows a birth parent to list his or her preference for contact by the adoptee. If a contact preference form is filed with the registrar, a medical history form shall also be so filed. Upon receipt of the forms, the State Registrar shall attach such forms to the original birth certificate of the adopted person. 

This act allows for an adopted person, the adopted person’s attorney, or the adopted person’s descendants, if the adopted person is deceased, to obtain a copy of the adopted person’s original birth certificate from the State Registrar upon written application and proof of identification. The adopted person shall be 18 years of age or older and born in Missouri. The adopted person shall also agree in writing to abide by the birth parent’s contact preference, if such preference is included with the adopted person’s original birth certificate. The State Registrar shall also provide a medical history form, if such form was completed by the birth parent.

 

The provisions of the act shall not apply to adoptions instituted or completed prior to August 28, 2009, except that a copy of the medical history form, which has had all identifying information redacted, shall be issued to such adopted person. For adoptions completed prior to August 28, 2009, the state registrar shall release the original birth certificate only if the birth mother is deceased. If the birth mother is not deceased, the state registrar shall, within thirty days of application by the adopted person, contact the birth mother via telephone, personally and confidentially, to obtain the birth mother’s written consent or denial to release the original birth certificate.

 

This act is identical to SCS/SB 1132 (2008) and similar to SB 322 (2003)

 

I was not aware that the telecommunications lobby was so strong to even reach into the area of adoptees rights.  I assume this means that they will call the first parent on the phone and then send out a contact preference formhat’s what I call reaching out and touching someone.  Okaaay….whatever.   

And yes,  this is the same old tired hag of a bill that has been floating around for years.  

At any rate, Paula Benoit is coming to Missouri very soon to lobby legislators very soon.  I’m seeing this as a bright spot.  

If you’re not familiar with her work in Maine, check here….

http://www.adopteecare.com/paula/

Now that’s what I’m talking about.  A good clean bill.  

Paula has offered to keep us that aren’t hooked up with the super secret workings of the inside scene of Missouri Adoptee Rights activism up with the goings on of her visit.  If you’d like to be inclued, just leave a comment here or drop me a line and I’ll get you hooked up.  The more folks that we can get on this the better.  This means everybody.  

And yes, those who know me have already guessed, politics is making for some strange bedfellows here.  But that’s par for the course in Missouri.  Maybe not so much everywhere else.  Just to tease you a bit, what would make an adoptee rights organization who claim to be the top dog (or should I say top bastard dog) in all things adoptee rights partner with an imfamous adoption agency?  Do they want an invitation to camp too?

I don’t know.

But I am mulling it over.

Everybody Wants Some

It seems that everybody is asking me for money these days.  Jimmy Carter wrote me a letter about building affordable housing, The  Willdlife Fund has assured me that every last panda on Earth will be exterminated unless I send them $25, and for some reason if I don’t send the DNC more money, our very way of life will come to an end.  I thought the DNC should be in pretty good shape, but I was mistaken.

This is a normal day for me.  I send out little dribbles of money to save the world.   It’s not something that I would even mention if I hadn’t received an appeal from another organization.

It started off like this, and I quote….

Your gift to Holt’s Special Needs Adoption Fund will help to offset the adoption expense for a waiting child, and immediately help to make sure the children are united with the loving families they desperately need. We are asking you today for a gift of $50, $100 or more to help a waiting child be adopted, or consider a special gift of $1,934 to help place one child with a loving family in 2009. Your gift will make a huge difference for these children and families!

OK, they want me to give money to help special needs kids around the world.  Who could possibly be against helping special needs kids?  Certainly not me.  I’m all for helping special needs kids.

But wait, this money doesn’t go to the kids, it goes to potential adoptive parents….potential adoptive parents that can’t afford their adoptions.   Even special needs adoptions that cost substantially less.  It doesn’t go to orphanages to pay for doctors, or therapists, or surgeries.  One wonders if they will be hearing from this loving family in the future, after all taking care of a special needs child ain’t cheap.  If $1,934 is all that it takes to get the kid home, where are they going to come up with the costs for care, even if they have insurance?  Let’s face it, if they can’t put a couple of grand on their MasterCard, how good could their jobs be, even if they have benefits?  I really don’t want Holt selling them my name for future reference.

The money goes to some wannabe “family” that doesn’t seem to be aware that there are a whole load of special needs kids that you can adopt for what amounts to almost free.  That’s right, if you really took a bath in this recession, there are places that will let you save a kid right here at home.  They even come in a variety of colors.  Heck if you don’t tell the neighbors, they’ll never know that you got them on the cheap.  Just teach the kids a few words of the exotic language of your choice and send them out to play.

No, the money doesn’t pay for help for the kids, it offsets the cost of airfare and a couple of weeks in some Americanized pseudo luxury hotel, and a barbie doll.  If they think I’m going to help pay for some entitled potential adoptive parents to stay in accommodations I can’t afford, they are dreaming.

But wait, there’s more…

Charlie was born premature at 28 weeks weighing 2.4 pounds. He continues to have global delays. Charlie will develop more rapidly in the love and nurture of a permanent family and your gift will make a huge difference in our ability to find him that family.

Things do sound bad for Charlie.   I’m not really sure why I can’t just give some money to help out Charlie.   I think the first thing I’d like to pay for is a name change, he really doesn’t look like a Charlie, that could do wonders for his self esteem.  As I’m sure they tell all the potential adopters in pre-adoptive classes, self esteem is key in development.

I think I’ll pass on this one.  I still want to help special needs kids and adoptees, but I think I’ll cut out the middle man.  There are tons of charities that do great work in every single country that Holt is doing business.  Many of them might have even been able to get poor Charlie some help without going through all the trouble of adoption.

I want to help adoptees too.  I think I’ll send some money here.

Adoptee Rights.

Poor Reviews For Addie’s Story

As most of you have noticed, I don’t write about my personal experience with adoption much here.  There is a reason for that.  I don’t know what my personal experience with adoption really is.

I know what I experienced, but I don’t know why it happened.  I’ve never assumed that I know others motivations.  Without knowing why people did things, I don’t feel like I can give an accurate account of my own experience.  

I’ve heard the stories surrounding my adoption.  They don’t make sense to me.  I know the players, the time line, the basic events.  I just don’t know their motivations.  It’s like a movie without direction.  There is a story, but there is nothing to make me care about the characters.  It comes off as one dimensional.  

There would be no Academy Award nominations for anyone involved in my adoption biopic.  The actors all seem to be totally without conviction.  They speak of desires, regrets, and deep feelings, but come off cold.  It’s as if they are only reciting.  

Maybe they had told to the story too many times before I could ask.  Maybe it was over rehearsed.  

It is hard to pull off a piece where the title character doesn’t speak.  It leaves the other characters to struggle for relevance.  It is easy for the actor to forget that it really is about them, not the title character.  They forget that it’s all about their reaction to the situation.  The title character is only a catalyst.  They approach the role not realizing that it’s an ensemble piece.  It makes for a poor performance. 

Whatever the reason, I am unmoved.  

If I had known, I would have never taken the role.

Do You Know Who I Am?

I don’t know who you are.  Well I do know who some of you are, but not all of you.  I don’t know how you found me or why you came here.  Are you looking for information, entertainment, a good laugh, or a shoulder to cry on?  

And what do you really know about me?  It’s pretty easy to see that I have an agenda.  But what exactly is that agenda?  And where does it come from?  Childhood trauma? A desire to do good? Brain injury?  

Do I have anything to say that is worthwhile?  That’s for you to judge.  You could look at my associations.  But you’ll never really know if that seek me out or I have come to them.  Would that make a difference?  Should you judge me by them?  Do you think that I would always agree or defend them?  

What’s the point of this post anyway?  I’m not sure that I even know.  But I do know one thing, you need to ask yourself these questions.  Everybody has an agenda, and at the end of the day, it is all their own.  We are all privateers.

Cooperation only comes when the goal serves all involved.  Working together for a common goal is the coming together of the best and worst of our natures.  It is a worthwhile pursuit, but much like sausage, you don’t really want to know what’s in it.  

Ask some questions about who I am.  Ponder why I’m here.  Then do the same with everybody else.  But don’t tell me or anyone else what you see.  Some things aren’t meant to be shared.   

I don’t really want to know who I am, or who you are.

Did Jesus Tell You To Lie?

Seems that somebody is having a bit trouble with the truth.  I had engaged in a very civil discourse on open adoption records with this liar and she twisted my words.  I don’t like that.  It seems that she wants to make people believe that I support “mutual consent” in matters of birth certificate access.

Crazy lying bitch.  I do not in any way support mutual consent laws.  I believe that adoptees should have free access to their birth certificates.

Here’s the post followed by comments..

he Legal History of Adoption in the U.S.

“Kippa Herring” has posted several comments regarding the research of Professor Elizabeth Samuels, who published her overview of the legal history of adoption in the U.S. in the Rutgers Law Review ( Winter 2001), entitled  “The Idea of Adoption.” Rather than print selected quotes from Samuel’s work, I’ve decided to refer you to the article so you can read it in its entirety.

Although Professor Samuels (like Kippa) is in favor of mandated open records (as opposed to the “mutual consent” approach advocated by the National Council for Adoption and myself), Samuels’ paper is helpful in providing a historical context for understanding the complexities of the issue, and how balancing the respective (often conflicting) needs and responsibilities of all three sides of the adoption triad have challenged state legislatures and social agencies alike for more than sixty years.

For those of you who are new to this, mandated open records ”unseal” original birth certificates of adult adopted children (and other persons of interest), regardless of whether the biological parents agree to having identifying information released to the (adult) child.

At this time, only a handful of states allow adult adoptees unrestricted access to their original records, although this is something that a variety of nationally organized advocacy groups (such as “Bastard Nation” and “Unsealed Initiative” are fighting to change).

Nevertheless, adoptive parents will want to educate themselves about the issue so you can be prepared when your child broaches the subject of his birth parents. Not all adopted children decide to look for their birth parents, but most have feelings about their birth families that we — their parents – need to help them work through, even if search and reunion is not a possibility.

Information is power, the saying goes. By educating ourselves about the issues surrounding adoption, we empower ourselves to give our children the support they need to reconcile and integrate the two sides of their heritage.

No two families will approach this the same way. It may be that your child has no interest in finding his birth family. If he does, try to relax and not take it as a sign that he is rejecting you.From what I’ve read, there seems to be little connection between an adopted child’s desire to know his birth family and the strength of the bond he has with his adoptive parents. Just this afternoon I spoke with a radio producer whose older sister found her birth family, and yet he had no desire to do so.

In any event, this article is well worth reading, no matter where in the adoptive triad you stand.

4 Responses to “The Legal History of Adoption in the U.S.”

  1. Thank you for posting this, Heidi.

    “Information is power, the saying goes.”
    Which is one reason, among others, why adopted people deserve to have the right to information about their origins restored to them – and I use the word “restored” deliberately, because that right was eroded and eventually lost during the middle of the 20th century.

    I would also like to include the opinion of Margaret Somerville, Canadian ethicist and academic. She is the Samuel Gale Professor of Law, Professor in the Faculty of Medicine and the Founding Director of the Faculty of Law’s Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill University. She is a remarkable woman and someone to be taken seriously even where one disagrees with her.

    The excerpt (below) is from a 2007 panel discussion about ethical problems relating to assisted reproductive technology, but she also relates to children’s human rights in general:

    “Recently I’ve been working on children’s human rights with respect to their biological origins and biological families.
    In that work I’ve argued that we must recognize that children have human rights with respect to knowing the identity of their biological parents and, if at all possible, their immediate and wider biological families; having a mother and a father, preferably their own biological parents; and to come from natural biological origins.”

    She also says that “It is one matter for children not to know their genetic identity as a result of unintended circumstances.
    It is quite another matter to deliberately destroy children’s links to their biological parents, and especially for society to be
    complicit in this destruction.”

    You can read more here:
    http://www.canadianconstitutionfoundation.ca/files/pdf/The%20Intersection%20of%20Freedom%20-%20Margaret%20Somerville.pdf

    She also believes that emphasis should be placed on the rights of the child, so that if an adopted person seeks disclosure of their adoption records, that information should be disclosed *whether the parent who placed the child consents or not*, because everyone has the human right to know their origins.
    The reverse, on the other hand, wouldn’t necessarily hold true. In her opinion, a parent would only be entitled to information about a child who’d been placed for adoption if they consented.

  2. “For those of you who are new to this, mandated open records ”unseal” original birth certificates of adult adopted children..”

    Also for those who are new to this it might be worth noting that adoptees do not remain children all of their lives. They do become adults. For perspective should those not adopted be referred to as adult biological children, adult natural children, adult unadopted children? Sounds rather silly, doesn’t it?

  3. I would think that even those who are new to adoption would realize that children (by definition) grow up.

    It was a simple typo. Thanks for pointing it out.

  4. Kippa:

    “…having a mother and a father, preferably their own biological parents; and to come from natural biological origins.”

    With regard to reproductive technology, I’d have to say that Professor (?) Sommerville is arguing against invitro and other forms of artificial reproduction, which is consistent with traditional Catholic teaching. And I fully agree that, if mandated open records becomes the norm, donor records must also be released as well. That would be simple justice — the same standard for both mother and father.

    As for the final paragraph, it’s important to distinguish between “rights” and “desires.” As “Addie” pointed out, these individuals are no longer children, but adults. “Mutual consent” would seem to be the logical middle ground.

    Nice try fuckwit.

    here’s the second comment she refused to put up…

    Comment:
    Please do not presume that I would think that mutual consent would be a logical middle ground.  I do not.  My biological history belongs to me, just as yours belongs to you.  I have as much right to know what that heritage is as anyone else.

    There is no middle ground.  Something that is so uniquely mine cannot be denied me, it is my right to know this.


    And the response..

    Frankly, it’s not my concern whether you think this is logical middle ground — you are entitled to your opinion, and the express it … on YOUR blog.

    As I’ve said to Kippa, I’m not interested in prolonging the discussing about open records on my blog at this time. There are strong points of view, and frankly because each of us has formed an opinion from which we are unlikely to budge, further discussion is pointless. I’ve deleted your comment, in keeping with my comments policy.

    Feel free to link and respond as you see fit … but at EMN, I get to moderate and direct the conversation as I see fit. I’m sorry if you disagree with my viewpoint.

    Heidi Saxton

    Author, “Raising Up Mommy” and “Behold Your Mother” (http://www.christianword.com)

    Founder, “Extraordinary Moms Network”
    (
    http://extraordinarymomsnetwork.wordpress.com)

    Proud of herself, isn’t she?
    Well that bitch can lick me.
    She’s a liar who will do anything to support her little bitty position.  Her faith and/or intelligence is obviously so weak that she will not take on a civil debate.  She just another useless crying bitch who can’t back up what she lays down.
    Now go do your penance for being a liar, little Heidi.  Jesus will forgive you.

Oh, and if you’ll notice she said that she would delete my comment from her blog.  She hasn’t done that either.  Just another lie.

OK, she finally took that down.  But she’s still a liar.

Here’s my latest communication with Heidi The High Strung Convert..

Hah! Thanks for such a constructive and thoughtful response.

I’ve not read your blog, and based on what I’ve read about your perspective
so far, I seriously doubt that will change anytime soon. But I’m sure there
are plenty of those who share your viewpoint who will be happy to let you
“preach to the choir.” I just happen not to be one of them.

H.

And my response..

No sweetie, it’s you that has the choir.  I have minions, they look
like the monkeys that fly out your ass every time you lie.  Well I
have the minions, and I have readers.  You see if I bring up a topic
I’m willing to defend my position, it’s called integrity. I doubt you
would know anything about it.


Adoption Rocks!

I don’t get this at all. .

Some dork wearing an Adoption Rocks! t-shirt.

 

Adoption Rocks?  What are adoption rocks?  Are people adopting rocks now?  Are they like Pet Rocks?

I remember Pet Rocks.  Now that was a great piece of marketing.  Imagine convincing everyone that they should pay $3.95 for a rock.  Everybody just had to have one, because everybody else had one.  You wouldn’t want to feel left out.  If they would have come up with Pet Rocks today even Madonna would have one, hell she’d be out on the Pet Rock World Tour right now.

Wait a minute, this couldn’t be about adoption could it?  No way.

There’s no way someone is financing their adoption adoption selling these t-shirts.  Can’t they get a HELOC or something?  What are their plans for the future?  Are they going to start selling “Community College Rocks!” t-shirts when tuition time rolls around in a few years?  That’s just wrong.

If they are serious about this they do realize that saying anything “Rocks” at this point is passe, or at the very least the height of irony, right?  Because adoption does not rock.  In fact, I suspect that international adoption is very fast becoming passe.  Let’s face it, it came out yesterday that we are in a recession.  Displays of excess like giant SUVs, Birkin Kelly bags, and toting an ethnically diverse adoptee, are out.  Green, useful and frugal are in.  You’ll get over in a much bigger way in your hybrid, toting a kid recycled from our very own foster care system.  You can easily still get them in a variety of colors and sizes.  

Besides isn’t having to sell t-shirts in order to pay for your international adoption a bit like wearing a Rolex Daytona with a Members Only jacket?