What The Hell Was Going On?

Joy’s post about foster care got me thinking.  I was in foster care too, but I was with my adoptive parents.  I was about 2 weeks old when they took me home from the hospital on a trail basis.

I had known that I was a ward of the state until my adoption was finalized when I was 2, but I had not known it was a “trail adoption” until recently when my a-mother mentioned it.

What the fuck is a trail adoption?

A-mom really didn’t know.  That’s just what the social worker had told them.  They were pretty much under the impression that I was with them to stay.

I don’t know the date of my relinquishment.  All I have are my adoption papers and they only mention that my first mother had given up parental rights at an earlier date.  Not what date.

What the hell was going on for those 2 years?

Had I been relinquished immediately after I born?  Was I not relinquished until later?  Was my relinquishment voluntary?  Was I removed from my first mother because she was judged to be incapable of caring for me?

Were the concerns with my adoptive parents?  Had they not decided if they wanted to adopt me?  Did the state have concerns about their fitness as adoptive parents?

Was there some concern for my health? Were there questions about my mental fitness?  What?

I’d really like to know.

If the state hadn’t placed me, and I had grown up in foster care, I would be able to know these things.  But since I turned out to be a healthy little thing that somebody decided to keep, they won’t tell me.  As far as the state is concerned I’m a different person than the baby they were responsible for.  The foster child ceased to exist when I was adopted.

I ceased to exist.  I didn’t die.  I didn’t change.  I just ceased to exist.

That’s a pretty good trick, being able to make a person disappear.  Anything at all could have happened, then it’s all just gone.  Like it never happened.

But it did happen.  It happened to me.

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Missouri Update

Hey all, need some help from some Missouri folks, and anyone else who would like to take a few minutes for the cause.There are a couple of OBC access bills floating around the Missouri Legislature.  One is pretty much dead in the water this session, and the other is on the hearing list.  The bill on the hearing list is the same old tired hag of a bill that has been around for years.  It basically sucks.  Can you say contact preference, that is asked for over the phone by a state records worker when an adoptee applies for a copy of the OBC? And the adoptee has to sign a paper saying they will abide by the contact preference? Yeah.  I am not crazy about this bill.  Here’s how it reads now. With the particularly shitty parts 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)

BUT, the same people who have been bringing this bill like forever are bringing Paula Benoit to Missouri.  She was instrumental in getting Maine’s OBC law passed, and probably doesn’t need any introduction here…

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

Here’s her blog with the latest update…

http://adopteecare.blogspot.com/?psinvite=ALRopfV9vIsE5jbcVzd-TeEXUyPVLdV46-b_Qowb1nmhhlchrGML4T2hN3Y9x29-kkrxx-F27CxQVCDkE0Y4BdaWgs6hoB6rTw

She has offered to keep us updated on her activities while in Missouri and would like anyone who can to come down and support her.   Since this is mainly a MoCare deal, most everything about this trip has been on an email list, and I’d like to make this information a bit more widely available.  

I have set up an email list, but will post anything I get here.  I’d also like to hear from you guys.  The more voices we have, the better we can do here.  And let’s face it, Missouri needs a kick in the ass.  

I’m going to see about visiting the following reps and senators (my locals and near bys)with Paula, if there is anyone else you’d especially like me to try to get seen, let me know…

Senator Brad Lager-12th district
Senator We Shoemeyer-18th district
Rep Casey Guernsey-3rd district
Rep Rebecca McClanahan-2nd district

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.

I Have A Brand New Plan

Well with every adoptee rights bill introduced in the current Missouri legislative session either withdrawn, on hold, or revised into a total piece of shit, it’s time to move on.

But how do we do that?

I’m glad you asked. This is where the new plan comes in.

What we are doing just ain’t working. We are going to ditch the kicking and crying, the victim attitude, the constant whining, and the Queen For A Fucking Day adoption beat me up so bad I can’t go on bullshit. We will also be jettisoning the back biting, the self-congratulatory boasting, and the goddamn circle jerk that the adoptee rights movement has become.

If you want to talk about your feelings, if you feel the need to cry into your dish towel, take a walk right now. You ain’t going to do that here. There are places for that, heck I administrate a couple of them, that’s the place for it. Go heal yourself and please come around when you are feeling stronger. We do have a place at the table for you, when you’re ready.

Now if you can put the pain aside and act like a grown-up for at least a little while, and truly desire your rights, let’s talk.

First let’s be honest, we aren’t even close in the state of Missouri. It’s going to take a lot of work and more than likely a lot of time. A lot of people would tell you that open records are just around the corner, it just ain’t so, right here, right now. All you have to do is look at what happened to all the bills that were considered this session to see that.

That’s not to say that it can’t be done, it can. But getting everybody’s hopes up over something that was obviously going to amount to nothing does no one any good. Expect to get beat up. There are very powerful people who do not want us to have access and the truth be told, those that do support our cause have shown no inclination to go to war recently.

We need to give the people that can help us a reason to champion our cause. While our cause is a noble one, and almost anyone can be convinced of that fairly easily, someone else’s noble cause is rarely a reason to go to war. We need to give them a real reason to help us out.

One of the best reasons I can think of to help someone is that they have helped you out in the past.

The first step in The Brand New Plan is not-so-random acts of kindness. We are going to help out those that could help us out. First go here..

Missouri Leggie Look-up

Find your legislators. Many of them are up for re-election this fall. You can go here to see if they have filed..

Who’s in the running

If they have filed, call their office. You are going to be the best johnny-on-the-spot volunteer they have ever seen. You are going to make phone calls, knock on doors, fetch coffee, eat dirt, what ever, and talk to everyone you know about voting for your candidate. You will impress your candidate with your dedication and nobility. Study up, know all the issues, not just adoptee rights. Let them know that you aren’t one dimensional. That you are a citizen concerned with all aspects of life. They will hopefully see you as the real and noble person that you are.

When you come to them later you will be more than one of the many people who wants something, you will be someone that has helped them. This may help to incline them to help you. You are noble and dedicated after all.

This approach will be most effective in the House races. The House candidates always have less people working for them. State Rep races just don’t have the glamor of the national races, you will have less other people performing not-so-random acts of kindness to compete with.

We need to focus on the already friendly leggies first, of course.

Davis in District 42

Roorda in District 102

In the State senate races, the once and maybe future friendly Connie Johnson has filed for the seat in district 5.

I’ll be throwing myself at my incumbent state rep hoping to curry favor.

This is only the beginning. We need to present ourselves as adults, with some knowledge of how things work in order to be treated as adults.

We are starting all over here folks. This is the first step.

What We Have Learned From Carolyn Pooler

If you’re wondering who the heck Carolyn Pooler is, check these links out..

 The Missouri Compromise

and

Carolyn Pooler Come Out And Play

The short answer, not much.

The longer answer, quite a lot.  We’ve learned that reform isn’t always about what’s best for everyone, sometimes it’s about desperation and clinging to things that no longer work.

Nobody is really sure if we heard from Carolyn or not, though I’m pretty sure that we did.  Twice.  There’s a good lesson.  If you are not willing to take credit for your actions and defend them, you probably shouldn’t be working on anybody else’s behalf.  You have to believe in what you’ve done enough to put you name on it and claim it.  Hiding behind different screen names and posting from public computers, so you can’t be traced isn’t going to inspire a lot of confidence in what you have to say.  So from Carolyn we learned to be ready to explain your actions and claim them.  If you’ve managed to fuck up royally, admit it.

I suppose there is a an argument riding into town, hoopin’ and hollerin, killin’ all the women and rapin’ all the cattle.  Hell, I’ve done it myself.  But if you are going to do that, you need to case the place you are ridin’ into first.  Carolyn didn’t do that.  And because she didn’t do her research, all she managed to get done was fall in a pile of shit.  Hell my blog was right there.  If she had even read the previous post to The Missouri Compromise, she would have found that I’m staunchly anti-whining.  As to the other folks she managed to insult, she didn’t check up on them either.  There’s a lesson.  Do your research.  I don’t imagine she’s researched adoptee issues, or the current state of reform actions, any better than she researched me.

Lastly, and most importantly, we learned the price of alienating those that can help you in your cause.  I can tell you it will be Frozen Margarita Night In Hell before I’d piss on her if she were on fire.  I’m guessing there are a few others that feel the same, most of them in a better position to help her than I am.

Yes,The Carolyn Pooler Affair, as it will from now be known, because I say so.  Has been an excellent lesson to us all.  All the lame newbie internet insults, all the pathetic kicking and crying aside, Ms. Pooler has given us something to learn from.

There will be a test afterward.

Carolyn Pooler Come Out And Play..

I’m still waiting here.  See this post The Missouri Compromise.  So far absolutely no explanation. And I’m not the only one who wants one.

Amy wants to know.

Gershom wants to know.

And Marley really wants to know.

Oh and these folks are curious too Nullius Filius.

Along with a lot of other people.

Exactly who do you claim to represent? Are they all Missouri adoptees? Were they all on board when you refused to support Representative Connie Johnson’s bill?

Oh and is it MO CARE that you represent, like you signed your letters with, or is it more like mocoare? Because through a typo I did find that group, with 5 whole people in it. Which is it?

Or are you speaking for the American Adoption Congress? Or Adoption and Triad Support Network? Or The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks? I can’t tell. And you don’t seem to have any friends that are forthcoming.

C’mon set me straight here. Educate me. And everybody else.

BTW, I see you’re having a meeting Thursday evening. Would you be more comfortable explaining this to me in person? I promise to listen very slowly.
Again comments section is below.