Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Those Lyin' Bastards!
Some of you may have seen the BN Quarterly Spring/Summer 2006 which printed my article entitled “Dear Bastards: Demand Equality!” published as a point/counterpoint. In it I asked BN why they do not focus on the real issue: the falsification of birth certificates. If you missed it – I posted it here on Wednesday, September 27, 2006, “Dear Bastards: Demand Equality!” with their very lame counterpoint.
Monday, December 11, 2006 the daily Bastardette blog posted:
“MOTHER MAY I? GRANNIE ANNIE NAILS IT!” regarding what they saw wrong with the NJ legislation (and the adoptee activists who worked on it for more than 25 years!). It was the third or fourth post on their complaints about this and other bills that are not “pure” -- with no compromise. I wrote several comments and asked why, if they are so against compromise, are they willing to ACCEPT a life of lies if only they can get a peek at the truth when they are adults.
Marley Greiner states: “Half-measures are not acceptable. New Jersey’s adoptees deserve more. Why are they settling for less?” and “The keystone of adoptee rights has always been access and identity for all adopted persons who want it--without prejudice-- a right, not a favor.”
If the keystone is access for ALL ADOPTED PERSONS, why does BN limit it to only adult adoptees? This is not an acceptance of a modification added to a bill they introduced…it's a limitation THEY put on themselves -- only request right for adults!
Regarding a Mass bill, they write: “Please veto SB 2690 and let Massachusetts adoptees and those who stand with them return to the Great Court and pass a genuine records access bill that makes all adoptees equal to each other and the non-adopted” and “Please veto SB 2690 so that in the next session adopted adults and legislators can work together to fashion a bill that will treat all adoptees equally.” In regards to the Jersey bill Marley asks: “Don't all adoptees count?”
They rant and rave, claiming to want ALL adoptees to be treated equally, but they really mean only all ADULT adoptees! What about adopted children who need a life-saving transplant, or are suicidal? What about the teens on drugs and depressed, feeling abandoned? I have bene contacted MANY TIMES over the years by desperate adoptive parents wanting to open a closed adoption.
What about those who are adopted and don’t know they are adopted, so even as adults they don’t know there is an “original” certificate to ask for? Instead, they go on into adult-hood giving false medical information. What of these adoptees? How does BN help them?
I wrote comment after comment, trying to get a reply from Marley – or anyone in BN as to why they self-impose a limitation on the rights of adopted persons and yet get bent out of shape when bills are passed that limit their rights. No reply. I wrote and wrote and asked over and over why they do not even use the phrase “equal access” instead of “open records” which implies they are opening Pandora’s Box…and why they accept living a life of lies until they are adults? No reply.
And then, it finally hit me! Suddenly the answer was perfectly clear. And I presented it: They don’t mess with the falsification of their birth ccertificates because they want to have their cake and eat it to. They love having been adopted into a higher socio-economic strata. And they don't dare rock the boat or bite the hand that feeds them and has educated many of them very well indeed!
And, more importantly, IT IS ALL ABOUT C-O-N-T-R-O-L!
They prefer to live their lives, pretending to be born to their adoptive parents, and have the control to choose where, when and what they do with their true information once they are adults. Maybe stalk us and see if we are “worthy” of them. See exactly what kind of blue collar trash we are before deciding. Maybe contact us once, get some medical information, and then toss us away.
If their birth certificates are never falsified to begin with they loose that control! Why, WE, their blood-related mothers and fathers might actually take the initiative to contact THEM! Horror of horrors! We might actually make ourselves available to their adoptive parents while they are still young, so that we could help in touch and offer the TRUTH and updated medial information – open their closed adoption! Don't they realize we are still persons non gratis - we have no rights. We are but strangers to the, in the eyes of the law. We could take no control form them or their adoptive parents.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand fully why anyone, and adoptees especially, want to have full control of their lives. I have no problem with that. What I have a problem with is talking out of both sides of your mouth at once. Don’t claim that you want equality for ALL adoptees when you want adult adoptees to have special privileges you wish to keep minor adoptees deprived of.
In opposing the Mass legislation they write: “tiered rights systems such as codified by SB 2690 are open to legal challenge. SB 2690 creates a class system in which adopted persons are segregated and treated different from everyone else (the non-adopted)…. it treats some adoptees better than others. Why, do adoptees, because of the date of their birth deserve “special rights”--or “special disabilities“--as the case may be? What makes a person born on July 18, 1974 less worthy of rights than someone born on July 17, 1974 or January 1, 2008?”
How totally IRONIC and HYPOCRITICAL for a group that supports the rights of some adoptees based on their date of birth!
I put forth this theory of control, and on or about December 16 or 17, Marley Greiner finally replied. The 40th comment on Monday, December 11, 2006 to the daily Bastardette blog post: “MOTHER MAY I? GRANNIE ANNIE NAILS IT!” And this is what she said:
"I intend to answer your comments separately in the next couple days when I have more time. Maybe I'll even blog them.” More than two weeks – and nine posts later – I am still patiently awaiting Greiner’s reply.
I wait and I wonder: Will adoptees ever grow the BALLS to ACT like adults and really DEMAND their true rights instead of accepting a life of lies (and blaming everyone else for limiting their rights). It's damn pitiful!
If you are so concerned about the access rights for under-age adoptees why don't you start your own orgaization just for that? If you think it's hard to get records access for adults, try it for sprogs and see what happens.
I will answer you when I have the time.
Or, "we don't think it would work politically."
I have no desire to start another organization, especially for adoptees when I am not adopted. Wjat I am intersted in doing is fighting to put an end to FALSIFIED BIRTH CERTIFICATES. I wish we could all put our efforts where they belong and not just care about adoptees who were adopted prior to a certain date...something you ironically complain about.
No one needs to specify ask for access for minors -- just eliminate the stipulation and limitation YOU put into your proposed legislation by the ADDITION of the word "adult" and see what happens. Let the legislators add it, if you are so sure it's impossible to get equal access for everyone.
Conversely, amend your writing to always include the word "adult" and do not falsely claim that you are fighting for the rights of ALL adoptees.
And please allow me to be very clear about another thing. I AM NOT ASKING YOU TO CHANGE YOUR FOCUS and focus ONLY on falsified BCs. I think that BOTH objectives could be served. Continue to introduce and support legislation to restore rights to those adopted in the PAST, while insisting as well that future adoptees no longer have to suffer the indignation of living a life of lies....unless of course you think it's healthy and acceptable for all furure adoptees to continue to be trated EQUAL TO NON-ADOPTEES.
Sadly Mirah I've observed this behavior.
Falsified birth records drive me crazy. A record of birth needs to be truthful. Of what use is any record if it's not factual?
I've had adults tell me the reissued birth records aren't really falsified because the amom is the mother or the amother will say she is not listed as the "birth" mother so it's not really a lie to be listed as mother.
I don't know what drives folks to deny a life, a real person existed seperate and whole before the adoption took place but I see that mentality rather frequently.
Mirah Riben has periodically agitated to get BN to change its mission since at least 1997. I remember, I was on the ExecCom back then. The same arguments, the same rhetoric. One of those arguments, that birth certificates should not be amended, I agree with, but I don't think BN is the organization I would choose to advocate for that position. Why? Because it is a group dedicated to the civil rights of adult adoptees, NOT a group with a mission to reform adoption as a whole.
Mirah's pseudo-psychological slanders are perfectly in keeping with the accepted discourse in Adoption World: if you disagree with me you're pathological. This is a discourse of disempowerment, learned from a system that disempowers its subjects. Mirah hates this system, as she should, but can't seem to shake the lessons it's taught her.
You are correct that BN does not technically act in opposition to its mission statement, but it acts in opposition to its stated purpose - and talks about of both sides of its mouth - when it states that it is for equality for ALL adoptees and that adoptees should not be treated differently than non-adoptees. Whenever those statements are in print and exclude the proviso that they mean ONLY ADULT adoptees, they are presenting a falsehood...because they are NOT in fact for the equality of ALL adoptees.
As a lifetime MEMBER of BN I object to the lack of clarity that they project in these statements. That is not slander -- pseudo-psychological or otherwise! These are FACTS! I quotes statements made my representatives of BN - including the Exec. Board that are contrary to the fact they limit their support based on AGE and then object strongly to legislation that limits its support based on year of birth! That to me is very hypocritical.
As for judging the cause of BN's opposition to even MENTIONING the fact they live all their lives with FALSE information, and some adoptees, as a result will never even know they are adopted, and thus never know there is another BC to even TRY to obtain...I reached that conclusion only AFTER waiting weeks and weeks for Marley to reply and tell me her reason why...or you telling me the reason why.
I am still waiting...
In the absence of a LOGICAL reason presented, one is left to make assumption. I do not see as pathological either. As I stated, i see it as perfectly normal to want to have control over one's own life. (Control, BTW, is only pathological when one tries to control others, not oneself!). I see nothing wrong with that, especially for those who had no control at birth -- and won;t have control until they reach some magic age of majority according to BN's plan. I would want control, too. In fact, I would want it for ALL of my life, not just as an adult.
So, BB, it is you who are making slanderous judgments about me, personally. I have never done that. I have - rightfully - QUESTIONED policies of a group I am a member of and have always supported. I have been fighting for open records long before BN existed and will continue to.
I have tried to HELP BN's mission by showing them things I think they are doing that are contrary to their own cause. When YOU limit and restrict open records to adults only, you are in fact saying that there is something inherently DANGEROUS and potentially HARMFUL in opening that pandora's Box. This I beleive works against what we have been trying to do since the 1940s. I have no other hidden agenda. I am sorry that you take things personally and feel defensive. Nothing I have said is in any way personal -- it is all about policy and strategy.
As for shaking the lessons taught me...I think myself and the majority of birth mothers I know have done a fine job of doing just that! We were told to go home and forget about our children and the whole experience of adoption. We have not. We will not be silenced. We object to NCFA of anyone else who speaks FOR us and tried to keep us silenced and "protected." We don't want anyone's protection.
WE - birthmoms - have always stood up, showed our faces and signed our names -- in an effort to support open records and belie the myths of our wanting anonymity!
Many would like us to REMEMBER those lessons and shut up and stay in the back of the bus, but we won't. This pisses off a lot of people!
I gave my child up for adoption so that she would have a "better life." That better life does not mean a life of lies! I will fight to my dying breath to do away with falsified BCs that say that she or anyone else was born to strangers!
There are a growing number of us now...and we WILL succeed, with our without the help of BN!
I am confused as to why there is a "civil right" for adult adopted persons to get their true records...but , apparently no civil right for all adopted citizens to have true birth certificates/recorded government information from birth....with no falsifications.
I have worked in support of access to OBCs for adopted people for many years. I have testified before the legislature with adopted people, access support activists, who state:
"We can understand why it is *necessary* for records to be sealed when we are underage adopted children. But once these children, us, become adults, our needs change and the law should reflect this change in our needs. At age 18, all adopted adult persons have the civil right to their OBC, and this right is being violated"
I have seen the bafflement on lawmakers faces..I am baffled too.It is hard to convince even lawmakers who don't "hate us" of the need to regain an identifying record of government issue, when the day before the 18th birthday it was not needed and in fact, apparently "it needed to remain sealed."
Why? why is it necessary to falsify birth records until age 18?What are the needs that adopted children, under 18, have that must be protected with sealed false identity records? The American adoption program has been compared to the Secret Witness program.
What protections do adopted underage children need....that require sealed falsified identity documents.
I am a bastard too..and I have always lived with the knowledge..and so have many children of rape, as well as divorce/remarriage, affairs, and other non-criminal birth 'complications.'
For the record, I have worked for access to birth records for underage adopted people....but the adopted people I know don't seem to support this access, because they say their adoptive parents will get the records and control the contact with the bio family.
Is that the reason, in your opinion? I would really like to know.
This is the question de jur.
But, ya know, k. rivet, it seems that adoptees such as yourself are just going to have to form another group to represent you and your needs and wishes, because BN doesn't see to want to budge on this issue. It's the way it's always been, and the way they intend to remain, apparently...to the bafflement of you, me, legislators and probably most of the public!
They claim to not wanted to be treated any differently than non-adopted persons and then place their own restriction on their rights -- a restriction that does not necessarily apply to anyone but them. beats the heck out of me!
What was defensible in court, in the legislatures, and would also get the most people behind the cause? If we could stay focused and succeed, people would see that the wrath of God didn't appear and can re-think their fear of openness.
I have personally seen the passionate resistence of opening records to adults who are in their 40s, 50s, 60s, much less minors.
Laws have always treated minors differently than adults and the state could easily argue that they have a vested interest in protecting minors regardless if we think there is anything to "protect" from.
In this fight it made sense to me to focus on the most legally defensible path to openness, because if you cannot achieve that change, a broader change is fantasy.
As a genealogist, I am completely aware of the importance of accuracy and having documentation.
I can trace my birthroots to the 1400s, I have had a relationships with my birthfamily for over a dozen years, I am 40 years old, and I still cannot get my original birth certificate. If you cannot correct that absurdity, further openness is never going to happen.
If I were queen, birthcertificates would have places where genetic, gestational, and legal parents could be listed.
In my case, I was adopted into a family who was in a lower economic class than my birthfamily. So, go figure. I respect my parents because they were there for me when my birthfamily couldn't or wouldn't. We were lied to because the agency said we would get all my information when I was 18, and that was cool for me until I realized that was a lie.
Being adopted is never comfortable. We spend our lives having to make sure we don't hurt anyone's feelings or ruin our birthparents or adoptive parents lives. Our lives are spent making sure no one feels bad about putting us in this limbo because there is no way to turn back the clock. We are never feel fully accepted in either camp. We are pathologized to be either wounded or in denial. In reality, feelings are complex.
Bastard Nation may have had a narrow legislative mission, but their organization was for all adopted people when it came to empowerment and dealing with all the crap that comes from being adopted. We were able to find a safe place to express the complexities of our feelings in a more healthy and humorous way.
I am a lifetime member of BN and started my membership with them with the same belief that you express.
First, please let me explain very clearly that I am NOT suggesting that BN go in to a legislator and demand open records for adoptees f any age.
What I AM asking is that they eliminate the word adult and let the legislators handle that issue.
What I am suggesting is that whatever the laws in each state are pertaining to obtaining one's own BC apply EQUALLY to adoptees in that state! THAT is equality!
I have grown over the past decade and see things a bit differently.
I have witnessed an dread about far too many adoptees in jail, addicted, in institutions, and DEAD - many via suicide (like my own daughter - thus never reaching adulthood when they MIGHT have a chance of getting their records.
I have hard from far too many adoptive parents of adolescents trying desperately to search and open a closed adoption for their child's seek because they see the pain closed adoption causes them and they don't their child to have to wait until the are adults to POSSIBLY get their information.
Fianlly, I have come to see it as hypocritical to say that "accepting" open records for adults is justifiable because it is the only way we can get anything past, while at the same time blasting others who make others compromises to get a bill past.
Concentrating on access for adult adoptees simply recognizes the fact that adults have more rights than children in this country. Adults can vote, minors cannot. Adults can enter into a legal contract, minors cannot without their parents or guardians. It is simply the fact that the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child never had a chance.
I have heard countless stories from every corner of the adoption world. I have also had experience lobbying legislators in open records access. Legislators care less about our psychological need and the more people dwell on that need the less inclined they will give us access at all. It is not their business why we need it.
I don't want legislators any leeway in deciding who will get access. I want adults to get unconditional access, and minors to have access through their parents.
Adults can argue that there is no state interest in government invading our privacy to determine if we deserve access. We can argue that in no case does government intervene in regulating contact or information exchange between two law abiding adults. We can't say the same about minors.
I concentrate on the art of the possible because our movement is limited in its size and energy, so it is best to not waste time banging one's head against the wall for something that is a stretch to defend on a legal and practical basis.
In NYC there is no place in a BC request form for the age of the party requesting it. It asks only your relation to the party whose BC you are requesting.
There is an automatic understanding a two year old or a even a ten year old will not be able to do this without a parent doing it for them….which many aps would like to be able to do! Have you seen the proposed Mass. bill? It specifically ADDED this provision. When I speak of “children” and you use the term “minor” that includes 17-year olds.
I hope now you can see how that BN is adding their own restriction to make their position more acceptable and easier to get passed – while at the same time bitching and opposing others’ efforts that do the same – COMPROMISE total equality to get a bill to be passed.
Bottom line is - if you guys want to be EQUAL to non-adopted, just drop the word adult and br silent on the issue. Let it just be the same as it is for anyone else in that state.
Do you see the difference?