Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bad Bill Boogie

From Illinois to New Jersey to any other state in the nation, the Open Records legislations are in bloom. And, without exception, so far, they all seem to stink, to be mired in the muck of the requirements placed on Natural Mothers as the Industry and its minions seek to cover their culpable asses. When I have read the various bills, pages upon pages, I see the language becoming more convoluted, more adversarial and more and more designed to keep the adopters happy and the Industry chugging away. Some of these bills are in excess of 100 pages. The original Open Records bill in Oregon was only a few paragraphs. What the HELL is wrong with this picture?

Some of these bills only grant access to adoptees born before or after certain dates. Others insist on intermediaries. And, most of them seem to require mandatory medical/psycho-social histories from the Mothers. And, for that, we Mothers get...Nada...No equal access to our children's amended BC or a way to find them. We are expected to fight for their right to their OBC in spite of the fact that we get no access for ourselves and are, indeed, penalized with the requirements and, if we don't want to allow the state into our personal business..what then? What are they going to do to us? Put us in jail? Or, will we wind up being the goats for the wrongful adoption suits that are now filed against agencies by disappointed adopters? Let's see...I think it will be door number two.

This whole campaign is another lose-lose for the mothers. We've already had our human rights and our civil rights violated in the worst kind of way and now we're supposed to campaign to let it happen again? Some of our adult children think we should not only supply that information, through the state, but keep it updated every two years. WHAT!!?? If someone asked you to do that, you would laugh in their faces. But it is OK for our rights to be forfeit and our HIPAA rights violated, it seems. After all, we spread, signed and all that crap. C'mon! What is the statute of limitations for non-crimes? And for those with recalcitrant and unwelcoming mothers, I am NOT your mother and shouldn't have to pay the price for her actions.

I just had a picture run through my mind of two grandmothers sitting on a bunk in a cell, cigarettes behind their ears and wearing fetching, orange jumpsuits. Granny One asks Granny Two, "What are you in for?" Granny Two, replies, "Failure to update my medical history." Granny One.."Bummer...me too." Granny Two.."Yeah, we used up all our IRA fighting the lawsuits. Ya wanna be my bitch?"

It seems futile to tell those who support these bills that, in seeking their civil rights, they are trampling all over ours and we've already had that done to us. Our civil and human rights were totally ignored during the EMS/BSE. We're the survivors of a legalized crime..an assault on our humanity and our motherhood. I think that there are going to be a quite a few Mothers among us who will fight this violation of our personal rights. It's a simple fact that the (admittedly deserved) civil rights action being sought by adult adoptees is being accomplished by trying to deny the Mothers' civil rights. That doesn't have to be. But this is what happens when you get the Industry and adopters and mother-hating adoptees involved in the process.

Remember, one person's rights end where another's begins and we are no less deserving of that consideration than anyone else. I see the nasty spectre of punishing Mommy in all this. I'm one Mother here to say that I didn't deserve the punitive and unfair treatment I received when I lost my children to the adoption machine and I don't deserve to be punished now, by some inane rider on an open records bill. When you try to achieve a goal by stepping on the backs of others, it will come back to bite you in the end.

Now Hear This! I am NOT a second-class citizen or a criminal. I am NOT obligated to even my raised children to tell all and every little thing. My psycho-social history (actually, my sex life..entertainment for the prurient) is NO ONE'S BUSINESS but my own and certainly not that of the state. My medical history was shared in person, without demands and out of love. If you can't get it that way, then that's sad and that's tough. There might be other family members that you can ask but suing your Mother for that might just cost a lot of money and get you nothing in the end. Attorney legislators who are involved in this know that it's a very unlikely case to win.

But don't expect the support and the assistance of Mothers of the EMS who see through these bills and who have fought for and gained their self-respect. Make things more reasonable and equitable and you have some strong voices on your side. Keep harping on what you think you deserve at our expense and lose the support.

And quit stepping on my back. I was pushed to the ground 48 years ago. That won't happen again.


Amanda said...

PA's bill doesn't stink. It's just not going any where lol.

The actual movement is supposed to ask for the OBC, and only the OBC, with no restrictions. Including the adoption file and medical history not only makes OBC bills go no where, but it does get into conflict with mother's rights. Active Registries and vetoes, now seen as a solution by some, send the government banging down the First Mother's door to ask her permission for the adoptee to have birth certificate aren't fair to the adoptee OR her either.

When you ask for the OBC only, there is no conflict. Giving adoptees the same access to birth certificates treats mothers and adoptees exactly the same as everyone else in the U.S. get treated.

Some think that clean bills are too hard to get and too hard to keep afloat. Many start out clean and legislators add things to them that is out of the control of the Adoptee Rights supporters. What we ought to be doing is explaining to legislators how the dirty bills are what are violating mother's rights, not the clean ones.

PA's bill moves Adult Adoptees back under the Vital Statistics Law. No other crap attached :-)

Sandy Young said...

On the contrary, the OBC only is indeed a violation of mother's rights. The OBC contains identifying information about the mtohers and sometimes even the fathers, too. There is the name, the address, and often information that tells the occupation, the height, weight and educational level of the parent.

The mother and the fathers are the only parties to the adoption who would have ZERO identifying information.

The only way things would be equal is if the mothers had the ability to get a copy of the Amended Birth Certificate, which has the identifying information of the adoptive family as well as the adopted adult. Most mothers, especially those of the EMS, don't even have a copy of their Original
Birth Certificate of their lost children, let alone a copy of the Amended, or even their names or the names of their adopters.

Most legislators do not wish to put bills into place that will not withstand a Supreme Court Challenge. The bills that make demands on mothers that are not required of any other citizen are unjust, unequitable and will not withstand a Constitutional Challenge. And, if these lousy bills with extreme demands on mothers get passed, there will be challenges, ultimately.

We surrendered our rights to parent our children, not the right to ever know them. We cannot surrender our Constitutionally guaranteed rights, even though they can be abused. Mothers' rights were abused when we were incarcerated, isolated and abused. Why would we choose to be willing parties to further abuse?

Amanda said...

Does the Constitutional right to privacy include the birth certificate, and whatever information is or isn't on it, when 98% of United States Citizens are permitted to see their own without restriction? Is the privacy of that 98% of mothers being violated? My brothers raised by my First Mother have unrestricted access to theirs and it does not violate her privacy. Why is it violated if I access mine the same way they do?

Not everyone who lives separately from their mother is an adoptee. There are people, such as my Adoptive Father who did not see his mother from age 2 to 21, who are not discriminated against solely because they do not carry that decree of adoption. Is he violating her privacy when he accesses his birth certificate? Are others who may not know their mothers and were not raised by them or individuals who were surrendered but never adopted violating anyone's privacy by accessing their OBCs? I comprehend (as much as I can without experiencing it myself--this is not a false attempt at empathy) the incredibly horrible circumstances that surround surrender. The reason my father was not raised by his mother was due to horrible stigmas and assumptions of women at the time. But circumstances do not seal our OBCs. The decree of adoption does. That decree is the only thing that assuredly differentiates us from other citizens. I guess I don't see why it should or why it's a violation of privacy for us to have access but not for anyone else, regardless of that person's life circumstances.

I don't agree with bills that require compulsory sharing of information. All citizens should be under the same Vital Statistics law, no exceptions. I don't have a problem with a mother being able to request the name of a descendant. But trading in of certificates....is that a process in any state for the non-adopted?

Robin said...

Amanda, we don't have access to identifying information on our children or their adoptions. The adopting was done after we were coerced into surrender and after we had named our infants and given the information to the registry social worker. My daughter was able to use her amended BC to get a passport.

We were given neither the original birth certificate, something to which we had a right at the time as we were the legal parents. Neither were we given copies of the surrender papers after we were coerced into signing them.

We also had our human and civil rights violated. Personally, I just think it would be nice if we were given equal thought when these bills are created. Too many adopted people still seem to think that we are the impediment to access and that is just not so. I see something punitive in the dirty bills. I haven't read PA's bill.

Lori said...

Ladies, I see both sides of this. First, @Amanda, they have a point. They are not asking that no OBC's be given, only that it be equitable for the mothers. The idea is that we mothers don't really have an issue with OBCs, we have an issue with our information being given out to people with no equitable return. It is, inherently, unfair to give up our information, even in an OBC, and not get the same information from the ABC. After all, our children concern us, but we can't get any information on them.

On the other side of the argument, Amanda is also correct. Because adoptees should have their OBCs - and no amended certificate should be made, only a adoption cert from the courts.

Either way, it is something that is inherently unfair to the mothers. We, as Robin and Sandy say, get nothing in return for giving up everything.

Sandy Young said...

I am not talking about fairness, I am talking about Constitutional. In the US, we have Equal Protection under the law as a Constitutional Guarantee. That is not simply protection FROM someone, as it is being used in this, but Protection from Injustice. We have a guarantee of equal treatment.

Generally, the ABC is pretty much the same as an OBC, with largely the same information. The major and sometimes ONLY difference is the name of the parents. There is also a LOT of information on many birth certificates that are long form, whether the adoptee gets that or not, it is there.

When an adoptee receives a copy of their OBC, they are getting identifying information on the mother. They get her full name, her address at the time of birth, he age, her birthdate,eyes, hair colors, educational level, number of live births, number of total births, and on some whether or not she had an STD or VD. All that information on a paper she has usually NEVER SEEN.

If the adoptee has it, usually the adopters have it, too. They can also get it. So, two parties to adoption have access to the mother's identifying information, are able to find her, and she has no idea and zero information to identify anyone.

The only just, equitable way to deal with this is for the mothers to also receive the identifying information on the adoptee, which is the ABC. Since there is identifying information on there that names th adopters, they would have to have access to the OBC, as well, in order for things to satisfy the Equal Protection stipulation.

I don't care about hurt feelings or who thinks who is being mean. I am interested in seeing to it that laws that pass can also pass a Constitutional Challenge and the ones that are being written will not. In order for it to pass a challenge is that it be Equitable, fair, just for ALL PARTIES INVOLVED.

No one is trying to deny any adoptee anything that is rightfully theirs. But, we are also suggesting that we want what is rightfully OURS too. We should have had most of it years ago.

Chris said...

""Giving adoptees the same access to birth certificates treats mothers and adoptees exactly the same as everyone else in the U.S. get treated.""

No, it doesn't treat "mothers and adoptees exactly the same as everyone else in the U.S." In order for it to be equal..the mother would also have equal access to the OBC, the same as the rest of the general population sans adoption. I can request a zillion copies of my raised adult kids OBCs, such is not the case for my surrendered daughter. I don't believe I have seen a bill that allows equal access, wherein the nmother would be able to request the OBC of her surrendered child, without having to jump thru all manner of hoops (the same as they want the adoptee to do). In Illinois I have to have the permission of my surrendered daughter to obtain a copy of the OBC (or so it was back in 2004)...and my name is on it..it is also my information as it lists me as mother, with address at that time, hospital I gave birth in, etc. I'm not going to talk to the amended BC, until I see where the adult adoptee and the nmother have equal access to the OBC, without all types of restrictions and permissions attached to, the same/equal to.. as the 'general population' of mothers and children, including adult children. I was not given a copy of my daughter's OBC, and I was the only legal parent of my newborn, when that OBC was created. The OBC was not sealed until the adoption was finalized..7 months later. I only speak for myself...I want a copy of my daughter's OBC, the same as I have copies of my other children. And I don't want to have to beg for permission nor have to fill out state mandated medical questionaires either. BTW...I already did this..but my daughter never gave her 'permission' to 'allow' me to get a copy of the OBC (we were already reunited for 4 years when I filled out the state mandated forms). And she never saw that state medical history questionaire either. Guess it is sitting someplace in Springfield collecting dust or used for researchers to pore over. But I did this freely, with all good intentions for my daughter when she professed an interest in her OBC. That interest rapidly waned AFTER I filled out all the forms. She never did request her OBC! Lucky for me I did find her and could relate one on one my medical history, telling her that which was pertinent information for her well-being. The states just need to hand over those OBCs..PERIOD! With no strings attached... to both adoptee and nmother, same as the 'general population' of the non-adopted people, non-surrendering mothers!
""The U. S. Constitution contains no express right to privacy.
The Bill of Rights, however, reflects the concern of James Madison and other framers for protecting specific aspects of privacy""

Robin said...

That's interesting, Chris. I intend to explore that link. I do believe that government interference in matters like these is very "Big Brotherish." So many of these bills treat both mother and adopted adult like toddlers whose hands the states have to hold as we search, reunite, learn about our heritages, etc. It's just a bit much.

Gaye Tannenbaum said...

Amanda said: "PA's bill doesn't stink. It's just not going any where lol."

Same with New York. Half of the Assembly are SPONSORS but the powers-that-be refuse to send it to the floor for an honest vote. Some people are playing quid pro quo re: marriage equality.

Generally - the rules for the non-adopted are: parents can obtain BCs at any time; children can only obtain their BCs once they become adults; only those NAMED on the BC have access.

The problem is trying to make laws that "protect" the minority. Most of us get along fine if the state would just get out of the way.

For those who want to make medical history disclosure mandatory, should everyone applying for a marriage license be subject to mandatory disclosure of their medical and psycho-social history as well? I think that would be very important for a prospective spouse to know.

Anonymous said...

Kitta here:

I have worked in birth certificate legislation for many years, as well as parental rights laws.

Generally,copies birth certificates are available to those who are considered to have a "direct and tangible connection to the certificate or the registrant(that is, the child)."

BCs are not privately owned.They are Vital government Records.Citizens can only get copies.

Parents, of course, fit this description, and natural parents still have a vital birth connection to the adopted person. This is amply demonstrated, regardless of the adoption. If a bill passes and makes an OBC available to adopted persons, it is automatically demonstrating that the relationship to the natural parent (that of birth) is permanent....even though the OBC is no longer valid in a legal sense.

The issue of equal protection under the law is a 14th Amendment issue. Natural parents should be given equal access to the identifying documents of adopted people and adoptive parents, in order to satisfy that legal principle.

To grant access to only 1 or 2 parties is unfair and unequal.