Come January 1st, which will become the sixth state to have open records! Without the damn disclosure veto! Maine now joins Alabama, Alaska, Kansas, Oregon, New Hampshire--all states with open records for adopted people without having a contact VETO provision in the law. Meaning: You're adopted, you want your birth records, you can have them, no restrictions apply.
Congratulations to first mother Bobbie Beavers and adoptee Cathy Robishaw, co-founders of Original Birth Certificates for Maine, both of whom worked tirelessly to unstuck the legislature in Maine. The vote, amazingly enough, was three-quarters in favor of open records in the House, and two-thirds in the Senate. Maine's law sealead-records law dated from 1953. New York's dates from 1933.
According to the Kennebec Journal, more than 130 people have pre-registered to get their birth certificates at the office of vital records which will be open on Friday, January 2. A private reception for adoptees and their families will be held at the August EconoLodge at 5 p.m. on Friday. For more information contact Bobby Beavers, rbbeavers@comcast.
In New York we continue to fight to open records but lobbing is an education in both open hearts and closed minds. You find some sympathetic people who support you, and then you then come up against folks who will never change their minds...who are against opening the records because they fear the well-being and health of us poor birth/biological/first mothers in the closet. Who will only support a bill with a contact veto, which is prima facae unfair, unjust, unequal. Who are against open records and won't tell you why. They just are. They will be tomorrow. Which is how we found adoptive mother Rosie O'Donnell's nasty brother when we lobbied last spring. I was with two adoptees--one has been to court and been turned down; the other has tried just about everything but that. She was in tears when we left.
Pleazzze! we say, but these people listen but can not hear. If you are reading this and you were touched by adoption in some state that still has sealed records please get more involved than simply reading blogs. Bobbie Beavers actually got herself elected to the Maine legislature to make this happen.
Registries are not the answer! they deprive adopted people of equal rights and information about themselves--make a resolution to write, call, lobby your legislators. Without us--making a huge fuss--the records will stay shut.
Act UP! NOW!
Go see Milk, the movie about Harvey Milk and his fight for gay rights, and it will be hard not to relate it to our movement. If we could get the kind of demonstrations that the gays had we would win. Sooner rather than later. Speaking of movies, Australia--though it got so-so reviews--is a big old fashioned movie with great scenery and a wonderful warm adoption story with a half-white, half aboriginal child at its center that gets everything right. Bring tissues but you'll leave the theater feeling good.
We will win this fight someday. And We Will Win this fight someday. Justice is on our side.
Happy New Year everybody. --lorraine
Below is the press release from Bobbie and Cathy.
New Law Affects Maine Adoptees
Maine LD 1084/Public Law 409 – An Act to Allow Adult Adoptees Access to their Original Birth Certificates (OBC) - goes into effect January 1, 2009. Any Maine-born adult adoptee wishing to receive an uncertified copy of their original birth certificate in-person on January 2, 2009 at the Office of Vital Statistics in Augusta, must contact Lorraine Wilson immediately at the following address, email, or phone and provide her with the information (below) she will need to locate their records:
Office of Data, Research and Vital Statistics
Division of Public Health Systems
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Maine Department of Health and Human Services 244 Water Street 11 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333-0011
1-888-664-9491 (toll free)
The adoptee information needed:
- Name after adoption, Date of birth, Town of birth (if known)
- The relationship of the requestor to the adoptee (i.e., same person, son, daughter, etc.)
- Contact information of the requestor
In order to receive a copy of his/her original birth certificate on January 2, 2009, an adoptee will still need to download the official state application form from this website: http://www.maine.
Parents of origin (also called birth parents) may also NOW submit information, confidentially, to Lorraine Wilson:
- Contact Preference Form, which is downloadable from this website: http://www.maine.
gov/dhhs/. bohodr/documents /Contact% 20Preference% 20form.pdf
- Birth Parent Updated Medical History Form, which is downloadable from this website: http://www.maine.
gov/dhhs/. bohodr/documents /Medical% 20History.
Everyone impacted by this law should read the rules compiled by the Office of Data, Research and Vital Statistics (Maine Center for Disease Control, DHHS), downloadable at this website: http://www.maine.
REASONS FOR SUBMITTING THIS INFO EARLY: If an adoptee applies for the first time on January 2, 2009, it is very likely they will not get the uncertified copy of their original birth certificate that day. If birth parents have filled out their forms, adoptees will have updated medical info and possibly a current contact name and address that will expedite searching if that is what an adoptee chooses to do.
ISSUES TO BE AWARE OF:
- Adoptees who obtain their OBC before a birth parent has submitted their forms will be able to request that DHHS send them the birth parent contact preference and medical history forms.
- In about 80-90% of the cases, the birth fathers name will not be on the birth certificate (DNA testing has not been available until relatively recently and birth fathers were not always required to be part of the surrendering process as they are now), unless the couple was married.
- Medical, genealogical and cultural histories are important to many individuals, yet for others, just having the document (“the deed to my person,” as adoptee Robert Hafetz says) will be sufficient at this time.
- To help people impacted by this law to work through the emotional roller coaster that this information may stimulate, OBC for ME has two adoption triad support group formats: ONLINE at this website - http://health.
groups.yahoo.which requires a prior free Yahoo registration, and IN-PERSON with the next meeting on January 17, 2009, at Norway Savings Bank Community Room, Route 1 South, Falmouth, ME, 10 AM - Noon. There are also support groups in just about every state, province and country on this continent as well as in most overseas countries. com/group/ obcformesupport/