This is a continuation of a blog I started Monday, January 26 of an exchange of emails between my surrendered daughter Megan and myself. Although we have much in common and get along when we are together, we disagree sharply on adoption-related issues. Last March I wrote to Megan inviting her to attend the American Adoption Congress (AAC) convention as I have many times in the past. As always, she refused to come.
A month later, I forwarded Megan some emails from Bastard Nation regarding Illinois open records legislation. Megan reacted angrily to the BN emails and ultimately wrote a letter to the Bloomington, Illinois Pentagraph denouncing open records legislation. I in turn wrote to the paper supporting open records. We exchanged a few more emails over the spring unrelated to adoption. In August, Megan asked me to stop sending her children birthday presents which I had been doing for over 10 years. I did not respond and did not send birthday or Christmas presents. I have heard nothing from her although her daughter Rachael sent me a Christmas card and emailed me.
I’m not sorry about what I wrote to Megan and the Pentagraph although I am sad about the rift in our relationship. I should have been more sensitive to Megan’s feelings.
"The Baby Thief" is the title of a book by an adoptive mother, Barbara Raymond about Georgia Tann who operated a notorious adoption business in the 1930's and 40's. Her actions were so evil that they were the subject of Congressional hearings in the 50's. "The Baby Thief" was published last year. I'm sure you can get it at the library.
"The Primal Wound" is the title of a book by Nancy Verrier, also an adoptive mother. It's also available at the library. Her book is very controversial and many people in the AAC do not agree with her. The leaders of Bastard Nation very much oppose Verrier's ideas.
Neither Bastard Nation nor AAC use use the terms "Baby Thief" or "Primal Wound" except in referring to these books..
The term re-defining kinship is used as one way of stating that adoptive families are just as valid as families formed by biology, something I'm sure you would agree with.
I don't know what you mean by saying they twist the meaning of terms such as "human rights," "identity," "family preservation" and "rooted in truth."
I have never heard anyone in AAC or BN rant or rave.
I think you're confusing the fact that the AAC is open to allowing people with a variety of viewpoints to speak with what the AAC espouses. AAC conferences are not like Mormon semi-annual conferences where speakers may say only things which promote the views of the LDS church.
Bastard Nation has only one goal: to get legislation passed which would allow adoptees to receive their original birth certificates. I understand your objection to its name. The fact remains, however, it is the only national organization which focuses solely on this goal. It has been effective, getting legislation passed in Oregon, Alabama, New Hampshire, and Maine. I have to think some of your objection to BN is that LDS Social Services is the primary organization opposing openness.
I do not understand the basis for your statement that the arguments (what arguments? whose arguments?) are based on flawed reasoning.
You're absolutely wrong about the "traditional family structure" as being basic or ancient. In fact the family as we know it (husband working, mother at home with children) is largely a creature of the 20th century as work moved out of the home or farm.
In many early cultures, women had children but stayed with their original families, not with the fathers of their children. For at least 50 years, Mormons defined family as a man, his plural wives, and his children. In fact the LDS church did not even promulgate its position on the family until the early 1990's.
I know that trying to shoehorn everyone into the beliefs of what some religious organizations consider to be family is a calamity for those who do not fit this mold. Actually the majority of the families in the world do not fit this mold -- gays, single parents, widows, adoptive families, grandparents raising their grandchildren, and others.
Muslim countries promote the "intact" family and many (particularly women) suffer severe calamities as result. I certainly prefer to live in the US with a variety of family structure than in Afghanistan which severely punishes those who deviate from the "intact" family structure.
Let me say this: I do not participate in AAC, BN, or other organizations for healing although initially I found attending conferences and meeting people who had similar experiences helpful. I actually don't participate often but did attend the AAC conference this year because the conference was in Portland and I offered to help out.
I encourage you to go to at least one conference. You can attend without espousing what you believe to be these organizations' philosophies. If you learn something, fine. If not, no great loss.
I cannot and will not accept the mission statements and beliefs of BN, the AAC or Origins. I am not wrong about anything.
Illinois HB4623 is fine the way it is written. I don't agree with Bastard Nation that it is a "bad bill." I'm not writing a letter in support of BN's position on HB4623.
How did Origins get into the discussion? I certainly would not expect you to support its mission.
This all started because I forwarded you information about a bill in Illinois affecting the right of adoptees to receive their original birth certificates. You are in a unique position to help Illinois-born adoptees because you are an adoptee and live in a rural area in Illinois.
You've decided not to help Illinois adoptees because you don't like Bastard Nation, the American Adoption Congress, or Origins. Of course you don't have to like any organization in order to take a position on a piece of legislation. You can write a letter without referencing the organizations you find objectionable.
So whose voices do the Legislators hear? Those of the conservative segment of the adoption industry who claim falsely that natural parents don't want their children to know their identities.
Thus, adoptees continue to be denied the right that every other American has -- the right to his or her birth certificate, the right to know whose genes they carry. Adoptees continue to be treated as second-class citizens or, to be blunt, treated like bastard children.
I appeared in a full-page newspaper ad proclaiming my sins of 32 years earlier in order to support adoptees in Oregon when Measure 58 was on the ballot in 1978. This did not benefit me and frankly was very difficult to do. I did it because I thought it was the right thing to do.
And you won't even write a letter. And Illinois will pass a bad bill severely restricting adoptees right to their original birth certificates.
This will set the cause back in other states like California.
Your question below is a leading question, which I will not answer directly. It cannot be answered "yes" and it cannot be answered "no." Inflammatory phrases such as "more equal than others" are meant to incite emotion; they are not the basis of an intelligent, open-minded discussion. This type of language is the thing that first turned me off to groups like BN.
To be continued on Friday, January 30.
- Resources: Laws, Searching, Reunion
- Resources to Help Parents Keep Their Babies
- Favorite Adoption Quotes
- Considering Open Adoption? What You Should Know
- Response to The Adoption Option
- UPDATE: NY Adoptee Rights
- Letter to Birth Mother or Sibling
- Giving Up Your Baby?
- Writing the First Letter
- 'Positive' Adoption Language?
- What We Think About Adoption