Sunday, May 23, 2010

Adoptees to Get their Original Birth Certificates in IL; Yes, the veto passed too

While we were debating the pros and cons of a birth-parent disclosure veto--in nearly all cases, this means the mother--in bills to allow adoptees access to their original birth certificate (OBC), Illinois passed such a bill last week and on Friday, May 21, 2010 Governor Pat Quinn today signed the bill into law. No longer will court orders be necessary for most adult adoptees to get their OBCs. According to the governor's website:
"...the new law will also help adopted adults learn more about their birth families, including medical histories.

Archived Audio of the Press Conference

"Birth parents who don't want to be found will have a year-and-a-half years to get their names blacked out on their children's birth certificates. But backers expect four out of five birth parents will opt to let their children find them."
We expect that number of birth mothers filing vetoes to be much much smaller, more in line with the contract preference numbers found in Oregon.

The stats from Oregon:
May 31, 2009 - Nine Year Anniversary Report

Records ordered: 10,189
Records issued: 9,772
Contact Preference forms submitted by Parents: 613
Number asking for contact with adoptee: 494
Number asking for contact through an intermediary: 34
Number asking for no contact: 85


























According to the Sun Times:
"The law builds on the state's 1999 birth registry, which facilitates adopted children finding birth parents who don't mind being found. But the new law takes it a step further.
"Today is no doubt the most meaningful day of my life," said state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), who had already tracked down her birth mother.

"Feigenholtz [the bill's sponsor and impetus to get it passed] cried as she said, "I will be able to walk into the state's Office of Vital Records, plunk down my $15, and get a copy of my original birth certificate. On it will be the name of the woman who gave birth to me 53 years ago. To some, it may not sound like a big deal, but it is."

Feigenholtz and other adoptive children and parents at the signing talked about living life with big question marks, searching faces every time they went into a mall, wondering if they could be walking past their lost child or parent."
The story also quote fellow blogger and commenter here, Triona Guidry, who was not in support of this bill:
"It does not actually open adoption records," said Triona Guidry, whose birth mother will not let Guidry get a copy of her birth certificate. Even under the new law, the best Guidry will get is a birth certificate with her mother's name redacted. "Equal rights apply to everyone. Everyone should have the right to go into that courthouse, pay their $15 and get their birth certificate."
A few key provisions of the law:

• Effective immediately, children and parents involved in adoptions that took place before 1946 can get birth certificates. [Of course, here the birth mothers will be dead; possible siblings might be found.]
• For later cases, Feigenholtz and other state officials will spend the next year-and-a-half notifying birth parents and adoptive children that they need to contact the state and declare whether or not they wish to be found. Notices will go out on Illinois' residents' vehicle renewal stickers and other state documents. After Nov. 15, 2011, people involved in adoption can request birth certificates, and if the other parties involved have filed no objections, the birth certificates will be turned over.
• If a birth parent says no, an adoptive child can ask again in five years and the state will check to see whether the parent has changed her or his mind.

The link below is to a related story from the Sun Times about Feigenholtz:

Torment drove Feigenholtz to find birth mom  

 State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz gets emotional as Governor Pat Quinn signs a new bill allowing adopted adults greater access to their original birth certificates. Feigenholtz is adopted and sponsored the bill in the House. (John H. White/Sun-Times)


State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz was just a girl snooping through the pajama drawer in her mother's dresser when she saw a document with the name of her birth mother.
Years later, as a staffer for Sen. John Cullerton, she remembered that name when Cullerton worked on an adoption bill.


"There was this thing inside of me: It was like a little monster, and sometimes it sleeps, and sometimes it's so loud you can't hear anything else. It's tormenting. It really is tormenting," Feigenholtz said.

Ah yes, the little monster. We birth/first/natural mothers know about the monster too. You can denounce Feigenholtz or thank her, you can hate this bill or applaud it, but it does mean that a great many people will be able to get their birth certificates. Am I torn about this? Yes. But it is what it is. As for birth/first mothers...well, we get nuttin in this country; we signed the papers, remember?  

Just like a coerced confession, we signed away our rights. But every person of any sense will understand that those papers were a gross violation of the natural right for all persons to have life, liberty and the pursuit of justice. We were robbed and the adoptive parents in the professional and middle class, yes, the educated liberals, by and large support this violation of human rights. Because it suits them. Because by and large, they are the adopters. --lorraine
___________________________

Adolescents and teenagers tell their stories about...How It Feels to Be Adopted in Jill Krementz's book of essays and photographs. Young people especially will enjoy this book. My daughter Jane and I are included and were interviewed during my daughter's first trip East to meet me on my home ground and meet my husband. She had already met my family in Dearborn, Michigan. 

10 comments :

  1. I hate the idea of this having passed with the contact veto. But I lreally ike your example of the health care reform bill which I also supported, often over the protests of many in even my own intimate circle.

    I hope they're correct in their guesstimate - and I suspect they will be - that the stats will be similar to Oregon's contact preference as far as mothers being receptive. But it's now a done deal and while the compromises that were made were appalling; I certainly don't begrudge the adoptees who will now have access to their OBCs, as well as countless Illinois mothers like my friend Catherine who finally has hope again that her lost child can find her.

    My heart breaks for Triona and those adoptees who fell through the cracks but to continue the name calling and grudge holding against those who did support this bill; just continues the devisiveness amongst the many factions in adoption reform.

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  2. I could be wrong but I think in Australia the Veto meant you were not supposed to make contact. The Veto had to be renewed every five years.

    It didn't mean that you were not allowed to have identifying information. That is how I remember.

    I think that if there is a Veto to block you knowing the name of your mother I don't agree with that.

    I don't agree with the no contact Veto either but it's an easy one to ignore so it doesn't bother me as much as this.

    The good thing is that it's moving in the right direction. Congratulations to all the people who fought hard to have this happen.

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  3. AP's who show no interest in their own lineage, and other people who have nothing to do with Adoption who don't care about who is in their own bloodline would be considered abnormal for this attitude. So why should this be any different for Adoptees? People are DESIGNED to want to know who they came from and who their ancestors are, and the Non-Adopted are never called insane or ungrateful for wanting this knowledge. I hadn't commented on your other post Lorraine, because quite bluntly I was confused. At first I agreed with demanding a clean bill, then after reading what you wrote, I couldn't make up my mind, all the while not being able to ignore the bad taste left in my mouth due to veto enclosures that are nothing more than the Adoption Industry and The Church saying all of you are losers and we are getting the last word. I also could not ignore the fact that NO woman on the face of this earth has any right, granted by Nature or by god to not let her own child not know who she is. Doing so is nothing less than child abuse and neglect and for the government to ignore this fact makes them nothing less than hypocrites, concerning the current laws against child abuse in this country. Nor could I forget about Adoptees I love like Triona who should not only have her Parent's names, and all her other information but be able to sue the state of Illinois from here to hell after all she has suffered. But then I thought, maybe this law could have added to it ammendements. After all, that is how the slaves were really freed. There was no new law, Lincoln created new chapters to the Constitution to ensure no involuntary servitude for anyone in this country which rightfully let African Americans be free of their slave owners like they always should of been. And although I understand both sides to the argument concering this bill and the one in Rhode Island, again I was confused as to whether it is better to let bills like these pass and then try to ammend them later as civil rights seem to come in phases for many in this country or is it better to trash them altogehter. I see the wisdom in what Florence Fisher tried to do in the 70's and the wisdom in your remark that maybe we could of spent our energy on trying to fight the second part of the NY bill all this time to get the Adoptees left out their OBC's once and for all. And perhaps like you said, that might of been done by now if it had passed. I have to add as well, that Faganholtz as I do call her now for stealing the identies of so many Adoptees in Illinois makes my stomach turn with her self-righteous lies and how she presents herself caring about the dilemas of other bastards(when it is so obvious she doesn't)especially after that horrific E-mail that came from her office that she has been so apathetic about and so wrongly short on apologies for. I am always going to despise her and I hope this is her last term in office. Yet despite all this, what conclusion have I come too about these "unclean" bills? That I'm still confused......all The Adoption System seems to be good for in my life and so many others, huh?.....

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  4. Added to the end of the post after coming home from the movie, The Secret in Their Eyes. which is about justice and injustice, crime and punishment:

    Am I torn about this [bill]? Yes. But it is what it is. As for birth/first mothers...well, we get nuttin in this country; we signed the papers, remember?

    Just like a coerced confession, we signed away our rights. But every person of any sense will understand that those papers were a gross violation of the natural right for all persons to have life, liberty and the pursuit of justice. We were robbed and the adoptive parents in the professional and middle class, yes, the educated liberals, by and large support this violation of human rights. Because it suits them. Because by and large, they are the adopters.

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  5. I was angry when this bill first passed. I am one of those adoptees who if an open records bill was passed with a contact veto in her state of adoption would be denied access to her OBC. I keep feeling as if I am a traitor to the cause for supporting unclean bills because I am a good, faithful, and loyal adoptee who wants to do right as we are trained to . Will I continue to fight and rally for unconditional access to OBCs? YOU BETCHA! But, today as I look at adoptees that are able to access their OBC I am happy for them. If I never ever see mine I am happy for anyone who can get theirs. So, I said it, there it is. There is alot of talk about leaving adoptees behind. But, it dawned on me today that without compromise and spending decades trying to pass clean bills without success, aren't we leaving ALL adoptees behind? Call me benedict adoptee or adoption deformer, or say my years of adoption reform efforts don't count, it couldn't hurt any worse than 12 years of petitioning the adoption court and still being denied any ID information about my biological family.

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  6. First of all, let me please just say that the bill contains a Disclosure Veto, NOT a Contact Veto. This is a significant difference. A Disclosure Veto means that the adoptee cannot get the names of their natural parents, which will be blacked out on their copy. A contact veto would mean that if the adoptee got the information from any other source, as they have done in the past, contacting their natural family would be criminal. I don't like either, but the Disclosure Veto is the lesser of the two evils.

    As far as the rights of the mothers are concerned, even if the mothers did indeed sign the surrender, which many did not, we only agreed to Surrender our rights to parent the child. We did not sign away the right to ever have knowledge of them. Free Association is another Constitutional Guarantee that is being abused added to the list of abuses of mothers.

    What I cannot understand and what still leaves me puzzled is why in the bill (and this was not added but has been there for a while) certain parties to adoption are specifically disallowed from liability...including Attorneys, Agency workers, Social Workers, Adopters, even Judges. However, one party that is conspicuously absent from the list is the Mothers. Several lawsuits have been filed against agencies (the only parties that up until now have been able to be sued) for Wrongful Adoptions, most notably Louise Wise and Gladney. Lousie Wise lost and the damages from that lawsuit shut them down. The one from Gladney was even more specious. The adopters just didn't like the adult that their infant had grown into! They won, too!

    With these exclusions of liability included in the bills, who is left to sue if some adopter decides they don't like their IL infant?

    There were practices and laws in place in IL (that wer not done in OR or other places where it did pass) that made the simple, no compromise bill less likely, and obviously it didn't come about. To me, it seems that a Federal Repeal of all fraudulent practices in adoption will be the only way that things can be changed, equitably, for mothers and adoptees. Go back to the rules that were in place prior to WW2...

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  7. I don't agree that the disclosure veto is the lesser of 2 evils. It means no information at all.

    At least with contact veto, the adoptee still gets their OBC.

    People seem to be getting the 2 vetoes mixed up.

    I am a bit confused that some here are saying that the OBC is the only thing that matters and is not about reunion, but then they go on about how it is wrong about not being able to contact people who don't want to be contacted.

    It seems to be a bit contradictory.

    I agree that everyone should get their OBC. However, there is nothing anywhere that says that a person has to be forced into any kind of relationship that they don't what, however much that hurts.

    Reunion isn't a constitutional right if one of the parties says no.

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  8. The reason I say that adoptees who claim that they only want their records--hurt the movement--is because then it becomes easier for legislators to justify putting in place "contact vetoes," and attaching criminal penalties to them. See

    Adoptees Who Say They Only Want Information Hurt Everyone

    Yes, Search and Reunion will not be done by every adoptee but claiming that is not part of the picture somewhere confuses people not in the triad, because they are thinking...

    Huh? Why wouldn't you want to meet your--real--mother (remember I'm talking here inside of their mind, where real is substituted for all the euphemisms society and adoptive parents wants to place on the concept of the woman who actually had the baby.

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  9. My daughter came to me through foster adoption. It was a very difficult situation. I have done my best to be faithful to my daughter's mother in my commitment to have "our" daughter continue to know and be a part of her family. I think things are going as well as can be expected after almost three years.

    I was reminded of your post here when writing my blog today:

    The Fake Birth Certificate

    http://fourgardnersandme.blogspot.com/2010/05/fake-birth-certificate.html

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  10. The so called first mother's on this site get no sympothy from me. If you wanted to know your child you shouldn't have been too lazy too raise it. As for the idiotic adoptees on this site you should be grateful you weren't aborted, which is what's happening to a lot of other babies because selfish people like you keep pushing at these laws. Stop trying to invade and destroy the life of the very woman who chose to save yours!!!

    ReplyDelete

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