Saturday, May 14, 2011

Help Adoptees Reach First Parents


By LORRAINE DUSKY
Lorraine
Ask the man on the street if people who were adopted as babies should be able, as adults, to find out the identities of their original parents, and the typical answer is: Sure, isn't that their right?

Only for the fortunate few. In all states but six -- and New York isn't among that half-dozen -- individuals adopted at birth are still denied the unrestricted right to even look at a copy of their original birth certificates. Without that piece of paper, it's hard to have that longed-for mother-and-child reunion.


Even for infants adopted recently under rules that enabled the surrendering mother to meet the adoptive parents, the right to obtain the original birth certificate is crucial. Yet that all-important document remains locked up because of laws written long ago. The thinking then was that individuals would be secure in their new families and wouldn't need to know where they came from. And with the records sealed, their mothers -- their first mothers -- wouldn't be able to interfere in their lives. Those mothers would grieve in silence and then "forget" these children. 

But that simplistic idea of how people are hasn't stood the test of time. Stories about reunited mother and child, or siblings, are in the news precisely because the heart understands what the law ignores: Neither does a mother forget, nor can questions of identity be stilled. They ring deep in the breast, and neither time, nor the love of an adoptive family, can erase them.

In New York, a group called Unsealed Initiative, made up of adoptees and first parents, are lobbying to repeal the 1935 law that sealed the original birth certificates of anyone adopted in this state. I'm one of them -- a woman who relinquished a child in 1966 -- and we've been at this battle for decades. We get so far, and then the bill gets lost in the morass of Albany when the session comes to an end.

This week, New Jersey's Assembly passed a bill giving adopted people the right to know who they are; it has passed the Senate and awaits a decision by the governor. In New York this year we have an energetic sponsor in Assemb. DavidWeprin (D-Queens). In the Senate, Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn) and William Larkin (R-Newburgh) are sponsors. We have dozens of co-sponsors and, it seems, even enough votes to get the bill passed -- if we can get it to the floor of the legislature before time runs out once again. 

It's not that the legislators are mean-hearted people who would simply deny adoptees the right to know who they are. But they persist in thinking that they somehow must "protect" the women who surrendered their children when having a child out of wedlock was coated with shame and humiliation. Even if the state never promised anonymity to these women -- and it did not -- the understanding is that it was an implied promise back then. But that puts government in the untenable position of protecting one group by trampling the rights of another.

The great majority of us not only welcome meeting our children, now grown, but we anxiously hope for it. 

While some women would choose anonymity, their temporary discomfort and embarrassment are hardly reasons to keep the records sealed in this day and age.

Further, this position doesn't address the issue that all women, whether they wanted anonymity or not, were made party to this unjust pact with the state. If we had to surrender our children to the care and keeping of strangers, we had no choice but to be anonymous. And we have no choice today to undo what has been shown to be hurtful to our children, who are now adults and want medical histories and answers to questions of ancestry.  

Another argument for keeping the records sealed is that abortions will go up if mothers cannot relinquish in secrecy and count on it forever. But data from states that allow adoptees to claim their original birth certificates proves this to be false. Abortions do not increase. Nor do adoptions decrease.

Yet no matter what happens to those numbers, they are side shows to the main issue: People adopted as children should have the same rights as the rest of us, that is, to fully answer the question: Who am I? It's only human to want to know.
-----------------------------
Lorraine Dusky of Sag Harbor is the author of the memoir Birthmark. She blogs at First Mother Forum.

Originally published in Newsday on Friday, May 13, 2011, and on their website the night before. It may only be read in its entirety by subscribers to Newsday or those who use the cable services of Cablevision, which owns the paper (as well as Madison Square Garden) and so I reprint it here. If you have a New York adoption connection, but live elsewhere, or if you now live in New York now, please get involved in the effort to repeal the old legislation that sealed the original birth certificates when people are adopted. Please contact Joyce Bahr at unsealedinitiative@nyc.rr.com and join us!  NEW YORK NEEDS YOU--BIRTH/FIRST MOTHERS, ADOPTEES AND ADOPTIVE PARENTS. Let's do this together. 

28 comments :

  1. The thinking then was that individuals would be secure in their new families and wouldn't need to know where they came from. And with the records sealed, their mothers -- their first mothers -- wouldn't be able to interfere in their lives.

    Oh my gosh - that's EXACTLY what the a-mom said to me when I first tried (found) my daughter!! She thought, since the records were sealed - I would NEVER interfere in my daughter's life... A-mom thought I'd 'broken' some agreement that I signed way back when (1969), which of course I DID NOT! My daughter thought the same thing - so I sit and wait until she decides when to contact me... still waiting after 5 years!

    Lorraine - what others states, besides N.Y. has this sealed records?? Curious!

    signed,
    Lee (my 'name' at the home for unwed mothers!)

    ReplyDelete
  2. P.S. I'm in California - had a GREAT search angel find my daughter!!!

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lee--
    All states but six (as i say in the piece)have records sealed one way or another. Several states have half-way measures which still give first parents veto power to have their names redacted from the Original Birth Certificate, or OBC, in parlance. for more, see the website of the American Adoption Congress.

    Even the NJ Bill would give first parents 12 months to send a registered letter to have their names removed. See the sidebar about NJ.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I know this won't be popular, but, honestly, I think that the "half way" is a lot more reasonable than most would think. There are some women/men that really can't handle contact - both adoptees and mothers. While I think all children, no matter whether they are adopted or not, should have the right to an original birth certificate, there are circumstances that make this more than just the family history, medical information issue.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Lori:

    Not sure what your point is because despite the issue of contact, I am only arguing that all adoptees should have the right to have their original birth certificate, without restrictions. That is the bill we are working for in NY.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "While some women would choose anonymity, their temporary discomfort and embarrassment are hardly reasons to keep the records sealed in this day and age."

    I'll never understand the way people minimize how traumatic being forced out of the closet could be to a woman in her 70's who hasn't told anyone she gave a baby up for adoption. Even if one believes her resistance to open records is wrong, why are these women always afforded zero compassion, understanding and support from their peers?

    I'm a closet adoptee and even I can empathize and imagine how terrifying it would be. You'd think other mothers would be able to summon up a little empathy as well, especially those who fight for understanding and compassion when it comes to the initial relinquishment.

    How sad.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have to agree with Lori. If the issue with the OBC is reunion, there are other documents that could help more than the OBC. Why waste your time focusing so much on the OBC? Much of the time the bmom has married and changed her last name, her family has moved, the the OBC doesn't help at all. And some people don't want to be contacted, I think they should have the right to be remain anonymous.

    If the issue with OBC is the fanciful grand idea of learning one's "true identity," a piece of paper wouldn't make much difference to me. That's just me. I tend to be more internally focused and don't look towards external validations. I know who I am. But I understand it's a very emotional issue for some people.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Campbell:

    I've written about this before, and I do have some compassion for those who are still in the closet, but my sympathy stops short of letting them continue to be the reason adoptees like yourself in all but six states can't simply walk into the records office, pay a small fee and get their original birth certificates and find out who they were when they were born.

    As I have said many times: ...embarrassment alone is not worthy of constitutional protection. The knowledge of the other party belongs to both the individuals involved: mother and child.

    Also, I trust most adoptees are nice, normal people whose aim is not to hurt their birth parents, and do not intend to stalk them, post their names on Facebook, or shout it from a rooftop. Birth parents' identity should not be shielded from their progeny. It is too harmful to the adopted to do thus.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The right to one's own original birth certificate has nothing to do with search or reunion. It is unfortunate that the two issues have become conflated. It also has nothing to do with medical records, agency records, or court records. It is one document that the person it pertains to, the adoptee, should have a right to obtain on request as we non-adopted folks do. It is a simple right to one document, not a whole complicated family drama.

    What the adoptee chooses to do or not do after that is a personal choice. Thousands of searching adoptees have located and connected with their birth families without ever seeing their OBC. Keeping the OBC sealed from the adoptee does not prevent search, contact, reunion, or the embarrasment of old ladies in the closet. Nobody has a right to a reunion or relationship with anyone else, but certainly competent adults can work that out for themselves. For those who cross sensible boundaries, there are already laws on the books about harassment and stalking that would apply.

    Those who do not want to meet their child can just say no. It happens every day. It is not the job of the state to intervene in messy family and personal relationships or to protect anyone from relatives they would rather not meet.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anon,
    Opponents of Oregon's law to allow adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates also spoke about protecting terrified 70 year old birth mothers. The Oregon law went into effect 11 years ago and there have been no reported cases of mothers upset because their child found them via the birth certificate. Of course, it may have happened, but if it did, it wasn't newsworthy, no mother jumping off bridges.

    The birth certificate is a clumsy vehicle at best for finding someone since names and addresses have likely changed.

    The searching adoptees I have met are extremely anxious about not upsetting their birth mothers. I can't imagine any of them barging in unanounced and then divulging her secret to the world. I've known several adoptees who are in long term relationships with their birth mothers, kept secret at her request.

    As a personal note, I had told very few people about my surrendered daughter Megan. When she found me at age 31, I knew that I wanted to have a relationship with her; I recognized that it would be unfair to keep her a secret. Telling people about was actually therapeutic.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I don't think it's the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth to say that access to the OBC has nothing to do with search and reunion. For many from the closed era the OBC is the only way to find out the names of their first parents. And this information is then used as the basis for searching. Furthermore, sometimes the first mother is found and she refuses to divulge the name of the natural father and maybe it is on the OBC.

    While I can empathize with what Campbell wrote, I did not believe when I was searching nor do I believe now that my first parents had a right to privacy from ME. They do have a right to privacy from the world and I would certainly not be blabbing their identities all over the universe if that is not what they wanted. However, allowing original parents to keep their identities hidden from their offspring puts the adoptee in a powerless position ONCE AGAIN where the "adults" get to call all the shots.

    Also, what is the reason behind the anonymity? Is it because giving up a child is considered so awful and shameful? Girls/women who relinquish now are being told that they are selfless, brave and heroic. This sounds like a bit of a schizophrenic split.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Robin, addressing two points in your comments. The father's name was rarely allowed on the original birth certificate if the parents were not married, no matter what the mother said. It would be a very rare thing for his name to be on that document, yet the mother would not divulge it to the adoptee. If the mother were married, her legal husband would be listed as the father no matter who the natural father was. In most cases the father's identity and access to it lies with the mother, not on the OBC. " Father Unknown" was the daddy of most kids of unwed moms.

    Yes, some adoptees use the OBC as a search tool, but just as many search without ever obtaining it. Some have the OBC by court order and are never able to find anyone because the info is false. I do not see the emphasis on search and reunion as the reason for OBC access as helpful, not that nobody uses it to help search. Of course many do, but that does not make it a right. A right has no conditions, it just is.

    As to the schizophrenic split between the fearful mother in the closet and the brave selfless hero mom "doing the noble thing", that has always been the case to a greater or lesser degree. Back in the day, we were told that we should surrender "if you really love your child." Some mothers were even told that the child would thank them some day! Today, it is laid on thick that the surrendering mom is a hero helping a "deserving" couple have a family blah blah blah and what a wonderful thing she is doing, only to find that once she has given up her child, most people do not see it that way at all. "I could never..." and "how could you...?" are the common responses, yesterday and today, when learning that a mother surrendered. Recent surrenders are finding this out now; not all that much has really changed.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am not going to say I am not compassionate about the potential embarrassment, not all mothers are embarrassed to be sure, my older adopted brother's mother who was the same age as mine was not. Despite her coming from a more conservative area than my mother.

    My mother struggles with having relinquished me, she tells me she is embarrassed of that and feels no reason was good enough.

    I don't think she is ashamed of falling in love as a teenager, that is kind of what teenagers are built to do.

    The other problem I have with the potential embarrassment, is what other sector of our society is supposedly legally protected that way? There are many things we find ourselves doing in our lives that are traumatic later. For example, my adoptive father is a Vietnam Veteran. I know for a fact he is not proud of everything he did under orders.

    Should he be protected from being in contact with veterans from his same squadron to prevent the possibility of untoward stories coming out or the discomfort of the memories?

    As a matter of fact his squadron gets together every year because it was such a big deal and they find it comforting and healing.

    Other people have traumatic events in their lives, people go to jail for crimes they haven't committed and then are released and their names and stories are published. People commit crimes and go to jail for things that they did do and we offer them no privacy, if they are adults even though I would imagine they would not want that information published.

    Those are extreme examples to be sure.

    I would imagine anyone who lives to age 70, and 70 is not that old to me, I mean if you were 70 today you would have lived through the sexual revolution as a fairly young woman, you would more than likely experienced other traumas and embarrassments, maybe your son got a DUI and it was in the paper and your church friends saw that?

    The 'legal protection' which doesn't work anyway, people still find without it, and btw, my father was named on my OBC, which in California by adoptive parents have the legal right to AND I am listed on the CA birth index as my father's child, which is a public record.

    Secrecy and shame is at total odds with current day mental health practices. The idea that the government needs to infantalize women who have relinquished is offensive not only to my adoptee- self but my feminist-self who believes that women are fully capable of navigating the truths of their own lives without being 'protected' by government agencies.

    It is also offensive to my American political-self that believes in lack of interference of government in the personal lives of its citizens. Which is directly at odds with the guarantee of government interference in personal lives as is the practice of sealed records.

    Do I have compassion for people who can't put their big girl panties on and deal with the facts of their own lives, yes but it is limited. I find that argument disingenuous, not for a moment do I believe it is anything more than agencies and adoption attorneys exploiting and hiding behind the skirts of mothers , they should be ashamed.

    I will believe in contact vetoes when we can hand them out to ex-boyfriends and police who pull us over for speeding as well. 'I am sorry I just find this all embarrassing and well traumatic' free-spin!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I didn't need my OBC to find my natural mother, but I can definitely see that some adoptees would need it for searching in the absence of non-identifying information.

    From a legal standpoint, however, I agree with everyone who's said that it's a matter of having access to a document about ourselves. I don't believe that the government has the right to censor my original identity from me. Adoption did give me another set of parents, but IMO that's not a reason to put my OBC in lockdown and create an amended birth certificate that says (fraudently) that my aparents were the people who conceived and gave birth to me. I am an adult who should be able to petition for my long-form birth certificate like the President of the United States.

    I do understand that some women who relinquished long ago and even now wish to remain anonymous and keep their identities secret from their child and everyone else. I agree with Maryanne that adoptee access to OBCs does no more than provide information. Parents who give birth owe their children that much respect, along with oral family medical histories which can mean the difference between life and death for adoptees. Neither adoptees nor natural parents owe each other ongoing relationships; that is something to be decided mutually.

    Joy is right on about the government's job not being to protect natural mothers from embarrassment; it does seem very odd when seen from that point of view. Which Amendment guarantees freedom from shame and embarrassment? And as Maryanne so aptly said, if adoptees or natural parents overstep boundaries when it comes to contact, there are already laws in place to protect the rights of the party who is being trampled on.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Reunion and a person's right to their OBC are distinct issues - even in those cases where they become linked. As has already been pointed out, getting one's OBC doesn't guarantee reunion, nor it is always necessary to have one's OBC in order to reunite. That kind of misinformation only spreads confusion and distracts from the real issue, which is that adopted people deserve the same right to their OBCs as any other citizen. Depriving them of that right is discriminatory.

    Neither does having sympathy for older women who resist contact add up to straying away from that principle.
    "Temporary discomfort and embarrassment" is a dismissive way to describe what a much older woman, whose life has been constrained to the point where she has become a secret (sometimes even from herself), has to go through when reality catches up with her. But feeling sympathy for her plight is not the same thing as giving her a free pass because of it. Everyone has the right to their OBC - no ifs or buts about that - but the road to reunion plays out differently in different cultural contexts.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Lorraine writes in her original post: "Without that piece of paper, it's hard to have that longed-for mother-and-child reunion."

    Maryanne respondes: "The right to one's own original birth certificate has nothing to do with search or reunion."

    The message is very inconsistent, even among supporters of OBC. How I am supposed to take this movement seriously, when its followers can't even keep their stories straight? One of the reasons I haven't jumped on board is because no one can articulate the need very compellingly. Perhaps this is because there is nothing compelling to be articulated. Instead, supporters of the movement make up stuff that sounds good.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anon said/quoted: "Lorraine writes in her original post: "Without that piece of paper, it's hard to have that longed-for mother-and-child reunion."

    Maryanne respondes: "The right to one's own original birth certificate has nothing to do with search or reunion."

    ""The message is very inconsistent, even among supporters of OBC. How I am supposed to take this movement seriously, when its followers can't even keep their stories straight? One of the reasons I haven't jumped on board is because no one can articulate the need very compellingly. Perhaps this is because there is nothing compelling to be articulated. Instead, supporters of the movement make up stuff that sounds good.""

    Have to disagree with you Anon...the message is very consistent....in that those who were adopted have the right to their own OBCs...what the adoptee chooses to do or not to do, once OBC is in hand...is the adoptee's choice. How is that making "up stuff that sounds good"? If you are not an adoptee...then you can get a copy of your OBC anytime you want...no questions asked..as to what you are going to do with it or not. So why should that be any different for those who were adopted?
    An OBC is an OBC...and what one chooses to do with it after they have in hand...well that will be that individual's 'story'.
    Many mothers may have their own opinions about the OBC, how it can be used or not...still the message is the same..Give the adoptees unfettered access to their own OBCs!! End of Story....

    ReplyDelete
  18. My daughter found me without her OBC. Even though I gave the name of her father, as stated earlier he was listed as "Unknown". I told her his name and within a few weeks she had tracked him down using the internet.
    Even though her OBC was not neede to find her parnets I do believe that she and all other adoptees have a right to thier OBCs just all the rest of us.
    Those of us older have hopefully matured enough to be able to handle any situation that might arise from being found/reunited. I for one waited for 36 years to be found. And at my present age there is no longer any excuse for what I did. It was a horrible mistake. These are after all our children and they deserve no less than any children to whom we gave birth.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Sorry for all the spellig errors in my earlier posts. I am sometimes too stubborn to admit I need to put on my reading glasses!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Dear Anon:

    Within any movement people have differing opinions and attitudes.

    Given that you have discovered there are differences of opinion in adoption reform is surely a handy excuse for you to sit back and do nothing.

    Are you the mother who surrendered a child whose OBC was then falsified, the adoptive parent who likes it that way, or the person whose right to have his own identification at birth stripped from him?

    While Maryanne is right that many people have been reunited with their OBCs, it is a vital document and a place to begin for millions more.

    Everyone deserves the right to have their own birth certificate. You can, of course, continue to come and read the blog and do nothing. It's rather pathetic.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I see the sealing of records as being a ploy for some adoption agencies to use to their advantage and to be able to say to vulnerable mothers, “No one will ever have to know your secret.” A mother may arrive at some point in her life where she feels differently about the new life she brought into this world and placed for adoption. Mothers need to be treated with more respect and have the right to change their minds at a later date concerning future contact. Nothing is as important as the relationship between a child and his/her mother and should never be so permanent and final if at all possible.

    I also know firsthand that sealing court records is a great opportunity for lawyers, judges, and adoption agencies to hide the deception of any questionable or illegal adoption practices. It seems to me that the states would be more concerned about challenging the integrity of ever sealing records, especially when human beings are fallible and adoption is such a profitable big business.

    In my adoption records, it isn’t spelled out anywhere that my mother was offered or wanted confidentiality. Logically, I believe records would be sealed to prevent any possible disruption from both parties while an adoptee is growing up. While I do empathize though that some mothers would prefer to remain anonymous, depending on their particular circumstances, and for a variety of different reasons. Even if my mother had not wanted contact with me, I still, later in life, longed for my original birth certificate. Although rejection would have hurt deeply, the legal document signifies a part of who I am, and should rightfully be mine.

    “Why can’t we come up with a desirable compromise that benefits both the mother and the adoptee that is consistent in every state across the board?” It troubles me that those groups voicing their objections the loudest to any changes in the laws have the most to gain monetarily by keeping closed records status quo. Their motives need to be questioned. I have always wondered— How could anyone possibly know what the mothers who choose to remain silent truly want concerning their privacy?

    I believe having access to our original birth certificates as adult adoptees does have to do with the "best interests of the child," which was what adoption was supposed to have been about in the first place. According to the laws of our country, an adult is no longer subject to laws concerning those applied to a child, except in the case of adoption.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Snipped Campbell's post (hope you don't mind!)
    I'll never understand the way people minimize how traumatic being forced out of the closet could be to a woman in her 70's who hasn't told anyone she gave a baby up for adoption. Even if one believes her resistance to open records is wrong, why are these women always afforded zero compassion, understanding and support from their peers?

    You know, I'm still a "closet" bmother... lonly my family and very close friends know about my daughter! I'm for some reason 'scared' to tell others for 'some' reason! I understand what you're saying!
    Oh shoot - I see Lorraine has started another thread - hope this posted in the right place!

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  23. snipped from Anonymous May 17 @ 2:17pm

    I tend to be more internally focused and don't look towards external validations. I know who I am. But I understand it's a very emotional issue for some people.

    Oh gosh - re bold - my daughter said the same thing!

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  24. I recognized that it would be unfair to keep her a secret. Telling people about was actually therapeutic.

    Oh Jane - you are SO right - only my family knew (but not my little bro), and it was VERY therapeutic telling some of my closest friends!!

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  25. It's actually a very freeing experience to fnally let it out.

    Today my heart smiles as it is my grandaughters birthday and I am able to post on her Facebook wall a Birthday message and receive a message back. Amazing!!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Dear dear Lee:

    Your family knows? Your other children know? You closest friends know? You are not in the closet!

    Your near and dear know about possibly the most painful thing that ever occurred in your life, and that you have a living breathing daughter that you did not raise. Congratulate yourself that you can talk about her with your family.

    No one has to shout from the rooftops that they are a birth/first mother who surrendered a child, and it's almost a given that you could get involved in your state to help change the law without your neighbors being aware, and so I encourage you to do to.

    As you say, telling your family was therapeutic. I had to tell my mother and brothers when my daughter was five, and yes, did that feel like lifting a load off my shoulders.

    It is healthy and good to let others know you are one of "those women;" no one has to tell the man on the street but speaking up does a great good for the many adoptees who are suffering because they cannot get their original birth records. And you will get some feel-good endorphins for doing so.

    Thanks for writing here.

    ReplyDelete
  27. As an adoptive mother,

    I can say that I have no problem leaving the obc in tact. In modern times an adoptive certificates should hold the same weight as a birth certificates in regards to proving parental rights such as registering for school and what not.

    My children's life stories are theirs. It is their truth and I am to honor that. In honoring my children, I must honor their other set of parents.

    One daughter's First family is not receptive to having her in their life. Does that hurt her? Yes at times. Its her current reality but the times they have had exchanges meant the world to dear daughter. We are ever hopeful and patient for that is how you are to treat family.

    How adoptive parents handle contact between First parents and their children is essential. Our job is to love and support our children and their other families are a direct part of the child. These relationships should be honored, encouraged and supported by adoptive parents.

    No brainer here I support all adoptees knowing the names of their parents like everyone else.

    Freckle Face:)

    ReplyDelete

We welcome comments from all, and appreciate letting us know how you relate to adoption when you leave your first comment.

COMMENTS ARE MODERATED. Our blog, our decision whether to publish or not. We are trying to find a way to end the endless anonymous comments, which drive many of us crazy. Pick a name! Any name. Choose the NAME/URL selection. You do not need a URL. Your name does not have to be your name IRL though we appreciate those who do, and we understand due to the sensitive nature of our subject, many will prefer to use a nom de plume. Okay with us, but the endless Anons are tiresome for everyone. If you post as "anonymous" you run the risk of not being posted.

We try to be timely but we do have other lives.

For those coming here from Networked Blogs on Facebook, if it does not allow you to make a comment, click the "x" on the gray "Networked Blogs" tool bar to exit out of that frame and it should then let you comment.

THOSE WHO WISH TO LEAVE LINKS PLEASE WRITE MORE ABOUT IT THAN SIMPLY LEAVE THE LINK--TELL US WHY WE SHOULD GO THERE--AND ALSO KNOW THAT YOU CANNOT COPY AND PASTE FROM LINKS. We are unlikely to post comments that consist of nothing more than a link and the admonition to go there.