In Massachusetts, a clean bill (no veto, no inane restrictive amendments) passed out of the legislature's Joint Committee on Public Health the other day. Now it goes to the full Senate and House for a vote (2 different bills, same result), at a date yet to be designated before the end of the session, July 31st. This legislation will close the gap that exists between the OBC haves--adoptees born before July 17, 1974 (when access closed) and after January 1, 2008--and the have-nots--those born between July 17, 1974 and 2008. Thus this new bill would cover those adoptees between ages 42 and 8, those caught in the squeeze when the legislature partially opened their records. Sounds good to us!
ALL RECORDS WILL BE OPEN ONE DAY
In time all sealed records will be open. Even that staunch supporter of sealed records, the late Bill Pierce, founder of the National Council For Adoption (NCFA), told the redoubtable Florence Fisher, founder of ALMA, that all records would be open one day. Even as he did his best to smear the ink, he saw the writing the wall.
Massachusetts needs us to bombard state legislators with letters, calls, e-mails, and social media posts to urge a yes vote on the bills: H2045 in the House and S1144 in the Senate. The state has a two-year legislative calendar, so if the bills do not pass this year, it is likely to take two years to get back to the same place.
Etta Lappen Davis, Kathy Aghajanian from CUB, Karen Caffrey (chair of Connecticut Access), Joyce Maguire Pavao, Adam Pertman and others such as Brian Donahue from Connecticut (who has been a constant cheerleader for the bill on Facebook) deserve credit for getting the legislation as far as it is. News is posted regularly to the dedicated Facebook page: Facebook.com/OBCforMA.
A list of legislators to email is below. Rep. Sean Garballey is an adoptee who is championing the bill, and hopes to make sure it gets on the docket. His email is Sean.Garballey@mahouse.gov. Correspondence from anyone is welcome, but again, residents of the state--whether or not they are personally involved--typically are paid more heed than out-of-staters, as they represent votes. Legislators listen first to their own constituents. So if you have family or friends in Massachusetts, please ask them to write or phone their legislators! Adoptive parents and parents of first mothers (adoptee grandparents) needed too! Legislators might be surprised, but would note them. I will be taking this up in a day or two myself.
AND IN HAWAII
Meanwhile, from Hawaii, more good news: A clean bill passed the legislature (HB2802) and is awaiting the governor's signature. Please email him through the contact form on his website: http://governor.hawaii.gov/contact-us/contact-the-governor/
It pops right up and is simple to use.
If these bills pass, they will add to the other states that allow clean, unobstructed access for adoptees to their original birth certificates: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Kansas (never closed!), Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island. Massachusetts would be an important state to add, for it would be the largest in population, with close to seven million people, that acknowledges sealed birth certificates are unjust, immoral and wrong any way you look at it.
Best to keep the letters short and to the point. Share your personal and/or professional reasons for supporting access to original birth certificates. Since any objections if they come up are likely to center around "birth mother" privacy, please note if you are a first mother (you might use that language) that you do not desire "privacy" or anonymity from your own child, and that the law never promised it in the first place. Now let's get this done for every adopted person in Massachusetts and Hawaii.--lorraine
Here's a recent Op-Ed in The Boston Herald, comments welcome and post on Facebook too!
As You Were Saying ... Time to open adoption records
Mike.Barrett@masenate.gov, Michael.Brady@masenate.gov, William.Brownsberger@masenate.gov, Harriette.Chandler@masenate.gov, Sonia.Chang-Diaz@masenate.gov, Cynthia.Creem@masenate.gov, Vinny.deMacedo@masenate.gov, Sal.DiDomenico@masenate.gov, Kenneth.Donnelly@masenate.gov, Eileen.Donoghue@masenate.gov, Benjamin.Downing@masenate.gov, James.Eldridge@masenate.gov, Ryan.Fattman@masenate.gov, Jennifer.Flanagan@masenate.gov, Linda.DorcenaForry@masenate.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, Donald.Humason@masenate.gov, Patricia.Jehlen@masenate.gov, Brian.Joyce@masenate.gov, John.Keenan@masenate.gov, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Jason.Lewis@masenate.gov, Joan.Lovely@masenate.gov, Thomas.McGee@masenate.gov, Mark.Montigny@masenate.gov, Michael.Moore@masenate.gov, Kathleen.OConnorIves@masenate.gov, Marc.Pacheco@masenate.gov, Michael.Rodrigues@masenate.gov, Stan.Rosenberg@masenate.gov, Richard.Ross@masenate.gov, Mike.Rush@masenate.gov, Karen.Spilka@masenate.gov, Bruce.Tarr@masenate.gov, James.Timilty@masenate.gov, James.Welch@masenate.gov, Daniel.Wolf@masenate.gov
You can write one email, and put all but one name in the BCC.
For the list of the Representatives, go to
You can also link to them directly there. For myself, I have never been able to make Microsoft Outlook work.
MA Access Website
"...extremely helpful in allowing me to see and feel how other adoptees have experienced the same sense of loss I have coped with since childhood.....finding my birth parents after 30+ years, it was amazing to have a book which so clearly outlines the stages of my life, and allowed me to understand the feelings I have had for so long."--Bill Sawyer on Amazon.
--Denise Roessle, author of Second-Chance Mother: A Memoir of Adoption, Loss and Reunion,
Adoption Today Magazine