' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Now for more good news from Maine

Monday, January 5, 2009

Now for more good news from Maine

I'm battling a sinus infection, something I'm terribly prone to and have been for years. Florence tells me that when I can feel I can finally put aside adoption matters (which means through the finishing of my book and its publication a year later, so that ought to be in three or four years) I will feel better and not be so sick so often. I wrote my first piece about being a birth mother in 1973 in a magazine called New Woman, and I hoped that all this would lead to open records. But though we have made progress, and I know we will reach a tipping point eventually and all states will have open records, I realize that I may have to leave this fight before it is finished.

As for this nagging infection that is hanging on through antibiotics and homeopathic remedies, I'm trying to not connect it to the fact that it roughly corresponds to the anniversary of my daughter's death a year ago. I was vigilant through Christmas but let my guard down at New Year's and I've been sick since.

However instead of more gloom and doom, I thought we could all use some cheering up and below is an email that I got from Bobbi Beavers in Maine. Over at the Daily Bastardette, the tireless Marley has posted many of the stories from Maine and they are a real upper to read. In the meantime, here's Bobbi:

Hi Lorraine,

I did not get elected either try (short 124 votes out of about 3550 votes cast in 2006 and short 50 votes out of 5106 votes cast in 2008) to the Maine House of Representatives [opps, I wanted her to get elected and send a small contribution to her campaign] but I got very well known by many Dems in Maine, which I believed helped us get the bill through along with [adoptee] Senator Paula Benoit’s and Rep David Farringtons’ efforts.


Bobbi, ecstatic in Maine, here ...

Just got back from all the excitement and celebration in Augusta - January 1 through today. Whew! No last minutes stays as they had in Canada - I worried about that due to the paranoia I developed over the past 4 years while working on this effort.

For those who wish to know who founded OBC for ME in February 2005, it was 3 parents of origin (Paul Schibbelhute of NH, Peter Jensen of ASCME.net and myself) and one adoptee, Cathy Robishaw. We had many parents of origin testify at the public hearings in both 06 and 07 but we were invisible and they were deaf to our words (less so in 07, thankfully).

I need to correct a figure in the news articles today about OBC for ME Day yesterday. Former Senator Paula Benoit (lead sponsor in the Senate) and another adoptee stayed until 5 PM - there were almost 50 adoptees of the 141 pre-registered who got their OBC (the young man from Florida call me this afternoon to tell me he was having lunch with his first mother - he had gone from the OVR to the Maine Archives, back to OVR to get his mothers marriage certificate and then to the internet and got the current address of his mother. He called her this morning from Augusta and met at noon in Lewiston, ME - tissues, please - and later he called again to have her tell me directly how thrilled she is to meet him - she had no other children, but the father did and he has given Dan his info). In addition, at least a dozen people who had not pre-registered came in and applied (will get their OBC's next week).

We were thrilled that Senator Lou and Pat D'Allesandro of NH (SB 335) came with their daughter Ann and Ann's husband to witness Ann getting her OBC. Search Angel Larry Maurice of NH came too and was madly helping people with their searches (via computer) all during our buffet dinner reception last night, prior to our hour of sharing.[Adoptive father Sen. D'Allesandro was the main force behind NH's opening of records.]

We were also excited that our prime sponsor, Rep David Farrington was able to join us at the Maine OVR for the first couple of hours. OBC for ME presented both David and Paula with Certificates of Appreciation and the law (Maine Public Law Chapter 409) printed on parchment paper, scrolled and ribboned.

The adoptee from California and one from Massachusetts have found almost all the info they need. Unfortunately Cathy did not get her fathers' name as most did not, and she already had her mother's name via a search angel. One of the highlights of the evening was when her 10 year old son stood up during the last hour when every one was giving their reactions to the day, and stated how proud he was of his mom for working on this law And her parents restated their support of her efforts, as well.

I'd be remiss if I did not also thank Carolyn Hoard of AAC who helped me write the Maine law (she did most of it - I tweaked it) as she had done for NH, tailoring the Oregon law to the adoption and birth certificate laws of our states.

This was a truly wonderful group effort. It just happened that I was retired and was the one able to work on it full time for 2 and half years.

Now to catch up on 200 new emails and 2000 old emails ....

Bobbi Beavers
Co-founder - OBC for ME
Maine Rep - AAC

1 comment :

  1. Yayyy Maine and Yayyyyyy Bobbi! NJ's loss was Maine's gain when she moved:-)

    I think what is finally going to get open records is seeing that in states where they have opened, nothing bad happens. Business as usual for the most part, except adopted adults have their civil rights restored. It will get harder and harder to lie about mass disasters if records are open when that does not occur.

    As to the few pissed-off birthmothers in the closet, they will have to deal with it, just as if they had concealed or lied about an early marriage and divorce, then were later found out. Those records have always been open. The state is not responsible for backing up personal lies or cover-ups.

    It is pretty clear from past results that the majority of birthmothers welcome contact. It does not have to be 100% or even in the 90s to do the most good for the most people! It bears saying agoin; sealed records in no way protect or serve the interests of mothers who surrendered.



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