' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Confusion in South Dakota: Open Records Die at Adoptee's Hand

Friday, March 13, 2009

Confusion in South Dakota: Open Records Die at Adoptee's Hand

First the Bad News:

The testimony of an adoptee on a legislative committee in South Dakota apparently quashed the open-records bill we had trumpeted yesterday. (Information is hard to get out of SD, so if anyone has new and better information, please post.) Not withstanding what we said earlier--when we thought the bill had passed--it did not.

And yes, you read that right, an an adoptee--who to the best of my knowledge is on the committee himself--killed the bill. Drives me absolutely crazy. It's a way of saying, Hey I prefer these chains and I am so incredibly grateful that was I was adopted, and I don't ever want to know anything about who I REALLY am, fully and completely, and so not only am I not going to look, not only are my feelings about being adopted subsumed under thick lawyers of gratitude and self-hating, I'm not going to make it possible for anybody to have that right!

I am so steamed right now I can hardly type straight. So if you are reading this and if you are adopted or a birth, real, biological, natural, first mother, take a moment and write to the people below.

Let it rip! Let them know how you feel! Let this know that what they are doing is wrong and a flagrant violation of rights! Let them know that birth/first mothers were never promised anonymity! That most of us do not want it from our children! Tell them you were not promised "confidentiality." To most of us, that is a dreaded concept.

If you are an adoptee, tell them that the bill doesn't demand that anyone get their records, it just allows them to if they so desire. Tell them why you need to know. Just because works for me.

When I wrote my letter, I pasted all the emails into one and sent it to everyone. One email. That's all it takes. One. Do you have five or ten minutes (You know you do) to spend on giving adoptees their rights back, rights that were stolen when they were adopted? Your letter could be the one that breaks the back of some legislator who voted against this bill.

Do it now. Do it on your lunch break. Do it before dinner, but do it! Please.


RE: SB153

To: Representatives Nygaard, Cutler and Dreyer
Senators Jerstad, Dempster and Adelstein

Dear Members of the South Dakota Legislature:

Open records bills will never pass if we are silent. I'm not going to post my letter because all need to sound different. You don't have to be a genius or a "writer" to make an impact, you just have to make your voice heard.

Okay, there is no good news about this other than...we are getting close--lorraine

PS: Over at Huffington Post, someone idiot has posted a commentary that Bristol Palin's little boy would be better off adopted. Right.


  1. I just saw that ridiculous article on Huff Post! Of course, the writer, Steve Walden, is the founder of BeliefNet, so I'm sure his motives are religiously-based.

    Why do these articles that promote adoption always get full attention, while any criticism or expereinces of adoptees and mothers is relegated to obscurity?

    I did find a nice comment from a woman who gave birth as a teen and successfully raised her son. It was a nice counter-point, but you have look long and hard to find anything of that nature.

  2. Why do these articles that promote adoption always get full attention, while any criticism or experiences of adoptees and mothers is relegated to obscurity?

    Because we don't make enough noise.

  3. Here's my email to the SD Legislators.

    I live in Portland, Oregon. On November 3, 1998, Oregon voters passed Ballot Measure 58 with 57 percent of the vote. This measure allowed adults adoptees to obtain their original birth certificates. Opponents immediately challenged Ballot Measure 58 in the courts as violating birthmother privacy. The Oregon Court of Appeals upheld the law and the United States Supreme Court refused to review it. The Measure became effective May 31, 2000.

    While opponents of the law claimed that birthmothers did not want their children to know their identities, birthmothers said something quite different. Two days before the election, over 500 birthmothers placed their names in a full page ad in Oregon’s largest newspaper, the Portland Oregonian supporting the measure.

    When I learned in 1997, that my 31 year old daughter was looking for me, I was terrified. I was also overjoyed. Since our reunion, I have felt much more complete. It is indeed true that the truth will set you free.

    My experience is not unique. Over 8,000 adoptees have received their original birth certificates. The Oregonian which opposed Ballot Measure 58 has continued to follow the Measure. Neither the Oregonian nor any other media has reported a single case of a birthmother who was upset over being contacted by her child. I have met birthmothers and birthfathers from all over the country. I have never heard any of them regret reuniting with their child regardless of how the reunion turned out.


    Jane Edwards



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