' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: New short film about adoptee rights

Friday, March 11, 2011

New short film about adoptee rights

Bills that put adoptee rights first in giving them back their original identities are in the works in at least
three states that I know of: Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island. The bills proposed in each of these states allow for a contact "preference" to be filed by the birth parents so named on the birth certificate, but that does not prevent the state from giving the adopted individual his own true original birth certificate.

In Connecticut, The bill will restore the right for adoptees 21 years of age or older to receive their OBC. It allows birth parents to fill out a contact preference form like New Hampshire and Maine. 

Rhode Island also has a "clean" bill, and a Facebook page supporting it. And in New York Joyce Bahr of Unsealed Initiative has led our effort. If you are adopted from these states, or if you are a birth mother who relinquished in one of these states, please get involved. 

In Connecticut contact Paul Schibbelhute pschibbe@aol.com or Jane Servadio janerino@optonline.net.

 In New York, contact Joyce Bahr at unsealedinitiative@nyc.rr.com. 

Rhode Island...to come. See Facebook.

In the meantime, above is a new film short film by Jean Strauss, adoptee, author, film maker, and below is a video of DMC and Zara Phillips, adoptees both:

Darryl McDaniels and Zara Phillips: I'm Legit (03/10/2011) Hard Rock Cafe, New York, NY


  1. What a great movie by Jean Strauss. It was fun seeing Cathy and Paula. I also got to me Joe Vitale in Louisville and he was fantastic.


  2. @Joy,

    What is Joe Vitale's connection to adoption?


  3. None, I believe, he was just one of the legislators that I talked to.


  4. Just more equivocation.

    One for all and all for one.
    Leave no one behind.

    The lasted changes to adoption laws in Switzerland:
    They get it. Why can't America?

  5. I have seen the longer piece by Jean Strauss at several conferences, and found it effective and touching. However, this short version which I saw at the event at the Hard Rock had some bad bits, which may be because it was hastily put together, but that do give a wrong impression.

    Most egregious was the footage of Illinois, where terrible, convoluted, non-adoptee rights legislation was passed. This short version made it seem as if all the states filmed had open records, which is not true, especially not true of IL.

    A man was shown crying because he got his OBC. Where was the picture of those crying because that legislation left them out or they were vetoed and they did not get theirs?

    Also, adoptee and Bastard Nation member and New Hampshire State Representative Janet Allen, who was very instrumental in that state opening its records was shown but not identified like the other legislators in the short version. Possibly this was an oversight but it is one that should be corrected.

  6. To be clear about Jean Strauss's video:

    The states that she included are not only those with no restrictions on adoptees getting their original birth certificates, but also those with legislation that gives birth mothers the opportunity to file a veto and effectively oppose the release of their names.

    Some reformers, including Bastard Nation, have strong feelings about this, but when you express your opinion about it, please clarify what you are talking about, not simply calling it

    "terrible, convoluted, non-adoptee rights legislation."

    You can call it that, but please tell us

  7. To clear up Illinois legislation:

    Illinois’ major adoptee-rights legislation, passed into law in May, 2010, states:

    1.The law divides adoptees into tiers: those born before 1946 may obtain an obc unconditionally and immediately.

    2.Adoptees born after 1946 must wait one year, until Nov. 11, 201l, to request their obc. If there is a Denial Form with Option E chosen by the birth parent, ( a Disclosure Veto) then the obc will not be issued. The adoptee will be allowed to return in 5 years to try again, and the state will offer the CI servces to assist them. If the birth parent still persists, then the adoptee must wait yet another 5 years to try again.

    3.The year wait is for a state-wide campaign to advertise the new law.

    This year’s bill, HB 1255, is a trailer bill to fix loopholes in last years law.

    The intent of this year's bill, HB 1255

    1. to amend the Vital Statistics Act. The new language in the vital statistics act makes sure that while the original birth certificate will not be available for inspection (i.e. sealed) until the adoptee reaches the age of 21, thereafter its status depends on the new law and not the previous vital statistics provisions.

    2.This provision amends the Adoption Act. There is a provision in the new bill passed into law in May,2010 that allows adoptees born after 1946 whose birth parents are already deceased to obtain their obc before next November if there is a death certificate on file for the birth parent who filed the denial request for anonymity with the Registry. The newly passed law said that a death certificate could be filed by a "surviving relative" of the birth parent in order to get the obc before next November.

    However, a snafu occured when IDPH (Legal Dept.) looked over the bill, and decided that "adoptees" were not "technically" "surviving relatives" of birth parents because the adoption had severed their relationship. According to the legal dept., once relinquishment papers are signed, adoptees and birth parents are, technically, no longer relatives.

    Changes were made in HB 1255 to “get around” this ridiculous ruling. Now the term “birth child” is being used for “adoptee; ” a “birth child” is a surviving relative of a birth parent.

    3. The final provision that was thought to need fixing by HB 1255 is the new Birth Parent Preference Form to ensure that all birth parents can use the form to express an interest in contact, even if pre-1946 birth parents have no say in the release of their identifying information.


  8. Thanks for the explanation of what's wrong with the IL law, Anita:-) That is what I meant by "terrible, convoluted, non-adoptee rights legislation".

    Also, this kind of legislation gives birthmothers a right we never wanted, to have the state protect our confidentiality via veto. It writes what was formerly weak hearsay, the promise of confidentiality, into law where it never was before.

    This bill and those like it are not adoptee RIGHTS legislation, because a right is across the board, no exceptions. This is a "mother, may I?" law that admits it is not about adoptee rights, but about a privilege that mommy and the state can grant or withold on an individual basis.Plus, this bill and others like the one in MA and OH have unequal treatment of adopted adults depending on when they born. It created two classes.

    Anyone thinking we can go back and "Fix" these bad bills as was said repeatedly at the Hard Rock event; It has never been done, and the bad law in Ohio has been in place for years. Hard as it to pass a clean bill, it it that much harder to fix a bad one once it is in place.

  9. Thanks, Anita. I'll add that this bill was only became law because much of it was held secret. It was introduced as a House shell bill for clean-up language. The initial hearings were not announced on line, and only appeared backdated later. The real bill only was posted after the vote. By the time we learned about it, it was too late to do anything. I've written about it extensively. It had no support from anyone in adoption reform.



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