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Dear Senator/Representative:

With respect to Bill 5555 (insert unwanted Bill # here), as your constituent, I strongly oppose this Bill. Bill 5555 is not in the best interest of the adoptee, the birth mother, or the citizens of the great state of New York (insert your state here) for the following reasons:

  • This is a multi-generational issue. Not allowing adoptees access to their original birth certificate denies the opportunity to gain family health history which can be essential to saving lives and preventative health care. Denying adoptees the opportunity to have family health history subsequently denies their children family health history. This implies any legislator that stands behind Bill 5555 does not care about thousands of children by depriving optimal medical and health care. 
  • Bill 5555 does not afford equal protection under the color of law as provided under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution with respect to the Equal Protection Clause. This Bill, should it become law, places the entire public at risk of violating Article 255 NY Penal Law: 255.25 (Class E Felony), 255.26 (Class D Felony), 255.27 (Class B Felony).
  •  Bill 2222 (insert original Bill # here) erases the stain of assumption and provides a clear voice for the birth parent(s) free of ambiguity to voice their personal preference to be contacted which the Veto denies. The support of this Bill  implies the support of the continued oppression for thousands of women to have their own voice.
  • This legislature is implored to understand that this is not a unilateral issue exclusively impacting adopted individuals with respect to anonymity and privacy. Whereas the adoptee does not know whom or where biological relatives are, the same holds true conversely. Biological family members, beyond the biological parents, including biological aunts, uncles, and cousins also do not know where there adopted kin are, even if that means living next door, same class room, sports team, etc. This is a bilateral issue and the fact remains that you may not be aware of is if you have adopted kin connected to your family, subsequently places you, Legislator Smith (replace with legislators actual name), at the same precarious risk as adoptees.
  • The passage of Bill 5555 creates an ideal atmosphere for a potential Class Action suit against the State of NY for all the above reasons.

For the above reasons, personally, and as my social responsibility for my fellow citizens of the State of New York, I do not support this Bill. I adamantly request the removal of Bill 5555 or request your vote against it. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Jim Jones

123 Main street

New York, NY

Advocacy on behalf of restoring civil rights to allow adoptees access to their original birth certificates (OBCs) has always been based on principles that are arbitrary in nature and globally the pendulum has traditionally swung to the side that promotes absolutes rather than alternative types of reform that can implement change on a more conditional basis.  At large, the controversy at hand in the adoptee rights community is equal rights for all adoptees or nothing at all vs. incremental change. I concede that both perspectives have powerful supporting reasons that could be subject for debate for eons of time.

Regardless of your personal position there is a disaster in the making in Texas which will no doubt effect the adoptee/adoption community. According to ABC News Texas Republicans are trying their hardest to pass a Bill into law with respect to making abortion rights more strict by closing 42 abortion clinics leaving only five clinics for a state that is 773 miles wide and 790 miles long with a population of 26 million people* (that’s a lot of ppl).  *http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/texas-senate-set-filibuster-finale-abortion-19479430#.UcryZ9ggvTq

For purposes of this blog this is not an issue regarding abortion as there are other areas connected to issues of identity falling to the wayside such as anonymous sperm donation and surrogate mothers. This is an issue regarding adoption reform, or maybe better stated, Identity Reform. In the event this Bill passes and becomes law, it’s fairly safe to presume adoption rates will most certainly increase. The issue that will spur with this potential law is that Texas is a closed records state for adoptees and unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be too much hope that this will change for Texas adoptees in the foreseeable future.

As Adoptee Right’s Advocates at what point do we stop the bleeding and apply a tourniquet? At what point do we stop taking on more hostages in this civil rights battle? Is the current perspective, the larger the crowd the more voices we’ll gain? When do advocates draw the line and make the clear distinction between advocacy for equal civil rights and policy reform? At what point do we liberate the future generations from this burden? Or, even if change comes in the fashion where future born adoptees have access to their OBCs, and the closed record era remains closed, will the future adoptees truly be liberated? Or, Is this a civil rights issue that the torch should in fact be passed on to future generations of adoptees? And, are adoptees of this generation prepared to deal with not having access to their OBCs before we die of even old age?

At the very least I have to acknowledge that as an institution adoption in the United States does not appear to be going anywhere any time soon. Personally, I would utilize this acknowledgement and do everything I can to effect change in policy reform because it makes sense to stop the run-away train known as the closed record era.  If it were up to me I would prefer that the future generations know that this generation did everything in our power to do everything we could humanly possible do to unseal records, and not just for our generation. The need for advocacy for civil rights is not linear in scope, it is not one size fits all, it is in fact a multi-generational issue that spans from adoptees who are grandparents to those who are not born yet. Just the same, the issue of Rights also spans, from Human Rights to Policy Reform. And as sure as elder adoptees will die of old age and natural causes without their OBC or meeting their natural mother, or knowing siblings, adoptee advocates of today will do the same.

I suppose the true question is, as society continues to evolve its focus on the bottom line for results and with advocates by virtue placing all their eggs in the Equal Access for All Adoptees or Nothing at All basket, how do we want adoptees in the future generations to reflect upon this generation of adoptee advocates with our hyper-focus on the here and now?  Who knows, maybe they will say, “Wow, that was a great start.”

–JG

 

 

 

I’ll preface this by acknowledging that whatever advocates can do to bring awareness and education to their legislative agenda it can never hurt. I feel, however, there is an immense difference between bringing awareness to the OBC cause and providing the necessary muscle to effect change. Often times around Facebook there’s a virtual charge to enact a letter writing campaign to legislators on behalf of a State’s OBC legislative initiative, such as Michigan, most recently. In light of awareness, not much can be better. To pack that punch to effect change, I don’t have the same perspective.

I’ll illustrate using the analogy of the game of Hi-Low Jack, or similarly Spades or Hearts respectfully. In these games, nothing is more powerful than the trump suit, sure cards from other suits can provide allied support but they seldom carry the same weight of the trump suit. This holds true when advocating to effect change in the legislative arena. In real life the trump suit is the constituent (a person who authorizes another to act in his or her behalf, as a voter in a district represented by an elected official), advocates who are residents within their particular state are constituents to their Senator and Representative in the House of Reps. Constituents hold the power to vote (trump), non-residents do not have the same power (non-trump).

In reality, focused letters aimed at a particular legislator or group of legislators are always going to be intervened by their support staff who will do the initial screening and culling and then pass along the most relevant material to the legislator. The fact of the matter is, most legislators will never read the actual letter from their constituents or other in-state residents who live out of their district (no voting power), never mind non-state residents who have no in-state constituency or political influence.

Letter writing campaigns are indeed an awesome resource for awareness, which is the beginning steps for all change, but it does fall short to provide the impact or opportunity to effect the imminent legislative change needed for any State legislative initiative. In the OBC legislative arena advocacy groups are often faced with shortages of key resources such as man power and time. It is with direct experience in this realm, I suggest that it would be more beneficial to find innovative ways to reach legislators and bring awareness to the OBC initiative. Whereas I wouldn’t recommend waving signs around on the side of a street, I would recommend using local and state media such as newspapers and TV news, networking (making contacts), attend benefits, and even use social media. Use resources that will plant more seeds and bear the most fruit. And above all, constantly challenge yourself to be better. The moment you think you’re on top of your game, you lost.

As a last alternative, have the out-of state letter writers lie about where they are from…or as like to say, massage the truth.

Good Luck. 😉

Dear Adaptees:

 

Although this birthday for the ALC tip-toed by at the end of February much more quietly than years past it still brings this evolutionary group to the half decade mark respectfully. I would like to take a moment to thank everyone for your participation with the ALC group. Words can not begin to describe the times we shared together over the course of 5 years. Over those 5 years some adaptees stayed the course, some dipped in when they had the time, and some breezed out as fast as they breezed in. Over the course of time, we shared perspectives, grief, a range of emotions, self-discovery, growth and had many tremendous side splitting humorous occasions. We had amazing accomplishments as a group and as individuals, we’ve had our share of obstacles to overcome on both levels and yet we endured. We endured because of our comradery and our spirit and because of that we evolved, grew, and progressed.

Although it’s time to close the door on this Chat Group I hope we can all always look back and see each of our personal progression and influences we’ve made upon each other. I hope we can all see that this group was ahead of its time, and we were on the cutting edge of real-time support groups as technology allowed it. I thank you for remaining positive and maintaining integrity, I hope you were able to learn from me as I learned from each and everyone of you. I hope that this presents as a new opportunity for growth and you can carry the spirit of this amazing group with you and share it with other areas of the adaptee community.

Above all, I admire each and every one you for your amazing display of courage, astounding compassion, and indescribable fortitude in the face of adversity while exploring the nether regions of your very own spirit and soul of which I like to call, Self-Discovery.

Truly yours,

John J. Greene (Adaptee)

Life is always about perspective vs reality, and the subsequent need for education. In the case of adoption, as there often is, is the failure for people to understand the complete reality of adoption. The other dynamic non-adoptees will never ever be able to conceptualize is the fact that adoptees, as a result of being adopted, adapt into a new family and the subsequent adaptation process to blend in over the course of childhood.

We also know that human beings are genetically preset with DNA and characteristics that also exists within our natural parents, not the adopted parents. When we have children, or other people have children, we often see this demonstrated when children exhibit a certain behavior or personality trait that is consistent with their mother or father. This level of autonomic understanding in that natural environment  is absent for adoptees, adoptees are not afforded this deep level of understanding. It can therefore be said that as a result of adoption, adpotees have to adapt into a completely new family. On that note wouldn’t it make sense to refer to us as Adaptees rather than adoptees?

Parents adopt, the child adapts. 😉

  • Ms. Sharp, do you recall how you personally started a search and reunion support group for RI aodptees without having the common courtesy or respect for the RI Adoptee Resource Group that was specifically implemented to offer resources and support for RI adoptees, or its members, or me, the founder of the group?Do you recall that I worked on the legislation here in RI with several RI adoptees and we are the individuals who began RIARG ahead of the Bill becoming law to assist other adoptees?
    Do you recall how you didn’t have the common courtesy to contact me directly to at least try to work WITH my group or lend assistance?

    Do you recall showing up in RI the day adoptees OBCs released and handed out flyers to RI adoptees with Judy Scanlon, Gaye Tannenbaum, and Micky Bohan? Do you recall Joan Edleman going behind my back to Bryan Conti manipulating him to offer search assistance to RIARG, the group I formed and run?

    Do you recall saying the following when I inquired about your new search/support group set up for RI Adotpees on yahoo?

    “Priscilla Stone Sharp: Excuse me? We search angels are setting up a search and support group on Yahoo. I don’t see any rules that anyone has a monopoly on adoptee search and support.”

    Do you recall being kicked out of the group F.A.I.R. for being condescending to an adoptee? Do you recall how you offered a support group for adoptees for the same group and it was actually search angel group?

    Isn’t it also true that the OBC initiative is not quite as important as the quantity of searches and successful reunions you effect? The answer is yes, please don’t deny it.

    Allow me to guess your next move, you play the victim, get all hissy, turn everything around to try to make you look like the good guy in attempt to misdirect the situation so you look favorable while you take no accountability for any of your actions.

     Ms. Sharp, your condescending, disrespectful, angry, bitter, jaded and victim like behavior to others is a problem that contributes as to why the OBC legislative initiative does not advance, not the solution. And BMs like yourself are the reason I have to write blogs that Mr. Coates took the liberty of posting here on this day. Now if the above isn’t adoption truth and transparency, I dont know what is.
Can you imagine if the Civil Rights Movement for African Americans was led by white folks; Or Women’s Civil Rights were led by men? Sounds ridiculous. What’s mind boggling are the State OBC initiatives that are not led by adoptees. For example, CT’s initiative, led by 2 birth mothers and an adoption professional. Also advised by the AAC Rep Paul S. who has discriminated against RI adoptees then failed to take responsibility when he and AccessRI jeopardized RI adoptees lives and greatly risked our opportunity to obtain our OBCs. In RI the Senate’s Bill passed, NOT the group led by 1 birth mother, 1 out-of-state adoptee (CT), and Paul S = AccessRI.

When circumstances like this occur it takes the opportunity of empowerment out of Adoptee’s hands. It ultimately robs adoptees an enormous opportunity, and because people such as the above don’t understand this opportunity of empowerment they are either inept at understanding the greater picture as a whole or involved for the wrong reasons.

As a result of obtaining my OBC, I contacted the woman who brought me into this world, and the first question she asked was, “How were you able to get your OBC?” Nothing felt better saying, “I took on the state government with a group of adoptees and advocated on behalf of this law until it passed…so I could find you.” Her response was, “OMG, I’m speechless. That’s impressive.”

Every State initiative needs to be led by adoptees: 1) Adoptees thirst and motivation is unparalleled compared to 2) People who have their OBCs and have not lived a life of governmental oppression; 3) Adoptees will be far more tenacious and effective than non-adoptees; 4) Adoptees deserve the empowerment of evolving their Self and have the sense of accomplishment; and 5) Every adoptee has a right to develop a voice and be heard!

Above all, at no point and time does anyone reserve the right to strip, oppress, squash, or belittle an adoptee’s voice, not even another adoptee.

John J. Greene