Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘OBC advocacy’

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

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

The keys are now in hand to start the workhorse vehicle to carry the group through this initiative and complete the mission.  For those groups who are either starting up or have been in the trenches for quite some time, the next most important aspect is to have an understanding or agreement of the structure of your internal organization.

Ideally, it would be a good idea to decide how the legislative initiative group/organization you are advocating on behalf of should be structured.  I highly advise to stay away from a structure based on, or suggests positions of hierarchy, such as President, VP..etc.  A key reason is that structures of this type often represents control and power.  With this type of initiative neither control nor power is needed, therefore it should not be allotted to one or just a few individuals, unless of course there are only a very small handful of advocates in the group. Alternatively, it is highly recommended to lead by committee or board, or an approximation thereof to evenly share in the decision-making process and help carry the weight of those decisions.  What you will likely find, or have found if you have an existing group, is that the same individuals consistently show up to meetings and constantly contribute in an effective manner.  The people who fall into this category are going to be (or should be) your core group, in which a committee can be forged.

The advantages of this type of group format out-weighs the option of a hierarchical structure.  Foremost, it will keep egos in check because no one will have exclusive power or control.  Because the format of the committee is structured in such a way, it will allow for the core group to make decisions by quorum, where the body of people who are present, vote, and the majority vote moves forward.  An enormous advantage of decisions by quorum is that it’ll save time if any member of the group is not present then the group won’t have to postpone important votes for the next meeting.  If this approach sounds strange to you then consider this, the US Supreme Court votes in the same manner, as does any local and federal government in the US.  The reason why voting by a quorum is necessary and imperative is because you are making decisions for countless of thousands of individuals, not to mention it helps bring balance.  Although the advocates are self-appointed and have been working incredibly hard on this initiative this does not award automatic entitlement to have more power or authority over the direction of the initiative for the thousands of voiceless individuals who can not be in that room for that vote, hence standing up for the socially oppressed (Oppression = Civil Rights issue #1).

One of the sights I feel escapes the advocates in the heat of the battle is how their individual decision-making impacts countless of thousands of lives which has a multi-generational span.  Why on earth one or a few individuals would want that weight of decision-making or power beats the crap out of me.  Aside from an organization being very small, this suggests to me that either the organizational leaders, I fear, are either fool-hearty, on a power trip, or have issues relinquishing control.  If leadership is fool-hearty then leadership is not suited to be in the driver’s seat.  If leadership thrives on the power then the best interest of the initiative has been compromised and lost. If leadership has issues of control then they also have issues of trust, if you can’t trust your team than how effective can the legislative team be?

Internal structure is important, having the ability to shift cohesively in unison, like a flock of birds rolling with the shifting air current, imperative.

Read Full Post »

Foremost and above all, the fundamental principle that needs to remain on the horizon is that this initiative is for the adoptee, and only the adoptee, no one else and for no other reason(s).  The moment this principle wavers the merits are diluted and the initiative is compromised and becomes an errant mission.  This mission is about freeing the socially oppressed by way of liberating Original Birth Certificates (OBC), and equally important it is about the growth of the participating adoptees advocating for this goal.  I firmly state, involvement in this initiative for adoptees will bring relentless opportunities for empowerment and personal growth.

One of the most critical challenges for adoptees to hurdle in order to be fully invested in this initiative is being truthful with oneself.  Truth comes in the form of admitting that he/she wants to know their personal history and admitting their desire to discover their complete identity.  Another aspect an adoptee should consider prior to becoming a legislative champion is facing fears of being honest with the people who we are most comfortable.  If an advocate doesn’t have the confidence to stand in the public lime light without the burden of what their family/friends think it’s going to be incredibly challenging to lobby on behalf of OBC legislation without the possibility of drawing media attention. If an advocate refrains from a media opportunity then the advocate is denying a major tool for education and awareness and thus the advocate is compromising the initiative.

Once the above monumental dynamics are overcome for the individual adoptee personal growth will now have the opportunity to flourish.  An instrumental dynamic to personal growth is discovering then developing one’s own voice.  As adoptees, we can all appreciate and respect how important this development can be and is; not to mention how delicate and sensitive this period of time is for an adoptee.

For those who lead the legislative packs around the country, as you need the depth of adoptee support, the above has to be understood this is what comes with the territory.  It should be additionally understood that for many adoptees this will no doubt be about facing personal fears straight on and triumphing over those fears, and with that, empowerment and growth.  One aspect that warrants caution is, as adoptees experience growth during this period the other side to personal growth is risk.  Adoptees risk exposing vulnerabilities as he/she triumphs over fear and pain as they venture into new and uncharted territory.

In the end, this element may very well not be the power the engine needs to drive the car or the gas to fuel the engine, but make no mistake about it, it is very much the keys that can make the difference between success or failure.

Read Full Post »