Case Closed! Another Adoptee Becomes A Confidential Intermediary Statistic

I am not a number, I am a free… oh, never mind.

As Ohio was thumbing its nose at open records advocates’ testimony, the Illinois Confidential Intermediary program closed a case and added another successful match to its statistics.

Except I’m not a statistic. And as I’ve mentioned before, my CI case was anything but successful.

This is a timeline of my experience.

  • 2000
    I apply to the Illinois Adoption Registry, as well as the separate Illinois CI program (run by Midwest Adoption Center under contract to Illinois DCFS). My application for a CI is rejected, despite my Illinois birth certificate, because the program “does not have a procedure” for out-of-state adoptees.
  • 2004
    Having exhausting most resources on my own, I contact an attorney about re-applying to the Illinois CI program.
  • 2006
    After two years of working with the program to prepare a procedure for out-of-state adoptees, mine is the first such application to be accepted.
  • July 2006
    My court petition is approved, and a CI assigned. The CI is given one year to search for birth parents and siblings. There is a registration fee and separate fees for each search. The first search is for my mother. I provide the CI with the scant information I have, including the non-identifying information I obtained in the late 1990s from Ohio.
  • November 2006
    Contact is made with my mother. We are allotted three letters each within the CI program.

    I ask the CI for a (redacted) copy of the initial letter sent to my mother. It is provided with my mother’s first letter.

  • February 2007
    I receive my mother’s second letter.

    I ask the CI about searching for my father. She says I should ask my mother.

    I write a letter to Gretchen Schulert, expressing concerns about the program and suggesting ways it might be improved. I ask about the rigid “three letters” policy, and also if an outside counselor could facilitate an exchange with my mother in order to reserve the remaining letters within the CI program.

    I am asked by Gretchen via the CI if I am willing to identify to my mother.

    Nancy Golden (clinical director/chief therapeutcrat of the CI program) calls in response to my letter to Gretchen Schulert (administrative director). In a rushed conversation Nancy reveals that they sometimes do five letters instead of three. She suggests I try searching on my own. Oh, and she also suggests I seek counseling if I need it…

  • March 2007
    My mother agrees to increase our letter exchange to five.
  • May 2007
    In a conversation with the CI, I ask when my mother will receive the medical questionnaire I filled out with the Illinois registry back in 2000. I am told only if she signs up for the registry, and my CI doesn’t know if she has been informed of it.
  • June 2007
    I receive my mother’s third response. In the cover letter the CI tells me:

    “Your birth mother included the first name of your birth father in her letter. Due to confidentiality issues, I was required to redact his name from her letter.”

    I receive the CI’s status report to the judge, asking for an extension due to continued exchange of correspondence.

  • July 2007
    I am told my mother chooses not to identify.

    The case is continued for six months. The next court hearing date is October, 2007.

  • August 2007
    I am told my mother wishes to continue the full exchange of five letters.

    I ask about initiating the search for my father and am again told I should ask my mother. I write a letter to the CI formally asking for the search for my father to begin.

    The CI informs me that there is not enough information to search for my father.

    I am told by the CI that my identifying information has mistakenly been provided to my mother. As this is an express violation of the statute, the CI has to report it to the court/judge and advisory council that oversees the program. The CI will send a formal letter notifying me of the accidental disclosure.

  • September 2007
    I provide the non-identifying information I received in the early 1990s from Ohio to the CI again, to see if it changes the status of the search for my father.

    I ask the CI for copies of the letters sent to the judge/court and advisory council regarding the disclosure of my information, and also for a redacted copy of the letter my mother sent the CI. I ask what options have been offered to my mother within the program, and what specific questions have been asked of her with regard to my father and any potential siblings.

    I am told that the Illinois Registry does not apply to us because we are communicating via the CI program. The registry is only used for those wishing to communicate outside the program.

    I am told I cannot know what interview questions have been asked of my mother regarding my father and any potential siblings – that I cannot know what search steps have been taken on my behalf.

    I am told that I cannot have a redacted copy of my mother’s letter because it is “not under guidelines of anonymous correspondence.”

    The request for the letters to the judge/court and advisory council regarding the disclosure of my identifying information is ignored.

    The CI tells me she intends to ask for another continuance at the October hearing.

    I send another letter to Gretchen Schulert, asking for full disclosure of all standard policies and procedures, as well as standard materials given to contacted parties.

  • October 2007
    The CI sends me a copy of the status report to the judge, with the notation:

    “The report was modified before you received it because it contained confidential information that related to your birth mother. I am prohibited from sharing that confidential information with you at this time.”

    [In other words, I have no idea what the real status report said.]

    The CI tells me that with the Ohio information I provided there is now enough to begin a search for my father, but that the likelihood of success is poor. I pay the fee and fill out the forms to begin the search.

    I call Gretchen Schulert regarding the letter I sent in September. She tells me that I will receive a reply, but informs me she does not have time to discuss the matter.

    I am told my mother no longer wishes to continue anonymous exchange of letters.

  • November 2007
    My attorney is informed by Illinois DCFS’s legal counsel that the CI program’s policies and procedures are “not available to the public.”

    I receive my mother’s final letter, once again with a notation from the CI:

    “Your birth mother included the age of your birth grandfather at the time of his death in her letter. Due to confidentiality issues, I was required to redact his age from her letter.”

    The judge continues my case until May, 2008, so the search for my father can proceed. This excerpt from the court order makes it sound like a capital crime for adoptees to ask about their origins:

    “This matter coming on a request for instructions by the Confidential Intermediary and the Court having reviewed the matter considering the respective interests of the Parties to the adoption, namely, the adoptee’s rights to search for biological relatives as granted by Illinois law, and the fact that the biological mother was more likely than not advised that her identity would be shielded from disclosure if an adoption ofher child was completed. Further noting, that the Parties have undertaken the practice of communicating anonymously which should give the Petitioner access to any necessary genetic medical history and, if appropriate, other information about her biological family. Finally, observing the mother’s adamant refusal to share additional information at this time and stating a rational basis for her position.
    IT IS ORDERED:
    1. That the Confidential Intermediary shall not furnish the Petitioner with an unredacted copy of her status report or any additional information concerning the biological mother, other than as authorized by her;
    2. The matter is continued to May, 2008 to allow for a search for the biological father.”

    I email Representative Sara Feigenholtz, sponsor of the CI program, regarding my concerns about the program and in particular the lack of official notification of the accidental disclosure of my identifying information. I ask her advice as to how to proceed.

    I receive the long-awaited response from Gretchen regarding the letter I sent in September. She informs me that CI program policies and procedures are “for internal use, not for public distribution.”

    The CI tells me she has begun sending letters to men who could possibly be my father.

  • December 2007
    The CI expresses surprise that I have not yet received the official notification of the accidental disclosure of my identifying information. She says she will look into it.
  • January 2008
    I am once again told there is “no word” on the official notification. The person who is supposed to provide it is “someone at DCFS” but the CI is “not allowed” to tell me who.

    The CI tells me the search for my father is complete but unsuccessful, and that without further information no searches for potential siblings can be made.

    I exchange email correspondence with Rep. Feigenholtz, who is happy to tell me about HB 4623 but ceases communication when I voice concerns about the CI program.

    I am told my mother intends to file a denial with the Illinois Registry.

    The CI says she will recommend in her status report that the case be dismissed.

Which brings us to February 2008. At this point, the CI program must be dying to close my case. I’ve been a thorn in their side since the beginning, and my recent public criticisms no doubt make me even less popular. So I was dangled a juicy carrot.

I could have the non-identifying information the CI gathered in the course of my search. The CI would even throw in a written notation that my identifying information was disclosed. But I may only receive it if the judge closes my case.

It’s apparently standard “procedure” – never mind that nobody seems able to provide written procedures for anything the CI program does. See, if they close the case they can add me to their statistics as a successful “match,” not to mention get rid of me.

Instead, my attorney and I made a motion to keep the case open pending legislation in Illinois (HB 4623) and Ohio (HB 7) that might grant more access to my records; or, failing that, to gain the right to re-open the case within a year should new information about my father arise.

It’s a good thing I wasn’t at the May hearing; the judge was so busy he barely had time to notice my dinky little case. His ruling was that he had read my motion but not the CI’s status report, so he would get back to me, sometime. As usual, adoptees are lowest priority.

The following day I received a call from the CI. The judge chose to close my case. But it’s okay, the CI reassures me. If I ever get more information about my father, all I have to do is re-petition, they do it all the time. A CI will be assigned, and we can keep going.

Here’s the kicker. I would have to pay AGAIN to re-open the case!

I’ve already paid a registration fee, plus separate search fees for my mother and father. But due to the “exorbitant” amount of time spent on my case, the program would have to charge me again to re-open it. This is for a search in which I did most of the legwork, since they had no access to anything in Ohio. And since I’m not allowed to know the steps taken in my search, I have no way to verify what was actually done.

Ready for the scorecard? The Illinois CI program:

  • Initially refused all applications from Illinois-born, out-of-state adoptees. Their web site states you don’t need a lawyer – but if I hadn’t had one my application would still be sitting in the reject pile.

    Are other applications being rejected? Intermediary programs are not available to all adoptees.

  • Deliberately discourages participants and contacted relatives from signing up with the state registry.

    Why? Is it to ensure a steady supply of paying clients? The state registry is free (if you complete the medical section); the CI program costs hundreds of dollars.

  • Redacts information not specifically stated in the 18.4 statute as being “identifying,” in my case information my mother obviously desired to tell me since she included it in her letters.

    Are adoptees being denied even the minimal non-identifying information permitted by law?

  • Can’t decide whether participants are permitted program information or not. I received a redacted copy of the first letter sent to my mother when I requested it, but requests for similar subsequent materials was denied.

    Are programs using “confidentiality” as a cloak to hide their own shortcomings?

  • Refuses to disclose the search steps taken on participants’ behalf.

    How are participants to know if they have received the services they paid for, if they are not allowed to know what was done?

  • Refuses to disclose their standard written policies and procedures.
    What do these programs have to hide, that their very policies are secret?
  • Accidentally disclosed my identifying information without my consent.

    Why are adoptees expected to trust programs that consider their own policies more “confidential” than participants’ private data?

  • Continues to fail to provide official written notification of said disclosure.

    Why do proponents of intermediaries deny that mistakes occur? Is it because the primary focus is profit rather than helping adoptees and their families?

  • Charges to re-open cases, with no way for participants to know what has or has not been done on their behalf.

    Why are adoptees expected not only to pay extra fees, but to pay them multiple times, for the same information that non-adopted people may easily obtain?

This is sheer insanity. People say adoptees have more psychological issues than non-adoptees. If we do, maybe they’re imposed on us by situations like this!

While writing this I received the CI’s last status report. This includes her mention of the disclosure of my identifying info – but that’s still not the official notification. And now that the case is closed, there’s a snowball’s chance in hell of getting that. Plus, the non-identifying information about my father is different from what I have from Ohio. I’m left with more questions than answers. Since I’m not allowed to know what’s been done, I have no way to know what’s really going on.

And that’s the key. They don’t want you to know what’s going on.

Not only have adoptees fallen into a dank political swamp, but we’ve been conscripted into the greatest adoption scheme since Georgia Tann first decided to falsify birth certificates to cover selling children. Post-adoption services exist to charge you, with no guarantees. If you question the process, if you dare voice a concern, you are branded an Angry Ungrateful Adoptee, and encouraged to seek counseling.

Adoptees don’t need counseling. We need the same access to our records as those who are not adopted. Post-adoption services like intermediaries are ineffective.

  • They operate with little oversight.
  • They confuse the issue of adoptee civil rights with the debate over search and reunion.
  • They force reunion in the quest for information.
  • CIs may not have the experience necessary to effect successful searches.
  • By their very presence, third parties may interfere with the reunion process.
  • CI contact may feel threatening to first moms, whose experience with social workers may already be less than positive.
  • “One strike” policy is cruel – if a contacted party says no and later changes his/her mind, the program may refuse to make further contact.
  • Charging adoptees more than non-adoptees for birth information is outrageous.
  • Charging adoptees multiple times is even more outrageous.
  • The entire concept of intermediaries is an affront to adoptees’ adulthood.

Want to hear more sheer insanity? If Illinois HB 4623 passes, it may allow first parents to redact their names (and the adoptee’s last name, if the same) FROM THE ORIGINAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE.

Now, I’ve been told (not that I can verify this, since it’s more classified than the deepest government secrets) that my original birth certificate has no first or middle name – not Baby Girl, nothing. So if this legislation passes, I’ll officially be:

BLANK BLANK BLANK

And the supporters of HB 4623 call this a win for adoptee records access!

Like others with the bad luck to be adopted between states, I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. Illinois HB 4623 promotes an already ineffective system, and Ohio’s HB 7 has been emasculated of open records language. Without changes in legislation – or winning the lottery – I have slim chance of proceeding further.

This started as a simple request for my records. Twelve years later, the adoption industry has turned me into a vocal advocate for adoptee rights. It’s ironic that if the records weren’t sealed, there wouldn’t be people like me publicly questioning the adoption industry’s more dubious practices.

But we are. And you should, too.

Comments

  1. I think you should share your CI program experience with the legislators about to vote on HB 4623.

  2. My God.

    Not only with the legislatures, but come and do a speech about it at the Adoptee Rights Demonstration in New Orleans, this July. This shit is sadly, believable.

    Only to adoptees.

  3. 73:
    I couldn’t even finish reading your entire post because my blood is just boiling. I am more convinced than ever that the entire adoption machine is full of
    FRAUD
    CORRUPTION
    GREED
    LIES & COVER-UPs.

    Most of us were already sadly aware that the internet is teeming with persons anxious to relieve us of our money with the promise of finding our original family.

    Call me naive, idealistic, whatever, but since I have discovered the complicity of state and local government employees [elected and not], I am beyond pi$$ed off.
    [It makes a professional skeptic such as me wonder if your CI did anything at all beyond typing letters to you.]
    Sign me up for any and every thing I can do to help. I have difficulty traveling [or sitting or standing for long], but anger is a great opiate.

    They have pi$$ed off the wrong girl now!

    Lisa Kay
    Florida Adoptee, b. Jan 1963
    ISO nonID, bM, bF

  4. Pennagal – Believe me, I have, as have others. Unfortunately most of the press coverage about HB 4623 has led people to believe it is a good solution. Only by publicizing what I and others have experienced can we demonstrated that CI programs are worse than ineffective.

    Gershom – Not sure I can swing a trip to New Orleans, but if I can’t I will at least be there in spirit! And I would be glad to provide any materials needed to help convince lawmakers that adoptee rights are routinely trampled.

    LisaKay – The best thing anyone can do is write lawmakers – in Illinois, about HB 4623, and in other states. Write the media with your own experiences. Blog about it. Share what is really going on. The corruption in the adoption industry is far more wide-reaching than any of us can begin to fathom.

    Thank you all for your remarks – let’s keep the conversation rolling!

  5. I am sorry that you have been treated inhumane. I did not personally deal with the CI program in IL, thank the Lord. But I have never heard anything good about it or the CI programs in other states. It is past time for them to be outlawed. People like Melisha Mitchell and Sara Feigenholtz need to be tarred and feathered for even thinking that the CI program should remain intact.

  6. With authors’ permissions, I would like to quote some of the comments that have been made about this post on mailing lists and other forums.

    Joan says:
    “Hi, I found some Ill. laws, as of 2000. It says how people are supposed to be able to obtain medical info at all times. etc. It also says how a person is supposed to sign up with the state registry before even starting a ci search.

    I think some ci’s aren’t trained, or really know how to handle adoption searches. I think if you can request another one, I would do that before letting her do a search for your father.

    Sounds to me if your mother put identifying info in the letter, then she might have wanted contact. Dont’ they have forms, that are to be filled out for contact? So that once that is established, the ci steps out of the picture.

    The fact the ci put your info in her letter, OOOOPs, was she maybe trying to see if she would contact you, if she changed her mind.

    This is so maddening. Frustration has to be awful, with this whole thing. So I am sending you link, which you may have, but it has forms, you can send for updated medical if its there. Something isn’t right with this whole thing. But you knew that.”
    http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/
    pubact91/acts/91-0417.html

    My reply to Joan:
    “This looks like the revisions to the Illinois laws they did in 2000. They revised them again in 2006 and of course are trying to do so now with the current bill. I suspect what is “supposed” to happen and what actually does are two very different things. That’s exactly it. Many CIs are social workers, and social work background does not necessarily equate to understanding adoption search. Seems like mostly they just check databases and indices. Unfortunately now that my case is closed, I cannot reapply. HB 4623 would change that so I could reapply in five years – but I really do not want to go through an experience like that again. Yes, they do have forms. My birth mother was purportedly told of them – but again since I cannot know what was done, I have no idea what she was actually told. I have no idea what is up with the disclosure of my contact info. I can picture it being just a mistake, and that would be one thing – but then why the runaround about official notification? Thanks for your remarks.”

  7. Another comment, posted with permission.

    Deanna says:
    “I am a birthmother and I have to say that I don’t feel that I have a right to keep information regarding my family from the children I placed for adoption. I know some birthparents never want to be found. I do believe that most (not all) of those birthparents are from a time in this country when pregnancy in unwed parents was very much a social taboo. I am hoping we are phasing out of that mindset regarding adoption. I do think the willingness to share information should go both ways though. I think too many adoptive parents are unwilling to allow information to be shared with the birthparents. I think that is equally as inhumane. I am sure that if the sharing of information were more relaxed in our country that there could be safeguards put in place, with clear consequences for breaking the rules, that would safeguard the people in an adoption. I know that some birthparents will never want contact. I think they should have that right to say no… however not at the expense of the adoptee. In those cases they should sign something at the tim of adoption that states that they know the adoptee can be given all of the information regarding the brithparents family, but the information provided will exclude the information regarding the birthparent who is refusing contact. They should have a place where they can keep information updated regarding the adoptees immediate family (siblings, grandparents, etc.) contact information. There should be legal remedies for anyone violating that refusal to consent to contact. In the case of birthparents seeking to find their child(ren) placed for adoption there should be a freedom of information regarding the location and general welfare of that child. I think if the child is still underage that the information should be housed within the agency (or a designated agency) and provided upon request from the birthparent(s). If those birthparents are able to find the exact location of the child from the information provided and then choose to attempt to make contact with them (if the adoption was not to be open and/or no agreement for contact while the child(ren) is a minor); they should face legal consequences also. If there is a violation by either party ever I think they should be able to revoke their right to this information… after a certain number of violations or depending on the degree of the violation. However, it should not be this difficult to get information. I am sure there are lots of issues to be hammered out to make such a huge overhaul in adoption laws… but it is worth doing. I also think the laws should be federal and not state by state.”

    My response:
    “I think you are absolutely right, Deanna. It is just as criminal to conceal information from those birth relatives who want to know as it is from adoptees. Honestly I think it should be out of the adoptive parents’ and agencies’ hands. They may have their own reasons for not wanting a search or reunion to occur. Too often it comes down to a few personal biases that completely shut out any attempt to gain information. You make good suggestions, but a lot of them have already been tried. The problem is such solutions are not implemented fairly across the board – my CI experience being an example. I used to think there could be other solutions besides just opening the records, but no longer. Every case is different, there is no other way to account for every circumstance other than opening the records. Which does not mean violating birth parent privacy – as I said elsewhere, there are existing harassment laws. And anyway why would a searcher be any more likely to “harass” than anyone else? Most of us are perfectly reasonable adult human beings, are we not? My friends who understand constitutional law tell me having the feds take over will never happen – it would be federal authority trampling on states’ rights and they will never do that, especially for something as “puny” as records access.”

  8. I am shocked and appalled at the experience that you have had with the CI program in Illinois. I had NO idea that the CI interferes with the written correspondence that you have, once contact is agreed upon. I cannot comprehend that. If the parties did not want that information identifying) to be communicated, then it wouldn’t be put in the correspondence. The fact that the state feels they need to interfere,is incomprehensible to me. But, looking at it from a money making perspective, I get it. If they delete ANY identifying information from the letters, then you are completely dependent upon them to continue your search. Do you think your birth mother is aware that your birth father’s name was deleted and that you were not given this information?

    I actually used post adoption services from Catholic Charities in IL and though my mother was not willing to meet me, we have had some exchange through letters. The intermediary never reads our letters, let alone deletes information. And, though we are coming up on 2 years since initial contact, there is no cap on the number of letters we can send. I guess I should feel lucky!

    I am so glad that you are speaking out on this, so that the community
    at large can become aware of what a flawed system this is.

  9. I am surprised you have not used the Freedom of Information Act to request the policies and procedures. Since the CI program is run by the state, I would believe that they would be required to reveal their policies and procedures under the auspices of that act.

  10. Another comment, posted with permission:

    Pamela says:
    “I got a call back on May1st from my CI. I had hired her back in 1998 and in 1999 she said she had found my bmother. Everything went wrong. I called her several time since then and about 4mos. ago I called and asked the question if my bmother passed away then I am entitled to my file. She said no since there maybe siblings. According to Michigan Law I am entitled. Also I called the Clerk of Court about my file and my foster care file. She told me they destroy them after the 35th year after adoption. Again according to Michigan Law that is not true. On May 1st my CI called to tell me she had found out my bmother passed away sometime last year and she found my bmother’s Aunt, who happened to be one year younger than my bmother. The CI said my Aunt was eager to make contact, but my CI said it had to come through her. She said to write a letter and she would send it on to my Aunt. Well, the next day (May 2nd) I sent my CI a letter, but she had gone out of town the day after I sent the letter; so she didn’t get it for nearly 2wks. I called the following week and she said she was sending it out that day. It’s been nearly another wk. and a half and I called to see if she had any contact with my Aunt. She said no. My question is do I pursue the legal (Michigan Law) and demand my file or do I wait to see if my Aunt does make conact? It’s been 32yrs. of waiting. I’m afraid to mess anything up, but I also want my information. I don’t want to be put on the backburner and lose out again as I did with my bmother. If anyone has any suggestions on how to proceed, I’d appreciate your input. “

    My response:
    “If I were you, I’d talk to an attorney about what options you have available. Personally I would pursue your rights under the law. At this point you only have the CI’s word as to what is actually going on.”

  11. B L – Thank you for your reply. Oh, yes, the CIs edit your letters, big time. I believe that is standard for state-based CIs, at least from what I’ve observed. You’d think if the information was in the letter they would allow it, but that’s not how they operate. I suspect it’s exactly as you say – if they allow no identifying information through, then searchers are dependent on the programs for everything. It’s all about money. I have no idea what my birth mother was or was not told, at any point in the process. It’s “not allowed,” along with everything else. Your story almost makes me wish I’d been adopted through CC (never thought I’d say that!). That’s just it, the IL CI program says their procedures follow statute, but there is zip in the statute that says we can only have three (or five) letters, or any of the other procedures they’ve basically made up out of thin air. There ARE statutes for what is considered “identifying” – but age of death of my maternal grandfather isn’t one of them yet they redacted that. The whole thing seems a very untested process. What you can do is contact Illinois legislators and tell them why solutions like HB 4623 are ineffective.

    Russell – I’m not sure we did an FOIA for the policies and procedures – but I suspect it might be denied as similar requests elsewhere have been. Apparently “freedom of information” doesn’t count when adoption’s involved, makes it very easy for the moneymakers to operate under the radar.

  12. Well, I’m late to comment, but wanted to thank you deeply for writing about your experience.

    I can barely imagine what it took to even write that, let alone live it.

    I thought your experience made an incredible real world direct experience counterweight to Melisha Mitchells’ bizarro-world writing about how she thinks most IL adoptees “have their birth parents names” So I blogged a piece juxtaposing the two.

    As I said in the piece, I don’t know where you find the strength day in and day out to keep on fighting, but I sure am glad you do.

    Thank you for somehow managing to find the words to lay this insanity out in plain english.

    Late again, but I’m adding you to my blogroll. Vital reading, and this post you did was just a ‘drop everything and go read this!!!’ kind of thing that I wanted to point my readers at.

  13. Baby Love Child, you beautiful Bastard! Thank you for your reply, and your blog entry about my experience and HB 4623 over on http://www.babylovechild.org. The more people who know about this travesty, the better.

    One slight correction to your blog. I am actually an Illinois resident. I was born here, sent off a week later with my adoptive family who lived in Ohio, then I returned to Illinois to attend college and have been here ever since. So I am a constituent of the lawmakers who are debating HB 4623, that steaming platter of excrement disguised as “help” for adoptees.

    Now, Ohio’s HB 7 – I’m no longer an Ohio constituent, so they could care less what I have to say about it. Even if I didn’t want to live in Illinois, I would have a vested interest in staying here because otherwise, as you noted, I would have zero say in the laws that directly affect my access to my original birth certificate. Since Ohio has my adoption file firmly sealed away, I have no influence over legislation that could grant me access to it. I am certainly not the only adoptee adopted across state lines, or who no longer lives in the state where my records are impounded.

    And there is no effing way “most” Illinois adoptees have their birth parent names. That is another smokescreen to disguise the fact that Illinois’ post-adoption services are ineffective at best and tragic at worst.

    Love your Escher reference. Goes nicely with my motto, “What Would The Doctor Do?” because an episode of Doctor Who was based on the Escher sketch you mentioned. The “solutions” offered adoptees are truly a maze of twisty little passages, all alike. No up, no down, no left, no right – just take the pittance we deign to offer you and go away like a good little bastard. I’m fortunate that the Doctor taught me long ago to stand up against the injustices of the universe.

    Adoptees (and the rest of the world) have been societally lobotomized into thinking bastards’ very existence is shameful. If there is only one thing people take away from my experience, it’s this:

    Do not trust confidential intermediary programs.

    They do not exist to help you.

    They exist as an excuse to deny true records access, and to make even more money from adoption.

    No human being should be treated in this manner simply for having been adopted – something none of us had any control over.

    Also be sure to write Illinois legislators and tell them why the adoption community opposes HB 4623. The extended deadline for the bill is today (Friday, May 23); we don’t know when the vote may occur as the sponsors have done their best to keep everyone in the dark.

    http://73adoptee.blogspot.com/2008/04/
    write-now-oppose-illinois-hb-4623.html

    And thank you, Baby Love Child, and all those out there who are also writing about your experiences. Sadly, these experiences are all too typical for those of us who live with adoption every day. Where do we find the strength? We find it because we have no choice. Our anger is the only birthright we have, at least in places like Illinois and Ohio.

  14. Speaking as a mother who lost her child to a baby broker in the interesting state of IL and also as somone who has helped many IL adoptees search and reunite, I thank you greatly for sharing this horror story.

    I have my own experience with MAC, Sara, White Oak, etc. and interestinlgy, they are not far off from yours.

    Keep talking. Keep writing. If I can help at all, feel free to contact me.

    Since my daughter was born and lost in IL, I have a special place in my heart for IL adoptees and the right to their information.

  15. (cross commented from my blog)

    Triona, yeah, like that. (what else can I possibly say?)

    The very first time I stumbled into your blog I immediately thought, damn, I don’t know what’s ‘back there’, but she has some kind of direct experience with this (the Escher-like ‘rationales’ of adoption that is), she ‘gets it.’

    Yup, I came THIS close to making the ‘maze of twisty passages’ analogy myself, but it conflicted a bit with the Escher image I was working with. But yeah, great minds think alike or something.

    Count me yet another Doctor Who Fan bastard (Tom Bakker, nautrally. Thank/blame WOSU.)

    I also thought your words from your post-

    “…the adoption industry has turned me into a vocal advocate for adoptee rights. It’s ironic that if the records weren’t sealed, there wouldn’t be people like me publicly questioning the adoption industry’s more dubious practice”

    Goes well alongside your comment-

    “Where do we find the strength? We find it because we have no choice. Our anger is the only birthright we have, at least in places like Illinois and Ohio.”

    Both of which very deeply mirror my own experience.

    (My blog) would simply not exist were it not for the filthy nexis of industry-State collusion and what it does to us daily.

    There is more dripping down the adoption sewer pipes hour by hour than I could ever possibly blog. Once one begins to ‘pay attention’ there’s a virtually never ending stream of raw fodder for posts that belong here.

    That said, the CI systems, and direct experiences with them need to rise above the noise level and gain the attention they deserve.

    They are one of the most corrupt, money grubbing, answering to no one hellholes ever fashioned; a particularly effective methodology of control for us and cash cow for those in the racket. Just anther way they get us ‘coming and going’. Adoption, a system we never entered by actions on our own part, and never consented to.

    More to the point, we were at an age when we were too young to protect our own interests. The State, as then supposedly ‘acting on our behalf’ abdicated its duty to some of it’s most vulnerable citizens, obliterating or at minimum confiscating our authentic history, and replacing it with what are in so many cases easily proven to be lies. Then they ‘get us on the back end’ by leaving us no recourse other than to be forced into chutes like their CI systems in vain attempts to regain the very documentation every other citizen takes for granted.

    They get away with it because ultimately who the hell is going to stop them? Certainly not leggies (many of who are adopters, or otherwise involved in adoption themselves.)

    Nothing you don’t know already.

    I thought your circumstances (which yes, I got wrong in my blog entry, thank you for correcting me) were also a really good example of how we end up having to deal with the complexity of the interstate complexities of our records disaster.

    Again, I can’t thank you enough for writing that all out.

  16. Suz – If you feel comfortable sharing your story, please do. The more who share their experiences, the more we can educate others.

    BLC (crossposted to http://www.babylovechild.org) – I had a feeling, from reading your blog, we would be kindred spirits. (And I should thank you for reminding me about the Futurama episode “Leela’s Homeworld”. I haven’t seen it since becoming more involved with adoption reform, and I bet I’ll see it in a new – and very disturbing – light.)

    It is indeed appalling that so much is done “on behalf” of adoptees – when we are perfectly capable of saying what we ourselves need. But it would disjoint the adoption industry, if its commodities turned out to have brains and mouths of their own…

    The deadline for Illinois HB 4623 has been extended until May 31, so there is still time for everyone to write our legislators and let them know that CI systems and similar compromises are nothing more than lip service intended to cloak the continued secrecy of the adoption industry.

  17. Dear Triona,
    Your CI experience is so frustrating and unfortunately, not unique. I’ve heard others through my adoption triad support group. I support open records and hope this madness will end someday. However, I believe there must be a critical mass of reunions before that happens.

    I am a birthmother in a happy reunion with my son since 2005. It was a closed, private adoption so there was no agency to go through. I searched for him for years using public records, purchased databases, then the Internet when it came, any and all registries I found, search angels, etc. Finally I hired a private
    investigator. $500 and six weeks later, my son and I were reunited. It was so quick and easy, I wish I had done it years earlier.

    All this is leading up to my question: why did you choose the confidential intermediary system? You wrote that you had spent hundreds on it (and so much
    more in stress/tension). I wonder why more adoptees don’t spend a few hundred dollars for private investigation and direct contact rather than play this shell
    game. One woman in my support group, an adoptee from Northern VA, has been trying to make the Virginia state bureaucracy work for her for ten years. She said she doesn’t want to use a private investigator because she wants to “make the state do its job”. Is that your thinking too?

    I wish you well in your search.

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