So-Called “Champion Of Adoptees” Illinois Rep Sara Feigenholtz Says We’re “Ungrateful Bastards”

Please read Bastardette’s recent post, Sara Speaks: Sara Feigenholtz Tells Us What She Really Thinks Of Us. It details an email exchange between an adoptee concerned about Illinois HB 5428 and the bill’s sponsor, Token Adoptee Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (or someone in her office). This is the reply from Sara Feigenholtz (or her staffer) with the original message below, as posted on Bastardette’s blog.

Below is Feigenholtz’s response to Jeske’s email, followed by Jeske’s original email, reposted with Jeske’s permission.

—- Original Message —–

From: Sara (
To: Lori Jeske
Sent: Monday, April 26, 2010 10:00 PM
Subject: Re: HB 5428


Thank you so much for your kind remarks about HB 5428.

We will pay for your travel and housing expenses if you will come here and start working on a new bill that completes the effort so that all adoptees get their obc. Are you ready to move to Illinois and sacrifice your life to work for adoption reform for the next fifteen years in the frigid winter tundra of Illinois?

Would you consider giving Representative Feigenholtz the key to your (delusional) Eutopian world where all ungrateful bastards think it’s easy to pass a bill that makes everyone happy AND CAN ACTUALLY PASS ? Pass a law? what a concept !!

Many Illinois born 65+ year old adoptees will get their birth certificates BEFORE THEY DIE— very soon.

We will tell them that you would prefer to throw good under the bus while waiting for perfect and that you think they should wait a little longer.

Good luck in Washington state with your efforts. We can hear the unsealing now…….


YOu sound so positive and committed to opening all records

that I wish you could give me the key to your adoption

The bill and your efforts to pass this bill are inhuman. This bill will prove to a huge population of citizens that Democrats should not longer govern the State of Illinois. It is with deep regret, as a Democrat, to see this bill and your inability to stand up for ALL citizens in the State of Illinois.
Lori Jeske
Spokane, WA

I find Feigenholtz’s response (or that of her staff person–regardless, an act done in her name) appalling. Whatever one’s opinion on adoptee rights, there is no call for an elected official to treat anyone in this manner. It’s unprofessional and rude, but it says a lot about what Rep. Feigenholtz truly thinks of her fellow adoptees when the cameras aren’t rolling.
In public Feigenholtz plays up her role as “champion of adoptee rights” as she was termed in the recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on HB 5428. In that hearing she said (taken from my personal transcript of the proceedings):

I feel it is my responsibility… I wear my heart on my sleeve. It’s hard having to beg for human rights. I have been called a traitor to the adoption rights movement because I try to stay balanced, to be the voice of the minority but restore human rights to the majority.

State Senator A. J. Wilhelmi (Senate sponsor of the bill) said Feigenholtz is on “the side of the angels.” Senator Kirk Dillard said it was “an honor to work with Sara Feigenholtz” on this issue. Although the governor has yet to make a decision about HB 5428 (keep those letters and calls coming to ask him to veto!), Feigenholtz is already including it as a feather in her cap, as she said in the following message to her newsletter subscribers this week:
Rep. Feigenholtz knows that there are plenty of people in Illinois who have been trying to get clean legislation passed. But that is not what she wants, as evidenced by the complete curtailing of public commentary on HB 5428. If she truly believed in adoptee rights, she would be trying to pass legislation like Maine’s that restores adult adoptee rights without condition or exception. In Maine, adoptees simply go to the courthouse and order their original birth certificates. In Illinois adoptees are forced through a Byzantine and expensive process that may or may not result in birth certificate access, and could even permanently deny them that access.
Many of Rep. Feigenholtz’s constituents support her because of her stance on humanitarian causes: the rights of women, gays, etc. This response makes one wonder if she is also dissing those people behind their backs. Anyone who supports Sara Feigenholtz should be seriously questioning that support.
On another note, Baby Love Child, in her blog on this subject, raises an important point concerning HB 5428.

So now we’re left with a critically important question:

Does the American Adoption Congress actually support this bill that will do incredible damage to Illinois adoptee’s rights, *OR* was the bill’s passage built upon Melisha Mitchell lying and claiming to represent the AAC when in fact she had been dropped by the AAC as its one time Illinois state representative prior to the Judiciary Committee hearing?

Currently, the AAC website lists no state representative for Illinois and until recently made no mention of the bill it’s supposedly a proponent of in its legislative section. As the website stands tonight, a section on the bill has since been added, but makes no mention of any AAC support for it, nor any mention of AAC participation in the oversight committee HB 5428 would create.

I agree, this is a critically important question. Anyone who believes HB 5428 is a fair compromise should consider that the propaganda supporting this bill comes from people who have a vested financial and/or political interest in the bill’s passage.

These incidents make it clear that the people who profess to speak on behalf of adoptees in Illinois do not speak for all adoptees, nor for the adoption community at large. I hope others will come to understand that no one can speak for adoptees except adoptees themselves, and that it’s long past time our voices were heard.


  1. Triona-I think someone should sent this immature “reply” to Lori to the Governer, so he can see for himself the undeniable abuse of power going on in Feigenholtz’s office which is reflected in this warped bill. Polititions like Feigenholtz are why the term “dirty polititions” was coined, and why the majority of Americans do not trust Congress. When her term is over, I hope she is NEVER elected again, as she is not fit to hold the postition she has. Whover wrote that 7th grade mentality E-mail not only should be outed for it, but he or she should be forced to apologize to Lori, and to all of us, for undermining our worth and value as citizens in this country. This person should be reprimanded (as in fired) also. It seems to me as well, that Feigenholtz is the one who is ungrateful-ungrateful for being elected, ungrateful for her responsiblilty to be fair to all peoples in Illinois, and ungrateful to her peers like Paula Benoit who set the example she SHOULD of followed. I wish this Email could hit the newspapers in Illinois as I think it is time the entire state should see Feigenholtz and her staff as you so eloquently put it:a wolf in sheep’s clothing…. a wolf that needs a muzzle….

  2. http://halforphan56 says

    For the 2nd day in a row, I have contacted a local TV News station. Being from Buffalo, New York, and the comment made by an Illinois Representative does not make this a local story, but I pointed out Sara’s comments make this a national issue, one that focuses on the abuse of power and the power of myth and perception. We bastard adoptees and orphan adoptees and step parent adoptees need a formal apology and a call for Sara’s resignation. The News said they’d get back to me in a few days. Will let you know what happens, if anything…

  3. I am absolutely offended by her little gloat posting about this rediculous bill. She is not a part of the Adoptee Rights Community or Movement–how embarassing for her to persist in saying that she is. We made it repeatedly clear to her co-legislators in the General Assembly that she is not a part of our movement and her bill is not acceptable…yet she posts that any way?

    Where are these mystical “9 states” she is referring to? I thought only 4 States restored and two states never sealed (and please Sara don’t tell us you’re including DE and TN in that mix for crying out loud)….maybe my ungratefulness is just clouding my memory?

  4. She’s including any and every state that has a modicum of “records access” however clouded or conditional it is. Like many politicians she live in a totally different world from the rest of us.

  5. http://maryanne says

    This is a great bit of analysis, Triona, and what happened in IL is indeed in some ways similar to what is happening in New Jersey with a similarly bad, complicated bill. The similarity is in how the bill’s promoters use adoptee rights rhetoric about a bill that is not about rights, but about birthmother’s permission.

    They have named it “the adoptees’ birthright bill”, and tout it as such in interviews and letters and editorials, even though it contains a disclosure veto, plus a “contact preference” as well, that gives the mother the choice of requesting direct contact, intermediary contact, or no contact.

    The veto and preference are contingent on the mother filling out and returning a medical history form to the state, which will be given to the adoptee in lieu of a correct OBC. This is further complicated by the ridiculous attempt to fool our opponents by putting the veto option in place for only one year, but requiring that it be advertised so all the closet mommies can file.

    If this unwieldy bill actually goes into law, I foresee lawsuits over medical privacy concerning the medical records extortion, and cries to extend the veto indefinitely from closet mommies who did not hear about it in time.

    A simple, real adoptee rights bill would have eliminated all that.

    By the way, none of these concessions have impressed or softened the usual enemies of adoptee rights here one bit. The bill is still opposed by the Catholic Bishops, ACLU, Right to Life, and NCFA, and editorials in some papers against the bill do not mention opposition because it is not a real rights bill, just the same tired old arguments about birthmother confidentiality, imaginary “promises”, and abortion rate lies that surface again and again.

    The rationale we have here from the “good” adoptees is that they have been working for 30 years to pass a bill, and now are at the point of wanting to pass something/anything on their watch. And those of us who oppose them are painted as meanies who do not appreciate how tired they are and how hard they have worked.

    I was part of that effort for at least 20 years, when we had clean bills, and I am willing to wait longer for real adoptee rights legislation here. It has nothing to do with personalities or friendships, some of which I have lost due to opposing this bill. I have been called a Judas and a traitor for continuing to hold out for a clean bill, and not going with the flow to pass this one. I guess I am a “bad birthmother” for siding with the “bad adoptees”:-)