Wolverine And Adoption Part II: The Mutant Registration Act

Right after I posted yesterday’s bit about Wolverine as poster boy for adoption records access, the travesty in Texas crossed my path. Snikt!

There’s a lot to despise about what’s they’re doing to adoption records access in the Lone Star state. First there is the matter of contact veto, which is abhorrent in and of itself. We’ve rehashed this so many times I’m starting to feel like a Tater-Tot. Go read here, and here, and here.

Secondly there is the even more abhorrent notion of mandatory counseling–therapeutcracy in action again. As the BN action alert concerning Texas points out:

Mandatory counseling for the adoptee and his or her birth mother by a state-selected social worker or mental health professional with expertise in postadoption counseling. The bills require “verification of the counseling “in a form satisfactory to the state registrar.”

Just as a state registrar has great discretionary powers to approve the “matches” made by the state’s adoption registry, now the registrar will have a similar control over which adoptee/birth mother matches she will find have had “satisfactory counseling.”

I’m feeling those adamantium claws ripping out of my fists, aren’t you? This might as well be an adoptee version of the Mutant Registration Act. Records access is about EQUAL RIGHTS, nothing more, nothing less.

Go back and reread what I said in my post, Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut. There’s no way to logically argue against the idea that adult adoptees should have the same access to our birth certificates as the non-adopted. In fact, equal access is cheaper, easier, and uses the process already in place for everyone else. So the opposition resorts to calling adoption reformers crazy and telling us we need counseling.

Adoptees do not need therapy. We request only the restoration of that which everyone else takes for granted. If we, as adult citizens of this nation, can vote, drink, pay taxes, go to war and die for our country like anyone else, we deserve the exact same access to our records as everyone else. And while you’re at it you can restore equivalent access to our mothers and fathers as well.

Or are you going to brand us all as mutants and send us to Genosha? Subdue our abilities, not with chemicals to inhibit superpowers but with legislation that infantilizes us? Brainwash us into believing we’re subhuman and deserve to be treated that way? Force us through mandatory therapy sessions–therapy we ourselves have to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for, only to be told it’s not “satisfactory” to whichever governmental entity takes it upon itself to decide what’s best for us?

Gee, that’s an awful lot of effort just to keep us rebellious mutants–er, adoptees–from being able to stand in line and pay fifteen bucks for our birth certificates like everyone else, isn’t it? But if you’re a powerful politician with a few bastards in the closet, or a profiteering ambulance-chaser–sorry, I mispronounced “adoption professional”–you know that the muddier the waters, the more lucrative the rewards. And profiting from the subclasses is easy because no one cares what happens to them.

Yup. Mutant Registration Act. Science fiction seems so science fictiony, until it happens to you.

Emergency Action In Texas: NO On SB 499/HB 4470

[As posted on the Bastardette blog. Please write TODAY, even if you are not in Texas. Bills enacted elsewhere can still impact you by setting precedent. Stand up for yourself and insist upon equal rights for everyone regardless of adopted status.]

Monday, May 04, 2009

BASTARD NATION ACTION ALERT– NO ON TEXAS: SB 499/HB 4470

BASTARD NATION: THE ADOPTEE RIGHTS ORGANIZATION

ACTION ALERT

TEXAS ACTION ALERT- EMERGENCY

TEXAS SENATE BILL 499 & COMPANION HOUSE BILL 4470

We have an emergency in the Texas State Legislature. Probably one of the worst combination of so-called “adoptee rights bills” in history are on their way to crushing any chance of adoptee’s ever achieving equal access to birth certificates, now and in the future.


Senate Bill 499 was engrossed and passed the Senate on April 28, 2009 and was sent to the House. A companion bill, House Bill 4470, has been waiting in the wings. On April 28, 2009, testimony was taken and registrations recorded in the committee. The bill has been left pending in committee.


PLEASE WRITE AND CALL THE HOUSE COMMITTEE MEMBERS TODAY. Ask them to vote NO to SB 499 and HB 4470. We must not allow this destructive bill to get any closer to the floor of the House. The bill must be killed RIGHT NOW IN COMMITTEE. Contact information appears below.


SB 499 and HB 447 have some minor differences in language but they both contain the same myriad of humiliating restrictions on adoptee rights. In the Senate bill, an adopted adult can receive an original birth certificate now if he/she knows the identity of each parent on the original birth certificate, w/out obtaining a court order.


In the House bill, the state registrar may, if resources allow, on request provide to a person who was adopted before January 1, 2010, a noncertified copy of the person’s original birth certificate only if an adopted person’s birth parent has filed a contact preference form with the state registrar authorizing the release of a noncertified copy of the person’s original birth certificate.


Otherwise, both bills are prospective beginning January 1, 2010. They both contain:


Disclosure vetoes and contact vetoes which give veto rights to birth parents who legally and irrevocably relinquish children to adoption. These veto sections effectively codify into law a birth mother’s right to prevent her “adoptee” from ever getting an original birth certificate.

A “contact preference form” which is a term from Oregon for a non binding ‘preference’; however, these bills use the form as a means to deny birth certificates to adoptees.


Mandatory counseling for the adoptee and his or her birth mother by a state-selected social worker or mental health professional with expertise in postadoption counseling. The bills require “verification of the counseling “in a form satisfactory to the state registrar.”

Just as a state registrar has great discretionary powers to approve the “matches” made by the state’s adoption registry, now the registrar will have a similar control over which adoptee/birth mother matches she will find have had “satisfactory counseling.”


No such verifications are required for the contact and disclosure vetoes though. Anyone can file a denial form, which is not a preference form at all, but now would have the force of law. Anyone at an agency, a well meaning relative, or someone with a grudge can file a denial form, no questions asked.


TEXT OF HB 4470: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/Text.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=HB4470

TEXT OF SB 499

http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/Text.aspx?LegSess=81R&Bill=SB499


TEXAS COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC HEALTH

Contact Information

In order to send an email, you will need to go to each representative’s website listed below and submit your message there. I know this will take a few more minutes than our usual rapid cut/paste email, but this is how Texas works. You’ll have to paste your email 11 times instead of once. It’s not so bad.


Chair: Rep. Lois W. Kolkhorst
Capitol Office: EXT E2.318
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0600
District Address: P.O. Box 1867
Brenham, TX 77834
District Phone: (979) 251-7888

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/email.php?dist=13&rep=lois%20W.kolkhorst

Vice Chair: Rep. Elliott Naishtat
Capitol Office: CAP GW.16
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0668
District Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
District Phone: (512) 463-0668

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/email.php?dist=49&rep=elliott.naishtat

Rep. Garnet Coleman
Capitol Office: CAP GW.17
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0524
District Address: 5445 Alameda, Suite 501
Houston, TX 77004
District Phone: (713) 520-5355
http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/email.php?dist=147&rep=garnet.coleman


Rep. John Davis
Capitol Office: CAP 4S.4
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0734
District Address: 1350 NASA Parkway,, Suite 212
Houston, TX 77058
District Phone: (281) 333-1350

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/email.php?dist=129&rep=john.davis

Rep. Veronica Gonzales
Capitol Office: EXT E1.324
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0578
District Address: 4900 North 10th Street,, Suite C-2
McAllen, TX 78504
District Phone: (956) 686-5501
http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/email.php?dist=41&rep=veronica.gonzales


Rep. Chuck Hopson

Capitol Office: EXT E2.708
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0592
District Address: 214 South Main
Jacksonville, TX 75766
District Phone: (903) 541-2250

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/email.php?dist=11&rep=chuck.hopson

Rep. Susan King

Capitol Office: EXT E2.416
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0718
District Address: P. O. Box 2376
Abilene, TX 79604
District Phone: (866) 463-0718

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/email.php?dist=71&rep=susan.king

Rep. Jodie Laubenberg
Capitol Office: EXT E2.504
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0186
District Address: 603 North Goliad
Rockwall, TX 75087
District Phone: (972) 772-8525

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/email.php?dist=89&rep=jodie.laubenberg

Rep. Jim McReynolds
Capitol Office: CAP 1W.3
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0490
District Address: 203 South First, Suite A
Lufkin, TX 75904
District Phone: (936) 634-9786

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/email.php?dist=12&rep=jim.mcReynolds

Rep. Vicki Truitt
Capitol Office: CAP GW.18
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0690
District Address: 1256 Main Street, Suite 248
Southlake, TX 76092
District Phone: (817) 488-4098

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/email.php?dist=98&rep=vicki.truitt

Rep. John Zerwas
Capitol Office: EXT E2.316
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0657
District Address: P.O. Box 434
Simonton, TX 77476
District Phone: (281) 533-9042

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/email.php?dist=28&rep=john.zerwas

Targeted For Adoption II

Don’t drive through Texas if you want to keep your kids.

According to the Chicago Tribune that’s the message being sent by a small Texas town, where cops are alleged to have racially profiled motorists, telling them they had to forfeit their cash, possessions, and even their children.

[T]he police seized $6,037 that Boatright [one of the motorists] said the family was carrying to purchase a used car—and then threatened to turn their children, ages 10 and 1, over to Child Protective Services if the couple didn’t agree to sign over their right to their cash.

“It was give them the money or they were taking our kids,” Boatright said. “They suggested that we never bring it up again. We figured we better give them our cash and get the hell out of there.”

Several months later, after Boatright and her husband contacted an attorney, Tenaha officials returned their money but offered no explanation or apology. The couple remain plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit.”

I’ve blogged before about children targeted for adoption by social workers and others in authority. This article makes me wonder if there was some sweet deal between the police and CPS, or if the cops were simply using the time-honored tactic of bullying people by threatening their children. Either way it’s abhorrent. We all know once CPS (or whatever they’re called in your state) gets involved, parents are guilty and have little recourse however wild or unfounded the allegations. Which I’m sure was exactly why those motorists surrendered their money to the cops instead of their kids. Who wouldn’t? I’m just glad they’re taking their case public to demonstrate the sorts of atrocities that too often happen behind the scenes. I also wonder if we are seeing an uptick in this sort of behavior given the economy, the federal funds behind adoption subsidies, and the pretty penny to be made adopting infants. In this case I’m guessing they’d have bunted the 10-year-old to foster care in order to snatch the more marketable 1-year-old sibling. Sounds like Nebraska.

How Falsified Birth Certificates Endanger Adoptees

An interesting article from the Washington Post caught my eye:

The State Department is denying passports to people born in Texas near the border with Mexico if they were delivered by midwives because of birth-certificate forgeries there for Mexican-born children dating to the 1960s, according to U.S. officials.

Adoptees are quite familiar with forgery of birth certificates, except in our case it’s done by the government, so it’s legal and they call it “amending.” When a closed adoption is finalized, the adoptee’s original birth certificate – containing their birth name and that of their birth parents – is sealed. An amended version is created in its place, renaming the adoptee and listing the adoptive parents “as if” having given birth. As I’ve mentioned, if adoptees follow the everyman procedures for obtaining birth certificates, the amended one is the one we get.

We already know that adoptees have difficulties with passports and other matters because of our lack of access to records. In this paranoid post-9/11 age, any of us who can’t solidly prove we were born in this country are at risk. Those of us who are domestic-born better not leave the U.S., because those amended birth certificates might be worthless. If you’re internationally adopted and there are glitches in your paperwork you could wind up deported, even if you’re a minor, even if you’ve done nothing wrong.

This paragraph from the Post article strikes me as ominous:

It is not clear when U.S. officials began viewing midwife certificates with suspicion. State Department spokesman Cy Ferenchak confirmed the policy to The Brownsville Herald in Texas earlier this summer. The newspaper quoted him as saying, “Normally, a birth certificate is sufficient to prove citizenship. … But because of a history of fraudulently filed reports on the Southwest border, we don’t have much faith in the document.”

How much faith are they going to have in adoptees’ documents? Those of us whose records are sealed can’t prove a thing. The only documents we are likely to have are our amended birth certificates and, if we’re lucky, perhaps the final decree of adoption. That might be enough to get us by, but it might not, and there is little we can do about it. Adoptees in closed-records states have about as much access to bona fide records as a Fruit Loop has nutritional value.

The ACLU is all over the situation in Texas, which is why I continue to be puzzled by their failure to stand up for the rights of adult adoptees to access original birth certificates. With regard to opposing Illinois HB 4623, their representatives have told me their stance is based on medical privacy for the birth mother. Strange that they have not realized this is a common adoption myth, considering how much research exists to prove as much (like this, this, and this, for starters). Because adoptee birth certificates get amended when the adoption is finalized, NOT at surrender, how could amending the birth certificate promise a birth parent privacy? It doesn’t, of course. The privacy it protects is that of the agencies and the adoptive families, because every birth relative is obviously a stereotypical Stalker out to ruin adopters’ lives. As one of my commenters, a birth mother, noted, privacy was the punishment imposed, not the promise made.

I guess we’re not entitled to civil liberties if we make the poor choice to be adopted as infants. I shudder to think what happens if you’re an adoptee born by midwife in a border state dating to the 1960s – talk about persona non grata!