Our Mission

Bastard Nation advocates for the civil and human rights of adult citizens who were adopted as children. Millions of North Americans are prohibited by law from accessing personal records that pertain to their historical, genetic and legal identities. Such records are held by their governments in secret and without accountability, due solely to the fact that they were adopted.
Bastard Nation campaigns for the restoration of their right to access their records. The right to know one’s identity is primarily a political issue directly affected by the practice of sealed records adoptions. Please join us in our efforts to end a hidden legacy of shame, fear and venality.

Birth rights: Woman’s search for her parents leads to a pivotal role in worldwide organization that champions adult adoptees

SUN Staff Writer

There was a time when Pat Marler couldn’t even say the word “bastard.”

Today, however, it slips easily into her conversations, and she even has a T-shirt that is printed with a logo and the phrase “Bastard Nation.”

And the Edmond resident isn’t afraid to wear it.

Marler is a member of an organized group of adult adoptees who are fighting for their identities – people who want nothing more than the right to the official documents that say who they are and where they came from.

A fight, she says, that may take a long time to win. … Continue Reading

Follow Bastard Nation

Even More Letters

Letters to the Editor

March 10, 1999

Adoptees without rights

I am proud to say that I am not a raving lunatic, and I’m sorry to disappoint you but I, for one, have never had any violent tendencies, mental illnesses or psychotic episodes. However, according to your editorial, “Fight over adoption secrecy” (Feb. 22), I must certainly be out of the norm.

Sure, I am pretty angry. However, I’m certainly not angry with the woman who gave birth to me almost 21 years ago. I’m angry with a system that has failed, time and time again, to give adoptees any answers about their pasts — answers that come free of charge to most members of society — and I’m angry with the secrets, lies and shame that have sadly become a part of many adoptees’ lives. Angry. Not dangerous.

Many of us were born because of human negligence. Most of our parents were just experimenting with their sexuality and never thought of the consequences until they realized they were pregnant and were faced with a difficult decision.

Yet why are we, the adoptees, being treated like criminals? Why are our requests unconstitutional? Why are we the threatening ones?

We weren’t given a choice. Instead, we were separated from our birth families, our heritage, our blood, and we were put into homes where, no matter now much our adoptive families love us, we are the outsiders. We are the adopted ones — the ones who live a life of ambiguities, loss and loneliness. But we don’t have rights. Why is that?

Nicole Kipp

Follow Bastard Nation

More letters to the editor

Letters to the Editor

March 1, 1999

As your editorial “Fight over adoption secrecy” (Feb. 22) points out, there are many sides to the debate over adult adoptees’ birth records.

Unfortunately, Time magazine and your editorial chose to highlight dramatically just one of those sides: the rights of a raped birth mother.

There are equally dramatic and more prevalent situations on the other side of the equation.

The most compelling argument in this debate is the human right of adult adoptees to have access to vital information about themselves and their background — including medical heritage and ethnicity — no matter the circumstances of their birth.

This basic information is of public record for every other citizen.

With no help from the current law or system, I discovered that every female over the age of 35 on both sides of my birth family either suffered or died from breast cancer, a genetically predisposed disease.

This is information that is vital to myself and our daughter, due to be born in two weeks.

Yet some will continue to argue that my birth mother’s privacy is more important. As a 38-year-old concerned about my family’s well-being, I beg to differ.

Deb Schwarz
San Francisco

Your opinion on Oregon’s adoptee rights initiative (Measure 58) presents a perfect example of why, as an adoptive father, I am so strongly in favor of doing away with government-sanctioned secrecy and shame in adoption.

The writer falls into the same attitude trap I find so infuriating as an adoptive parent, unthinkingly viewing adoption in formulaic terms that stigmatize participants, especially the adoptees. You raise the specter of the “angry, perhaps dangerous child” from whom it seems natural to provide special state “protection” for birth parents.

Treating my adopted daughter like a perpetual child even after she becomes an adult by keeping lifelong secrets from her — by teaching her a lesson of shame and mistrust about herself simply because she is adopted — is an insult not only to her but to her adoptive family as well.

Prejudicial attitudes toward adoptees by society are bad enough, but injury is added when such attitudes are encoded so that the lessons in shame and mistrust are state policy. Then government-enforced intervention in the lives of adults becomes discrimination against adoptees and their adoptive families.

Kevin McCarty

Opening records for adults who were adopted in “closed” proceedings when they were children does not reveal the fault lines of heartbreak, as you so contend. Rather, it reveals the fault lines of deception and lies.

To deny people the right to know their very own history is as incomprehensible as it is demeaning. I am a 31-year-old male who was adopted at birth in a closed (secret) adoption in Sacramento County. Today I am a trusted public safety official with a city in Northern California.

Denying me access to my own personal records serves no purpose other than to continue the outrageous charade that contends I am not capable of responsibly handling the details of my conception and birth.

I wholeheartedly support the Oregon ballot initiative.

As to your contention that opening secret records could have a devastating effect on some who were conceived out of acts of rape or incest, that argument is one of the oldest and misused out there.

The vast majority of closed adoptions had nothing to do with rape or incest. The vast majority of them took place during a time when it was shameful for a young woman to be single and pregnant.

Continuing to deny adult adoptees the most basic information about their origins is an outdated practice that desperately needs to be amended.

Oregon voters showed they understand that fact. Hopefully, California voters will be given the chance soon to make the much-needed change.

Rob Nichols

Your editorial adds nothing new or useful to the current debate over adoptees vs. birth parents’ right to privacy. I can’t decide which is more offensive: your portrayal of birth mothers as either victims of violent crime or “bad” girls [in the view of a past era], or your portrayal of searching adoptees as impatient, inconsiderate, angry children.

At 31 years old I consider myself an adult adoptee who would like to have at least as much information about my ancestry as my Labrador retriever has about hers.

Sarah Wright
San Anselmo

Follow Bastard Nation

Bastard Nation is a proud member of the New York Adoptee Rights COalition

Bastard Nation is a proud member of the New York Adoptee Rights COalition

NYAC: Bastard Nation, The American Adoption Congress, Adoptee Rights Law Center, Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York. Strategic Partners: Reclaim the Records



Your one-stop shopping for everything Bastard is now live. You can get our latest Bastard Nation swag, including tpshirts, jewelry cards, and gee-gaws at the Bastard Boutique. Quantities are limited! -- CLICK THE PIC!

Be a well–read bastard.

Be a well–read bastard.

Bastard Nation is proud to announce the publication of "The Bastard Chronicles: 20 Years of Adoptee Equality Activism in the U.S.and the Birth of a Bastard Nation", Compiled and edited by Marla Paul, "The Bastard Chronicles" is primer for adoptee equality. It features a diverse collection of Bastard theory, and practice, Bastard and Bastard Nation history, legislative and political action, personal stories, art, and literature. It is the public face of Class Bastard written by Bastard Nationals and those we have influenced. Print edition available at Amazon and the Bastard Boutique/.Also available on Kindle.



Join us on the Official Bastard Nation Facebook page. The only "adoption" page on Facebook dedicated to discussion and promotion of adoptee autonomy, civil rights, bastard theory, political organizing, and activism. You can also sign up there for our BN mail list which includes all of our Action Alerts. This is not a search and support page. No Woundies need apply! (Page live on July 1, 2015)



Join the Bastard Nation Public Page, a public service for Bastard Nationals, friends and supporters. General discussion on adoptee rights and related issues.



Join us on Twitter. All the Bastardly news fit to tweet!



Join us on Pinterest. Bastard icons, images, members, actions, politics, and fun. And Christopher Walken!

Bastard Nation Action Alerts (from old BN page)

Recent Comments

Bastardly Books by Bastards and Friends

Join Bastard Nation!

Join Bastard Nation!

This summer we are updating our membership/donation page and payment process. If you would like to join or donate, please hit the spemrie. It will take you to our Bastard Boutique page. Follow instructions from there. Be sure to include a quick note with your contact information and anything else you'd like us us know..

GET INVOLVED with Bastard Nation’s national and state-level advocacy efforts. Sign up or update your contact information here. We’ll be in touch.

GET INVOLVED  with Bastard Nation’s national and state-level advocacy efforts. Sign up or update your contact information here. We’ll be in touch.

Become a Bastard Nation Legislative Liaison!

Become a Bastard Nation Legislative Liaison!

Bastard Nation needs Legislative Liaisons in every state with laws that seal adoption records. We need eyes and ears in the legislatures, creating relationships and gathering information.

What does a BN Legislative Liaison do? They talk with lawmakers and their staff about adoptee rights and the laws that seal records. They distribute Bastard Nation position papers and FAQs to legislators and staff members. They record their conversations and report to the BN Legislative Committee.

They are organized, informed, friendly, helpful, and engaged.

What do you need to do to be a BN Legislative Liaison?

1. You need to live close to the capitol of your state.
2. You need to be able to appear friendly, even when talking with people who disagree with you or are just disagreeable, period.
3. You need to have a flexible schedule.
4. You need to agree with Bastard Nation’s mission: If you don’t know what that is, go to bastardnation.org, it’s right there on our welcome page.

Those are the prerequisites. If you are interested, click the picture of the capitol rotunda, and fill out the application form. We will be in touch and schedule an online orientation and training.

We look forward to working with you!

My, my it’s American Bastard Pie! (design by Lisa Zatonsky)

My, my it’s American  Bastard Pie! (design by Lisa Zatonsky)

See our state partners:

See our state partners:

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: CalOpen

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: CalOpen

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Indiana Open Access

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Indiana Open Access

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Michigan Open Access

Proud Bastard Nation Partner:  Michigan Open Access

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Missouri Open

Proud Bastard Nation Partner:  Missouri Open

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Equal Access Oklahoma

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Equal Access Oklahoma

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Open Adoption Records in Quebec

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Open Adoption Records in Quebec



Any political organization seeking to enact true open records legislation should be very clear with both their constituents and the legislators they work with about what the essential provisions of the proposed bill are. Any modification or deletion of the essential provisions of a bill should be immediate cause to have the bill killed.

Any political organization seeking the assistance of Bastard Nation to pass open records legislation must hold unconditional access by adult adoptees to the original record of their birth as an essential provision that cannot be modified or deleted. Read our Mission Statement.

Bastard Nation will not assist any political organization to pass open records legislation unless their governing board or other leadership

passes a written resolution such as the following that commits the board to a strategy of no compromise on key provisions
informs its constituents of this commitment and this strategy
informs the sponsoring legislators of this commitment and this strategy.

WHEREAS we recognize that disclosure and contact vetoes, redactions, mandatory intermediaries and registry provisions are an affront to the dignity of adopted persons everywhere and a violation of their right to due process and equal treatment under the law,

WHEREAS there has been a demonstrable negative effect on the ability to pass unconditional open records in states that have passed veto legislation and/or any provisions that are less than unconditional access on demand by the adult adoptee,

WHEREAS our primary goal is to restore the right of adult adoptees everywhere to be treated as full citizens under the law,

WE HEREBY DECLARE that under no circumstances will we accept the addition of veto, redaction, intermediary, or registry provisions, or any conditional provisions to our legislation that would be less than unconditional access for adult adoptees to the original record of their birth. All legislative sponsors and members of this organization will be informed of our policy on this matter to ensure that the bill is pulled promptly in the event of such revisions.

Bastardly Books by Bastards and Friends

Bastardly  Books by Bastards and Friends

A reading list for all Good Bastards

Share This!