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OPEN RECORDS AND BIRTH PARENT CONFIDENTIALITY

Was the original birth certificate sealed to protect the identity of the birth mother?

NO! The original birth certificate is sealed when the adoption is finalized in court, not when the birth mother signs relinquishment papers. A child relinquished but never adopted has an unsealed birth certificate. If protection of the birth mother were intended, the original birth certificate would be sealed upon termination of her legal relationship to the child, not at the beginning of the legal relationship of the adoptive family. NOTE: Until quite recently, birth fathers have been largely ignored in the adoption process.)

Were there ever legal contracts between adoption agencies or private attorneys and birth mothers promising that the original birth documents of the adoptee would remain permanently sealed?

NO! Birth mothers signed irrevocable relinquishment forms, but there have been no contracts produced promising that an adoptee’s original birth record would remain sealed.

If such a contract were to be produced, would it be valid?

NO! One cannot create a binding contract that damages or burdens a third party without that party being fairly represented. In addition, the state is under no obligation to honor or uphold an alleged promise made between private citizens, most especially if that promise arguably violates a third party’s constitutional, civil, and human rights.

Do open records violate the rights of a birth mother?

NO! In a landmark decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit found that information concerning a birth is not protected from disclosure by the Federal Constitution, and that the right of privacy “does not extend so far as to encompass a general right to non-disclosure of private information.” (Doe v Sundquist, 1997 FED App.0051P)

Will open records allow adult adoptees to “harass” their birth mothers?

NO! It is unconstitutional to deny a right to a group of citizens based on what they “might” do if they were restored that right.

Are adult adoptees, reared by others, the enemies of birth parents?

NO! Our laws and policies should not deprive one group of their rights in order to protect others from possibly having to face the consequences of their past choices. In the event that an adoptee chooses to contact a birth parent, both people should consider the feelings and concerns of the other. When birth records are opened to adult adoptees, a woman who relinquishes an infant will have 18 to 21 years to decide how to answer a possible phone call from that adult child. Even today, with records still sealed in most states in the U.S., birth parents must consider their responses to being found, since a network of search consultants has arisen to circumvent sealed records. Most birth parents are happy to be contacted by their adult children. A right to privacy that prevents the disclosure of birth parents’ names to adult adoptees does not exist, in law or in the real world.

©2012. Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization
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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.

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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.
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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.

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Help us celebrate 20 years of bastardy! 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. Get yours in time for the holidays. Available at Amazon in print and Kindle today. (After the first of the year the print edition will also be available through the Bastard Boutique.

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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

SAMPLE STATE ORGANIZATION RESOLUTION AGAINST VETOES AND OTHER RESTRICTIONS

SAMPLE STATE ORGANIZATION RESOLUTION AGAINST VETOES AND OTHER RESTRICTIONS

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.

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