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“I’m Having Their Baby:” Bowling for Babies Redux

July 24, 2012 News 1 Comment

(Note: Since I changed formats, spacing has become an issue in some posts, and I can’t get it fixed) 

Since I was forced back into the job market at a time when most people my age have already retired, it’s been difficult to find time to sit down and blog. After 4-10 hours+ of manual labor, the likes of which I haven’t done in 45 years, the mind numbs  thoughts of the blogosphere. But, sometimes enough is enough and the adrenalin kicks in..

To wit:  I’m Having Their Baby, Oxygen Network’s  new  voyeur docu where titillated couch consumers and Snooki fans get to watch adoption agents and their clueless customers, ie PAPs, vie for the attention and ultimate product of  pregos in trouble and  need of social engineering.. There’s not been such an uproar in AdoptionLand since Orphan hit the big screen when adoption agents, their industrial hangers-on, Christian orphan savers, politicians, paps and adopters hit the keyboards over Hollywood’s “destruction of adoption.” Bastards and birthers found the whole business amusing.

I’ll be blogging more about I’m Having Their Baby (at least I plan to), but in the meantime I want to remind people that the concept of the show is nothing new.

Back in  Spring 2004 we had Barbara  Walter’s and John Stossel’s  20/20  “Be My Baby” or as Bastard Nation called it Bowling for Babies.  Back then, even the National Council for Adoption and The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute blew a gasket over the in-depth view of benevolent baby brokering via television.  The  show featured the notorious and now defunct  A Child’s Waiting  agency as the baybee mover. (and here).   When the shit hit the fan, the Skank Sisters,–ACW’s  owners Jennifer Marando and  Crissy Kolarik–tried to weasel their way out of the bad publicity even while advertising their involvement in the show on their webpage until their agency was shut down by the State of Ohio and the page went into the ether. Thanks to the modern miracle of the Wayback Machine, however, you can read  their braggadocio at your leisure.. Of course the Sisters Skank were small potatoes next to  baby buy-out/salvage corpo Bethany, Christian Services the baby brokers for Having Their Baby.

Today, the only people whose gaskets are flying are adoptees,  first parents, and a handful of ethical adoptive parent activists. One has only to read comments on adopter blogs and Oxygen’s Having Their Baby Facebook page  itself to see that the show  is already an adoption classic of privilege and entitlement.. (Some posters are referring to “birthmothers” as “BM.”). Several people on FB say their own critical comments have been removed from the show’s site  and they have been banned from posting to the page.  Others, for some reason survive. More about FB activism including a sponsor boycott  in a later blog.

Until I get my blog up on this new adopta-tele-exploitation, I’m posting Bastard Nation’s statement/letter  to ABC  Bowling for Babies aired in April  2004. Our statement  was released in response to Be My Baby promos which (truthfully) framed the episode as a game show.  Even after ABC responded to the the mass uproar by toning down the promos and reportedly “tweaking” the final run, the show was bad.  Read bald. Reports have surfaced that after the show was aired and the open adoption was finalized by the winner, the adoption was closed, but I can’t verify that.

Our Be My Baby statement is relevant and timely, and if you replace “Be My Baby” with “I’m Having Their Baby” no one could tell the shows apart. In fact, I’ll update the original and send it off to Oxygen and post it here on my day off later this week. I wonder of the Grand Comment Poobah on Oxygen’s  FB pages  will ban the largest adoptee civil rights organization from North America from posting.  In a way, I hope they do.

To stir the pot a bit and to place Having Their Baby in historical context,  I’ m posting the entire broadcast of Be My Baby at the bottom.

Bowling for Babies: Bastard Nation’s Response to 20/20′s Be My Baby Ad Campaign


Bastard Nation, the Adoptee Rights Organization, the largest adoptee
civil rights organization in North America, is deeply disturbed by the
marketing campaign for the April 30 20/20 production of “Be My Baby.”
While we reserve judgement on the program itself until it is aired, we
believe that the show’ s promotion exploits, degrades and demeans
adopted persons of all ages, portraying us as prizes for “desperate
couples” in the great adoption duck shoot.
ABC may weasel at this point, putting the blame on some misguided and
uninformed marketing department for this public relations disaster. You
have, in fact, posted a nicer kinder promo on the 20/20 website in the
wake of universal condemnation of the original
Bowling for Babies theme.
No matter what spin is spun, however, ABC can’t deny that John Stossel
and Barbara Walters joked about the program, Stossel calling it “the
ultimate reality show” and Walters “humorously” comparing it to
The
Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Nobody told them to joke around. Nobody
put those words in their mouths but themselves.
If ABC really wants to do an adoption reality show, here’s a suggestion: The Bastard.

In 46 states the records of law abiding adult adoptees are sealed
from us, locking up our identities, names, heritages, histories and
original birth certificates-things that the non-adopted take for
granted.

Watch The Bastard each week as adopted persons state-by-state crawl
through ever- shrinking hoops set up by politicians, fat cat adoption
industrialists and petty bureaucrats to keep us from our own personal
information:

  • birth parent disclosure vetoes
  • contact vetoes/a priori restraining orders against adoptees based on nothing we have done, but on our adoptive status alone
  • nanny state mandated confidential intermediaries that inhibit free
    association and relationships of adult adoptees and their birth parents
    who simply want to contact each other
  • useless government-controlled “reunion” registries
  • mandatory expensive “mental health” counseling to prove that adopted
    persons are competent and “sane enough” to handle their own information
  • court orders
  • high-end search costs
  • self-serving social workers
  • conservatives and liberals who think that open records = abortion

Watch adoptees grovel before judges, argue before legislators, send
countless letters out to newspapers, picket ABC, and boycott
20/20
sponsors and Disney World.

Watch the cosmic finale: Adoptees v Birthparents; Birthparents v
Adoptive Parents; Adoptees v Adoptive Parents; and various permutations
ingeniously created by industry lobbyists and their media handmaids as
bread and circuses to deflect the real issue: identity rights, equal
protection and civil rights for adult adoptees.

Back in 1999 after 20/20 aired Connie Chung’s sensationalist
anti-adoptee “Mothers in the Shadows” featuring birth mothers in hiding
(without disclosure of Chung’s status of adoptive mother), Bastard
Nation suggested to Bill McGowan just such a show, though not couched in
reality TV terms since the genre didn’t exist then. McGowan, dismissed
Bastard Nation’s concerns over Chung’s program as well as our proposal
calling it “sensationalist” and “Springer-esque.” I wonder what he
thinks now.

Perhaps we shouldn’t complain about 20/20s promo campaign after all.
Perhaps some disgruntled adoptee moled himself into ABC and decided to
have some fun exposing the over-riding consumerist, competitive approach
to child acquisition that rules US adoption today-entitlements shared
by politicians that keep adult adoptees as eternal infants and justify
the sealing of our own records.

Sincerely yours,

The Executive Committee, Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization

Dr. David Ansardi
Anita Field
Donna Martz
Natalie Proctor Servant
Pamela Zaebst
Marley Elizabeth Greiner, Executive Chair

 

Be My Baby– April 2004

 

 

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Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Lisa says:

    I’m surprised by hearing about Barbara Walter’s behavior – her daughter was adopted.

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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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