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Uniform Adoption Act of 1994

by Shea Grimm

The Uniform Adoption Act of 1994 was drafted, as are all proposed uniform acts, by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL). Drafts of uniform laws that are produced by NCCUSL are introduced in state legislators and can be passed in whole or in part, although the intent is to standardize practices across the nation. Other uniform adoption laws, like the Uniform Adoption Act of 1969, was only successful in a handful of states, which led to NCCUSL’s consideration of a new draft five years ago. The Uniform Adoption Act was formally accepted as a uniform proposal in 1994, despite outrage and condemnation from many diverse, national organizations including:

  1. Child Welfare League of America
  2. National Association of Social Workers
  3. Adoptive Families of America
  4. Catholic Charities USA
  5. American Adoption Congress
  6. Concerned United Birthparents
  7. National Adoption Center
  8. Adoption Exchange Association
  9. Children Awaiting Parents
  10. New York State Citizens’ Coalition for Children
  11. Bastard Nation
  12. Internet Adoptee’s Mailing List
  13. Joint Council on International Children’s Services.

The Uniform Adoption Act seals adoption records for 99 years, criminalizes searching, shortens revocable consent periods that many states have already enacted, to a dismal 8 days from the birth of the child (not relinquishment, *birth*), does not define non-identifying information, and creates a muddled mutual consent registry that virtually ensures that no exchange of information, even between willing parties, will be made. The act allows a birth parent to relinquish a child without the consent of a birthfather if she states that his whereabouts are unknown or that she does not know the birthfather’s identity. The sections on preplacement evaluations of prospective adoptive parents are clearly intended to make it easier for couples to adopt rather than ensure that the best interests of the child are being served. In fact, the entire UAA, as evidenced by its supporters and detractors, is clearly meant to make it easier to adopt by increasing the number of babies available through shorter consent periods, lack of adequate birthfather notification controls, removing barriers to transracial adoption, terminating former contact agreements between original families and their children, and making it easier and more attractive to adopt with easier homestudies that are effective for 18 months rather than the 30 days that is now standard practice, sealing records and making it difficult for adoptees to search, and in general altering the system so that it works in favor of the prospective adoptive parent, against the adoptee, against the birthfather, and against the birthfamily in general.

Perhaps the climate that the UAA was enacted in can best be summed up with a story from one of the drafting sessions. Originally in the drafting process, records were to be sealed for 70 years, until an adoptive parent in attendance expressed concern that under that scenario, conceivably a 70 year old adoptee could still locate a living 88 year old birthmother.

The Uniform Adoption Act is supported by very few, namely the National Council for Adoption and a handful of their supporting agencies, including the NCFA’s parent agency, the Edna Gladney Home.

The Uniform Adoption Act, like all model acts, can be introduced and passed in whole or in part by the state legislatures. To date, the UAA has been roundly rejected by the states, which is encouraging. Nonetheless, it would be preferable to see the progressive adoption reform movement launch their own model adoption act instead of playing this game permanently on the defensive.

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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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