News From Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization

September 2003        Vol.1 No. 4

Bastard Nation's Annual Meeting

The Sixth Annual Meeting of Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization will be held on October 25th and 26th at the Sheraton St.Louis City Center Hotel, 400 South 14th St., St. Louis, Missouri.

This year's meeting is designed to "Let Bastard Voices Be Heard." We shall take stock of our strengths and weaknesses and explore ways to build on our successes. Brainstorming sessions will be held to formulate future strategy.

The registration fee for members is $20.00, due before Sept. 24th. The non-member and late registration fee is $35.00.

A Guest Room rate of $ 99 per night is available at the Sheraton City Center Hotel This group rate can be reserved by mentioning BASTARD NATION. Call the hotel reservations: 314-231-5007, the Sheraton Central Reservations Office: 1-888-627-8096, or register on line at The Group Rate is in effect until September 24, 2003. The Bastard Nation group rate will also apply for two days prior and two days after the conference dates (Oct. 22 - 27).

Remember: Bastards know how to have fun, and this year will be no exception! Please plan to attend.


On June 20, 2003, Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle issued a statement to the members of the state legislature, indicating her intention to VETO HB 133, Hawaii's Safe Haven/Baby Moses Proposal.

Governor Lingle said, "I now believe that any good that might be accomplished by this bill is likely to be outweighed by the harm that it would cause," She also stressed that the focus of the state should be on the long-term well being of the newborn, and that safe-haven measures like HB 133 fall short in that critically important respect. She also noted that experts around the country are increasingly critical of such laws.


The Basic Bastard is the only publication of its kind that so perfectly defines the concept of Bastardy! The Basic Bastard is a collection of short articles that address the main issues and questions regarding Bastard Nation and adoptee rights.

Basic Bastard editor Cynthia Bertram Holub has been hard at work writing and editing an update which reflects the many changes in legislation, legal opinions, and new activities that have occurred since the first edition was published in 1999. New graphic designs and photos appear in the updated edition as well.

Basic Bastard: Revised Edition is already attracting attention! Just 24 hours after being posted, Bastard Nation received a request for permission to use excerpts from the Basic Bastard in an anthology text that will "cover today's most current national and international issues and contains the most important opinions."

Kudos to Editor Cyn and her helpers! Basic Bastard: Revised Edition continues to expand Bastard Nation's influence as the largest adoptee rights organization in North America.


Lindsay Woodside, Kansas resident and Missouri adoptee, has been appointed the new Editor of the Bastard Quarterly, Bastard Nation's official newsletter.

Looking towards the future of the open records movement and the growth of Bastard Nation, Lindsay says she will make every effort to see the Bastard Quarterly grow and be a viable tool in the movement.

Bastard Nation also wishes to take this opportunity to express its sincere gratitude to BN co-founder and BQ editor emeritus Damsel Plum for her undaunted efforts in the formation of the Bastard Quarterly and wish her well in her future endeavors.


San Antonio: Texas: "Adopted son, birth mother find each other 62 years later."

The San Antonio Express-News reported that a social worker at Catholic Charities in San Antonio, Texas, was the one to match up and inform a 62-year-old adopted man that she had found his birthmother, who had been searching for him for decades.

"Both Astrid Steinsland, a caseworker who brought the two together, and Steve Saldana, president of Catholic Charities in San Antonio, said cases like this are rare because so much time had passed. Saldana said records often are lost because agencies merge or close."


The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) is conducting a research study to explore adult adoptees' perceptions of the potential value of genetic and family history information. "Unlike most people, many adopted individuals do not have access to personal or family medical information because of laws and practices that prevent disclosure."


"Since Measure 58 became law, the Oregon Center for Health Statistics has received 7,496 requests for birth certificates. Birth parents have attached contact preference forms to 471 birth certificates; 390 inviting reunion and only 81 wanting no contact."

The Oregonian, "Law gives adoptees truth," 06/20/03


After our 1998 victory in Oregon, Bastard Nation established a separate fund for future political battles. The WHO'S NEXT? Adoptee Rights Fund is dedicated solely to the support of adoptee rights ballot measures and legislative efforts nationwide.

The Bastard Nation Executive Committee is pleased to announce the new WHO'S NEXT FUND ADVISORY COMMITTEE:

Janet Allen, New Hampshire
Donna Martz, Texas
Kevin McCarty, California
Rebecca Townsend, Michigan
Kenny Tucker, Louisiana

The members will serve for terms of one year, which are renewable up to one year, commencing July 1, 2003. The committee's main function is to set the policy and the procedures for the disbursement of Who's Next funds.


Bastard National Mike Doughney recently posted photos on his website documenting the existence of the Pomona, California, "Safe Surrender Box," where "desperate mothers" can stuff their babies into a small slot in the wall. This so-called "Safe Surrender" facility is located at Pomona Valley Hospital.


Nat, a.k.a. Natalie Proctor Servant, Bastard Nation Executive Committee Member from Ottawa, Canada, was approached by Montreal filmmaker and adoptee Alison Reiko Loader. "I have long been an admirer of Bastard Nation and I was wondering if there is a possibility that I could interview you. I would very much like to include your voice in my project," wrote Ms. Loader.

Alison Reiko Loader, of the National Film Board of Montreal, is working on a film which relates to adoption disclosure. Ms. Loader's project will be a short film composed of various voices discussing the issues surrounding open records. She will interview adoptees, birthmothers, activists, and politicians.

The concept for the film is intriguing. It will be an animated short film in which the various people will be represented by genetically modified vegetables. What sort of a vegetable will represent Bastard Nation? Stay tuned.


Marley Greiner, Executive Director of Bastard Nation, and Brenda Romanchik, Bastard Nation member and Executive Director of Insight: A Birth Parent Advocacy Group, were recruited by The Institute for Adoption Information (IAI) to review material for a new web-based guide, A Journalist's Guide to Adoption. This Guide will cover adoption-related topics and news. "It has been reviewed for accuracy by some of the top adoption professionals, " reports the IAI.

Other reviewers of A Journalist's Guide to Adoption include Ada White, director of adoptions, Child Welfare League of America; Marilyn Waugh, president of American Adoption Congress, one of the largest adoptee resources in the country; and the National Adoption Information Clearing House."


Natalie Proctor Servant, Bastard Nation Executive Committee Member in Ottawa, traveled to Toronto in June to make a presentation to the American & Canadian Library Associations. Nat's topic was "How Librarians Can Help Those Doing Adoption Searches." Nat reports that librarians make an ideal audience.

On another trip to Toronto, Nat spent the day lobbying against Bill 60 in the legislature. "I was able to briefly speak to my own MPP, who has consistently been against open records. so I was able to tell him face to face that I would be voicing my opinion with my vote in the fall."


"My question is about Massachusetts - can you offer any advice or make suggestions as to the best way to petition for my aunt's original birth certificate and adoption records at the courts to be opened to her. She is 80 years old. I understand in Mass they can be opened after 100 years but at 80, she is pushing her luck, I don't think she will make it to 100. At this point she wants a name and then she will have the understanding of her father's genetic heritage."

"I am an adoptive mother.-----Wow! I just spent a lot of time exploring your site. This is awesome. I was in the midst of admiring the energy and insistency of your message when I stumbled across the "Why We Love Being Bastards" page. It was sobering, to say the least. I'm almost speechless. The emotions expressed there have really made me pause to take it all in."

Where The Action Is

Stay tuned for updates and action alerts about legislation that impacts adoptee rights.


Nevada Open Website

Missouri Open

Louisiana Adoption Advocates

Arkansas Open Needs Volunteers for Future Efforts!

Virginians for Adoption Reform and Education

OORAH - Oklahoma Open Records


CONNECTICUT- Unrestricted access bill; died in committee.

GEORGIA - Unrestricted access bill; passed Senate but was gutted in House of Representatives. Bill was passed and signed into law without the unrestricted access section.

HAWAII - Gov. Lingle will veto Baby Dump Bill.

ILLINOIS- Bill which adds instruction of the Illinois' baby dump bill to the sex education curriculum; signed into law.

LOUISIANA - Unrestricted access bill; voted down in committee.

MASSACHUSETTS - Legislature still in session. Three access bills in progress, both unrestricted and conditional. HB SB 766, a traditional Safe Haven Bill, was introduced into the new session. It currently sits in the Committee on Human Services and Elderly Affairs. A hearing was held in June and it may see the light of day come fall.

MISSOURI- Unrestricted access bill; voted down in committee.

NEVADA- Unrestricted access bill; sent to interim session for more extensive review, which effectively postpones bill until 2005.

NEW HAMPSHIRE - Baby Dump bill signed into law.

NEW YORK - Conditional access bill; died in committee.

NORTH DAKOTA - Amendment of several sections of adoption code; retains disclosure veto. Passed into law.

TEXAS- Conditional access bill; died in committee.

VIRGINIA- Parental Placement Adoption bill amended so that birth and adoptive parents will not be able to facilitate adoptions without the recording of identifying information. Baby Dump bill signed into law.

WYOMING - Baby Dump bill signed into law.


ALBERTA - Major overhaul of adoption law; includes conditional access provisions; passed into law.

ONTARIO - Two conditional access bills proposed and are currently before committee, which will not meet before Sept. 22, 2003. If the expected election is called before either bill reaches a third reading, the bills will be lost.


1. Membership in Bastard Nation.
2. We have more names than most people.
3. We are good at lying and being lied to.
4. When someone says, "Hey, you bastard!" we can just smile and say, "Yo."
5. Cheap health insurance by leaving "family medical problems" blank.
6. We eased the social conscience of a misguided social worker looking for a sense of personal importance by being a pathetic waif she placed.
7. We learn to cut right through the B.S.
8. We can moonlight as P.I.s
9. We can really connect to our minister telling the congregation that we were born in sin.
10. We can take solace in the fact that we were instrumental in helping some attorney make her Mercedes payments.

Heard in Chicago

I telephoned the Cook County Bureau of Vital Statistics in Chicago, requesting birth documents. The clerk told me they weren't available. of course. So I indignantly asked her if she ever heard of the Freedom of Information Act. The clerk replied: "Honey. This is City Hall. We don't have any freedom here."


New Jersey: Our Lady of Mercy Church
By Maryanne Cohen

Yesterday at Mass the visiting priest gave a sermon on the roots of the Church - it was the Feast of St. Peter and Paul. He made reference to genealogical search for roots, and mentioned spending hours in the archives looking up his ancestors and when they came here. Then he went on to mention "another kind of emotional search," that of adoptees for their birthparents, and their roots. He said that sometimes reunions come of these searches.

I kept waiting for the shoe to drop, for him to add some caveat about adoptee searches, but it never came. He just went right on to the roots of the Church, the point being that interest in roots was natural and good and that everyone wants to know where they came from, to some degree.

I was sitting there with a big grin, and afterwards thanked the priest for his excellent sermon and normalization of adoptee rights. He was surprised that I even noticed; I told him I was a birthmother and supporter of adoption reform. The whole thing was quite uplifting. Even parts of the Church are starting to "get it"!

Now if only the Bishops would get it too, and put the word out to legislators.

Mary Anne Cohen
Birthmother, Origins Co-Founder and Newsletter Editor
Supporting Member of Bastard Nation

Safehavens for Newborns
Should women be allowed to dump newborns at safe places, no questions asked???
Yes, if it saves just one baby it's worth it.
No, these laws don't address the real issues

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Editors: Anita Walker Field and David C. Ansardi
c. 2003 Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization

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