October 2004        Vol. 1 No. 10
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HOT OFF THE PRESS!
UNLOCKING THE HEART OF ADOPTION TO BE AIRED ON NATIONAL TV
Sheila Ganz, longtime member of Bastard Nation, has just received word that the National Educational Television Association, NETA, has accepted her film, Unlocking the Heart of Adoption, a 58 minute documentary, to be broadcast nationally. It will air 4 times in the next three years, beginning with Mother's Day/Father's Day, 2005.
In 1969, Sheila became an unwed mother. This film chronicles her journey from silence and shame and relinquishing her daughter for adoption, to the realization of the impact of social forces on her life and self-forgiveness for the inability at age 20 to defend herself from being raped or keep her baby, who she grew to love.
Unlocking the Heart of Adoption interweaves her experience with diverse viewpoints of 16 adoptees, birthparents and adoptive parents in same race and transracial adoptions, told against the historic backdrop of adoption in America.
Throughout the film, as Sheila tells her story, she constructs a life-size sculpture of a mother holding her baby in a hospital bed using chicken wire, bamboo, burlap and plaster.
A Screening and Silent Auction to benefit Sheila's amazing film will be held on October 14, 2004 from 6:30 to 9:00 PM at The Crest Theatre, 1012 "K" St., Sacramento, CA. Sponsors of this event are Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization, California NOW, Post Adoption Center for Education & Research, and California OPEN.
OH NO! TODDLER DUMPS!
Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization was outraged to read an editorial in the San Antonio Express News, September 13, 2004, entitled "To help older children, extend Baby Moses law." The newspaper called for a "... system that allows parents to easily and safely relinquish custody of older children they cannot care for without fear of prosecution."
In San Antonio, an 11-month-old toddler was abandoned at a local fire station but he was not covered by the Baby Moses law because of his age.
"He should have been," says the San Antonio Express News. "After all, he was uninjured and left in a safe place."
A Texas Bastard comments: "One of the problems I've always had with baby dump laws is that they decriminalize a criminal act solely on the basis that no one was physically injured. What legislator would pass a law that says if you rob a bank and no one is injured, we'll just look the other way and let you get away with it? Our legal system has varying degrees of crimes and varying degrees of punishment associated with them, but Safe Haven laws just totally erase the crime. And abandonment, even if the child is not harmed, IS a crime."
This is not the first time a parent has tried use the law to abandon an older child in San Antonio. Last summer, a 23-year-old mom tried to leave her 2-year-old son with firefighters. She was turned down because of the child's age.
In Los Angeles this month, a mother gave her baby to a woman to Safe Haven for her, and the woman became "attached" to it, and decided to keep it.
Marley Greiner, Bastard Nation Executive Chair and Editor of Baby Dump News, reacts to these latest toddler abandonment case. "This is the long-range future of adoption in this country and elsewhere. I know a lot of people found Safe Havens as a sidetrack to our mission, but legalized baby abandonment wipes out identity rights."
David Ansardi, BN Executive Committee member and Legislative Co-Chair responds, "If the glassy-eyed believers in baby dumps latch onto this next stage, imagine the ramifications for any group seeking identity rights."
Mary Anne Cohen, NJ, comments, "Even without getting into rights, what about the legalities of no questions asked abandonment of children who already HAVE a legal identity, provided that their births were registered before someone changed their mind? Toddlers may not have many records, but they at least have a birth certificate and name, as well as medical records if they were vaccinated and got medical care in their first year."
Bastard Nation opposes all Safe Haven laws, despite their good intent, because we believe they are ultimately anti-adoptee, anti-adoption, anti-child, anti-woman, and anti-family. They erase identities, deny the rights and due process of parents, and reject time-tested best practice.
BASTARD IN THE TRENCHES
A NATIVE AMERICAN BASTARD WORKS FOR REFORM IN HER STATE OF BIRTH AND AT HOME IN MICHIGAN
Meet Rebecca Townsend, long time member of Bastard Nation. She lives in the Detroit area now but she was born, adopted, and raised in Arizona. Her birthmother is Native American - half Pima and half Tohono O'odham.
Rebecca is married with two children, Rachael, 10 years old, and Nick, 6 years old. She and her husband have a full house with their 2 kids, 2 dogs and 2 cats. Rebecca is kept very busy with her home, her work, and her church. She always feels as if she doesn't have enough time to do all the things that she would like to do as an adoptee rights activist. Yet she's always first in line when there's work to be done.
Rebecca has recently accepted the position of Membership Chairperson for Bastard Nation. She is also Bastard Nation's Michigan State Director. She has hosted RegDay tables in Michigan and recently, she started attending the search and support group, Adoption Identity Movement of Michigan (AIM) in Detroit.
Rebecca's heart is also in Arizona, where she was born and raised and so she does double duty. She is Bastard Nation's Arizona State Contact too. Bastard National Jean Uhrich and Rebecca have recently founded "Arizona Open" - an organization to work on getting open records in Arizona. They need YOUR help: http://home.comcast.net/~arizonaopen.
Rebecca works at TACOM - Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command - which is under the Dept of the US Army. No, she isn't in the Army - she's a civilian employee. She started there as a Systems Engineer. Her degree is in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Arizona (GO Wildcats!). About 3 years ago, she moved over to Software Engineering at TACOM. She works in software management now, overseeing the contractors who develop the codes.
We asked Rebecca what brought her to Bastard Nation. "When I started searching, I tried to read everything I could on adoption and reunions. I joined AIML (Adoptee's Internet Mailing List) and from there heard about this new group called Bastard Nation. BN gave me a sense of empowerment that I could actually do something to change the status quo of closed records."
Bastard Nation was the impetus that turned Rebecca from an adoptee to an adoptee-activist. She says she really agreed with all the Bastard Nation information papers and the Bastard Nation Basic Bastard. "I recommend these as essential reading for any adoptee."
Rebecca's advice to adoptee rights activists: "Read everything on the "Bastard Nation Learn" web page. Join Bastard Nation and ask lots of questions on the BEST email list. Don't accept any compromises because that will hurt all the other state groups working on clean bills."
"If you want open records, you have to be willing to help work for them."
ANGELS IN ADOPTION AWARDS
Kudos to Bastard National Brenda Romanchik for being chosen as an "Angel in Adoption." The Angels in Adoption Program was established in 1999 to provide an opportunity for members of the United States Congress to recognize and honor the adoption-arena work of their constituents who have enriched the lives of others with their contributions.
Brenda Romanchik is the Director of Insight: Open Adoption Resources and Support, an organization dedicated to providing triad members, professionals and the general public with information on open adoption. She is also the author of "Birthparent Grief," "Being a Birthparent," "What is Open Adoption?," "Your Rights and Responsibilities," and "A Birthparent's Book of Memories."
Brenda is the birthmother of 18 year old son, Matt, whom she placed in an open adoption at birth. Brenda resides in Michigan with her husband, and two children, Katrina and Daniel.
Another Angel honored this year is Linda Pendergast, Louisiana, Co-Chair of Adoptees' Birthrights Committee (ABC). Linda is the first mother of Bastard Nation member Kenny Tucker. Linda is a proud birthmother who has actively sought to help fellow birthparents and adult adoptees search for missing relatives and win access to their own birth and adoption records. Linda has served on the Louisiana Adoption Advisory Board (LAAB) for several years.
Previously, Bastard National Mary Hunt Peret was honored for her work with TIES.
SPREAD THE WORD IN NOVEMBER:
ADOPTEES GROW UP - ADOPTEES HAVE RIGHTS
November is NATIONAL ADOPTION AWARENESS MONTH and it is not too early to start thinking about how you can use this heightened interest in adoption to educate folks about adoptee rights.
Start now. Write a letter or an Op/Ed piece to your local newspaper. The average person on the street has no idea that our records are still sealed. This is a good opportunity to tell them.
If you have any media contacts, call them. National Adoption Month is coming and YOU can offer them a story. This is an opportunity for us to "hang out" with a national event.
November 20, 2004, is "National Adoption Day" and it will be celebrated as hundreds of children around the country will have their adoptions finalized in local courts and jurisdictions throughout the nation to raise awareness about adoption.
Finding homes for children is uppermost, of course, and the November events will celebrate this fine accomplishment. But it doesn't end there.
Adoptees grow up. Adoptees have rights.
Good resources for National Adoption Month Activities:
Where The Action Is
Bastard Nation Executive Chair and Debunker of Baby Dump Mythology, Marley Greiner
100 DAYS TO OPEN RECORDS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
The countdown has begun for New Hampshire born adult adoptees to be able to unconditionally obtain a copy of their Original Birth Certificate. Senate Bill 335 will go into affect on January 1, 2005.
Gala events will begin in November to honor the people who worked so hard to make New Hampshire the 5th state to have unconditional open records for adult adoptees.
The honorees will be Senator Lou D'Allesandro, Deputy Speaker Mike Whalley and State Representative Janet Allen, Bastard Nation member. Key supporters of SB335 Donna Chagnon, Steve Varnum, and Paul Schibbelhute will join in the celebration.
CZECH REPUBLIC GOES X
The Czech Republic has followed France into the X-bin of history. The state will now encourage and pay for women to undergo anonymous pregnancy care and childbirth. Birth certificates will be issued with no parent's name.
Marley Greiner, Bastard Nation Executive Chair, believes that this is the next assault on open records and adopted persons. "This is exactly where dump laws are going."
Bastard National Jean Uhrich of Sacramento, California (left) assists a visitor at a RegDay site on October 2nd. RegDay is an annual event which promotes the International Soundex Reunion Registry, a non-profit volunteer charity which provides blood relatives separated for reasons such as adoption with an avenue for reconnection. RegDay volunteers provide additional outreach to the public about legislative activism and support.
IAAA HAS SERIOUS FAULTS
Important concerns have been expressed concerning the federally funded Infant Adoption Awareness Act (IAAA) training programs. The Alan Guttmacher Institute found the majority of family and pregnancy-planning counselors participating in these infant adoption awareness-training programs had negative experiences.
To read the full report, please go to:
From Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute Newsletter August 2004
Spotted in a display of old military museum pieces at the USAF Warfare
Center at Ft. Dix, NJ
YOUR HOROSCOPE AND YOUR
This book offers, in part, explanations of certain aspects of dreams. It includes a category for BASTARD. The authors claim "If you dream that you are a bastard, you are almost certain to receive both honors and wealth. It is a sign of impending bad luck to call a person a bastard, but if another calls you by this name, you will receive a promotion of some kind."
"See? We aren't so bad!" writes Bastard National Chaz Filius.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
Reformers who are always compromising have not yet grasped the idea
that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.
Watch These States:
JOIN BASTARD NATION
Editors: Anita Walker Field and David C. Ansardi
c. 2004 Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization
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