Wednesday, March 17, 2010


FirstMother has an interesting blog post expressing her annoyance with adoptees who express interest in obtaining "information" without the need to search or meet their progenitors.

She suggests that the cause for this phenom may be fear of rejection and loyalty to their adoptive family.

In addition, I see two major contributing factors. First is adoption agency policies of offering non-identifying information as if these crumbs - often untrue - will satisfy the itch and the adoptee will go back home and resume his role of being the good adoptee and stop upsetting his parent with his ingratitude and disloyalty. This aspect we have little to no control over except to get the word out that such info is so often false. So, being overjoyed at finding out you are of Irish descent, for instance, may be in fact a sick joke.

This leads to the second contributing factor which puts the blame squarely on US...OUR movement. Our lack of focusing clearly and loudly enough on the HUMAN RIGHTS aspect of a group of people being discriminated against and denied the same rights as others in regard to access to their own birth certificate.

The fears FirstMother addresses are both associated with search and contact.  Focus on the human rights aspect and separate it from search, reunion, ethnic and medical info and you eliminate the fears of rejection and being disloyal.

Thinking as I often do about why gay rights movement is more successful than we are, and why they are less afraid t stand up for themselves...I think that P-Flag has had a hand in that. It has helped to educate the parents of gays to better understand that they (the parents) did nothing wrong; that it's no one's "fault" that their kid is gay, and it's nothing to be ashamed of - or evil!

The more parents of gays came to accept their children, the easier it is for the offspring to stand up and shout for their rights!   The more they speak out for the RIGHTS, the more the public understands and separates the human rights aspect of the issue from the uncomfortable - to some - sexual aspect of homosexuality.

This, is a workable model for us: helping adoptive parents and the public understand that the issue of equal access has nothing to with GRATITUDE or loyalty or a shortcoming of them or or their paenting. It would help, I believe alleviate adoptive parents' fears of alienation of affection...or being relegated to "glorified baby sitters."

Alleviate adopters fears and you eliminate a great deal of the adoptee fears.

Leave search and reunion out of the conversation and eliminate fear of rejection. Leave medical and other records out and you have a pure human rights equality issue that everyone can understand without being labeled psychologically unbalanced.

CONTEST: Come up with a rally cry. A brief - catchy - phrase that gets across the point above in red.   Something on the order of "I'm here, I'm queer, get used to it!"  That phrase seems to me to have been a critical turning point in the gay rights movement (although surprisingly I found no info on it in Wikipedia or otherwise on the Internet).

The winner gets a better shot at obtaining his or her OBC!!


*Peach* said...

I've always liked "Unlock Our Lives"

AdoptAuthor said...

There's the old: "Root for Adoptee Rights"

I'm now thinking: "Adoptee Rights are Human Rights"

O Solo Mama said...

"I'm here, I'm queer, get used to it" was a catchy phrase but not a turning point--though it may symbolize the turning point. The turning point was actually a series of turning points and had less to do with one slogan or even being radical, and more to do with the public being forced to *see* gay people in their own lives and admitting to that reality. So it wasn't specifically relevant that it was parents (PFLAG) speaking as parents but that parents, pilots, soldiers, teachers, students, priests, and politicians would stand up and say either "I'm queer" or my brother, sister, child, friend, or colleague is. In every corner of life there are gay men and lesbians and they were there the whole time. That was toothpaste that couldn't be put back in the tube. (I should add: this is a Canadian perspective about Canada.)

I have also laboured over comparisons to the gay rights movement and come up short sometimes, and inspired at other times. If it's the ability to make the cause embraceable, sympathetic, and logical to the public that counts, then OBCs for everyone is the one principle that does this. Personally, I think we should start hooking into the current ancestry craze and create PSA's that talk about how some lives can't be unlocked, to quote Peach.

Excellent catchphrase, btw, Peach. I go with her suggestion.

jmomma said...

"Unlock our lives" goes well with the ancestry craze. Because genealogy is growing, it makes sense to hook onto that.

AdoptAuthor said...

Joe Soll used to always carry a sign at marches that read: "I want my Mommy." (Once he even wore diaper for media attention!!)

But I think something like: "DO YOU KNOW WHO YOUR MOTHER IS?" might be effective.

Here are people finding great, great, great grandparents while adoptees don't know their own mother.



Anonymous said...

Got A REAL Birth Certificate?

(That will get people thinking: well, of course, what are you talking about?)

Anonymous said...

Or how about....

Amended Birth Certificates Are FAKE.

maybe said...

Brainstorming here:

My birth is not a crime

My birth belongs to me

Hello, my name is George (crosed out and barely visible) replaced with: ADOPTED
(I see this on one of those name badge/stickers)

Born, adopted, sealed

Deliver me from secrecy

Born to be a secret

Adoption secrecy hurts

I was born and all I got was this lousy sealed-up birth certificate.

I'm adopted - do you know my name?

Adoptees are Americans, too

maryanne said...

I am not good at slogans so won't even try, but most of the ones suggested sound good, especially the ones that tie in with the genealogy stuff.

"I want my mommy" is the worst ever!:-)

I don't know why but can't watch those shows where they trace celebrities' ancestors, I just feel like "so what"? Maybe it would be more appealing if they were just regular people.

AdoptAuthor said...

I like it! :-)




Help bring awareness that so-called "amended" certs not only change the adoptees' name. but also date and place of birth and even race!

O Solo Mama said...

You have to assume your audience's knowledge and assumptions. And don't be pedantic or hectoring.

So far, Peach's wins. It's elegant, poignant, and makes the viewer/hearer ask the right question: "Why can't you unlock your life?"


AdoptAuthor said...

Jessica, you CRACK ME UP! Pedantic? Me? I totally eschew obfuscation. And hectoring? what is that - it's not in my dictionary...unless you mean it a form of badgering or harassing...

Campbell said...

One thing that's always made people I've talked to stop and think for a second is the thought of not knowing who I could be related to. What were your mom and dad doing in 1963...

For example, when I was pregnant my son's dad and I had a same blood type that was supposed to be rare. When my doctor addressed it with us I said, "hmmm, hope we're not brother and sister, remember I'm adopted". He did a double take, thought for a minute, and then said "nahh" when he realized I was teasing him.

O Solo Mama said...

Pedantic is not obfuscating. Quite the opposite. It means overly teach-y. Too pointed. Not catchy or poetic. Hectoring means reminding someone over and over and over and over and over and over again what they need to know. I never held you up an example.

Hope that helps.

Steve said...

So, AA, I guess that means you are semi-pedantic in a nice way, and Hector-ific, in the sense of taking up the fight, as in, "of Troy". Both necessary attributes to deal with the somnolence of your audience ( present commenters excluded)

I am late to the blog...having been traveling beyond the Cyber...but really like the root and right it too obtuse to say

"adoptees' rights are their roots"

root for adoptees' rights

"Alex Haley was right: ROOTS matter"

Mirah Riben said...

Many of these make good I bumper stickers, but I was seeking a BATTLE CRY like "We're hear, we're queer, get used to it." Less about brevity and more focused on clarity (not that the example is really legally action oriented).

"MY birth certificate - MY RIGHT - NOT a state secret!"

"The government lied and falsified our birth certificates - we deserve the truth!"

RussiaToday Apr 29, 2010 on Russian Adoption Freeze

Russi Today: America television Interview 4/16/10 Regarding the Return of Artyem, 7, to Russia alone

RT: Russia-America TV Interview 3/10

Korean Birthmothers Protest to End Adoption

Motherhood, Adoption, Surrender, & Loss

Who Am I?

Bitter Winds

Adoption and Truth Video

Adoption Truth

Birthparents Never Forget