Wednesday, January 5, 2011

NJ Adoption Legislation

Contact YOUR Assembly Members' office TODAY (no KIDDING!) either by email, phone or a stop-by-the-office brief visit, and tell them you want to support A1406, which has passed in the Senate four times, was released for a vote on the Assembly floor by the Assembly Human Services Committee on June 14, 2010, and which has been thoroughly vetted through the legislative process for the past 30 years.


Be sure to give your full name, street address, city and phone number when you make the contact.  Tell them your personal stake in adoption.

Be professional, brief and clear, giving one or two reasons you want your Assembly person to support A1406.

Background Details:

Some of you may know that Pam Hasagawa has personally led the battle to unseal NJ birth certificates and restore the equal rights taken from adopted citizen for MORE THAN THIRTY YEARS. She has seen bill after bill die in committee, and undauntingly began again the following legislative session to obtain new sponsors, work to create a new bill, gain new supporters and nurture them... writing letters, making phone calls and personal visits to the state lawmakers...year in and year out, every day...

Working under the auspices of NJCARE, the Adoptees' Birthright Bill A1406 was passed by the Senate in March of this year and released from the Assembly Human Services Committee on June 14. 

Since early October, expectations were high that it would be posted at the latest on December 13.

It was not. A1406, the Adoptees' Birthright Bill, is not on the Board list for tomorrow's Assembly voting session.   Nor will it be added at the last minute. We hope it will be posted on the board list for Monday's voting session.

Instead, the closer it got to looking like a "done deal" the stronger the opposition got in their determination to block it.  Behind the scenes, a Hudson County legislator who is conference chair of the Democratic Assembly caucus, nurtured a competitive bill drafted by the groups that have opposed our bill for years, and finally started the process of introducing it in November.

This Thursday, A3672 will be formally introduced in the Assembly. This bill would do the following:

·         Set up a State-directed confidential intermediary system,

·         Prevent adoptee access to a copy of her/his OBC if a birth parent denies consent to its release

·         Allow a birth parent denying consent to OBC release to also refuse to provide updated medical information, leaving the adult who was adopted with nothing.

·         For future adoptions, a birth parent would have to fill out an information statement in which they select the type of information they want shared in the future -- full disclosure (OBC), disclosure through an intermediary, or medical information only disclosure through an intermediary.

Our bill and the other bill were discussed briefly in the D caucus on Dec. 13.  Since then, an aggressive lobbying campaign has been instituted that inaccurately describes both NJ Coalition for Adoption Reform and Education and the legislation we have advocated since 1980 and which is encouraging even strong co-sponsors of our bill to shift allegiance to the other (to-be-officially introduced January 6) legislation.

The Adoptees' Rights Bill would give adopted persons 18 years of age or older, the parents of a minor adopted person or the adult direct descendant of a deceased adopted person the right to receive a copy of the adopted person's original birth certificate upon request.  It would give birth parents from the past the opportunity of a year following the bill's passage to request of the Registrar that their name and address on the birth certificate be redacted. Any birth parent would be able to file a contact preference form indicating their desire for direct contact, contact through an intermediary (whom the birth parent may name) or no contact.

A3672 is being promoted as a “compromise bill”. Ultimately though, A3672 is not a civil rights bill that allows the adult adoptee to access their original birth certificate. Rather, it sets up a system in which adult adoptees will be required to go to the State to have them act as intermediary in gaining “permission” from their birth parent to gain access to the document of their own birth. It would require a state-appointed intermediary to spend 12 months searching for the named birth parent to ask her permission for release of the original birth certificate to the requesting adoptee.  If the named parent says no, the adoptee does not receive a copy of her/his own birth certificate. WHAT KIND OF COMPROMISE IS THIS?

So much for those who put down the bill proposed by NJCARE as not "clean" enough or "pure" enough....the sit-on-your-ass and bitch about others' hard work group, Bitchy Nation, and others who assailed the NJ CARE bill.  The same Bitter Nation who has never introduced a bill and followed it through to passage ever but has the audacity to tell others what they are not doing right and oppose legislation that we'd be damn lucky to get. The same Buffoon Nation folks who it seems would prefer to have no access for anyone.

How I wish that BN was a real, positive, aggressive legislative organization tat offered HELP to people trying to get bells passed instead of sitting in judgment and complaining!  How I wish they were effective in any way, shape or form such as public education. They, or any other national adoptee rights organization.

And while I'm wishing, how I wish that adoptee activists in all states would join together and attempt a national REPEAL of all laws that violate the human rights of adopted citizens and stop the practice of falsifying birth certificates.

States that have passed compromise legislation, tiered on birth year, recognize that if any alleged promises were made it was in the PAST. So why do we continue going forward to issue false birth certificates and seal original ones???

Do we want our children and their children ad nuseum to continue to be still fighting this same battle generations to come into the future? Why is no one even TRYING to end it once and for all? Do none of us care for other who come after us, only our own birth certificate, and our own reunion????

If we succeeded in getting our issue recognized as a human rights issue it would put an end to the state by state battles and the crumbs they offer.  Isn't it worth an effort???  or are adopted persons simply OK with having their taken from them, being treated like second-class citizens with less rights than their non-adopted peers, and then being offered some compromise requiring their mommies permission, while those adopted today and tomorrow have to wait all their minority years for the same "opportunity" to ask others' permission and not simply pay a fee and get their birth certificate like all others so???  How can you allow others to be lied to by the government? Giving adoptive parents carte blanche to never tell their child that he or she is adopted because there is no indication of an adoption on their "birth' certificate.  Is this satisfactory to you? Does it seem fair and sane, ethical, right by any standards? If it is not right, why is there no organized fight against it?

Giving back SOME rights to some people, under some circumstances, when they are ADULTS is not the same as never taking those rights from them. It is analogous to accepting slavery as long as they were freed at age 18. Preposterous! So too are falsified birth certificates! It is analogous to saying that slaves can go free, if their owners allow it, after all...they had bought their slaves in a time when it was allowed so shouldn't that promise to them be kept?  Every marriage is a legal promise that can be broken. laws do not force people to remain in marriages because they took vows and had expectations.

With adoptees and their original families being reunited daily - what expectation of protection is there for anyone?

And Purests:  Come here to NJ. Get your PURE behinds up out of your easy chairs in front of your compurers where you can blast those who DO...come here and try to get a pure bill even INTRODUCED and sponsored...let alone followed throuhg commitee FOR DECADES... THEN tell us what to do and how to do it here in NJ!!

1 comment:

Pamela Rolande Hasegawa said...

Thank you, Mirah, for affirming the efforts of hundreds of people over the past 30 years who have written letters, made calls, visited legislators, spoken with parent groups, social workers, prospective parents and who have also listened to each other, legislators, parents, social workers, etc.
Not all of those hundreds have agreed 100% with what we have learned to live with in doing this via the legislative process. I myself thought the people who told me 30 years ago that it was going to be tough were just pessimists. Nope. They were REALISTS.
One of the big joys of all this has been seeing/hearing/experiencing legislators GETTING it and RUNNING with it and standing up STRONG to opponents' arguments without merit.
Our thanks to you who have prayed, written notes of encouragement (or even THOUGHT encouraging thoughts), who have understood why some of us near the center of the storm have too often been able to "come out and play," and who have let us know that you care in the same way we do and know that we are doing our very best to bring as much justice as possible to the NJ people who live adoption.

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