Friday, May 13, 2011

Those Who Can, DO! Part II

It was May 2010 when I wrote Part I of this post: Those who can, do

I am revisiting this because the controversy is VIRAL.  Those who can DO. Those who do NOTHING, COMPLAIN about those who do.

I am well aware that all grassroots movements have schisms. The civil rights movement had the Blank Panther extremists who advocating change by force. They still have their Rev. Alan Shartpon, a lone wolf who goes of his own campaigns, sometimes achieving a label for himself of clown or buffoon.

Adoption reform is kind of like Christianity in that that it is an umbrella title under which you have some recognized religions and also some lesser known cultish clans on the outer limits who practice non-traditional things like snake handling, or multiple marriage....far smaller than mainstream, but often they generate quite a bit of media attention simply for their odd positions.

In our movement we likewise have a couple of fringe groups.  There are no "B" worders, the BSE mothers and the senior mothers who may or may not be all the same people. Like religions that focus on one word or phrase in the entire bible to base their entire belief system, these mothers focus on one word as being the cause of adoption coercion.

On the adoptee side, the rock throwing, name-calling, do-nothing-but-complain contingent does nothing other than tell everyone else what they are doing wrong.  Let's explore the FACTS underneath all the hyperbole:

Marley, "Damsel Plum" and BN take credit for the Oregon access bill: Measure 58. Access in Oregon was passed via REFERENDUM, financially made possible by one Helen Hill.  What BN seems to refuse to understand or accept is that a referendum is a very different process than many other states have available to them. 

Once the language of the referendum is set in place the voters get to vote for or against. 

In states that do not provide this option, or where there is no one to fund it as there was in Oregon (Helen Hill)...we have to: 1) convince a legislator to sponsor the bill, then work on obtaining co-sponsors. 2) the bill then works it way through committee which more often than not amend its original language, 3) it has to pass BOTH the assembly and the senate, and4) it then has to get signed by the Governor. 

As opposed to a referendum, where you are dealing with a yes or no and public opinion... when dealing with POLITICIANS they love COMPROMISE! BN has NEVER done this work, but they complain about how others are dealing with these difficulties. 

BN takes credit for jumping on the bandwagon in some other states like NH. But they have never fought in a state with the opposition that NJ faced for THIRTY-ONE YEARS!

Marley Greiner - the loudest of the name calling complainers need to clean up her own back yard first.  Marley's home state, Ohio, has one of THE WORST bills in the nation that allows for access ONLY for adoptees born prior to 1964 or AFTER 1996! 

As I understand it, NJ-CARE PULLED a bill with year restrictions! Why didn't BN do this in OH?? Why don't they go back and fix it now instead of telling everyone else what to do or not do? 

The NJ bill that Marley is so vehemently opposed to has a ONE YEAR opt-IN veto requiring a certified letter. The NJ legislators were dead set on an opt-OUT veto! This was a major compromise and experience tells us that precious few mothers will opt-in. Further, those few adoptees that MIGHT be affected by this during that one year window will still receive their OBC, albeit redacted. They will still know where and when they were born and maybe even another parent's name. After 31 years, NJ-CARE chose WISELY to accept this rather than throw ALL NJ adoptees under the bus for perhaps another 31 years. 

BN knocks compromise because they do not understand a process they have never participated in. And that in itself would be bad enough, but they go on to use demeaning language to put down the efforts of those who have worked their buts off, in the case of NJ for 31 years! AND...they don't stop there...they try to defeat bills that those in state have worked on and believe is the best option. They show no respect whatsoever for state autonomy and the knowledge of those who live in and work with their local lawmakers. Every state is unique. in NJ, for instance, we had the Bar Assoc and ACLU OPPOSING - where in other states these orgs were silent or in some cases the ACLU even supported access. 

Marley/BN need/s to fix OHIO before she has any right to point a finger toward any other state in the union!

One of Marley's pet arguments is that bad laws have never been revisited.  Why doesn't she work to set a new example and do just that?  We know for a fact that laws CAN and ARE enacted incrementally. In fact adoption records in many states, including NJ, were sealed incrementally - first to the public and then to all, including adoptees and their original families. it CAN be done! It's been done with anti-smoking laws and examples too numerous to list. It CAN be done, why doesn't Marley even TRY?

Marley's pet cause is Safe Haven - baby dumps. She has spoken about this at many conferences and has exorbitant amounts of research on it, following specific cases.  Yet, gee whiz, despite all her best efforts, Safe Havens have been enacted in EVERY state!  She was unsuccessful in stopping them! Does anyone demean her for her best efforts that weren't enough?  I have never heard one word spoken - let alone written -  to that effect.  No one diminishes her efforts though they were unsuccessful. We all know and respect that she did her darnedest - her very best effort - and it just wasn't enough to fight the adoption INDUSTRY. But she can't give the rest of us the same respect.

Why can't we simply recognize that we are all players ON THE SAME TEAM - all seeking the same goal - but perhaps with some varying strategies about how to get that winning point? Is being so contentious between us really helpful? Is it the best use of our time, energy, focus, resources? Does it actually fuel our REAL enemies when we in-fight?

We need to learn how to disagree with more political savvy!

I fully appreciate and support letting legislators know that bills do not go FAR ENOUGH! This is in fact my position in NJ. But we need to act with caution when we send messages - and advocate others send messages - with "VOTE NO" in the subject line, instead of expressing the not far enough aspect. Letters with "VOTE NO" in the subject line, as BN advocates, simply go into a NO file, right along with those of NCFA and RTL!

In addition to all this, Marley is also attacking a petition to declare a National Adoptee Rights Day.  A petition with one simple goal: to educate the public that this is a civil rights issue and to demand "unconditional" and "unrestricted" access!  Doesn't get any more PURE, yet she campaigned telling people NOT to sign it because she doesn't like me personally. This shows a total lack of political savvy and maturity! It's in fact called shooting ones-self in the foot as it would help all of us in all states.

UPDATE 5/16/11: The anger has escalated to threats of violence.  An adoptee on Facebook calls for shooting someone he specifically names - not even for her politics - but rather "for being a birthmom / slut."  He then names on to be the first - oddly, not me!

Very scary, highly incendiary and a terroristic threat. 

See New Posting: May 17


Mirah Riben said...

Anonymous wrote:

"We know you hate Marley. We get it. But saying you "respect" her after repeatedly slamming her and lying is not showing any respect.
The person you make look bad is yourself, not Marley."

It was deleted accidentally. And so I reprint it her and would like to reply.

I do NOT hate Marley and DO respect her.

I simply do not agree with her tactics that include name-calling and negative campaigning. Where in the definition of "respect" is total agreement with everything one does?

"esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I have great respect for her judgment."

This definition fits very comfortable with my feelings toward Marley. And nothing in that definition states that one cannot simultaneously respect someone and be disappointed with them or what they have done.

The major lack of respect I see comes FROM Marley toward everyone she disagrees with. It is SHE who began all the name calling. Some of us are sick of taking her judgmental abuse of us and are speaking out and fighting back.

But none of that means I hate or even dislike Marley. I dislike and disagree with the way she operates. The things she says and does.

What I respect highly is her PASSION and the other things I have already complimented on: her brains, her writing ability and her humor. I think she's BRILLIANT!

And I respect that she feels so strongly about this issue. I just wish she could recognize that others of us are just as passionate and feel just as strongly and want the same things she does, and that her way is NOT the only way! I wish she could show a bit of respect for people, such as Pam H. who has given her entire adult life to this issue instead of calling her names.

I wish she could show some respect that those who work in a state for that long know what is possible and what is not. That they have to make some difficult decsion and did. She shows ZERO respect for others.

I never called her a nay-sayer until AFTER she insisted upon calling us "deformers" which is a horrible, mean, nasty thing to say! And, despite the high regard I have for Marley, I find some of her tactics very childish and politically lacking savvy. That's my opinion. i think I am entitled to one.

I do not believe I have lied. I may err, but I have never intentionally lied.

Jess said...

You wrote, "Marley, "Damsel Plum" and BN take credit for the Oregon access bill: Measure 58. Access in Oregon was passed via REFERENDUM, financially made possible by one Helen Hill. What BN seems to refuse to understand or accept is that a referendum is a very different process than many other states have available to them."

I'm confused. Then why did Wayne Carp write a book called "Bastard Nation and Ballot Initiative 58" if they had nothing to do with it?

"E. Wayne Carp, a nationally respected authority on adoption history, now reveals the efforts of the radical adoptee rights organization Bastard Nation to pass this milestone initiative. He has written an intimate history of a passionately proposed and opposed initiative that has the potential to revolutionize the adoption reform movement nationwide."


joy said...

You know Wayne Carp is a very weird guy. He testified against open records in Ontario.

I also think it is strange that people who weren't in Oregon get so worked up about BN getting credit for it, there are conflicting accounts to be sure and I find it very telling that Helen Hill is not a BN member.

Judging the decision making, conflict resolution skills and intellectual capacity of many of their supporters it does seem apt. It reminds me of that expression, "people get the God they deserve" that could also be said in this arena. It cracks me up when I think of it that way.

They seem to need the recognition earned or not so desperately, I think it is their opus, real or imagined, I cannot say. I just have been told very conflicting stories and wish them the best. I hope they find peace and happiness in their lives.

Mirah Riben said...

What's confusing? Measure 58 was a referendum. Is there anything incorrect about that statement? The procedure to pass a referendum is very different than that of working a bill through state legislature where politicians can change it along the way. Anything wrong with that? Did I miss-speak or miss-represent either of those two different situations? Did I say they do NOT deserve to take credit it? No, I did not!

READ IT. It's right there in black and white.

Anonymous said...

"Did I say they do NOT deserve to take credit it? No, I did not!"
On May 10, 2011, at 12.54 p.m, you wrote "Oregon credit goes to Helen Hill, not BN." That's seems pretty unequivocal to me.

Mirah Riben said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mirah Riben said...

YES. AS you note, I DID say that on May 10....on Facebook, for those who may be confused. And Marley said they deserve that credit. So on May 13 when I posted this, I ACCEPTED that!

See, bottom line, I agree totally with Joy (whenever she is). I don't know. But I am saying OK, I accept that BN had something to do with that, even as Joy notes Helen is not a BN member. Whatever! I am saying, even if they did that was totally different and they still have no business DISSING NJ or any other grassroots workers. DISS the bill. DISS the lawmakers. But don't DISS the hard work of those unless you walked 31 years in out shoes!!

Marley needs to cleanup her own backyard: OHIO that has one of the WORST access laws in the nation. Let her stay home, and fix that and stop pointing fingers at everyone else and trying to undo the hard work of others...showing ZERO respect for anyone or their hard work. Not me. I don't care what she thinks of me and I did little in regards to legislation in NJ. But Pam who put 31 years into it and who killed a prospective bill and fought damn hard not to have an opt-out veto deserves a LOT of respect and Marley shows NONE to anyone! She thinks she knows better than anyone - and she thinks she knows other states better than the people there. BULLSHIT!

If she would just stop DISSING the folks in the trenches. That is all we're asking. That, and stop encouraging emails with "VOTE NO" on the subject. Is that so much to ask for? Complain about bills that do not go far enough! GREAT! Remind legislators that this is a civil rights issue and civil rights cannot be compromised. Great. I'm right there with you! With all my heart and soul. But don't try to destroy the best chance the vast majority of adoptees have in NJ! Trust, just a tiny bit that someone like Pam who has worked on this for all those 31 years made a very though decision. This was the best compromise. There is no way NJ is going to pass a zero compromise bill. Trust that Pam and her team understand that better than anyone else does! Trust and respect someone other than Marely!!! Not me! Trust PAM.

Or...keep dissing us in the trenches in NJ and every other state you choose to and then accept the backlash! Marley cannot ride on any laurels of the past. Nothing buys her the right to attack people and bills the way she do. Don't point fingers at anyone else until she cleans up her own backyard - Ohio- and gets unconditional, unrestricted access there. Stay there and leave the rest of us alone. Because, as they say: lead. follow or get out of the way. Marley are in our way: not helping by attacking.

If she chooses to continue then she will continue to get backlash! Sad, sad, sad...when there is so much REA work to be done in ohio and elsewhere that she would spend so much time NEGATIVELY!!!

Me, I'm done. She has wasted quite enough of my time by campaigning against our best efforts.

maryanne said...

As the adoptee rights day petition, whether Marley or I or anyone else likes you or not,is not the issue. This petition is a pointless waste of time and effort. Adoption has nothing to do with the 14th amendment abolishing slavery, and trying to compare adoption to slavery does not win support to our cause. It does not matter whose idea it is, it is not a good one.

Even if this succeeded, it would be as meaningful as National Potato Day, Oct. 22, or International Talk Like A Pirate Day, Sept 19th. There is a Day for everything, if you like cheap publicity stunts.

Also, there is already a National Adoptee Rights Demonstration Day sometime in August, where a group goes to demonstrate at a National State Legislators convention. They have been doing this for several years and are in San Antonio this year. Another "day" seems redundant.

Anonymous said...

"YES. AS you note, I DID say that on May 10....on Facebook, for those who may be confused."
Allow me to remind you that you ALSO said it on THIS blog, second comment down, in response to BD. See for yourself:

" And Marley said they deserve that credit. So on May 13 when I posted this, I ACCEPTED that!"
Yet, in that same post, you denied having ever said it.
But your words (see link above) speak for themselves.

"But I am saying OK, I accept that BN had something to do with that, even as Joy notes Helen is not a BN member."
"Something to do with . . . " indeed! Helen Hill WAS a member of BN in 1998. Lest someone reading Joy-whoever-she-is's comment in isolation gets the wrong idea, this is a verifiable fact. To imply otherwise amounts to historical revisionism.

Mirah Riben said...

You are certainly entitled to your opinion.

As for a "waste of time" - don't waste the total of 16-18 seconds it takes to sign it. That is your prerogative. 550+ thought it worthwhile so far!

I believe very strongly and confidentiality that if it was actually declared a national day it would go far to educate the public - and even clueless adoptees - to the fact that this issue is a civil rights issue, which makes the date a natural tie-in.

It uses strong language that many are unaccustomed to see by asking for "unconditional" and "unrestricted" access AS A CIVIL RIGHT! I think it's important you don't. So be it. Don't sign it. Who cares?

BY THE WAY -- if you are really concerned about WORTHLESS WATES OF TIME, you spent FAR more time to come to my blog to share your negativity once again, than it would have taken to sign or just ignore it.

Mirah Riben said...

It is PATHETIC the total number of hours spent being negative instead of DOING or even TRYING something that MIGHT help! Bitching, whining, complaining...they've never gotten accomplished a thing!

“Fear of failure must never be a reason not to try something.” Frederick Smith

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” Michelangelo

"You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take." Wayne Gretzky

I could go on and on and on...

Anonymous said...

"I could go on and on and on.."

...and you do.

Jess said...

Wayne Carp always said he would have liked to have seen a situation in which the rights of all parties are protected. If you don't agree with that position (and I don't either), say why and don't just write off the guy as *weird*.

Anonymous said...

"He (Wayne Carp) testified against open records in Ontario."

To clarify, E Wayne Carp was a legal consultant in the case of D. Marie Marchand v. Ontario:

Mirah Riben said...

Please read the comment guidelines and KEEP IT CIVIL! No personal attacks. They will NOT get printed. I have just rejected one comment that offended another commenter and will continue to maintain this policy:

Constructive comments that explore and discuss the topic covered in the post are welcomed. Comments that are offensive, abusive, or off-topic; that contain personal or discriminatory attacks; are flaming or contain advertising will not be posted or may be deleted. Repeat offenders may be permanently removed from the site at our discretion. Note that your comments are publicly visible and may appear elsewhere.

Mirah Riben said...

Interesting. Thanks for the link. It states:

Both Carp and Smith are frank about adoption “secrecy” being driven by the adoption industry and the need for infants.

1. He did not "testify" in this case but was quoted from his book.

2. All such quotes (p. 16 #32) are OPPOSED to the sealing of the records.

How in the world do you offer this as proof that: "He (Wayne Carp) testified against open records in Ontario."

Against openness? Wayne Carp?? Not according to the link you sent.

Mirah Riben said...

As for Carp on BN versus Helen Hills role in OR's Measure 58, a review of Carp's book states:

"Bastard Nation is a young, irreverent, internet-savvy organization whose use of humor, as Carp says, "embrace[s] the ribald or scandalous with a verve absent from other movement groups" (p. 26). Its webpage went up on June 16, 1996, and immediately began to receive more than a thousand hits a month. The newsletter, Bastard Quarterly, publishes not just legislative information, but also Bastard Jokes, Bastard Recipes (e.g. Bunch-a-Bologna Sandwich, Chopped Files on Toast, Clam-up Chowder--names contributed by the same Helen Hill who would lead the Oregon initiative battle) and even a Bastard Cheer."

It says Helen Hill LED the OR initiative! And this is the guy who BN uses to prove they get credit for it!

Same review also confirms what I had said about their feelings toward mothers who relinquish:

But elsewhere he claims that Bastard Nation ignored the opposition's argument about confidentiality partly because of "BN's dislike of birth mothers" (p. 109). Sometimes the evidence for dislike could be the result of identity politics, in this case the view that opening records to adoptees was a battle in which adoptees had to speak for themselves. Electoral success, however, required that others speak for them as well: Carp notes a full page ad with five hundred birth mothers' names and statements, gathered by Helen Hill, and the photo of five of them, taken by birth mother Delores Teller of the Oregon Adoptive Rights Association and the American Adoption Congress, that ran just before the initiative.

A Bastard Nation review of the book by CK Bertrand Holub at states:

It is interesting to note that Carp repeatedly refers to the promises of
confidentiality made to birth mothers as the reason he thinks records should not be opened except with birth parents' consent. ...Although he claims to wear the mantle of academic neutrality, he disingenuously takes a political stand and advocates a mutual consent registry as a way to "balance the rights of all parties."

So Carp is for sure a mixed bag; a conundrum. But I do not see anywhere where he supports BN's claim that THEY get credit for Measure 58. If, as he the historian, states tat helen Hill "initiated" it, then I am correct to say they jumped on the bandwagon and take credit for it. And the irony is that it took MOTHERS - of which I was one - to help get it passed!!

Mirah Riben said...

Found this on Granny Annie's blog:

"I was on the spot, literally, when Measure 58 was born. It happened at the first Bastard Nation Conference, "Birth of a Bastard Nation," in July 1997 in Chicago."

So,OK. But as I said. It is FAR different from seeing a bill through committees and politicians making compromises. A process I still contend Marley - and her followers such as the one who made the threat - simply do not understand.

Anonymous said...

'Mirah, you asked 'How in the world do you offer this as proof that: "He (Wayne Carp) testified against open records in Ontario." ? '
I didn't. It was Joy who said that Wayne Carp "testified against open records in Ontario," which is why I put her words in quotation marks. I supplied the link simply to shed more light on his stance. I am aware that it is not a transcript. Carp's position is as Jess has already stated. For more about his thoughts on the matter, see:

The only point I have made with regards to BN and Helen Hill is that, regardless of whether or not Helen has maintained her membership, she WAS a Bastard National when she was Chief Petitioner for Measure 58 in Oregon:
That is an indisputable fact which deserves to be acknowledged.

You supplied this link:
and said "Helen Hill LED the OR initiative! And this is the guy who BN uses to prove they get credit for it!"
The article to which you linked also includes the following - "Carp shows Oregonian adoptee and art teacher Helen Hill coming to the first Bastard
Nation conference in 1997, and after hearing Randy Shaw, author of The Activist's Handbook (1996), talk about the ballot initiative, thinking it might work in Oregon. Hill became the chief petitioner, but Carp stresses the importance of her collaboration with legally trained and politically experienced Shea Grimm, a founding member of Bastard Nation. In 1993, Grimm created the first known adoptee rights website; she "was one of the first to see the potential power of the Internet to spur adoption reform" (p. 43)."

"Carp stresses the importance of her collaboration with legally trained and politically experienced Shea Grimm, a founding member of Bastard Nation."
I'm not saying, and never did, that Helen Hill didn't *officially* lead the Oregon initiative, nor am I trying to obscure or diminish just how essential her generous contribution was, but it is clear to me - and I sincerely believe would be to anyone without bias or prejudice - that it was this collaborative effort between Helen Hill and Bastard Nation that led to the successful opening of adoption records in Oregon.

Mirah Riben said...

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mirah. I am glad you no longer insist that "Oregon credit goes to Helen Hill, not BN", and that we can agree that the passing of Measure 58 was an achievement which could not have been achieved without the input of both.

Mirah Riben said...

Whatever. It is still was a referendum and ballot initiative and as such VERY different from introducing a bill and staying with it through committees and working with politicians dead set on compromise! VERY DIFFERENT.

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