Our Mission

Bastard Nation advocates for the civil and human rights of adult citizens who were adopted as children. Millions of North Americans are prohibited by law from accessing personal records that pertain to their historical, genetic and legal identities. Such records are held by their governments in secret and without accountability, due solely to the fact that they were adopted.
Bastard Nation campaigns for the restoration of their right to access their records. The right to know one’s identity is primarily a political issue directly affected by the practice of sealed records adoptions. Please join us in our efforts to end a hidden legacy of shame, fear and venality.


Frequently Asked Questions What’s with the name? The more than half-century old practice of impounding and sealing an adopted person’s original birth records in perpetuity has had the disastrous effect of breeding deep and long lasting attitudes of shame in all areas of the adoption process. Secrets and lies abound. …

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Position Papers

Bastard Nation Position Papers These papers cover related issues more in depth and can be printed out for use in local public education or legislative campaigns. Bastard Nation’s Mission Statement From The Basic Bastard: Part I: Open Records: Why It’s an Issue Part V: Conditional Access Legislation Part VIII: Legalized Anonymous Infant Abandonment / …

Take Action

 ACT Ideas for Getting involved You’re a Tax-paying citizen – NOT a Second-class citizen! Educate yourself, your community, and your legislators. The Basic Bastard The basics of Adoptee Rights Activism. Read it to know the issues and the arguments. Influencing Legislation A primer on getting the word out. Read it, …


Local Laws, Activism and Contacts Learn more about Adoption Rights History and Law Bastard Nation’s Mission Statement The Basic Bastard – a collection of short articles address the main issues and questions regarding Bastard Nation and adoptee rights. Bastard Nation’s Position Papers Bastard Bytes: Printable papers for activists, legislators, and the media …

Featured News:

The United States According to Bastard Nation

The BASTARDIZED states of Alabama, Alaska, Oregon, Kansas, New Hampshire Maine and Rhode Island are the only U.S. states where adult adoptees have unrestricted access to their own original birth records! Join the fight to stamp out the seal of supreme Bastardy on the rest of the nation!

Bastard Nation is dedicated to the recognition of the full human and civil rights of adult Adoptees. Toward that end, we advocate the opening to Adoptees, upon request at age of majority, of those government documents which pertain to the Adoptee’s historical, genetic, and legal identity, including the unaltered original birth certificate and adoption decree. Bastard Nation asserts that it is the right of people everywhere to have their official original birth records unaltered and free from falsification, and that the adoptive status of any person should not prohibit him or her from choosing to exercise that right. We have reclaimed the badge of bastardy placed on us by those who would attempt to shame us; we see nothing shameful in having been born out of wedlock or in being adopted. Bastard Nation does not support mandated mutual consent registries or intermediary systems in place of unconditional open records, nor any other system that is less than access on demand to the adult Adoptee, without condition, and without qualification.bnleavesnoone

Why I Still Lobby by Carolyn Evaine Counterman

Bastards side doorTexas HB 984 is probably going to pass within the next 24 hours. Some people will be celebrating “open records” while some of us will heave a big sigh and then put our heads back down to keep pushing through. I think that, as a community, those of us touched by adoption somehow feel like we are such a minority that we cannot afford to disagree about anything. I probably felt like that myself at one point. However, I think that it is time for us to possibly deal openly with the fact that we don’t always want the same things. And we need to deal with the fact that we are all in different spaces as it relates to what we are willing to do to get what we want and what we are not willing to do.

So using HB 984 as a starting place, I will go ahead and tell you where I stand. Feel free to say your own piece, even if it is directly opposed to where I stand. I can take it.

Getting a non-certified copy of my Original Birth Certificate will not give me anything I don’t have already. There is some law here in Texas that allows me to get the non-certified OBC already. I think I just had to know the names that were on it or something. So that law is no good for searchers, but it gave me a piece of paper that I didn’t already have. And at that point, technically, I did not have to do anything any other Texan does not. If I want to get my birth certificate as Carolyn Evaine Shaw (adopted name), I can fill out the application with only my info and get what I want. It helps the people at Vital Stats if I give them the mother/father info, but it is not required. If I want to get my birth certificate as Patricia Ann Fryer (birth name), I fill out the application with that info and get what I want.

When I got my non-certified OBC and finally held it in my hands, I realized that I felt very little joy or accomplishment. Why? Because I was asked to wait next to a separate door for a lady to come hand me the OBC. I cannot remember what exactly she said, but it was along the lines of asking me if I knew what she was giving me. Like she was handing me a grenade and asking me if I knew that she had already pulled the pin. When I said “yes” and did not break down crying or pull out a gun, she seemed surprised. I wondered if they had to draw straws in the back to decide who would handle such a delicate matter. Everyone else who was requesting birth certificates that day just stood at the counter where regular business was being conducted.

… Continue Reading

Bastard Nation Cease and Desist Letter – Hard Copy

PO BOX 2165
TELEPHONE: (808) 329-1333

May 17, 2015


To Whom It May Concern:

I represent the adoptee rights organization Bastard Nation. If you are represented by legal counsel, please direct this letter to your attorney immediately and have your attorney notify us of such representation.

You are hereby directed to CEASE AND DESIST ALL DEFAMATION OF BASTARD NATION’S CHARACTER AND REPUTATION. Bastard Nation is a respected, national adoptee rights organization with a documented history of successfully advocating for the rights of adoptees. They have spent almost two decades serving the adoptee community and building a positive reputation.

… Continue Reading

Words Have Consequences: A Cease and Desist Letter from Bastard Nation Attorney Michael Zola


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In the last few days, some promoters of Texas HB 984 have jumped the shark in their defense of their bill.  While the bill offers no restriction and conditions on actual OBC access, it contains a Contact Veto, misnamed a  “Contact Preference Form” (along with an accompanying birthparent medical history form ). Bad enough as is ,but for adoptions starting in 2016, these preferences” would be collected by Texas adoption agencies, not directly by the State of Texas.

The engrossed bill reads:

The contact preference form shall provide the birth parent with the following options:
(1)  authorize direct contact by the adopted person;
(2)  authorize contact by the adopted person only through an intermediary selected and identified by the birth
parent; or
(3)  not authorize contact by the adopted person.
Proponents amazingly claim that the words “prefer” and  “authorize”  are synonymous.  The bill’s sponsor, in fact, told members of BN’s legislative team that the “authorize language”  was intended to act as a Contact Veto.
When Bastard Nation objected to this disingenuous  language and sent out action alerts opposing  the bill, proponents decided to smear us claiming we are a “front for the adoption  industry.”

This accusation is absurd, of course, unless you’re a devotee of Alex Jones (also from Texas!).  Our history and actions of  almost 20 years  speak for for themselves.
… Continue Reading

Letter to the Texas Senate – HB 984: Vote No! from Marley Greiner, Executive Chair, Bastard Nation

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Dear Senator:

Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization is the largest adoptee civil rights organization in the United States. We support full, unrestricted and unconditional access for all adopted persons to their original birth certificates. (OBC). We believe that every adopted person should enjoy due process and equal treatment under law the same as the not adopted.

We would like nothing more than to support HB 984 . Unfortunately, we cannot due to what amounts to a Contact Veto in Sections 2 and 3 of the bill. Those sections take the traditional language of a Contact Preference Form, (CPF) which lets a natural parent, if they so desire, to state if they prefer contact with the adoptee, and twists it into a Contact Veto which prohibits, upon request of a natural parent, an adoptee from contacting that natural parent.

This is not a language nit-pick. Language matters, and there is a world of difference legally between the words “prefer” and “authorize.” These sections take the traditional language of the CPF and turns it on its head exchanging the word “prefer” for “authorize;” thus, creating a “Contact Veto” (without that specific term in the bill) that can act as a restraining order against an adopted adult with no opportunity for that adult to appear in court and stand against the accuser. No reason needs given, and no court adjudicates the request. We believe that a Contact Veto by that or any other name is unconstitutional and actionable.

Moreover, the word “contact’ itself is problematic and not defined in the bill. Does “contact” mean contact with a natural parent or contact with extended family members as well? Does “contact” mean direct contact between an adoptee and a natural parent (or other family members) by a letter or email, a phone call, or personal visit to the home? Is it a one-time event or a series or pattern of events? What happens when an adoptee who identifies and locates a parent through means other than an OBC? What happens when an adoptee finds a cousin on ancestry.com or through a DNA test from various online companies? What happens when that cousin, not the adoptee, initiates contact? Would these adoptees be subject to the Contact Veto prohibition, even though their actions were not connected to OBC access and/or if they had no idea the CV had been filed?

The easy way out of this quandary would have been to amend the language of Sections B and C from “authorize” to “prefer.” This would have guaranteed the meaning of equal protection and equal treatment under law and maintain the integrity of adoptee civil rights.

Unfortunately, no such amendment was accepted. Instead, an amendment was added to the bill that places a limitation on the time frame (July 1, 2016) that a natural parent may change her or his mind mind or file a Contact Preference Form and a Medical History Form. After that date, it is in the discretion of the Registrar. Of further concern, for adoptions after July 1, 2016, it is an adoption agency, not the Registrar, that issues and collects the forms. No language in the bill provides the  date for compliance and there is no oversight or penalty to an agency that fails to adhere to the law. I can think of no other state that has a CPF on the books that puts that kind of power into the hands of either the registrar or adoption agencies.

… Continue Reading


Read a day-by-day account of what real live adoptees have to say about secret adoption and sealed records....A service of Bastard Nation and Emma Pea! Fighting adoptacrats since 1996.

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Bastard Nation’s Sample Resolution Against Vetoes and Other Restrictions

Bastard Nation’s Sample Resolution Against Vetoes and Other Restrictions

Any political organization seeking to enact true open records legislation should be very clear with both their constituents and the legislators they work with about what the essential provisions of the proposed bill are. Any modification or deletion of the essential provisions of a bill should be immediate cause to have the bill killed.

Any political organization seeking the assistance of Bastard Nation to pass open records legislation must hold unconditional access by adult adoptees to the original record of their birth as an essential provision that cannot be modified or deleted. Read our Mission Statement.

Bastard Nation will not assist any political organization to pass open records legislation unless their governing board or other leadership

... passes a written resolution such as the following that commits the board to a strategy of no compromise on key provisions
... informs its constituents of this commitment and this strategy
... informs the sponsoring legislators of this commitment and this strategy.

WHEREAS we recognize that disclosure and contact vetoes, redactions, mandatory intermediaries and registry provisions are an affront to the dignity of adopted persons everywhere and a violation of their right to due process and equal treatment under the law,

WHEREAS there has been a demonstrable negative effect on the ability to pass unconditional open records in states that have passed veto legislation and/or any provisions that are less than unconditional access on demand by the adult adoptee,

WHEREAS our primary goal is to restore the right of adult adoptees everywhere to be treated as full citizens under the law,

WE HEREBY DECLARE that under no circumstances will we accept the addition of veto, redaction, intermediary, or registry provisions, or any conditional provisions to our legislation that would be less than unconditional access for adult adoptees to the original record of their birth. All legislative sponsors and members of this organization will be informed of our policy on this matter to ensure that the bill is pulled promptly in the event of such revisions.