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

Adoptee Civil Rights and “Social Culture” by Shea Grimm

BN 1Efforts in various states to unseal OBCs has been the topic of several conversations recently  on the Bastard Nation  Facebook page.  Of particular interest are the campaigns in New York and Texas, where clean bills are currently in the hopper. Though advocates in both states say they want unrestricted access, they refuse to make a  public pledge to kill their own bills if they are amended to restricted access. They justify this reluctance by flying a states’ rights defense claiming that only advocates from each state have a right to make decisions on the strength of their bills, while at the same time acknowledging that adoptee rights is a national and international movement. They know that what happens in one jurisdiction  influences what happens in another.

Shea Grimm, a co-founder of Bastard Nation and our former Legislative Chair has taken their odd argument to task on FB posting some concise  critical comments on this isolationist, defeatist strategy.” Is a civil right only viable within a cultural comfort zone,  or does it apply to all bastards no matter geography? Why, are some organizations afraid to stand up for what they claim to believe–and want?  Why does much of the movement remain exclusionary when the stated goal is inclusion?

Marley Greiner, Exe, Chair, Bastard Nation

Shea writes:

Continuing our discussions on rights rhetoric being used in individual state efforts to promote adoptee access laws that have nothing to do with rights and everything to do with search, reunion, and individual egos, we come to the remarkable situations of TX and NY.

Both of these states presently have unconditional access bills (some weirdness with the CPF in Texas aside and the subject of a separate post). Two of the organizations promoting these bills (STAR and NYAE in TX and NY respectively) have declined to take a pledge to kill the bills should they be amended with contact or disclosure vetoes. These two state organizations have a history of supporting veto and/or redaction legislation. These organizations are publicizing an “adoptee rights” platform and….here’s where it gets very weird…both organizations have made noises to the effect that adoptee access is a states’ rights issue and only individuals in their respective states should have a determinative say in whether veto legislation is an acceptable compromise.
… Continue Reading

Indiana SB 552: The Non-Access Bill by Guest Blogger Lisa Zatonsky

humpty dumptyWhile I was forced to the sidelines, a lot of so-called “access” bills made their way into various state legislatures. The worse is the terribly written Indiana SB 352. Promoted by babystep deformers Hoosiers for Equal Access to Records (HEAR) , “adoptee rights bill,” SB 352 extended the state’s disclosure veto, added a contact veto (sorta), limited access of information between siblings, dismantled the state’s reunion registry, neglected to define” identifying information” and most critically, did not mention much less unseal and release–restricted or unrestricted– the original birth certificate.

Did supporters even read the bill?

After much hoopla on the coming restoration of adoptee rights in Indiana the bill was tabled and will soon die the death it deserves.

Incredibly, this death is heralded by much of AdoptionLand as a tragedy.

Sorry folks. That this farce, which doesn’t even come up to deform standards, received play by so-called “activists” is the real tragedy.

Bastard Nation with its partners Indiana Open Acess and CalOpen were instrumental in exposing this farce and helping it to the graveyard. (Special thanks to Shea Grimm, Jean Ulrich and Lisa Zatonsky.) BN’s emergency action alert with details about the bill is here.

Below is guest commentary on SB 352 by Indiana Open Access’ Lisa Zatonsky:

Advertised as an access bill that included a Contact Preference Form, SB 352 was everything but… It was an attempt to equal the tiers on information available from the State Registry for those born prior to January 1, 1994 and those born after. On the surface, the bill used the State Registry as an intermediary while allowing the biological parent(s) to add an additional disclosure veto on all information found in the Registry and on pre-adoptive sibling contact information. The disclosure vetoes would remain effective even after the biological parents were deceased. As if the mutual consent aspect of the Registry requiring both the biological parent(s) and the adoptee to be registered before information may be released isn’t a big enough access hurdle? Repeatedly, SB 352 names the disclosure vetoes as a “non-release of contact information form”. A Contact Preference Form, along with its exact wording, is not in the bill. Yet, the terms and their names were interchanged by those presenting the bill to individuals, media, and legislators.
… Continue Reading

Bastard Nation Alert: PA HB 162–Secure and Save Adoptee Rights in PA. Send letter of support now!

BN logoBastard Nation Action Alert: 

Pennsylvania HB 162

Distribute Freely!

 Pennsylvania adoptees need your help NOW!

HB 162 is being heard Tuesday September 16 in the Senate Committee on Aging and Youth. This is a clean bill that will restore the right of access without restriction to all Pennsylvania-born adoptees to their original birth certificates.  The bill has already passed the House and is now being challenged by Catholic Charities, the ACLU and anti-abortion groups in the Senate. It is imperative that Pennsylvania legislators know  that OBC access is a civil right that must be restored to all adopted adults.

Please send your letter of support  for HB 162 as written without restriction to committee members now.  Your message need not be long. Let them know that the age of sealed  birth certificates is  over.

You can read HB 162 here.

The personal letter to the committee from Marley Greiner, Executive Chair of Bastard Nation is here. (It was originally sent as submitted testimony in March 2014 and an addenda has been added for this hearing regarding false abortion claims).

Below is the contact list for the Senate Committee on Aging and Youth.

… Continue Reading

PA HB 162: BN Exe Chair Marley Greiner’s personal testimony in support

BN logo

This testimony was submitted originally on March 18, 2014.  It is now re-submitted with an addenda regarding abortion which Catholic Charities has injected into the debate.
HB 162
Adoptee access to their own original birth certificates
Pennsylvania Senate Committee on Aging and Youth
March 18, 2014
Submitted Testimony in Support
Leave No One Behind!
Thank you for the opportunity to submit written testimony in support of HB 162, a bill already passed unanimously by the House, that would restore the right of all Pennsylvania adoptees to access, upon request, a copy of their original birth certificate (OBC) without conditions or restrictions.
I was adopted in Ohio. My birth and adoptive families have deep roots in Pennsylvania, both coming to the state in the early 18th century, many in Quaker settlements in and around Exeter Twn, Berks County; others in Allegheny County; and still others in Philadelphia. My original birth certificate (OBC was never sealed, and I have had it since 1980. I have been an adoptee rights activist for decades, presented testimony in various states, and submitted testimony in others. My advocacy has been covered by local, state, and international media, and I have spoken at adoption and law conferences.
For 60 years, the original birth certificates of Pennsylvania adoptees were available to them upon request. Up until 1985 all Pennsylvania adoptees were relinquished into an adoption system that guaranteed them the right to their own OBC. Unfortunately, the legislature that year decided to void that right retroactively, creating a legal class of citizens once permitted, then barred from owning an intimate public document about themselves that the state’s not-adopted can get for the asking. Some of those disenfranchised in 1985 may be at this hearing today.
… Continue Reading

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Recent Comments

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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.