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.

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Ohio Right to Life

READ THIS HISTORIC  TESTIMONY!

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Ohio Right to Life Rescinds Opposition to OBC Access.

Testifies in Favor 

For decades Ohio Right to Life has opposed OBC access for adult adoptees. As the flagship of the National Right to Life Committee many other Right to Life organizations have followed Ohio’s lead.

On Wednesday, March 6,  2013 ORTL made an historic move. The organization not only (as previously announced) rescinded its opposition to access, but lobbyist ORTL lobbyist Stephanie Ranade Crider testified before the Ohio House Judiciary Committee  in full support of  access measure HB61.  The bill, if passed  would restore the right of all Ohio adoptees between 1964-Sept 17, 1996 to unrestricted access of their OBCs. Those adopted after that date are still held hostage by a Disclosure Veto which was forced into law by ORTL nearly 20 years ago. In-place DVs in Ohio and other states  have made total unrestricted access  extremely difficult, if not impossible,  to restore.  Disclosure Vetoes, which serve as an agreement between a tiny number of self-selected biological parents and the state are quite different from sealed records, which simply sealed records with no such agreement.   (A more indepth statement on this is coming).

ORTL’s policy change should have major repercussions nationwide in traditional RTL and related organizations opposed  to OBC access and adoptee rights.

ORT’s Testimony begins:

Some of you may know that for decades, Ohio Right to opposed opening adoption records to adoptees born/adopted between 1964 and 1996. The concerns of privacy and the repercussions for adoptive families, however, are fading with time as cultural perceptions about adoption have changed. Historically, arguments to keep the records closed were based on the idea that it would protect adoptees from potential embarrassment about the circumstances of their birth, or to protect adoptees from unwanted contact from birth parents. Frankly, these are outdated concerns, but it is this rationale that keeps 1964 – 1996 adoptees from being able to access their original birth certificate. Ohio law keeps these records closed, yet when the laws were revisited in 1996, it was decided that all adoptions finalized after that point are open unless parents choose to close their records. Even so, most younger adoptees (born in 1996 and after) will have the ability to obtain their original birth certificate from the Office of Vital Statistics when they are 21 years old. Those born in the previous window do not have this option, creating a disparity based simply on the year they happened to be born.

To read the entire testimony go here.

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BN Videos

Videos and films  by, for, and about Bastard Nation, our mission, and members

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Anonymous Promotes Bastard Nation!

Vital Records featuring  3-time New Hampshire House Representative  and former BN Exe. Committee member Janet Allen

Unlocking the Heart of Adoption (trailer), writtern, produced, and directed by Bastard National Sheila Ganz; narrated by Helen Hill, chief petitioner for Oregon Measure 58 which restored the right of all Oregon adoptees to their original birth certificates.

Baby Boy Church, a documentary by Stacey Shaw

Fork by BBoy Church

G Bombs by BBoy Church

Welcome to Adoption World by BBoy Church

Adoption Politics: Bastard Nation and Ballot Initiative 58 (short video review)

Marley Greiner, Bastard Nation Exe Chair and co-founder on the John Walsh Show debating legalized abandonment “safe haven” laws.

Marley Greiner, Bastard Nation Exe Chair and co-founder on Russian Television discussing Russian-US adoption

Mari Steed, Bastard Nation and Justice for Magdalenes activist

Lori Jeske, Bastard Nation Exe.Committee – Testimony against Washington State HB1525, March 21, 2013

Bastard Nation by Kevin Welch.  Kevin dedicated this song to us and dedicated several copies of the CD in which it appeared, to a BN raffle.
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ACLU

Opposition:  The American Civil Liberties Union

Some state chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union oppose unrestricted OBC access to adult adoptees.  Below are ACLU links regarding adoptee civil rights.

 

Letter to ACLU-WA from Washington State Open ’98

Letter to ACLU-WA from Helen Hill, Chief Petitioner for Oregon Measure 58

Letter to ACLU-National by Marley Greiner, Exe. Chair, Bastard Nation

Odes to the ACLU by Anita Field

 

 

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ACLU-National Marley

Will the ACLU Defend Adoptee  Civil Rights?

Marley Greiner, Exe. Chair of Bastard Nation sent the following letter to Matthew Briggs at ACLU-National in February 1998, after she attempted several times to speak to a national representative by phone. A few days later, she spoke briefly to then ACLU president Nadine Stroessen during a reception for her at the Ohio State University. Ms. Strossen evinced surprise at the strange reasoning of ACLU’s Sheehan’ and Klunder, and laughed at their idea that sealed records fell under natural law.

February 5, 1998

Matthew Briggs
American Civil Liberties Union
125 Broad Street
New York City, NY 10004-2400

Dear Mr. Briggs:

I write today to express my concern over the activities of Doug Klunder and Jerry Sheehan of the Washington State ACLU (ACLU-W) regarding their chapter’s opposition to open adoption records legislation in Washington (SB6496/HB2810) which would give adults adopted in that state access to their original birth certificates upon request at the age of majority.

On February 2, 1998 Mr. Klunder emailed members of the legislature stating the ACLU-W’s opposition to this proposal. Klunder wrote that opposition was based in large part on “birth mother confidentiality” i.e., the right to privacy, despite the fact that the February 11, 1997 Doe v Sundquist decision (197 FED App., 0051) which challenged unsuccessfully Tennessee legislation that gave adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates, clearly states that the right to privacy does not extend to the disclosure of birth information to the adopted person. Mr. Klunder did not indicate that the plaintiffs lost the case and that the US Supreme Court recently let the ruling stand without comment.

Dismissing Doe v Sundquist, Klunder’s associate Jerry Sheehan, told members of Washington State Open ’98, the originators of the current proposal, that while birthparents may not have a legal right to confidentiality, (as they clearly do under Sundquist) they have a “natural” right to demand that the original birth certificate be withheld from the adult adoptee. Mr. Sheehan thus suggests that the Washington State Legislature would do well to ignore case law which upholds adoptee rights to birth certificate access.

The Sundquist argument aside, Klunder and Sheehan seemingly possess an abysmal knowledge of adoption practice and law; thus discrediting their reliability as experts in the issue of open records. The birth certificates of relinquished children, for instance, are sealed only at the time of adoption–not at the time of relinquishment; therefore the original birth certificates of persons who were relinquished but never adopted are part of the public record and available to the relinquished person upon request. Social workers and adoption agencies are in no legal position to promise confidentiality to either birth parents or adoptive parents, and there are no confidentiality clauses in either relinquishment papers or adoption decrees. Many birth parents, in fact, were and are routinely lied to by “adoption professionals” regarding adoption records. Many birth parents are, in fact, told by agencies that when the relinquished child reaches the age of majority that birth parents are able to access records and/or that the relinquished child, as an adult, is given full access to his or her adoption file. This is not true.

Klunder’s further ignorance of adoption law, practice, and current history is apparent in his claim that the State of Washington opened its adoption records in 1990–which it most certainly did not.

Klunder also stated in his letter to the Washington Legislature that it was the ACLU’s belief that open records would cause the rate of abortion to rise. Klunder and Sheehan, in a private conversation with Washington State Open ’98 members, however, admitted that they indeed had no proof that open records cause abortions to rise. The abortion argument, in fact, is trotted out regularly by anti-choice and anti-open records organizations such as The Christian Coalition, The Family Research Council, The American Center for Law and Justice, The Eagle Forum, Right to Life, and The American Life League–organizations against which the ACLU has successfully defended reproductive rights for over two decades. It is quite disappointing to see the ACLU quoting its opponents’ lies. Statistics compiled by the Alan Guttmacher Institute and the National Center for Court Statistics–studies which Klunder and Sheehan should be able to access quite easily if they so desired–clearly show that abortion rates in states and countries were open records stand are substantially lower than surrounding areas–and that adoption rates are substantiality higher.

Finally, I believe that ACLU-WA’s opposition to open records may be contrary to national ACLU policy regarding the right of adopted persons to their own birth certificates. In 1987, the Oakland County, MI chapter of the ACLU adopted a statement of support for open adoption records On April 21, 1987 the Southwest Florida Chapter of the ACLU, using the Michigan statement as a model, adopted The Rights of Adult Adopted Person Policy Statement which reads in part:

….The ACLU believes that so long as state and/or local governments choose to maintain birth records such records must be maintained and accessible without discrimination by virtue of adopted or non-adopted status.

Toward this end, the ACLU believes that laws information about adoptees and/or their birthparents and laws allowing access to such information only upon consent of registration, or laws allowing access to such information only upon court order, deny adopted persons their birth parents and their relatives the equal protection of that laws and constitutes unwarranted interference by the government with the right of people to chose whether to associate.

The Southwest Florida Chapter of the ACLU recommends that this policy be adopted by the ACLU of Florida and the ACLU of Florida in turn recommend adoption of this policy by the National ACLU.

Bastard Nation has attempted to learn just what ACLU policy is on open adoption records. The policy statement from the Southwest Florida chapter indicates that its statement was most likely forwarded to the national office for endorsement. Calls to the national office over the last few days have yielded no further information . The telephone attendant(s) has no knowledge of whom to transfer such requests, callers are transferred to your office, and phone messages have not been returned.

I am extremely concerned that Misters Klunder and Sheehan have knowingly disseminated incomplete and/or false information to the Washington Legislature regarding open adoption records. I therefore request the following:

  1. An investigation into the activities of Doug Klunder and Jerry Sheehan regarding the dissemination of incomplete and/or false information to the Washington State Legislature.
  2. Acknowledgment from the ACLU that Doe v Sundquist clearly states that adopted adults have the right to their original birth certificates;
  3. A withdrawal of unsubstantiated and unprovable allegations that open adoption records cause abortion;
  4. A copy of the national ACLU policy statement on the right of adopted persons to their original birth certificates, and if no such policy exists, an explanation of why it does not exist ;
  5. The name of an ACLU staff member in the national office with whom we can contact regarding open adoption records.
  6. A copy of the national ACLU regulations, and/or patterns of administration, and/or guidelines, etc. for local and state chapters in regard to interpretation of policy or creation of policy on a case-by-case basis.

I further request that if the national ACLU has a policy that favors the right of adopted adults to access their original birth certificates, that this policy be forwarded at once to the ACLU-W office.

Requests 4 and 5 can be sent to me via e-mail (maddogmarley@worldnet.att.net) or by fax (614-261-6296). I would appreciate a response by Friday, February 6, 1998.

Bastard Nation is the only adoptee rights organization in the country whose only focus is the opening of birth records for all adult adoptees at the age of majority. We have no desire to engage the ACLU in an argument over open adoption records. We in fact, would be very happy to work with you in the formation of ACLU policy regarding open records, if you do not yet have one. Many of our members are longtime ACLU members and supporters who have taken for granted that the ACLU which has for so long defended the concept of equal protection under the law, would include adopted persons under this protection. It is inconceivable that the ACLU would consider the 6,000,000 adopted persons in the US who are denied access to their birth records simply by virtue of their adoptive status as unworthy of Constitutional coverage. The right to one’s original birth certificate is a civil right that is denied us.

The Executive Committee of Bastard Nation is more than pleased to discuss Washington open records–and open records issues at large–with representatives of the national ACLU. I can be reached days and evenings at 614-261-6296

Sincerely yours,

Marley Elizabeth Greiner
Executive Chair Bastard Nation
Acting Chair, BN Great Lakes Region
Chair, Ohio BN/MOB

cc: Executive Committee, Bastard Nation
att: Letter to Doug Klunder 2/3/98

 

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Become a Bastard Nation Legislative Liaison!

Become a Bastard Nation Legislative Liaison!

Bastard Nation needs Legislative Liaisons in every state with laws that seal adoption records. We need eyes and ears in the legislatures, creating relationships and gathering information.

What does a BN Legislative Liaison do? They talk with lawmakers and their staff about adoptee rights and the laws that seal records. They distribute Bastard Nation position papers and FAQs to legislators and staff members. They record their conversations and report to the BN Legislative Committee.

They are organized, informed, friendly, helpful, and engaged.

What do you need to do to be a BN Legislative Liaison?

1. You need to live close to the capitol of your state.
2. You need to be able to appear friendly, even when talking with people who disagree with you or are just disagreeable, period.
3. You need to have a flexible schedule.
4. You need to agree with Bastard Nation’s mission: If you don’t know what that is, go to bastardnation.org, it’s right there on our welcome page.

Those are the prerequisites. If you are interested, click the picture of the capitol rotunda, and fill out the application form. We will be in touch and schedule an online orientation and training.

We look forward to working with you!

Read 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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PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Meet Sharley!

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Bastard Nation Moms Club

Bastard Nation Moms Club

Bastard Nation is gathering the names of moms who are willing to step forward and say that they were never promised confidentiality. If you are willing to participate, please comment this status. Your name (and if you choose, the relinquishment date) will be added to a list used in newspaper ads and to educate legislators.

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See our state partners:

See our state partners:

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: CalOpen

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: CalOpen

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Indiana Open Access

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Indiana Open Access

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Michigan Open Access

Proud Bastard Nation Partner:  Michigan Open Access

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Missouri Open

Proud Bastard Nation Partner:  Missouri Open

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Open Adoption Records in Quebec

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Open Adoption Records in Quebec

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SAMPLE RESOLUTION AGAINST VETOES AND OTHER RESTRICTIONS

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.