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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“I’m Having Their Baby:” Bowling for Babies Redux

(Note: Since I changed formats, spacing has become an issue in some posts, and I can’t get it fixed) 

Since I was forced back into the job market at a time when most people my age have already retired, it’s been difficult to find time to sit down and blog. After 4-10 hours+ of manual labor, the likes of which I haven’t done in 45 years, the mind numbs  thoughts of the blogosphere. But, sometimes enough is enough and the adrenalin kicks in..

To wit:  I’m Having Their Baby, Oxygen Network’s  new  voyeur docu where titillated couch consumers and Snooki fans get to watch adoption agents and their clueless customers, ie PAPs, vie for the attention and ultimate product of  pregos in trouble and  need of social engineering.. There’s not been such an uproar in AdoptionLand since Orphan hit the big screen when adoption agents, their industrial hangers-on, Christian orphan savers, politicians, paps and adopters hit the keyboards over Hollywood’s “destruction of adoption.” Bastards and birthers found the whole business amusing.

I’ll be blogging more about I’m Having Their Baby (at least I plan to), but in the meantime I want to remind people that the concept of the show is nothing new.

… Continue Reading

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Bad Advice

Bad Advice: How To Recognize It, And Dealing With Reunion Realistically

 by Maryanne Cohen

 Some of the worst advice about dealing with post reunion relationships comes not from NCFA , adoption agencies, or clueless therapists, but from within our own adoption reform movement. Adoption blogs are especially at fault. The reason that their advice is faulty is that it deals in broad generalizations, junk science and unproven assumptions that after a while become what “everybody knows” about adoption reunions, at least everybody in the insular world of adoption reform. There is too much reliance on global statements about “all” adoptees, mothers or adoptive parents,  and not enough attention to individual details, which can differ greatly . Going from the particular to the general is often problematic, but it has become the norm on adoption blogs and in groups.

A whole ideology of adoption that cannot be questioned but must be accepted on faith has taken over adoption discourse. Some of this can be  helpful , if your reunion was equally welcomed by both parties and falls within the narrow parameters of what is considered typical, but can be disastrous and wrong for someone dealing with an atypical reunion, which I suspect are more numerous than some would have us believe.

The human mind loves to see patterns, and imposes them on chaos even where no real pattern exists.  In adoption, it is easy to see what one wants to see, which in many cases is that adoption is in and of itself dysfunctional and evil, and that all adoptees are in some way wounded or flawed because of their adoption experience.  Those who are in pain because of adoption, and that is many of us, tend to see that pain everywhere, and to go with the confirmation bias of believing whatever reinforces our pre-conceived notions, and ignoring that which does not.

This way of thinking starts from a grain of truth, that sealed record secret adoption IS dysfunctional and creates difficult problems for many adoptees, but moves on to generalize and pathologize all adoptees, all adoption, all reunions.  We are told that all adoptees are angry, or should be, that all adoptees are primally wounded from birth onward, that all adoptees need connection with their biological families, that adoption trauma is forever, that all decent surrendering mothers were coerced.  We are told that adoptees who do not have deep curiousity or a need to reunite are in denial, in the fog, “drank the KoolAide”, and are only trying to please their adoptive parents. We are told that reunions are vital but do nothing to assuage grief and loss, and usually make it worse.  While these things are true for some, they are not true for all, and most often are not true for those who do not join adoption support groups, but that gets lost. Anyone questioning these beliefs is accused of disloyalty, denial, or of promoting adoption.

Many of us went into reunion with lots of expectations and stereotypes of what adoptees   think and feel. We got these notions from our own support groups full of searching adoptees, from reading adoptee blogs and lists or adoptee  memoirs and advice books.  A problem arises when the adoptee you find was not searching, was not waiting to be found,  does not see being an adoptee as a major issue or the core of their life and identity.  There may be many adoptees like this out there, but we do not hear  from them because they have no desire to join adoption reform or support groups, nor to write about adoption. It just is not that big a deal to them. People differ greatly in how they deal with and react to adverse life circumstances. Coping mechanisms and what is important in life vary a lot from person to person; it is not wise to assume anything about someone you do not know. And you do not know your surrendered child yet.  At reunion they are a familiar stranger, not a clone.  Even though they may be a lot like you in many ways, that is one more thing you cannot assume or count on.  There is no special intuition that enables you to read their minds, no matter how much you love them.

Mothers in triad support groups often come to see adoptees in the group as being what they wish their son or daughter were, and adoptees see some mothers from the group as their ideal mother.  This dynamic is almost inevitable, and is OK if not taken literally. It can be a  source of friendship, comfort, and support, but it can also be a source of very bad advice and assumptions about dealing with the kind of adoptee never found in these groups. Your adoptee friends are just that, friends. They are not your child and do not know what your child is thinking or feeling, and may be very different from the person you find. Fantasy is fun, but in reunion being grounded in your individual reality it vital.

Everyone in reunion has to meet their child or their parent where they are, not where we think they should be or wish they would be, and not where we have been told they are by others with a different outlook and philosophy. This means discarding everything you have been told about how all adoptees feel, and really listening and reacting only to what YOUR adoptee feels and expresses to you. Respect for boundaries is vital. If you are told by your child they want no contact, or limited contact, you must honor that, no matter how hard it may be. “No means no” in reunion as well as in dating situations! Anything that can be construed as stalking, no matter how well-intended, is out. If you have a public blog or Facebook page, assume that your adoptee reads it, and do not say anything about them you would not want them to read, or anything that can be taken as a passive/aggressive challenge.

Do not listen to those who tell you that your son or daughter is just testing you by saying “no contact”, and really wants that birthday card, phone call, or email despite what they have explicitly said.  Of course if you have never been told not to contact your child, but are met by silence, not rejection, that is another matter and much more ambiguous as far as how to proceed.  Just keep in mind that nobody knows how your son or daughter feels but themselves, and nobody can give you a formula to make them respond. Follow your heart, but also follow empathy, courtesy, and common sense. Do not do anything on impulse that you may regret later if the consequences are not what you wanted.

Some rejections will never turn around and there is a time to stop trying and obsessing and to get on with living the rest of your life. Patience is key, and it may take many years to gain your adoptee’s trust. Some reunions do turn around after many years of silence.  But for those that do not, or where there is overt hostility, at some point for everyone’s sake, you may have to just let go. Not every reunion works out or was made in heaven, and some mothers find adoptees who are abusive; in which case the mother may have to step back. Nobody should have to take endless abuse from any family member. Many reunions fail because of unrealistic expectations on either side, but some are just impossible due to mental illness or substance abuse or other factors beyond anyone’s control. It is possible to still love your child but not be able to safely deal with them.

Some family members find that they just do not like each other and have little in common beyond biology.  Some people wish they had never searched, and should be allowed to express this, just as those whose reunions are a pure source of joy should be allowed to express that, as well as those whose reunions are rocky and difficult but ongoing. Nobody’s own story and feelings are a criticism of anyone else’s story or feelings, a fact often forgotten in adoption discourse where everything is taken personally. Nobody should be censored or made to feel irrelevant because their story is different. My feelings and beliefs about my reunion are not a criticism of yours, and yours are not a criticism of mine, but we all need to listen to and respect each other’s differences as well as similarities.

If your adult child is reluctant to be in touch with you, it might be because of loyalty to the adoptive parents, but it may not be, and that certainly is not always the case.  Many other factors can play into this.  Again, don’t assume, but deal with what you actually know and can see. If it is an issue of loyalty, refuse to participate in a tug-of-war with your child in the middle. Don’t make them choose, or in most cases you will be the one to lose. Be the patient and kind mother, not the grasping demanding one, and things may go your way eventually.  Remember that your adoptee has two families and that is a hard place to be. Don’t add to the drama and stress, but be an understanding resource and haven for your child.

You can express sorrow for the past, but don’t keep going back there, and do not assume you child wants to go back there either. You are meeting a fully-formed adult with a life of her own. Tell your story honestly, answer all questions, then move on.  Regression is unhealthy and will not facilitate a good reunion relationship.  No, you can never get your baby or the lost years back, but all that was gone long ago. Live for today rather than vainly trying to recreate yesterday . Apologize sincerely once, but do not let guilt and sorrow be the whole basis of your relationship.

It is also important to avoid attitudes of entitlement, anger and resentment. The past cannot be changed, but the present and future can be made better. Let go of the idea  held by many in adoption reform that as a surrendering mother you can NEVER get over losing your baby, and that even the best reunion makes little dent in the perpetual grief. That is just not true for everyone, and you do not owe it to anyone to stay in a miserable place just to fit in to the accepted norm in any group.  More pain does not equate with more love. There is way too much “misery loves company” in adoption reform, and too many people are trapped  ruminating  over things from the past that cannot be changed, but can be overcome, and are kept in that loop by their supposed friends in reform.  Sometimes we are our own worst enemies.

May 31 2012

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Los Ninos Robados: Spain’s Catholic Church accused of selling thousands of newborns into adoption

Photobucket I’ve been busy working on the new Bastard Nationwebpage.  We lost quite a bit of material in the crash and burn, and I’m trying to reconstruct, but the more I get ahead, the further I get behind. At the rate I’m going it will be a year before it’s finished.

One of my tasks is beefing up the International page–the section that lists activist, search and support websites around the world.  I have added a category  for each country, when appropriate, on”child laundering,” covering news on sealed records, forced and illegal adoptions, and any other corrupt activity the state, private industry and church can devise individually or in partnership.

One of the latest scandals,  Los  Robados Ninos (The Stolen Children). involves  illegal child removal and black market ops  in Spain–a complicated decades-long collusion of government, law, Catholic Church, and private industry and individuals.   Although the current  scandal broke in the Spanish press in 2008, stories of  fraudulent adoption have circulated  in the press and public for years.  In 1982, for instance, nun and social worker Sor Maria Gómez Valbuena was mentioned in a baby selling investigation at a Madrid maternity clinic. The clinic was shut down, but with no prosecutions.

… Continue Reading

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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!

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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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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.