Thursday, February 09, 2012

Bastard Nation's Letter to Kathleen Strottman, CAAI: Your message is "we don't count."

Below is the email I just sent to Kathleen Strottman, executive director of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, regarding the organization's neglect to include adoptees and first parents in the international adoption roundtable it is co-sponsoring with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, scheduled for February 16. (see blog entry directly below this for details.) .  If we get a response, I'll post it here.

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Dear Ms. Strottman:

Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization is extremely disappointed  to learn that the Congressional Coalition's roundtable on international adoption scheduled for February 16 has ignored the input of adoptees and our first parents. The list of roundtable invitees is packed with representatives of adoption agencies, policy makers, and adoptive parents, all of who make their living from adoption or otherwise benefit from current adoption practice. They do not represent the political and personal interests of adoptees or first parents either domestically or internationally.

Unfortunately, the absence of adoptee and first parent voices at the roundtable is the continuation of a long pattern of neglect by the CCAI, federal, state, and local legislators, policy makers, and public and private agencies who dismiss the producers and products of adoption as stakeholders, when in fact, these commercial cohorts and their recipients would not exist with out us.

I can assure you, Ms. Strottman, that adoptee and first parent rights organizations and individual advocates would be  happy to participate in CAAI functions  either in person or through Skype or conference call. I hope this neglect of adoptees and first parents now and in the future is reversed, and that CAAI will take the interests of adoptees and first parents seriously and invite us to the table.  Otherwise, your message to us is that we don't count. 

Yours truly,

Marley E. Greiner
Exe. Chair
Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization
www.bastards.org

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.

1 Comments:

Blogger mtsteed said...

I just lobbed one of my own to Strottman:

"I am absolutely gobsmacked that CAAI has chosen not to invite or include the voices of adult adopted people or natural parents to its February 16 roundtable with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Particularly galling, considering the number of happy, smiling ‘foreign’ faces featured on your website, is the absence of intercountry adopted adults.

I am one of those adults. I was born in Ireland in 1960 and exported (along with more than 2,000 children between the 1940s-1970s) to the U.S. for adoption in 1961. Many of the placements during this decades-long scheme were highly illegal and Ireland is currently facing the repercussions of that, along with shoddy vetting; allowing illegal vaccine and medical trials in mother-and-baby homes without parental consent; and a host of other “hens” now coming home to roost. I have long been a passionate advocate for best-practice adoption (finding homes for children who desperately need them, rather than finding children for homes that desperately want them) and have participated in numerous adoption consultations and conferences, including one sponsored by former Irish Minister Brian Lenihan in 2003. The lessons to be learned by those of us who have lived the experience of intercountry adoption are invaluable. Instead, what I see are Hague-signatory countries like the U.S. and Ireland continuing to make the same mistakes in abrogating the rights of children and adults, and refusing to listen to the voices of experience. Recent adoption scandals between Ireland and Mexico, as well as in the U.S., are proof that we’ve miles to go before we sleep.

Equally horrifying is the lack of representation from natural mother (or fathers), who suffer a lifelong loss surrendering their children to adoption – often by extreme coercion. I am also in that population, having relinquished a daughter to adoption in Pennsylvania in 1978 through the Catholic Charities system. That experience has left lasting scars, although happily, I have reunited with both my daughter and mother over the last fifteen years. First parent voices are important to informing a balanced process, and ensuring no one’s rights are violated and that no coercion or repressive tactics are employed in acquiring children for a demanding market.

One would think the CAAI would be better-informed and strive to include those best-suited to inform good policy, specifically those who have lived the experience. I respectfully ask that you reconsider this position and acknowledge that adoption is not only a lifelong experience (it doesn’t end with the handing over of a ‘warm bundle of joy’) but one that includes more than just adoptive parents. It is marginalising and disrespectful to not include all parties to an adoption, and sets a tone of inequality that dooms any effort toward establishing ‘best in class’ service. That service should be inclusive of pre- and post-adoption experience.

8:09 AM  

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