“What dank political swamp have adoptees tripped into?”
Bastardette has blogged about the latest hearing on Ohio’s substitute bill for HB7, LSC 127 0671-3.
Yes legislators walk out on hearings frequently, but I think it’s pretty clear by this point that those of us shut out of the system, left with nothing other than begging for equality are being viewed as a non-vital waste of time by some and dismissed out of hand.
To those of familiar with the ongoing open records fight in Ohio, it’s always been clear that there’s been ‘more to it’ than just the surface level day to day politicking and genuine political disagreement. Time after time, as open records are proposed and worked through legislatively, we find ourselves thwarted, dismissed and ignored.
There has always been more to adoption in Ohio than what’s evident on the surface. Decisions are being made in places far from public scrutiny.
And then there’s the direct personal involvement of some legislators themselves, creating conflicts of interest the likes of which would simply not be tolerated in most other fields.
Bastardette points out how Rep. Huffman apparently in the course of doing adoptions, made promises of (eternal) secrecy to original mothers, promises clearly without the force of law behind them:
(BTW, Huffman told the January hearing that when he handled adoptions he told women whom he feared would abort that records would remain sealed and their identities hidden.)
These promises were not his to make.
Now, as he sits on the committee, he utilizes his power to ensure that his own actions in relation to adoption will not come back to haunt him.
Huffman is a part of the adoption pentagon (Original Parents, Bastards, agencies/lawyers/intermediaries/etc, the State, and Adoptive Parents,) he is an interested party with a stake in the outcome.
How the hell are we as Bastards supposed to get a ‘fair hearing’ out of someone using his political office to cover his own ass?
Again, to quote Bastardette:
What dank political swamp have adoptees tripped into?
None of this is a mess of our own making, this is simply the landscape we are forced to contend with, a landscape littered with conflicts of interest and political back room deals that for decades now have kept us dis-empowered.
Even on the face of it (never mind the intrigue for a moment) we’re left in a politically untenable situation, we’re a minority to begin with, and always will be.
For those of us who have left the states we were adopted in, we are left in the position of contacting legislators who hold the keys to our records in states we have no vote in. These people don’t answer to us, and one really has to wonder if contacts made with an out of state address mean anything other than paper airplane fodder on the way to the ‘circular file’.
We’re outsiders, with nothing left other than to plead to all too often deaf ears about the plight we are trapped in. There are committee members who do hear us, but without the ability to move the committee to restore access, their support fails to change our situation.
I am an adoptee from the time period within the first few years after the law changed. I am one of the ‘early kids’ born of the sealed records system. We were some of the first affected (afflicted!) We’ve spent all our lives with nothing more than a question mark.
And we are left with no other political recourse other than to return year after year, begging people like adoption lawyers for our rights. This is laughable on the face of it.
The intentional stripping of records access off Ohio HB7 is merely the latest in a long line of indignities and denials of rights Ohio Bastards have been forced to endure.
When a legislator cannot even be bothered to take to the time to listen to our apparently pointless begging, we’re really left with one question, where can we turn?
What recourse are we left with?
But again, as Bastardette has so clearly pointed out, they can wait us out:
If they wait long enough we’ll just die off.
We’re a sandwiched middle generation with no access, in time, we too shall pass.
While that may be time the existing system can certainly afford, for the directly affected, every moment of every day we’re denied access is a moment of rights denied. For those to whom search matters, every moment wasted is a moment of the ground shifting beneath them, opportunities lost, never to be regained.
But clearly, in the end, Rep. Huffman’s lies to womyn, guaranteeing them something that he simply could not, outweighs us every time.