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Adoptee Rights Demonstration / Day for Adoptee Rights some history and Gershom’s “storm”

(This does not purport to be THE history by any means, but it does serve as a backgrounder on some of its roots. I’ll warn readers in advance, this is long, very long, even by my standards, but I’ve been at it awhile. The material and the history demands it.)

Consider this babystep towards writing Ron and Bastard Nation back into the ARD history as well, particularly in light of statements made by Gershom, the current organizer such as

I have done EVERYTHING. Not you, not bastard nation, not ron, ME.

from this Bastardette comment thread posted by Gershom at June 5, 2008 12:25:00 AM EDT.

Why would I start with such a quote in the prelude? Because it’s belies exactly how much history Gershom doesn’t know and precisely how vicious she became when those who had been around through it called her on her crap.

I’m not writing on behalf of anyone in this other than myself. And as I’ve said in my “about page” I consider myself, particularly in relation to the current Adoptee Rights Demonstration from which I’ve resigned,

far enough external to the industry, and the seats of power that it’s relatively ‘independent’ by comparison.


Long before the Adoptee Rights Demonstration (which will take place in New Orleans this week) was even a glimmer in the eye of those who eventually began down the path of starting work upon it, there was the original “ARD”, the “Adoptee Rights Day”.

The First Adoptee Rights Day was celebrated in 1998 to mark the one year anniversary of the passage of Oregon’s measure 58, the statewide referendum that eventually led to open records. Which means we need to go back even further still to understand how things came to the point of even having an Oregon victory to celebrate.

We have to go back to July 18-20th 1997, in Chicago, IL where Bastard Nation first held their initial conference, “Birth of a Bastard Nation.” I wasn’t there. I missed it entirely.

(Instead, I first met Marley staffing the BN table over Comfest in Columbus, Ohio that same summer. Having been a Queer Nation member, I took one look at Bastard Nation’s “spermburst” logo and I knew I where I had to be. You can see Marley’s write up of the tabling here, I was one of those “These are MY records” types.)

That was all back in those halcyon days of our youth before we learned just how ugly adoption politics really can be, what with entrenched industry interests demanding their own actions be covered by sealed records on the one side, and adoption ‘deformers’ willing so often to sell genuine open records down the river in exchange for a pittance on the other. (“Here I am, stuck in the middle with you,” I rather like the Bob Dylan version myself.)

But the Chicago conference was a watershed event.

One of the workshops, “Applying the Principles of Tactical Activism: Fostering the growth and political clout of Bastard Nation” given by “Activist/Attorney/Author Randy Shaw got some Bastards thinking. (Shaw: founder and Executive Director of San Francisco’s Tenderloin Housing Clinic and more recently BeyondChron named in part due to its criticism of the San Francisco Chronicle, importantly, he’s also the author of The Activist’s Handbook: A Primer for the 1990’s and Beyond“, a book that got many Bastard Nationals thinking, and strategizing.) Ballot initiatives are one of the things Shaw views as an important tool in the activist’s toolbox.

Again, you would have to speak with those who were actually there at the time, but the ‘action path’ that came out of that first BN conference eventually became the statewide general election referendum in Oregon in 1998 that came to be known as “Measure 58.” (Unfortunately Bastards would have to wait until May 30th, 2000 at 5:01pm for Measure 58 to finally go into effect due to challenges winding their way through the courts.) You can read about the history of the initiative here.

Now I’m not saying Bastard Nation did it all by our lonesomes (speaking as a lifelong BN member, myself), but I am saying the spark that grew into measure 58, came from the rubbing of Bastard Nation members, specifically a few BN related individuals (steel) against early Bastard Activism and wanting to actually gain our records (flint).

You see, Helen Hill, the Chief Petitioner in Oregon, and Shea Grimm, both Bastard Nationals had been at the Chicago conference. They went home, rolled up their sleeves, and set about changing the world. You can read about how coming off the conference moved into measure 58 in E. Wayne Carp’s book “Adoption Politics: Bastard Nation and Ballot Initiative 58.” (Page 32 is kind of a jump to starting point mentioning the conference.) I’m not saying the book is perfect, not by a long shot, but it does at least lay out some of that “spark” in published form.

BN itself of course was crucial to Oregon’s measure 58. It was certainly a real focus by the time of the second conference, Bastards by the Bay: The Convergence, in San Francisco. My partner, Sleeps with Bastard and I were both involved by then. Keynoters Christina Crawford, Ricki Solinger, and Anne Babb gave us lots to chew on, before folks headed out to do a sealed records protest.

Indeed a key piece of that (first ever) Birth of a Bastard Nation (Chicago) conference was moving from theory to practice. Randy’s session was Friday July 18th, 1997 from 10:30am to noon. From 12pm to 3pm was Bastard Nation’s “Sealed Records Protest” which you can see the now historic photos of here.

Many of the people who went on to form the backbone of BN were present, specifically, I’ll mention both Marley Greiner and Ron Morgan as they form perhaps the bridge from that moment in Chicago to what became the “Adoptee Rights Demonstration”.

Now the conference may have been titled “Birth of a Bastard Nation”, but BN activism was born long before Chicago. On the these BN pages (here and here as but two examples) you can explore bits and pieces of Bastard activism going back toward the mid nineties.

In any case, the current Adoptee Rights Demonstration’s roots lie in those events and those early Bastard activist friendships that formed in the early days of Bastard Nation.

Which brings us up to Adoptee Rights Day. As I said, the first was back in 1998, “Commemorating the Anniversary of Oregon’s Historic Adoptee Rights Initiative” (to use a particular turn of phrase the Adoptee Rights Day came to use.)

ARD has always been both an educational event and an activism event. Legislators were contacted, and many Bastards went to Vital Statistics, to request copies of their (sealed) records, to protest, and to pass out educational material. More than just a single day, ARD has also been envisioned as a week of actions, including educational events and street theater. You can see this How to ARD page leading into the third anniversary to help you get a better idea what ARD was all about. (you will note that it is on the BN site.) Also be sure to see Anita Field’s (she’s a current Bastard Nation ExecCom member) Editorial written for ARD.

There was also a NARD e-mail group on Yahoo. There was always a focus on tying ARD events to what was happening state by state legislatively. State legislators were contacted concerning upcoming open records legislation, but also sometimes contacted about the ARD event itself, particularly bill sponsors and cosponsors.

To anonymously quote one e-mail from a Bastard in the wake of holding their state’s ARD event:

…I want to thank BN for providing us the avenue of ARD.

Clearly, the original ARD was of mutual benefit, organizationally it was good for BN nationally, and those in their home states also found it a productive tool both individually and organizationally.

It’s important to note that even back of the days of the original ARD, there was participation by parents and adoptive parents alongside Bastards.

This is a press release from what was then called “NARD” or “National Adoptee Rights Day.” Note that it contains sentences such as this:

Bastard Nation, the leading national adoptee rights organization, is helping coordinate events at Vital Statistics offices nationwide to show solidarity with the adoptees of Oregon and to celebrate National Adoptee Rights Day: a day dedicated to supporting dignity and ending government-sanctioned shame in adoption.

And that Ron Morgan, himself a Bastard National, was the “National Leader” as well as the contact person for the protest in San Francisco:

Contact National Leader Ron Morgan

You may also want to note the leadership of other sites, Helen Hill, for example, in Oregon. Bastard Nation was an intrinsic part of (N)ARD, so much so that the NARD webpage was hosted by BN.

When all was said and done, the first “ARD event” had occurred at 20 sites spread across 16 states.

In 1999, Bastards were at it again. The second ARD encompassed 27 sites in 15 states.

Want to read some individual state reports, see pictures, and even read press related to those original ARDs? You guessed it, you’ll find several ARD archives on the Bastard Nation page; here and here. Also note the e-mail address on the second link:

To get involved in your neck of the woods email

Here, out of Bastard Nation’s Bastard Quarterly, you’ll see a write up and many pictures from ARD ’01.

Starting to see a pattern? That’s because BN and (N) ARD were absolutely interconnected. Without BN how much ARD do you suppose would have happened?

And yes, Ron Morgan was a huge part of all of that, his role in it can not be understated. As I said, he was the “National Leader” on the original ARD in addition to pulling the SF event together. ARD was in some very concrete ways, his ‘baby’ so to speak. It is also important to note that both he and other BN activists worked together on CA open (see the CA section out of Bastard Nation’s Bastard Quarterly, the June ’99 LegWatch). As early as ’99, perhaps even earlier, Ron was the contact person in the “CA open” efforts and was doing the legwork of building towards CA open 2000, this grew into CA open 2001, etc.)

In short, both on the state and national levels BN and BN activists like Ron were working in their home states, doing work legislative, educational, and yes in the streets.

Which brings us up to the Adoptee Rights Demonstration. As I’ve said here on my blog before, Ron had been strategizing the idea of targeting the National Conference of State Legislators annual meeting for some time. He was interested in putting together a “mass action,” a large national (or even international?) event in which Bastards brought pressure on state legislators.

Note that I said “pressure,” as what Ron envisioned was an event or series of interconnected events that could be used together to essentially force the issue. This was going to take people fully versed in what the issues were, what language to use (and not to use), people who were thinking and strategically, and ultimately, the bottom line, an awful lot of them. Not just a few. Not ‘some’, or even ‘many’, PRESSURE LOTS!

Which brings us up to last year. No doubt there are many other bits and pieces I should have included in the Original ARD (O-ARD) history, but I’ll leave that for those who experienced it directly to help fill out if they so chose. For the sake of brevity, I leave this portion at that. So last year… .

(First I’m going to have to do some adoption related blog introductions, please bear with me.)

Ron aka B.B. Church (who blogs Are you adopted? Are you sure? A Blog About Late Discovery Adoptees and B.B. Church’s Funhouse.)


Gershom (who blogs (Without a Tribe)/The Adoptee Rights Demonstration July 22, 2008, CALOpen, Anti-Adoption, and the Adoptee Rights Demonstration page itself. )

The two ran across one another and decided to move on Ron’s idea of an Adoptee Rights Demonstration outside the National Conference of State Legislators annual meeting.

Ron had written about the strategic importance of their annual meeting back in March of ’07 in this post where he took on previous attempts at open records “marches” (on Washington in particular), his post is perhaps the articulation of his earlier vision for the Adoptee Rights Demonstration as requiring a mass movement kind of effort willing to utilize pressure tactics:

If Open Records leaders wanted to get the loudest bang for their buck, they would take a pass on WDC and go to Boston this August, for the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislators. These are the guys and gals that hold the keys to our records. We should be dogging their steps. We should be camped outside their hotels. We should be glad-handing at their receptions. We should be demanding that our so-called and self-styled leaders organize a march to the real heart of the matter or get out of the way…

Out of this and other such seeds, Ron and Gershom agreed to turn such ideas into an actual event slated for this July in New Orleans, as that was where the annual conference was being held this year.

Gershom, apparently completely unaware of the pre-existing Original ARD (O-ARD) history described from her perspective, how that coming together took place on her blog (on a piece from many months later, after Ron had left the Adoptee Rights Demonstration he had helped build.)

Last year I was an active poster on Soul Of Adoption, and there was this other quirky, yet intelligent, to the point, man there who went by the name of Late Discovery. His avatar had this man who looked like he’d been playing the blues and I liked what he had to say.

So on April 20, 2007 I declared my “passion” for the movement:

I think it would be powerful to have at LEAST one person from every closed record state across our country to enter their counties birth and record department at the exact same time, on the exact same day with media coverage behind them. We will be requesting our ORIGINAL birth records ( which will be denied ) and at the moment they are denied we can begin to have a non violent protest. I am willing to be arrested for this. And i am looking for other like minded adoptees who are willing to do the same. HOPEFULLY we wouldn’t be arrested but that COULD happen.

Sure my vision was a little “blurry” i didn’t understand the politics of adoption and open records, it not being a vital records department issue, but a state issue that had to be taken to the legislatures. That, is where Ron came in. That is when he told me about the NCSL.

By Gershom’s own admission, she’s new to all this. At the dawning of the “Adoptee Rights Demonstration/Day for Adoptee Rights”, as New Orleans protest came to be called Ron was going to be the voice of experience, essentially the lead organizer. Gershom was inexperienced, but learning many new skills from him. Again to quote Gershom’s piece:

Over the next few months he taught me a lot, about politics, about people, about utilizing opportunities to their greatest potential. He taught me so much in those first few months I felt like a student. Most of all, he believed in me.

May 25th, 2007 They put out an announcement entitled A Day for Adoptee Rights, July 2008, New Orleans LA! a copy of which can be found on his B.B.Church’s Funhouse blog. To the best of my knowledge this is the inital announcement of the event. Note that, it is was named “Day for Adoptee Rights,” which to many of us, not just Ron, had a pre-existing history attached.

This time instead of acting in our individual states, they proposed bringing Bastards from all 50 states to the legislators in one place and time, essentially a national action under the DAR name. Basically, as the announcement put it, a PROTEST FOR ADOPTEE RIGHTS (PAR?) which over time evolved to the event in N’awlins being called any number of variations along those lines, the “Adoptee Rights Demonstration”, the “Adoptee Rights Protest”, “Day for Adoptee Rights”, (among others, shall we say.)

Clearly, from the start what was being proposed was not anything on the scale of what Open Records related protests had resembled in the past.

We propose a mass action of adoptees representing all fifty states, a one-day rally that will be an opportunity for adoptees demonstrate their commitment to adoptee rights and to meet their state delegation.

We’re back to Ron’s use of the mass action concept- go big or go home. Anything less, again, going back to Ron’s March 7th 2007 blog entry was only a means by which to ultimately shoot ourselves in the foot to his thinking:

Past marches on Washington by Open Records organizers were a bad idea, poorly executed. I think it’s fair to say that they had minimal effect in changing any laws. Worse, by bringing together a few dozen Open Records supporters in the largest possible venue, they create the perception that the Open Records movement is weak and small. Bad political actions discourage people from participating in further actions. Why should they follow leaders that waste their time and resources?

So the effort was begun, the parameters of what they were setting out to achieve were laid out, and they were to be honest, pretty damn ambitious.

Sadly what happened next was the unforeseen, quoting Gershom again:

When his family needed him however, he knew that he couldn’t “be” here for the protest. He withdrew his leadership immediately to myself and a few others on a private board. He would be here for guidance, but his primary concern, like any good man ( and I say that with extra bitterness because I currently can’t STAND my childrens father ) was his family.

The event to which Gershom alludes to is elaborated upon here on Ron’s post announcing his no longer being involved in the Adoptee Rights Demonstration and his

retirement from “adoptee politics”, such as it is

As Ron says in the post:

When I first advocated an action at the National
Conference of State Legislatures lat year I knew how
much hard work it would take to be successful. I knew
it was possible for a small team to organize such an
event, but that the burdens would be great. Then, late
last summer, my wife was diagnosed with a malignant
brain tumor and my entire life focused on her
wellbeing and care.

Unfortunately, this unimaginably sad and difficult set of events changed the entire dynamic of how the Adoptee Rights Demonstration went forward from there on. With Ron unavailable, and later not overseeing the day to day of the preparations many things fell to Gershom. And thus many of the preparations ended up in her name.

As Ron said:

In retrospect it was a serious mistake on my part not to call for a suspension of planning for the ARD event at that time.

Which is not to say, Ron at the time of his stepping away from the current Adoptee Rights Demonstration wanted the idea to die, rather, he advocated a suspension, working towards ‘doing it right’ so to speak, at some future date.

My original vision for the ARD protest was that it
would be a mass action, that it would create an
impact, as opposed to the small-scale adoption reform
actions of the recent past. As the low numbers of
committed attendees attest, this is not happening. I
would like to call for a suspension of the New Orleans
ARD protest. I say suspension rather than cancellation
because I still believe that a protest at an NCSL
annual meeting at some point in the future is a viable
and effective action if executed properly. A
suspension, rather than a cancellation, would allow
the committed attendees to meet in NOLA face to face
and plan next steps.

Now that Ron has “retired,” I would not expect him to be back working for some other year’s event (though I suppose to whatever degree, anything is possible.) Point being, when he initially called for a suspension he had not yet retired and clearly those circumstances have changed now.

But the call for suspension of the N’awlins protest from Ron came many months later. Allow me to back up yet again.

Once Ron was in many ways simply out of the picture the day to day making things happen fell to Gershom. A website was up, donations were being collected, but there was no structure to the “Adoptee Rights 2008 Committee” that had announced the action (as you can see on Ron’s May 25th 2007 post.) There was no non-profit status, there was no fiscal agent, and the webpage never clearly delineated precisely WHO that full committee was. Later, who was and was not an organizer with the event would become an issue, and because there was no publicly available listing of who was responsible for what, it ended up making a bad situation worse.

To this day, the current ARD organizers have never publicly listed exactly who was organizing the event, nor into quite what people were making donations. I am not alleging any fiscal misconduct, I am merely saying one of the reasons I chose not to donate directly to ARD was that there was no visibility into the process and thus it was in some significant ways ultimately ‘accountable’ to no one.

Bastard Nation was a cosponsoring organization, as was “the adoption show” and internet broadcast, along with “Adoptees Unite” a cafepress page selling various logoware.

(The logo is based on a tree with roots which has gone on to become the Adoptee Rights Demonstration’s logo, something many of us objected to as ‘family trees’ are about search and reunion, which are interpersonal issues, not a civil rights issue, and not inherently about restoration of the records confiscated by the State. See Bastard Nations’s FAQ page section entitled “Is Bastard Nation a search organization?” to get a clearer understanding of the issues involved.)

Various individuals were picking up bits and pieces taking on tasks, and preparing to come to N’awlins in July. Well some of us anyway. Speaking for my partner and myself, we certainly had hotel reservations reserved in the Bastard Nation block.

In some ways I felt very ‘late to the party’ when I first blogged about the Adoptee Rights Demonstration back in January ’08. I contacted Gershom about where things stood and what needed doing, offering to help back in February. She passed my e-mail on to Ron. Later, in March, Ron contacted me and asked if I would be willing to take on a position as the “March/Protest Volunteer Trainer and Head Monitor.” While I had concerns (among others, about coming on what I felt to be so late,) I ultimately agreed to help however I could.

Then we enter a period I’ve already blogged a fair amount about (see my “Adoptee Rights Demonstration” tag for my writings on this matter, the tag will them up in reverse order, newest to oldest), but I’ll draw out a quick sketch for new readers,

May 28th, Gershom coming back to organizers with what quite honestly were pathetic numbers of people who had bothered reserving hotel rooms in the non-BN hotel block (BN’s numbers were likewise, unimpressive) Neither of which amounted to ANYTHING on the scale of the event proposed.

May 29th Ron called for a suspension, which again, you can see the full text of here. AND ARD organizers learned an adoption agency, Abrazo Adoption Associates out of San Antonio Texas, had set up a facebook fundraising page collecting monies off our event, without our knowledge or consent. (At the time, I was still involved, hence my use of “our”.)

The Abrazo fundraising was going into their own 501c3, and had come to over $900. This led to the dual problems of whether the money which was unbeknownst to us up until this point was ultimately supposed to end up in their own agency coffers or whether such would be transfered from their account (now that we knew about the money) into ARD. Which raised it’s own issues.

BN has a policy against entanglement with agency money, I personally take a similar stance.

No matter where the money was going to end up (and actions spoke far louder than words, they money was already in their agency’s 501c3 and they had never told us of it’s existence, despite them utilizing our event to raise it in the first place) the circumstances under which it was raised were to say the least highly questionable.

The two simultaneous issues, that of the projected minimal attendance AND the Abrazo fundraising along with the previous history many of us ‘long timers’ had with both Ron and and the Day for Adoptee Rights in its previous incarnation led us to take Ron’s call for suspension very seriously.

However, as I pointed out above much of the preparations were in Gershom’s name, so even had the rest of us decided to ‘turn it off’, she still could have gone ahead. This was problematic, not merely in terms of the event itself, but in terms of what it meant to the entire legacy of what DAR had originally been. Some of us were not aware things were in Gershom’s name until we were well into this process. When I was contacted to work with DAR, for example I was under the impression the Adoptee Rights Demonstration was also Ron’s ‘baby’ with Gershom working as an assistant, and learning from him. Instead, we found ourselves in the situation where it was not under Ron’s control. The ‘buck stops here’ had shifted.

Simply put, Ron’s (and BN’s) ‘babies’ had been ‘adopted’.

And so the Adoptee Rights Demonstration essentially lost all the people with Day for Adoptee Rights institutional memory; Bastard Nation organizationally looked at the numbers and the ethical issues raised by the Abrazo fundraising and came to the conclusion that they organizationally had to withdraw their support from the event. The evening of the 29th, Bastard Nation (which to some of us was synonymous with what ARD had always meant in the past) withdrew. Early the next week, Bastard Nation posted their statement on the withdrawal.

This left the Adoptee Rights Demonstration with no national open records membership organization supporting it.

Two webpages and the people behind them as your sponsors along with numerous individuals simply cannot equate to what losing BN meant. When current DAR representatives speak with state legislators over the course of this event, they speak for themselves, not the broader adoptee civil rights/open records movement.

Going ahead with plans to continue the event with such non-mass movement numbers when that was part of what had been at the heart of the event signaled a fundamental change in the very nature of the event. It was no longer true to the original articulation of what people had signed on for, nor the vision of the event they had originally donated to.

The previous history Bastard Nationals and others had working under the name Adoptee Rights Day was likely an important part of why donations were given to the Adoptee Rights Demonstration, in essence, it was building on a foundation laid by Ron, and with Ron’s name on the ARDemonstration, no doubt many people took his and Bastard Nation’s presences as an indicator of a good thing, worthy of donations.

My partner and I stayed on for an additional 24 hours, waiting to see if the Abrazo mess had any hope of being straightened out before we made our final decision of whether to stay or go.

The following evening, (the 30th) Ron reported back the results of his phone call with the executive director of Abrazo, Elizabeth Jurnovich, she refused to acknowledge Abrazo had done anything wrong.

My partner and I resigned that evening, and I posted my two sentence statement.

Later, we would find one of the ARD organizers, Amyadoptee was pointing readers of her blog into the Abrazo fundraising, which was still ongoing and Abrazo continued on until what appears to have been June 4th, despite Abrazo being contacted by Ron on the 30th.

This was how the post originally appeared back when it was originally posted on May 31rst-


I have only been in avid support for one agency in my time of writing this blog. They are the only agency that puts their money where their mouth is. Abrazos Adoptions Services have began a fundraiser for the Adoptee Rights Protest. If you can join them on facebook, please do. Introducing OPEN ADOPTION ROCKS. Thank you so much for doing this for us adoptees. We really appreciate all the hard work that your agency does for adoptees and their families.

Amy has since changed the text, obliterating her link into Abrazo’s “open adoption rocks” fundraising page, which has also undergone dramatic changes since we first discovered it as well.

To the best of my knowledge Amy continues on as an ARD organizer to this day.

On June 5th Ron posted his statement.

Also on the 5th, Bastard Nation’s Executive Committee unanimously voted Amy off the Bastard Nation Legislative Committee. Amy posted BN’s letter on her blog (she has since removed her post):

June 5, 2008

Dear Amy:

The Executive Committee of Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization has voted unanimously to remove you from the Legislative Committee effective immediately.

Bastard Nation has a long time policy of not accepting support from the adoption industry. Without saying, we do not advocate for the adoption industry or any adoption agency or professional within it. You have done both. As an private individual you have the perfect right to do so, but as a member of BN’s Legislative Committee your duty is to uphold BN principles, practices, and integrity.

Your relationship with Abrazo as documented in your own blog, “Regarding Bastard Nation’s Withdrawal” posted on June 2, 2008 at 3:51 pm and your actions on the original DAR Action List clearly demonstrate a lack of understanding of and concern for Bastard Nation’s mission, activities, and ethics, as well as the security and integrity of the original DAR. We are astounded that you failed to grasp the ethics and motives of an adoption agency funding the DAR protest, much less their procedure of funneling funds sent to them into their own 501(3)(c) account. This funding was done without the knowledge DAR sponsors and leaders, and would never have been approved had they been informed of the scheme.

We take this step to insure the security of Bastard Nation correspondence and the upholding of our principles and rules.

Bastard Nation Executive Committee
Anita Walker Field
Patricia Marler
Marley Greiner, Executive Chair

As I mentioned above, Amy, to the best of my knowledge is still working with nuDAR.

These withdrawals, Bastard Nation, my partner and I, and Ron represented more than half of the original organizing committee for the event.

Gershom had by now announced she was going ahead with the event. Those who were left from the original organizing committee, and other people organizing on’s forum decided to try to make an orders of magnitude scaled down Adoptee Rights Demonstration go forward.

Apparently, far from filing the streets, the current Adoptee Rights Demonstration does not even have a permit for the march from Layfayette Square to the convention center. So they, and their attempts at mandated signage will be ‘marching’ on the sidewalk.

For clarity’s sake, some of us ‘old’ DAR organizers have taken to calling this new incarnation, nuDAR. So you have O-DAR, DAR, and nuDAR, or O-ARD, ARD and nuARD.

O- meaning Original, pre-Gershom

just plain ARD or DAR being the period where the two overlap,

and nu, meaning those pretty much without the benefit of history.

Unfortunately nuDAR is not the only thing being built upon the bones of the pre-existing history, thereby leading to confusion. As Gershom has set up her Calopen that too, will no doubt be confused with pre-existing history, not only in that state, but more broadly with other states’ “open” efforts. One can only hope Gershom’s Calopen is with the knowledge and consent of the previously existing CAopen activists, else, well, I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes.

The sad part is how much of original Day for Adoptee Rights information is still available publicly on the web, and yet the nuDAR organizers often appear oblivious.

And with that lack of history and experience at least on the part of Gershom have come other problems.

Not the least of which being perhaps the single worst example of ‘activist’ tone-deaf insensitivity I have seen in my going on way too many decades of activism (not merely Bastard activism, but my years as an activist period!)

I had been speaking for some time now, both on my blog and behind the scenes about my love for N’awlins itself and how working in the city in this post-Katrina aftermath was going to take sensitivity and cluefulness. As recently as July 10th, I tried to make this abundantly clear in my post ARD- For those going to N’awlins:

Those still going would do well not be ‘tone deaf’ to the realities of N’awlins.

Unfortunately, Gershom, here on the eve of the event has managed to do the unthinkable.

In her July 19th blog post she likened the (nu) Adoptee Rights Demonstration to a “storm”:

The calm before the storm has come and past and the storm is here, WE ARE THE STORM, and we are NOT going away.

Girl, trust you me, the last thing N’awlins needs right now is another “storm.” Let alone one that won’t leave. (Natural impossibility, but truly a nightmare prospect for those who have already had to endure too much!)

Are you daft?

Likening those working to regain our basic rights and restore the records that were taken from us, (i.e. rebuilding what was lost, hoping to regain what we once had that is now gone) to the destructive power of a “Storm” heading towards NEW ORLEANS is in a word unforgivable. Period.

As I said, perhaps the single worst example of ‘activist’ tone-deaf insensitivity I have seen.

So that’s it. A last straw if you will. Any benefit of the doubt accorded to inexperience, gone.

My disgust runneth over.

By all means, go ahead, tell someone who’s living on the street, having lost everything in the last storm, that there’s ANOTHER storm headed their way.

Think they can’t wait for you to get there? Think again.

On this one, my heart is with my friends, still living in the city.

Not with at least one self professed ‘activist’ who even after reading this may still not understand she did anything wrong.

Unfortunately the legacy of what once was Adoptee Rights Day has fallen into the hands of a least a ‘leader’ the very opposite of what the Adoptee Rights Demonstration was intended to be: politically savy, clueful, streetsmart, mass enough to create political pressure, and most importantly, effective, creating measurable tangible results.

Instead she brags of having people coming from around the world to:


Effective that’s not.

If you want to throw a little party in New Orleans for yourself and your friends from adultadoptees, knock yourselves out, doesn’t have much to do with the realities of the New Orleans you’ll be sitting in the middle of, but hey, they could use the tourist bucks, as I said, tip well. But right this moment? Words like ‘political activist’ aren’t exactly what come to mind.

(Just a hint, utilizing phrases such as “our discrimination” when what one means is “the discrimination we endure” leads preexisting Adoptee Rights Day folks, not just me to cringe. (Oh, and “eyes roll in disgust”, a late breaking addition from across the room. He’s entitled.)

So folks, bring your sunscreen, pack a hat, drink tons of water, and don’t feel like a wuss for recognizing your limits in the N’awlins heat. The ARD you’re about to get is unrecognizable to the ARD that was originally planned.

And me? I’m just disgusted. Not with youth and inexperience, but with the narcissistic insensitivity.

See, you’re visiting someone else’s home, and while there, it’s best not to put your muddy boots on the antique heirloom coffee table.

So let’s be real clear, Gershom and by extension the Adoptee Rights Demonstration do not and cannot speak for me this week in New Orleans. Further they do not speak for any National or International adoptee rights membership organization.

Individuals from adoptee organizations, and for that matter, individuals related to adoption agencies may be present, but even T-shirts with adoptee rights groups logos such should not be mistaken for any organizational involvement.

On a more personal note? In light of the blatant lack of empathy on display?

Far as I’m concerned, Tuesday is the anniversary of one of my blogs.

3 Responses to “Adoptee Rights Demonstration / Day for Adoptee Rights some history and Gershom’s “storm””

  1. Gershom Says:

    You couldn’t have gotten it MORE wrong. You don’t know about the PRIVATE board ron and I were on, because YOU WEREN’T ON THE ORIGINAL ORGANIZERS BOARD OR LIST. Ron, Theresa and I were. NOT YOU, and it wasn’t on Wrong again. Yes, I DID know about Adoptee Rights Day, on that private board ( which again, you weren’t a part of because you weren’t a part of the team ) we talked about linking it to the demonstration but went against the idea. You don’t have ANY of your facts straight. Infact, you’re nuts, you’re seriously NUTS.

    You need to once again get your facts straight. You sit here and type of fake bullshit timelines while I go back to the Exhibitors booth and talk open records with legislatures.

    Keep digging yourself a grave, you’re totally going down. But we all know you won’t publish this one either.

  2. Baby Love Child Says:


    “This does not purport to be THE history by any means, but it does serve as a backgrounder on some of its roots.”

    not clear enough?

    Knock yourselves out, go write your own. I never claimed to be any kind of official historian on this thing.

    You want to go around in circles on where organizing was taking place?

    Alright, fine then , Soul of Adoption was another one, not that it makes that much of a difference, as Adult Adoptees and Soul of Adoption have so many of the same players (Amy, Addie, you, Ron, etc to name just a few) shared between the two. Soul of Adoption was already mentioned in this post where I quoted you as saying:

    “Last year I was an active poster on Soul Of Adoption, and there was this other quirky, yet intelligent, to the point, man there who went by the name of Late Discovery. His avatar had this man who looked like he’d been playing the blues and I liked what he had to say.”

    Whatever. ‘Soul’ and ‘Adult’ were both mentioned in my post and both have important overlaps and interweaves, enough so, that yes, I had no interest in joining “soul” for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being industry involvement..

    If you “thought about linking” (the history?) to the demonstration but “went against the idea” then you folks might have picked a different name than “A Day for Adoptee Rights, July 2008, New Orleans LA!” which was on the release back in May ’07.

    Clearly by utilizing the name, you WERE linking the history certainly in the minds of those familiar with O-DAR, whether you intended such or not is kind of beside the point at this late date.

    So call me nuts all you like, if it makes you feel better.

    The event, whether by design or not ended up being built on the bones of pre-existing language and events.

    Was it a mass action? Clearly no. Has the messaging been about unequal treatment under law? Some yes some no, to date.

    So sure, head on back to the booth that was paid for by donors, many of them supporting the original vision of the event, counting on people like Ron and BN being there to keep the messaging on track. There’s not a lot they can do about the fact that the event fell into your hands. Just keep in mind, they may not be so willing to donate to similar next time around.

  3. Baby Love Child Says:

    While I’m at it, allow me to point out yet another example of how Bastard Nation was using all of this terminology long before the current nuDAR folks, note the name of the protest over Bastards on the Boardwalk, in Atlantic City, NJ in 1999; “Adoptee Rights Demonstration.”

    There’s simply no denying it, BN was there, utilizing these exact language phrases in their work. Not that such are in any way distinctly theirs, but I think it was pretty obvious to at least some of us, that anything calling itself Adoptee Rights Demonstration/Day for Adoptee Rights with Bastard Nation as a sponsor on it and Ron’s name on it, would mean something in the same vein.

    The notion of having ‘decided against’ utilizing that pre-existing history while cute, doesn’t hold up to what the average person aware of the BN history was going to hear when you utilized those terms in connection with such names.

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