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California AB 372- the CARE-tastrophe – Taking the bad lack of access situation, and actively making it worse.

I suppose this could be considered another post following on the heels of my earlier, Being C.A.R.E.-less about adopted people’s access in CA and Bastard Access- either we all go together or we don’t go at all- “Nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten.” about the “California Adoption Reform Effort‘s botched from the get go attempt at a California bill this session.

To get readers up to speed, first a little history:

Ron has done a number of posts on CARE’s crap, including his latest, in which he nails the sappy overwrought emotionalism CARE is employing:

BB Church vs CARE, Nikfa and THE Adopton Institute, with one hand tied behind my back…

Marley also has a number of posts on her California Adoption Reform Effort tag, including her latest about the content of the CA bill itself:


While you’re there, be sure to note Maryanne’s comment on Marley’s piece:

Anonymous maryanne said…
I am mad as hell! I am a member of the CUB Board and we were flat out lied to to get us to support CARE’s bill. We were told in an email from Jean Strauss that they were going to introduce a clean bill, with the proviso that it “might” have to be modified somewhere down the road. This clearly not what happened; CARE did not even try to introduce a clean bill, but came out with this travesty.This group deserves no support from anyone who cares about adoptee rights.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 10:45:00 AM EST

If this is how the bill’s “supporters” are interpreting current events, I’d say CARE has a rocky road ahead of it.

The full text of CA AB 372 as introduced can be found on the California Open page.

Read it and judge for yourself, but simply put, it is not by any stretch a clean open records bill.

As Marley pointed out in her latest piece CARE felt the need to add this disclaimer of sorts to their webpage concerning the bill:

(a word about reading a bill: Legislative language, and the language of statutes, can be confusing. The language is based upon existing legal code which encompasses thousands of pages that are all interrelated. The chane that we are requesting will allow adult adoptees over the page of 18 access to their original record of birth. The text herein is written by the legislative counsel for the California Assembly and is written for lawyers, not for lay people. What’s important is that it cretes a legal right for adult adoptees to get their birth records.)

In other words, it’s a nice little condescending pat on the head, saying essentially, ‘there, there all you adoptees, it’s in legislate-ese, just TRUST US, it doesn’t mean what you thought you read, see? It’s now a “rights” bill, trust us!’

Which of course is ultimately not what it is. This is not a rights bill, this more of the usual conditional psuedo-access predicated upon desires and whims.


Again, Bastards buying that old “trust us” line, I’ve still got that old CARE bridge on the wrong coast to sell ya … .

Bastards have every reason to begin asking the hard questions when someone begins selling us the just “trust us” line in relation to legislation.

These are people’s real lives CARE is being so CARE-less with. The consequences of getting it wrong means real people left behind, screwed over, and trapped behind walls of lack of access.

In Ohio, I’m precisely that class of “left behind” Bastards. Had I been born just a few years earlier, or perhaps a few years later, my chances of actually gaining access to my authentic records would be quite different, but as it stands now, purely due to a “political compromise” I’m locked into those middle, and fucked over, years.

Messed up legislation has real world consequences to those bargained away.

And that is precisely what the CARE bill does, set up a new and damaged system going forward. If their bill were to pass Bastards would be left begging judges for scrubbed of identifying information (unless such is deemed necessary to assist in establishing a legal right) copies of their paperwork.

It says so right there in the CARE bill:

The name and address of the natural parents shall be given to the petitioner or requester only if he or she can demonstrate that the name and address, or either of them, are necessary to assist him or her in establishing a legal right. In all other cases, that information shall be redacted from all records and information provided, including a copy of an original record of birth.

CARE’s pre-emptive answer to such is of course, another pat on the head, ‘there there, you just don’t understand it, TRUST US!’

Trust people who have the unmitigated gall to write such into a bill and then try to proffer it off as a bill that “creates a legal right for adult adoptees to get their birth records”?

Like hell!

Yes, by and large I’m pointing my readers to others writings on the CARE-tastrope, in part because

  • Ron himself is a California adoptee (as well as his previous work with California Open)
  • and Marley in her Bastard Nation work as a “9-year member of CalOpen Partners” is also in a position to have something to say here.

Both of them not only have something to say about this monstrosity, they come from places to know of what they speak.

What I have to say is mainly in support of the good work they’re already doing.

None-the-less, being a left behind Bastard myself, who has petitioned the court for my records repeatedly, let me tell you, I at least hold out hope that if the judge were to actually sign off on allowing me my own paperwork, it would at least be complete, not routinely redacted by law.

CARE is thus taking a bad situation and ultimately making it worse, setting up NEW roadblocks. This is not merely a bad bill, it’s actively counterproductive.

Living as I do on the other end of a not altogether dissimilar process in Ohio, let me be the first to tell you, “compromises” that create new obstructions and make the already bad situation worse are no answer.


One Response to “California AB 372- the CARE-tastrophe – Taking the bad lack of access situation, and actively making it worse.”

  1. BB Church Says:

    Worry not, BLC, for AB 372 is but a place holder, a mulligan, a McGuffin. The real bill is going to be really something (step right up, step right up, the quality goes in before the name goes on…). The author’s office has informed us that they are now going to “listen to all the stakeholders” and craft a bill accordingly. “Stakeholders” is short hand for those who hold the utensils, and we’re the steaks…

    I don’t know if you saw the movie “Cloverfield” last year, but right now is like the scene where the mumble-core party is interrupted by an explosion and then something big rolls the head of the Statue of Liberty down the street like a bowling ball. It’s bad, but we don’t know how bad. And then the monster wanders around Manhatten for ninety minutes totally jacking shit up and eating people. This California legislation is shaping up like that, except it’s going to happen over the next twelve months or so instead of an hour and a half…

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