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C.A.R.E.’s lie; writing adopted people out of our own history

Ron’s been keeping a watchful eye on C.A.R.E. out in California and their latest nonsensical antics. His most recent post, What is Jean Strauss SMOKING???, does an excellent job of saying what must be said.

Not surprisingly, considering some of the core of the folks behind the group, C.A.R.E. has falsely attributed the impetus behind efforts to “create access to an adoptee’s original identity” to “medical professionals and social workers.”

To quote but a tiny portion of Ron’s excellent post:

In the next paragraph they acknowledge a nation-wide movement to “create access to an adoptee’s original identity.” And then they state this: “This is a direct result of medical professionals and social workers recognizing that hiding an authentic identity from an adoptee for an entire lifetime is neither healthy nor necessary.” Really? WHAT HAS JEAN STRAUSS BEEN SMOKING?

I defy Jean Strauss to name one social worker or medical professional who has ever led an effort to open records anywhere. Sure, some have allied themselves to the issue, even the CWLA has deemed “openness” a best practice, but it has been adult adoptees, beginning with Jean Paton, who have effectively advocated for THEIR OWN INTERESTS. The professional class have been “lagging indicators”, to borrow a phrase from the front pages…

The danger in presenting this factoid to legislators as foundational is that this alleged “recognition” by the gods of medicine and social welfare is chimerical and hardly uniform.

C.A.R.E., despite it’s attempts at co-opting the legitimacy of Bastard voice, and claiming to speak on our behalf, writes Bastards out of their own history of records restoration work.

measure58.jpgThe ballot measure in Oregon, Measure 58, most certainly did not come from “social workers” or “medical professionals” out collecting signatures. spermburst.jpgIts roots lay in the “Birth of a Bastard Nation” Chicago Bastard Nation conference back in 1997. States that have opened since the Oregon measure have also had adopted people working out of a vested self interest.

The professions occupy a separate point on the adoption pentagon. They CANNOT speak for us. Their interests are not our interests.

To falsely attribute the INTERNATIONAL efforts towards records restoration and genuine identity retention and restoration to being grounded in and a “direct result of” interests other than those those of the directly affected is nothing less than obliteration of Bastard history and to continue the cycle of silencing our authentic voices, erasing us from the very work Bastards ourselves have done.

It is simply vile.

Clearly, C.A.R.E. organizationally, is unable to recognize and differentiate bandwagon hoppers with their own interests from those that set the effort in motion in the first place, the directly affected ourselves.

Their rewrite of history states flatly that the “movement” itself is a “DIRECT RESULT OF” other interests, never Bastards ourselves.

Nationwide, there is a movement to create access to an adoptee’s original identity. This is a direct result of medical professionals and social workers recognizing that hiding an authentic identity from an adoptee for an entire lifetime is neither healthy nor necessary.

Ron may genteelly wonder what Jean Strauss has been smoking, I on the other hand will flat out call the above what it is, an outright lie.

A lie that erases adopted people and their lifetimes worth of work.

For an organization that puts itself forward to legislators as “representing … adoptees” to so blatantly erase the entire adoptee based identity rights work/movement and its history is unconscionable. It positions C.A.R.E. by their own words and actions as external to, and perhaps more importantly willfully blind to the pre-existing genuine rights work/movement grounded in Bastard history and actions.

The genuine movement/work that C.A.R.E. is busily plastering over, is punctuated by moments, and photo albums such as this:

birth-of-a-bastard-nation.jpgC.A.R.E.’s lie renders moments like this invisible. It erases the work that adoptees have done.

The lie excises adopted PEOPLE from their own history.

By hitting the history eraser button, C.A.R.E. attempts to fabricate a “rights movement” without the people who agitated for their own rights in it. Perhaps they want a “rights movement” based on something other than the voices, faces, bodies, or authentic history of many adopted people ourselves.

I’ve said many times that so much of Bastard activism is simply about truth. About reality. About having access to historically what genuinely happened.

When “advocates” like C.A.R.E. fabricate some new fantasy as opposed to genuine history they too, have left the realm of being based in the real and demanding the real. One cannot argue for the fulfillment of the goals of a “rights based movement” without acknowledging the history of the very people who have worked to gain those rights.

The proud Bastards in the photos from Chicago (among so many other historical photographs and other tangible forms of evidence of Bastards working on our own behalf and on behalf of “class Bastard”) are protesting their unequal treatment under law. They are fighting for their civil, identity and human rights.

To erase them and their work from the very end result they seek/have sought is to take the very adopted people’s flesh and blood out of the work for the “movement to create access to an adoptee’s original identity.”

We didn’t get here by social workers coming around. We didn’t get here by medical professionals being swayed by the overwhelming evidence that a lifetime’s worth of lies is harmful.

us-according-to-bn.jpgWe got Oregon, Alabama, New Hampshire and Maine (Alaska, and Kansas never closed their records) as a direct result of hard work done by people, who time and again, were the directly affected themselves. We do not “owe” the open status of these states to any professional class who thought open records would be a good idea. Openness came as a direct result of the sweat of Bastard brows.

Bastards, and Bastard activism matters.

Writing adopted people out of their own authentic history is what we’re fighting against.

For an organization that claims to speak for us to employ the same tactic back against us disqualifies them as any kind of voice for adopted people.

We can’t get through to truth with more lies.

We can only get through to truth by speaking the truth about adopted people and our authentic history. It’s the only way to understand how we got here, whose shoulders it is we’re standing on, the sacrifices and toll it took personally and collectively, and where it is we’re ultimately trying to go. The very articulation of our goals as being grounded in civil, human, and identity rights is a direct result of the work of adoptees. It stems from our own demands for equal treatment under law, grounded in a human rights stance.

Social workers and the medical profession did not frame their arguments along the lines of our demand for equality and our rights. That was left for the directly affected ourselves to articulate.

C.A.R.E. owes what portions of it’s muddled approach that they do frame in “rights” language to the adoptee movement that they essentially deny the very existence of.

To get through to truth for adopted people is going to take telling the truth about our own efforts to regain our truth.

Anything less is to continue the cycle of bit by bit erasing us, making our authentic history more difficult to uncover, and to tell yet a new batch of lies about those of us adopted.

But then, I guess C.A.R.E. even more than being blind to history, is also blind to irony.


No, I’m not saying Bastards and adopted people ALONE did all of this. Clearly we have had allies, families, and even professional supporters. But in this piece, I am specifically addressing the erasure of Bastard activism, hence my emphasis on the Bastard/adoptee angle.

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