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Adoptee Rights Demonstration – Photographs and Video – Missed Opportunities Abound

So in the end, I made the last minute decision to head up to Philly and see it with my own eyes.

I took a little over 24 hours to decide whether or not I actually wanted to blog this, but as once again, the Adoptee Rights Committee isn’t doing a very good job of communicating what actually took place people are frustrated. Again, this year I’ve been urged by readers to put up a report.

Still, why go?

Lots of reasons. Not the least of which being, there was always the outside chance, I could actually see something that I didn’t expect, that genuinely changed my thinking about this current incarnation of the Adoptee Rights Demonstration / Adoptee Rights Day (ARD). Had such happened, yes, I would have written about that as well.

Ultimately, nothing substitutes for actually going out and taking a good hard look.

So I went, knowing that there can be quite a difference between those creating the events and those attending the events.

Regardless of what some of the “Adoptee Rights Coalition” members have said and done in the past, I still understand that an organizing committee is only that, the key component here has always been about those others who show up.

Particularly so, as the original framing of the event has been that of it as a “mass action” capable of not merely interacting with legislators but of placing pressure on legislators through sheer numbers and dogging their every step over the conference, demanding they enact legislation to restore access to Adult Adoptees’ original (unmodified) birth certificates.

So I was interested in how this actually plays out in the streets, and what it looks like in practice.

My partner, Mike Doughney, “Sleeps with Bastard” joined in. We grabbed our small video camera so we could travel light, and a still camera and headed off . Philly, being just a short hop skip and a jump from our home in Maryland, it was quick and easy.

Besides, Philly holds a lot of fond (and a few not so fond) memories for us, it’s actually the city where we first came together as a couple well over a decade ago.

What we saw yesterday held very little in common with most of the Bastard Activism, particularly public demonstrations we are familiar with or have participated in.

Comparing yesterday’s events to Bastard Nation’s 1997 Bastards at the Bell, “Our Records Our Rights Rally in Philly” (which I was not present for) provides a particularly stark contrast. (Mind you, I’m not exactly a fan of invocations… .)

The very structure of that event was different, focusing on speakers, actions, and the strong visual of Bastard Nation having quite literally raised the flag.

The event took place within a broader context of fighting the states’ versions of the Uniform Adoption Act. Oregon had not opened records yet, and BN was in its early years.

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Cindy Bertrand Holub – Pennsylvania Director, Bastard Nation – 1997 Bastards at the Bell / Our Records Our Rights Rally in Philly

Over a decade later, the ARD was to take place in the footsteps of Bastard Nation, the difference between the two couldn’t have been clearer. I strongly advise readers to look though the speeches, the actions, the fact that both Pennsylvania and New Jersey local groups (among others) were represented in 1997, and ultimately, the differences in attitude between the two. But then, I think Bastard Nation has come a long way in its politic since then as well.

Now a decade later? All I can say is that from my perspective, it’s a shame it’s devolved down to this.

While there will be analysis in this piece, much of the core of it is simply a matter of what it looked like to any bystander who was present and in the vicinity of the 2009 Adoptee Rights Demonstration.

The summary?

  • They gathered at People’s Plaza over the course of an hour and a half and stood around talking to one another, with a few doing interviews.
  • At roughly noon, 66 people (give or take one or two) spread out into a line and began chanting and walking along the sidewalks the 8 blocks or so over to the Convention Center.
  • At the convention center they hung out and sign held briefly.
  • By 12:40 most of the participants had already left the convention center, leaving a few stragglers behind.

The actual “doing” portion of the event was less than 45 minutes long.

Astounding.


So let’s start at the beginning.

Just as we had anticipated, it was drizzly overcast with the tops of buildings moving in and out of the low ceiling cloud cover.

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There were some brief periods of light rain, but for the most part, it was a drizzly mist, letting up well before the noon step off.

The setting for the starting place for this year’s Adoptee Rights Demonstration was Independence National Historic Park, the grassy mall which includes Independence Hall, the visitor’s center, the National Constitution Center, and the Liberty Bell Center, among its many monuments and markers.

At the very heart of the park, surrounded by these icons sits the People’s Plaza, a designated site for protest, dissent, rabble rousing, complaint, and general soapbox standing for those with a cause of whatever persuasion. As the city virtual tour mentions,

“The Park receives over 300 requests each year for permits to hold public events or gatherings in the park.”

So long as a group first completes the permitting process their cause can be at the center of Independence Mall for the allotted period. (The designation of a specified site for expressions of dissent has been a definite point of contention.) None the less, there at the very heart of the Mall is a site where the grass won’t be trampled and the First Amendment stands alongside, carved in stone.

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Picture courtesy of ushistory.org

With the first permit issued in January 2008, the People’s Plaza is a relatively recent addition to the Mall, paid for by the Friends of Independence Park who raised the funds for its construction.

The ARD scheduled their event to begin at the People’s Plaza at 10:30 Tuesday morning.

From across Market street, this is what the ARD looked like not long thereafter.

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Here’s a nice long shot, the ARD folks have gathered to the left, Independence hall is at the back, and the Liberty Bell Center is to the right.

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Over the next hour and a half, they stood in the on again off again drizzle and talked amongst themselves. While there are many things I could say about the ARD’s morning spent at People’s Plaza, the primary impression I left with was a feeling of wasted opportunity for money and time spent.

Seemingly, there was no strategy of ongoing intentional interaction with anyone else in the space, as there were no speeches, nor other central means of communication, they by and large, just hung out.

  • There was no banner explaining who they were or why they were there
  • No speakers or speeches, no use of sound equipment, not even a lousy ‘radio shack special’ bullhorn
  • No flyers nor educational materials passed out to bystanders unless you count a small ARD business card, one of which was left behind as litter on the ground. (Yes, I did ‘litter patrol’, after they left the Plaza.) On the back it stated “End discrimination against adopted persons” without ever defining what possible “discrimination” we might endure.
  • No chanting until later, when they got underway
  • Not even so much a set of ‘burma shave’ style signs held along Market Street for the traffic stopped at the traffic light

Over the course of the hour and a half hundreds of cars passed, tour groups went by, tourists wandered the area, those who live and work in the area strolled past, there were even multiple TV trucks just around the corner (set up for a separate unrelated event just over a block away). Instead of interacting, they gathered and occupied the space, hardly speaking to anyone other than themselves and a reporter for most of the time they were there.

How this possibly justified the effort to gain a permit, when they could have just as easily (and more certainly in a more dry place) hung out anywhere in the city is beyond me.

As an activist who has been around a few genuine protests in my time, the silence was beyond comprehension. Why on earth would you get a permit to stand in the damp for an hour and a half holding signs upside down and chatting one anther up?

This is one of the few early pictures I have where some number of signs are held aloft.

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As not much was going on, I strolled across the mall to take a few more pictures.

Here’s Independence Hall, and the Liberty Bell Center. Those gathering for the ARD are behind me here.

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And facing the opposite direction, towards the National Constitution Center, those gathering for the ARD are to the right of the picture…

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Having been there, and now, looking at these pictures, I can’t help but be reminded of the words from Ron’s initial articulation of what went on to become the Adoptee Rights Demonstration.

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?

(Emphasis added.)

The venue chosen could not have made the ARD look more irrelevant and small. Coupled with the fact that all they did was stand around and talk amongst themselves, they could not have appeared more insular if they tried.

Note that the people in the middle of this shot are with the ARD, there is a small grassy patch between them and the walkway, then to the right on the walkway is a tour group, as large if not larger than the ARD at this point. No real effort was made to interact or educate.

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Here’s another view with the visitor’s center at the left.

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Bored, I wandered up into the Garden nearby, as it’s one of my favorite areas along the Mall.

Still not much going on, people hanging out, talking amongst themselves.

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Directly across the Mall from the garden the line of tourists waiting to see the Liberty Bell had begun spill outside. The line goes off to the left along the side of the building for a ways, and as you can see, drizzle or no, clearly there were tourists in the area, essentially, a captive audience, had anyone bothered with a sound system, or had anything to say.

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We wandered down closer along Market Street to get a few better pictures. By now the rain was letting up.

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As you can see, mainly folks hung out in little knots, talking, finally meeting friends they knew from facebook, and otherwise doing what for the most part could have been done in any hotel lobby. Most of those gathered had their backs turned to both the street and any pedestrians walking past.

The signs, to adverage Joe bystander, would not have made a great deal of sense, for the most part, a bystander would have seen a jumble of bits: the word “denied” in red ink several times, terms like “OBC” and signs about “Moms” and “Daddys.”

Getting in closer they MIGHT have seen “adoptee” although it was sometimes written in a very ‘groovy’ 60’s style font often rendering it and similar terms illegible from any distance.

Some participants wore the family tree logoed ARD cafe press gear. Again, the family tree is a visual metaphor for search and reunion, not records restoration. Others had written in magic marker on t-shirts.

Here are a sampling of the signs that we were able to document, (keep in mind some of these are two opposite sides of the same signs.)

Some simply made no sense without a broader context.

  • OBC Equal Rights
  • We are opposed to state lies
  • How would it feel if you were denied?
  • You have yours (Denied) we want ours
  • a piece of posterboard made to look like some kind of document with DENIED written in red lettering across it
  • Original identity basic human right
  • Original identity = human right
  • We didn’t ask 4 confidentiality from our children
  • This is a legalized lie. Give me my OBC
  • Identity is a right
  • My identity is a state secret
  • (denied certificate) our civil right
  • You have yours, mine is denied
  • We never asked for promises of secrecy
  • I did not sign up for the witness protection program
  • Access Denied: Do you know your truth? Name? Birthdate? Birthplace? Mother? Father? Footprint? (Um, Footprint?!?)
  • Our rights are a state secret

Others were search and reunion focused.

  • Who’s my Daddy?
  • Whose my Momma? (messaging issues aside for the moment that should at least be Who’s my Momma?)
  • Searching for Identity
  • Hi Mom!
  • Are you my (heart shape)?
  • (A drawing of a family tree with the words) Do you know… (written across it)

Additionally, there was the occasional incoherent rambling sign along the lines of this little gem

  • I am a part of- not “apart from” – my birth parents’ privacy.

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Perhaps winner for strangest and most obscure messaging ever – one with the sticker and ‘denied’ (certificate) with the single word “NOW!” in the middle (National Organization for Women perhaps? Unclear.)

There were at least a few that gave some context as to what all this was supposed to be about.

  • Adoptees deserve equal rights
  • Birth Moms support equal rights
  • Why is access denied for adoptees? Unseal our birth certificates.
  • I am (denied) my birth certificate (which unfortunately, since the “denied” certificate was mostly illegible from any distance, it appeared to read “I am my birth certificate”)
  • Adoptee Rights. Do I look like a dirty little secret?

And even several Bastard Nation slogans appeared.

  • Equal Rights for Adult Adoptees
  • Are you adopted? Are you Sure?

A number of these signs were made together at the ARD sign making party the night before.

As I said, there was no main banner or signage for the ‘march’, so to those wandering the area there was no real explanation of quite what this little knot of people many wearing green or tree logoed things was, other than glimpses of signs often held upside down as they stood around in the plaza.

Finally, as noon approached, some people began to actually hold their signs up, even as others stood around, still talking.

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Interestingly, they never so much as posed for a group shot in the space they had paid to get.

So I moved around in order to get at least one clear shot of participants with Independence Hall in the background.

As I said, there wasn’t a great deal of ‘going on’ going on on at the Plaza. Sadly, the shot looks far more active than what was actually going on at the time, but this is probably among the more flattering shots I got.

Ironically, the person holding the “Birth Moms Support Adoptee Rights” sign is a man. (Later along the ‘march’ it was held by a woman.)

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One of the few things that was taking place during all this were some interviews.

Sadly, this was about as close to the sidewalk and those passing by as I saw any ARD participant get. The large stone block in the lefthand side of the picture is where the First Amendment is inscribed.

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Mostly, though, those gathered stayed in the plaza itself, huddled in little groups talking.

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As the interview concluded we were treated to “Who’s my daddy?”

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We went for another little walk towards Market Street and took some long view pictures just before noon to get a feel for how many were there. Along the sidewalk there were a number of unrelated pedestrians and tourists.

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All told it had been nearly an hour and a half of standing around, by and large twiddling their thumbs.

In what amounts to perhaps the nearest thing this country has to a secular ‘hallowed ground’ dedicated to free speech, the Adoptee Rights Demonstration simply had nothing to say.

Stunning.

At this point, as they appeared to be preparing to move, we switched over to our video camera rather than the still.

As noon came around, they began chanting as they lined up and spread out, walking off down the sidewalk along Market street, chanting  as they went, according to the Philadelphia Enquirer:

“You got yours . . .” came the call from protest organizers.

“I want mine!” shouted the marchers.

It could not have been anything other than completely impenetrable to the tourists in the Mall. No explanation of what anyone “had” or what they “wanted,” let alone who they were nor why they were there.

I’ve seen flash mobs with more coherent messaging to the outside world. Those near us looked puzzled.

We now take a brief interlude to watch the video of perhaps the most “exciting” thing the ARD did in Independence National Historic Park, leave.

(This is me, shaking my head, completely puzzled)

Throughout the two minutes worth of footage they chanted. In an act of pure mercy to viewers, we’ve stripped off the broken record chanting, (well that, and I was on the phone nearby.)

So they lengthened out into a group and began walking down the sidewalk holding signs and chanting their bizarre chant and headed off to the convention center.

Their numbers had varied over the course of the morning at People’s Plaza, slowly building over time. But when the time finally came from them to step off and begin their sidewalk ‘march’ a total of 66 people (give or take one or two) set off towards the convention center.

Yes, that’s right, all this internet noise and hoopla over 66 people.

Just goes to show what a small pond and echo chamber adoptionland can be.

As I said in my first piece about this year’s ARD Philly (See my section on “Shifting event premise, conceptual, tactical, and strategic problems”),

The bottom line is, there is no adoptee rights mass movement waiting in the wings somewhere to show up for such an event.

For those of you interested in the demographics?

66 total:

  • 51 Women
  • 13 Men (adults)
  • 2 teenage boys

Which means those ‘marching’ in the ARD this year were 77% female, 23% male.

Here in this last picture taken on the Mall, you can see what they looked like having crossed and now heading down the street.

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Keep in mind, I said step off from the People’s Plaza was pretty much noon.

We decided to head down and see the other end. The convention center is a little under a mile away, roughly 8 blocks worth of a sidewalk ‘march’. So we headed over to take a look.

Fortunately, I missed at least some of the ‘festivities.’ One participant’s blogged account of the ‘march’ included this tidbit:

One adoptee occasionally yelled out, or asked women as they approached, “Are you my mommy?”

Not ‘merely’ a messaging problem, or a mental health problem, this unfortunately goes to the heart of the lack of sensitivity to context some of those making the ARD happen and responsible for the ARD have displayed over and over again.

Behavior such as this (particularly while claiming to represent “adoptee rights”) is beyond mere problematic, it’s unconscionable.

As if that weren’t bad enough all by itself, this year’s event in Philadelphia far from taking place in a vacuum, was unfortunately taking place in the context of a lawsuit in Camden, New Jersey, directly across the river, less than three miles away from where the ARD was taking place. It involved allegations of “undesired contact” with a surrendered adoptee: Distraught woman sues, alleging N.J. helped child of rape find her. (Obviously, I have a great deal to say about the case, but for the moment, let’s stay on track, saving such for another day.)

This particular article hit roughly a month before the ARD. At least some people involved in the ARD were well aware of the case, as it cluttered adoption venue after adoption related blog, press release, news story, etc.

Amy Adoptee, who was on last year’s committee, blathered delusionally and incoherently on her blog about the article, postulating the lawsuit’s entire existence was a direct response to, and retaliation against the work of open records activists and the ARD:

I do believe that this entire situation is in response to both the Adoptee Rights Demonstration and New Jersey’s bill

She’s convinced it’s all a BIG CONSPIRACY and can’t fathom why a Philly paper would cover a story from just across the river.

The placement of this story in the Philly newspaper is also suspicious as the Adoptee Rights Demonstration in Philadelphia is set to occur a month later. The information in this article is about constituents in New Jersey, not Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Lest anyone think my bringing up the broader context would be making a mountain out of a molehill, care to guess what the Philadelphia Inquirer’s ( don’t get me started) article, Adoption-records advocates to protest in Phila., published the day of the ARD included?

Privacy clearly is a concern.

In New Jersey, an Atlantic City woman is suing the state for $1 million after being approached by a daughter she surrendered 30 years ago, a child conceived by rape, according to the Philadelphia Daily News. She claims state authorities provided personal information that enabled her daughter to show up at her door.

Just a helpful hint, wandering up to total strangers on the street and pulling an

are-you-my-mother

(for those unfamiliar, see the “plot summary” here) does not tend to make adopted people appear particularly trustworthy, able to conduct their own interfamily affairs, or for that matter stable, let alone sane.

But it does play perfectly into the larger narrative of “unwanted contact” and out of control adoptees. You know, that mythic archetype of the adoptee as always in a needly, reunion obsessed, consent and boundary violating, unable to cope, constantly in psychological dire need-to-find-Mommy state.

Pulling crap like that out on the public streets of Philadelphia, going up to women, total strangers, and demanding to know if they might be one’s long lost parent is a slap in the face to most Bastards’ reality, the sensitivity and delicacy with which MOST approach initial contact with potential kin. It’s a mockery, a mere cartoon of most of our reunion experiences or desires for such.

It plays into every expectation of the bad adoptee, and the picture so often painted of us by our opponents as out of control needy reunion obsessed nuts.

None of which has a damn thing to do with genuine records access, and equal treatment under law.

My complete disgust aside for the moment, back to the Convention Center.

When we first arrived roughly 12:25, there were a number of sign holding ARD supporters standing on the sidewalk along the convention center mostly clumped in small groups all over again. Participants were being interviewed, but by and large it entailed standing around.

Driving past, this is what it looked like by 12:32. The convention center is to the right, you can make out the first of the sign holders to the right of the tree, holding the sign, “How would it feel if you were denied?” (Denied what? Who knows.)

This was the initial thing those going past saw, not an arching statement building a narrative and providing any form of explanation of the next few sign holders further along. Nope, just another piece of completely decontextualized irrelevancy. Another missed opportunity.

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Unfortunately the visual metaphor of a big red “denied” stamp, while close-ER, is still not it either.

Most Bastards will never have the absolutist clarity of a big red stamp on a piece a paper. Nope, we don’t even get the “gratification” of having a “DENIED” slip of paper to show for our troubles.

The more fitting visual metaphor would be an Empty Mailbox.

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We fill out the request forms, we pay our money at Vital Statistics offices (only to be offered a state fabricated lie).

We re-apply, we write, we call, meet with those on Judge’s staffs, we contact legislators, we advocate, we do demonstrations, we ask politely, we write letters to the editor, and we fight for restored access, but each and every passing day of lack of access to our own authentic original unaltered birth certificates is another day of waiting, of checking, of finding nothing but an unresponsive government on the other end.

No mail today, none yesterday, and barring the unforeseen none tomorrow. We check methodically, every day, but the box is always empty.

No big red stamp, just silence, from those who feel they owe us nothing, and do not answer to us.

Outside the convention center?

Things were fizzling out.

There were still a few small clusters, but things had mostly broken up.

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Signs were up against the convention center wall, often upside down. (Bear in mind that some in these pictures are uninvolved pedestrians.)

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More of the stragglers, near an entrance an interview with a private camera (not news media) was ongoing.

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Here’s what the ‘denied’ (birth certificate) sign looks like upside down and from a distance.

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And the shot I could find with the most ARD participants in it from this time period.

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The area they occupied was directly across from Reading Terminal market, an area with tons of ‘foot traffic’ on a market day like Tuesday. This was busy downtown Philly in the 12:30 lunch hour. Yet the Adoptee Rights Demonstration appears to have viewed the convention center as more of an end point than a key place to be for an extended period. Yet another missed opportunity.

We ‘circled’ the block to be certain we were not missing a larger group at another entrance, stunned that it could be this small this quickly, but by 12:38 there was little left.

The interview with the private camera continued near the entrance and a couple of people with their signs remained, but to the right of the ‘tunnel’ we found all of four ARD participants.

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Here’s the “NOW!” sign.

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By this point, the event was over and people were heading on in search of drinks at the Hard Rock, which was followed by a trip to a comedy club that evening.


RECAP

So let’s recap, step off from People’s Plaza was roughly noon and by 12:38 it was over.

I didn’t note precisely what time they arrived at the convention center, but clearly the bulk of the ARD participants spent less than 1/2 an hour sign holding there.

Which means they spent almost 3 times as much time standing around in the drizzle not doing much of anything at People’s Plaza than they did protesting at their target.

This is one of those rare moments that simply leaves me “holding my head like a stunned monkey.”

Yes, they will have the booth inside the convention and will be marketing as best they can alongside the other exhibitors over the next few days, but that task will be left to a small subset.

Most of those participating on the day of the ARD stood around waiting in the misty rainish morning, took a rather noisy walk, and then sign held for a few minutes outside a building.

In the final calculation, it amounted to this roughly 40 minutes worth of fewer than 70 people actually ‘marching’ down the sidewalk, signholding, being a “presence” etc.

The Adoptee Rights Committee behind the ARD laid out this rough “budget” of sorts, from their Donate page,

The Philadelphia Adoptee Rights Demonstration has a base target goal of $2,000 for the protest. This money will be used to pay for permits, security, advertising and materials. For an additional $2,000, we will again be able to afford a booth inside the Convention Center.

They relied on the broader community of those who support restoration of records access to foot the bill and in two years have never had to account for the financial realities of the ARD.

Now that the “protest” portion of the event has taken place, perhaps it’s time for a some careful cost-benefit evaluation.


By way of ‘coverage,’ it’s been pretty slim pickings:

Here’s the ARD’s own sparse twitterstream from the event, and now in the aftermath from the booth inside the National Conference of State Legislators exhibitor’s hall.

Today in the aftermath, Philly.com, (also owned by the Philadelphia Inquirer) carried this piece by way of wrap up, Adoptees protest for access to original birth certificates. Once again, reunion focused messaging is portrayed as the prime motivator for why Adult Adoptees would seek access to their Original Birth Certificates.

None of those groups were present yesterday – nor did they need to be. They’re winning the argument, noted adoptee Dan Haines of Egg Harbor. That forces adoptees to mount a state- by- state appeal to lawmakers that could go on forever. And while that happens, he said, birth parents grow old and die.

That fact lends urgency to what adoptees call the nation’s last civil-rights battle.

( I’d HARDLY call us the “last civil rights battle!” There are still plenty of other frontiers…)

Still it’s not a terribly surprising ‘justification’ for the event/adoptee ‘activism’ considering much of the messaging coming from the ARD, such as the photo included with the article.

JOHN COSTELLO / Staff Photographer Philadelphia Inquirer

Photo: John Costello / The Philadelphia Inquirer

Finally, (only semi-amusingly) several people with, as well as the ARD homepage itself, appear to have mistaken Examiner.com for a newspaper or some other form of hard media.

In reality it is an online ‘content’ generator not dissimilar to about.com. (See this Examiner.com press release for an overview on their more than 4,000 “Examiners”/paid content generators. It’s out of date, they’re now up to well over 8,000. (Also see their Quality Writers Wanted: Join us page.) Space filling junk like this Live reports from today’s Adoptee Rights Demonstration pointing at ARD’s twitterstream hardly passes for “coverage.”


By way of blog coverage in the aftermath by those involved, from the ARD homepage: Greetings from Philadelphia (7-22-09, Day after the event)

(In which they bemoan what they perceived as the “miserable rain” and thanked those who showed up and to endure such.)

Kali’s “Anti-Adoption” blog: The Adoptee Rights Demonstration Philladelphia does it again!

In which she, as “founder” of the event, leads off with an interesting admission about last year in New Orleans and this year’s numbers.

Three times the amount of protestors there last year…

Just as I had suspected, I was being quite generous in my morning after recap of last year,

This New Orleans Times Picayune Article, poorly entitled Protesters seek to change laws sealing birth papers came out today, July 23rd.

It mentions “about 60 protesters” took part in the march from Lafayette Park to the Ernest N. Morial convention center.

This year’s numbers being what they are, again a mere 66 people, give or take one or two, marched out of the Park. If last year’s was 1/3 the size, that’s a rather startling admission.

She continues on, insisting that the ARD will go on and on, becoming an annual occurance (paid for by the broader community of those who support open records of course).

The Adoptee Rights Demonstration will never give up, it will continue year after year if it takes until I am one hundred I will be there at the convention, writing my leggies, introducing bills and voting those in office against adoptees equality OUT and getting people who support us in will happen if necessary!

An interesting insistence in light of my post she commented on the night before this year’s ARD, questioning the effectiveness of the tactic, the ARD’s finances, and the notion of becoming an annual habit.

Naturally, the “rain” has taken on a mythology all its own, becoming part of the ARD Philly narrative. Kali adds her notion of participants as dedicated to slog it out through the rains.

You know it means the heart and soul to someone when they’re willing to do it in the rain!

Sigh. Pretty much any “activist” who would even consider being dissuaded by the light misty drizzle that let up long before step off probably hasn’t earned the title street “activist… .”

I suppose for this reason alone it was worth the trip.

Someone had to be there to reality check whether it was torrential rains or merely the slight mistiness in the air that it had devolved down to by the time the ‘march’ began.

Emphasizing the rain as some kind of ‘oh see how dedicated’ or ‘look how much they suffered for the cause’ nonsense, is just a load of crap.


Finally, it’s important to look at what kind of media is internally produced by participants themselves using the footage gathered at the event and how participants are characterized in such:

“Forgotten Children”

Because apparently, there’s nothing like relabeling ADULT adoptees “forgotten children,” set to a ‘cheerful’ little tune, suitable for slitting one’s wrists to.

(Sarcasm kids, sarcasm.)

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