My comment on 73 adoptee’s “Compromising On Adoptee Access? The Foot You Shoot May Be Your Own”
This is my response to both Triona/73 adoptee’s post, “Compromising On Adoptee Access? The Foot You Shoot May Be Your Own”, and to those who have left comments on her piece. (Please read those prior to reading my response.)
I’m an Ohio Bastard from the black hole years. I am one of the people whose access was bargained away in a previous “compromise.”
I have nothing but contempt for these notions of “a little” civil, human, and identity rights.
“Partial” civil rights for a lucky few are not civil rights, they are mere state granted favors, given out to some through an arbitrary process, at a direct and lasting cost to others.
Once you grant the state the ability to pick and chose who it will grant these special privileges to, one should not be the least bit surprised to see access actually DECREASE, not increase, as once the state has been granted that power it tends to exercise it in accord with its own interests.
When you look at examples such as “birthparent vetos” it rapidly becomes clear just how much this gutting of our most basic human rights really is nothing more than a state granted favour granted to a select few.
It’s a not merely a favour, but a really special favour, a downright extraordinary favour being granted by the state in that establishes a prior restraint on our constitutional right to freedom of association not based upon behaviour (such an anti-stalking law would have its basis in), but merely upon our membership in a class of people, those adopted.
Beyond the human rights arguments, there are also very practical reasons to never settle for legislation that bargains people away.
Those who are willing to settle for ‘these now, don’t worry, we’ll come back later for the rest of you’ may have many years worth of having begged for those table scraps, but they may not have much insight into the larger picture of what happens in the wake of such legislative abominations.
Sadly, I’ve done precisely that work (in fields other than adoption) of trying to come back in in the aftermath of “compromised” legislation to try to get regain the pieces that were bargained away.
It doesn’t work.
For roughly the next 20 years after passing that kind of turning point legislation state legislators will tell whoever comes next ‘we just gave you X, we’re not going to go back and address those issues again.”
Try seeking out a sponsor for restoration legislation in the wake of a “compromised” bill, you don’t get anywhere.
Those bargained away are now a subset of a subset, “compromised” legislation decreases whatever small political voice they had access to in the first place.
Ultimately, we’re left behind.
Whatever political voice we do manage to construct tends to be a small gathering of those left behind, as in adoption more generally, many adoptees tend to care about records access as a political issue only until they manage to get a copy of theirs for themselves. A much smaller number continue to care about other adopted people’s access after they have their own, and of those still around, fewer still are willing to stand strong on a no-compromise position.
But no-compromise is, as Triona points out, the only way to ensure that after access is granted YOU won’t find yourself counted among the few whose access is Vetoed, Black Holed, or otherwise non-existent.
Do I understand the heartbreak and anguish of New Jersey? Of course I do.
Yes we are all getting older, and the lifetimes worth of missed opportunities that non-adopted people simply never have to give so much as a thought to can easily drive a Bastard or a Parent, (or sibling or other family member) insane.
But, and this is a dealbreaker of a BUT, I’m not willing to support any legislation that creates a “special” class of Bastards consigned to the “expendable” bin.
Because I live there.
I wouldn’t wish such a fate on anyone.