Mother’s Day 2010: Benedict bastards and the industry unleashed
Another year gone by.
Regular readers already know why Mother’s Day has a lot of added adoption layers for me personally, but for those unfamiliar with my writings, the condensed version is I’m an adult adoptee black-holed by the Ohio sealed records system, who just happened to be born (apparently, anyway) one Mother’s Day in the late 1960’s. Thus Mother’s Day many years falls upon the date my amended birth certificate claims is my birthday.
I’m a Mother’s Day Bastard.
Correspondingly, somewhere out there, (if she’s even still alive,) is a Mother who gave birth on Mother’s Day to a daughter who eventually disappeared into a sealed records adoption.
I’ve already written some preliminary thoughts about all this in years past:
Now here we are in 2010. A third Mother’s Day blogging this sorry state of affairs.
This year, far from having good news to report about perhaps more states restoring original birth certificate access to all their adopted citizens, we’ve seen more than a fifth of the country vomiting forth horrendous bill after horrendous bill, some of which offer up a Faustian bargain of access for some at the direct expense of the rights of others.
This is what happens when legislators think they know just enough about “adoptee rights” to really fuck things up.
This is also what happens when adoptees themselves are willing to settle for less than full rights restored to all.
When individual adoptees are willing to set aside any concept of class Bastard (see point 1 on the link) and instead go rogue, beginning to bargain for table scrap “privileges” granted by the state to a lucky few by trading away the human rights of the Bastard standing next to them.
Bastard Nationals have long had a name for those who behave thusly, Benedict bastards (note Marley’s 2004 use of the term here, as but one example.)
The minute a Benedict bastard betrays the full human rights of the Bastard standing next to them they lose any claim to speak for class Bastard. (As Illinois State Representative Sara Feigenholtz is learning the hard way, at the moment.)
All of this is little more than evidence of what happens when some nebulous concept of “adoptee rights” is demanded without laying the educational groundwork in place beforehand.
Legislators need to understand what a genuine restored access bill is and isn’t.
That takes both people on the ground educating AND legislators willing to set aside their abortion mythos fears for time being and actually being willing to listen.
It means knowing history and how this current state of affairs came to be, knowing the courts findings, and understanding the complex webs of interests that have their own reasons they protect the existing sealed records systems. It means knowing both how sealed records legislation came to sweep the country in the first place AND the intricacies, personalities, and details of how individual states came to support sealed records locally.
But that takes work, and research, and is never so cut and dry as pure sloganeering or being willing to settle for table scraps.
Nope, this past year, has been a disaster for some states. Many stand on the brink of passing yet more black holing, ‘access for me, but not for thee’ legislation.
Saddest of all, in a number of these cases, it has been Benedict bastards willing to settle for so very little. While search and reunion oriented groups have been busy gutting Bastard human rights, they’ve pretty much freed up the industry to go after its long term proactive goals of restructuring American adoption. From the tax credits built into the health care reform bill to the massive child grab in Haiti, the industry has had its hands untied.
And Bastards, those of us who do care about class Bastard? We’ve been forced to defend on all fronts, both federal and now state by state against the very Benedict bastards so willing to throw our human rights away.
There have been times in this blogging adventure that I have felt glimmers of optimism.
But this period between Mother’s Day 2009 and 2010 has made it abundantly clear just how little self respect and fight some adoptees have left in them.
I’ve never considered myself an optimist, but clearly the exhaustion of the fight and the passing of so many years has left some willing to settle for so very, very little. The more Bastards have to fend off the deform efforts of Benedict bastards is the less time, energy, and resources we have left to fight what to many of us are some of the very core battle, the outright child selling, the lies and secrets that have always protected such practices, from Georgia Tann to today in China, and the all to human toll of what this does to parents and women.
There is more than enough genuine work to be done without having to fight junk legislation in multiple states at a time.
So another year gone by.
Right this moment, by many measures, we are farther away from the goals than we were last year at this time.
It’s a sobering assessment.
I can only hope Bastards can make our work more enduring.