Monday, March 09, 2009

What is Jean Strauss SMOKING???

CARE has published their letter of support for AB 372 addressed to Assemblyman Mike Feuer, Chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, it can be found here. It's a remarkable document for several reasons, not the least of which is that CARE is an organization with little transparency so those of us trying to parse what they're up to look at each updated web page and comment for clues. It's like being a Kremlinologist during the Soviet era...

The letter introduces CARE as a "501 (C4) [sic. CARE is a 501(c)4] representing birthmothers and adoptees and supporting individuals who are touched by adoption." They've got twenty-one board members, who have voted unanimous support for AB 372, which is no surprise since its their bill... and they describe it as "an important measure that begins the dialogue of updating archaic adoption statutes and aligning them with current best adoption practices." So far, so good. CARE has credentialized itself as a group, with a board, that supports AB 372. No mention of how many members they have, I suspect that it may be somewhere between 50 and 75, but who knows? They are supporting AB 372 not for what it does, or says, but because it starts a process...

In the next paragaph 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. Witness the recent NCFA rebuttal of the EBD report supporting open records, using child welfare and medical research. Take a minute just to go to the websites of these competing professional advocacy groups, and pretend that you knew nothing about them (in other words, pretend that you're a legislator). Hard to tell the difference, no? Which group of experts would you tend to believe, again pretending ignorance...

CARE goes on to explain that there have been no reports of problems in states with open records, in other words the sky hasn't fallen. Many other states are deliberating similar laws.

Then, in paragraph four, they say: "As the C.A.R.E. wades through a surprising number of old adoption polices [sic], we look forward to working with the Assembly Judiciary Committee and effecting government policies that restrict: 1) the original record of birth of an adoptee who knows the name of their birthmother; and 2) the original record of birth of an adoptee of which the birthmother is deceased." Soooo, while the CARE welcome page informs the community that AB 372 "creates" the right for adoptees to access their records of birth, CARE is telling the Chair of the Judiciary Committee that they want to allow adoptees to access their OBCs IF they already know their "birthmother's" identity, or if said "birthmother" is croaked. I guess they can't be accused of aiming too high.

The letter closes with this: "AB 372 (Ma) does not make these records public but removes the impediment of the government withholding the record from the one person to whom the record directly pertains. This information is essential to an adult who has an inalienable right to know more about his or her identity than does the State of California and who is seeking only information about him or herself." This is a strong close for a letter that makes no other claims regarding the rights of adult adoptees to their records. The body of the letter, in fact, alleges claims by medical and child welfare professionals, not adoptees, and narrows those claims to apply to adoptees who either already possess the information for which they have an inalienable right, or whose mother is dead and presumably neutral on the matter.

CARE wants to have it both ways. They assert their bill "creates" rights for adoptees when they're facing the community, but when their audience is the legislature they demonstrate their facility to traipse the tiniest of baby steps. If this is where they've staked the beginning of negotiations, one can only wonder how much they can retrench without falling off a cliff.

I'm going to let this letter percolate. And with twenty-one board members, you'd think they could proof read for typos...


Blogger Marley Greiner said...

Holy shit, Ron! I go away for a couple days with dental surgery and this comes back! Whoo-Whoo! I do indeed wish I knew what Jean Strauss is smoking. CARE is even more dangerous than I thought. They must be channeling TxCare

This is a disgrace.

10:32 AM  
Blogger BB Church said...

CARE is like an incontinent pooch, you've got to keep an eye out all the time cuz they wil drop one anywhere and at any moment. I'm probably their website's biggest fan, I'm always checking 'em out, because you never know when they'll deliver a chestnut.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Gaye Sherman Tannenbaum said...

So what they REALLY meant to say was "affecting" not "effecting"? And "affecting" is not "removing" or "eliminating".

So they will be kinda sorta doing something related to birth certificates where the adoptee already knows the name(s) of the parent(s) or the parent(s) are deceased (and whose burden of proof is it anyway?) - NONE of which is in AB372.

Whatever she's smoking must be really potent.

11:11 AM  
Blogger joy said...

The letter doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Have you tried calling Stephanie Williams to have her explain it?

11:48 AM  
Blogger BB Church said...

"Have you tried calling Stephanie Williams to have her explain it?"

You're welcome to call her. CARE doesn't respond to me. I welcome their comments here, even if they just want to diagnose how "damaged" I am by my adoption, as they have anonymously on other blogs... I would appreciate something of more substance, but from what I hear across the community is that CARE doesn't like to respond to any questions of substance about their effort.

12:02 PM  
Blogger joy said...

You mean they won't even talk to you if you call them?

I will try to call tomorrow, there is no way I can call today, maybe Thursday, but I must say this letter is a head-scratcher.

12:19 PM  
Blogger BB Church said...

I don't have a particularly cordial relationship with them, and I'm not interested in chit chat or having smoke blown up my ass. And I would prefer to have their responses in writing, less wiggle room for interpretation.

2:08 PM  
Blogger BethGo said...

Is this the same Jean Strauss who wrote the book "Birthright: A guide to Search and Reunion"?
If so, then what HAS she been smoking?
I'll be sure to stay far away from it.

3:04 PM  
Blogger BB Church said...

Yes it is the same Jean Strauss, who wrote rather eloquently in "Birthright".

3:54 PM  
Blogger Being Me said...

Thanks for the update. Despite your bloody keyboard I enjoy your writing.

Why did CARE send their letter to the head of the judiciary committee? Is there a way for me to follow where the bill is and who is looking at it? Do you think they would like to read my letter too?

4:16 PM  
Blogger BB Church said...

CARE is the sponsoring organization who initially engaged Asm. Fiona Ma and interested her in authoring AB 372. As such they have a privileged position in the process, Asm. Ma will defer to their judgements (up to a point) on the final bill language. They met with members of the Judiciary Committee, where AB 372 will be heard, on 2/26 (according to their website) but haven't reported publicly the responses of committee members.

Yes, please do write Asm. Ma, Asm. Feuer and the other members of the Judiciary Committee.

And it is because CARE has assumed a position of privilege that I keep pounding on them, because, in my opinion, they haven't earned the the privilege of negotiating in my name.

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stephanie Williams, the executive director of C.A.R.E. wrote a message to CARE members on Feb.28. This can be accessed through the CARE website. If you read the second to last paragraph, you will see that she tells us that the parent disclosure veto "...raises a constitutional issue concerning access for those adopted after 1983." She then goes on to tell the members that this is the area where they may have to compromise. My question is, since when did the 1983 law become part of the CA constitution? Is this parent disclosure veto really amended into the CA constitution? It is just my wild guess that it is not part of CA's constitution so my next question would be, how could someone with all of the experience and knowledge that Stephanie has, make such a statement. If anyone can clarify this, then it might be helpful to the members of CARE. I am thankful that CARE wasn't in NH when we were working on our bills.

6:13 PM  
Blogger joy said...

No, it doesn't/isn't. and the 1984 law they are talking about was moving toward opening records.

If you read the first article of the CA cons't it is all about privacy, it is how they are construing privacy that is at issue.

Someone told me recently that Alaska's constitution has the same privacy caveat and never sealed records, but I haven't had the time to read it yet.

They believe, that CA is a unique state because of the privacy clause, a lot of that though refers to the film industry and the like, not the people you give birth to.

It is complicated, I think their reading of it is overly narrow,but I don't know exactly because it is a super big secret.

*I do believe* they are operating under the assumption that contact vetos are not really used. I am not just making that up but I won't say more on that, but what would I know or complain about as was pointed out to me, I already have mine.

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jean Strauss and CARE are ALL SMOKING CRACK!

I don't know these people but I HATE THEIR GUTS!!!!!

6:35 PM  
Blogger BB Church said...

The privacy clause in the California constitution is more of a political problem for CARE or any other group wishing to change adoption records access laws than a legal or truly constitutional problem. I believe, based on research done by a dozen attorneys on the matter in 2000, that the California constitution's privacy provision would not be violated by a clean open records law. Convincing me, or you, on the viability of my legal theory really isn't the issue, though.

The issue is convincing the California legislature, who will conservatively construe the privacy issue because they don't want to make waves. They don't want to legislate a law that they feel has a chance of a constitutional challenge over the issue of privacy, and they don' want to be perceived as standing on the wrong side of a privacy issue. It's all about perception, not legal reality. But in politics perception often is reality, so there you go...

I have said earlier in this blog that I think this political lack of will in the legislature is surmountable, but it's takes the sort of heavy lifting that CARE lacks the will, capacity or both, to implement.

And yeah, anonymous, they piss me off too.

10:35 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

I have to agree that this measure leaves oceans of things to be desired. I read it and it is timid and convoluted.

Ron, as an aside from a Natural Mother; just as we don't care for the NCFA or the EBDI speaking for us, we also don't like CARE deciding what we need. When will everyone get the message that we mothers from the secret, closed adoption era were NEVER promised confidentiality, privacy or anything of that nature? We can convey our own needs and more of us are speaking out than ever before. My two oldest children and I have been in reunion for almost 16 years and we are STILL unable to get their OBCs. The people who adopted my oldest are deceased and yet their agreement is still required. What is my daughter supposed to do? Forge their signatures...maybe?? She has already presented their death certificates.

4:32 AM  
Blogger BB Church said...

"What is my daughter supposed to do?

Gain her departed parents' consent via Ouija board, I suppose.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Marley Greiner said...

I'm thinking it more like bad acid CARE got in to. The kind Diane Linkletter did.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

LOL, Ron, we had discussed a seance, but they wouldn't communicate if they knew I was there. ;o)

5:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You people are a joke. YOU are the reason adoptees are treated poorly. You my friend ar mentally ill!

10:28 AM  
Blogger BB Church said...

You talking to me? I am a firm believer in the Don't Tread On Me ethos, what do you believe in?

11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe you are treading on good people with rude inaccurate inflammatory crap. How about saying something sensible and not talking about Vino and Smoking crack.

12:05 PM  
Blogger BB Church said...

Well, let me put it this way. In my opinion Jean Strauss was either mendacious or delusional when she stated that social workers and adoption professionals are responsible for legislating open records bills. She may or may not be a good person, I don't know her but I'd probably lean toward good, but this statement was so perverse that it begged the question "what was she smoking?" If you have any insight into the reasoning behind this preposterous statement, then by all means post it here.

As for vino, well, it's the mother's milk of art openings and political fund raising parties. It's not like I said that CARE's board are winos or they're diluting the wine with Aqua Velva, so I'm not sure what your point is there. I also mentioned goat cheese...

I understand my blog is causing some consternation, and I say... cool! You should be glad that somebody is paying attention to you at all...

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not adopted nor directly related to an adoptee or adoptee birth parent. I was made aware of AB 372 and the Open Records issue by an adoptee who is a very close friend. That is why I care about Open Records. I have no other agenda and believe it is a noble cause and would like to see it become real. I truly understand the desire and need adoptees have to access their birth records. It makes sense at a very basic level of natural rights. I therefore strongly believe in the principle behind Open Records. I also understand the unfortunate but very real dilemma in that the adoptee birth record is fundamentally different from a non-adoptee birth record. That leads to a break in how it should be treated as a civil rights issue.

A birth record represents a dilemma with regards to the civil rights based access argument. The record contains information about multiple individuals including the child, mother and possibly the birth father. That means that it is one document that contains private information on more than just one individual. In the general case, this is not dissimilar to any government record that contains private information referring to more than one person. The “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 17” places the right to privacy among the most fundamental Civil Rights recognized. It is also recognized in the California Constitution and various California code. This creates a problem for the civil rights Open Records position if the counterbalancing privacy versus access is left unacknowledged. Failure to recognize the adoptee case differs from the non-adoptee case undermines the adoptees likelihood to success in the legislature and eventually the courts. It leads to the appearance of its proponents being fully intellectually honest and respecting Equal Rights.

The California government disclosure of the adoptee birth record has the potential to violate the privacy rights of other individuals whose private information would be disclosed against their wishes. This is not the case in the non-adoptee circumstances. Fortunately only a small percentage of birth mothers have indicated in writing that they want their information kept private. There is no such empirical evidence of the parents or other parties insisting on privacy in the non-adoptee case. That makes the adoptee access and non-adoptee birth record access a fundamentally different civil rights issue. This is because it brings in the privacy versus personal information access counterbalancing problem. By failing to acknowledge or demeaning a birth mother’s privacy hurts the noble Open Records cause. Only an approach that addresses this difference plus other pragmatic realities will succeed. That kind of talk is not helpful in that it undermines the sincerity and therefore agenda of the proponents.

The original birth mother’s privacy request was agreed to by California officials after 1986 making it a legal and binding contract between California and the birth parent. That legally binding contract that CA entered with birth mothers adds another layer of both civil rights and legal complexity to the issue. Failing to acknowledge this by the Open Records proponents is also not helpful. By failing to acknowledge fundamental differences and arguing as though they don’t exist leaves opponents with a mile wide hole to undermine Open Records efforts. Using defaming language about differing proponents only reinforces the harm. It is harmful to a noble cause if even a few activist angry proponents appear narcissistic undermining everyone and the whole cause.

Only by facing the issues politely, intelligently, balanced and one by one will lead to a break through for Open Records. The current ugly mudslinging by certain individuals is very sad. Watching others follow blindly and support and encourage this is wrong. I suspect the 2001 effort failed in part due to this lack of acknowledgement and unruly behavior. Is that how you want the world to view adoptees? When anyone unbiased hears these incomplete arguments and harsh words, they are left wondering if it’s a result of lack of awareness, emotional blindness, ulterior motives, narcissism or a desire for control or power. None of these impressions by the either neutral or opponents to Open Records will help the cause. It is critical that for an issue of this kind where adoptees may have emotional wounding and are in need of healing are supported by sincere leaders and proponents. Only honest and open acknowledgement of the issues and arguing them from a sincere and open position will win over the neutral and opponents.

Once all the real world issues are taken into account, the very pragmatic approach taken by CARE becomes the obvious and only possible winning strategy. Anyone who believes otherwise needs to re-examine their agenda. As I understand it, CARE’s goal is to open as many records as possible for as many adoptees as the California constitution, existing laws, regulations and policies, litigation potential, birth mother contract liability, legislator bias and inertia, legislator fear of liability, change, risk or cost, government employee bias and inertia, cost of changes and multiple opponent allows.

It is not practical to eliminate the “Veto” concept since California has entered into contracts plus the many other obstacles. If the statistics hold consistent in California, then the million or so records in California will result in more records being opened by AB 372 than have been opened to date. Only a few hundred to a few thousand might be blocked by a birth mother veto. By failing to accept the possible 999,000 Open Records should be viewed as a MAJOR victory since the emotional healing of adoptees is a major goal of this effort. How can anyone justify taking 999,000 Open Records away from adoptees waiting for so long. Since this is not a clear cut Civil Rights issue due to the very real privacy difference, holding out for an illegitimate dream is foolish. The precedence argument is equally foolish since every state has different circumstances. The precedence of opening 999,000 records in the largest state should be viewed as a positive precedence since it sends a clear message of the need to rebalance the access versus privacy rights. That is the key precedence!

The Civil Rights argument will never fly because the privacy issue is very real and not the same as the non-adoptee case. In addition, every state has a different constitution and circumstances. When you add the California constitution, existing laws, future litigation potential, birth mother contract liability, legislator bias, legislator desire to not open California to liability or cost, government employee bias, inertia, cost of changes and multiple opponents, it is wrong to deny adoptees such a large gain. It is absurd and simply WRONG to deny 999,000 adoptees their records while holding onto a unrealistic and flawed dream of a “perfect bill”. There is no such thing as a perfect bill. It fits into the UFO category. The remaining 1000 adoptees still blocked might achieve some easy compromise such as redacting the birth parent name and receiving everything else once the dam is broken.

Laws with this number of obstacles and history don’t fall easily. They typically fall in stages. What is wrong with a 999,000 / 1000 gain as the first step. The answer is nothing! It would be very sad if a small group of misguided activists blinded by their unwillingness to “Be Open” caused yet another failure in the healing of the many deserving adoptees. They don’t deserve the additional harm of another failed bill as in 2001bacuase of a small group of ideologs. Judging the CARE people based on evolving language is simply wrong. Defaming people who are trying to help adoptees is also wrong. At a very minimum, follow Gershom’s advice “In my opinion its also important to represent yourself in as polite, educated and persuasive as possible. Knowing the points is important. Someone writing in about a right to reunion can do just as much damage as the industry working against us.”

10:26 AM  
Blogger BB Church said...

Thanks, anon, for the lengthy comment. I'm not going to write a point by point refutation, perhaps another day...

I will note that your argument about the contractual obligation of the state and birthmothers is wrong on its face; statutes are not promises and are not contractually binding.

And, that although CARE makes bold claims about legislation that will provide legislative relief to 99.9% of California's adult adoptees, they have not demonstrated the capacity to actually do so... we'll get a clearer idea of exactly what CARE is capable of after the Judiciary Committee hearing.

As far as my tone, this isn't a debating society, bub. This is my blog. I make no claims to represent anyone or present anyone's views but my own. You don't like it? Tough shitsky...

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howdy BBub. Mighty fine day! Nice chatting with you.
”Thanks, anon, for the lengthy comment. I'm not going to write a point by point refutation, perhaps another day...”
Thanks for the nice touch of politeness. I didn’t expect something as sweet as “thanks anon”. I don't expect a point by point refutation either. You already responded in the manner expected. Old grumpy BBub’s don’t typically change their colors even if facts are presented to them. Ego + anger + grumpy = highly change resistance. I would be shocked if you actually got off your high horse and put your ego aside and tried to show some empathy for those 999,000 adoptees. You would feel quite good once you had accomplished it and saw all those smiles but I’m expecting too much again. I there empathy left in your tank or just sludge?
"I will note that your argument about the contractual obligation of the state and birthmothers is wrong on its face; statutes are not promises and are not contractually binding.”
No of course the statutes are not promises The signatures on the CDSS AD908 form ARE a binding contract once signed by both parties. Check your case law. That is the regulation, policy and the agreement form used to implement the spirit of the statute. If you haven't seen it, go download it and look at the signatures and agreement yourself. If you were following the issues brought up in the legislative meetings, you would know many fear the liability created by the AD908 agreements. Even the fear is a practical problem BBub. DSS employees and legislators are people who can fear unknown liability. Then that fear becomes a very real obstacle. Go see AD908 yourself at -> . Take a look at the section 6 options and signatures on the bottom of page 1 and the notary on page 2. Every time the Department of Social Services signed an AD908 and agreed to non disclosure, it created one more little liability problem. Lots of little liability problems can add up to a big class action lawsuit and given the horrible adoptee treatment history here, the state might take an embarrassing bath.

Any top DSS manager or legislator would take the safe road absent compelling reasons to overturn everything wholesale in a so-called “clean bill”. I might however consider a path that avoided the liability and privacy issue nicely. That is what CARE is trying to accomplish. They are trying to find additions to the law without overturning that gets OPEN RECORDS for every adoptee whose birth mother doesn’t object. Since birth parent information is on the birth record and privacy laws and morale law preclude just handing it out. How would you feel if the Feds gave me your records? Of course you wouldn’t and it would be your right from natural laws to international laws, the CA constitution and various statutes.

It is quite likely that somewhere between 1000-5000 AD908s have been signed “No I do not want my name and address disclosed”. So YES it is a problem for the DSS people and Legislators who don't want to open a liability claim. But opening 999,000 records is fabulous. The effort can turn to the 1000+ remaining once victory is on the books. Why is this so difficult to understand unless the ego or another insincere agenda is hiding beneath the slippery oozing surface? What evil lurks in the depths of your mind? Where has your empathy gone? Lets us resurrect it! Then we could work together… (I know you don’t like me but I could – empathy is the key).
“And, that although CARE makes bold claims about legislation that will provide legislative relief to 99.9% of California's adult adoptees, they have not demonstrated the capacity to actually do so... we'll get a clearer idea of exactly what CARE is capable of after the Judiciary Committee hearing.”
These are not bold claims and they have shown more capacity to use their brains then some others I can think of. How could you even say that when the bill is entering its second draft and people like you are trying to destroy any capacity possible? That’s just plain hypocritical. You should be ashamed as you don’t seem stupid. Do you just love to rant senselessly even if it harms the people you claim to support? Can’t you see how ugly this behavior is? Why don’t you turn your intelligence and capacity toward helping CARE achieve the 99.5% instead of destroying it and blaming their capacity? Even you must realize the ingenious nature of your words.  Rally all your adoptee and supporting friends. You talk as if 99.5% would be great which it would be but are behaving as though you would sacrifice that fabulous 99.5% to feed your ego or unscrupulous agenda. Are you so entrenched as an ideolog that you can’t see the forest for the trees? Wow! Or are you angry that maybe somebody else is playing in your sandbox with your toys? Are you sulking? Don’t, jump in and win! You could join the effort and help achieve that 99.5% by adding your own capacity and fervor toward success! Then you could prove your help was the winning edge. What is really wrong with that? The statistics are simple and obvious and the 99+% is quite achievable while 100% is impossible and any thinking person knows it.

If you knew just a little statistics and arithmetic, you too could see (and maybe understand) how to analyze the Oregon, New Hampshire and Alabama statistics. They are not just bold claims by CARE but simply the numbers from the states. It only took me a glance to see the California numbers once I had a rough guess at the actual sealed records. The numbers are based on simple arithmetic drawn from recent real requests for birth records by adoptees and real birth parent responses after changes in the laws. This is very powerful evidence that is beyond challenge. The statistics collected in Oregon, New Hampshire and Alabama can be found here:

They demonstrate that out of 15,191 adoptee requests for their birth record, only 101 birth parents requested “no contact”. That is fact. The data was collected and recorded. Its applicability to AB372’s outcome probability is undeniable to anyone versed in arithmetic and a touch of P/S. It is likely that the tiny ratio will continue as the numbers grow and will not dramatically vary in California. We here in California might even have a lower ratio. Even if AB 372 must include some form of Veto allowed to birth parents, only that very small percentage of living parents that still request “no contact” will remain closed records. Its quite simple arithmetic and logic that leads to the 99+% Open Records number. Only give CARE credit or understanding them, not inventing them.

There is roughly 1 million records estimated sealed in California. That is in the neighborhood of 999,000 Open Records versus 1000 still closed. Its not rocket science. I hope a handful of adoptees skilled in math will see how obvious this is and recognize something is “Funny in BB Church’s Funhouse”. Why wouldn’t you help instead of making ridiculous ideology “giveaway” statements like “we'll get a clearer idea of exactly what CARE is capable of after the Judiciary Committee hearing.” That demonstrates quite clearly the hypocrisy in your behavior and thinking. Why don’t you turn your anger into fervor to help those 99+% and help with any capacity concern rather than stand on that virtual soapbox and hurt your fellow adoptees who are good people that would like your help. Show some empathy Dude! Or whatever they call you BBub.
“As far as my tone, this isn't a debating society, bub. This is my blog. I make no claims to represent anyone or present anyone's views but my own. You don't like it? Tough shitsky...”
No shitsky, BBub, this is not a debating society? Oops I missed that little fact. Sorry! “my blog”? Now don’t be selfish. The public Blog does appear to be your method for expressing your somewhat biased views on AB 372. It has the potential to mislead others into harming the effort or the reputation or feelings of the good people doing the hard work. It seems you enjoy sitting back in your PC work chair stressing your fingers typing while others actually sweat. I cannot understand why someone like you would choose to sulk, attack and do adoptees harm when you could help make the difference. Because I believe in the nobility of the Open Records cause and that 999,000 give or take a few thousand Open Records is FAR better than NONE. My sense of integrity has been outraged by your behavior. I offer a more reasoned unemotional and resentment free viewpoint you should consider. Your Fun House Blog is in need of some added integrity in its discussion.

Isn’t it borderline Sicko the way your little gang whips one another into a frenzy? Read it and try to look from outside in. It should sicken you. If not, it’s hopeless. You of course are free to censor my views but then what would that say about your integrity. Free speech goes both ways. I can tell you don’t like my views but people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. I want to make one last appeal to your integrity and empathy which need to come to the surface. Help the 999,000 California adoptees gain Open Records. Given your history, I can’t believe you aren’t lobbying for it yourself and being the adoptee advocate you could be.
Extra Reading -->
“For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible.” – Stuart Chase.
“For those who believe irrespective of overwhelming contrary evidence and morality, no proof can succeed and they have lost the greatest freedom of all. For those who follow the evidence, morality and ethics irrespective and un-afraid of wherever it might lead, they are truly free.” – Author unknown

11:51 AM  
Blogger BB Church said...

Wow, anon, finally something with both passion AND analysis. You really should be blogging for CARE, this is the best stuff I've seen in support of their position. If more people saw it, they'd get more supporters. If you were in charge of CARE I wouldn't feel compelled to stir up as much shit as I have..

And again, thanks for the offer to support CARE. It's the second time in a couple of days someone has made the offer. But look, I've been down this road, and other than "sitting at my PC desk", writing opinions, I just don't have anything to bring to the table. CARE needs a field organizer, but I don't do that for free anymore, and I'm not in Cali anyway. I do empathize with CARE leadership, they're riding the tiger, I've been there.

If nothing else my blog serves a valuable function in provoking and agitating. It got your motor revving, which is good. So perhaps my perverse agenda is to build overall capacity by provoking...

"The action is in the reaction..." Saul Alinsky

But that's giving me a lot more credit than I'm worth...

How about this: I won't blog on CARE again until after the 2009 session is over, then I'll do a recap. I'll leave comments open, and if something interests me I'll respond.

12:35 PM  
Blogger BB Church said...

Sorry for the bifurcated response, but I had to go to a meeting and then walk my dog...

"Are you sulking? Don’t, jump in and win!"

Jump in where? Does CARE have a strategic plan that includes membership growth? Does this plan have measurable outcomes and is someone accountable if these targets are missed? Is there a budget for outreach and media? If not, why not?

These are the sort of questions I get asked if I'm applying for an organizing or campaign gig. Is this not going to be an eighteen month political campaign?

When I asked Stephanie Williams questions like this in writing a couple of days ago she accused me of ranting, but I'm just asking questions that any politician would ask. How many people are impacted? A million, give or take. How many members do they have? A couple of hundred (maybe). How come so many people impacted and so few people interested? Why should a legislator care?

As far as the censoring remarks, I don't. I don't moderate comments on this blog. Stephanie mentioned a couple of weeks ago that folks were having problems trying to post comments here, and I told her the same thing. I turned comments off last spring when I wasn't blogging and turned them back on again when I started to post about California in January. I set it up so everyone, even anonymous folks, can comment. If you've tried to post a comment that hasn't shown up, that's not me, and I'd like to know about it. We can complain to blogger. You can email me through my profile (I think, I'll have to double check). I do believe in free speech, and my comments regarding my own words, that this is my blog, meant that I feel free to say what I want, not that I feel free to censor anyone else. The only comments I've ever deleted since this blog began were from Russian porn spammers before I set up the dealie where you have to transpose the wriggly letters and numbers...

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey thanks.. I'm impressed. I really do care about the Open Records issue and am glad to hear you do also and are open to the less than ideal CARE approach. I don't actually know them but I just think its smart to get as much as possible ( my 999,000 open and 1000 still closed records) by avoiding the impossible legislative obstacles. I'm only guessing but it appears they realize that since the statistics are so favorable, it may be possible to achieve something like 99.5% if the birth parent stats carry over to CA. Since you have already run the gauntlet in the legislature before, you might see how clever avoiding the BIG "civil rights" confrontation and just getting the laws to match the reality of how many birth parents actually block access. If its only .5% then at a minimum, then 99.5% of the records should be open, not 0%. Today with none open, its ridiculous. That appears to be a smart strategy to get most of what is deserved rather than nothing. Even that still has opponents and won't be a cake walk. I hate to see the adoptee side fractured as standing together is essential. I'm really glad you are open and I appreciate your kind words. Maybe you are right in that you stimulated some positive forces. I felt the need to express myself to you and would be happy to email.. RP

2:02 PM  
Blogger BB Church said...

I think if we're talking about the best "deal", you still get better results from an equity argument, because you can get the state to stop issuing DV's prospectively while grudgingly allowing DV's issued retroactively to stand. But that's just me talking possible deals.

I do have a question, though, which is tangential to the current legislative effort but that was triggered by something you said. If the DSS is scared of class action suits if the legislature gets a wild hair and throws out DVs, aren't they just a little terrified that the state was selling the Birth Index? I don't have any statistical or scientific data, but simply speaking from personal experiece (as a peer-to-peer facilitator of adoptee support groups) I know hundreds of California adoptees who found out their first mother's name through a simple search of the Birth Index, myself included. (I know a handful who weren't able to as well, but their cases involve possible gray market adoption, lost records, fake names, etc.) Aren't civil actions from first parents who filed DVs but who were found by adoptees who used the birth index sold by the state a matter of time?

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Lee said...

Since I am the birthmother of Jean Strauss, who by all odds found me in 1988 and who assisted me in finding my own birth mother in 1994, she is nothing short of a hero in my books! We three formed our own "Triumvirate" for six amazing years--through tears and smiles we found the answers we should have had years ago. All three of us were treated as second class citizens in our searches. But you know, it was worth every heartache and tear to find ourselves--which should be the inherent right of everyone. Surprise, surprise--we now have a fabulous larger family and many more people to love and cherish--kick back and enjoy life as it is. This is everyone's right--I hate of all the political hogwash and closed doors we encountered along the way. How dare you people who are speaking so very rudely with your noses in the air, try to tell what is right and/or wrong for me and my right to know. Since Oregon had lost all my birth and adoption records, it was only by a miracle that I was able to to prove I was "who I was"! It was a five year needless slog, but it was worth it--oh how it was worth it! But--it wasn't fair-these idiotic legislations and their stumbling blocks to "protect" society. I have yet to meet an adoptee who regretted finding answers--as was their right in the first place after they had reached majority. How dare you slander Jeannie-she deserves huge kudos for her courage and brilliance!

8:32 PM  
Blogger BB Church said...

Wow, it's been a while since I've been in the Funhouse, I had to sift through my documents to find my password.

Hi Lee, welcome. I am glad that Jean found you, and helped you in turn find your first mother. I have admired Jean as an author, and I've been told by folks whom I trust that her film is deeply moving and well-done. My remarks about her on this blog have nothing to do with her as daughter, as searcher, a film maker, an author of adoption literature. My focus, specifically in the blog entry in which you commented, was on her leadership of CA-CARE and statements she made in that capacity.

Her statement that adoption professionals and social workers are leading some sort of charge to change the stupid laws that impede adult adoptees from accessing their own birth records was so outrageous that I responded with the metaphorical question, "what has she been smoking?" The statement was historically dubious, insulting to the numerous adult adoptees and first mothers who have spent years trying to change the law in the face of rabid opposition from the adoption industry and its subsidiary social work minions. The very same adoption professionals and social workers who turned around and opposed Jean's bill. I felt then, and feel now, that the statement was so divorced from reality that it seemed delusional. Hence my question. "What have/has you/he/she/they been smoking?" is a pretty standard wise-ass response when confronted with an incomprehensible action or statement.

I never slandered Jean. If she thinks I have, she's welcome to take legal action. I sincerely doubt she'd prevail. Frankly I'd prefer to sit down with her for coffee or a beer or something. We have a lot in common, we're both adoptees, we both ran unsuccessful legislative campaigns in California to open records for adult adoptees. I will always tell her exactly what I think. And, after her season in politics, Jean may find that refreshing rather than aggravating.

11:30 PM  

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