For more information on these bills go to the Bastard Nation Legislation page and scroll down to “Florida”
I’m posting this tonight for those of you unfamiliar with Florida HB357 (and its companion SB 576)–a deformed bill that moves the rights of Florida adoptees as slow as fleas falling off a dead dog. In fact, that’s a perfect metaphor for Florida. The state and adoption industrialists dancing merrily on Class Bastard’s would be corpse. (Do we have any cartoonists here there who would like to take a stab at it?)
Here’s a brief rundown of the bill:
1) Pre-July 1, 1977s adoptions: Currently, in theory, Florida adoptees whose adoptions were finalized before June 30, 1977 have unrestricted access to their OBC, a right they have held for decades. No specific legislation, however, was enacted to authorize that release. As a result, due to misunderstanding and misapplication of law, some pre-1977s adoptees receive their OBCs, but many others are routinely denied access. In some cases, the Department of Health has refused to comply, even if with lawfully issued court order has been issued, and adoptees have been forced to sue the state for what is rightfully theirs. HB357/SB576 does not cover these circumstances. It appears, in fact, that under HB357/SB576 pre-1977 OBCs would remain held hostage to current ambiguous and confusing Florida release practice and the whim of bureaucrats. They would receive no relief. That is, it is likely that the current pre-1977 system and its misuse, will remain in place.
(2) July 1, 1977- June 30, 2018 adoptions: OBCs would be released to adoptees 40 years after adoption finalization. An OBC can be released earlier if the birthparent(s) listed on it is deceased or can reasonably be presumed to be deceased; an adoptee provides written evidence of knowledge of the birthparent(s) name that appears on the OBC; the adoptee receives a court order for release. Although the bill does not include a Disclosure Veto or similar restrictions, it does prescribe “contact preference” and medical history forms for birthparents to submit to the state voluntarily. We expect that if the legislative process moves forward that restrictions such as Disclosure Vetoes, or white-outs will be added to the bill making it even more restrictive and anti-equality.
(3) July 1, 2018-beyond adoptions: OBCs would be released to adoptees upon request, with no restriction, at the age of 18.
Do you have to be an AARPer to be responsible enough to own the public document of your own birth?
This abomination was introduced a couple weeks ago by Rep Richard Stark (D) followed with SB 576 sponsored by Sen. Dennis Baxley (R)). Earlier this year Stark introduced HB257 (and Baxley sponsored its companion SB434) clean bill that didn’t even get a committee hearing an died.. Bastard Nation, though in theory supported the billb, but didn’t sign on since Stark refused to guarantee that he would support its continuing cleanlness or pull the bill if it went South. Obviously, BN was correct about Stark;s inability and unwillingness to see it through.
Now Stark, who is adopted himself, wants to see “anything” passed on his watch. Baxley, an adoptive father, reportedly has “fire in his belly” for passage, whatever that means. That leaves us with this monster staring us in the face. But we are not alone!
HB257/SB576 has virtually no support in the adoptee rights/equality and adoption reform commonwealth. Last week a joint letter of opposition was issued by 22 national, state, and international organizations asking Stark, Baxley, other bill sponsors, and the membership of the House Quality Health Committee where it now sits, to oppose, pull bill, and replace it with a proposal for unrestricted access at the age of majority. You can read the letter here.
Below is a list of our impressive signatories:
Adoptee Rights Law Center
Adoptee Rights Campaign
Adoption Rights Alliance (Ireland)/The Philomena Project
American Adoption Congress
Banished Babies of Ireland
Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization
The Donaldson Adoption Institute
The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)
Trace L. Hentz, author, Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects series
Access Rhode Island
Equal Access Oklahoma
Minnesota Coalition for Adoption Reform
Florida Adoption Initiative for Reform (FAIR)
New York State Adoptee Equality (NYSAE)
The only organized support for SB 357/SB576 comes from Occupy Adoptee Rights Florida. a rather murky Facebook page believed to be owned or co-owned by Rich Urhlaub, one of the framers of the new Colorado law, Urhlaub lectures that adoptees and allies should not argue for “adoptee rights” since the term is loaded and offensive to lawmakers. I don’t have my notes handy, but as I remember Urhlaub argued similar nonsense at the 2016 American Adoption Conference in Denver where he claimed that there is no need to demand the restoral of our right to our OBCs and other adoption records since there is already a proven right because courts, for instance, grant access for “good cause.” Apparently, the “right” exists; it just needs to be accessed or adjudicated–or something and we need to grovel.
There is ample proof that Urhlaub, though he has no knbown connection ti Florida, is advising Stark and Baxley; and we believe some incrementalists are supporting, too, though they have not come out their closet at the time of this writing. Hence, the bill is being referred to as the Stark/Urhlaub bill. and in future posts will be called that.
I have long argued that our real enemy is our “friends”–the Benedict Bastards who will take what they can get and ride into the sunset with their names on crappy laws that will take decades–if ever–to fix. I’d much rather deal with the adoption industry and its hangers-on, who are at least honest in what they say about us we know what they will do.