Saturday, June 21, 2008
POLITICS ON THE HUDSON
June 20, 2008
Parents seek special birth certificates
Families of stillborns who are pushing for state legislation that would provide them with a special birth certificate are concerned that the legislative session will end next week without final passage. Parents of stillborns around the country have advocated for birth certificates as a means of acknowledging that they carried a baby to full term or close to full term, and to bring them closure. All they can get now in New York is a certificate of fetal death.
The bill was approved by the Senate in March, but it has been stuck in the committee process in the Assembly. The Senate passed the bill last year too, but the Assembly did not. People who are against the legislation said it creates a slippery slope that could result in a loss of reproductive rights for women.
The bill was changed in 2007 to include protections against that, advocates said. It received support from powerful Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan, which was expected to help its chances of passage.
“There is no way possible that there can be any confusion between reproductive rights and rights for mothers of stillborns,” said Jeff Tieger of Staten Island, whose wife, Lori, gave birth to a stillborn in February 2007.
“It really serves the parents and that’s all that it serves,” he added.
There are about 30,000 stillbirths across the country each year. There were 1,785 stillbirths in New York in 2004.
“There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t think of our son,” Lori Tieger said of Daniel, who was born at 39 weeks gestation. “As time goes on, it (getting the birth certificate) actually becomes more important.”
“There’s no political agenda here. It’s a women’s issue, just as any of the other issues that are women’s issues,” she said.
Link to article
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
June 19, 2008
By Sarah Harvey
In 1975, Dina Shannon, of Gore, was 20 years old, unmarried and pregnant.
She gave her child up for adoption as she felt she had no other choice.
That decision haunts her more than 30 years later.
Her baby was one of 3321 adopted nationally in 1975.
In 2007, just 60 babies were adopted nationally.
The figures are the lowest in 30 years and as waiting lists for adopted babies stretch past 300 couples, women in "crisis" pregnancies are being encouraged to consider adoption rather than abortion.
Mrs Shannon, a University of Otago social work lecturer, said the low number of adoptions was because pregnant women now had choices and government support if they kept the child.
Either way, the choice was a personal one, she said.
"You are going to lose something either way.
You are either going to lose a child, or if you keep the child you are going to lose a part of the life you once had."
The fall in adoptions has been matched by an increase in abortions, which is cited alongside the domestic purposes benefit and society's better acceptance of single motherhood as reasons for the trend down.
Statistics New Zealand figures showed the number of women terminating their pregnancies increased from 5945 in 1980 to 18,380 in 2007.
The general abortion rate in 2007 was 20.1 abortions per 1000 women.
Mrs Shannon, who now lives in Palmerston, said when she became pregnant she may as well have committed murder, as it was viewed in the same light.
"The choice [for adoption] was made partly by my parents and partly by society.
I didn't know what being a mother would involve and if I could look after a baby.
"I saw some social workers but they did not tell me what my rights were," she said.
She was sent to a farm in Ranfurly where single women went to have their babies away from the public eye.
The mother of the baby's father offered her money to term-inate the pregnancy.
"It was strange. I can remember my girlfriend's mother going on about [the pregnancy] but her daughter was in the same situation - it was just that she was getting married."
Mrs Shannon said the trauma of the birth and having her baby taken away left her with a memory blank.
She even had to battle to see her newborn son.
The fight has continued today and the lack of contact with her son continues to haunt Mrs Shannon.
She has met her son once but he did not know he was serving a cup of coffee to his mother.
The situation was set up by the adoptive father and for Mrs Shannon it was "terrible".
She knows where her son is and what he is doing but he refuses contact.
To deal with her issues and push for a change in the adoption laws, Mrs Shannon founded the Dunedin Adoption Support Group in 1979.
It achieved major change with the Adult Adoption Act of 1985 which meant people who were adopted could see their original birth certificate and birth parents could access information on their child.
Mrs Shannon said up to 20 people still come to support group meetings.
Most are dealing with issues after having been reunited with their parents or child.
Adoption was not a black-and-white issue.
It was a personal choice and a difficult one for women to make, she said.
"I think society still sees it very much as a positive thing. Many think open adoption is the answer, but I think children will still feel abandoned."
For many people, it can disrupt their formative years as they experience feelings of loss and abandonment.
"I can always remember an adoptee coming to me saying he had a loving adopted home but had always felt like he didn't fit in.
The family all played sport and he loved mathematics. If he had grown up having some sort of contact with the birth family, he would have known they were a family who loved numbers," she said.
What is adoption?
• Adoption is the legal transfer of all parental rights and responsibilities from a child's birth parents to the adoptive parents. When this process is completed, the child's legal status becomes as if the child had been born to the adoptive parents.
• Prospective parents who contact Child, Youth and Family are checked to see whether they are suitable.
• They must be New Zealand residents, with a clean criminal record and be in good health.
• Classes are held for prospective adoptive parents where they learn what to expect from the adoption.
• Many people at the meetings are in the same situation, having explored all other options for having a child of their own.
• Social workers are intimately involved, and parents know once they are on the waiting list it is just a matter of waiting.
• As few as three babies in the Otago region are put up for adoption each year.
• The birth mother chooses the parents for her child.
• The choice of adopting the baby is the birth mother's right, and social workers tend to favour keeping the baby with its birth mother.
• People must apply to Child, Youth and Family where they undergo the same checks as for adopting a New Zealand child. They attend three days of education courses.
• Organisations such as Inter Country Adoption New Zealand will organise the paper work for what can be a lengthy process.
• Countries such as Russia, Lithuania, Thailand, the Philippines and India are accepting inter-country adoptions. This changes frequently with new legislation and the availability of orphans.
• All children in inter-country adoptions are wards of the state and if not adopted will often live in orphanages until they turn 15.
• Inter-country adoptions are expensive. The major cost is for travel, translators and facilitators in the country concerned.
• Parents are more or less guaranteed a child at the end of the adoption process, unlike national adoption.
Link to article
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
June 17, 2008
Doc faces trial for false info on babies
Doctor faces up to eight counts of falsifying information to obtain birth certificates for babies. -NST
By R. Sittamparam
JOHOR BARU, MALAYSIA: A gynaecologist was charged yesterday with falsifying information on the biological parents of four babies to obtain birth certificates.
He was also charged with using the forged application forms for the birth certificates and endorsing certain couples as the biological parents when they were not.
Dr Robert Luk Tai Kong, 61, was charged in two Sessions Courts with eight counts - two counts for each baby.
In the first court presided by judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin, Dr Luk was charged in relation to one baby.
Before judge Aliman Musri, there were six charges pertaining to three babies.
Dr Luk claimed trial to all charges.
Before Muhammad Jamil, Dr Luk was charged with giving information to the National Registration Department (NRD) in a birth certificate application form that the biological parents of Fabian Naveen were Cynthia Darshan Singh and Ferliex S. Stanislaus at 11.43am on Oct 25 last year at No 33B, Menara Landmark, Landmark Medical Centre here.
By doing so, he impelled NRD staff Nayagie Kumarasamy to issue a birth certificate (BC) no BX33581 for the baby.
Dr Luk was also charged with using the BC application form as a genuine document for Fabian Naveen by endorsing the personal details of the baby's parents as the biological parents, knowing well that the document was a forgery.
Deputy public prosecutor Idham Abdul Ghani proposed bail of RM50,000 on the two charges and for Dr Luk's passport to be surrendered to the court.
Defence counsel R.K. Menon objected, saying that as Dr Luk would be facing six other charges in another court and possibly other charges later, the bail was excessive and asked for it to be reduced to RM10,000.
He also requested that Dr Luk be allowed to keep his passport because he did not have a place to stay in Johor Baru as he resided with his family in Singapore.
He said there was no danger that Dr Luk would abscond as he was a professional and had abided by requirements of the police bail after his arrest.
Muhammad Jamil set bail at RM20,000 on the two charges and instructed Dr Luk to report to Johor Baru Central Police Station on the first week of every month pending trial.
Before Aliman, Dr Luk faced six similar charges in respect of three babies.
* For baby Rubhashri Thiagarajan, he stated Kogula Sundari Periasamy and Thiagarajan Nadarajan as the biological parents, impelling NRD employee Suriyani Mohamad Noor to issue BC no BT97692 at 10.50am on Nov 23, 2006.
* For baby Loong Yu Xuan, he stated So Sai Hong and Loon Cher Heong as the biological parents, impelling NRD employee Nayagie Kumarasamy to issue BC no BX32598 at 10.23am on Oct 8, last year.
* For baby Serena Swathi, he stated Evensia Mary D. Stanislaus and Gerard Joseph as the biological parents, impelling NRD employee Sh Ramdzan Sh Abdullah to issue BC no BY76130 at 3.34pm on Feb 2.
In all three cases, he used the application forms for the birth certificates as genuine documents by endorsing the personal details of the parents as the biological parents, knowing well that the documents were forged.
Aliman set bail at RM60,000 for the six charges and ordered Dr Luk to report to the Johor Baru Central Police Station on the first week of every month pending trial.
Both judges fixed Aug 15 for the cases to be mentioned.
Link to article
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
June 11, 2008
Woman accused of stealing records pleads no contest
The Associated Press
Posted: 12:56 PM- BRIGHAM CITY -- A woman accused of stealing adoption records from a Davis County courthouse pleaded no contest to the charges.
But Jill Ekstrom may have defendant's regret. She tells an Ogden newspaper that she had taken painkillers Monday and may withdraw the plea.
Ekstrom is the former owner of UtahFinders.com. She gained notoriety for reuniting adopted children with their biological parents.
A Davis County prosecutor, Rick Westmoreland, says 300 to 400 adoption case files from the 1970s were contained on several rolls of microfilm. The microfilm has not been recovered.
Ekstrom, 43, was accused of selling some of that information to an undercover officer.
The Standard-Examiner says Ekstrom pleaded no contest to five misdemeanors. Sentencing is set for July 22.
Link to article
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
June 10, 2008
June 9, 2008, at the North Carolina General Assembly
The Associated Press
- House panel to consider expanding confidential intermediary program for adoptees
- Rucho sworn in to return to NC Senate
- Boseman, ex-domestic partner default on home mortgage
- National Guard company that lost five during deployment honored by NC House
ADOPTION RULES: Lawmakers are considering expanding a program that enables adoptees to learn the identities of their birth parents using an adoption agencies as a confidential intermediaries. A House judiciary committee is slated to consider a bill Tuesday that would allow adoptees to obtain death certificates for their deceased birth parents through the intermediary. A 1949 state law prohibits adoptees from accessing their original birth certificates, which contains their biological parents' names. Without the parents' consent, the intermediary agency also can't provide information to adoptees - even if the parents are dead. The other measure would allow the family members of either deceased biological parents or deceased adoptees to use the intermediary. Roberta MacDonald, chairwoman of the N.C. Coalition for Adoption Reform, said the plans would provide a new way for adoptees to gain valuable data, including medical information, about their biological families.
RUCHO'S BACK: Sen. Bob Rucho is back in the Legislature after being away for four years. Court of Appeals Judge Ann Marie Calabria swore the Charlotte Republican into office before Monday night's session. The dentist will serve the rest of the term belonging to Sen. Robert Pittenger, who resigned last month to focus on running for lieutenant governor. Rucho served in the Senate for eight years before the 2003 redistricting put his house in the same district as Pittenger's. Rucho was chosen to serve out Pittenger's term by Mecklenburg County Republican leaders. Gov. Mike Easley formally appointed him Monday.
MORTGAGE DEFAULT: Sen. Julia Boseman and her former domestic partner have defaulted on a $1.3 million mortgage on a New Hanover County home. Documents show Boseman, D-New Hanover, and Melissa Jarrell have failed to pay the $7,156 monthly payments since last August. The home will be auctioned June 25 at the county courthouse. County tax records show $4,700 in taxes are also owed on the property. Boseman is seeking a third Senate term in November. She said the situation was a private matter that wouldn't affect work for her constituents.
NATIONAL GUARD: The House officially thanked a North Carolina National Guard unit that served overseas and is scheduled to return home Tuesday. The 1132nd Military Police Company, based in Rocky Mount, Tarboro, and Mount Olive, deployed in June 2007 and ultimately reached Iraq in September. Five members of the unit died during the deployment, four of them from North Carolina. One was from New Hampshire, part of a platoon the served with the company. The House passed a resolution honoring the work of all who served and the memory of those who lost their lives.
In the Senate:
- H724, to remove the requirement to use Social Security numbers on child support court orders. Approved 45-0. Next: Return to House for concurrence motion.
AROUND THE STATEHOUSE:
Mount Olive College leaders and the coaching staff of the baseball team were in attendance as the Legislature passed a resolution praising the team for winning the NCAA Division II championship two weekends ago. The Trojans beat Ouachita Baptist 6-2 in Illinois on May 31 to capture the national title.
ON THE AGENDA:
- The Appalachian State University football team will be honored Tuesday for their third consecutive NCAA Football Championship Subdivision title with a resolution celebrating another title. The Mountaineers also plan to stop by the Executive Mansion earlier in the day to meet Gov. Mike Easley.
- House and Senate members of both parties hold a news conference Tuesday to promote a bill that would allow parents of children with special needs to seek a tax credit for sending their children to a tuition-paid school.
"It's good to be back." - Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, in brief comments after he was sworn back into office Monday evening. The four-term senator is filling out the unexpired term of Sen. Robert Pittenger, who resigned to run for lieutenant governor.
By Gary D. Robertson and Whitney Woodward.
Link to article
June 10, 2008
A House committee is backing a plan that would require adoption agencies to report how many birthparents and adoptees use a program to help the adults learn each other's identities.
The panel approved a plan Tuesday that would require the state to record how many adopted individuals and biological parents try to find their counterparts.
Lawmakers created a program last year that allows adoption agencies to act as confidential intermediaries between adoptees and biological parents. The individuals' names and medical information can be shared if both parties agree.
But members delayed approving or rejecting a plan to allow family members to use the intermediary service if either an adoptee or birthparent had died. The panel is scheduled to consider the plan Thursday.
Link to article
Monday, June 2, 2008
To: Members, Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization
Re: Withdrawal of Bastard Nation from A Day for Adoptee Rights
The Executive Committee of Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization announces with regret the withdrawal of our organizational co-sponsorship and official participation in A Day for Adoptee Rights, (DAR) scheduled for July 20-25 during the National Conference of State Legislature's annual meeting in New Orleans. We had planned to hold a "Bastard Boot Camp Teach-In" on July 20, participate in the protest on July 22, and help staff the DAR space inside the Mariol Convention Center July 23-25.
We sincerely regret any inconvenience or discouragement this decision may cause.
As of this writing the event itself has not been canceled, only Bastard Nation's co-sponsorship and participation. Please check the DAR website for updates on the status of the event. http://adopteerights.net/nulliusfilius/
Bastard Nation has been concerned for some time about the cost effectiveness of the project. While many people exhibited an interest in attending all or part of the event, the number of people who actually registered or made a serious commitment to attend was minimal. There were also hidden costs at the convention center, of which DAR and BN were not aware of until recently, which put our participation extremely over budget.
Bastard Nation believes that the Day for Adoptee Rights project is a sound idea. There is no dispute between BN and DAR. We have concluded that this is not the time or place for Bastard Nation to take part in a Day for Adoptee Rights. The cost of the event this year spiraled and did not balance with the number of participants coming forward to show our strength to the politicians who hold the keys to the records cabinets. Bastard Nation is an all volunteer organization that works on the foundational financial principle of bringing you the best bang for your buck. Spending several thousand dollars in member dues and donations on a project that at this point was sputtering is fiscally irresponsible, movement careless, and takes time and funds away from legislative and educational activities that can make a direct difference now.
Moreover, we are concerned with the participation of Abrazo Adoption Agency in San Antonio, Texas. Unknown to DAR and BN until just a few days ago, Abrazo has been raising funds for the event in DAR's name. http://apps.facebook.com/causes/85456?recruiter_id=15092383
These funds went and continue to go directly to the agency, raising huge ethical issues for Bastard Nation and the equal access movement. Records and identity access is about our rights and has no connection with the marketing schemes of adoption agencies. BN has a long-standing, hard-line policy of accepting no support from the adoption industry. Bastard Nation specifically, and the adoptee rights movement in general, cannot and should not be co-opted or used by the adoption industry to promote its own agenda. We disavow all industry involvement in our work. Any entanglement with the adoption industry endangers the integrity and credibility of the adoptee rights movement.
Although BN solicited funds for our specific DAR activities, the only official fundraising site for DAR is on the DAR site. Do not send funds to any other solicitor.
Bastard Nation is in the process of working with the Country Inn and Suites by Carlson to release the rooms in our reserved block. We will personally contact everyone who registered under our agreement with the hotel about the procedure for you to cancel room reservations should you desire to do so.
We greatly appreciate the work that volunteers from Bastard Nation and A Day for Adoptee Rights have put into this event. Without them and you there is no movement. We applaud your enthusiasm, commitment and we look forward to future activities to restore our rights.
Please write to our Executive Chair, Marley Greiner (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions.
Yours in Bastardy,
The Bastard Nation Executive Committee
Anita Walker Field
Marley Greiner, Executive Chair