Questions and answers about New England Adoptee Rights, including who is involved and what we hope to do.
Last updated on February 21, 2021
Who is “We?”
“We” refers to those who join the effort, whether as an organizational partner or an individual ally or supporter. More specifically, as we build more collaboration among groups in New England, the groundwork is being coordinated with logistical and data support of Adoptees United Inc. and its board members. Rebekah Henson, an adoptee in Vermont, is doing the primary groundwork for building unity in the region, with a clear focus on equality for all adopted people and a current specific focus on Vermont.
If you are an organization interested in being part of our work, email us at [email protected]. You can be a core partner (involved in all decision making), a strategic partner (works with us directly but does not have decision making authority within the group), or a supporting partner (supports our efforts by communicating with its own constituents to broaden our impact). Individuals interested in joining the effort can also do so here.
All core partners and strategic partners must agree in writing to a bottom line of equality for all adoptees, no exceptions.
What are you trying to do?
We are working to change discriminatory laws in New England and restore full civil rights for all adopted people. Those laws deny an adult adoptee the right to request and obtain his or her own original birth certificate.
Are you committed to equality for all adopted people?
Yes. Those who work with us and for us are committed to equal rights for all adopted people. Our work will not in any way provide or express support, whether publicly or privately, for legislation that would restrict an adult adoptee’s right to obtain his or her own original birth certificate (OBC) upon request. Any organization that wishes to join our working group as a core or strategic partner must also commit in writing to this bottom line. There are no exceptions.
Why a regional group?
Anyone who was born or adopted in the region understands too well that adoptees were often fungible and moveable as a part of adoption practices, with many adoptees born in one state and adopted in another. In addition, many adoptees do not live in the state where they were born and are often “disenfranchised” when it comes to having representation in the state holding their own birth records. This has made efforts to enact change particularly difficult. The strength of any organized movement relies on numbers, and a regional focus will help build that strength and ultimately represent as many people as possible.
Aren’t other groups already working for legislative change in New England?
Yes. Specifically, Access Connecticut is working in Connecticut to remove a date-based restriction in its current law, as is Access Massachusetts in Massachusetts. We support that work, which is years in the making and ongoing, with active bills in 2021. In addition, advocates in Rhode Island have a bill in the 2021 session that will further strengthen its law and lower the age for an adult adopted person to obtain an original birth certificate from 25 to 18. We support those changes and will do what we can to help enact them.
What is your timeframe for getting things done?
We are working to build a strong working group that is led by committed adoptee-led organizations and supported by impacted adoptees and their allies. There is no timeframe other than to secure civil rights for all adopted people in the region.
Does this include intercountry adoptees?
Our work is singularly focused on giving all adopted people the equal right to request and receive their original birth certificates. We welcome the involvement of adoptees from all backgrounds, but there are other organizations led by intercountry adoptees—such as Adoptees for Justice— that specifically work on the issues intercountry adoptees face, and we are proud to amplify their work too.
Who is paying for or supporting you financially?
As with most adoptee rights organizations, we are self-funded, meaning most of the expenses are borne by those doing the work. It is expected that partner organizations and supporting individuals will also contribute funding to help. Adoptees United Inc., a nonprofit tax-exempt organization, is available to act as a fiscal agent for such fundraising efforts and has already assisted in logistics and infrastructure, such as website hosting and email databases. Fundraising efforts on Facebook have been particularly successful for Adoptees United and can be used to help this effort financially—contact us if you are interested in more information on what you can do to raise money dedicated to this and Adoptee United’s work.
How do I sign up to help?
Sign up by providing your information here.
I have more questions. Where can I ask them?
Email us at [email protected].