First Adoption Rights March on Washington
Sponsored by the American Adoption Congress
I stand here before you today as a civil rights activist for the adoption reform movement. But I want to talk about three well-known activists of other eras who loudly and clearly proclaimed the need of freedom for their people.
If a man named Moses were standing here before us today, I believe he would be speaking on our behalf and say to our present government - Let My People Go! Because Moses was not only the leader of the Jewish nation - he was also the most famous adoptee - one who had been adopted outside of his Jewish heritage and Jewish faith/ But when he became aware of the bondage his people were in, he fought and persisted to see that they were set free. The Bible says that God heard the heartcries of His people. Our heartcries are now beginning to be heard around this country. We fight against the plagues of the adoption and child welfare system - the plague of the sealed record, which always equals cover-up; and the great plague of all - a corrupt system that has become a billion dollar business!
But I believe that we’re well on our way to the Promised Land, and that most intelligent, caring individuals really want truth and openness - not secrecy and lies.
This will be a land that will not see the need to sever birth roots nor eradicate the family name; a time when guardianship is a more cherished role than ownership. It will be a land that will not require the control of the social work profession, nor legislated rules and regulations; a land where no money need exchange hands (known as "fees") in order to adopt a child. Our Promised Land will be a land where adoptees, birthparents, and adoptive parents can come together and form a circle of love that will be immersed with openness, honest; and heartfelt caring.
If Susan B. Anthony were standing before us today - she, too, would be speaking out on our behalf. She, too, would be saying, let these people go. She knew what it meant to be denied rights - rights that her male counterparts enjoyed. She fought and let the women of America through the streets and halls of justice so that they too could have a voice at the ballot box. In 1873, she and 15 other women marched to the voting booth and exercised their God-given right to vote - and for this she stood trial.. She was prosecuted and fine - a fine she refused to pay. How many of us are going to have to stand trial, pay fines, and be prosecuted for demanding or exercising our God-given right to our original birth certificate or other records concerning our own lives?
If Martin Luther King could be here today, he would most likely be at the forefront of our March. He would be raising his hands, his head, and his voice, heavenward and shouting to the world - Let these people go! In one of his famous speeches, Martin Luther King said, "I have a dream that someday our people will not be judged by the color of their skin" We share a similar dream - that the day will soon come when we will not be judged or branded because we bear the name of ’adoptee,’ birthparent’ or adoptive parent.’
We pray for the day that we will not have to bargain, plead, beg, petition or pay for what is rightfully ours. We anticipate the day when legal documents called birth certificates will no longer be falsified - when birthmothers are no longer signed into the hospital under an assumed name, given them by an agency or attorney - we look toward the day when a simple request for information will be granted - and when Big Brother no longer stands over us with folded arms guarding our most prized possession - our BIRTHRIGHT!
Finally, I want to share the words of a poem written by Mary Anne Cohen, a birthmother with great insight and foresight. It’s entitled
TIME WILL COME when social workers are to serve, not sever; When they know it is better to unite than separate, To be true than to lie, to be seen than to hide, To accept than renounce, that the give and nurturing of life are both sacred and deserving of respect; That all parents are real parent, not rivals. That love is stronger than fear of laws or time, and cannot be terminated, cannot be legislated, cannot be denied…
TIME WILL COME when all children can grow, become real, cast off shadows, renew or sever ties by their own choice, be responsible, BE FREE! When our bondage ends, and we answer to our children; Answer wit the gift of sight, gift of words, gift of sorrow… When every person has the right to trace their rots in their mother’s face, their father’s eyes… When nobody is condemned to eternal childhood, and no mother cries forever…