Tuesday, December 30, 2008


On Monday, December 29th we arrived in Springfield, IL early enough to have lunch before going to Vital Records to deliver the letters written to Santa. Lunch at a Bennigan's might have resulted in luck of the Irish! We pulled into the parking lot for the building where Vital Records is housed about 20 minutes prior to the scheduled time. My sister spotted a WICS TV van parked nearby so it was decided that the driver should be approached to see if he was there to cover the delivery of the letters. He was and asked if he could interview me while we were waiting until 1:00 to arrive.

I felt that the interview went well. The reporter did ask me a lot of questions. I did stress that adoptees have been robbed of a civil right to not be able to legally obtain a copy of their OBC and that there are birth parents and adoptive parents who agree. Obtaining one's OBC does not automatically lead them to their birth mother's doorstep. I told him about the old story about birth mothers not wanting to be found but the majority do want to be. I stressed that the fight for open records is not about search and reunion. It is about the civil right that should be restored to adult adoptees. It is about the dignity that has been taken from them. The reporter did ask why we don't feel that the IL adoption registry and CI Program are efficient. They are not a replacement and we need an open records law with no conditions.

When it came time to enter the building that houses the Vital Records department, I found that I had to tell a lady behind a window as to why I was there. She knew why but we had called ahead in order to have permission for the media to film the event. She asked that I step around to a locked door. A man met me at the door and took the bag of letters. I later wondered why he could not have stepped out into the outer entry area. Was he just not interested in talking to me, was he camera shy, or did he fear that if I got started talking, I might go on forever about OBC's being sealed? I do realize that in this day and age there are many locked doors because there is fear about what might happen otherwise. I sure would have loved to have shoved past this man and grabbed all the OBC's! But we all knew that I would not walk away from Vital Records with them in my hand. I was kind and gave the man a candy cane along with my personal card that does clearly state, "All adoptees should have their OBC, restore their civil rights".

Those who saw me out in the parking lot being interviewed by the TV news reporter had to have wondered what was going on. How many times four days after Christmas do you see an elf with a large gift bag in their hand being interviewed outside the Vital Records office. The wind caused the bell on my hat to just keep jingling! The look that one lady gave me made me wonder if she might have muttered all the way home! I was more of a site as I opened the door to the building because my elf hat blew off. I managed to catch it but did not try to put it back on while being filmed.

The news reporter said that WICS would cover the story and thought that FOX would too. My cable does not cover WICS and I missed seeing it on FOX since the reporter did tell me an earlier time than when it was aired. But after making some phone calls today I did learn that I can order a DVD so an order for one is going out in tomorrow's mail.

We had hoped to raise public awareness that adult adoptees can not legally obtain a copy of their OBC. I feel that we did succeed with that and the more who become aware of it, the better. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who wrote letters. Each and every one did count! There were a total of 82 letters delivered. They were from people who live in 15 different states plus Canada.

We must continue to raise public awareness
and come out in numbers until OBC's are legally obtainable everywhere!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Letters Requesting OBC's to be Delivered

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer did upgrade to a GPS device. But it did malfunction during the ice storm and frigid temps in the Midwest to prevent delivering the letters to Vital Records prior to Christmas. However we have already had enough ice to make for an entire normal winter. My feeling is that Rudolph will continue to let his nose guide he and the other reindeer. I heard that was what he did on Christmas Eve. Rudolph has guided the reindeer and Santa back to the North Pole and all of them are resting up from an exhausting trip all over the world.

Illinois governments are trying to conserve expensive road salt but higher temps (probably asked for by Santa) have melted enough ice to make a trip by car to Springfield.

We will deliver the letters to Vital Records at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, December 29th.

I will post how the event goes and we will hope for publicity to raise public awareness that IL adult adoptees are legally denied a copy of their OBC.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Thank you to everyone who wrote letters to Santa requesting your OBC or for another's OBC! If you have not written yet, please do so TODAY and email it to me - mlf@ilopen.org. Please don't say that others are writing and one more letter won't make a difference. The more letters, the better. I currently have 77 letters, a nice number but more would be better.

Unfortunately the trip to Vital Records had to be postponed due to an ice storm that moved quickly into this area. Bitter cold and high winds followed so traveling about 90 miles one way to Springfield was out of the question. We need some at least partially sunny days and warmer temps to clear the roads. Vital Records will be closed Dec. 25-28. But hopefully it will not be long after Christmas when Santa's elves take the bag of letters to Vital Records.

Thank you for your patience while the ice melts! If you have lots of sun and warmer temps than we have here in the Midwest, please send some our way!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

The U.S. Census Bureau at An Adoptee's Service

Today while reading a genealogical column in our local newspaper I was happy in a way to see that The U.S. Census Bureau can be of help with passport applications (www.census.gov/genealogy/www/agesearch.html). The website does not say that adoptees are exempt. So I saw red to think that adoptees with delayed birth records can now pay $65 to prove a birth and a family relationship. It is just another way to cash in on adoptees who are still legally denied a copy of their OBC.

For years now some adoptees have had problems with obtaining a passport. When an amended certificate, the only one that many adoptees have is dated several days or maybe months after their birthdate, government officials question if it is authentic. So the issuance of a passport is denied. The date on my own amended birth record was definitely falsified since my adoptive parents did not know about my birth until I was three weeks old. But there are no questions asked by any government agency because the dates match. I'm not complaining but it goes to show that a falsfied legal document can fly while one that has not been tampered with might not.

Adoptees being denied passports have been one argument for open records. Is The U.S. Census Bureau stepping up to help legislators who oppose open records? Or has The U.S. Census Bureau stepped up to cash in like others have from records being closed in the majority of the states? There could be non-adopted U.S. citizens in need of this new service.

But I say it is far better to restore the civil right taken from adoptees. During these bad economical times why not let them obtain a copy of their OBC for the same amount as others pay for an OBC? I bet it would not cost $65 in any one of the states. I have to wonder too if a question will come up about an adoptee's age on their drivers' license or state ID matching that with what The U.S. Census Bureau finds on the census. Census errors are rather common and we must remember that not all adoptees join their adoptive families immediately after birth.

Will we learn at some point that this new service can't help all adoptees? It could become a gamble as to if it will or not while a government agency is still profiting.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Santa wants the letters received by December 5th. If bad weather would set in and icicles form on Rudolph's nose, it can take longer to travel.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that Santa cannot bring anyone their OBC for Christmas but Santa CAN do something very useful to further adoptees' struggle to obtain the same rights as other state residents. By writing a "letter to Santa", you can also help to raise awareness of the inequities of Illinois law. If you are an adoptee, write a letter to Santa that requests your OBC for Christmas. If you are the parent, sibling (or other relative) or friend of an adoptee, write your letter to Santa requesting that he bring the adoptee his OBC for Christmas. Since we are constantly hit over the head with birth parent privacy as the reason adoptees cannot access their OBC, if you are among those who surrendered a child to adoption, you can help by adding that you never wanted to be anonymous to your own child. There are genealogists who have found adoptees on their family tree and they should write letters also. We welcome others willing to help with our cause. Keep your letters brief and to the point. Don't introduce information that muddies the water. Contents of a few of these letters will be shared with the media (with identifying information removed, of course). The letters will be delivered by Santa or one of his elves to the Department of Vital Records with appropriate news coverage to increase public awareness of this issue.

Please send letters to:

c/o Mary Lynn Fuller
109 W. Illinois St., Apt. 506
Urbana, IL 61801

Write today! Thank you and a blessed holiday season to all!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


The following proclamation by President Bush makes me angry:

Proclamation by the President: National Adoption Month, 2008
Contact: White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 202-456-2580
WASHINGTON, October 31 /Standard Newswire/ -- The following is a proclamation by President Bush:
During National Adoption Month, we recognize the compassion of adoptive and foster families as we seek to raise awareness of the need for every child in America to have a safe, loving, and permanent home.
Adopting a child is a great joy and also a great responsibility. Parents are a child's first teachers, and adoptive families can help children learn character and values, the importance of giving back to their community and country, and the courage to realize their potential. On November 15, caring parents across our Nation will celebrate National Adoption Day by finalizing their adoptions and bringing home children in need of a hopeful life.
My Administration is committed to helping young people find the love, stability, and support that a family can provide. We have joined with community and faith-based organizations to raise public awareness of foster children awaiting adoption. With the help of the Congress, we are assisting families in overcoming the financial barriers to adopting children through programs such as the Adoption Incentives Program. In addition, the Collaboration to AdoptUsKids project, which can be found at adoptuskids.org, provides guidance and resources for parents exploring adoption.
During National Adoption Month, we honor adoptive and foster parents who have shown America the depth and kindness of the human heart. Their love and dedication inspire the next generation of Americans to achieve their dreams and demonstrate the true spirit of our Nation.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2008 as National Adoption Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities to honor adoptive families and to participate in efforts to find permanent homes for waiting children.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.


How can it be right to have a National Adoption Month to honor adoptive families and to participate in efforts to find permanent homes for waiting children with no mention of adult adoptees. Was it an oversight? I highly doubt it because adult adoptees are always being forgotten about.

Adult adoptees in the closed records states continue to fight to have their civil right restored to be able to receive their OBC upon request. But does the adoption reform movement get much publicity - NO. Now our President is ignoring adult adoptees as if they don't exist. I wonder what he thinks happens to these children who are placed in adoptive homes. Well HELLO they do grow up to become adults just like other children. Just placing them in a home is not the end of the life long process of adoption.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Recently I read a blog about employers paying some of the adoption expenses for adoptive parents. There is concern about the nation's economy affecting this benefit. It was stated that an adoption expense benefit for employees helps employers to be more competitive. Another statement that saw me see red was that adoption benefits increase employee's attachment to the company and creates positive perception about the company in minds of the consuming public.

Innocent babies placed for adoption due to various circumstances result in companies offering a fringe benefit that helps to make the company more competitive. Are the best interests of the child being thought of or is a company being competitive and the adoptive parents receiving money more important?

I believe that Internal Revenue still allows a tax deduction for adoption expenses. I do know for a fact that IRS did back in the late 1970's when I knew an adoptive mother who could not wait to write off the expense of obtaining their son. It was not too long after that the adoptive parents divorced. I don't know what happened to the son but am guessing that the adoptive mother must have kept him in order to take advantage of any other benefits she might receive from having the son.

If adoptive parents need help with paying the expenses of adopting a child, can they afford to raise the child and provide all the necessities. Are they truely going to care for the child as one of their own or are they going to be looking for ways to benefit financially?

Is making it easier financially to adopt a child one of the reasons why we read in the news about adopted children being abused and sometimes killed?

Thursday, October 16, 2008


More and more blogs are being written by those who do rip off those searching. Some of the blogging does give good searching information while I've read some that is misleading. A blog about searching for adoption records will lead those searching to read it. Then there will be links to check public records, for birth records... Searching for a name is free but getting the information is not. BUT believe me, you will not always get the information that you are led to think is forthcoming by paying a fee or subscribing to a database for a month or a year. I just searched at one website for a birth record for an IL adoptee. I was told that it is available. It is NOT available. Plus it was misleading to be told how much information is available on this person when I know that it is not. This person lives like a hermit with no street address and not nearly as many public records are available for him as the average person. I had no reason to pay the current special of $39.95 annual subscription. But if someone else who does not know this person were searching for him, they might pay it. I have no idea what information they might receive but it could not be much and maybe nothing at all.

If a PI say claims to be able to find a birth parent for $250, think about what information you have. Chances are they will not find a birth parent for $250 unless you provide the name and last known address. Many adoptees don't have a copy of their OBC. Some are fortunate to know the name of their birth mother from another source. But if you have the name and last known address, you might be able to find the person yourself. One never knows how much more money might be asked for after the $250 initial fee either when it is discovered that a marriage application/license or other documents are necessary in order to complete the search.

The only thing that makes me more angry than those taking advantage of the vulnerable are those who are fighting open records with no restrictions.

We must continue to fight for ALL adult adoptees to be able to request and receive their OBC. If you have not joined in to see what you can do to help with the adoption reform movement, please do so today.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Never did I expect to be put down so badly after writing a comment at:

The Road to Parenthood
I do realize that our federal government has never been a part of adoption reform. After reading a blog about John McCain being one to seek ways to promote adoption, permit tax deductions..., I thought it would be interesting to know how he stands on open records. It would never hurt to have a President who does endorse adoption reform.
It is obvious to me that Elizabeth and Brian need to be educated. They obviously don't understand that many triad members, not just adoptees do want open records. But it sounds as if they will be among the minority as adoptive parents to keep as many secrets as possible and do what they can to prevent any future children from searching for and finding birth family. They don't sound the type to ever bow their heads in shame. But it does sound as if they will put shame on future children if they even mention wanting their OBC or express a desire to find their birth family. It is obvious that they have closed minds refusing to listen to any views that others have because the following was posted when some of us did try to post a comment:

Posted by Elizabeth and Brian at 12:51 AM 0 comments Links to this post"

God pity any children placed in their home.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

MI Legislative Alert

Senators in MI need to be urged to vote NO to HB 4896 and HB 6287. The bills are too restrictive. They were clean bills amended to the point that they are just not acceptable. For these bills to become law could set an example that other states might follow and it just can not happen. Adoption reform needs to move forward and these bills would be steps backward. No adoptee should be left behind. All need to be treated the same. A new bill should be introduced that places all adopted adults on a par with all non-adopted citizens in MI. All adopted adults deserve to have their civil right restored.

See www.legislature.mi.gov to read the texts of the bills and for contact information for MI Senators.

Adoption Reform Illinois Needs Your Help

WANTED: Letters to Santa Claus

Adoption Reform Illinois wants to raise public awareness that adult adoptees cannot legally obtain an original birth certificate in Illinois.

Those who should write letters are:


birth parents

adoptive parents

relatives, i.e. spouses, children, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and those who have found an adoptee on their family tree

friends who are aware of the need someone is feeling to have an original birth certificate

Letters should be addressed to:

Santa Claus
% Mary Lynn Fuller
109 W. Illinois St., Apt. 506
Urbana, IL 61801

Letters can be signed with just a first name or your full name. Just keep in mind that your letter could be selected to submit to the news media.

Although Christmas is a few weeks away, write now. "Santa" will deliver the letters to Vital Records in Springfield before Christmas.

The more letters, the better!

Example letters but please use your own words:


Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is my original birth certificate. 50 years ago when my adoption was finalized, it was sealed. I have family and friends who were not adopted and they have their OBC.

Mary (last name optional)


Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is for my wife/husband/sister/brother/daughter/son/niece/nephew/granddaughter/grandson to have their original birth certifcate.

Thank you,
Mary (last name optional)


Dear Santa,

While tracing my family history I've discovered that my great-grandmother was adopted. All I want for Christmas is her original birth certificate so that I can prove lineage to join societies.

Thank you,
Mary (last name optional)


Dear Santa,

My friend Sandy is adopted and has been denied her original birth certificate. All I want for Christmas is for Sandy to have it.

Mary (last name optional)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Abortions in Illinois

I would think that the number of abortions in Illinois would open the eyes of legislators that are opposed to making IL an open records state. In 2006 there were a total of 46,467 . Data was from Centers for Disease Control and the State Health Department. Estimates were from Alan Guttmacher Surveys.

Abortions in Alabama and Oregon have decreased since they have become open records states. Alabama decreased from 13,273 in 1999 to 11,654 in 2006. Abortions in Oregon were 14,145 in 1999 and 11,663 in 2006. The number of abortions was not available for Maine and New Hampshire.

Alaska and Kansas have always been open states. In 2006 Alaska had 1,923 abortions and Kansas 5,778.

There is an old argument that opening records will increase the number of abortions. But the above data proves that this is not true. Numbers don't lie and I find it alarming that there were over 40,000 more abortions in 2006 in Illinois than in Alaska and Kansas who have always been open records states.

If I were an IL legislator opposed to open records, I'd not be able to sleep at night knowing that closed records could be contributing to the death of an unborn. Plus closed records are robbing adoptees of their civil right to request and receive their original birth certificate. Closed records are contributing to loved ones being separated for many years. So just who is being helped from closed records?

Sunday, August 31, 2008


IL HB 4623 as written MUST not become law. Records must be opened for ALL, not just a selected group. For many years now some of us have been strong advocates for open records. But the more who join in the fight, I feel the better chance we will have of seeing Illinois becoming an open records state. All triad members need to speak out. I know that many genealogists are for open records and sometimes I hear others say it is only right for everyone to know their origins. But it is unfortunate that sometimes people will sit back thinking that others are taking care of the fight. No matter how many are fighting, the more the better. Newspaper readers and TV news watchers often see demonstrations by people fighting for a particular civil right. These demonstrations do get attention and make the news. A demonstration to show support for open records in IL would do no harm in my opinion. Let's do it! No, we don't all live in the same city but there can be multiple demonstrations. Another way to get attention is to flood legislators with phone calls and letters. There are times when it can help to lobby at the statehouse. Please contact me!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

My dream for all adoptees

I am one of the more fortunate adoptees to have completed my search 11 1/2 years ago. I will always be greatful to my dear friend Anita Field who was invaluable help to me during the final days of my search.

My search took over 20 years and during that time my birth parents passed away. But I've been reunited with siblings and other relatives. Recently some of us got together. There were special moments to share and reminders of how much I am like some of my siblings. Striking family resemblance is being passed on down from one generation to another. Although 11 years have passed I still feel overwhelmed while I'm around birth relatives. I always hate to leave them. But I always come home feeling so blessed that I've been reunited. It does not seem right that so many others are still searching. Some have been rejected so missed out on the opportunity to be reunited with birth relatives. Others have given up searching because it seems impossible to complete their search.

I will always be a strong advocate for open records because I do want all adoptees to experience similar special moments with birth relatives like I have been blessed with. Open records would not change a birth relative choosing to reject someone. I can't help but think though that some birth mothers have filed with a state saying that they don't want contact when that might not have happened if they had been contacted by their son/daughter and heard their voice. Although I'm not as active as I once was with helping to reunite people I recall too well when some birth mothers did not think that they wanted contact and then changed their mind. But to open records is not just for search and reunion.

Open records would provide all adult adoptees the opportunity to request and receive their original birth certificate. That might not always lead to searching and being reunited. But for those not reunited they would know their identity and most of all they would be treated like first class citizens. They would have the same civil right as non-adoptees!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Some News Reporters Don't Want to Publicize the Truth

Recently Nicole Dungca, a staff writer for The Times-Picayune (New Orleans) publicized a statement that was not the truth. I realize that news reporters do publicize what they hear. But included in "Protestors Seek to Change Laws Sealing Birth Papers" Rodney Huey, a spokesman for the National Council for Adoption said that birth mothers were guaranteed confidentiality. I wrote to Ms. Dungca to let her know that Mr. Huey is way out on left field and urged her to publicize the truth. The truth is that birth mothers were not guaranteed confidentiality and many are looking for their offspring and want to be found. I personally feel this lie about being guaranteed confidentiality was a lie started by social workers, enforced by adoption attorneys, and followed up by lawmakers using it as an excuse as to why records should not be opened.

Anyway, Ms. Dungca did reply to me. "Thank you for writing. A number of people have written me to share their views on this, and though we do not think it merits a correction, I do appreciate the feedback and the interesting thoughts you have put forth."

It makes you think that a spokesman for the National Council for Adoption carries more weight than the truth. Those personally touched by adoption and especially those of us who have been in touch with other triad members for many years do know more than Mr. Huey.

Ms. Dungca should hang her head in shame for not printing a correction. Lies being publicized can do harm to the adoption reform movement. Those doing harm to it should have disrupted sleep and an unsettling feeling during the day to know that many loved ones have been separated from each other for many years. Adoptees have been robbed of their civil rights.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Those Who Support Open Records

I invite all of you to read Joan Griffis:Illinois Ancestors column published in the News-Gazette on July 18, 2008. It is not online but I have scanned the column and uploaded it to my website at http://familyandfriends.homestead.com (in the navigation bar, click "In The News"). I've not done this to draw attention to myself but to Joan for being supportive toward publicizing part of my letter to her and showing support for open records in Illinois.

We often read in newspapers about other advocate groups for different causes but the news media fails to cover open records like they should. In fact, we don't often read too much about a bill that has been introduced into the house of representatives. This prevents many from even knowing what is going on in the legislative world regarding open records. It makes it hard for opponents to horrible provisions like there are in HB 4623 have an opportunity to even speak out.

I encourage all of you to continue to write to those who have a column in a newspaper and to editors of newspapers. We must educate the public and in turn maybe legislators will listen to the truth instead of being persuaded by legislators like Sara Feigenholtz that the civil right does not need to be restored to all adoptees.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

ISRR - THE Registry

International Soundex Reunion Registry (ISRR) was founded in 1975 by Emma May Vilardi. People should not be taken in by anyone saying that their registry is affiliated with ISRR because none are. ISRR's website is www.isrr.net. Recently I learned that they do have a new physical address: P.O. Box 371179, Las Vegas, NV 89137.

I personally do not recommend any other registry because there are some run by someone with a motive and that is to get your personal information. With that they will start searching for the person you are seeking and it can sometimes lead to only taking money from you and heartache.

Put your trust into ISRR and your information will be kept confidential. They are not going to rip you off for money or be insensitive to your feelings. Always keep your information with ISRR up to date so you can be contacted if there would be a match.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Illinois' Adoption Registry is Pathetic

Recently I visited the Illinois Department of Public Health's website and it reinforced my belief that the Adoption Registry is ineffective.

In July 2008 statistics were posted. Since the Registry was enacted on 1/1/85 there had been 10,534 registrants. The majority were adoptees (7,017) and birth mothers(2,487). Only 678 matches had been made from the 10,534 registrants. Not even 40 people a year are benefiting from this Registry. BUT it costs $40 to register so over $400,000 has been taken in.

Some might argue that since 1985 that 678 matches have been made so the Registry is worthwhile to have. BUT for a legislator to introduce a good bill that would become law many more than 678 could be helped within a year. All adoptees who wish could request and obtain their OBC. An OBC would not necessarily lead one to their birth mother's doorstep. But it would definitely speed up some searches and there are birth mothers waiting out there to be found.

Most important of all it would restore a right to adoptees that should never have been taken from them. They would be treated like all the non-adoptees who just take it for granted that they can request and receive their OBC any time they wish.

What Illinois State Representative will step up and restore this right to adoptees? Please come forward now!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Take Me Out to The Ballgame

Our infamous IL State Representative Sara Feigenholtz never bothered to respond to many concerns about HB 4623. But yet she/her staff spammed many who never received a reply - to invite them to a Chicago Cubs game. It seems to me that e-mail addresses were collected with the intent that she might gain more contributors. It certainly does not seem that someone is the brightest crayon in the box, does it? I've heard the excuse that it was a technical problem. Sorry, I've been using a computer and been subscribed to Internet mailing lists for too many years to believe it. What I truely believe is that Feigenholtz "Feign" could care less what triad members have to say against HB 4623. She only cares about those who are profiting from the CI Program so wants to keep it intact. She only cares about those who have something to hide so are opposed to a true open records bill in Illinois. Her website URL was misspelled but "Feign" does describe her well.

My personal reply to "Feign":

"You don't seem to be at all interested in replying to those among the adoption community about their concerns with HB 4623 as it was originally written. But yet you have extended an invitation to some of these same people to attend a Cubs game with you. You are unbelievable and not a person that I would even cross the street with, let alone attend a Cubs game with."

Go Cubs and bat "Feign" right out of Wrigley Field and into a different occupation. She is a disgrace to the IL House of Representatives.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Confidential Intermediary?

As some legislators in IL uphold the Confidential Intermediary (CI) program I often mutter to myself as to how much help they would have been to me. A kind sympathetic judge opened my court file to me during the early years of my search because my M.D. felt it might help to learn my origins. There was no more information in it than what was on my adoption decree. So I know for a fact that my court records would not have led a CI to my birth mother. My birth mother's given name and surname is so common and her middle initial was not on the adoption decree. Maybe Catholic Charities would have given a CI my birth mother's birthdate but I suspect they would not have. I can't imagine Catholic Charities' social workers being too cooperative about providing identifying information to a CI. I suspect a CI would have taken money from me and then said, "sorry, your birth mother's name is just so common that it is impossible to complete your search". I recall too well how a professional searcher who I consulted finding it hilarious that I would pursue a search for a woman with such a common name and not even knowing her middle initial. A CI might not have laughed but completing my search, I highly doubt it. It was a search that required alot of digging, grasping, and going with my gut feeling. A CI would not have done that.

I feel blessed that I never went through the IL CI program. The stories that I've heard about them are not good. They seem to have no regard for the feelings of the adoptee. They don't represent the adoptee in a capable manner.

One has to wonder too how many birth mothers who refused contact might not have if it had been their son or daughter contacting them instead of a cold CI. Some birth mothers need some time to adjust to the shock of being found and some need time to think about how they will tell family members about their long kept secret. For an adoptee to contact their birth mother an agreement can be reached that the birth mother will return their call at a later time but the door is not shut forever like it can be with a CI calling the birth mother. But I have found that the majority of birth mothers do want to be found. They want records opened so their offspring can find them. Some have been looking to no avail but then an adoptee's entire name is often changed by the adoptive parents.

So let's do away with the IL CI program - it is past time for records to be opened in IL.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Confidentiality allows people to play God

Lawyers and agencies have dominated adoption for a good many years now in the majority of the states. Was it started to protect adoptees from the stigma of illegitimacy? If so, their efforts have failed because many adoptees will always be referred to as illegitimate. Of course, we are not to know that our original birth certificates (OBC) refer to us as being illegimate. The majority of the states don't allow adoptees to have their OBC.

Did lawyers and agencies decide to dominate adoption to hide the stigma of birth mothers? Sealed records would guarantee her privacy. Did the lawyers and agencies really care enough about the birth mothers to feel that they needed to be protected by confidentiality or did the lawyers and agencies want to be protected?

Dominating adoption gives lawyers and agencies control over the lives of others. It gives them the power to play God.

No one should be allowed to play God. It is past time for legislators in those states with sealed records yet to change the adoption law so adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents are treated like adults and are in control of their own lives.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Open Letter to Co-sponsors of HB 4623

I'm pleading with you to reconsider your sponsorship. It does nothing but keep the Adoption Registry and CI Program intact. The Registry is not effective and most likely never will be since registries have proven to not be effective in any state. The CI Program leads to heartache - please see http://73adoptee.blogspot.com and www.grannieannie.org. Believe me there are similar experiences by others but not everyone is a blogger.

For many years I was active with helping others search and learned that the majority of birth mothers do want to be found. They were not promised confidentiality - this is a lie that was made up years ago by probably social workers or adoption attorneys. The majority of adoptive parents support their adult child searching. Often there is a need for medical history and they are aware of the void felt by their adult child. Finding birth family is not going to break a strong bond formed between adoptive parents and adoptees.

Rep. Feigenholtz's bill is lengthy and I fear has not been thoroughly read by all legislators. The public was denied access to the bill until a few hours before it was voted favorable out of committee on March 13. I suspect that she is now making amendments and is going to try to sneak this bill through the House and it just must not happen.

There are other states with open records and it is past time for Illinois to follow suit. Please don't be mislead thinking that the Adoption Registry and CI Program do open records. Open records is where ALL adult adoptees have the right to request their original birth certificate. To hold that document in one's hand does not lead them to their birth mother's doorstep. It does aid in searching for her. If she happens to be one of the few who prefer to not be found, she can tell her offspring just that. I've known that to happen and the adoptee has respected their birth mother's wishes.

Thank you for all consideration shown!

Mary Lynn Fuller
Urbana, IL

Sunday, May 25, 2008


As more sponsors for IL HB 4623 are added and we see more extensions just what is going on? There has been yet another extension to May 31. I pray that some of the State Representatives that many of us have written to have listened to the point that they might be telling Sara that the bill is horrible.

Rep. Feigenholtz has been sneaky from day one it seems. Sara seems to talk good for some to believe that the IL Adoption Registry and CI Program should remain intact. Is she making a profit from the Registry and CI Program or is one or more of the contributors to her political career making the profit?

Sometimes I wonder if Al Capone's ghost might be at work in Springfield. Then I think, gosh but he was nice to some people. But then if HB 4623 would become law, the adoptees born prior to 1/1/46 could request their original birth certificate and receive it. So I don't know but put a bonnet on him and a cigarette in his mouth and he could pass for a female.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Correction to Illinois Legislative Alert

The date should be March 23, two days away. It is urgent that people contact their State Representatives. We must not give up and give Sara and Melisha their way with continuing to rob adoptees of their human rights. It is only right that ALL adoptees have the right to request their original birth certificate.

Friday, May 16, 2008


It is urgent that people contact IL State Representatives today regarding HB 4623. There has been an extension until March 23, three days before the House session is over. This is a lengthy adoption bill that Rep. Feigenholtz is trying to sneak through. The bill is detrimental to adoption reform in that it does not treat all adoptees fairly. It has a provision where original birth certificates could be altered. The Adoption Registry and Confidential Intermediary Program would remain intact and they are not a substitute for equal rights of human beings. Even those who are not personally touched by adoption need to speak out. One never knows when an adoption law might affect a family member.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ohio Legislative Alert

A bill hearing will be Wednesday, April 30, 2008 in Columbus, OH. Legislators are concerned about birthparent privacy. For more information and how you can help see Adoption Network Cleveland (www.adoptionnetwork.org).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Is Catholic Charities running scared?

It is hard to say who hinders adoption reform the most but just why are some of the large organizations opposing it? There is some support toward state adoption registries and confidential intermediary programs. But when it comes to treating all adult adoptees equally and opening records, Catholic Charities (CC) is one of the organizations that shows opposition.

For years CC social workers have told unwed mothers to place their baby for adoption and then they can move on with their life and forget about the baby they relinquished. Any of we women who have given birth know there is no way that we could have parted with our baby and gone on with our life as if the pregnancy and birth of our child never happened.

CC social workers continue to say that birth mothers were promised confidentiality. This "confidentialty factor" seems to me to be something that social workers decided on with adoption attorneys and our government enforcing it.

Could it be that CC social workers have lied so much over the years that CC is afraid that open record laws will result in their being sued?

My own search took over 20 years to complete and during that time my birthparents died while in their 50's. They had married before my adoption was finalized. It is believed that my birthparents had contacted CC and been told that I was deceased. Birth certificates of my siblings indicate one baby was born to my birth mother but not alive at the time of their birth. I'm the only baby that anyone can think of that she must have been referring to at the time their birth certificates were completed. But I was very much alive and still am (obviously, or I would not be writing this).

During my search I asked a CC social worker about my deceased birth father. It said on my adoption decree that he was deceased. I was told that he was alive at the time I was placed for adoption and that I just did not understand legal terminology. Well, deceased means dead in the dictionary. It makes one wonder what other lies were told and maybe passed off as "legal terminology".

This is 2008 and for CC to continue to fight open records makes me wonder if they are not running scared. The excuse of their protecting the adoptee, birth parents, and adoptive parents has become mighty old and many of us know that is a lie. Just how many have they told over the past 60-70 years?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What is Right to Life's motive?

As I'm writing this, I'm referring to a letter that I wrote to the Right to Life Society in Columbus, OH back in 1992. This was when they were opposing an OH bill.

Now 16 years later Right to Life (RTL) societies across the U.S. are still known for opposing adoption reform. In 1992 they stressed that a baby's heart begins to beat 18 days after conception. I imagine that they might still do that but long ago I lost interest in what they have to say. Why? I think it is great that they have maybe played a role in preventing some abortions. But I do not understand how they can be so interested in a baby being born but then the hell with the baby if it is adopted and as an adult would like to be reunited with birth relatives. It reminds me of Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy's. He was so interested in foster children being placed in good homes but the hell with adoption reform. God rest his soul but his name still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, just as the name RTL does.

Human beings involved with trying to save the life of an unborn baby but yet speaking out to continue "imposed secrecy" upon individuals personally touched by adoption makes me wonder just how human they are. Many or all of the RTL people who lobby against adoption reform probably know their own medical history, religious background, ethnicity, physical resemblance, and the list goes on. Adult adoptees are being denied this fundamental knowledge by being denied their original birth certificate.

The current Illinois adoption law is discriminatory and outdated. But yet Rep. Feigenholtz has introduced a bill to continue this instead of introducing a bill to treat all adult adoptees equally. And then RTL supports IL HB 4623. Just what is going on? As we all know, money talks and maybe money is more important to RTL than adoptees being treated like first class citizens?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

IL Deleting Names Department

It is vital for IL HB 4623 to be killed. Illinois adoptees have been robbed from their identity way too long. The Mitchell-Feigenholtz bill does provide for a select group to be able to request their OBC, no restrictions. Later on other adoptees can after birth parents have had a chance to request anonymity. Melisha Mitchell stated, "The rare adoptees who will be the subject of birth parent "requests for anonymity" filed under this law will have the option of receiving copies of their obc's from which only the identifying information pertaining to the anonymity-seeking birth parent has been deleted..." I think it very possible that few birth parents will request anonymity. BUT, is it right for an ADULT adoptee to have lived say 60 years without knowing their identity, only to request their OBC and receive it with identifying information deleted? This OBC would never have originated without the birth of the adoptee but yet he/she has no right to receive it with their birth name on it?

Is IL going to have a deleting names department for the rare adoptee? What would attending physicians and registrars think if they were to hear of this insane bill. They have signed legal documents and then to hear that same document is to have names deleted from it surely would not set too well with them. Wouldn't it set into motion for not only attending physicians and registrars to begin to question what other legal documents might be altered but residents to question it as well. Those working in the judicial system would probably wonder what type of "legal" documents might be used as exhibits in their court some day and how on earth would they rule for or against them.

Doesn't this sound like something that Fred Flintstone might do in his cave? Not really because even Fred I do believe would have treated ALL adoptees like first class citizens. Is it possible that Mitchell and Feigenholtz have teamed together to start a new cartoon series and are not really serious about IL HB 4623 going any further? Let's certainly hope so, like maybe "Minnie and Sadie Mouse".

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Twists and Turns of IL HB 4623

Illinois Open learned of the impending introduction of IL HB 4623 by State Rep Sara Feigenholtz by reading about it in the Chicago Tribune. What type of State Rep would not notify Illinois Open when she is well aware of the organization's existence?

A letter by Melisha Mitchell was sent out to many, including myself. She referred to the Bill as one that many have longed for. It's more like a nightmare. Melisha admitted in her letter that it is not a "pure" OBC access bill. She said that the Bill is "imperfect". What dream is not "pure" and is imperfect? Dreams to me have always been something that would be really good - the perfect answer to a wish or need. IL HB 4623 is anything but.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Oppose Illinois HB 4623

Now is the time for everyone to speak out and oppose Illinois HB 4623. ALL adoptees should have the right to their original birth record. It is totally wrong for a select few to have this right. For too many years now the confidentiality of birth parents has been upheld when many did not ask for confidentiality. Many adoptive parents support open records because they know about the void felt by their children from not knowing their origin. Many adoptees have a need for birth family medical history. It is common today to hear medical professionals say that everyone needs to know their family medical history. But yet lawmakers like the one who introduced Illinois HB 4623 don't introduce good bills that if made law, will provide an opportunity for ALL adoptees to have an easier path to locating their birth parents. It is the birth parents and birth family members who have the medical history that they need.

Non-adoptees just request their original birth records. Why should they have a right that adoptees don't have?

Illinois needs to join the other states who do have open records. So let's oppose HB 4623 and then support a good bill when it is introduced!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Mutual Consent Registries

Is it right for open record laws to include a condition that a mutual consent registry be used? I don't think so. The registries have proven to not be very effective. Many confidential intermediaries have so many cases that a search does not receive a personal touch to it. Therefore when the person being sought is located, the manner in which they are spoken to can close the door. Will the intermediary contact them again? Probably not, so then the adoptee can be out the money it cost to register and still have expense to then do the search on their own without receiving any identifying information from the intermediary to help them out. But yet when open record bills are introduced and one of the conditions is that there will be a mutual consent registry, it sounds good to many. I can't help but think it sounds best to those new to searching. Just who makes the mutual consent registries sound good to legislators? Probably the intermediaries because they don't want to be out of a job. Do they care about the best interests of the adoptee and birthparents? I don't think so. Anyone who does would be all for open record laws so that an adult adoptee could obtain their original birth certificate, just like those not personally touched by adoption. It is time for adoption reform to move forward and do away with mutual consent registries and intermediaries.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

1st Class Citizens

I'm 60 years old and have yet to see adult adoptees treated like 1st class citizens in the State of Illinois. I was born in Illinois where I was placed for adoption and also raised there. In 1976 when I mainly began searching for my birth mother, it was mainly for medical reasons. But yet the placing agency treated me like I was a little kid who had no right to even ask for more non-identifying information than they had decided to give me. Strong determination/being persistent led to getting more and more information. In 1997 I became one of the more fortunate adoptees for my search to be completed. My birth parents were deceased but I've had a great reunion with siblings, great-aunts, cousins, nephews, and nieces.

Now I would love to see all other adoptees who are still searching to have a similar experience as me. But to make it happen for more and more to be reunited it would help for adoptees to be treated like 1st class citizens. Those not personally touched by adoption can request their birth certificate and just get it for a fee. Those who have been adopted can request their amended birth certificate and get it for a fee but they are denied their original birth certificate. Many not personally touched by adoption are not even aware that adoptees do have two birth certificates. The original is sealed when an adoption is finalized because adoptees MUST NOT KNOW the name of their birth mother or where she was born. Sometimes information about the birth father is on the original birth certificate and that is forbidden as well. Are legislators aware of this? Some might be but I do think many need to be educated. That is hard to do though when they close their ears and eyes to something they don't want to be aware of. They do listen and read when organizations or individuals contribute money to keep adoption records closed. It is past time for adoption records to be open in Illinois - barbaric days should be over with.

ALL U.S. citizens should be treated as 1st class citizens!