Sunday, October 24, 2010

Out of State Adoptee/Activist Jim Clevo gets mail

by Joyce Bahr

Cleveland adoptee Jim Clevo has received mail in response to his letters to legislators. I've known Jim for many years and have the pleasure of speaking to him from time to time and am happy to receive a copies of letters he receives. Why is it that Jim receives response letters and others do not? This past week I communicated with David an adoptee from Washington D.C. and Bob an adoptee from Colorado. David is a professional writer and must send some excellent letters and Bob, he's one hell of a genius. But neither have received even one letter. Well, wait a minute because everyone receives a letter from the Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver. The Speaker opposes A8410 but hopefully our lobbying is leading him to reconsider.

Recently Mary Cook an adoptee from Florida received a nice letter from the Chair of Health committee stating A8410 would probably be reported from health committee in the 2011 Albany session. For those of you who don't know A8410 was first reported from health on 6/6/06 and was the assigned to Codes committee also known as Hell where bills go to die. In January of 2011 it will return to health again until the chair decides to put it on the agenda for a vote. A8410 is expected to pass by a vote of 26-0 and reported out of committee to Codes. Our goal is to move it to the floor for a vote!

I'm in touch with many out of state adoptees and just the other day heard from Ann Pelto an adoptee from California. She asked me what else adoptees living out of state could do other than contribute. Since Jim is proof that letters do work I have to say keep them going and don't give up! Ann has been in our movement for a number of years and is familiar with the struggles we've had to endure.

I have to commend Jim for his writing efforts especially because he has been through some tough times with his health and keeps at it!. In 2009 he drove from Cleveland to Buffalo where he was born at Our Lady of Victory in Lackawana, New York and then on to Albany where he joined us to lobby. Kudos to Jim!

Good idea to highlight bill nos. A8410/S5269 and have the bill number right up front in your letter. Most legislators are familiar with our legislation and know we are asking for birth certificates to be unsealed, not records. The few who may not are those we've been advised not to bother with by my legislators or some others. They are a waste of time.

Of most importance at this time is a unified front and solidarity. We've come a long way and have not just a good bill but a very good bill. We can move our bills to the floor for a vote!

Thanks to all living out of state including birth parents. I'm happy to hear from you from time to time and know that you are not giving up!

Carole Whitehead on National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month and soon we will be inundated with the names of all the famous people who were adopted along with their happy smiling faces. Some of them were adopted by strangers and others by family members. Why aren’t these celebrities who surrendered their children shown as well with their not so happy faces? Both famous mothers and fathers have been in the media as being the biological parents, i.e, Rod Stewart, Roseanne Barr, Joni Mitchell, David Cassidy, Andy Kaufman, Kate Millgrew, Dirk Benedict and Albert Einstein to name a few, even though some are deceased. These are the people who acknowledged their past and should be out there supporting the needs of the adopted to obtain their original birth certificates. While we cannot rely on them to use their celebrity, we can be the ones who speak up for our children. We are the ones who support our children being treated as equals. We offer them their identities, health history, heritage, knowledge and fulfill their needs as only we can. We do this as a gift of love. We will not stand behind the opposition’s insisting that we want to remain hidden because at one time our society said that we must. We are neither afraid of our children nor the discontented legislators who say that our surrendered children must be afraid of us. We can make change and so we shall continue our love, support & whatever it takes to fight the fight. We need to contact our legislative people continuously or else vote out those who refuse to change their stance from day 1.

Get active. Stay active. Participate. Our children whether they have been found, or a reunion exists, deserve equality and not cast out as not being entitled to being respected as an adult and not just an “adopted child” forever and ever.