The Adoptee Rights Demonstration 2009

Claud in Motion by Kate Dahlquist

It’s almost been a full 24 hours since I returned from the Adoptee Rights Protest in Philly.

My head is still reeling, my heart is still soaring, and my blood is still racing. Oh, I love a good protest and a good protest it was!

I traveled down from my home in NY to Philadelphia on Monday. We had put my little car in the shop earlier last week so I was prepared for the road trip. Less than 200 miles, and I essentially had all day to finish packing and make my way down, so I took my sweet time, avoided the NJ Turnpike and drove through farmland and the Delaware Water Gap. I had old friends that I hadn’t seen in years living outside Philly and the plan was that I would stay with them, enjoy some visit time during my trip and it greatly made my trip possible as I could avoid the hotel costs. In the end, dear Lena and G not only were an added bonus to the protest, but made it so pleasurable and completely stress free. Since Parking was a drag in Philly, G acted as my chauffer and literally picked me and drove me wherever I needed to be. For those who thanked me for being there..OMG thank them for making it possible!

Anyway, after my longer than it needed to be but pleasant drive ( I only got lost really once!) I arrived at my temporary abode and unpacked the car. After a brief rest I was taken in to the hotel for the protest sign making party. When I got there, the lobby, bar and breakfast room was filled with people. As I walked in, I laughed and asked people sitting there:

“Are you a bunch of bastards?”

Of course they were!

Sign making was going on with a vengeance. Seriously, there was some intense artwork going into making these sings. Due to the fact that rain was being called for and I still am sporting this stupid broken arm, I quickly decided that I was not going to carry a sign. I helped out with a bit of lettering, gave out my glitter glue, but honestly. I was so happy to be among our kind; I just want to soak it in. There is something truly intensely magical about being about to be with people that do not the internal editor system turned on, but to be able to speak freely. Plus, always it is so good to see people from our online world in person. It had been a long time for me. I haven’t traveled anywhere for an adoption event since the Ethics conference in 2007. Yeah! Teresa the Ungrateful Little Bastard, and Joy and Mia, and Dory and Cheerio, and oh, so many more!! Plus Nic came the next day..and to met Diane and more more more! 🙂

So, it rained on the day of the protest, but only when gathering together and then after we were through! The National Council for Adoption might think God is on the side of sealed records, but surely, it is a sign that we were kept dry! So the signs might have looked a bit weepy, but it still worked and yes, many are tired of fighting this fight for years, so the haggard looks were fitting. Still our voices were loud as we marched through the streets of Philly with our police escorts:

“You got Yours! We WANT OURS!”

Yes, so technically, I have mine being a birthmother, but I am loud and I do like to yell. I was glad that I didn’t have a sign since we had these great one page handouts, so as we marched, I gave them to passersby and anyone who bothered to read the signs. I mean, what is the point of protesting if no one knows what you want? Once we go in front of the Philadelphia Convention Center, marching had to continue, but now I had targets for my handouts. The attendees of the National Legislators Convention were coming in and out of the doors and it quickly became easily to find the actually state reps. The Press and the legislators had green ribbons on their tags, so being on the lookout for green was easy. Once I spotted a green tag coming, another quick peek at the badge told me their state and on approach I would get to them and say:

“Excuse me, do you know that your state discriminates against adult adoptees?”

That stopped a lot of them in their tracks and they wanted to hear what we had to say! Not surprisingly, many were completely unaware that their state was involved or had any idea what the laws were governing adoptee access to original birth certificates. Many seemed to listen. Some really listened. There were many of those encounters all over the protest area.

Marching and protesting went on for me until 3 o’clock when I went inside to work the Adoptee Rights Protest Booth inside the exhibit hall.

Now the hall. That place is insane. One thousand booths full of freebies, swag and information about just about everything and anything you can think of. Some of them, like beer tastings, I fail to see what they had to do with state laws. I mean do you need to DRINK the beer in order to pass a law? Lol.

But seriously, there was every group known to God and of course most of them were paid lobbyists with funding, so they had way more things to entice people, but I don’t think anyone worked the areas as much as we did! So we didn’t have tote bags and chocolate, but we have truth and logic on our side! Plus, as great as all of us volunteers are as it, Paula Benoit is just pure gold for this cause. Just standing next to her and hearing the way she works those politicians is like absorbing pure lobby instructions.

Inside it was not get in your face protest land, but the sweet professional kiss up and talk all nice to any legislator or staffer or even the spouses of the state reps. And while I KNOW I am always the optimist, but honestly.. there was some damn good feedback and interest! Like some state reps, really wanted to know more, contact were made, business cards and emails exchanged and handouts galore! I think some serious groundwork was had. Hawaii was favorable and believe it or not: Florida. I had quite an interesting discussion with’t ask me names because I have all forgotten them now, but don’t tell ME how to protect birthmothers supposedly and false promises of privacy! I love knowing the answers about their own state laws better than they do and to be able to rebut all the supposed stereotypes with pure facts. All total for the three days, I was scheduled for the booth for 6 hours and I tell you.. I adore lobbying. It is empowering. It does make one feel like you are really making a difference.

Plus, I got to see not only dear adoption friends and make new ones, and then see other dear non-adoption friends and the city of Philadelphia where I have never been before! On Wednesday, after my time at the convention center, I took myself on a walking tour of the city. Yeah, I went to see the Liberty Bell. And I have to confess, it made me kinda weepy seeing this symbol of freedom, walking on the old cobblestones that Washington, Jefferson and Franklin once passed before and then fighting for civil rights of our adoptees. Powerful stuff.

After my last day on Thursday, I went around and gathered my swag and drove myself back to NY for some down time at home. That was all fine EXCEPT hat in New Jersey Route 295 is the STUPIEST ROAD EVER! It ends, and turns to Interstate 95…SOUTH!!! Like what brainiac thought that made sense?

Still reeling. Still hopeful. And now, ready to plan for next year in Kentucky where we can do it all over again! Hopefully before then, we will see some new open access legislation in some states this year, perhaps we will get to see some current adoptee rights bills like NY come on through and get passed. I swear, if we can just get some more key states like NY and Cali, or Texas and Florida.. then the rest will fall. It WILL happen!! Access to the adoptee’s original birth certificate is within our grasp! I can feel it. It’s time to end the secrets. It’s time to end the lies.

I took a bunch of the pictures from the protest and made a goofy little compilation for anyone who missed the protest. It’s almost like being there… well not.. it is anyway!

Alos, check out the coverage of the Protest:

In Phila., Adopted People Push to Get Birth Certificates

Adoption-records advocates to protest in Phila.

Adoptees protest for access to original birth certificates

And here’s some more pictures too:

And check out THIS video made by a 13 year old protester!!!


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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine,, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

11 Comments on "The Adoptee Rights Demonstration 2009"

  1. You may have gotten weepy at the Liberty Bell, but this post brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your time there. If we don’t know there is a problem, we can’t fix it. I promise I will write my legislators this week!
    When my grandfather passed away when I was a sophomore in High School my Dad had PILES of letters from legislators and senators responding to my Grandpa’s letters. I pride myself in carrying on his persistance whenever there is an issue that I think is important – this certainly is! Thank you!!

  2. Thank you Claude! Hugs!

  3. When I think of Claude I think….delightful. Using the theme song to Rocky for the pic. video? I get to add brilliant!

  4. So… did you tackle BLC when she was in the bushes? Heh.

  5. Cool, Claud. Congratulation to all for a job well done.
    It sounds excellent and I wish I could have been there.
    I was in spirit.

  6. Anonymous | July 25, 2009 at 7:03 pm |

    Open records are a need that non-adoptees take for granted, the link below features professionals’ insights that will, hopefully, illuminate legislators and friends >

  7. Anonymous | July 25, 2009 at 8:44 pm |

    Hey Claud
    Do you know how to get a hold of Jamie from AAI? I need help with a new search.. I just recently discovered adoption has struck twice in this family
    Laurie Aka mom seeking peace

  8. This is a great post Claud. So nice to finally meet you. It was great sharing some booth time with you as well – Paula thought you were great! I hope we can do it again next year!

  9. Anonymous | July 26, 2009 at 4:13 am |

    It was great to meet you! I’m highlighting the text so I can read it now, thanks for the tip.


  10. Ok so first off..

    @TongguMomma.. who the heck is “BLC”? I have to admit.. I only tackled with information!

    @Mia.. my poor husband.. who LOVES Rcoky and makes me watch the movies ALL THE TIME.. now HATES the song as I played it over and over for hours! I thought it was too funny to pass up!

    @Sharie.. THANK YOU!!ANd whatever you can do to spread the word and inspire others!

    @ Kippa, @ Peach.. of course big hugs right back!!

    @MSP.. She’s on FB…not very active, but there! I have her on my friends list! Oh.. you have to tell me what’s up! WHat happened..

    @Cathy..I’m planning.. I’m planning.. It was great to meet you as well!

    @Elizabeth..oh good,,I hope that is better for your eyes! It was so great to meet you too!

  11. It was so incredible to meet you dear Claude!! Thanks so much for all you do.

    Heather x

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