Questions and answers about the Capitol Coalition for Adoptee Rights, including who is involved (so far) and what we hope to do.
Last updated on February 7, 2020
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 a coalition, the preliminary work is being coordinated by Gregory Luce, a DC-born adoptee, with support of Adoptees United Inc. Shawna Hodgson and Annette O’Connell, leaders in existing coalitions in Texas and New York, are involved in providing assistance to CCAR through their work with Adoptees United. So far the following organizations are part of the coalition:
- Maryland Adoptee Rights (core partner)
- Adoptee Rights Law Center (core partner)
- Bastard Nation (core partner)
If you are an organization interested in being part of the coalition, 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 coalition), or a supporting partner (supports our efforts by communicating with its own constituents to broaden our impact). Individuals interested in joining the effort can do so here.
All core partners and strategic partners must agree in writing to a bottom line of equality for all adoptees.
What are you trying to do?
We are trying to change discriminatory laws in two states and the District of Columbia. 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. CCAR is committed to equal rights for all adopted people. It 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 CCAR as a partner must also commit in writing to this bottom line. There are no exceptions.
Why a regional coalition?
Anyone who was born or adopted in the region surrounding Washington D.C., understands too well that adoptees were often fungible and moveable as a part of adoption practices, with many adoptees born in DC and adopted in Maryland and Virginia. This has made their efforts to secure basic identity documents, such as an OBC, particularly difficult, with one state saying they do not have the original birth certificate and the other jurisdiction saying that the court of adoption controls the release of that OBC. It creates an untenable and difficult legal trap, one that a regional coalition can work to change. In addition, the strength of any coalition or movement relies on numbers. A regional focus will help build that strength in numbers.
Do you have equal rights legislation already drafted for DC, Maryland, and Virginia?
Yes, we have model or sample bills for the District of Columbia and Maryland. We expect to have a model or sample bill for Virginia in the near future. Those bills will be shared with key supporters prior to any effort to introduce them.
What is your timeframe for getting things done?
We are in the building phase, meaning we need to finish creating a strong coalition that is led by committed adoptee-led organizations and supported by impacted adoptees and their allies. We do not expect to seek introduction of legislation until the 2021 legislative sessions, though we current legislative efforts underway in Maryland require more immediate work. The District of Columbia City Council, which controls legislation on this issue, meets regularly year round. Accordingly, introduction of legislation in DC may be at any time, depending on progress we make over the next several months.
Does this include intercountry adoptees?
No, though we welcome intercountry adoptees as allies. This coalition is focused on changing laws that relate to the birth records of domestic adoptees, those specifically born or adopted in the District of Columbia, Maryland, or Virginia. There are other organizations working on legislation and issues affecting intercountry adoptees, including Adoptee Rights Campaign, Adoptees for Justice, and the National Alliance for Adoptee Equality. CCAR would welcome acting as an ally in those efforts but would always defer to the leadership of intercountry adoptees on issues impacting them.
Who is paying for or supporting CCAR financially?
Gregory Luce, as a DC adoptee, has committed funds to pay for website hosting and other logistical needs, such as printing, email databases, and various materials associated with the coalition. It is expected that partner organizations and supporting individuals will also contribute funding to CCAR or will work to raise funds. Adoptees United Inc., a nonprofit tax-exempt organization, is available to act as a fiscal agent for such fundraising efforts. Fundraising efforts on Facebook have been particularly successful for Adoptees United and can be used to help CCAR financially—contact us if you are interested in more information on what you can do to raise money dedicated to the coalition’s work.
How do I sign up?
Sign up by providing your information here. If you are already signed up earlier through the DC Adoptees Facebook group, you do not need to do so again.
I have more questions. Where can I ask them?
Ask us by posting a comment below. Or email Gregory Luce at Adoptee Rights Law Center at [email protected].