~disclaimer~ This blog has been created by independent residents of Oregon who have participated in numerous OR adoptions and are familiar with current OR adoption law from first hand experience, both birth parents and adoptive parents. This group is OPPOSED to hb 2904. This group is not sponsored by any other group, third party organization, non profit, for profit, adoption or other such agency, and/or legally organized adoption related affiliation. We are just passionate citizens using our voice!

You are, of course, entitled to formulating your own opinions about hb 2904 and to then act accordingly.
Blog In Progress: soon to come:
~More suggestions on how to use your citizen voice.
~Where did this bill come from? and info behind the writing of HB2904.
~Why don't we like it? While the purpose of this blog is one of information, and not opinions, we feel that we should at least explain ourselves and our opposition to hb2904.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Direct from Rep. Dohertys office:

Thursday Feb 17th, 2011

We recently had a meeting including some, but not all of the stakeholders involved in this process. The bill in its current form will not be moving forward, however Rep Doherty is hoping to gather a group of stakeholders through either a formal or informal work group process to discuss the opportunities for common ground as well as the lingering issues. As identified in the meeting, some of these overaching issues include:

·         Adoption has many competing needs, biological parents, adoptive parents, and the child (and often the adoption agency/financially invested parties).

·         Make sure birth mothers have adequate counseling/information to know what their rights are without taking that opportunity away from birth parents who are ready to make the decision, also ensuring adoptive parents are not penalized

·         Clear statutory framework for making decisions and revocation (time to decide and process)

·         Oversight/monitoring of adoption agencies/processes

·         Ensure availability/knowledge of adequate counseling

·         Ensure availability/knowledge of independent representation/legal counsel

·         Stability for child, biological AND adoptive parents

·         Fiscal concerns – increasing work load/process for court staff

If you are interested in playing an active role (attending meetings, providing policy input) in this conversation please let me know and I will add you to our list as we find a way to incorporate all the necessary voices into the conversation in a constructive, respectful manner.

House District 35
Tigard, King City, SW Portland
503) 986-1435

Monday, February 14, 2011

Some Success!

We didnt want to reveal the news until today when it became official, but it is our understanding that
the bill will not proceed any further as currently written!! 

Rep Doherty and her committee are hearing lots of concerns!
(and shares several of them)

Keep up those letters to the legislators in the ways and means committee and the human services committee, to let them know how you feel about Oregon's adoption laws, as meetings concerning the bill continue to take place!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The voices FOR hb2904. part 2

If you look at the top of the bill, it tells you who the 'supporters' are, the influences behind the creation and writing of this bill ...

Representative DOHERTY; Representative DEMBROW (at the request of Janette Barcenas, Ashley Peterson-Munoz, Leticia Munoz, Kiley Steward, Tamera Slack, Oregon Birth Mothers)

~Feel free to write Reps Doherty and Dembrow to inform them of your opposition.~ 
Oregon Birth Mothers
As birth mothers in Oregon, this struck as as particularly interesting when we first read the bill. So we searched for a group or organization that is called 'Oregon Birth Mothers'. We wanted to get in touch with them, to connect over our common bond, to learn more about their experiences, and to learn more about the creation of this bill. We looked for support groups, an adoption resource group, an unaffiliated group, any sort of structured organization that is called by or referred to as 'Oregon Birth Mothers'. We couldn't find any information about any such group. We consulted with Adoption Attorneys and the Oregon coalition for adoption to see if they knew of such a group, they haven't heard of any such organized infrastructure by this name either. 

Come to find out it's because...There Isn't One.

There is no formal or associated 'Oregon Birth Mothers'. 

This can only mean one thing- that a select few birth mothers who happen to currently reside in Oregon (or who placed for adoption when living in Oregon) decided that their singular voices together as a small group somehow represent ALL birthmothers in Oregon. 

They are wrong! We do not agree with this bill.  We are a small group of about 20 birthmothers; most of us placed our children for adoption here in Oregon, a few of us have moved here since. Our voice is being misrepresented by others claiming that they know our thoughts, feelings and experiences surrounding our adoptions. Our voice is being taken from us by insinuating that all 'Oregon Birth Mothers' are for this bill. 
If you are a birth mother in Oregon or a birth mother who placed in Oregon, make your voice heard! Do not let others speak for you! Contact the legislators and let them know who you are and how you feel about the bill! Future birthmothers need us to help protect their right to choose an adoption, if that is their desire for their child(ren). We need to protect our own right to freedom of speech, and speak for ourselves!


Sunday, February 6, 2011

the voices FOR hb2904. part 1

If you look at the top of the bill, it tells you who the 'supporters' are, the influences behind the creation and writing of this bill ...

Representative DOHERTY; Representative DEMBROW (at the request of Janette Barcenas, Ashley Peterson-Munoz, Leticia Munoz, Kiley Steward, Tamera Slack, Oregon Birth Mothers)

~Feel free to write Reps Doherty and Dembrow 
to inform them of your opposition.~ 

Janette Barcenas:
A simple google search will lead you to this post on First Mother Forums. You are welcome to read it to learn more about Janette's experience with Oregon adoption law. But be mindful and recall that there are 2 sides to every story, 3 really - Janette's side, the adoptive parents side, and what really happened. This post is an emotionally written, one sided story that aims to pull at the heart strings. It leads the reader to believe that there was something wrong with the adoption law or the adoption process, not just in Janette's case, but potentially in all adoptions. It is worth noting that from a legal observation, it is very interesting that she lost her case in 2 different appellate courts. She could not prove fraud or duress against the agency or the adoptive couple and the current OR adoption law was indeed upheld to protect ALL the stakeholders involved in the situation. (btw- 'stakeholders' is the legal term that is used to describe any and all people involved in a potential adoption situation)

Here are some issues we have with Janette's story:
"....the adoptive parents limited Janette’s contact with her son after two months."
"...Then about a couple weeks later the family said that I could only see him certain times and the whole thing I was promised would not work."
The key word here is limited.  They did not close contact, they simply limited it, whether permanently or for a determined time period, we are not told. Janette also doesn't share with readers what the original post placement contact agreement was and whether or not she herself was violating the agreed upon boundaries and contact arrangements that she made with the couple. She uses the word 'promised', which is completely subjective. The reader has no way of knowing what the adoptive couple 'promised' her or agreed upon. What did Janette promise the adoptive couple? She doesn't tell us. She also doesn't tell us why the adoptive couple came to this decision. [Open adoption does not grant the right to do whatever you want, whenever you want, with your birth son/daughter. Open adoption is an agreement in which both sides agree to respect one another and communicate on a level that conducive to all stakeholders.] This part of Janette's story is a red flag to those of us who are birthmothers and have extensive experience in mentoring and counseling other birthmothers who don't understand that an open adoption is not a 'free pass'. This is a red flag to those of us who are adoptive mothers and have had successful open adoptions and to some of us have experienced communication challenges with our open adoptions. This statement, that the adoptive couple limited the contact, is a big clue that there was probably some boundary issues on Janette's part in the post placement contact. This suspicion is supported by the repeated dismissals of Janette's case by the courts.
"...11 months after she signed the surrender, Janette’s attorney filed a lawsuit ..."
Eleven whole months went by before Janette even filed the law suit. That is simply incredible from a legal standpoint as the filing process isn't more than filling out a piece of paper(s) at the courthouse and doesn't even need to be done by an adoption attorney.  The post claims that "The delay had been caused by Janette’s difficulty in finding an attorney, the Courthouse fire, and her attorney’s slowness in filing the lawsuit." Janette claims to have called all the attorneys in the phone book; what she doesn't tell us is when she started that calling process - from day 1 of relinquishment or from day 1 of month 11? We find it highly suspicious that it took her so long to file and yet another red flag regarding the one sided presentation to this story about a 'victim' of Oregon adoption law.

We do not mean to lessen Janette's personal pain or grief or undermine the sensation of loss that she experienced involving her own adoption from Guatemala or with the placement of her son in 2005. We are truly sorry that Janette's perception of what open adoption would be with her birth son was not her reality.  Everyone is entitled to their own emotions and to experience life's trials as they see fit. What we have a problem with, is when one person's seemingly negative overall experience with openness in adoption, potentially determines what mandates will be placed on future stakeholders in ALL Oregon adoption situations.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Effective Communication

What messages are going to be effective in my communication with the Representatives?

~writing letters in the form of email AND post office are great ways to make contact. 
~phone calling is also very effective, but you might not be granted much time, so be sure to also send a written form of your opposition as well. 

·      Contact them as an individual and identify your interest/involvement in adoption in the state of Oregon.
Examples: “I am a birth mother and placed my child # years ago…” 
                  “I am a birth father and placed my child # years ago…” 
                  "I was adopted # years ago..." 
                  “I am an adoptive parent of ___ children…”
                  "I am the Grandparent of ___ adopted children..."
                  "My daughter/son placed her/his child for adoption..." (birth grandparent)
                  "My sister/brother/best friend/colleague/etc is a birth parent who placed a child
                           # years ago..."
                 “I am a concerned citizen…”
·      Husbands and wives contact your representative separately
Invite your friends and family to contact their Oregon Representatives and if they live out of state they can contact your Representatives 
and/or the committee Representatives that will vote on the bill. 
 The more individual voices that are heard, the better!
·      Share your personal story (be brief). If it is too long, it may not be read.
·      Keep it short, simple and to the point.
·      State your opposition.
·      Express why you are opposed to this bill.  If applicable, express specifically how will/would this bill have impacted you?
·      Combining letters from adoptive parents and birth parents who placed with them may be especially effective. Include pictures!
·      Of course, be respectful and kind.
·      Include your name, address and phone number. 

an example of a very basic script to get you started~ 

      Dear Representative ________,
     My name is ______ and I am 

     [a birth mother/father that placed for adoption __ years ago] 
     [an adoptive mom/dad of ___ child(ren)] 

     here in the state of Oregon. I want to voice my opposition to House Bill 2904. I believe that 

     [it takes away a birthparent’s right to make plans for the future of their child and it will have a negative impact on adoption here in Oregon.]
     [it doesn't provide the same respect of choice that the law provided me with when I placed my son/daughter for adoption.] 

    Thank you for your time concerning this matter that is very dear to my heart.  
    Sincerely, __________ address, phone

I dont live in OR [anymore], who do I contact?

I have personal experience with adoption in OR, 
but I don't live there [anymore], 
therefore, I don't have an Oregon state Representative to contact. 
Who can I contact about my opposition to this bill?

Contact members of the House Human Services Committee -
Rep. Vic Gilliam, Rep. Carolyn Tomei, Rep. Lew Frederick, Rep. Jim Thompson, Rep. Mitch Greenlick, Rep. Chris Harker, Rep. Julie Parrish and Rep. Jim Weidner.

Contact members of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means
this is where the bill currently is sitting in the legislative process.
Sen. Richard Devlin, Co-Chair, Rep. Peter Buckley, Co-Chair, Rep. Dennis Richardson, Co-Chair, Sen. Betsy Johnson, Vice-Chair, Rep. Bill Garrard, Co-Vice Chair, Rep. Nancy Nathanson, Co-Vice Chair, Sen. Alan C Bates, Sen. Chris Edwards, Sen. Fred Girod, Sen. Rod Monroe, Sen. David Nelson, Sen. Chuck Thomsen, Sen. Joanne Verger, Sen. Doug Whitsett, Sen. Jackie Winters, Rep. E. Terry Beyer, Rep. Jean Cowan, Rep. Tim Freeman, Rep. Betty Komp, Rep. Tina Kotek, Rep. Mike McLane, Rep. Mary Nolan, Rep. Greg Smith, Rep. Kim Thatcher, Rep. Gene Whisnant.

to find the contact information for the representatives, go HERE and click on 'state representatives listed alphabetically' under Representative Information in the middle of the page.

Implications of HB2904

Some Implications of HB2904, if passed

This bill would make it more difficult for birth parents to choose to to place their babies for adoption and make it easier for adoptions to be overturnedMany of the “protections” in this bill are already available to birthmothers according to the current adoption laws, per the birthmother’s choice.

This bill would actually take away her ability to make these choices by requiring certain behaviors from the birth parent and not allowing them to waive proposed mandatory waiting periods.

Birth parents would be forced to parent for 8 days or the baby would need to be placed in foster care for that period of time, this could not be waived. Placement of a child with the adoptive family would be delayed.

The creation of the 30 day revocation period (aka the time period in which the birth parent can change their mind after signing relinquishment papers) that cannot be waived by the birth parent, could lead to more disrupted adoptions/placements and could potentially lead to problems with interstate adoption agreements with other states.

This bill will make it a requirement for all the information in an adoptive couple’s home study to be seen by the birth parent prior to relinquishment.

This bill will create an ‘adoption attorney fee fund’ paid for by Oregon tax payers.

comparing current law with hb2904

A brief comparison of Current Oregon Law vs. Oregon law with HB2904

Current Oregon Law 
Oregon Law with HB2904

·      A birth parent may place a child any time after the child’s birth.
·      A child must be 8 days old before they can be placed for adoption by their birth parents. This cannot be waived for an earlier placement with an adoptive couple.

·      A birth parent may revoke their consent at any time before an adoption is finalized unless they sign a Certificate of Irrevocability agreeing that their consent will be final. 
·      A birth parent may revoke their consent to adoption within 30 days; They are not permitted to waive this right by choosing to sign a Certificate of Irrevocability.

·      A birth parent is entitled to have the adoptive parents or agency pay for at least 3 pre and 3 post placement counseling sessions.
·      Each birth parent must participate in 3 free pre-placement and 3 free post-placement counseling sessions. Failure of any birth parent to comply with specific participation requirements or failure of a counselor to provide these sessions covering specific counseling topics as outlined by the bill, are grounds for setting aside a finalized adoption.

·      Each birth parent has the option to consult with an attorney prior to signing a relinquishment or consent for adoption.
·      Each birth parent is required to meet with an attorney at the cost of the adoptive couple and the state of Oregon, prior to placing their child. Failure to comply is grounds for setting aside a finalized adoption judgment or grounds for revocation.

·       A  birth parent in an independent adoption is entitled to receive notices of what is happening in the adoption proceeding.  A birth parent in an agency adoption may ask to receive those notices.  Either can waive the right to receive those notices.
·      For a minimum, the birth parent(s) are entitled to receive a copy of the Petition.  The bill is silent as to any other notices.  The bill is silent as to whether this right may be waived.

·       A party to the adoption cannot challenge the adoption after the final judgment. In an agency adoption, the birth parent is not a party.  In an independent adoption they are a party. Any other person who has an interest may be able to challenge the adoption up to a year after final judgment if they could prove fraud or duress.    
·      For up to one year, any party to an adoption may file an action contesting the validity of a consent to an adoption and whether the counseling and attorney participation and requirements were met, as well as challenging an adoption if they can prove fraud or duress. For this provision, in an agency adoption the birth parent has now become a party.

Friday, February 4, 2011

hb 2904 summary

House Bill 2904

Sponsored by Representative DOHERTY; Representative DEMBROW (at
  the request of Janette Barcenas, Ashley Peterson-Munoz, Leticia
  Munoz, Kiley Steward, Tamera Slack, Oregon Birth Mothers)
  (Presession filed.)


The following summary is not prepared by the sponsors of the
measure and is not a part of the body thereof subject to
consideration by the Legislative Assembly. It is an editor's
brief statement of the essential features of the measure as

  Establishes Adoption Legal Services Fund. Continuously
appropriates moneys in fund to Judicial Department to pay costs
of legal consultation for birth parents in adoption proceedings.
Requires additional fee to be collected from party filing
petition for adoption
and to be credited to fund.
  Prohibits consent to adoption, or surrender and release of
child for adoption, until child is eight days old.
Permits certificate of irrevocability to be revoked for
any reason within 30 days.
Provides that certificate of
irrevocability is not effective until birth parent participates
in mandatory adoption-related counseling and legal consultation.
Failure of birth parent to participate in mandatory counseling
and legal consultation and nonpayment of expenses of counseling
and consultation are grounds for setting aside adoption judgment
or for revocation of consent to adoption.

  Provides that validity of adoption judgment may be challenged
on specified grounds within one year after entry.


Who is my local legislator?

Follow this link to find out who your OR state legislators are. 

Once you know who they are, then you can contact them to share with them your concern and oppostition to this bill.

suggestions for method of contact are: 
write a letter (the old fashioned way)
a phone call with a 1-2 min script
ask for a personal mtg in Salem to talk to your rep in person
show up in Salem and talk to whomever is avail to listen to your concerns
(phone calls and in person- you might not be granted more than a minute or two of their time, literally. be sure to have a write up completed ahead of time that includes more details of your opposition and concerns and your personal experiences with adoption in OR. you can send this ahead of time or hand it to them to leave behind after your visit.) 
**It will be most effective if you can do every one of these things. If adoption is important to you and preserving the birth parents' right to CHOICE in adoption is important to you, than we know you won't hesitate with taking extreme action immediately! **

The more individual voices that legislators hear, the better! If there is more than one adult in your home, please be sure to contact the representatives as individiuals and not as a couple/family. 

Also feel free to share your concerns with the House Human Services Committee members.

HB 2904

the house bill 2904. adoption reform? you decide.


(note, italics means that blurb has been cut from the bill)

members of the house human services committee

If you would like to voice your concern regarding hb 2904 you should contact your local representatives. Instructions on how to do that here.

You can also contact the members of the House Human Services Committee- Rep. Vic Gilliam, Rep. Carolyn Tomei, Rep. Lew Frederick, Rep. Jim Thompson, Rep. Mitch Greenlick, Rep. Chris Harker, Rep. Julie Parrish and Rep. Jim Weidner

how to track hb 2904's progress

 As of today, feb 4, 2011 the bill is in the 'ways and means' committee. It was recently sent there from the Human Services Committee. It will most likely go back to the Human Services Committee.

You can track the bill on the legislature’s website- www.leg.state.or.us 

look on the right hand side at the bottom, you will see an E-Subscribe icon- it will ask for your email address and give you a list of committee’s to choose from- check the box on the House Human Services Committee and the Ways and Means Committee and then at the bottom, click on the submit button. From then on you’ll get copies of all the agendas for that committee and if that bill comes up for a hearing you will know in advance.

you will be able to see when the bill comes up for a hearing, but it is not uncommon for hearings to change last minute per the convenience of the legislators on the various committess.