Reform Grass Roots

Launching Grass Roots Adoption Reform in your State

To get started, form a core group of adoptees, adoptive parents, adoption professionals and birthparents who share a passion for adopted persons getting access to their original birth certificate. You don’t have to know about politics; you’ll learn as you go! Three to five passionate advocates can move mountains.  

The following suggestions will depend on the size of the group, so pick the tasks that you are able to do well. Some legislative efforts have advanced, executed by a few dedicated individuals.

Name your group.  An acronym associated with the mission works well.

  • ACCESS2006 – Maine
  • MCAR – Minnesota Coalition for Adoption Reform
  • NYSAR – New York Statewide Adoption Reform
  • NJCARE – New Jersey Coalition for Adoption Reform and Education
  • GEAR: Georgians for Equal Adoptee Rights
  • ROAR: Restore Ohio Adoptee Rights

Use your group’s name on a brochure, letterhead, website, fax coversheet, in e-mail and other communications.

Plan regular recruitment and organizational meetings.

Focus on recruiting with a goal of building, sustaining and expanding your base. Network with civic, community, religious and advocacy groups that might support your bill. Spread the word through community announcements, through bulletins to media sources, flyers distributed at search/reunion support groups. Build participation and commitment.

At meetings, keep an ongoing sign-up sheet and start a database. Realize that it’s rare to have the capacity to organize in all areas needed, so target your group’s grassroots effort. Targeting is about prioritizing. Check on the official website for your state to determine how a bill becomes a law. Split tasks around each step.

What About Funding?

Legislative efforts require funding as well as a great deal of personal commitment. Your group may design creative fund-raising events that call attention to the bill. Open a free checking account and include a form seeking contributions in any mailing you do. Offset overhead and administrative costs through donations from participants and their families (birth and adoptive) who will recognize the value of this bill to their personal lives.  Among the items participants can donate are:

  • Meeting space
  • Paper, copying, postage, web and phone costs
  • Buttons, bumper stickers with a  slogan promoting access to birth records