Is 2017 the Year Texas Adoptees Finally Get Their Original Birth Certificates?Alicia Lanier, Co-Founder, TxCARE Erica Babino, former Legislative Director of the American Adoption Congress, is a longtime friend of Representative Joe Deshotel who filed the Texas House bill and they are in close contact. Senator Brandon Creighton filed the Senate bill.
“By filing earlier than in the 2015 session – and having SB 329 in the Senate and HB 547 in the House simultaneously – we hope to reduce the time it takes to go through both Houses,” said Erica Babino. Although a New York adoptee, she is committed to helping adoptees in her current home state of Texas.
Legislative support this year appears unprecedented. Eleven co-authors and other Senators have expressed interest in being co-sponsors to SB 329.
Like Erica and many others, I was in the Texas Senate Gallery on the evening that adoption activists had come to the Capitol from across the state because Lt. Governor Dan Patrick said that he would bring the bill up for a floor vote. We all watched patiently from our seats overlooking the Senators on the floor as the voted, waiting for our bill to be called and expecting victory.
Then we got the word. Despite the fact that a near-unanimous majority of Senators had said they would vote for the bill, Lt. Governor Patrick let it die without bringing it up for vote. One lone Senator – Donna Campbell, an M.D. and an adoptive mother from South Texas - had him remove the bill from the vote docket.
Some activists say that Senator Campbell, who recently made her opposition public in a letter to lawmakers, holds views that are rooted in misinformation and outdated social attitudes that fly in the face of research. Rumor has it that Senator Campbell also “promised” her daughter’s birth mother permanent secrecy.
Mary Edna Thames, a birth mother who testified before committees of the House and Senate in 2015, believes that Senator Campbell also may have been antagonized by a Facebook page called Dump Donna Campbell. “That hurt us,” said Mary Edna Thames. “Before that page went online, I spoke and met with people to plan strategy around education and other more positive ideas.
Texas activists already are working to educate every legislator about the impacts of these important bills and are supported by numerous organizations. In this day of DNA databases and social media, the search process has been revolutionized.
All Texans – particularly those touched by adoption - are urged to contact their State Representatives and Senators to urge passage of the bills.
TxCARE is among organizations supporting this effort and invites AAC members to go to Facebook, put Txcare in the search box, and “like” the TxCARE page devoted to supporting the two bills now in the Texas Legislature. Searching in Texas? TxCARE.org is a 20-year-old search registry website for persons adopted in Texas and their biological relatives.
About the Author: Alicia Lanier is an activist who has worked for adoptee rights in both Texas and California. She is a co-founder of TxCARE, past presenter at AAC conferences, and former board member of CUB (Concerned United Birthparents).