Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I was thinking about my DNA results this morning--more about that another time--and my being 10% Ashkenazi. Several of my friends, when told, said, "Duh!" I love that. As I have written before, more than once in my past I have been grabbed by fellow students to be taken to Hillel meetings. Or Jewish boys have thought for certain I was in the tribe. Well, sort of, in a very remote way. It was strange to be recognized as being Jew-ish without having a clue about it myself.

And then...I get some photographs on my phone, from my husband, who is visiting his dad in Germany. They are reminders of the stash of photographs we can never put up on the wall. EVER. Of course, forget the one of Opa with Goebbels at Hitler Youth Camp. I find them fascinating as historical documents; they're nerve wracking otherwise since I know the sitter.

And the Ahnenpass, the official Nazi-enforced family tree/document to "prove" that there was no Jewish blood in the family.

It's just one of those days of clashing.

I think *I* have identity issues? My kids are going to have quite their own.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The More Things Don't Change

I credit Addie Pray for bringing me into the fold of online adoptees, nearly five years ago. She is another Missouri adoptee, and she has been active in the slow slog towards getting Missouri adoptees their OBCs. As she wrote on her blog about four years ago, "let's face it, Missouri needs a kick in the ass." *sigh*

This year there was a proposed bill that seemed like more of the same of what we already have or have had, what with requiring CIs to go between adoptee and first parents, and notarized "permission slips" and paying whatever costs the CIs come up with in finding our first families--too much room for abuse, and no respect for adult adoptee integrity. I know exactly whom my agency would appoint: the same CI who was abusive to me and my mother before. Why would she be more efficient, except that I could give her telephone numbers and addresses? I cannot imagine she'd be more on the ball, or kinder, or charge less. I have read online that she's told more adoptees than me that their first parents want nothing to do with them. I wonder to myself, "Did she actually find them? Or did she phrase introductions so coldly that things were made impossible?" Hard to tell; I am skeptical and not particularly forgiving.

I know that some people in Missouri have just loved their CIs, and more power to them. That's beside the point, however. I consider the CI system itself infantilizing. Arguing about "good" versus "bad" CIs is details, not substance. Why should any of us be required to pay anyone to do this go-between work for us to the tune of $500+ (that some people cannot afford, btw); why should we have to be treated as potential criminals; why should the state be involved to such a degree in people's business in the first place?

How about a bill that allows adoptees to go to the appropriate courthouse, pay a fee, and get her or his OBC? How about that? Oh, yes, then the CIs would be out of work; I am sure they're lobbying in favor of those "closeted" mothers, and guileless little adoptees, their meal tickets.

Getting one's OBC is about getting a document that everyone else has a right to have for themselves: it's a government-issued document about ourselves. It's not about searching, or not only about searching. I found my family without mine; many people do. OBC access is a matter of integrity, a matter of insisting that the state not sanction secrets. That's why clean bills are so important. Why are some individuals simply more fortunate, more deserving than others? I have lived too long on the margins among the outcasts to agree that it's all right to create more fortunate/less fortunate groups and hope for more change down the road. Wait for what's right.

I refused to write letters for in support of HB 252 this year. I find its terms unacceptable and unconscionable. I include the part related to me below, emphasis mine. And especially fuck permission slips, written for adults. We are not children.

453.515. 1. (1) For all adoptions completed on or prior to August 28, 2013, an adopted person who is at least eighteen years of age, born in this state, and provides proof of identification, or the adopted person's lineal descendants if the adopted person is deceased, may request that the department of social services, the child-placing agency which processed the adoption, or the court personnel make reasonable efforts to notify the birth mother and birth father of the request of the adopted adult or the adopted adult's lineal descendants to request their consent to release a copy of the adopted adult's original birth certificate. If the department of social services does not have sufficient information or resources to locate and notify the birth mother and birth father, the department may refer the adopted person or the adopted person's lineal descendants to, or work in conjunction with, the child-placing agency or the court to notify the birth mother and birth father of the request of the adopted adult or the adopted adult's lineal descendants. The department of social services, the child-placing agency, or the court may charge actual costs to the adopted adult or the adopted adult's lineal descendants for the cost of attempting to notify the birth mother and birth father. All communications under this section are confidential. For purposes of this subsection, "notify" means personal and confidential contact with the birth mother and birth father of the adopted adult, which initial contact shall be made by an employee of the department of social services, the child-placing agency which processed the adoption, court personnel, or some other licensed child-placing agency designated by the department of social services, the child-placing agency, or the court. Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the disclosure of communications privileged under section 491.060.
            (2) If the birth mother and birth father consent to the release of the original birth certificate, the department of social services, the child-placing agency, or the court personnel shall obtain a copy of a notarized form developed by the state registrar provided by the court and signed by the birth mother and birth father, if known, giving consent to release the original birth certificate and provide it to the adopted person or the adopted person's lineal descendants. The adopted person or the adopted person’s lineal descendants may obtain a copy of the adopted person's original birth certificate in accordance with subsection 5 of section 453.510 upon presenting the notarized consent form to the state registrar.
            (3) If the birth mother or birth father does not consent to the release of a copy of the original birth certificate or cannot be located, such copy shall not be released. The adopted person or the adopted person's lineal descendants if the adopted person is deceased may request that the department of social services, the child-placing agency, or the court personnel contact the birth mother and birth father again not less than three years after the date of his or her original request and not less than three years from the date of any future requests.
            2. Upon the birth mother's and birth father's death, the adopted person or the adopted person's lineal descendants if the adopted person is deceased may obtain a copy of the original birth certificate from the state registrar.
            3. Any time a copy of an original birth certificate is obtained under this section, the state registrar shall issue an uncertified copy of the unaltered, original birth certificate to the adopted person or the adopted person's lineal descendants if the adopted person is deceased. The copy of the birth certificate shall have the following statement printed on it: "For informational purposes only - not to be used for establishing identity."

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Who Will Pay for Greed?

My union is still in contract "negotiations" with Sutter Health, a Utah based not-for-profit hospital consortium. I hate them. So much.

I am glad to have my union to protect me, but Sutter is doing all it can to bust the union. We have been striking and fighting not for raises, but simply to maintain our contract and *safe* working practices for over 18 months.

My unit, Labor and Delivery, has the most activists in our two hospitals. All of us in L&D but ONE honor the strike. That's over 150 nurses on the line. We are punished routinely for this with not enough staffing when we need it. Last week, for example, night shift had only 14 nurses with a board that called for 24 nurses just to be safe. Our charge RN called the managers to ask for time-and-a-half to call nurses in to work at 3 am. I mean, who in their right mind is going to come in to work when it's slammed, as a favor to the employer? Seriously? Patients were waiting in triage, delivering in the hallway, bleeding. It was unsafe.  The manager: "No. We cannot authorize overtime because the union is voting on a strike next week."

So management has made the decision to jeopardize patient safety because we RNs are entitled to strike  under labor law. It's horrific, and punitive, primarily to patients.

We have had multiple near misses for bad events. What will it take for them to meet with us to talk about patient safety? One death? Two? Three? How many dead babies?

We had invited the Chief Nursing Executives to meet with a union committee focused on patient safety for over a year. No response. A month ago, they finally agreed. They asked as many L&D RNs to come to the committee meeting as possible to talk about what we've witnessed. Many of us did. Then the executives canceled at the 11th hour and sent designees from HR instead, who, by the way, are now called "Business Partners," just to make it clear they're not there for us, but for the corporation. The Business Partners, moreover, had nothing to do with staffing, and nothing to do with L&D. Interesting. They promised to take our messages to management, but after the meeting never returned our e-mail or telephone calls. Interesting. In true punitive form, HR hijacked *our* meeting to tell us that we were "unprofessional" for not treating traveler RNs (the ones who were scabs for our strikes but then hired to help out sometimes when our staffing was low) politely enough. We said that we were polite, but that we didn't need to be friends with them. He rolled his eyes at us. How professional is that?

So no change.

Then yesterday a follow-up meeting was scheduled, and HR was told that they were not invited. It was for the nursing executives *only* to attend with us. HR told us that it was five "Business Partners," plus the nursing executives, or nothing. Our contract states that we cannot deal with HR directly, but that if the nursing executives designate one of them as proxy, that is all right. ONE person, ONE proxy. Not five plus three. There was a standoff outside the door, and HR would not let the executives speak when we invited the executives alone inside. We consequently did not let *any* of them enter our meeting. It was a union meeting, a closed meeting. Clearly, HR wants to police us and the executives so that nothing is promised (i.e., no money is spent). It's sick.

Oh, and one of the "Business Partners" told our Labor Rep that "so many RNs in a room is intimidating." Well, maybe to him. But the nurse managers MANAGE all of us, so it shouldn't be all that intimidating if they're doing their job right and want to listen and make change.

Please, no one tell me to hear Sutter's side. Don't tell me that it's expensive to hire staff. It's morally wrong to have someone die when conditions are known to be less than what the state demands. We are writing up exceptions and letting everyone know. It's not about their feelings v. our feelings. Sometimes, there is a WRONG side. We have a moral obligation to do no wrong, not just take the patients' money (or MediCal).

I don't want patients to suffer, but apparently Sutter thinks $$$ comes first. Which is crazy, given all the overtime they end up paying us, anyway. I am going to file an affadavit and stand before the National Labor Relations Board, if needed, regarding the committee meeting fiasco. It's harrassment and unacceptable.

Sutter is trying to break our resolve to stand together. They won't do it. Stay tuned.