Ninth Annual March on
A Participants Report
by Ann Massmann
Ninth March on Washington for Family Preservation and Civil Rights in Adoption
was held on Saturday, June 13, 1998, and included two representatives of
Operation Identity: myself and Donna Johnston from Rio Rancho.
This years rally and march was sponsored by the Council for Equal Rights
in Adoption (CERA), the Sunflower Birthmothers Group, and the American
Adoption Congress. About 250 marchers attended. Many came from the Washington
DC area, New York, and North Carolina, particularly a large number from the
Sunflower Birthmothers Group. There were also contingents from San
Diego, CA; Michigan; and from up and down the eastern seaboard.
Ann (l) and
three-mile march from the Capitol reflecting pool to the steps of the Lincoln
Memorial was an empowering experience with a long string of people
with signs and banners of all kinds. On the march we sang and chanted. Many
wore T-shirts from their organizations, so there was a sea of tan Sunflower
Birthmother T-shirts and two turquoise Operation Identity shirts, among
Once we arrived at the Lincoln Memorial steps,
the quilts from CERA and Sunflower BMG were unfurled. It was amazing and
moving to stand there and see all these people represented in the quilts.
Also incredibly moving was the rally, which went on for the next two hours.
Several newly reunited birth parents/adoptees were acknowledged, and we heard
from Joe Soll of CERA; Alana Miller of Sunflower Birthmothers Group;
and Jane Nast and Abigail Lovett, the President and Vice Present, respectively,
of the American Adoption Congress.
Jane, an adoptive parent, spoke of the need
to incorporate more adoptive parents into the movement for reform. Her words
made me think of the importance of unityunited we stand, divided
we fall. Over 20 birth mothers, adoptees (including myself!), and adoptive
parents spoke out about their experiences and hopes for reform, to provide
for more reunions of those separated by adoption in this country.
The march was promoted as a march to
heal, and it certainly felt that way to Donna and me, listening to
all the talks, looking at the quilts, and meeting others who have also gone
through reunions or are still hoping for one. At the same time the march
reminds us of how much work still needs to be done, politically and personally,
to assure us of our rights to know our full families in this country. Reformers
in Delaware and New Jersey are currently working on legislation that will
either reform or avoid setbacks in their states laws. Maryland just
passed legislation that will allow an intermediary systemat last.
There are still many out there who will work
to keep records sealed and to eliminate even the intermediary systems, so
keep in mind that there is much to be done if we want otherwise! O.I. will
try to keep you informed of initiatives that need your help, here and around
the country. And keep next years March on Washington in
mindorganizers hope to have it in conjunction with the annual AAC
conference in May, which will be in Arlington, VA! Stay tuned....
Excerpted from the July 1998
edition of the Operation Identitiy Newsletter
© 1998 Operation Identity