Damsel Plum

Damsel PlumDamsel Plum was a pioneer of Internet adoption activism and the adoption reform movement. She has been interviewed in newspapers, on radio and television and has presented at national conferences on adult adoptee rights, the Internet, and reconnection issues. As co-founder of several adoption-related non-profit organizations and events, she has focused on bringing adoptee dignity issues to the forefront while presenting the wide spectrum of the adoptee experience. This includes sides of adoption not often discussed such as abuses in adoption, unpleasant reconnections and adoptees who choose not to search. Damsel left Bastard Nation in 2002 in response to its shift in focus from adoptee civil rights to putative identity rights, and in response to her own need to stop hearing people's adoption stories.

Having benefitted from adoption herself, she is generally pro-adoption, but qualifies this with advocating the need for greater education of adoptive parents, potential birthparents, and most importantly, greater accountability and transparency in the adoption industry. Mrs. Plum successfully completed her own search for her birthfamily in 1990 and she advocates self-empowered search and support through both the Internet and local offline groups. She also advocates not getting too hung up on adoption.

Areas of Expertise: Internet-based Communities and Activism, Adoption Reform, Adoption Issues, History of U.S. Adoption Reform, Public Relations, Web design.

Location: Northern California, USA

Family: Married, 2 children, reconnected with birthfamily since 1990

Education: MA Yale University '89; BA SUNY Stony Brook '87; Graduate, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts, NYC (Drama)



Forbes Best of the Web Award for Bastard Nation and The Adoption Ring. September 11, 2000

Book Mentions:

Reclaiming America: Nike, Clean Air, and the New National Activism by Randy Shaw (University of California Press, 1999) pp. 283 - 286

Database Nation: The Death of Privacy in the 21st Century by Simson Garfinkle (O'Reilly & Assoc., 2000) pp. 146 - 147, 296

Ethics in American Adoption by L. Anne Babb, PhD. (Bergin & Garvey 1999)
p. 107

Adoption Politics: Bastard Nation and Ballot Initiative 58, by E. Wayne Carp (University Press of Kansas, April 2004) pp. 26, 28, 31, 103, 106 - 107, 113, 141

Selected Press/Media interviews:

For links to many of the articles below, go to http://www.bastards.org/bnpress

  • Rolling Stone, The Bastard Chronicles: Issue 862, February 2001
  • Seventeen Magazine, Are you my mother? Adopted teens search for their families, their histories and their identities by Gayle Forman, November 2000
  • Chicago Tribune, (IL), Opening Adoption Files Worries Birth Parents: April 16, 2ooo
  • Contra Costa Times (CA) Debate on birth records goes to court: April 25, 1999
  • Newsday (NY), Nation of Adopted Kids Earns a Hard-Won Birth: January 30, 1999
  • New Haven Advocate (CT), My Mothers, Myself: The Right to Know: November 26, 1998
  • Pioneer Press (MN), And the Internet Makes Three...: July 20, 1998
  • KQED Public Radio - Northern CA. "Forum" program with Michael Krasny. Adoption search and privacy issues. February 24, 1998.
  • HotWired, Keyword: Mom: September 1997
  • CNET TV's "The Web" April, 1997
  • Flux Magazine (OR), Bastard Nation, Spring 1997
  • Oakland Tribune (CA), Bastard Nation's Positive Picket: February 3, 1997
  • Daily Californian (Berkeley, CA) Positive Picket, February 3, 1997
  • National Adoption Reports (NCFA newsletter), 3/97
  • Ashbury Park Press (NJ), Pickets Seek Open Adoption Records: February 3, 1997
  • Self Magazine, Mother and Child Reunions: December 1996
  • "Mornings on 2" - San Francisco Bay Area Fox Affiliate morning show. Bastard Nation and RegDay. November 28, 1996
  • San Francisco Chronicle, Better Times for Adoption Searches, November 16, 1996
  • Oakland Tribune, Global Registry helps reveal hidden heritage, November 16, 1996
  • New York Times, letter published, March 21, 1996

Conference Presentations:

* The History of Sealed Records in the U.S.
* The History of the Adoption Reform Movement (Including presentation of
Adoptee Rights in the 20th Century and into the 21st:Ideologies and their Impact on Activist Strategy and Success)
Bastards on the Brick Road Conference
Aljoya Conference Center, Seattle, WA Sept. 8-10, 2000

Sex, Shame, Humor and the Adoptee Experience (with Charles Filius)
Bastards by the Bay Conference
San Francisco, CA July 17-19, 1998

Activism is Fun!: A hands-on humor-filled workshop on adoptee empowerment and real-time outreach. Includes Internet and offline activism
Birth of a Bastard Nation Conference
Chicago, IL, July 18 - 20, 1997

Bastard Nation: Adoptees on the Internet (with Shea Grimm)
American Adoption Congress 19th annual International Conference
Irving, TX, April 3 - 6, 1997

What is Bastard Nation?: The New Adoptee Rights
American Adoption Congress SW Regional Conference
San Diego, CA, November 9, 1996

Contact: (Note: I do not assist in adoption-related searches. Read below for adoption search resources.)
Searching: See my Adoption Resources page for adoption links for all members of the triad. I do not assist in adoption searches.


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