This is the last of a series of emails between me and my surrendered daughter Megan about open records. The first two parts were posted Monday and Wednesday, January 26 and 28.
Several commentators have criticized me for posting Megan’s emails contending that I betrayed her confidence. I would not have posted her emails if they contained personal information but they don’t. There is nothing about her family, her marriage, her finances, her work, her address, her health – nada. Her emails contain only the opinions which she put forth in her letter to the Bloomington Illinois Pentagraph (below).
I learned of Megan’s Pentagraph letter from a post on the CUB (Concerned United Birthparents) list. It also attracted the attention of an Australian blogger. On the other hand, I copied Megan with my response to her letter.
Megan and I talked on the telephone and exchanged a few emails after the Pentagraph letters. The "don't send presents" email came four months later. I did not respond and I have not heard from her. I assume that if I had written back, our relationship would have continued to limp along.
Although I am sad things haven't worked out, I don’t regret the suspension of our relationship. "Limping along" is worse. I, as I suspect many mothers do, harbored sentimental, almost romantic feelings about Megan. She was my baby. Some day she would realize I was her true mother and come home. In the first few years, I fretted constantly about saying the right things, whether I was too pushy or too distant, and so on. Now that I accept that I cannot control Megan’s feelings, I can be myself.
I think that another reason that I am able to deal with our parting is that I have two young grandchildren, the children of a daughter I raised. These little sweethearts meet my need for someone to mother.
My differences with Megan are not simply a political dispute (she voted for Bush; I voted for Kerry). In asserting that two strangers always make better parents than a single natural mother, Megan is attacking me at my core.
Letters to the Editor
Oppose proposal about adoptee birth certificates
I am an adult adoptee. About 10 years ago, I made the choice to search for my birth mother and I found her!
I knew nothing about the "adoption rights'' movement. It was just something I wanted to do for myself.
The reunion with my birth mother was satisfying for me, and we still correspond and visit each other. After we met, I even attempted to obtain my original birth certificate, but was denied.
Since that time, I have been exposed to many, many communications from various groups pushing for legislation that would allow all adoptees the right to obtain their original birth certificates, regardless of the wishes of birth mothers.
At first, the political arguments made a lot of sense to me. However, after much careful study, pondering and prayer, I have decided for myself that I cannot embrace these groups' basic philosophy regarding family.
God has a plan for families. Children should be nurtured in loving homes by a father and a mother who are also husband and wife. "Redefining kinship,'' as advocated by the some of these groups, is a dangerous thing.
Furthermore, to obtain one's original birth certificate is not a civil or human right. Because I don't believe in the basic goals of "adoption rights'' organizations, I cannot and will not support their political agendas, including open records for all adoptees.
Megan [last named deleted]
April 15, 2008
To the Editor
Megan [last name deleted] who wrote the letter published April 13 (“Oppose proposal about adoptee birth certificates”) is the daughter I surrendered for adoption in December, 1966. Megan argues that adoptees should not have the unrestricted right to their original birth certificates.
While Megan is a fine person, I strongly disagree with her views on adoptee access.
I live in Portland, Oregon. On November 3, 1998, Oregon voters passed Ballot Measure 58 with 57 percent of the vote. This measure allowed adults adoptees to obtain their original birth certificates. Opponents immediately challenged Ballot Measure 58 in the courts as violating birthmother privacy. The Oregon Court of Appeals upheld the law and the United States Supreme Court refused to review the decision. The Measure became effective May 31, 2000.
While opponents of the Measure claimed that birthmothers did not want their children to know their identities, birthmothers said something quite different. Two days before the election, over 500 birthmothers including me placed their names in a full page ad in Oregon’s largest newspaper, the Portland Oregonian, supporting the measure.
When I learned in 1997, that Megan was looking for me, I was terrified; but also overjoyed. Since our reunion, I have felt much more complete. It is indeed true that the truth will set you free.
My experience is not unique. Over 9,000 Oregon adoptees have received their original birth certificates. There have been no reports of birthmothers becoming distressed over being contacted by their child. I have met birthmothers and birthfathers from all over the country. I have never heard any regret having a reunion – regardless of how the reunion turned out.
(Note: Published 4/20/08)