Saturday, December 26, 2009
We Survived the Holidays but are Mad as Hell
...I know people's tongues are loosened by the merry spirits, but hmm....I'd rather not be reminded in the midst of merry-making, thank you very much. People mean well, I know, but there are times when one (that would be me) would rather be just a friend, not an acquaintance with a story trailing me around like a tattered boa I can't quite drop, it's always there.
But in the meantime, the newspapers around the country are filled with reunion stories, from Long Beach to Montgomery, Alabama but still the New Jersey clock continues to run out on the bill that would give adopted people the right to their original birth certificates. The New Jersey Senate passed the bill in 2008, but to become law it needed passage in the Assembly within two years, and now it is clear it will die because the Speaker of the Assembly, Joseph Roberts, refused to let the bill out for a vote, even though the Assembly had to votes to pass it! With a super majority, no less! Even though we flooded his office with letters! A Mommouth College poll showed that the public--75 percent--is for giving adoptees their birth records and right to know who they are.
What's wrong with you, Joe? Have you no decency? Have you no compassion for the thousands of people adopted in New Jersey who had their rights stripped from them at birth? We get quite heated up on the issue, because, because, well, Roberts and his ilk in New York and every other state are on the wrong side of history. And I'm mad as hell.
Yes, those few natural mothers who fear their own children would be able to file a non-disclosure form, for up to a year, and their names would be blocked out from the searching adoptee, but other states with similar laws (Tennessee and Delaware) have had only a minute number of people asking to remain anonymous from their own children, a concept I understand intellectually but emotionally can not fathom. Why would any mother not want to know her child? The mind boggles.
In Oregon, birth parents may file a no-contact form, but the number has hovered in the low eighties of those requesting no-contact for several years, while more than 9,000 original birth certificates have been requested.Who are these women, I wonder? How did their mothering instinct become subverted?
I dunno what's wrong with the world. And while we can't even get the open records for adoptees passed in New Jersey, and New York, where the painstaking step-by-step, legislator-by-legislator work continues, I'm having dreams of throwing opening the records for us first/birth mothers too--as in, why the hell not?
In Canada, our fair neighbor to the North with egads! universal health care, the four provinces (out of ten, along with three territories) that's nearly a quarter of the provinces in number if not in population) allow birth mothers the right to see the adoption court orders, and so they are privy to the names of those who adopted the children they bore. Imagine that. Over her in the backwards U.S.A., the collective mind goes pretty much gaga over that thought, and when we work for open records we don't even bring it up. Are we too brain-washed? To polite to upset the applecart? Alberta's law has a non-disclosure veto that either side can file, but in British Columbia, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador the door is open to birth/first mothers as well as the adopted.
Here we are more likely to struggle with the attitude that seems to me to be nearly universal among the unknowing: that we mothers HAVE NO RIGHT to search, because we will be disrupting a happy person (and his [adoptive] family) who does not want to be disturbed with their real identities and mothers coming back. Of course we know that is hogwash, but we have gotten into some pretty sticky situations ourselves with acquaintances who brand us selfish for searching. (As in, what part of your pie chart was selfish when you went searching for your daughter?) Those folks are the ones who want to take us out to the woodshed and give us a good thrashing for having such radical thoughts.
I realize I'm rambling on, and getting worked up over this and Christmas is not really over. Time to wash my hair and take off for the movies for several adoption-free hours. --lorraine
Note: The records are sealed in the three territories also.