I repeat my point: those who would deny their children's true heritage--their adopted children's true heritage--will need a change of heart before they accept their adopted children as they are: born of someone else, with a history and culture that belong solely to them and is "other" than that of the adoptive family. Accepting one's children in honesty would be the way to begin a relationship based on truth and love of who that person really is, not whom the adoptive parent wishes him or her to be. And later, those adoptive parents dealing with this census question--are the children adopted?--as an "intrusion" will deny their children's need to know the truth of their origins. A truly loving parent would not deny a child's true heritage or "pretend" that it did not matter. To the child/adult about whom it concerns, it does matter. All else is false. --lorraine
From a reader, Virginia:
As someone who has done extensive genealogical research on my family (which I am able to do because I was not adopted, and therefore no institution or person is actively concealing my birth surname, country of origin, or ethnic history from me), I want to note that the Federal Censuses have differentiated adopted children from biological children from stepchildren for more than 100 years. In the 1900 Census alone, more than 101,000 adopted sons and daughters are identified as such (adopted), which is valuable information for genealogists and family researchers, particularly those who would seek membership in a patriarchal or matriarchal lineage-based organization, such as Daughters of the American Revolution. (Think there aren't many such heredity-based groups out there? Check out this list: http://www.hereditary.us/
chrono.htm ), or those hoping to establish direct descent/blood-quantum for a Native Peoples' tribal affiliation.
Furthermore, older censuses collected even more data, such as place of birth of one's father, place of birth of one's mother, citizenship, year of immigration, year of naturalization. Without such data, I would never have been able to locate my paternal great-grandmother's Ellis Island documents, or be able to trace her back to her country of origin and reconnect with cousins there.
I wonder what importance, if any, adoptive parents place on the ability to do such a thing for themselves... or for their adopted children to be able to do so at some later point in their lives? Time and time again, I encounter adoptive parents who react negatively to any focus on the adopted status of their children, except that which is voiced and controlled by the adoptive parents themselves.
In my opinion, this speaks to a conscious, or perhaps subconscious, insecurity about what does and doesn't constitute a "legitimate" family ("legitimate" in the sense of "recognized" or "accepted," although there is a reason why that term persists). Such an insecurity seems to be reflected in the surrogacy scenarios of upstatemom's comment.____________________
Census data which identifies specific individuals by name and physical location is not released until 72 years after the data is collected, which is why the latest data available is from 1930! Until 72 years have passed, only statistical/numerical data is available and that information is used not only in the election process but also for the establishment of public services. Many individuals who fear or distrust the census, seem to know precious little about its history, purpose, importance or mechanics, but seem more than willing to make claims about what it is or isn't, and what it should or shouldn't do.
I am trying to stick to the actual, initial topic, which addressed whether or not to identify an adopted child as such on the census. Several sound arguments for doing so were made, both in the original blogpost (Random Thoughts on Adoption at the Easter Table) and subsequent post concerning upstatemom's comment (Census Controversy Over Query: Are the children adopted?), but I do not find equally sound, supported arguments for NOT doing so in upstatemom's comment, other than her aversion to disclosing the data to the government because she, personally, does not see a purpose for providing it.
Note: In reviewing the comments here, I see that I inadvertently added a line from another individual to UpstateMomof3's (Edna Cohen) comment, and in the editing failed to note that it was from another person, who chose "anonymous" and identified herself as an adoptive mother in her comment. I simply had copied what the person said at the bottom of the blogger post, and then it merged with Upstate's comment and I failed to remember at that point (since it seemed to go with her thinking) that it was another person altogether. Her comment was submitted after Upstate's, and in support of her objection to the question about adoption on the census form.
I sincerely apologize to Mrs. Cohen for the error, and any grief it has caused her. But I will add that that comment was not by itself what sparked the initial topic, which was that some adoptive parents find offensive the question: are the children adopted or biological? on the census form, and that last comment that has caused so much drama was not the basis for the blog post. --lorraine