For anyone interested in adoption reform, gathering data is crucial. We need to know how many people do not have access to their original identities and information. If adopted people are asking for a change in the law that prevents them from knowing their original identity, it certainly is a useful to know how many there are of them will be affected by a change in the law. The census is a great way to identify the adoptee constituency, because there is no other way. How many people are without health insurance? How many people are Hispanic? Caucasian? Bi-racial? How many people are adopted? From this country or that one? Guatemala? Where the child was very likely to have been stolen, see Guatemalan Army Stole Kids for Adoption. Ethiopia? Different but similar problem, see Harvesting Children from Ethiopia for Families in America.
The answers tell us about ourselves. The answer to that question--are any of the children adopted?--could help move the legislation forward. Of course, in the case of children adopted from overseas, they will probably never be able to locate their original parents; but it is sometimes possible. (Someone who adopted from Ethiopia and became aware of that country's corrupt baby-grab business has been in touch, and I will be telling her story in a day or two.
But here at home, anyone who objects to the identity question is in clear denial about that fact that there is a difference between having a biological child by conception, pregnancy and birth, and having a child by paper work and adoption decree. And one has to assume that if and when the adopted person (born in America) decides to search for his or her natural, biological parents, the adoptive parent who had no trouble with the question will also more easily accept his or her decision, to say nothing of offering understanding and support. I have a great deal of admiration for such people. I have less respect for the parents who want to deny that an adoption took place. From what I've seen, they deny the adoption...until there is trouble. Then it's, Well, he's not really my child. We adopted him. Not my blood...is the thinking.
Maybe not so weirdly, I included the reference to Guatemalan adoptions before I checked out the blog of UpstateMomof3. While her blog says she always only wanted to be a mother--and there is nothing wrong with that--her two adopted children are from, yep, Guatemala and Ethiopia. No comment. Necessary.
Her blog is a collection of product reviews of stuff that companies can send them, which she actively seeks. She has quite a few followers. Happy busy Upstate Mom writes about stuff. You'll note she also objected to the questions about race on the census. Her children aren't going to be confused when they grow up.
Here is her comment:
As a mom of two children who I adopted I want to explain a little my problem with the fact that the census asked me to separate out which of my children were adopted and which ones were biologically mine.
First - simply asking that question does not actually give you any information about the adoption itself. I do not see what purpose there is in it if it is just to separate the two categories. (Ed: She does have a point here; for reform purposes, it would be good to know how many were born in the United States.)
Second - there are simply not enough categories - what if I have a surrogate? Would that child qualify as "biologically" mine - even if we used donor sperm and donor eggs? Would that child qualify as adopted? What if that child we use donor sperm and my egg? Is that child now my husband's "step" child? (Ed: She does point out the various ways by which children are constructed today.)
Third - While I am not delluding (sic) myself into believing that my children will never have issues about being adopted I simply do not see why it matters to the government. I mean what does it really tell them about society? I do not get it (sic)
Fourth - I do not think of it so much as well (sic) adopted kids have issues and biological kids do not. I look at it as each child is an individual capable of having an array of issues. So, it is not so much that being adopted makes someone different it is that each person is an individual. (Ed: For an interesting take on the question: Are Adoptees Different? do read Faux Claud's excellent essay.)
And from another commenter, who has since removed her comment:
But hey I had an issue with the race classifications on the census too. I got all hyped up about it and left a bunch of blanks - filled in only, name and age and that's it.
I wouldn't worry about being honest on a census form..(Ed: lovely)--lorraine