Over and over again we are reminded how much genetics and one's background play in the wholeness of a life. When I watched Who Do You Think You Are?, the NBC shows that traces the genealogy of celebrities from Sarah Jessica Parker to Spike Lee, I thought, these shows are bound to have a awareness on the consciousness of lawmakers who still deny adoptees the basic civil right to this kind of self-knowledge. But watching the drama in the legislatures play out once again in New Jersey, and in New York, and elsewhere, it seems that the quality of curiosity is curiously strained in the minds of obstinate lawmakers. And also in folks like the dunderheads and anti-civil rights yahoos such as Deborah Jacobs of the NJ American Civil Liberties Association, the august priests who head the Catholic Conference of Bishops, the Lutheran faction in New Jersey. Why does their charity, their concept of civil rights, not extend to adopted people? Why do they deny them their civil rights?
All remember the crying, scared embarrassed young woman who felt forced, for one reason or another, to give up a child twenty, thirty, forty years ago. That is the image in their minds. (For the bar association, which opposes open records, it's another matter; their clients are adoptive parents who prefer anonymity and sealed records.) And no matter how many of us first mothers/birth mothers stand up and say, We have changed, we want to know our children who were adopted, we are not the frightened young women of your imagination, the message still falls on deaf ears. We had no choice in the matter, but now we are the excuse to deny our children their civil rights. I don't know how or when this will ever be over, but someday it will.
On another note, Osolomama, a single mother of a girl adopted from China and a frequent contributor here, has a really interesting blog about open adoption: Ignorant Questions About Open Adoption. It's well worth reading. After I found my daughter when she was fifteen, one could say that I had an open adoption. It was not without problems (as my daughter was not without major neurological and psychological problems), but it certainly was a better way for me and her to live: with knowledge and awareness of the other. She came and went from this household on a regular basis as a teenager and young woman. I always knew where I could phone her.
And one last note: Adam Pertman of the Evan B. Donaldson Institute, has a good opinion piece today at HuffPo. Read it and make a comment, please leave it here too to encourage others to comment. My comment is early on in the list under the handle of True_Grit. Eventually, if we make enough noise, if we get enough ink, we will get through to the dunderheads. Adoptee rights is not about reunion per se, or special treatment; adoptees are unequal to the rest of us as long as they are denied knowledge of who they are, and the only way to correct that is to let them have their original, unamended birth certificates.--lorraine, a first mother first.