Help adoptees reach first parents
Ask the man on the street if people who were adopted as babies should be able, as adults, to find out the identities of their original parents, and the typical answer is: Sure, isn't that their right?
Only for the fortunate few. In all states but six -- and New York isn't among that half-dozen -- individuals adopted at birth are still denied the unrestricted right to even look at a copy of their original birth certificates. Without that piece of paper, it's hard to have that longed-for mother-and-child reunion....First Mother Forum published the rest of the piece at an earlier blog: Help Adoptees Reach First Parents.
Below is what was printed in Newsday in response... an angry adoptive mother who chose to misunderstand my meaning--god forbid I fail to mention nights at the hospital, cut knees and high fever, but the word limit is 735--and a fearful adoptee who wants an excuse for not searching and has found it in the idea that how women of my generation are going to be freaked out if contacted by their surrendered children. Only a few, Lady, and their right to stay in the closet should not supersede those of adoptees to come out as who they were when the were born, before adoption.
Unfortunately, unless you are a subscriber to either Newsday or Cablevision (which owns Newsday) you cannot leave a comment or email them. If you do feel compelled to respond (it would be good for the movement if you did and I would love you forever), send a snail mail to Newsday, Letters to the Editor, 235 Pinelawn Road, Melville, NY 11747. Mention the original piece and the letters. Keep it short and brisk. And let me know here!
Lorraine Dusky's opinion article, "Help adoptees reach first parents" [May 13], states that questions of identity "ring deep in the breast, and neither time, nor the love of an adoptive family, can erase them." How dare she make such a declaration.
It's not a fact, it's Dusky's conception due to the pain that she has of missing a child she gave up for adoption. It's an insult to those of us who have cherished our child. We are an adoptive family.
How dare Dusky state with such ignorant boldness that our love can't make up for the love of the person who gave our son away? I am the one who stayed up all night holding him in the emergency room with a 106-degree fever. I wipe his tears and celebrate his joys. We taught him to walk and ride a bike. I'm his mother. There's more to being a mother than giving birth. His birth mother (not his "first mother") gave away four other babies, too.
He is our son in every sense of the word. And as for the other reasoning Dusky gave, namely that the child needs to know his or her medical history, this was all provided in the background of the birth mother and father.
Our son knows he is adopted, and he's known it since the beginning of his life. We've made no secret about it. He told me that he adopted us, and he knows exactly who he is.
Elizabeth Gari, Westbury
LD HERE: Ms. Gari apparently found our use of "first mother" offensive, as in, Get back in the closet, you nasty "first" mother. Yes ma'am anything you say--I'll sit in the back of the bus. My Newsday editor could not have been nicer about not using the term. I use it at the blog because "birth mother" is what people still Google.
The goal of delivering a baby safely to his or her parents may be achieved by a Lamaze "natural" birth, birth with epidural or by Caesarean section. I extrapolate that to my delivery safely to my parents through my adoption.
Lorraine Dusky writes that opening adoption records would cause women who chose anonymity to have only temporary discomfort and embarrassment. In fact, for these women -- who may be in their 70s and older, and likely have husbands, children and grandchildren -- to be "outed" could be devastating.
Virginia Gunther Fankhauser, East Northport
LD: Well, yikes, what to say to that? I'm one of the generation she is talking about, though I'm not in my seventies. A lot of us told our husbands (not the fathers) at the getgo. And poor Virginia was apparently not born the normal way.
Virginia and Elizabeth, and other adoptive parents and adoptees: some suggested reading above. Primal Wound is written by an adoptive mother, Nancy Verrier; Birthmark (Lorraine Dusky), Waiting to Forget (Margaret Moorman) and The Other Mother (Carol Schaefer), written by first/birth mothers; and Twenty Things Kids Wish their Adoptive Parents Knew by an adoptee, Sherrie Eldridge.