' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Why adoption reform frustrates me

Monday, April 1, 2013

Why adoption reform frustrates me

Daughter Jane and Lorraine, 1983
Because I have been part of the adoption reform movement since the mid-Seventies, and see how little progress has been made in the decades since, I am frustrated. In the Seventies, adopted individuals had full access to their original birth records in Kansas, Alabama* and I believe, Alaska. Oregon, New Hampshire, Maine, and, last year, Rhode Island followed suit. Several states in the meantime passed various legislation that still allowed another party--the biological parent--the right to control whether an adopted person may obtain his most vital document: proof of existence and parentage at the time of birth. Some states still even have adoptive parent right-of-refusal to grant this document to the individual to whom it pertains: the adopted person.

Amended birth certificates are basically falsified legal documents that perpetuate a lie for they are not a record of birth, they are a record of a "pretend" birth of a child to two people that child was not born to. When the laws that legalized such falsification were passed, from the Thirties and even into the Eighties, the claim was that it was done to "protect the integrity" of the adoptive family. If the
child could not ever have access to this true family of origin, everybody would be happy, and the real** mother would "make a new life for herself."

Life is not that simple. Adopted children grow up to be adopted adults. No matter how tender their upbringing, many of them want to know the truth of their origins, a right they should be entitled to simply by the fact of being born. No state should interfere with that right. But as we know, they have and continue to do so, now claiming that the "birth mother's right to privacy" must be protected. Yet in "protecting" that right--which most of us first mothers had no choice to but to acquiesce to--another person's right must be violated. 

WE NEED TO 'PAY IT FORWARD'
At least part of the reason that the laws do not change more quickly is that so many of the adopted are not clamoring for their right of self-knowledge. We understand the complexities involved for making the choice to undertake a search. Some do, some do not, but whatever their personal decision, they are not in huge numbers are filling the chambers in their state houses demanding the right to know the truth of their origins. Some have, of course, and have worked tirelessly to move the ball forward, but the paucity of numbers who will write a letter to their legislator, lobby in their state capital, or do anything to help the movement sends a message to this message to state capitols: the current system is not bothersome to most, so there is no need to change the laws,

Yet we can see in those states that have given adoptees access to their original unamended birth certificates, that they do come calling for them in number. Now the crisis is, even in those states where change is occurring, legislators are still tacking on an insidious--and that's what it is, insidious--biological-parent veto. Such a veto by either birth parent prevents the adopted individual from receiving his or her full unamended birth certificate with the names of her real, actual, biological parents. In other words, the truth of one's origins is still under the control of someone other than the adopted individual. This is blatantly wrong. This perpetuates the emotional bondage of another. This must not be the way we move forward.

Lost in adoption reform has been almost any claim for birth/first mother rights, though when most of us signed termination of parental rights, we had no say about how the law worked: we had to agree to anonymity or the state would not be party to the adoption. Most of us--and I am one of them--had no other resources to fall back on. We had no one to help us arrange an adoption another way, and for most of us, adoption was the only "solution" to our lives at the time. No matter how we came to the decision to give up our children--whether we were young and our parents forced us to relinquish our children, whether were older and felt society gave us no real choice--doing so changed our lives in great and small ways. We absorbed our sorrow, picked ourselves up, etc. and went on. In time, I felt the internal call to work on adoption reform as a personal crusade, and though I took a long vacation from it after I found my daughter in 1981, it never left me completely and eventually, it demanded my attention again. On my bulletin board is a Christmas card from a friend from high school who lives now in a distant state. The card reads:...be the change you wish to see in the world..--Ghandi. These are words I try to live by.

So, yes, I am frustrated. I am frustrated with people who get theirs and do nothing to help others. I am frustrated by people who search and find, and then, not only do nothing to "pay it forward" by helping others, actually do things that set back the movement. Their continued silence is one way they do this; sometimes they even write letters extolling the inhumane legislation still in place. Other adoptees write magazine pieces about why they never want to search, and thus...what's the big deal, why bother changing the laws? Magazine editors love these kinds of pieces and they will always find a home, as non-adopted people, if they stop to think about it, understand the inborn curiosity of the intelligent mind to understand where one came from. A writer claiming otherwise is quirky, unusual, controversial. So deep is the understanding of the need to know the truth of one's origins, some adoptive parents who actively seek to adopt from foreign cultures often do so to cutoff any real possibility that their children will ever be able to connect with their natural parents. The more honest even say so in their books. What normal person wouldn't be at least curious? Yes, I am frustrated by those who do nothing yet criticize others who do work for change with snide and snarky comments.I am frustrated by people who fight among themselves over whether we can ever use the term "birth" parent or whether that is permanently verboten under any circumstance. I am frustrated by the clamor over the Primal Wound--If one persons says yes, that I who I feel, why criticize them for saying that makes sense to them? This in-fighting stymies progress.

IF WE ALL DO NOTHING, NOTHING WILL CHANGE
And despite the difficulty some first mothers have in facing the reality of their lives, simple humanity requires them to be available at least once to the children they bore. Anything less is a crime against nature. Because one has been living a lie for a long time is no excuse to let that lie continue for all time. One doesn't have to shout one's first-motherness from the rooftops or even tell the neighbors, but if a reunion brings some measure of peace to you, could you please write one letter to a legislator, meet with him at a coffee hour, make a phone call to his office? In doing so, you pass on the boon you received when your son or daughter contacted you. The same is true of the adopted. Is it not worth your attention--if say, you are even reading here--to take 15 minutes of time and write a single letter or make a phone call? Or if you have a little more time, attend a neighborhood meeting where your legislator is speaking, or a candidate for the legislature is campaigning, and ask her about adoptee rights. Chances are your legislator or candidate hasn't thought about the issue and you'll have an opportunity to educate her. We have been pushing the petition for New York on the right sidebar, and while simply signing might seem like a small step, it is something, and my hope is that it awakens the desire to do more sign a petition.

Of course I recognize that not everyone will take a strong stand and do something to further rights for their class, or their children's class--the adopted. Of course I recognize the constraints of a first mother who has lived with this secret buried, and the shame she feels. Of course I understand every and all of the complications involved in being a birth mother in public. Some say that the issue is "complicated" and not black and white, making the choice to do something, or do nothing "complicated." Really? Complications are an excuse to do nothing. All big issues are complicated. Slavery, gay rights, equal education and employment opportunities, equal pay for equal work, the list can do on ad infinitum--everything is complex and can get you lost in the details, but at its core, the issue does come to a simple "for" or "against." Stand up and be counted; or stand back and do nothing.

But if we all do nothing, nothing will change.

More adoptees will die without ever knowing the truth of their origins. Many birth mothers who fervently wish for reunion will die without ever seeing the face of their son or daughter. Jane my daughter, and Jane my fellow blogger, and all the other adoptees and first mothers involved in closed adoptions, or semi-open adoptions, or once-open-then-closed adoptions are all part of some gigantic social experiment not of our making. For far too many people, this failing experiment has been allowed to continue for far too long. And that is the real crime.--lorraine
_____________________


*Alabama closed its records in 1990 and reopened them without restrictions in 1999. 
**In the sense I am talking her, "real" versus "false" on the birth certificate. I understand that all mothers who raise children are also "real."

From FMF
Is it a 'Birth' Certificate or Certificate of Title?
Gays have political clout; bastards don’t. Lessons from New Jersey and New York.
The difference between the gay marriage movement and adoptee rights

FOR more information on state legislation: 
Bastard Nation 
State Legislation
at the American Adoption Congress site 

And Now for Something New: We at FMF  have other lives too. I recently got both of Rodriguez's album--he is the focus of the Oscar-winning documentary, Searching for Sugar Man, an inspiring story of  a man who was a huge phenomenon in South Africa during aparthied but he did not know it because so little got in and out of the country during the world wide embargo of that country for its racial policies. Meanwhile, "Sugarman" was living in poverty and obscurity in his home town of Detroit, the city where I grew up in the suburbs and where I went to college. Now that he has achieved some success after the movie, and in South Africa again, he gives much of his money away. He is a Mexican-American folk singer with songs of love and redemption. If you like Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Joan Baez, you will like Rodriguez. His two albums are Cold Fact
and Coming from Reality. I got them both. And catch the movie if you can, it is so inspiring and there is no adoption story therein.

31 comments :

  1. This is a tough slog and it takes practice to be able to stand in the face of namecalling (selfish, ungrateful, could-have-been-aborted, disruptive, etc) and denigration. However, vale la pena (it is worth the pain), as they may say in my father's native tongue if he is truly of Venezuelan descent. No one should ever be treated like a second-class citizen by government workers whose actions and attitudes reflect discriminatory laws. No one should be told or treated like their original identity does not matter.

    The Washington state legislation took a turn for the worse today as the Senate Human Services committee extended the non-disclose expiration period from 10-years to upon death of the birth parent and then passed the bill through committee. It is disappointing, but what can we do now? Several people testified in Olympia, but the special interests of one birth mother who serves in the senate trumps common sense and public good. We'll keep fighting and going around the records, but it is a total pain in the ass to spend extra money and time to uncover the truth when it is available from a direct source. I write this as an open records advocate and an adoptee who is 'going around' my birth mother because she will neither acknowledge my existence nor disclose my father's identity.

    Heidi

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  2. Thanks for filling us in Heidi. This was not unexpected. That the Washington legislature wants to protect the mythical hiding in the closet birth mother against the real life adoptee blows my mind. Perhaps some men in the legislature fear their names may be on some of those birth certificates!

    I'm sorry about your mother.

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  3. Perhaps some men is right! I believe that is part of the reason that the Catholic church in some places (NJ comes to mind) is so against unsealing the OBCs.

    Before I even read Heidi's comment, I woke up this morning and made this addition because I realized I had left out an important part:


    Now the crisis is, even in those states where change is occurring, legislators are still tacking on an insidious--and that's what it is, insidious--biological-parent veto. Such a veto by either birth parent prevents the adopted individual from receiving his or her full unamended birth certificate with the names of her real, actual, biological parents. In other words, the truth of one's origins is still under the control of someone other than the adopted individual. This is blatantly wrong. This perpetuates the emotional bondage of another. This must not be the way we move forward.

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  4. Oh Heidi, your kicker at the end of your comment is a killer. I am so so sorry about your mother, and thank you for being strong enough to do what you are doing.

    Stay strong.
    xxx

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  5. Equal Rights for All: It's Finally Time for Adopted People, Too

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-pertman/adoption_b_2991336.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false#sb=
    1181738,b=facebook

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  6. You know what "frustrates" me? Disgusting comments like this, that I had the misfortune of reading today:

    "Any two people, much like cockroaches, can produce a child, with basically no restrictions whatsoever. They don't have to meet any criteria, and can keep spitting out kids with no recourse. But a person or couple who wants to provide a good home for a child has to wait years, jump through a million hoops, and spend a small fortune. It doesn't make sense."

    Yeah, adoption "reform". Good luck with that in this sick, warped society we live in...

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  7. Just wrote to Ann Rivers (see previous posts) about the pending bill in WA:

    Dear Ms. Rivers:

    I am a first mother like you and I am horrified at the amendment that you are tacking onto the bill that would give adoptees the right to their original UNAMENDED birth certificates for it continues the yoke of bondage that the sealed records instituted. No matter how you slice it, this amendment gives all biological parents "privacy," if they so desire it, but in doing so tramples the rights of others. The right to know who one is, who one was at birth surely is an inviolate right that all men are given simply be being born, and the state must not be party to infringing on that right.

    Yes, some birth mothers--a very small number--will be freaked out by fear; but the few must not hold in their hands the reins of freedom for all, just as the people who oppose abortion do not have the right to oppose it for all.

    In considering this matter, consider the words of 1980 document that experts in the then U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare wrote after holding hearings of adoptees, natural mothers, social workers, and adoptive parents throughout the country. Their Model Adoption Act stated:
    “There can be no legally protected interest in keeping one’s identity secret from one’s biological offspring; parents and child are considered co-owners of the information regarding the event of birth….The birth parents’ interest in reputation is not alone deserving of constitutional protection.”

    The times were not right then to allow this to pass. An adoptive father in the Senate, John Tower, vigorously fought against this provision. Yet adoptive parents elsewhere have fought vigorously for the right of their children to know their true heritage, such as Sen. Lou D’Alassandro in New Hampshire who got a bill without a veto. Today he talks about the fact that there have been no problems since passage. He did not do it for the sake of the birth mothers; he did it because it was the right thing to do.

    Please reconsider your stand on this measure and do not let this bill pass with a veto attached. That is like passing a bill against slavery but letting the slave holders decide if they are willing to let their slaves go. You are so close to Oregon, and they have had no trouble--though some lengthy court battles brought by a small group of Mormons--since they have allowed the free and unfettered right of the adopted to posses their own birth certificates.

    You are coming down on the wrong side of history on this. Please reconsider your position on the birth-parent veto and remove it from the bill.
    Sincerely,
    Lorraine Dusky
    Sag Harbor, NY 11963

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  8. Phoenix Rising,
    where did you read that insidious comment?

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  9. Lorraine:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2013/04/01/nia-vardalos-instant-mom-celebrity-adoption/2028381/

    Look in the Facebook comment section of this article...

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  10. Why do you complain about amended birth certificates and then support gay rights that have lead to an amended certificate stating two men and two women created and gave birth to a child which is an even bigger and crazier lie? Talk about unfair to adoptees! I will never understand why you and so many others seem so confused and contradict yourselves on this subject.

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  11. No one should be discriminated against, gay or straight, black or white, adopted or non-adopted, etc. The rights of gay to not be discriminated against is what is at stake in the current Supreme Court case; the right of adoptees to know the truth of their origins is a vastly different concept, and is a fundamental right of anyone's existence. This right is actually much more basic than the rights of my gay friends to have the same rights of joint partnership that marriage confers.

    Not falsifying birth records of ANYONE should be the goal. You can be for the end of discrimination for gays, and also be for the right of EVERYONE to know the truth of their origins.

    Whether gay marriage equality will lead to greater numbers of adoptions approved for gay couples is a separate issue. Alas, I feel that that is the way the world turns; all we can do is reduce the number of babies that women give up to be raised by others.

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  12. Let me echo Lorraine's comment. If I were in charge, every birth certificate would contain the name of both genetic parents, even if they are donor parents. There would be no amended birth certificates.

    The legal parents would get a certificate of legal parentage which would include date and place of birth which would allow the child to use it to enroll in school, obtain a passport, and so on. The child would be entitled to a copy of his birth certificate at age 18.

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  13. I'm an adoptive parent and I hope you don't mind if I ask a question. When did the amended birth certificates start? And why?

    When we adopted our son from foster care, I didn't want our names on her birth certificate, but we didn't have a choice. There isn't any choice, that I'm aware of.

    So, what should adoptive parents do? I feel really awkward about his birth certificate, since he was 6 when we adopted him and already had a relationship his first parents.

    So, what are we to do? What do we do besides writing our representatives and spreading the word?

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  14. Sydney,
    Thanks for coming in. States began issuing birth certificates in the early 20th century in order to obtain data for public health purposes. Birth certificates typically stated whether the mother was married.

    Within a decade or so, State vital statistics registrars came up with the idea of creating amended birth certificates for adopted children to protect them from the stigma of illegitimacy. Initially original birth certificates were sealed to the public but open to the child and the adoptive parents. The purpose of sealing was to protect the family from the birth mother and snooping neighbors.

    When adoptees began searching for their birth parents in the 1950's, states passed laws sealing birth certificates to everyone and requiring court orders to access them. The purpose was to discourage adoptees from searching for their birth parents.

    Some states allow adoptive parents to opt out of having an amended birth certificate created although adoptive parents may not be made aware of this option.

    I agree with you that it makes no sense to create an amended birth certificate, particularly for an older child. You might be able to take some kind of legal action to unseal the original certificate and cancel the amended one.

    Yes, write your legislators and spread the word. If you can, go to their campaign events and neighborhood meetings.

    "Family Matters" by Wayne Carp provides an excellent history of adoption and the sealing of records. Another excellent source is an article by law Prof. Elizabeth Samuels. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1281475

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  15. Jane captured what I think: If I were in charge, every birth certificate would contain the name of both genetic parents, even if they are donor parents. There would be no amended birth certificates.

    Great post, Lorraine! Sharing now.

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  16. Sydney, thank you for commenting also, and yes, please please take the time to write or email legislators in your district/state, including the governor! It is absurd that your child's birth certificate is now "amended" and may cause him problems down the road when he tries to get a passport or become a police officer--I just read elsewhere about a woman who had trouble joining her police force because her birth certificate said "amended." The officials in her area ultimately had to ignore the rule that her birth certificate had to be the original so she could be hired.

    If more legislators heard from people like you, we would have the change we seek. Thank you for writing, again.

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  17. Jane wrote:If I were in charge, every birth certificate would contain the name of both genetic parents, even if they are donor parents. There would be no amended birth certificates.

    The legal parents would get a certificate of legal parentage which would include date and place of birth which would allow the child to use it to enroll in school, obtain a passport, and so on. The child would be entitled to a copy of his birth certificate at age 18."

    This is a fine and sensible solution and I hope will happen eventually. I do think the public in general favors adoption reform or at least does not oppose it. It is the legislators with special interests who are lagging behind, as they do on many issues.

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  18. @maryanne,

    I don't agree that "the public in general favors adoption reform or at least does not oppose it." In fact, most people who are not in the adoption world know anything about adoption...let alone adoption reform. I have met tons of people who still think that America has orphanages and APs go to "pick out" their child. My neighbor "assures me" that all adopted children come from crack whores and the ghettos. My students (college juniors/seniors) have generally not heard anything about open vs closed adoptions, the BSE, Primal Wound, or anything related to adoptee "issues"...and these students are sociology majors. My fellow professors have antiquated views on the "positives" of a closed adoption, if they have opinions about adoption at all.

    I think it's very naive to think that the general population has any sort of idea about adoption reform.

    And as much as I love coming here to vent and read what other first mothers are going through, I think its sites like these that scare potential allies away. If we honestly want reform, it's about education and partnering with APs...not telling them what greedy people they are.

    It's funny, I've seen so many APs come here only to get blasted in the comments. I've seen adoptees and first mothers going at each other. What good is that doing for our cause? I can write 10 letters to our government, but it's not until those APs write too that we're going to really make a difference. Instead we first mothers tear into them like they are the Devil's own spawn. Wake up! Stop with the "oh, poor me" routine and actually reach out to APs, adoptees, and others!

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  19. Everyone is frustrated. So do this:

    http://heatherrainbow.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/sandy-musser-alarm-adoption-reform-en-masse/

    Then fill out the easy online form to send a message to President Obama to get him to talk about open adoption records and spread these links far and wide.

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  20. I have no problem with their being both an original and an amended birth certificate. I think it would be uncomfortable and potentially distressing for children enrolling in school to have to present a "certificate of legal parentage" when their classmates only need a birth certificate.

    Even for adults it might get complicated, and in some cases uncomfortable, to have to present two documents when applying for a job, the military, a passport, etc. The surname on the birth certificate would be different than the adult adoptee's name thus necessitating the use of the 'legal parentage' document. Not everyone wants to immediately present their adoptee status in all situations due to stigma and discrimination.

    I have never had any problem using my amended birth certificate (it does not say 'amended' on it) and believe that the problems stem from the change in Homeland Security guidelines. This needs to be revised.

    Even if the obc is a more factual document (although they are not always totally factual), it is important to consider how these changes will affect the people, especially children, who are actually living being adopted.

    Of course, I believe that everyone should be entitled to unfettered access to his or her OBC.

    ProfPlum wrote:"In fact, most people who are not in the adoption world know anything about adoption...let alone adoption reform."

    I wholeheartedly agree.

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  21. There are other places where anything other than the original birth certificate causes problems. I think on Adam P's blog on Huff Po I read a comment from a woman who wanted to be a police officer but had trouble getting her paper work in order because of her amended birth certificate, or whatever it said on it. She would have to go to court to get the original. The authorities finally let her be a cop without going through that rigamarole.

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  22. ProfPlum: I agree that the public does not know a lot about adoption or adoption reform, but in general people I have talked to are not against adult adoptees being able to access their own OBC, and search if they want to. Many do not know that adoptees cannot do this in most states now, and are surprised to hear it. I was referring to that one legislative issue only, which I have found most people to be ok with.

    Measure 58 in Oregon was passed by the public voting on a ballot issue. This is not feasible in most states, but does show that if asked enough of the public will say yes to adoptee OBC access.

    I agree with you that infighting and attacking adoptive parents does not help promote legislative change, and makes us look bad. I do not see the idea of a public forum that can be read by anybody as an "anything goes" place to vent. It cannot be that and simultaneously claim to be factually educating the public. The place to vent is a private members only closed forum that is closely monitored like a support group. Of course, the owners of this forum do not agree, which is their right. Like you, I am just expressing another opinion about boundaries and appropriate discourse.

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  23. I think the issue is the file date on the amended birth certificate (at least for us BSE babies). I believe the new Homeland Security rule is that a birth certificate is not acceptable if the file date is one year past the date of birth. This, of course, would be the case for any child who spent time in foster care or was adopted at an older age. Perhaps the word "amended" is on the birth certificate for post-BSE adoptees or it may vary by state.

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  24. ProfPlum,
    I agree that many people know little about adoption and have outdated views about the necessity of keeping birth parents out of the picture. Some would be adopters go to the far ends of the earth and pay large sum for children in hopes that they can excise the original families from their children's thoughts.

    On the other hand, when put to a vote, 57 percent of the voters in Oregon favored allowing adult adoptees unrestricted access to their original birth certificates.

    FMF does what it can to educate people about adoption. Its purpose, though, as stated on the tag line, is to be a place where first mothers can share news and opinions and vent.

    FMF often receives comments from adoptive parents thanking FMF for providing information about adoption that they have not seen elsewhere. Some have asked FMF's advice on dealing with their children or their children's first parents.

    FMF has received few comments from adoptive parents that they are going to stop reading FMF because it is so offensive. Au contraire, the folks who threaten to take their marbles and go home are first mothers who are stressed when FMF criticizes them for their unqualified embrace of adoption. If there are upset APs, FMF would like to know specifically what they object to.

    I have to say though that when I hear about people upset with criticism of adoption as it is often practiced in the US today, I am reminded of my supervising teacher when I student taught in Fairbanks, Alaska 50 years ago. Ms. Smith was from South Carolina. She was disgusted at those northern trouble-makers coming south putting nonsense into the heads of the darkies. Negroes were simple-minded, child-like. In the south they were cared for and protected. If a civil right law were enacted, they would lose their protection and be like those negroes in the north, left on their own, getting into trouble.

    FMF is only one small piece in the adoption reform effort. National players, American Adoption Congress and the Donaldson Institute have formed alliances with adoptive parents and the adoption industry; indeed this is where they get most of their funding. And of course, as a teacher of sociology, you have a primary responsibility to educate your students about adoption.

    Like gaining acceptance of gay marriage or assuring civil rights for people of color, the education process is long and hard. In short FMF does not intend to silence its readers who were hurt by adoption. It will continue to be a place where first mother can share news and opinions. And vent.

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  25. @ProfPlum

    "I've seen so many APs come here only to get blasted in the comments. I've seen adoptees and first mothers going at each other. What good is that doing for our cause? I can write 10 letters to our government, but it's not until those APs write too that we're going to really make a difference. Instead we first mothers tear into them like they are the Devil's own spawn. Wake up! Stop with the "oh, poor me" routine and actually reach out to APs, adoptees, and others!"

    My god...have you not read comments directed at first mothers here and elsewhere? We "tear into them like they are the Devil's own spawn?" You have got to be kidding me??!!

    There are adoptive families out there and who have commented viciously on many first mother forums, who have treated the mothers of the children they adopted despicably, and we are supposed to tiptoe around and coddle them?? Kiss their a**** after they made off with our children and dehumanized and degrade us on a daily basis? Won't give us information about our own children when they promised they would? I don't think so Prof.

    I don't attack anyone, unless I myself am being attacked and dehumanized. I have had 23 years of being treated like that... so no, I am not a** kissing adopters.

    The "poor me" syndrome? Whoever you are, we lost our CHILDREN and it was devastating. So sorry if our discussing that makes you so cold and callous. I have heard the "poor me I want a baby now give me yours" syndrome quite a bit, too. Awwwwww. Poor things. Guess we should all consider their feelings, hand over more children so they can be happy and don't dare cry and say "poor me". After all, someone gained from our loss and we can't make them uncomfortable, right?

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  26. I don't quite understand why people have to show such vitriol in their comments. I come to this board as an adoptee to hear and experience discussions about the adoption experience. I do not expect to agree with everyone; but I take what I need and hope that some of my comments help someone else like many comments have helped me - or made me think.

    Adoption is so varied in its very nature because we are dealing with society's evolution over the past 80 yrs or so. Most adopted parents are good people-some of whom will make stupid comments that comes from their own frustration of not being able to have their own child and having to go thru the adoption industries' hoops. In some respects, I see them as much a victim of the industry as firstmoms and adoptees have been. They shouldn't have to pay upwards of $50k to adopt. Adopting from fostercare should be easier and funds should be overflowing for family preservation to keep moms and babies together & to ensure that bad parents lost their parental rights because they were abusive parents- not to feed a demand of babies. It should be about the best interest of the child But we don't live in a perfect world.

    First moms should feel free to express their pain and anger about what happened to them-coercion was the central theme of adoption in the BSE and it is wrapped a little prettier now, but it is still the main approach- how could it not be when adoption agencies answer crisis pregnancy phone lines?

    For me- I know that we need to work together with all parts of the triad to effect change. THere will be and should be arguments along the way so that we craft the right message to the general public- because they really see adoption as what the media portrays.

    I like the idea of access to OBCs at 18 (or upon demand of APs of minors) and a Birth record by adoption which shows DOB of child creating the name change(if an infant) and the adoptive parent names. I don't see why an adoptee would have to show this to school- general parents go to the office to register them so why would anyone else need to see it? They would show the birth record to get their drivers license or passport. A legal document should be truthful- original birth certificates hold our identity at birth and a Birth record by adoption shows the truth that our names were changed by adoption.

    I think that Lorraine & Jane try to be open to everyone but this is a discussion board- we will have disagreements. JMHO

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  28. Readers who wish to write to us privately, should email us at firstmotherforum@gmail.com.

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  29. I hope the person who removed the comment will repost using another name. Just click on name/url and make up a name. You do not need an URL to use that option.

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  30. Hi all....I shall re-write my post. And rather than chime in soley on the governments control and reasoning behind keeping the truth hidden from the world, I will take a slightly different perspective. My mother had me back in 1970 in Wisconsin. In love, but single. My birth father supposedly bailed when he was told abortion wasn't an option. When I was a few years older, she married. That man adopted me. My birth cert was amended/revised with my new last name. Nothing exists with my birth father's info. The state must have info since there were paternity tests, court case as she got money from him.But, the hide it from me. The part that has bothered me everyday of my life is not only the sealed records, but my Mother's sealed lips. I have heard stories over and over about him, but no name, no pics...nothing. Now she has told my son that I was adopted by Grandpa, but informed him that she is not providing any concrete info on who my real Dad is. It's torment. I am desperate to find something, somewhere, somehow. Everyone has given me zippo---just more roadblocks from the truth.
    Liz

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  31. Liz,
    We suggest that your join a search and support group which should be knowledgeable about search resources in your community and give you support while you search. The American Adoption Congress has information about these groups on its website.

    There's an excellent guide to searching by the US Dept of HHS. The link is on FMF's right hand side bar; scroll down to it.

    Get your original birth certificate if your live in a state where adoptees can access their original birth certificates. Your father's name may not be on your OBC, however. Many states prohibited including the father's name if the parents were not married unless the father filed an affidavit of paternity. This seems unlikely since your mother had to take him to court for support.

    It's possible the court file of the paternity action is open. To access it, you'd need to know the state and perhaps the country where it was filed. The title of the case would be your mother's name at the time v. xxx -- (your father) or perhaps state ex rel your mother's name v. xxx. It's also possible that she received welfare and your father's name would be in the state's welfare files. The state may not allow access to these files, however.

    There are ways of linking up through DNA testing. We wrote about this on February 8 of this year. Using DNA to Find Family

    Good luck on your search. Let us know what happens.

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