' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Ohio opens sealed birth records Friday
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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Ohio opens sealed birth records Friday

Lorraine
In Ohio on Friday some 400,000 adoptees will be able to answer the question of origin and identity as the original birth records of those adopted between January 1, 1964 and September 18, 1996--the years in which Ohio records were sealed--become available to them. The forms are  available on line or in person at the Department of Health on Thursday, and must to be notarized or delivered in person no sooner than Friday. For thousands of native Ohioans the end of anonymity begins.

State officials are expecting a crowd; their website urges workers to expect delays in finding parking and to plan ahead accordingly. Adoption Network Cleveland, which worked tirelessly to pass this legislation, is hosting a event for those who will be downloading and filling our the necessary form on Thursday night at the Crowne Plaza in Columbus, the state capital, where the records are held.


The Ohio law is not perfect--natural mothers or anyone listed as a parent on the original birth certificate are able to have their names redacted; they were given more than an entire year to file for a redaction, and must do so before Friday.

As of yesterday, only about a hundred parents had chosen to have their names hidden on the birth certificate. Mathematically, that is .00025 of 1 percent. For those adopted individuals caught in this trap, the law that permitted this is cruel, unusual, and immoral, for no one should be denied an identity because it will embarrass someone. Those who asked for their names to be redacted were required to fill out medical history forms. While useful, they do not give the adopted full and complete control of their own lives, which includes the right to know their original and true identity.

REUNION CAN BE A MINEFIELD
Other provisions in the law allow all adoptees born before 1964 to have access to their original records; those born after Sept. 18, 1996 already get their records--unless their biological parents have asked that the file be sealed. That remains unchanged.

Not every birth certificate will contain the correct information. Not everyone getting their original birth certificate will locate and reunite with their natural parents. Some will have died; some family members will be less than welcoming. We have heard of too many stories to believe in a happy ending for everyone. Reunion is fraught with minefields of hurt, buried anger, misspoken words and misinterpreted actions. But for some, the road will be smoother; we rarely hear about them at First Mother Forum because this is where people come to grieve and get help, or simply vent; but such reunions are possible.

No matter what happens in the course of search and reunion, the right to the information of one's birth is a step toward justice for the adopted. Knowing is better than not knowing. An ending is better than always questioning. Reality is better than never learning the truth. As someone wisely wrote on an ABC message board: "Everybody wants to know where they come from, even if it doesn't turn out like you wanted it."

To all those in Ohio, to all those born and adopted in Ohio, to all those natural mothers who relinquished in Ohio and now waiting for reunion, Jane and I wish you the best of luck and a happy ending.--lorraine 

I will be posting soon about the Kickstarter (success!) and my soon to be published memoir, Hole in my Heart
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SOURCES
Ohio set to open adoption records sealed for 50 years
Ohio's Adoption Laws Have Changed
Impact of New Law on Adoptions Finalized Between January 1, 1964 – September 18, 1996 https://sites.google.com/site/adoptionequityohio/
Birth Certificate Access for Ohio Adoptees - Success in 2013 

TO READ
Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA by Richard Hill
"Hill's memoir is well-written, easy to read, a can't-put-down tale. It's more than that, though, as Hill reveals himself in the process of discovering his roots. When he obtains a picture of his birth mother, he writes of the "delayed grief over my birth mother's death and our lost relationship." I uncovered the truth about my birth parents, acquired wonderful new siblings and cousins, and built a family tree for my descendants."--Jane Edwards at Using DNA to Find Family: You Can't Have Too Much Family


78 comments :

  1. Good news for all in Ohio! I am a birthmother. In 1969, I became an "unwed mother" which, at the time, was a terrible, stigmatizing event, a shameful situation that demanded the child be placed for adoption. What made my situation worse was that the father was black. Trying to place a bi-racial child in those days was nearly impossible. I am so pleased that open adoption exists today. It doesn't make the decision to adoption much easier, but at least the birthmother has a few basic facts about their child that were not allowed when my son was born. We met when he was 18; he is now 45 and our lives are intertwined in a lovely way. I have a good relationship with his adoptive mom. The story of how I found him is detailed in my book, White Lady, Black Sons: a memoir of adoption, abuse and awakening which I hope to have published in May, 2015.

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  2. Beautifully written. Great news.

    Do you think that, as more states open their records, it becomes less tenable for the remainder to keep theirs closed?

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  3. After the last 12 years, I honestly wish that I could go back and undo even looking. I look more and more at the idea of open OBC's as a horror instead of supporting them.

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    1. I find it unconscionable that a first mother who comes to this forum for support could advocate keeping OBCs sealed from adoptees. Denying those persons who had no say whatsoever in being adopted, and having their OBC sealed and then amended, the right to a truthful record of their birth. A right that every other American citizen takes for granted.

      I was born in Florida, which most people know is a backward state in terms of adoption. I will probably never be able to see my OBC in my lifetime. If it weren't for the fact that mine was a private adoption, and the attorney told my APs my natural mother's name; and, in turn, my n-mother told me my n-father's name, I would have most likely gone my entire life never knowing who my own parents are.

      I have every right to MY legal document regarding MY birth, and to use the information to make contact if I so desire. I am appalled by this comment advocating against open records because of one's own personal negative reunion. I'm sure there are plenty of adoptees who found first parents they regret finding, too. But that doesn't mean all adoptees should denied the right to their own legal document.

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    2. Robin, while I totally respect your point of view. I can only speak for mine and for the things that I have seen and dealt with. Peace.

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  4. The 100 Ohio mothers who have asked to have their info redacted may be putting themselves and their families at medical risk unaware. The mother in this story from last year is at risk for a genetic disease she's almost certainly not aware of if she has chosen redaction. And her other children are at risk, too. Sad!
    http://www.adoptionnetwork.org/media/documents/news-media/media/5-9-14-nbc4-hart.pdf

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  5. @Lori,

    I'm a mother who was in face-to-face reunion with my son for over 23 years when he suddenly severed our relationship and told me to never contact him again. That was two years ago. At the time, I felt very much like you do right now. I regretted ever contacting the adoption agency back in 1983 when he was 11 years old and leaving all my contact information. I was terribly hurt by his actions and words, and I was absolutely furious.

    But time has taken the edge off of the disastrous ending of our reunion, and I'm glad that we did have those 23 years together. When I think back to the endless days and nights of not knowing whether my child was dead or alive...all the nights that I prayed for him as I looked up at the moon...I know that it's much better that we at least had the chance to know each other.

    I have no idea whether we will ever reconcile or not, but it wasn't the reunion that screwed me up. And it wasn't the end of our relationship that screwed me up. It was the damn adoption that screwed me up -- it was loving my baby fiercely and not having any other choice but to hand him over to strangers.

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    1. Raven, my 12 years has never been anything but hell for me. I do regret it and have since about the first time she used me to hurt someone else. I was better off not knowing than I am right now. 17 years of therapy and she can still push every button I have. I do not now, nor will I ever, wish to have any more contact with her. While I think that it would be wonderful if she was a good person, my daughter is not. She uses people, finds reasons or makes up reasons to be hateful. She has tried to make me responsible for all of her very poor adult decisions. I WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH HER. I regret even thinking it was possible.....

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  6. OBC access is an adoptee's right. It's not about reunion, it's about having the documentation about our birth like everyone else. The records must be opened. It is discrimination against adoptees to keep them sealed.

    Reunion happens anyway, every day, all the time. Sealed records are not preventing reunions.

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    1. Julia Emily, I wish I could buy that. But the truth is much more complex and it always leads to reunion in the end.

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    2. Sealed records are absolutely preventing reunions.

      Not every searcher can find, some searches take decades A simple name would end a whole lot of heartache, make finding simpler and save adoptees and natural mother $$$. Some searchers lobby against OBC access--they prettify their opposition up by saying that adoptees and natural parents need an intermediary, but the real goal is to keep their business going. Same is true of a lot of adoption lawyers.

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    3. Sealed records certainly make finding people more difficult....but the reunions are still happening. The law is no longer doing what it was intended to do which was to keep the parties involved completely in the dark and apart from one another. People are circumventing the sealed records law all the time.

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  7. Several of our Ohio Birthparent Group members submitted testimony for this bill (we did not advocate for birth parent redaction) and are happy to celebrate with Adoption Network Cleveland and Ohio adoptees on Thursday and Friday this week. For any Ohio first parents/birth parents or Ohio adoptees: please see our website www.ohiobirthparents.org for our upcoming in-person peer support meetings. Birth parents are occurring in Cinci and Columbus this weekend and reunion issues are sure to be discussed.

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  8. Not always, Lori. I want my OBC because I was born like everyone else. I initially wanted it to help me get a passport, but I ended up paying all kinds of legal fees to do what every other citizen is allowed to do.

    This is discrimination. I am entitled to my BC and it is being denied me.

    I want INFORMATION, which the state has no right to keep from me. I have no desire to reunite with people I never was united with in the first place. If I wanted to do that, I'd hire a PI. No.... I just want what is rightfully mine.

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    1. Julia Emily - I get that. I totally do. I would be happy to help my daughter get her OBC. It is hers, after all. But to me, the whole thing is a nightmare. Maybe one day she will get help and stop hurting everyone, then it would be cool. I would love that more than you know. But the truth is, a lot of the information on the OBC of most adoptees are things that are made up..... sigh, it is such a can of worms.

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  9. Agreeing fully with Julia Emily on this one, adoptee rights is not about reunion, and the outcomes of individual reunions are irrelevant to the denial of a legal right. Reunion is a private matter, OBC access is a matter of public law.

    Lori, would you deny a whole class of people this right because your reunion did not work out? That makes no more sense than those of us with good reunions insisting that everyone should search. It seems quite mean spirited to not support adoptee rights for this reason.The law is not about individual personal outcomes of reunion, good or bad. How you or I feel about our personal situation is one thing, but it has nothing to do with adoptee rights law.

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    1. I would not deny a whole class of people, but I would ask this - for all those adoptees that found a mother they didn't want, would you ask the mothers to not look or know because it might not be what you want? Because I have read a lot of stuff from adoptees that say just that. It is a balance, always. If I believed those adoptees that are angry and mean spirited would not be looking, I would say cool - but those are the ones that look first. I was a CI for a while and this has been my experience. It is not the ones that have great reunions that looks first, it is the ones that want to hurt the other person that do. Just what I have seen.

      Personally, I think everyone should have their OBC - it is theirs. But I also think that far too many people forget that both sides of this disaster that is called adoption are fragile people who have withstood a lot and just because a person is adopted doesn't give them the right to abuse the mother. JMHO.

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  10. We agree, of course, because that is what the post says.

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  11. I really disagree with you on this one, Lori. My daughter's birth certificate is hers and is the documented facts surrounding her birth. She had no say in her adoption or the sealing of this record that contains all the history needed for her to know who she is, genetically, and to be equal with every other person in this country. It is not for a first mother or an adopted mother to decide that my daughter has no right to this document. That is incredibly wrong and unjust.

    I do have a copy of my daughter's OBC, and we are in an open adoption, so the reunion question is a moot point. But access to OBCs is not and has never, ever been about reunion. It is about the equal rights for an adopted person to have exactly the same documentation available to her as a non-adopted person. That's it. Period. Reunion is a completely separate topic all together and happens without the OBC access. Sealing of the OBC was always intended to help the APs, not the adopted person or the first mom.

    I'm sorry your reunion went so poorly, and that's heartbreaking. I can understand your struggle with supporting reunions. I do not understand why you would want to deny adoptees the rights to their own birth history. Your daughter, regardless of any thing else between you or the kind of person she is, still has a fundamental human right to that knowledge.

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    1. ITA with you, Tiffany. I agree with Maryanne too.
      I do not agree with the comment that says that the truth always leads to reunion in the end.
      To quote one of my favorite authors, "The truth may be out there, but the lies are inside your own head."

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  12. I, too, agree with the others who've pointed out that adoptee rights to their OBCs is a totally different subject than consenting to a reunion. I do hope nobody took my own anecdotal story about the ending of the long-term relationship with my son the wrong way. I will defend his absolute right to know everything about his own identity, family history, and medical history until the day I die.

    I was able to get him a copy of his OBC when he turned 18, but it was done in a clandestine way by befriending the director of medical records in the hospital where he was born in Southern California. The copy of the OBC was in our hospital records, as it turned out. Unfortunately my son lost all his possessions during his drug addiction in the 1990s, including the OBC and all photos and letters he had been given over the years of his natural parents and half-siblings. The California courts will not allow either of us to obtain another copy from the state department of vital records, even though all parties involved want one, including his adoptive parents. This is just flat-out wrong, IMHO.

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  13. Not looking to abuse anybody, Lori. I just want what is mine.

    I know my mother's name and where I was born. There is no info on my OBC that I don't already know, so why is the state keeping it from me? Isn't it enough that my ABC is fake and useless, and that I have been forced to live a lie? My entire life is one big lie. Talk about abuse!

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  14. Lori wrote:"Personally, I think everyone should have their OBC - it is theirs."

    But that's not what you said originally, which is that you looked with horror at the idea of OBCs being available and didn't support access. If what you are writing now is how you really feel, I wish you would have said that in the first place. OBC access has nothing to do with abuse. I think you are letting your own negative experiences with reunion influence you way too much in terms of OBC access and what rights adoptees should have. How about the same rights as everyone else in the country? Haven't we all heard of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?

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  15. Robin, you read a lot into things that are not real. I said, for me, it is a horror. I do not support access because this seems to be the norm for the people that search - it is the ones that want to hurt someone and will not seek help for their very obvious issues that will search first. This is not me saying this out of my "butt" - but several years of experience as a CI. Even my own search was messed up by a CI (adoptee) that had not worked out her own issues prior to search. The fact is this - YOU ARE TELLING ME to FORGET MY EXPERIENCE AND SUCK IT UP - that my feelings and experience have no value. This also is a norm for the adoption insanity. Just saying - While I think that every child is entitled to their information - it should always have been available and FAR TOO MANY angry people are out there using the now available information to hurt others. This comes from EXPERIENCE as a mother and a CI.

    Robin, I have a question for you. Since the OBC contains my information - my name, address, birth date, and in fact everything but my SSN - does this not invade my privacy? If not, then should I also not be entitled to the ABC of my daughter, since it directly affects me? After all, she is MY daughter and I should be able to know the information that applies to her? What if she died as a child? What if she was "rehomed"? Just saying....

    I do get that a lot of people are using their OBC's for things like passports. I think that is as it should be. However, you have to be real and realize that others are not using them that way, but in a hurtful way.

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    1. Lori, I am sorry you have been abused by your daughter. That must really hurt. However, an adopted person's right to their OBC is the same as and equal to a non-adopted person's right to theirs. In other words, it is a fundamental right of citizenship.
      It's tough, but because adoption occurs *after* first parents' rights to their child have been legally severed, first parents do not have a comparable right to the ABC.

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  16. Yes, Robin, that is what Lori said: " I look more and more at the idea of open OBC's as a horror instead of supporting them." That is very clear. She also went on about adoptees who abuse their natural parents, which has nothing to do with the discussion of adoptee rights, and is the kind of thing the opponents of adoptee rights have been bringing up for years as a reason to keep records sealed. Nobody here has advocated abuse of found mothers or adoptees. That it happens is due to flawed human nature and circumstances beyond anyone's control. It is terrible for Lori and anyone who found an abusive person they could not deal with, and there has been much sympathy here for mothers in that position and the need to sometimes end an abusive relationship. There is no reason to even bring this into a discussion of adoptee rights, it is a totally separate personal issue, not a legal problem.

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  17. Lori: I don't get any of your logic. When you relinquished, you terminated your rights to your child. Now, if you want her ABC, so be it, but that's not the same as what adoptees are fighting for. Many of us NEED this document for legal purposes such as I outlined earlier. Not to search, not for curiosity, but because we were issued false documents as if we were Cabbage Patch dolls. The man at the passport office practically threw it at me and said "this is not a birth certificate." I felt like an idiot. And where are my rights? My daughter will be studying in South Korea next school year, and I can't pay her a visit because I was adopted? My first mother's privacy, which she was never promised, does not have the right to rule my adult life.

    And regarding your argument that miserable people will use the OBC to search.... Miserable people are searching anyway. And they are finding their first mothers. With decent OBC access laws, you could state your contact preference. As it is now With DNA and social media first mothers can't state anything, and they are being found.

    Robin and Maryanne are 100% right on this subject.

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    1. JE, maryanne, Robin, please lay off Lori. Like a lot of first mothers, she's in pain. There's truth to her statements that some adoptees search because they are angry at their first mothers.

      Lori may have been careless in what she wrote, but it's not cause to pummel her. Use your energy on those who deserve a beating -- legislators who oppose opening records, adoption practitioners who exploit vulnerable mothers-to-be, adoptive parents who close open adoptions.

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    2. Jane, thank you. I am flying apart..... I just don't even know where to begin.....

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    3. Jane, your request is spot on. It's so easy for me to see how much emotional pain Lori is in right now. The fact that she's still interacting with the adoption community here and on FB says a lot to me.

      When my son permanently cut me out of his life two years ago, I got beat up pretty bad in a FB support group by a couple natural moms. It cut me to my very core, and I came extremely close to blowing my brains out one night. Anybody, no matter whether a mother or an adoptee, who is in such intense pain doesn't need others making it worse. Just my own two cents.

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  18. Okay, cool. If you believe that, you believe that. The facts are I do support your rights - I am saying that it is unfair to support only the adoptees rights and that includes the right of a mother to say NO - before you ever get your documents. After all we "GAVE AWAY" our babies - at least that is what you stated. Which shows just how little you know about the mothers in the first place. Yes, we "relinquished" our rights - but maybe you need to see the whys of that rather than assume that your rights trump ours.

    I think it is wrong to give a person false papers then refuse to accept them as legal documents - which is what the government does. If they are going to insist on screwing them up, they should damn well have to accept them as legal.

    But to assume that you trump me because you are an adoptee? Yeah, NOT. We are equal in this particular hell and the day we realize that, all this stupid in fighting and assumptions of who is more important will end and we will be able to stand together and say "HEY! it has to be fair for the individuals!" and insist that mothers that do not want to be contacted have that right no matter what and that adoptees that want their OBCs have absolute right to have them no matter what. Until then, to say too bad for you, I am more important, is a load of shite to me.

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  19. I have to say that I agree with Lori about the ABCs of our children. Yes, we ARE entitled to them because there are laws and a little thing called the Constitution in place that guarantee equal protection under the law. To have OUR information disseminated to strangers without having an equal right to the same information on the people who are getting ours. It is unjust and unequal. ALL parties that took part in the transaction of adoption should be entitled to ALL information about each other, or no information should be shared at all. That is just, that is equal. That is what is right and fair.

    Further, as to the medical information that keeps being used as another justification....family medical history flows both ways. The medical history of the adoptee can be just as important to the mothers and their families as the other way around, but NO ONE ever suggests that adoptees be required to fill out a medical form and submit it to the state and update it over and over.

    The OBC does NOT belong to the adoptee any more than anyone else's birth certificate belongs to them. They are the property of the state. You can get a certified COPY of yours but you cannot get the original....EVER. As I understand it, they will receive a non-certified copy of their OBC. Why cannot mothers receive the very same thing on their children?

    When Mothers relinquish their rights to their children, they terminate all responsibilities to them as well. We have NO legal obligation to provide anything to them. We do it because we are MOTHERS and that's what mothers do.

    Sandy Young

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  20. This is what adoption does. Fills people with anger, hopelessness and some of the heaviest pain the world knows. Yes I 'went there' and said it. There ARE varying levels of pain. Sometimes pain IS rate-able. Some IS ''worse than''. It is when pain is *not* compared to other pain, that it can be EASILY dismissed and brushed off with the platitudes of ''everybody has some kind of pain'' or ''it's not a contest'' (yet it must be a contest, as people who want a baby to adopt trump infant and mother's pain). So nobody ends up listening to the one/s in pain and the same awful practice that brought it about, continues unabated.

    I'm so tired of the propaganda that it's ''birth mother confidentiality keeping records closed''.... IF THAT WERE TRUE why did the state of Missouri refuse all natural parents non-identifying information? In refusing to give us non-identifying information are they ''protecting'' us from ourselves?? Why aren't adoption records fully opened in every state?

    I admit that I waffled for a year or two about whether adoptees should have their information after whomever started putting out that "birth mother confidentiality is why we can't open records" myth. Then I heard they were putting it in current surrender forms so as to make it look like it has always been that way.. (great, one more thing we get blamed for even though it never pertained to many of us) I have seen so much anger from some adoptees about this one issue that it's enough to make a mother of a forced adoption run for the bunker and not look back.. who wants to get blown apart with more abuse and lies from the adoption system monster and not be able to ''fight back'' with accurate proof in (or of) the records?


    I'm glad that adoptees in Ohio have access to their birth certificates. Happy day! I hope every state soon does the same. I think more would want reunion or be open to contact if not for the enormity of the blame/responsibility/fault thrown our way and the lies/misinformation given to our children about our '''surrendering''' them and if records were not closed to us ....as it seems we are also considered perpetual children (or non-human) with no rights and no ''ability'' to handle our own -even what pertains to us and our children PRIOR to adoption- information. At least adoptees are allowed to ''ask permission'' for their records in some states... natural parents aren't allowed to ask permission from ANY ONE, ANY WHERE, for any of it, at least not in Missouri. I begged for non-identifying information.. yes, begged and never received a reply, nothing. Adoptees understand what lies and misinformation and blame/responsibility (the you have to play the good little adoptee or else) and the refusal to be allowed your own truth can do? It's the same for natural parents. IT IS THE SAME. All the mind messing stuff. All for what? Who? Why?

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  21. As an old school adoptee rights supporter, I do not see the two issues of adoptee access to their own OBC and first mother access to either the OBC or the ABC as equal or the same. Yes, I think that it would be nice if a mother could request the OBC at any time and get it, but it is not her identity and heritage the way the OBC is for the adoptee. We know all the information on the OBC, where we gave birth, baby's original name etc. Since my son was in foster care, for some reason I was sent the short form OBC without requesting it. I gave it to him at one point because it is his, I had no need for it. I know who I am and who he is and what we are to each other. Yes, some mothers have blanked information out of their minds, but there are other ways to get this information as all searchers know.

    ABC access for the mother is a much more complicated issue, that does relate directly to search in a way that the OBC does not. It is in fact someone else's birth certificate, not one's own, and the information on it does not legally pertain to the bio mother, but to the adoptee and adoptive parents. As someone pointed out earlier, countless people have searched and reunited, for good ill, without access to these documents. Including bio parents' access to the ABC as a condition for adoptee access to the OBC bogs down and complicates any attempt to get adoptee rights legislation passed, and often will end in the bill going nowhere.

    These two issues are apples and oranges, not tit for tat or a way to balance rights.

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    1. Just want to add that pursuing birth mother rights to the OBC, documents, agency records, whatever can be gotten is a worthy cause to be pursued separately from adoptee rights legislation. This was done successfully in Oregon, I believe.. Jane can enlighten us more on the particulars of what was done there. Just do not conflate the two separate and distinct issues.

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    2. Maryanne, Okay, I am just going to say it. For a mother, you are very fast to judge other mothers. While I appreciate that you have a great relationship with your son and normalized in many ways, that doesn't make you an authority on reunion. In fact, it makes you an anomaly. When I first started seeing your caustic, hurtful responses on here, I thought that maybe you were just pissed off. The truth is sadder than that.Your comments are judgmental.

      First, it is not tit for tat or apples and oranges, IT IS BALANCE. Our nation was founded on the principle of balance controlling the greed of those in power, regardless of what power it is. To assume that a person has the right to take and not give is to negate that balance.

      Second, I can't even imagine how you can assume you know anything about me, my situation, my daughter, or my life. SO BACK OFF, please. You are not the authority on mothers or life. You are the authority on YOUR life... that's all.

      Third, reality check, while I respect most of the adoptees that comment here, I find it horrifying that you missed the entire desire and design of this blog - a safe place for MOTHERS to read, post, discuss and understand.... not for us to take hits. Please, try to be compassionate for those of us losers that need it.

      Thank you - NOT.

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    3. To clarify Oregon's new law. Non-DHS first mothers can get some of their child's court adoption file by filing a petition at the court house. The judge must allow access unless the judge finds a good reason not to allow access. This is a reverse of the old law which required the judge to find a good reason to allow access. First parents are still not on equal footing with adoptees who can get their file without a judge's order.

      What's significant about Oregon's law besides facilitating reunions that might otherwise never have happened, is that it recognizes that first parents have a legitimate interest in their children. It legislatively dispels the myths that first mothers forget their children or that they are a threat to their children.

      Interestingly, there's been resistance to this law by court staff. Clearly they have the mind set of many in the country: that first mothers have no business knowing anything about their children.

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    4. Yes OBC access does directly relate to search. It has the name of mother and possibly father. It does relate directly to search. IF search is desired, not saying it always is the causative factor in wanting the OBC. but please do not deny that it is related to search. That simply isn't truth. Much of the time it IS simply --to KNOW--. Same goes for ABC, it is not necessarily related to ''search''. It is called knowing where in the whole world of -how many billion people, 7 ?- your child is so that the 1,999,389th story of someone your child's age and sex (or the 300 billionth story, if you don't know their sex) being hurt, lost, in a school shooting or a tornado or a flood or a plane crash or an accident or killed or held captive in a foreign war or growing up on a farm in Minnesota and involved in a tractor accident and on and on endlessly wondering, grieving, hoping and praying.. and you're not spending all your energy searching faces ..EVERYWHERE.. all the time...It's so you can know.... can't anyone understand? Has no-one in your life ever been among the missing? Thank God then. To have an infant taken and vanish, and never knowing where they are is a living hell. A. living. hell.

      Delete
    5. Maryanne you said, "we know all the information on the OBC, where we gave birth, baby's original name.."

      I wish to bring up a point, some mothers don't know all the information on the OBC. For one thing, if we don't have a copy of it ... we -don't -know. Many times information was changed and who knows if the info. on the original was changed or omitted. We don't know unless we have a copy of it in our hands. A lot of mothers do not recall specifics, some don't even know the sex of their child. Those that were drugged don't know all the info. and we don't know if ANY of it is accurate... because we do not have a copy. I understand you were simply saying that 'we were there, so we know... I have to respectfully disagree.

      Delete
  22. I tried to get my daughter's amended birth certificate before I found her, hoping for a screw up in Albany when I simply requested my daughter's birth certificate. Another mother at the ALMA meetings was successful, and had BTW a successful and much wanted reunion with her adult son. I was not.

    Sealed adoptions were always a mistake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lorraine, I can't begin to say how much I agree with you. It creates the lies and insanity that seems to make adopted persons so vulnerable to issues. Any good therapist would tell you that you can't protect anyone from the truth.....

      Delete
    2. I actually had all over her documents - the originals that I got when she was born - and her father's birth and death certificate (his was an ABC as well, since he was an adoptee). Then they all vanished when my husband died. I am not sure what happened to the envelope I kept them in.

      Delete
    3. I fought for my daughter for 3 years - 6 years ago I found out that the adoption was illegal because social services LIED to the judge and allowed the adopters to take my daughter out of the country before my relinquishment was final..... does this change anything NO.

      Delete
    4. Oh Lori, So much you have been through. Your losses have been so heavy. I don't think the world knows or understands what they do or what happens to a human being ....to a mother when they take her child. Hugs don't hardly seem enough, ...but I hope you'll have them anyway.

      Delete
  23. PLEASE NOTE: many mothers that used to read here and comment regularly have stopped coming because of the judgmental behaviors of some of the current commenters.

    ReplyDelete
  24. A note on the mother receiving a copy of the OBC.

    I can't speak as to if this always happens, but when we completed our adoption, we paid for three birth certificate copies- one for filing with the adoption finalization paperwork, one for us (I keep it in a fireproof safe, have scanned copies saved, and we are investigating a safety deposit box because I am so incredibly anxious about not losing it since we could likely never get it again), and finally, one for our daughter's mom. There were no questions about it and it was not an option. It just was very matter of fact that it was necessary for her to receive a copy. I do not know if this is always the case with every adoption now, but it did not seem out of the ordinary to the social worker at the hospital.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tiffany, actually, they always give a copy to the biological parents, but in adoption the agency assumes (and apparently so do the adoptive parents) that the mother doesn't need a copy - or isn't entitled to one or something else. It has never been our choice to not have a record..... but other peoples.

      Delete
    2. Lori, maybe I wasn't clear... our daughter is adopted, and her biological parents received a copy of her birth certificate. We did not connect through an agency, but we did use an agency to complete the paperwork, and they are the ones who included the three copies. I would have gotten my daughter's mom one, anyway, but it wasn't even asked, but included in the basic costs that we purchase one for her as well as for ourselves as the adoptive parents. The social worker acted as though it is general practice to do this, and she wasn't associated with the agency.

      Like I said, I don't know if this is common practice now in all states, or if it was just the agency or the area I am in. But our daughter's parents were provided a copy. Maybe in this age of open adoptions, this is considered to be a moot point in terms of privacy???

      Delete
    3. Tiffany, Lori was simply stating a truth of most mother's experiences, when she said, ''...but in adoption the agency assumes (and apparently so do the adoptive parents) that the mother doesn't need a copy - or isn't entitled to one or something else." She was sharing information....... generally, not specific to you. She didn't need to be ""corrected"". She did nothing wrong.

      I think it's great that you and your family have the OBC ..for all.

      Delete
  25. I am as much an "authority" on reunion as you, Lori. We are both entitled to our opinions. Like me, you have expressed many opinions on adoption and reunion in general that go way beyond your own life. No, I am not backing off, and despite your opinion, I am not lacking in compassion. I was a "loser" for almost twenty years after first contact, so I too know that pain of rejection. Like you, I do not like to be told to shut up and go away. We do not have to agree with each other on every topic to communicate civilly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Civility does not equate with non-judgmental, hon. you ain't aware how your words comes across.

      Delete
    2. Anon, I do not claim to be "non-judgmental" if that means never expressing an opinion that disagrees with what someone else says here. This is a public blog on the internet, not a private support group, 12 step group, nor a therapy session. Those are "safe places" for people to deal with their problems and expect acceptance of everything they say and no criticism of their opinions. No public blog can operate that way.

      The moderators here do screen comments and try to keep it civil and prevent personal attacks or criticisms, but every disagreement is not an attack, and people have different styles of writing and expression that have to be made allowances for. I am sorry if you do not like my writing style, but it is not meant in malice and I do try to be clear in what I say and to disagree with opinions, not with how people live their own lives. The recent discussion has been about supporting open records for adoptees or not, whether reunions in general are a good thing, not about anyone's personal life or reunion. Some people tend to lose sight of that and take everything as a personal insult.

      Delete
  26. I am not referring the the ABC or the OBC as anything other than as Identifying Information. The Original Birth Certificate HAS the identifying information for the mothers and sometimes for the fathers. Different states vary in the amount of information but in some states, the amount of information on the birth certificate about the parent is extensive. If that identifying information is given to the adopted adult, they have the identifying information about another person who is NO LONGER related to them, legally. The adoptee will likely share that information with their legal parents, the adopters, and with their own spouses and perhaps children. All the time, the person about whom that identifying information is written has no knowledge that it is out there, or control over with whom it is shared.

    The information on the ABC is usually the identifying information of the adopted adult, but also contains the information of the adopters, replacing the information of the natural mother (and possibly fathers). The only way that this can be equal under the law is that ALL principle parties to the adoption have equal access to the same information of all the other parties, the adopters and the adoptee able to obtain the OBC and the natural family members access to the ABC....Identifying Information equally available to all the parties concerned.

    This isn't a matter of feelings and what one party wants or their rights trumping another's. This is a 14th Amendment to the Constitution issue. Equal protection of the law is guaranteed, and it isn't negotiable. ALL parties must be treated equally or the laws are unjust and will not withstand a Constitutional challenge.

    Sandy Young

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really doubt that case would get very far in an actual court. The ALMA suit in the 70s brought up the 14th amendment as part of its case and got nowhere. You are certainly welcome to get a lawyer who will fight this as a constitutional issue, if you can find one. I am no legal expert at all, but do not think the law works that way.

      Delete
  27. Tiffany, not a clue. I know that the court and records departments always made sure there was a copy for the biological parent - of the OBC - however, they rarely passed them on.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Some of these arguments don't make sense to me, especially about the ABC. The first mother, or anyone other than the people listed on the ABC have no reason or right to it. it's like saying I have a right to my neighbor's birth certificate because I want to know so you should give it to me. And people can be found without it, it just takes a little more. There are people who call themselves search "angels" who can track down and connect you with your first parents or relinquished children whether the other party wants it or now (I won't get into all the problems, issues and drama I've had because of THAT!). So no I don't think anyone has a right to a legal document they're not mentioned on. Access to original birth certificate benefits the adoptees, so I'm for it. Reunions, good or bad, wanted or definitely not wanted, will occur anyway. It shouldn't be a reason to grant or block access.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Maryanne, respectfully, you are right. You don't have a clue. Since you stated this.... I think my legal degree trumps your own lack... However, if someone took the case, the reasonable outcome would not prevail. Rather, the monetary result would. The reason for that is not because Sandy is wrong, but because a lot of cash changes hands in the buying and selling of human beings. That being said, Constitutionally, if you give information to a third party..which is what an adopted person is, that is private or can be used to the detriment (which includes stalking, harassing other family members, or attempting to collect debts of any kind), the provider of said information is OBLIGATED UNDER THE LAW, to provide the person that they have given ANY information about with all pertinent information that identifies the 3rd party and the legal reason for providing the information. This includes ANY AND ALL DOCUMENTS THAT CONTAIN NAMES, ADDRESSES, AND OTHER INFORMATION...such as Birth Certificates, bills, drivers licenses, etc.

    Just sayin.....

    ReplyDelete
  30. Lori - you are entitled to your opinion but you must expect that adoptees are going to be upset over this obvious slam at us.

    Can you provide anything other than your own experience to back up this "do not support access because this seems to be the norm for the people that search - it is the ones that want to hurt someone and will not seek help for their very obvious issues that will search first."?

    All adoptees who search do so because they want to hurt others and haven't dealt with their issues?

    Are we really back to the old trope that adoptees who search are mal-adjusted? I seem to remember Bill Pierce using that excuse.

    For the record I'm one of those who passively searched once the internet came into being, and the newspaper personals on my birthday long before the internet existed. I guess that makes me an adoptee with issues that was only out to hurt my family - so glad to know that was my motive from someone who doesn't know me.

    Anonymous 11:58 - ONE of the TWO reasons on the request to open my records was to forward MY health history to my family to protect them from going through what I went through. I was too late though....but thanks for thinking the best of adoptees...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great comment, TAO. Thank you for being a voice of reason. Yes, some of the comments on this thread are reigniting old stereotypes (which haven't completely died) to deny adoptees our rights. And let me just say for the record; my motivation to search was never for even one split second for the purpose of causing pain to my natural mother (or father) out of spite for having been given up for adoption.

      Delete
    2. Thank you, TAO. And agreeing with what you say, Robin. Old stereotypes die hard and certain persons who should be helping to put an end to them are doing quite the opposite with their prejudicial comments.

      Delete
  31. Thank you, Mashka. You make sense. Certain first mothers here do not make any sense. No one is listening to the adoptee. And adoption affected us more than anyone, I don't care what anyone else says.,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Comparing whose pain is worse is not a good way to invite people to understand your point of view. Some adoptees don't search and appear to have good, solid successful lives. As I have written many times, I have two friends around my age who have not searched, and do not wish to.

      Is their pain less or greater than the mother who spends her life grieving and ends up a statistic in a mental institution? Who spends her life searching?

      Please avoid such absolutes here. It just amps up the volume.

      Delete
  32. Thank you Julia Emily. But this isn't a blog/forum for adoptees or adoptive mothers. This is a forum for first mothers, we are visitors in their world. This is their haven that I visit to try and understand (especially given my recent experience that I won't share here, it's not appropriate). I comment sometimes if I have something to say but mostly I visit and sight see. I don't think I'm attacked and I try not to attack. Everyone needs their own place to vent, this is theirs.

    ReplyDelete
  33. For me the subject of adoptees being entitled to their original birth certificates is just simple human rights. Think about it, there is this whole faction of people who demand that our President be thrown out of office for not making his birth certificate public and yet there are over a million American adoptees who can't even access their OBC. It's just plain wrong. There are honest, hard working, tax paying American citizens who cannot leave the country because through no fault of their own, they cannot obtain a passport with an amended birth certificate. Being placed for adoption, should not make me a second class citizen, it should not keep me from having the same basic rights as any other American. I'm not even sure what we are debating here. Anecdotes of meanness and pettiness and failed reunions evoke my compassion and my sympathy but let's be honest, even mean people deserve basic rights like a truthful birth certificate with factual information. I was raised to believe I was born in the best and most free country in the world and yet I have been denied my most basic information since infancy because I was adopted. It 's just not right.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Lori: I stated that reunions are happening. I never stated how they should "be."

    And yes, I want to know about MY BEGINNINGS. Which include my mother. She was never promised privacy.... my records were not sealed for 4 years.

    Graduate degrees mean nothing in everyday life. I have earned one and may pursue another, if I ever have the chance. But your graduate degree does not make you an expert on what I should do and how I should conduct my life. Adoptees have enough people constantly telling us what to do. And we are sick of it.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Here is a little good news from Ohio, an article about adoptees lining up at Vital Stats on the first day to get their original birth certificates. The email this came in said letters to the editor are welcome.

    http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2015/03/20/adoptees-line-up-birth-records.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great piece. The adoptees interviewed are clearly sane, decent, good people who want their OBCs for the obvious reason that they are entitled to them. Not one of them expressed anything other than goodwill towards their first parents.
      It is encouraging that there have been so few redactions, but sad for those whose birth parents requested their names be redacted. It's not right that these adoptees had to be thrown under the bus so others could get theirs.

      I loved the comment which said "Nobody should have to beg or grovel to find out who they are. This was like a pseudo witness-protection program." Exactly.

      Delete
  36. This is Lorraine and Jane's blog and it is their choice whether or not to welcome adoptee voices. Of course, they don't have to. I have been told on several occasions, by one of our bloggers at least, that my comments are in general balanced and fair and show a willingness to try to understand the first mother position. My first priority will always be to whatever I consider to be in the best interest of adoptees. And in most (but not all) cases this would be to not have an adoption take place in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robin, your priorities are firmly in place, as are those of most adopted persons. Although I am a mother, my priority too has always been what is good for adoptees, because they were the wholly innocent party when the laws were made.That is why I support OBC access for adoptees, unconditionally with no permission by either adoptive parents or bio parents needed. I am sorry that Ohio, NJ, and other states still allow mothers to deny adoptees their rights via a veto, but have come to see that at least some progress is being made in these states, and am very gratified that Ohio went back and fixed a terribly unequal law where some adoptees could get their info and others could not. I hope MA soon follows suit. I will be at AAC this week and hope to hear more on that.

      Also agree that many adoptions should never have taken place, and this is still happening and we fight it. The only adoptions that should happen are those that are truly needed and the lesser evil for the child, and they should be as open as possible. Where I disagree with some is that I feel there will always be a need for some adoptions, nor do I see adoption as an inherent evil in and of itself. It is the secrecy, coercion, and money-driven practice that is evil, not the raising of a child not biologically related. Some adoptive parents support adoptee rights as well, they are not all the enemy some would make them.

      Delete
  37. Tell me again, please, how this is not about searching....“I searched for 31 years. I don’t have to search anymore, it’s over.”
    Tonight at 6:30: Lisa Hutson WXIX follows the story of adopted Ohioans who can now access their original birth certificates for the first time ever. - http://bit.ly/1CDk9QX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wanted my OBC for many reasons. My top reasons were to learn the names of my biological parents and to find them.

      I'm not ashamed to say that the desire to seek out my family was a huge reason that I wanted to obtain my OBC. It's a perfectly valid, natural reason to want it. So, yes, yes, yes, for me, a huge part of it was about searching.

      I harbored no animosity toward either one of my parents. I just wanted to know more about them, to know more about myself.

      My mother is closeted, so she does not want to know me, and she does not want her other adult offspring to know me. I have respected her choice. I don't fully understand it, but I respect it. My father, on the other hand, does want to to know me.

      Obtaining my OBC was one of the best decisions of my life.... I know that reunion outcomes run the gamut from abysmal to amazing. But, we all deserve 1) to know who we are, and 2) to see a copy of our true birth certificates.

      So, yes, I cop to being a searcher, and I'm proud of it. I found my roots. My roots aren't grounded in a fairytale. They are real and imperfect. But, they're mine.

      Delete
    2. HDW: I am always a bit horrified (a bit because I am getting used to hearing about it) when a natural mother does not want to meet and know her child, no matter what. All I can think is that the woman has built her life since you were born keeping you a secret and she can't figure out or can't even imagine trying to live any other way. The advice we got was so sick and is the result of this behavior and everyone pays--most you, but also her, and YOUR siblings. I admire your restraint in not contacting your siblings, but they are your kin too.
      Namaste.

      Delete
  38. Robin, at what point do you think I don't agree with your statement "And in most (but not all) cases this would be to not have an adoption take place in the first place."

    ReplyDelete
  39. Cindy, I wasn't trying to correct Lori. Her adoption happened some time ago, as did many here, and mine is more recent. I was stating that while this is true for many older adoption, the practices seem to be shifting. We were not asked about giving our daughter's parents a copy ofher OBC- we were told by the agency that we would be charged for their copy as well as our own. That was my point- not that Lori is wrong about her experience because she's of course not.

    When making these assumptions about OBCs in the context of today's adoption world, I think it's imprtant to note that adoption has changed in the past decade. Open adoption, while it has many issues, has caused a lot of this change. I'm really hopeful that in tears to come, the overwhelming number of adoptions that occur where information is all exchanged will help turn this tide of governmental forced "secrecy" and give adoptees what is rightfully theirs.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Just because many disagree doesn't mean we dislike. I admire Lori' s conviction and tenacity and I am sorry that she is hurting. I know what it is like to be disappointed in reunion. It can be devastating. As I stated before, I am for open records but I am not against anyone. I would hope the could be room for differing opinions without all the hurt feelings.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Comment on a story on a TV station in Cleveland:
    FOX19
    “I searched for 31 years. I don’t have to search anymore, it’s over.”

    Tonight at 6:30: Lisa Hutson WXIX follows the story of adopted Ohioans who can now access their original birth certificates for the first time ever. - http://bit.ly/1CDk9QX

    ReplyDelete
  42. Each first mother's story is different, but mine happened in 1968 during the Baby Scoop Era. As it was handled by a private pries, no records were available. This. Is no justice, as I did not want to relinquish my child at age 19. I was one of those sent to a different state to work for a family, kept isolated,never signed papers, was tied down and drugged during birth. This was theft. Tell me why this was not a crime and I should never be allowed to reunite with my adult child? After 46 years of searching, my son saw the article about Ohio releasing certificates, typed in his birth date and my name on a search site came up. I never asked for privacy, and closed records only allow adoption abuses, in my opinion. Thanks to Ohio, the article and Google I have been happily reunited with my wonderful son, and it has been a great experience for all family and extended family members.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. roseglow3--

      Thanks for telling your story (and your choice of a nom de plume!). It is a crime that all the records are not open both ways. Many hugs as 2015 comes to an end.

      My finding my daughter was the same kind of happiness for me and my family. I just went to my granddaughter's graduation:
      Silver Linings come to this first mother

      Delete

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