|Dusk photo by dusky|
It seems hard to believe but people--including the National Council for Adoption--are still debating this question, and not recognizing it as a clear violation the the rights of adopted individuals, citing as ever the confidentiality of the mother/
father/whomever. In the November issue of The Costco Connection--yes, that Costco, the discount chain--the question is being asked and anyone can vote on line. (Link below.)
That's news to me. And a lie--unless "information sharing" means that the mother has the sole and final power over whether information is to be "shared."
William L. Pierce, the man who started NCFA after he was denied becoming head of the Child Welfare League, did so with the express purpose of giving himself a job as a lobbyist--against open records. In the Seventies when my memoir Birthmark was published, he was the attack dog Good Morning America wanted to have on with me to debate the issue. I didn't take the bait for I knew that without me that morning, there was no debate because the records at that time were sealed to adoptees everywhere but Kansas and Alabama. ALMA's founder Florence Fisher took him on many times. NCFA has always supported sealed records with vehemence. They have sent people to testify all over the country when necessary to oppose opening sealed records.
I had heard they were not going to oppose unsealing the birth records anymore, but apparently they are still at it when the opportunity rises.
But I digress. Lestino goes on to promote the right of mothers to secrecy: "...we believe it is crucial to continue to honor and advocate for those who prefer confidentiality, because speaking their own behalf would mean losing the very confidentiality they seek."
This means: mothers have all the power. Mothers alone can decide if their children have the right to know who their mothers are. Mothers are in charge. You're adopted? Too bad. You want to know whose DNA you share, what your medical history is, who you look like? Too bad. You are a second-class citizen and your mother retains her right to live her secret life, and deny your existence.
NCFA supports mutual-consent registries, but these registries still leave all the power of identity in the hands of the mother. Mutual-consent registries are invidious tools of the people who would allow one group of people to have lifelong control over another.
April Dinwoodie, of the Donaldson Institute, argues for giving adult adoptees their true records. Comments taken from Facebook are used as a graphic. What bothers me is the adoptee, Peter Teevan, who argues that knowing "where he came from" does not trump the "rights of birth parents to their privacy." Like, please--how does anyone's "right to privacy" to be freed of any embarrassment (because a mother or father has kept this secret from their spouse and the other children trump) anyone's right to full and complete knowledge of self? This always continues to stump me--why do adoptees who aren't interested in their origins become a voice to stamp out the rights of others? I guess it is human nature--I don't want something, so you shouldn't have it either? It's just sad. As well as harmful.
The other anti comments come from people who do not identify their relationship to adoption, so...let's go with adoptive parents on this, or the parents of natural mothers who encouraged their daughters to give up a child. "...You are promised anonymity [well, I wasn't and the law never promised that] when you make the very hard decision to give up your child," states Janelle LaMotte Shumaker. "That should be respected." Comments below on who you think make that statement? A natural "birth" mother? Doubtful.
Let's give credit where credit is due, however. Melissa Strate Rassas says she is both a foster and adoptive parent, and she votes Yes: "I know the issues these children have from not knowing where they came from and [their] feeling of abandonment and questions even with a loving family."
But enough! Vote, even if it is just in the Costco magazine. Vote today before you forget. Just do it--Vote. The results will be published in the next issue. Don't let this opportunity to make your voice heard go by.--lorraine
See the article and vote at: Should it be mandatory to give adult adoptees full access to their birth records if they want it?
For those of you reading on tablets and phones, here is a link to a recent interview with me in Dan's Papers, a popular publication in the Hamptons: Activist Lorraine Dusky Talks About New Book
"Likes" and Shares appreciated)
Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self
Although some have quibbles with this book, I read it after knowing my daughter for many years and found it absorbing and enlightening. I later lent it to a teen adoptee, who immediately read it and lent it to her best friend, also an adoptee. Right on! they said. I'd recommend this to adoptive parents, any siblings of adoptees, therapists, natural parents in reunion or hoping to be, and adoptees.
Thank you for ordering anything through amazon! Click on the book jackets or the titles! Only a few more days to order before the end of the month! What does that mean? Nothing really, but I'm tired of being serious.