' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Adoptees' rights must be considered first

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Adoptees' rights must be considered first

Lorraine
From The New York Times, Op-Ed Page, March 1, 1975:

Who am I? Who are my real parents? Whom do I look like? Most of us the the answers for granted. But a 40-year-old accountant recently was forced to go to court in an attempt to learn such basic information about herself.

Ann Schrap, the accountant, is one of approximately five million adopted people in this country. In virtually every state, including New York adopted persons of any age are denied the right to know who their natural parents are because the laws seal the original birth records.


New York's adoption records were sealed in 1936 on the premise that growing up adopted was enough: A court order could wipe away one's origins and curiosity. Supposedly, all the parties involved--the usually illegitimate child, the typically unwed mother and the adoptive parents--benefited from anonymity concerning the adopted person's heritage.

That presumption is proving false as increasing numbers of adults--who were never asked what was in their best interests--are demanding to know who they are. Natural curiosity is not good enough for most courts, however "good cause" must be proven.

And so one day in February, 1974, a stoic Ann Scharp sat in Bronx Surrogate's Court, where her adoption had been made final 37 years earlier, when a psychologist evaluated her Rorschach: Lack of trust, isolation, constriction of affection. And when she draws a tree, he said, she forgets to put in the roots.

Several months later, the court ruled that while Ann Scharp could examine her city records, she was denied access to her file at the Spence-Chapin Adoption Service. The judge noted that her agency file did not contain information that would reveal the identity of her natural parents. It is likely that Ann Scharp will never know the answer to a question that will not go away: Who am I?

In the last two years, two similar cases have been won for "good cause" in New York, but a larger, and constitutional issue is at stake here: Gertrude Mainzer, attorney for all three adopted persons, argues that most states unreasonably discriminate against adopted persons in violation of the equal-protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment.

If you are not adopted,  you have a right to your original birth certificate and the names of your parents; if you are adopted, you do not.

Finland and Scotland have for many years revealed the natural parents' names and other identifying information. Disproving a long-held belief that such disclosure would cause greater harm than good, a 1973 Scottish study concludes that open records have immense emotional value to those who need to seek out their natural parents.

The usual argument for keeping the records sealed is that the right of the natural mother to privacy is usurped if her identity is made known. But how does one person attain such a "right" when it infringes upon the rights of another? And furthermore, research to date indicates that most natural mothers do not with to remain anonymous to their children, and have a compelling desire to know who they are. I'm one of the statistics; I am a natural mother. 

True, I sought secrecy from society on the day I signed my daughter officially out of my life, but my questions showed a different concern. Could she ever find out who I was? No. Must I spend my entire life eyeing children and teen-agers and women her age and wondering: Could she be my daughter? Time heals all wounds. Not this one.

An ongoing California study of more than a thousand adopted persons and natural parents includes data on close to 100 reunions without a disaster among them. Even if the adopted individuals were disappointed, they reported the reality was infinitely better than endless fantasy.

A preliminary report of the study, presented to the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, concludes that eternal anonymity causes insoluble problems and recommends that the policy of sealed records be reevaluated.

Testifying in New York City, 2013 at legislative hearing
This study shows that a great many natural mothers have not only a lifelong unfulfilled need for further information, but also need a contact with the relinquished child. It also notes that adopted persons feel a greater lack of biological connection and continuity than has been theretofore accepted, and that "these feelings of genealogical bewilderment cannot be discounted as occurring only in maladjusted or emotionally disturbed individuals."

What of the adoptive parents? Surely they have rights, too. But why should the knowledge that their child might someday learn his origins be so frightening?

If the adoptive parents and adopted child have a good relationship, certainly that bond will not be broken by honesty and openness. I would hope that the love is not predicated upon the assumption that the adopted personal will never ask, Who am I?

And they are asking by the thousands, judging from the mail pouring in the two national organizations (the Adoptees' Liberty Movement Association, in New York City and Orphan Voyage in Cedaredge, Colo.) fighting to unseal the records to adult adoptees. Several other local groups have sprung up in the last few years.

Regardless of the wishes of both natural and adoptive parents, the adoptees' right must be considered first. Adopted people were never asked what they wanted. Until the laws are changed, society will seem to be insisting that an adoptee's existence began on the day of adoption. Ann Scharp was almost four years old then.--by Lorraine Dusky

That was 41 years ago today. It appeared on the Op-Ed page with a huge drawing by a famous and innovative illustrator, Jean-Claude Saures, and together they took up about half the page. The illustration (which I can't use because of copyright law) is of a child in a buggy standing up and turning around reaching backwards towards a woman's figure totally blacked out. It is extremely striking.

As for the trial, I was the lone natural mother who testified for Ann Scharp; others who testified were were Robert J. Lifton, Betty Jean's Lifton's husband and a well-respected psychiatrist and writer; a psychologist who gave Ann Scharp various tests; and Florence Fisher, who started ALMA. After the above op-ed came out, I wrote more editorials in other newspapers all over the country, numerous magazine pieces in favor of openness, and later my 1979 memoir, Birthmark. That led to media appearances where I was excoriated by adoption attorneys, adoptive parents, the occasional interviewer who did not reveal their connection to adoption, and Bill Pierce of the National Council for Adoption. At social events, I never knew when someone would start in on me. Sometimes these people practically spewed venom, so violent was their opposition to my message of openness.

I was told by one attorney in a very small Manhattan kitchen that he knew people who would like to kill me. I got nasty phone calls at night and mail from angry adoptive parents. I think part of the reason I felt compelled to divorce my first husband was to be free to pick up this cause, no matter what it led to. He was a good husband in many ways, but he (and his rather proper family) would have been vehemently opposed to my going public. They would have been horrified. We were divorced the same year I discovered ALMA and came to call Florence Fisher my friend and compatriot.

Today I am being attacked willy-nilly for not allowing a free-for-all attacks on other adoptees at this blog (true), and by being excoriated by some who would rather leave millions without their access to their birth certificates because legislators find compromise a safe-haven on unsealing birth certificates. I have been attacked for making the blog too wild and nasty and STRIDENT (and thus I must be), so others who might like to comment do not. At least at one major publisher, the "strident" content of the blog was mentioned when they turned down Hole In My Heart, as a reason not to publish the book. Whether it was the comments or the posts I know not.

Since 1973, the day I read about Florence Fisher and the Adoptees' Liberty Movement Association, better known as ALMA, in The New York Times, I resolutely have been a supporter and activist of allowing the adopted to be given their original unamended birth certificates, no caveats. Personally I would have liked the mothers who gave birth to the children so adopted also to get the information about who their children went to, so that they also might attempt contact, but since this has always seemed impossible in this day and age, I have not actively lobbied for that. There are other big issues in adoption that need reforming, but this is the one that has spoken to me.

Since passing legislation is a messy business, and since millions of people will get their original birth certificates because of laws already in place in 11 states that allow access with some restrictions, I cannot in good conscience actively oppose those adoptees and others who have spent countless hours working for OBC access for adoptees. Pam Hasegawa, adoptee, and Judy Foster, first mother, in New Jersey worked as colleagues with others for DECADES before they got a bill that the governor would sign, and even then they had to agree to an opt-out clause for natural mothers. For some personal reason, the people in New Jersey were not subjected to the nasty and mean-spirited opposition that those in other states have.

Some legislators will have to retire or die before the laws are changed and all men and women are given the right to have their own birth certificates, but if we can get legislation that is less than perfect--and those not included are less than half of one percent, a percentage is likely to keep going down--I have to differ from those in this same fight, even as we all work toward the same end:

So that not one single person has to wonder: Who am I? Where did I come from? What name did I have at birth? Who are my parents? --lorraine
_________________________
*I wrote 1938 at the time in 1975; but it now appears that these laws date from 1936.

SOURCE
Link to piece in the New York Times Archive; it will not be available to everyone.

Yearning

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9C04E1DA153EEF34BC4953DFB566838E669EDE



35 comments :

  1. The only reason for secrecy was to protect the privacy of adopters FROM the natural parents. I was told the day I surrendered I "would be prosecuted" if I ever tried to find my son. I prayed and wondered for 40 years until I found his inquiry on Ancestry.com. He was reaching out and I HAD to respond. Adult Adoptees have a right to know their personal histories.

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  2. Yes, I understood that sealed records was to protect my son and especially his adoptive parents from me, not the other way around.

    I supported open records legislation in NJ from the time it was first introduced in the 70s almost up until the last bill which did pass in 2015. I went to Trenton to testify many times as a birthmother who surrendered in NJ, wrote letters, visited legislators, wrote letters to the editor.

    I quietly stopped supporting NJ legislation when the compromise bill that finally passed was introduced, but I did not fight it or my long-time friends in NJCARE who continued to support the bill in order to get something passed. We disagreed, but not with animosity. I still believe a clean bill would have passed eventually, but I understand how tired everyone was after over 30 years. People can disagree and hold their principles without resorting to personal attacks from either side, and everyone needs to understand that disagreements about legislation are not always personal.

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    1. Adoptee rights to their own birth certificates are not really about restoring extended family connections. That is a matter to be worked out between the adoptee, the birth parents, and other family members, just as any inter-family relationship is worked out. Sometimes you are welcomed with open arms, sometimes sadly shut out, which may be wrong, but meeting other family members is not really a "right" in the legal sense that having access to one's own birth certificate is. Nobody has a right to a relationship with any person, relative or not, who does not want that. Human relationships do not work that way. But of course adoptees should have a right to information to try to pursue such relationships, if they wish.I think that biological relatives should be able to offer a relationship to the adoptee, but not to push or intrude if it is not wanted. Let the adopted person decide.

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    2. Maryanne - hellos ! I'm not sure if your comments are an addition to or a clarification of what i've written, or if you are explaining a difference... so just to clarify what i did and did not say, because i know that my Midwestern polite-speak sometimes makes it seem as if i said something that i did not intend: I know that adoptee rights to OBC's are not about restoring extended family connections. or about reunions, for that matter. what i did intend to say, is that extended family members, in my opinion, have the right to know their blood relatives, adoptee included, just as an adoptee has the right to know their blood relatives. I do not believe in forced relationships, that would be absurd.

      I believe that adoptees and their relatives have the 'right' to a chance to know their blood relatives - that is to say, without secrecy. Having, giving birth to, a baby in secret, without the knowledge of family members that are otherwise a part of the mother's and father's lives, and giving that baby away, robs not only the adoptee but the extended family members of the chance to know a relative. I think that is criminal. In the example I used, which pertains to me personally, I think it was criminal and bad judgment on the part of my mother's parents to keep my existence hidden from my father's family. I don't think it was correct of him, or my mother either, but i can forgive them for the circumstance. It is harder to forgive 40something parents for hiding my existence from the other set.

      Having the right to know of, and having the chance for relationships, is quite different from having a right to a relationship. I disagree with the spirit of your comments inasmuch as you may believe that these two situations amount to the same, and inasmuch as you may dismiss their importance.

      I also respectfully disagree with 'letting the adoptee' decide. and by that i do not mean it is a matter of an ethical right or wrong. But if my aunt Joanne wants a relationship with me, I believe it is bad to advise her to curb her actions in any way. I have my own ways of pursuing relationships - and she has hers. She may misread one or many things I do as a result of her experience vs. mine. She should be as free to decide if she wants to pursue a relationship with me as I am with her. Placing the impetus on the adoptee to pursue many relationships at once, in a way that seems appropriate to each of those numerous individuals, when coming from a completely different background, is likely going to result in lost time together for no damn good reason. Inter-family relationships with an adoptee are NOT worked out just like relationships with any other family member in a family where members have had access to each other all their lives.

      Respectfully, I get that you see it differently, but i also believe that maybe you do not believe that extended family relationships (with blood relatives) are as important as they are to me, which is your right of course. To each his/her own. My point above was that because many people in our society may feel that these other relationships are not that important, this has contributed to adoption, to OBC sealed records, and now reading what you have written i believe it also contributes to the feeling among some that once the connections are established, it is mostly up to the adoptee to seek out those relationships. I have to say that reading that makes it feel like it is no big whoop ! to pursue those, by the way... but i don't expect you and i will agree on that, i don't expect everyone to understand my perspective, but it is valid, and not wrong, nonetheless.

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    3. All Maryanne was saying was that you cannot force anyone to have a relationship with you and no one is "entitled" to a relationship with anyone else. OBC access was never supposed to be about relationships; it is about a right that everyone else has, to one's real birth certificate.

      "But if my aunt Joanne wants a relationship with me, I believe it is bad to advise her to curb her actions in any way."

      No, it isn't. Not if you feel like curbing them. The point is, you don't. So have at it. You are free to pursue as many relationships as you wish. Nobody should be orchestrating your relationships but you, certainly not the government. On the other hand, someone with her OBC is also free to pursue no relationships. But you are both entitled to your OBC.

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    4. Kaisa wrote:"Respectfully, I get that you see it differently, but i also believe that maybe you do not believe that extended family relationships (with blood relatives) are as important as they are to me, which is your right of course. To each his/her own. "

      Exactly, Kaisa. We differ on how important extended family relationships are to us. We are different people in different circumstances. My son feels pretty much as I do, wary about engaging with lots of relatives and very cautious about relationships. This says nothing about you or your family or what they should do.

      My feelings and beliefs are my own, as are yours. You are totally free to see and do things differently, and to have different expectations of your biological relatives than my son has of his. You are free to contact every relative you can find, and to believe that your birthmother should facilitate these introductions for you. There is nothing wrong with that, just as there is nothing wrong with other adoptees and mothers having different expectations of their own relationships.

      I do disagree that me and others having less interest in extended family and genealogy has in any way contributed to sealed records or the culture of adoption secrecy. I never kept my son a secret, but that is just me, not a statement about any other birthmother.Families are different and relate differently, but everyone should have the right to know their heritage and pursue connections as they see fit.

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    6. Kaisa we do seem to be misunderstanding each other. The secrecy in adoption started with the climate of shame about sexual matters in our society, it was not initiated by mothers "in trouble" as we used to say. The secrecy and shame was forced on us and our families by the prevailing morals of the day, much as gays and lesbians were forced to live a life of secrecy during that same era, or else pay the steep price for being seen as deviants, just as unwed mothers were. It was not really a choice that homosexuals or unwed mothers made to hide and lie, in those days it was what the families and society of those of us considered sexually deviant felt we had to do to survive.In the early 60s and before for generations getting pregnant "out of wedlock" was considered just as deviant, degenerate, and sinful as homosexuality, and for both, a price of secrets, lies, and a false life had to be paid. Mothers did not request this, but went along if they were not among the few strong enough to defy conventional morality and fight back by keeping their illegitimate babies, despite the scorn of their families and society in general.

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  4. Beautifully constructed. Thank you for addressing the whole circle of issues regarding adoption and thank you for finding the center for me: Adoptees' Rights.

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  5. Adoptive parents are treated like elitists. And that is the attitude they have towards themselves, ie: entitlement, Adoptress, Adoptive Mother Syndrome, etc. Many gay couples are the same way now. Real mothers and adoptees are nothing but their enslaved staff. We are seen as less than, we are used, just like black slaves were in many ways. The fact that some AP's wanted to "kill" you Lorraine(which makes my stomach turn) proves how arrogant they really are, how Unchristian, how immature. I'm glad no one ever hurt you and it scares me to think so many of us adoptees have had to have our lives ruled by such unsound monsters. Records stay closed to cover up crimes, to make money, and to mock and abuse us like people used to treat the village idiot. America is a God awful country, with an unforgivable past concerning how certain groups of people have been treated and the love of the big bad buck. I'm so sick of all the selfishness.

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  6. Let me say that that comment was said two years after Birthmark came out--it was 1981. I was at a friend's house for a party and somehow I ended up in the kitchen with this guy who hoped to date a friend of mine. He is a writer. No one else has ever said anything quite so terrible or even a scary. I didn't take him seriously but it sure gave me pause.

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    1. PS--Mulling this over in my mind all morning: The man who said he knew people who would like to kill me [adoptive parents he knew in his building] is not only a writer, he is an attorney/writer--they make such excellent attack dogs. Ironically one of his books was made into a movie called: Missing. I kid you not.

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    2. Well, you represent a truth that does not make APs feel good - that the day will eventually come when their adoptee wants to know his/her origins, and perhaps - possibly connect with birth family members. But it is a truth, and there is nothing they can do about it, it's human nature to want to do so. Thankfully, it seems that APs are more sensitive, or at least more aware of the reality of the situation, than they used to be. It is something that is more likely to happen than not, no matter what.

      Like some others here, I grew up in an era where the "birth mother" coming back on the scene and further upsetting and confusing her child, was unthinkable - irresponsible - unstable behavior, damaging and not acceptable at all - just a shameful thing to do! It looks like the thinking on that has changed in the current day, also. I hope so, anyway.

      Far from being an interfering party (as is commonly thought), a first mother can contribute to the happiness of an adoptee, and if nothing else, alleviate some of the mystery of his or her beginnings and history.

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    3. Lorraine, is that the movie with Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek? If so what a hypocrite he is. How did he say that to you, I mean his tone of voice like he was trying to make you feel guilty or he was horrified at what those two lunatic AP's said? I'm so tired of some people in society thinking they can own and treat me (an adoptee) like a dog. Sit, quiet, roll over, beg, obey. I'm sick of how they treat first mothers too. Play dead..

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    4. As I wrote in elsewhere about this--I didn't take him literally seriously but the comment certainly shook me up. I walked out of the kitchen and told my husband. I guess he was telling me how his friends--adoptive parents--reacted to hearing about Birthmark. Or having read the piece in Newsweek, which came out at the same time and caused the commotion.

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  7. Many never, ever, realized the pain the adopted child goes through. It is so sad to feel your pain and I do. Many were forced by Catholic Charities and felt disgraced and labeled a horrible mother, if one dared to keep a baby out of wedlock. All moms love their baby. All moms, I believe, unless forced, deserted, or molested, etc. would never have opted for adoption, without any other choice! Very sad that adopted children can't get a BC in NYS. Back then everybody was told it was sealed and dates were changed and told DON'T LOOK for the child. A mom would RUIN the child's life if she were selfish. If she kept the child from a wonderful life, with a stable family, she was a useless, fallen woman! Heartbreaking, that so many have suffered for no good reason and guess what??? Many B Mom's NEVER KNEW and THIS WAS SO SAD! Give original BC to all NYS moms and children, and make them vote do it NOW!!

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    1. I have a question. Who told single mothers this, nuns, social workers, priests?

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    2. Anon, all of the above, nuns, social workers, priests, ministers, rabbis, doctors, and lawyers, plus in many cases our own parents, told us this. We were told a child needed a father, without a father married to the mother, he was a bastard and would be called that on the playground, if we were selfish enough to keep him, even if our families had the means to do so. We were isolated from our parents, young women who had never worked or only held part-time student jobs were asked how we could support ourselves and a child utterly alone. If our parents were middle or upper class we were encouraged to believe we could not get welfare, even if in some cases this was not true. We were also told that "a nice girl like you from a nice family" would not want to be a welfare mom. That was for inner city mothers of color.We were explicitly told that if we really loved our child, we would let him go to the "perfect" older married couple that so wanted a baby and would give him everything we could not. We were encouraged to be "unselfish" and make the ultimate sacrifice for the good of the child. If we did not give in right away, we were broken down by months of "counseling" that only led one way, and never involved the father, our parents, or other family members. We had to sink or swim on our own, and it was strongly suggested that if we even tried to raise our own child the result would be a life of shame for the innocent baby. This is how it was, this was what I and many other mothers were told by all the "experts" we had to deal with.

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    3. The isolation we felt was so intense. I heard someone say on TV the other morning about grieving after a death, the most important thing was support from others. And I immediately thought: Yeah, the support that we mothers did not get. The shaming we endured instead. It feel like a story out of Puritan America, with first mothers as the witches. The only thing that didn't happen is that we were not put to death.

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  8. Jess, I agree. Access to an OBC should not be conditional on whether you want a relationship with those listed on it. If I wasn't adopted, and had no relationship with my parents, if I was completely estranged and wanted nothing to do with them, and I lost my birth certificate, should I be denied the ability to replace it because I have no relationship other than genetic with the other two listed on it? Of course not! It's my birth certificate, so I should have it. It is that simple in my mind.

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  9. @Lorraine, that is truly frightening. A not so subtle threat by telling you there are people who want to kill you, wow! The intimidation under-current toward First Mothers to keep quiet and stay in their place still exists even today. I think it is especially prevalent when that person happens to be an attorney, who feels they can throw their weight around. I experienced what I perceived as an intimidation tactic by my son's adoptive mother, who thought it was necessary to let me know that the attorney (adoptive father) who represented both me and her was a friend and they go to the same church. In '84-'85 it was not uncommon for an attorney to represent both the mother and PAP's. My friend (First Mother) had her son's adoptive father (& family) to her home over the summer. He let her know that even if she had changed her mind (35 yrs ago), he would not have let her have him back. She also told me that he talked to her as if she was her son's sister rather than mother, basically putting her in her place. I remember thinking back some years ago that by talking about my adoption experience would somehow alert the 'adoption police' and I would have some attorney at my door or calling me. As Anon: 3/2, 9:21, stated that she was told, "that she would be prosecuted" if she tried to search. The intimidation factor toward First Mothers is Real.

    On the subject of Adoptee Rights, All American Citizens should have access to their Original Birth Certificates. Regardless of First Parents right to 'Privacy', which is B.S. or Adoptive Parents wanting to pretend to give birth to that child (laughable, if the parents are white and the child is black), that document belongs to the Adopted Person. It is a matter of knowing where one comes from and ones own heritage. It is ludicrous that the government is allowed to keep this sealed as a matter of appeasing a very few First Mothers, which I am suspect of that reasoning...I tend to believe it has more to do with fear of that mother running to the first abortion clinic if she can't hide from her child.

    I appreciate all that you, Jane and the other ladies here do for working toward Adoptee Access to OBCs. This is certainly a 'Hot-Button' issue as I have been reading here on your other blogs.

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  10. We in Missouri are trying to make history and have adult adoptees receive their OBC. I am 72 and was adopted at 3 months old. My parents loved me very much and I loved them too. My adoptive mom was very insecure in her feelings that someone would try to take me away and she would have never wanted me to search. When I was nearly 70 and she had been deceased almost 10 years I decided to. I had found papers years ago with my birth name, where I was born, the home name. Well, next to the story about the home was a site for GS Registry, a group of search angels who help adoptees search for their birth families. I thought I didn't need to find a family, I had one. The search angels were so helpful in guiding me on how to get first my non-identification information. I wrote to the county where I was adopted in and 3 times the woman told me my records were not there and she would send me names of 3 "approved searchers" for me to use that wold cost between $300-500 plus expenses. I wrote another time and lo and behold, she found my file. I had to submit all kinds of birth certificates, death certificates and on and on. I finally got my non-i.d. information. My special angel asked me to share it with everyone because each angel had their own talent. Well, within 24 hours I knew the name of my birth mother. I found out I had four siblings. I had two brothers and two sisters. Of course my birth mother was deceased and one brother for sure. I wrote to all the people they told me about and one day I got a call from a nephew who had just visited an aunt who knew about me. My birth mother had put me up for adoption, took the other 4 kids to California but couldn't afford to keep them and put them in an orphanage for 4-5 years til she could get them out. And then she found out I was adopted. She had been divorced for 2 years and had a friend who was presumably my birth father. He came to the hospital and they said he was a nice man. So that gave me a lot of information. I so much appreciated getting that information. I also heard from a cousin in Tulsa. I sent pictures along and he said he knew I was Norma's daughter because I looked just like her. We visited him that summer. Then this past summer I got to meet 13 cousins for a weekend and it was so wonderful. I was so accepted and cared about. We plan to meet again this summer. When I got home from that trip I had a long letter from another nephew. It was so loving and sweet and since I'm "friends" on FB with 3 of the brothers' wives who are just so sweet and nice. So I feel like I have two families and I'm just sorry my mom couldn't have been more secure in our relationship and allowed me to search much earlier. I did have some issues with adoption. Both grandparents didn't truly accept me. I felt it all my life and finally late in life found out I was right. I wasn't "their blood". But I never doubted the love of my folks. They didn't get along for years and I was a referred which was pretty rough but I always figured that could happen in a natural family too and after I married, they joined a church and became close in their last years. I thought when young I didn't want to search but I remember on Mother's Day saying a private prayer for my birth mom too. And of course I had curiosity-I am so grateful I didn't wait any longer to search and then thru the angels I met the head of our Missouri Adoptees Rights Movement and got involved with the group trying to get our OBC. I feel like every adoptee has a curiosity even if they bury that deep down, they do want to know And of course we need to know medical issues. I have had cancer twice. I think every child needs to know their history. Horrible when the dr. asks about history and you say I don't know, I was adopted. I hear it over and over again. So this is my story.

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    1. Dear Dianne, thank you for sharing your story. I had tears in my eyes by mid point. I am so glad you found your other family and they accepted you warmly. I am sure that it has brought you some peace.

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  11. Lorraine, The reason most people do not "get" what you are saying is that they have not stepped up from behind their computer and actually experienced the reality of what it takes to change the law! If it were easy, everyone would do it.

    All to often, people miss the fact that we are on the same team. Problem is, there are too many coaches and as a result, nobody wins. Naturally everyone wants the coach who leads his team to victory 100% of the time and the other team never scores! What was that story again about the big game? You know... Rainbows vs. Unicorns!

    Right now we are at 1/2 time in Missouri and the score is in our favor. Yes the other team has scored a few points but does that mean we should forfeit? Or should we push forward and score as many points as we can this season?

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  12. Sad how little progress toward adoptee rights has been made in 41 years and is reflective of the continued powerful political hold of the adoption industry and its paying clients. Adoption is still about eliminating blood and biological ties and pandering to adoptive parents who believe adoptees are like purchased pieces of expensive furniture with forever exclusive ownership rights. It's obvious who has all the ownership rights in adoption.

    Adoptive parents seem to have no qualms about participating in a process that destroys the most important human bond on the planet--the mother/baby bond. Many adoptive mothers are so insecure and frightened of the possibility of their purchased possession ever finding or even entertaining the thought of finding their other mother. As long as adoptive parents keep buying human beings, powerful agencies will continue to make money off the exploitation of children, and lobbyists will continue lobbying against the rights of adoptees.

    Adoptive parents need to stop thinking of adoptees as their exclusive property. If APs really cared about the best interests of adoptees, APs would begin to push for adoptee rights to OBCs, open records, and helping adoptees discover their origins, history, identity, and ancestry.

    Won't happen, though, as long as insecure, frightened, entitled, even narcissistic adoptive mothers keep buying other women's babies and pretending the other mothers never existed. Adoptees long for and deserve their rights, but ironically it's many adoptive parents who are preventing it from happening.

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  13. While unsealing the sealed birth certificates is happening slower than public opinion has changed on this issue--many adoptive parents have changed their mindset from the old days when it was not uncommon for the child to never be told her was adopted. And many adoptive parents--not just the few who comment here--are open to continued contact for it is in the best interests of the adopted. A 1999 Cornell University survey of adoptive parents found that an large majority of them believed in unsealing birth certificates. Legislators however get stuck in the old ideas they grew up with and nothing will convince the few who can hold up a bill--or a governor like the craven Chris Christie in NJ--as long as it does not allow the mother to veto the disclosure of her name.

    It's wrong, it's immoral, it's unjust, and justifiable anger such as yours should be targeted at legislators who can't see the unethical social engineering that has got to go!

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  14. Let me add to maryanne's list of authorities who pounded into our heads that unwed white girls had to give up their babies in order to remain in civilized society: Ann Landers. She was probably the most influential voice of what was right socially, morally, and psychologically in mid-century America. Landers had no training in any of this but she by clever articulation of society's mores, she reinforced them. Landers was also an outspoken opponent of adoptees searching and opening records.

    I heard Landers speak twice. The first time was at my Chicago high school in 1956 or 1957. She hammered us on not having pre-marital sex. The second time was in 1994 at my daughter Amy's graduation from Northwestern where Landers received an honorary degree, lauded as America's mom. I don't recall what she said.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Probably just as well you don't remember, Jane. It would have been piffle.

      Delete
  15. When first parents or adoptive parents speak out for us, it makes at least this adoptee feel as though maybe we can un-do some of the damage. It makes me feel heard. Thank you.

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  16. The judge noted that her agency file did not contain information that would reveal the identity of her natural parents.

    ------
    How did the judge come by that information? Is that on the word of the agency, or did the judge see for himself?

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    Replies
    1. Obviously the judge read the file.

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    2. Nice. The judge gets to see it, but the person concerned doesn't.

      Surely that's some sort of privacy issue, or something? If the powers that be are so worried about the natural families privacy, they shouldn't be having a look themselves.

      The file should be handed over, completely untampered with, and let the chips fall where they may as to what's in it.

      OR The file doesn't get handed over, and remains closed to *everyone* - including nosy judges and agency employees.

      Delete

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