' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Adoptee denied medical history

Friday, March 18, 2016

Adoptee denied medical history

The Iowa Supreme Court found it more important to protect the anonymity of natural/birth parents than to "save an adoptee's life or prevent irreparable physical or mental harm" to her.

While some states are moving to give adoptees their original birth certificates, adoptees elsewhere turn to the courts for relief, but many are denied. We hear the same old prejudiced arguments against giving them the piece of paper that, in some cases, might indeed save their lives. With the name of the natural mother revealed on their original birth certificate, many will be able to reach them or their families and learn their medical histories, crucial information in today's world.

Consider the case of a woman identified in court records as R. D. Born in Iowa and adopted as an infant in 1965, she has suffered from anxiety and depression due, her therapists insist in court documents, to lack of knowledge about her origins. She felt she "had a hole in her soul." She began to self-medicate with alcohol and became a severe alcoholic.  At the suggestion of her therapist, she petitioned a court to open up her adoption file and give her the names of her natural parents.

R. D. submitted detailed statements from three mental health experts that learning the identify of her natural parents was essential to treat her alcoholism; without treatment she would continue to relapse and would need a liver transplant.

Iowa law allows a court to open adoption records upon "competent medical evidence" that do so is "necessary to save the life or prevent irreparable physical or mental harm of an adopted person."  The court found that while R. D. had met the burden of proof that opening her adoption records was a medical necessity, it refused to give her her records, because the Iowa statue required the court to make every reasonable effort to prevent the identity of the biological parents from being revealed. It seems to us that this was an impossible goal to achieve. Consequently, the only information R. D. could get would be whatever medical information was in the file. In this case: none.
Iowa Justice Waterman

R. D. appealed and the Iowa Supreme Court, in an opinion by Justice Thomas Waterman, upheld the trial court. He noted that the therapists could offer no assurances that her problems would resolve upon learning her natural parents' names. While he recognized that some states gave adoptees greater access to their adoption records, he believed the Iowa law had to be strictly construed. Any loosening was up to the legislature. In sum, protecting R. D.'s life and health was less important than protecting her natural parents' presumed desire for confidentiality.

Justice Waterman's opinion relied on decades-old cases replete with the same tired refrains: To allow R. D. to learn the names of her biological parents would "substantially undermine the statutory confidentiality assured to parents who make the painful decision to give up a child for adoption." Without the promises of confidentiality, parents might resort to the black market in order to surrender children they cannot care for. Iowa law allows natural parents to file consents to allow records to be opened and R. D.'s parents had not done so, he wrote, indicating they wished to remain anonymous. (More likely, they do not know the registry exists--nor do they know their daughter is seeking a health history.)

The opinion went on. "Sealing adoption records helps promote the formation of the adoptive family." It allows adoptive parents to "raise the child without fear of interference from the natural parents and without fear that the birth status of the illegitimate child will be revealed or used as a means of harming the child or themselves. ...The state has an interest in maintaining confidentiality to protect and encourage the adoption process."

The Iowa Court summed it all up by quoting with approval this nonsense from a 1981 South Carolina case:
"'No one has yet shown that decades of policy protecting the anonymity of the biological parents and the security from intrusion of the parent-child relationship after adoption have been misguided. Quite the contrary. The overwhelming success of adoption as an institution which has provided millions of children with families, and vice versa, cannot be easily attacked."**
I had the same reaction reading the opinion that I had when I read the 1873 U. S. Supreme Court case upholding a law prohibiting women from practicing law.*  How dumb can you be!? Justice Waterman's opinion also sounds eerily close to the 1979 one written by Justice James L. Oakes when he dismissed the suit brought Adoptees Liberty Movement Association (ALMA) in federal court***. Though that case was brought on different grounds, the language and reasoning appear not to have changed one iota. Once again we hear of how sealed records promote adoption, as if that were a desired end. What century is this guy living in?

The overwhelming evidence is that most natural parents did not, and do not, desire confidentiality from their children. Their "decision" to consent to adoption did not hinge on lifetime confidentiality. As for black market adoptions, giving birth anonymously in a out-of-the-way house with the baby to be given to adoptive parents secretly by an unethical doctor is a thing of the past, thank goodness.

Today mothers write books and blogs about giving up their babies. Many would not give up their babies if they weren't promised that they could maintain contact with their child. In any event, natural parents could not assure that their child would be adopted at all,  and thus that there would be records to be sealed! R. D's. parents may well welcome contact, but have no idea that they could file a consent to have their identities revealed. With forty percent of babies today born to single mothers, bastardy no longer carries the stigma it once had.

Domestic adoptions today are open to some degree because experts have found that having knowledge of their natural parents helps adoptees adjust in their adoptive families. Adoptees report that knowing their biological parents improves their relationship with their adoptive parents. The decline in domestic adoptions in the past four decades is due to legalizing abortion and evolving mores, not open records.

When you read an opinion like this one, you can see why getting laws passed opening records is such an uphill battle. It's easy to suggest that the Iowa jurists' heads are filled with corn mush, but the same twisted thinking prevails in New York and other states. Unfortunately much of the country continues to be brain-washed to believe that secrecy is essential in adoption.

Still the the tide is turning; twenty states have enacted laws giving adoptees access to their records, although most still unfortunately allow vetoes by the natural mother. Adoptee and natural parent memoirs, television shows like TLC's Long Lost Family, Finding Your Roots on PBS, ABC's Find My Family (now cancelled), and countless movies, from Carol Schaefer's story, The Other Mother on Lifetime and Philomena and Loggerheads on the big screen, amply demonstrate the importance of connecting with natural parents and lost children.

While some jurists and legislators are stuck in the 1980's, current technology--the Internet, DNA testing--and dedicated searchers allow reunions at a rapid pace. In a few years, I predict that much of society will look aghast at opinions like this one. In the meantime, let's hope R. D. finds her natural parents.--jane

In the Interest of R. D.
*"The natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life. The paramount destiny and mission of women are to fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother. This is the law of the Creator."  Bradwell v. Illinois, 83 US 130 (1873)
**Bradley . Child. Bureau of S.C., 274 S. E. 2d 418, 421
*** Alma v. Mellon, 601 F.2d 1225

Challenging closed adoption records in the courts

The Other Mother
by Carol Schaefer
"I recommend this book to everyone who is seeking to understand the birthparent journey. I am an adoption professional involved with searching for 19 years. I find Carol's book to be a gem. Carol has done an outstanding job of encapsulating the birthparent experience. She raises the consciousness of anyone who reads her story.Adopted persons tell me consistently how impacted they have been by what they have learned. Empathy toward their birthmother is deepened and courage to pursue a search is enhanced."--Reviewer at Amazon

And for Carol's film on YouTube
The NBC produced film version of The Other Mother is back up on Youtube! Here's the link: http://www.spicyweb.xyz/youtube-download/oBW-YOnQ39...

Please join Lorraine reading from Hole In My Heart  and talking about why closed adoptions are a tainted vestige of the past and should be abolished! 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 31 in Manhattan. Pre-registration is asked but not necessary. Link Here: Lorraine Dusky: A Reading from Hole in my Heart


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Here is the original article I was sent about this case.

    Jane, you may have more information than is presented here. While I believe all adoptees should be able to get their original birth certificate on request, not matter why they want it, from what was presented in this article this woman and her lawyers presented a very weak case, which may have contributed to her request not being granted, besides the judge's antiquated beliefs.

    First of all, she was not even asking for medical history to determine if alcoholism ran strongly in her natural family, a reasonable argument. She and her therapists, according to the article, were saying that getting her parents' names was vital to cure her alcoholism, which she claims was precipitated by the "hole in her soul" since she was told she was adopted at age 6. Every alcoholic has an excuse why they drink. In the end these excuses are irrelevant. They drink because they have an addictive personality, and most cannot stop without help. The first step is admitting you are powerless over alcohol, not blaming it on adoption or anything else.

    Alcoholism is not curable, it is something people can learn to control and live with, but if the genetic predisposition to addiction is there, meeting one's natural parents, marrying a good man, getting a better job, nothing can cure it. 12 step groups help some people, rational recovery groups help others, a small number can return to moderate drinking, but for the majority of alcoholics, staying away from the drink by whatever means and living clean and sober are the only way. there is no magic solution nor any information or relationship that will make alcoholism go away.

    I agree that the judge's reasons for denying this woman or any adoptee their records were terrible and based in ancient attitudes. But I think she may have had a stronger case had she been asking on the grounds of needing medical history to determine if addiction was a strong factor in her biological family, which would help explain why she is an alcoholic, but would not do anything about curing her addiction. Whether she ever meets her bio family or not, staying sober is her own hard work to do, with her therapist and support group. We know all too well that reunion does not cure many pre-existing issues like addiction or mental illness for either adoptees or birth parents. This woman was ill-advised in how she presented her case, and it can only stand as a warning what not to do for other adoptees seeking to open their own records through the courts.

    1. maryanne, I'm sure the attorney considered grounding the case on the need for medical history. The answer she might well have gotten was that there is nothing in the file that provides this information and knowing medical history of the parents is not essential for treatment. To argue for the medical history of the natural parents could have come across as a subterfuge which would not have sat well with the judges.

      The attorney presented the facts. R. D. suffered depression and anxiety ever since she was a young child due to not knowing her origins. That led to her alcoholism. Knowing her natural parents' identity was essential for treatment.

      As for the best course of treatment for her alcoholism, I'll rely on the experts who presented evidence in the case rather than on you.

      I'd suggest your read the Court opinion which contains more facts than the new article you sent. There's a link to the opinion at the end of the post.

    2. Thanks Jane, I was not aware that was a link, went back and read the court opinion. I agree that the reasons given and the cases cited for denying R.D. her records were awful, irrelevant, and do not apply to the 21st century. How about all the states that have opened records to adoptees with no ill effect? In reading the opinion, I see that finding the parents was for the purpose of learning their medical history, so I do not see how this would be seen as subterfuge by judges. But of course I am not a legal expert, just expressing an opinion.

      My comments on alcoholism come from many family members and friends who are or were alcoholics. I do not know R.D. but in my experience with alcoholics, one of things they have to admit is that any reason to keep drinking is just an excuse they have to discard in order to stay sober. R.D threatening to relapse unless she gets her records is not really a good tactic, and I hope it was just that, not a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      All that being said, is there any search angel or other means in Iowa to help RD get the information she wants? The courts have failed her. I hope there is another way. I notice her parents were married, that is unusual in 1965 and may mean that drinking in the their family led to the surrender. Or not, only way to know is to find them and I hope someone helps her to do that. This case is unfortunate in so many ways including the bogus reasons to deny an adoptee her own history.

    3. An interesting and disturbing thing about the opinion and law in Iowa is that the court is allowed to disclose the identity of parents to the adult adoptee's "medical personnel" but that the medical personnel "shall make every reasonable effort to prevent the identity of the biological parents from becoming revealed to the adopted person." Wow. What a terrible way to put your "medical personnel" in between you and your parents. My guess is R.D. and her attorney and her medical folks didn't want to go that route.

      I've emailed R.D.'s attorney about this and hope to get more details and can also offer help. I also want to see the legal briefs that were filed. He's out until Monday.

    4. maryanne, it's good that you've realized that you should read a court opinion before commenting on it. Go back and read it again and you'll see that the basis for R. D.'s legal action was the need to know who here natural parents were. This need began when she was a young child, long before she became an alcoholic. This need was not based on the need for medical history of her natural parents although of course she wanted that as well.

      I suggest that rather than second guessing the attorney and therapists, you spend your time writing the Iowa media and explaining what's wrong with this opinion.

      I do not know if there is a search angel in Iowa. I have written to her attorney and, among other things, offered to share resources which might help her search.

  3. Reading the Opinion, I couldn't believe my eyes. This woman is 51! It's been a long time since she was a juvenile! And I see some of the cases - wow!

    (1978 Case quote): Public attitudes toward illegitimacy and parents who neglect or abuse children have not changed sufficiently to warrant careless disclosure of the circumstances leading to adoption.

    HUH?? How can you have "careless disclosure" when the adoptee is an adult? This cite is almost 40 years old, of course public sentiment has changed. I could go on and on, but the outdated and point of view of the Decision is very obvious. It really is jaw-dropping in its inappropriate, and insensitive, language.

    ". . . gets her to first base, not across home plate." HUH?? WT*?

    How about some simple compassion and human respect? This woman has passed the age of majority, over 30 years ago. The Decision seems so wrong-minded, and its thinking, archaic.

  4. What I found so pathetic and sick about this case is that the first time I testified in court was for a woman in 1972 in New York for a woman who was 41 at the time, and the decision and the reasoning led to the same conclusion. The woman could not have her file.

    However, the judge noted that the woman's records at Spence did not have the mother's name.

    I tell the full story in H♥le. Natural mothers did not make themselves known and the Spence-Chapin attorney didn't really know what to make of me except to try to make me some kind of freak of nature for coming out of the closet.

  5. Great article, Jane. I'm wondering how we can flood the states still considering open records with letters of support from mothers. By the way, here is a link to a blog I wrote on the subject for the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carol-schaefer/should-the-government-hav_b_8252294.html

  6. I read the court opinion and it looks as though both courts were looking for an excuse to do nothing, rather than do what they could do, as is already stated is within their power. What a bunch of wussies. God forbid they use their prerogative to help an individual over the interest of the State to promote adoptions! Clear example of trampled rights.

  7. "R. D. submitted detailed statements from three mental health experts that learning the identify of her natural parents was essential to treat her alcoholism; without treatment she would continue to relapse and would need a liver transplant." So R.D. postulated her case as a health issue, and that she needed access to her records in order to recover from alcoholism caused by lack of knowledge of her origins.
    Presenting access as a "need" and not a right is never a good idea, no matter how dire the situation. Claiming that denial of access to her records is going to prevent this woman from staying off booze and that she will die as a consequence is not provable by any standards -- no matter what the three mental health experts (therapists) say -- and undermines not only her case but the fight for open records and OBC access as a whole.

    1. I agree with you. I want every adoptee to have his or her OBC. But it should not be predicated on something as unprovable as this string of assertions. No one can predict, in fact, what the result will be for RD if she gets this information. Will it convince her to put down the sauce? Indeed, if her parents reject talking to her or are already dead from liver disease, it may have exactly the opposite effect.

      The right to the OBC is an absolute right. Cases like this only muddy the waters.

      I did, however, enjoy learning about Myra Bradwell and her fight to enter the Illinois bar.

  8. Got to say this too:
    "Sealing adoption records helps promote the formation of the adoptive family." It allows adoptive parents to "raise the child without fear of interference from the natural parents and without fear that the birth status of the illegitimate child will be revealed or used as a means of harming the child or themselves. ...The state has an interest in maintaining confidentiality to protect and encourage the adoption process."
    Nobody ever asked us adoptees what WE WANTED. How many adoptees have said we wished our real mothers came and got us. Many of us had abusive adoptive parents. Not letting us make a decision at all is NOT child rearing it is slavery and kidnapping. You've also got to be kidding me if other people did not know we were adopted growing up, ie: illegitimate, none of us looked like our adoptive parents or siblings, so everybody knew anyway. What happens if this poor adoptee takes her life now? Depression is a serious medical predicament because it leads to that. Like I said this judge is a douchebag!

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    2. Anon, I may hate the judge's decision also but let's not name call here.

    3. Kasia, states used to make it difficult to get divorced because they considered "intact" families to be desirable. States generally required one party to have grounds for the divorce, that is to prove the other party was at fault. In New York for a long time, the only grounds for divorce was adultery. As a consequence, wealthy New Yorkers, including the wife of Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, went to Nevada to get divorced where the grounds were less stringent. They had to live in Nevada for six weeks to become residents before they could get the divorce. Nevada has many "ranches" for these people, usually wives, to live at during the six weeks. One of these was the setting for a humorous movie, "The Women" made in the 1940's or so.

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    5. It seems that busy-bodies always want to dictate relationships; keep people together who can't stand each other; prevent people who love each other from marrying. Force children to stay with parents they don't
      want; keep them from parents they do want.

    6. In reading through the decision again, it really is a decision that is dictated by a prior Iowa case, the one that is the 2002 adoption case of SJD. In the SJD decision, the Iowa Supreme Court effectively made it so that "good cause" to unseal a birth record is the same as having to show that the record is needed to save the life of the adoptee or prevent irreparable harm. Much of the language in this most recent case is taken straight out of the SJD case, which in turn quoted all the old cases from the late 1970s and early 1980s.

      That said, this case may fuel a political solution through amending the law, though my hunch is that opponents to any amendment will strategically only agree to what the court seemed frustrated about: the inability to appoint a guardian ad litem, or the equivalent of a confidential intermediary.

      Interestingly, Iowa has a "consent to disclose" (or not disclose) aspect of its law. Though even if the birth parent said "sure, release the record" you still have to show good cause. Go figure.

    7. There are a couple of other movies about the difficulty of getting a divorce in NY--and that was the case when I became pregnant. The father was married, Irish, Catholic, etc, lots of family pressure against him, the sinner, and of course, me the seductress Hester Prynne.

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    9. I wish I could remember the name of one that was ... more or less a small art film that I saw at an art house. It was about the relationship of the women who were spending six or eight week together in a house in AZ to get their divorce. It was striking to me because Patrick (daughter Jane's father) and I were discussing the sucky things that he would have to do to get a divorce. Like, pictures of him being unfaithful. It was a nightmare in NY well past when most other states came to their senses.
      --vixen is a good word...

  9. It's a public blog. Most of the comments here are basically anonymous. And continually using ANONYMOUS and then calling people names is on the level of calling someone a name in the school yard. No, it's more chicken--schoolyard bullies aren't anonymous.

  10. In Sweden right now there's a large debate going on about international adoptions and surrogacy pregnancies.

    We have extremely few domestic adoptions due to our security systems, for women who are very young and/or lack of income etc there's social security that makes it possible for everyone, even those who has nothing, to have and raise a child, the health care is also free so there are no medical expenses during or after the pregnancy.

    But we do have international adoptions, and the adoption parents are more than babies available which causes really long waiting to adopt children abroad.
    The interesting thing is that the debate has always been through the adoption parents perspective and more or less shows that adoption isn't really about the children’s need for a parent, but rather the parents need for a child.

    Recently adoption-rights-activists has made their voices heard and gotten a lot of criticism from adoptive parents.

    Just some weeks ago the Swedish government decided not to make surrogacy legal, it was a decision made primarily for the women and their safety and also for the children.
    Many people supported the decision but many people also shouted "but what about those who can't have children?"

    I'm actually quite tired of the fact that it's ALWAYS about people who can't have children, it should never ever be the focus when discussing such things, it should always be about what's best for the children, not the grownups who can't have babies, it's not a human right, it's a gift.

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    2. Emma, that is the most adorable picture of you (I'm presuming) with your dad on your blog.

      Thanks for talking about the Swedish situation. Some of the international adoptees who have been placed with parents there have not had a happy life and never felt like they fit in to Swedish society. I do feel for them. I believe there have been some suicides. It's reckless and thoughtless to send people to places where there culture basically doesn't even exist.

      I have mixed views of surrogacy but I tend to think that arrangements should be left up to the parties involved. I certainly don't think it should be called sexual assault like they're trying to do in Italy.

    3. I have trouble with surrogacy being for pay, because then you have created an industry that objectives and demeans women's bodies. What other profession does that?

    4. Emma--Yes, it's always or almost always about the women and men who can't have children, not the the effect on the children. Thank you for your perspective from Sweden.

    5. PS--We sure get a lot of criticism from adoptive parents, or have--though there are more and more enlightened ones! Progress!

    6. I'm quite aware my views are not in step with the FMF regulars. I don't presume to judge a woman who knows her own body, analyzes the risks, and decides that being a surrogate is worth it to her (or her family) at a certain price. I believe in legal, paid sex work as well by both men and women.

    7. Legal, paid sex work only affects the consenting adults who are involved. Surrogacy is not just a matter of how the woman wants to use her body, it creates a third party (the baby) who had no say in the matter and whose life is the most profoundly affected. Comparing paid sex work to surrogacy is comparing apples to oranges. My main concern is always the innocent child.

    8. Children by default have decisions made about them by adults. My guess is that this will continue in all areas of life.

      I did not make a comparison. I said I also supported paid sex work.

      One last thing: In the future, babies carried by surrogates will be genetically related to their actual bio-parents because stem cell technology will allow both infertile and gay couples to reproduce with each other and the child's heritage will be intact. This will be done by taking any cell in the body, dialing it back to the stem cell state and then turning it into an egg or sperm, whichever is needed.

    9. I would encourage any woman who is considering pregnancy to think about what's best for the child. Just as I would encourage any woman to not drink or smoke during a pregnancy. In my opinion, being created through surrogacy, except in some limited situations between family members, is not in the best interest of the child.

  11. Another example of the denial of natural justice and human rights. Another example of purposely violating a person's human rights to their truth, medical history, and origins. To think adoptees aren't valued anymore than this in 2016 is pure insanity. The judge sends the message that the adoptee is unimportant and unworthy of their basic information. This is cruelty and heartlessness at its finest.

    The decision confirms that adoptions are not in the best interests of adoptees but are made to protect adoptive parents. Sealed records allude to possible fraud, wrongdoing, and/or coverup of something illegal, immoral, or unethical. Seems as if judges would favor disclosure over secrecy for those reasons alone.

    Another example that adoptive parents have all the power and resources, including judges with the power. Adoption continues to work against the needs of adoptees it claims to serve. Adoption remains secretive, self-policing, and self-serving.

    The judge basically told the adoptee that their history and reality don't matter and can be hidden forever, erased, or blotted out. If the judge valued family and the emotional needs involved, he would recognize, honor, and attempt to preserve family. Hopefully, more adoptees will become the "squeaky wheel" and continue to push for and demand change in this broken, fraudulent business. Change is in the air, but the wheels need some grease. Adoptive parents need to get the hell out of the way and let those most negatively affected by the loss speak out.

    I have always wondered if adoption cured infertility...

    1. To reply to your wonder:

      In many cases, adoption appears to cure infertility.

    2. Chris, I would actually state that it is wrong to say adoptive parents need to get out of this. I think the largest issue is that the loudest and most listened voice in adoption has always been APs. This is not right, but it is reality. What APs need to do is use our voices to support and push forth adoptees. When I write letters to state reps regarding open records, I consistently state that I should not be the gatekeeper for my daughter's information. She is an autonomous individual who is deserving of her own history without my involvement. I use my voice, which carries more weight as an AP (even when it shouldn't!) to say she has a right to be regarded as equal.

      When blacks were fighting for civil rights, they needed white people to stand with them. Not as the voices of experience or expertise, but instead to lend support and weight as the counterargument to all those making rampant assumptions for white people. Abolition was also the result of white people's involvement in saying, this isn't right.

      APs should be supportive voices and partners in the effort to change adoption and open records. From my perspective, there isn't anyone in the world who can possibly care more than I about my daughter's rights to her own history. I would be doing her a great disservice, IMO, to silence my voice instead of lending it to her. I don't think I am capable of that, truly, because I feel I would be failing her as a mother.

    3. Tiffany, your daughter lost HER rights when you adopted her. You knew that up front and chose anyway to participant in an abusive, oppressive, fraudulent process called adoption. You apparently were in agreement with the falsified documents, but NOW, you're interested in reform?

      You knew before you shopped for and paid for your daughter that she would lose freedom over her natural rights and that HER records would be sealed forever, but you continued to participate in the process because that's what YOU wanted.

      To continue with your analogy, you're no different from the white slave owners who thought there was nothing wrong with that institution. Now, though, you are having a guilty conscience or a change of heart over the injustices ? You chose to be a part of another equally-flawed, controlling system. Your mentioning that analogy acknowledges a power differential with the APs, the buyers, having all the power, and the adoptees having the least.

      Surely you could have chosen instead permanent legal guardianship of your daughter, but apparently, you wanted full exclusive ownership rights to your daughter, just as slave owners wanted over their commodities. You could have still been called Mommy, but the PLG wouldn't have stripped your daughter of her natural truth, origin, and identity.

      Seems a little, no, it seems a lot hypocritical that now you want to back peddle and "help" out after your needs have been satisfied. You have been a paying client, but NOW you want to see change in the system?!

      I'm sure money changed hands, your daughter was re-named, and an amended birth certificate was filed, but you can rest assured she will forever be under YOUR authority because the Amended Birth Certificate says so and you have an adoption decree. Ironic, adoption and all it represented seemed wonderful before you received your goods, but NOW, you think change is needed. Got it.

      Until your daughter has her unsealed records, she will remain unequal and in servitude (just like slavery). It is obvious that adoption was in YOUR best interest and was probably an injustice to the adoptee (go figure).

      Until childless couples stop buying other womens' children to satisfy their own needs, adoption will continue to cause great pain for adoptees and first mothers. As long as adoptive parents remain much of the problem, it will be hard and hypocritical of them to be part of the solution.

    4. Chris, you would do well to learn a persons whole story before you judge them.
      Better yet, keep your judgement to yourself.
      To get records open we will need any & everyone that is willing to speak out.

    5. Is this sort of attitude and comment helping further understanding or bringing support to adoptees or first mothers from sympathetic adoptive parents, or just driving them away? Chris, this may be how you vent your spleen but not how you win political victories for adoptee rights. Lorraine already said it, we need EVERYONE'S help and support to get open records and adoption reform, and that includes sympathetic adoptive parents like Tiffany.

    6. Hi Chris,

      I totally get your anger, and I honestly think it's well justified. You are right about several things.

      I will correct you on a few. I did not know my daughter's BC would be changed. We are in an open adoption, and I falsely believed that that was something from the past. We did not change her name, so I thought nothing was necessary to be altered. When we found out it did not matter, I investigated how we could go about not changing the BC, but as you know, the laws do not allow for this option. I have supported changing this law from that very point onward. But my daughter needed a home and a family and that came through adoption. The specifics of the why's and such are not for me to share here as they are her story and her parents' story, but her adoption was a necessity for their personal reasons.

      Guardianship is something I hear put forth often, and I think it has it's place, especially when family can step forward instead of a stranger adoption. But every woman has a right to determine how she wants her situation to proceed, and my daughter's mother and father chose adoption.

      I think you hit the nail on the head with a number of things, which is why I support adoption reform and unsealed records. We didn't go through an agency matching adoption situation. I had always wanted to adopt, but then was disillusioned by the process. I wanted to be a mother to a child who needed me, not advertise and try to convince a woman I was a better mother than her. We stepped away from it because of our discomfort. We then ended up adopting my daughter because she needed a family and we connected with her parents for that reason.

      We did use an agency to complete the adoption, and much of what you said I witnessed. Honestly, I'm not offended in the least by what you wrote because I'm nodding along with you that even though it's not my personal situation, it doesn't mean that it isn't applicable in general to adoption. There is so much room for adoptive parents to have complete hold over the adoptee- I am the keeper of my daughter's OBC, of her open adoption, of her history. You are right. The difference is that I acknowledge the wrongness of that, and I believe those things all belong to her and will make sure they do. But it's not a controlled situation- she is bound by my good will and intentions. That is why I speak out about it. It's not right. That does not make me a hypocrite- it makes me a partner in this.

      Just as a side note. I really don't think this has anything to do with what you said, but I don't struggle with infertility. We do have a natural daughter. Adoption of my youngest was absolutely a choice. She wasn't a means to an end, like I think you are implying. She was our first choice because she needed a second mama and dad. The world is sadly an imperfect and flawed place, and not all children are able to be in their home of birth.

    7. Maybe there would be more understanding and less hostility between triad members if we all stuck to our own individual stories and situations rather than making broad-brush condemnations of one group or another. Tiffany is tactfully explaining her own family situation here, which is different from someone condemning all adoptive parents and saying they are not needed in the fight for adoption reform in an insulting and demeaning fashion.

      I feel I have every right to say anything I want about my son's adoptive mother, who was a horror, mentally ill, cruel, stupid, ugly, I could go on.... and about my own adoption situation which never should have happened. But I do not have the right to extend that to every adoption or every adoptive parent. In the same vein, I think every one of us has the right to tell the truth, however ugly, about our own adoption situation and people in it, but not to make a generalized judgement of others.

      We all are annoyed when those pushing adoption as the perfect solution to unwed pregnancy try to paint this rosy, Disney, unrealistic picture of all adoptions; "all adoptions are for the best, all adoptees are happy, all adoptive parents are saintly rescuers, all birthmothers had a real choice...." We need to stop and think and not fall into the same trap from the opposite viewpoint condemning all adoptive families or adoptive parents as somehow evil or inferior.

    8. You are a disgrace! Just listen to you bad mouth the REAL and NATURAL mother. My real and natural mother abused drugs also, however, I would rather die than go through a situation that leaves me a slave to the adopted parents desires. My slave owners tossed my identity in the garbage. They routinely abused me. And they are still abusing me (by proxy) to this day. The adoptive mother encouraged the ap's sexual abuse and she enjoyed the one-up mans ship (where she made herself look good in comparison to my real mother) that adoption gave her. I came from a mother who had problems, so, therefore,I should have been grateful for being given to sexually, physically, mentally & mentally abusive people who are themselves mentally ill. It figures. Because only a repulsive person would want to destroy the bond between a mother and her child. It wins favour for the adoptive parents in that they 'look' good in comparison and they use the child's misery as a way pissing all over the child's memory of the mother. Just like this last bitch who gladly bad mouths a mother, in order to excuse her barbaric behaviour of buying and owning other people's children. That's slavery for you, and slavery 'defined' is the legal fiction that people are property. Let's start calling AP's slave owners, because that's what they are. I choose for you to be on my land (the child had no say), and as such, I will destroy your identity. Destroy your birth certificate. And bad mouth the person you came from, because SHAME is the name of the game in adoption. I will 'own' you. Oh, and by the way, you have no choice in this matter, because I will exploit you when you are a child. The suicide rate of adopted persons is 4 times higher than that of non adopted persons and it's not difficult to see why. Just listen to these bitches (the reason that they are killing themselves in droves) defending their actions. You women deserve to die. And don't ever waste you breath (your lying breath) trying to justify your child abuses to someone like me. A human rights activist. An anti-adoption advocate. And an adopted person who has taken back her real identity back. My real mother died from a suicide attempt 3 years, so you can all celebrate now.

  12. And I will add that while adoptees are the one most negatively affected by the old sealed records laws, the legislators in general say that changing the law now most negatively affects birth mothers, and so that is who they keep harping on about when it comes to changing the law. No one argues that adoptees don't deserve or shouldn't have their original birth certificates--that's a no-brainer, even to them--but like it or not what you hear is: What about the birth mother???? Sit in on a hearing, listen to the lawyers and judges oppose the unsealing of the records, and that is the only class of people that they talk about.

    And that is why telling mothers to not be involved is counter productive because the legislators today act as if...the laws were designed to "protect" us. It's bull, but there it is. And it's why the ad with 500 signatures and Jane Edwards' photograph, among others, in OR helped push the vote over the top when influential columnists were writing against passage of the bill. Way to go, Jane!

    BTW, the clean bill that passed in New Hampshire was pushed through the legislature by an influential adoptive father, Lou D'Allesandro! So really, the movement needs everybody.

  13. I still asking the agency what would happen if an adoptee needed a kidney transplant or bone marrow donation-and was told "well that would be too bad but protecting the privacy of the birth mother is important." Talk about feeling devalued. Basically saying an adoptee's life is less important than a birth mother facing embarrassment. Not that there would be any guarantee anyone in the birth family would be willing to donate anything but still denying even the chance based on the assumption that our very existence is just a real nuisance to those responsible for our birth. This really let me see how adoptees are not valued or respected. Even now even though I know the identities of everyone my birth certificate is still locked up somehow protecting my dead birth mother. I have to say though I do very much appreciate the efforts of everyone supporting access to our records and I agree with Tiffany that for better or worse that the adoptive parents speaking out gives more weight to the petitions. And I don't think arguing and making assumptions about anyone's situation helps the cause at all. Adoption is still a choice or a necessity depending on the situation for many. Keeping records of an adoptee sealed and hidden from them as an adult was never necessary and never promised to the birth parents in the first place.

    1. Years ago, before my reunion, I sometimes sort of hoped my daughter would need a transplant. That, I thought, would force the adoption agency to tell her my name so she could find me. Of course, I really didn't want her to be sick, but if she was ....

      After our reunion, she told me that she thought that if she needed a transplant, the agency would give her my information. Neither pf us considered the possibility that that the agency would have put my "privacy" above her life.

      From what I know now, yes that's what the agency would have done. She might have been able to get a judge to order the agency to give her the information but that's doubtful.

      These people are so out of touch! Worse, they are inhumane.

  14. Well, I was trying to get in touch with my daughter and her family to let them know about the birth control pills I inadvertently took when I was pregnant, and her doctor was trying to reach me because she had epilepsy. Nothing happened. I got a letter saying she was "fine and happy" with her new family. The doctor's letter was never answered.


  15. Not sure if my first reply went through or not so trying again. Obviously it was not about protecting privacy in either of your situations Jane and Lorraine. They just don't care or want to be bothered. And Lorraine I can relate to what they told you-I was told everyone was healthy and no medical problems when there were major medical issues even at the time of my adoption and they were in my records but they lied to me about it. I did get records later so that is how I know.

  16. Texas almost passed a bill to open birth records for adoptees in that state. It had bilateral support (both houses, both parties). It cleared the Texas House 138-1 and had strong support in the Senate... "but for" ONE Senator named Donna Campbell, an adoptive mother who filibustered the bill to death, and killed it. The bill died on the Intent Calendar just days before the end of session. The Lege only meets every 2 years, and this is at least the third consecutive time such a bill has been put forth, and the third consecutive time that this ONE SENATOR killed it. Ironically, this Senator is also a medical doctor. One would think that she would support legislation that makes it easier for people to get medical history, but apparently she has a case of "baby rabies" and her four adopted children and her own privacy trump the rights of adopted Texans. "SOMEONE" needs to lose the next election... and all of her adopted patients.



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