Monday, November 12, 2007

Open up the Adoption Records!

Imagine what it must be like to not know anything about your blood relatives, particularly your parents. Imagine what is must be like to not be related by blood to anyone you know. Not ever.

I cannot imagine what that must feel like. I know some of those children who were given up for adoption learn to adjust to this difference between themselves and most people. Still others are not only haunted by the fact one or both birth parents put them up for adoption, but they have no idea of their family history; no idea of the family medical history. The concept of feeling abandoned is one that has destroyed many lives or at least put a significant wound in an adopted person's psyche. The reasons for being put up for adoption may or may not have been noble, in the best interest of the child, however emotionally, it can leave an open wound that never heals.

This is why I am very excited about the prospect of adoption records finally being made available in more and more states for adopted children to research their blood relatives. To my mind, it is a basic human right for an adopted child to know the identity of his or her birth parents. How can it be otherwise?

The potential negative reprecussions to such access has been minimal in the states that already allow open access to birth records to adoptees. Yes, it does violate the right to privacy that birth mothers expected when they initially gave up their child for adoption but that was not a right that should have ever been exclusively offered. A child should have the right to know who is responsible for bringing him or her into the world under whatever circumstances. If an adoptee can discover the identity of one or both birth parents, the adoptee has the opportunity to make contact. That contact can be rejected, of course. But at least the opportunity exists and maybe, at the very least, the birth parent can provide some important medical history and other information so the adoptee has an understanding of a family background. And don't tell me most people who give up their babies for adoption don't wonder what's become of that child?
According to an article today released by the Associated Press, most birthparents welcome contact by the children they bore. There has not been any overt history of problems created when adoptees try to contact birth parents.

Can you imagine what is like to not know your identity? Where you are from? Your family history? Not have a clue what your birth parents look like?

Please support this proposal in this state.

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