why can’t adopted persons access their original birth records?

birthcertificate

In most states, original birth certificates are replaced upon the finalization of every adoption.  The original birth information becomes filed away and sealed from all public access, and, according to the laws of the land as they stand now, those records shall remain sealed throughout the remainder of eternity.  Not even an original birth parent and/or the adopted person is allowed to have access of any kind to the original birth information of an adopted child.  That information is re-written into a brand new birth certificate, and the blanks are filled in with new parental information to match the adoptive parents with the newly-adopted baby (who may or may not retain the name recorded on the original birth certificate).  The new birth records are designed to give the appearance that the child was born to the adopting parents, as, after all, they are assuming all of the rights and responsibilities of parenting the child they are adopting as if he or she had been born to them.

This practice was put into place and “perfected” during the period we now call the Baby Scoop Era, which started largely in the early 20th century and became more refined throughout the later part of the century.  During this time period, women who were pregnant and unmarried were whisked away, usually by their families, under the cover of night and sent away to live in homes set up specifically for unwed mothers.  They were usually sent to a home in a different state from where they’d been living when the child was conceived, and the prearranged agreement was that they were to remain there throughout the entirety of their pregnancy then return promptly to their home state after the birth and relinquishment of the baby to the adoption agency and the adopters.  It has been said that these laws concerning the original birth information were put into place to protect the “privacy” of these mothers by effectively doing away with all evidence that they ever gave birth out of, shall we say, less than ideal circumstances.  It was the job of certain “concerned parties” to “counsel” an unwed mother as well as help to facilitate/mediate/carry out the adoption of her gestating child.  Such counseling largely consisted of many reassurances that as soon as her baby was whisked away from her and given to someone else to raise, she would forget all about it and go on to marry, have other children, and lead an otherwise productive life.  It was a sort this kind of, “There, there, dear, don’t you worry yourself about a thing.  We’ll arrange everything.  It’ll be as if this whole messy business had never even happened.  And, besides, since this child will belong to someone else, what would be the point of retaining any evidence that the child was ever yours?”  Of course this, “you’ll forget all about it” thing couldn’t be farther from the truth of the actual experience of most birth mothers.  It is now very well-known and well-documented that women do not forget – ever (unless they are struck with persistent amnesia). This approach was all part of the rationale behind the sealed birth records and a basic component in the history of how it all came to be.

As many advocates now head to their state legislature brances to rally in favor of adoptees’ rights to be granted access to their original birth records, many who oppose the idea use the argument of a birth parents’ right to privacy, citing the archaic Baby Scoop era line of thinking.  As a birth parent myself, I am of the opinion that once I procreate, my genetic information is no longer mine to keep under lock and key.  If I truly want to keep my name out of the mix of someone else’s entry into this world then the answer to that is simple: I refrain from procreating.  If I truly want to keep my genetic information to myself, then I do not contribute it to a newly-forming fetus that, if left to gestate in peace, will become another human being, who is not now and never will be me.  Otherwise, once I’ve participated in the procreation process, then any law that is supposed to protect my so-called privacy has become irrelevant, a moot point.  The right to that privacy was forfeited by the very real and verifiable event of having conceived, gestated, and given birth to a living human being.  For if the natural order of things prevails, my offspring will, in turn, contribute their genetic information – which also happens to include my genetic information – to other human beings, and so the cycle of the continuation of our species carries on.

This is all scientific and actual fact that is irrefutable.  Therefore, my genetic information never was and never will be exclusively mine.  It belonged to plenty of other people long before I was ever conceived.  It will belong to others long after I’m gone.  The rest is just paperwork – which, by the way, happens to be a system put in place, in part, to provide a reference to document the existence of the previous generations for the sake of posterity.  If the genetic information is not mine exclusively (nor does it, by the way, belong to the state), then neither is the accompanying paperwork.  It’s just common sense.

And that is what has gone off the rails with current adoption laws, practices, and procedures in the United States…most all of it defies COMMON M-Fing SENSE!!!

And so, if we have managed to hold onto enough sanity in the lunacy of today’s world to maintain at least some measure of common sense, then we owe it to the generations to come to re-introduce the rare and precious commodity of common sense that’s been lost to the generation of now (for it seems to have become masked by the fog of pink unicorn farts that is now the accepted average, everyday adoption story that baby brokers have so shrewdly been marketing in recent decades).

How much simpler can this @#*&%$!~ing be???  Give people their @#*&%$!~ing birth records, already!!!

nicely – and quickly – done, NPR!

Never have I been so happy to have to eat my words!  And, funny thing: they taste just like chicken!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The adoption community spoke out (the few of us not drunk on the koolaid), and they listened!  They actually listened!

NPR Takes Advice and Features Transracial Adult Adoptee

In a world where people generally don’t want to hear what we have to say, you listened anyway.  Thank you, National Pubic Radio!  Well done!

i had a plan. it stank. still stinks

As I’m sure my earlier post intimated, I am having a hard time right now.  There’s no trigger.  There’s nothing wrong in my world.  I’m in a good place in my marriage and even spiritually, I feel.  Just for the past few weeks, in spite of it all, I have had ongoing sadness and an ongoing longing for a history with my son that could lead to a present with him.  Whether it is appropriate or whether it is not is not the issue here.  I just want to, for once, be honest about it.

Even though there is need for serious reform in adoption and adoption practices, I have no wish, at this time, to crusade for it.

There is not a bad guy in my adoption story, and I have no need to blame anyone – not even myself as I’ve really just reached an exhausted end with even blaming myself.

For once, I just want to be what I am, and what I am is sad about losing my son and losing out on his childhood.  I don’t ever, even for one moment, feel that I have the right to ask or even know what is going on in my son’s life…I signed all that away.  I forfeited it.  So I go on, day after day, not asking and, therefore, not knowing.  And that just sickens me and saddens me more than my body and soul is able to even deal with.

I’m not depressed.  I’ve been depressed, so I know what depression is.  I know what mild depression is, and I know what profound depression is.  I know what to do to manage what happens to my serotonin levels this time of year, and I’m doing all the right things.

I’m just sad beyond words that I did what I did.  There is nothing else I can say.  I never could have admitted that until a year or so ago as I didn’t think I had a right to even that.  It doesn’t matter whether I’ve a right to it.  I have it.  I have the regret.  I have the sadness.  I miss my son, every day.  I miss the childhood I missed.  I miss where it would have led us to today had I just not tried to fix something that didn’t need fixing.

I will say this: I was a pregnant woman.  Why I couldn’t just allow myself to be that, for even just one day, I cannot say.  I realized a few months back that I never even let myself have a day to just be a pregnant woman, a woman with a baby on the way.  I had to, for whatever crazy reason I had going on in my head, be the woman with the plan and stay focused on that plan, without deviation, completely blinding myself to the beautiful thing that was happening inside me: a baby was living and growing…in me…my baby.  But I wouldn’t let myself think about that.  I wouldn’t let myself hear the truth.  And let me say, too (and if foul language is offensive to you, then please be advised that I am about to use it here and now), it was a shitty plan, and it’s been shitting on me since the day I followed through with it.  My adoption plan was the shitty “gift” that keeps on shitting on me, and shitting on me, and shitting, and shitting, and shitting again.  And it’s shitty.

I guess I wasn’t through blaming myself, after all…And did I say shitty?

Shit.

if only….

Some may scoff at the compelling temptation of the human soul to “indulge” in “if only.”  For a great many birthmothers, I find, and myself included, “if only” is the trap that we do not get the luxury of avoiding.

So for those who find “if only” distasteful, you may stop reading and participating here.

For the rest of us, please know you are welcome to speak freely your “if only” here.  This is a safe place, free of judgment.

And I’ll go first.

If only wisdom had kicked into my soul when fertility and vitality kicked into my biology.

If only…

follow up to NPR’s latest choice

see no evil

Besides being a big money entity, society is more accustomed to hearing about adoptions going through than they have been to listening to people’s actual experience with adoption.  From all 3 perspectives, it is not the win-win that it has been portrayed.  Parenting an adopted child has its own set of unforeseen challenges, and the adoptive parents I have met and/or whose stories I have read who have had the courage to be honest about that have my utmost respect.

There is a completely different set of challenges for those growing up adopted – and the challenges are ongoing.  I do not pretend to know what it is to walk through these challenges, but I am aware of many of the challenges.

The other party in adoption – and perhaps the not completely silenced but definitely muffled or even muted voice and/or the voice that is the least likely to be heard – is the voice of the mother who looks into and ultimately chooses, for whatever reason, to give up all of her parental rights – and quite often, whether knowingly or unknowingly, any and all chances of ever seeing her child again.  Unfortunately, she cannot know the magnitude of how devastating this choice can be until it is too late.

The voice we are starting to hear more that was hardly ever heard before is that of the father who was either tricked into signing away his parental rights – or who was not even given the chance to sign because he was listed as unknown.

The other voices in the adoption scenario are those of the deceived and the deceivers who keep the myth afloat that everybody wins, when, in fact, everybody loses to some degree or another – except for those whose livelihoods are dependent on facilitating adoptions – and we all know that a baby fresh out of the womb is preferred over those coming out of “broken homes” (which is a topic that is as wide and varying as the number of people involved, but this is another conversation altogether) or those who who have no living relations (since, after all, they have been in a few foster homes before they are adopted, usually, and, therefore can be “damaged” or at the very least have special needs).  No one likes to talk about the issues adoption creates in the lives of families – whether it is the family being “created” by adoption or the family that has been torn apart in order to make adoption possible.  Not talking about it does not mean the realities cease to exist.  It is most unpleasant to hear about and unpleasant to truly think about.  So we, as a society, generally choose to avoid the unpleasant business of hearing and/or truly thinking about it – thus the tradition carries on largely unchallenged.

So when I say NPR chose the chicken train in not allowing the truth to come out about what adoption creates in the lives of the people involved, NPR is not alone and not necessarily to blame.  They are, after all, just going with the status quo flow of the world we have created that says that the unacceptable consequences of adoption are all okay and what must be when, in fact, it is not okay what adoption has wrought in the lives of so very many – and doesn’t have to be.

We can do better!

The thing is, the doors and walls of the adoption closet cannot hold up under the weight of the bones that have been collecting for all these decades.  They will not continue to remain out of sight and out of mind for very much longer.  They are already starting to press through to come out into to the light.  NPR just missed an excellent opportunity to do what must and what will be done – with or without them – that’s all.

NPR took the Chicken Train

On Sunday, January 12th, in light of the recent controversy that was stirred concerning a joke by Melissa Harris-Perry about the Romney family’s trans-racial adoption and her apology that followed, this interview was aired on NPR’s The Sunday Conversation: Transracial Family Gets Double Takes ‘Everywhere We Go’ – which would have been fine except for this:

NPR & Exclusion from the Transracial Adoption Experience Discourse: the Wisdom we Could Have Gleaned

Angela Tucker was contacted originally by NPR to do that segment but was contacted the very next day and told they’d chosen to go another direction, hence, the segment by Rachel Garlinghouse on being a white adoptive parent of trans-racial adoptees – who, by the way, are minors under the control of current adoption laws and practices which essentially boils down to being given no voice.  As Angela said in her article in Lost Daughters, who better to help shed light on the experience of what it’s like to grow up in a trans-racial adoption than an adult trans-racial adoptee?

NPR, obviously, decided to follow the big money trail.  Adoption is, after all a huge and powerful money-making machine.

NPR, in light of your recent decision to scrap the interview with Angela Tucker in favor of a white adoptive mother, this one’s for you: