It is convenient that the people who are shouting "anonymity and confidentiality" from the rooftops are adoption wokers who make a paycheck from the adoption industry, as well as the adoptive parents who pay a huge price for their new children. People are listening to money, and not to facts. State laws to seal records began in Minnesota in 1917 and were “not intended to maintain anonymity between the participants in an adoption, but rather to protect adopted children from the stigma of illegitimacy,” (Strauss, 1994). These first sealed record laws were then created to remove information from “open court records,” but never with the intent of “hiding adoptive families and birthfamilies from each other,” but rather to “protect both from outsiders,” (Strauss, 1994). Also, “in most relinquishment papers in the US, the new mother is surrendering her right to parent her child, nothing more. (Soll, 2000).
The fear that birthmothers might be opposed to contact and having an adoptee walk back in their life could be a breach of privacy is not supported by research. In fact, the “knowledge of what happened to the children they relinquished for adoption plays a powerful role in the resolution of birthmother’s grief,” and in states that have re-established open records, such as Oregon, few birthmothers have wished to not be contacted (Freundlich, M. 2007). And, like any citizen in the US, if a person wants to maintain privacy there are other legal routes, such as restraining orders, that could be put in place, rather than limiting adoptees access to birth and/or adoption information (Freundlich, M., 2007).
Furthermore, in most countries outside of North America adoptees have access to their records when they reach the age of majority. “When the adoption records were opened in England in 1976 the rationale was that an adopted person’s right to their origins superseded anyone’s ‘supposed’ right to privacy,” and there has been no reported negative consequences by having these records open, (Soll, 2000).
In Print This Week:
Dec 5, 2013
vol XXIV issue 49
The North Coast Journal Weekly
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