Here is a (probably incomplete) compilation of blog comments and media commentary about adoptee rights and NPR that have appeared in the week since the Donaldson report was released. This list does not include the Crary or other articles which appeared upon release of the report or articles I’ve already discussed. If you know of others, please post them here in comments. Remember to check your own local newspapers and TV stations; then stir it up!
NOTE: I’ll be adding new citations as they come in, so check back.
AdopteeAmy: Adoptee Foes vs Adoptee Friends
As someone who is denied access to her original birth certificate on the basis of her birth, I honestly can’t tell you what I would do if I had that document in my hands. I couldn’t tell you if I would make contact. Still no matter what, it is my right.
Baby Love Child: Adam Pertman, please shut up.
The crux of his argument was ’see, our RESEARCH shows, open records don’t hurt anybody’. NCFA will be more than glad to provide an ENDLESS parade of those ‘hurt by openness’, in response, I assure you.)…The crux of our argument is the demand that what the government robbed us of be restored as a means towards which we too, may become full participants in and equal members of society, not the second class citizenship we currently are relegated to by policies that hide misdeeds and benefit only people other than the directly affected.
BB Church’s Fun House: Adoption as Melodrama, Pertman v Atwood
On general the media loves us when we tell sob stories. They encourage us to portray our lives as a freak show to entertain the masses. It’s standard operating procedure for daytime talk shows like Maury Povich and Oprah and their ilk to exploit our tragedies, but it was the allegedly high-minded NPR that played us for melodrama today, with Atwood and Pertman as context and window dressing. They wanted our “stories”, they didn’t give a shit about our rights.
Bastard Granny Annie: An Adopted Woman Talks Back
The only way to accomplish this change is for the legislatures to repeal the antiquated sealed records section of their laws. Then we adoptees will once again be free to access the records of our birth. That’s all we are asking.
FOIA Blog: Should Adoption Records by Made Public?
I think it comes down to this–Is the interest of the adopted adult greater than the privacy interest of the birth parents. I don’t know the answer to this, nor do I know the psychological effects on the parents or the child. My guess is that the states will continue to have mixed laws on this issue.
Just Enjoy Him: Riddle Me This
I can’t think of one legitimate, compelling reason. Why is this person treated as a second-class citizen because of the decisions of his/her parents to not raise him/her? It makes no sense to me. To me, the discussion should stop there. As it has been said before, people cannot be forced into having a relationship with others. There are laws for things like that, laws against harassment and laws against stalking. Why someone cannot have some pieces of paper that pertain to HIMSELF or HERSELF is simply beyond me. It does not require the person to talk to or meet his/her first parents. It doesn’t bind the first parents and his or her relinquished child(ren) in any way, shape or form. It is NOT about a relationship. Can that be any clearer? It is about records, and that is ALL that it’s about.
Musings of the Lame: NPR, the EBD, and Making Waves
The show was particularly annoying for the simple reason that once again, they spoke FOR us!! It would have been a heck of a lot better if they actually had an ADOPTEE on there! Or a Mother of adoption loss! Holy cow… could you imagine that?
Production, Not Reproduction: Why Open Records Still Matter in Open Adoption
Maintaining closed records perpetuates those stigmas and, in doing so, works against open adoption. Closed records play into the fiction that there is something shameful in adoptees’ pasts, something which needs to be hidden away for everyone’s protection. They reinforce the idea that first parents should disappear into the shadows after relinquishment if they know what’s best for them and their child. They suggest to adoptive parents that the only way to be their child’s real parent is to see themselves as replacements for the biological parents. Those are baneful ideas in open adoption.
Cud be moar dat teh nachural pplz members voicez wuz relegatd 2 call-in censord bits. Maybe next npr show will has sum voicez frum, i dunno, peeps liek bastard nashun or origins.
Also check out Talk of the Nation’s blog for lots of comments.
If you know of any blogs or internet commentaries on the report or the NPR show let us know.
Anniston Star, November 16, 2007
Adopt This Plan–Give Them Access, Phillip Tutor, (Commentary Editor, adoptive dad)
It’s past time for this paradigm shift in our nation’s thinking about adoption and the rights of adoptees. Anything less perpetuates the stigma that’s unmercifully dogged adoptees for generations — a stigma that, slowly, diminishes with each passing decade.
Arizona (Flagstaff) Daily Sun, November 18, 2007
Adopees Deserve Open Birth Records, Letter from Kevan Taylor-Perry
The law claims “privacy” must be protected, but at what cost to adoptees? The adoptees are bound by a contract they never agreed to. Because of that, the adoptees lose their very identities. This is not justice in any sense of the word.
DesMoines Register, November 14, 2007
Help Adoptees Learn About Themselves, editorial
The practice of sealing adoption records dates to the 1930s and 1940s. It was justified as a way to protect adoptees from public record of “their illegitimacy” and safeguarding family information. But the lack of public disclosure has resulted in keeping information secret from adopted adults….More and more state lawmakers are realizing it’s wrong to deny adults information about their identity and family history.
DesMoines Register, November 14, 2007
A Matter of Rights and Roots by Andie Dominick (adoptive mom)
The government should not stand in their way by keeping secret the document that links adoptees and their birth families. I can go to a government office and obtain my original birth certificate. But my daughter doesn’t have that right, simply because she’s adopted. And that’s wrong.
Morristown Daily Record, November 19, 2007,
Letter: Birth Certificate is Their Right, Letter from Maryanne Cohen
The only piece of this that the state needs to be concerned with is allowing adopted adult citizens the same right that the rest of us have to request their original birth certificate: show ID, pay a small fee, and get it. What they do with the information contained therein is up to them and not to any agency or nanny state.
Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin, November 19, 2007
Guest Viewpoint: Adoptees Need Better Rightsm, by Holly Aiken (adoptee)
Adoptees and birth families who have served this country in many ways are denied the very basic and individual civil rights they defend that rightfully should belong to all of us.
Ada Evening News, November 20, 2007
Adoptees birth records should be open to them
The Donaldson report portrays adopted people as the only class of Americans not permitted to routinely obtain their birth certificates. Giving adult adoptees full access to their birth certificates is a step toward placing everyone connected with the adoptees on a level playing field without the stigma, shame or treatment they have experienced in the past…Oklahoma should join other states opening their birth records to adult adoptees. Give them a choice in learning more about their origins.
Here’s the cherry on the sundae: The Chicago Sun Times came out for access. Drop them a line and thank them for support. If you have an Illinois connection contact Rep. Feigenholz and encourage her to leave no one behind. (NOTE: The link is acting up. Go to the search engine and type in Birth Rights and check out the cartoon).
Two people, both over 21, walk into the county clerk’s office and plunk down $13 to order a certified copy of their original birth certificate. Only one is able to obtain that piece of paper, which is so important not just for identification purposes, but to trace their ancestry. The other, who was adopted at birth, will get a revised document showing the names of his adoptive parents.There is no compelling reason to deny adults their original birth certificates, other than to continue a long tradition of secrecy — borne of the shame that once was attached to unwed mothers. Those were the days when a pregnant woman often left town and returned after having given the child to ‘a good family,’ meaning a married couple.A comprehensive new study released last week for National Adoption Month, provides strong evidence that those myths no longer are valid. At the very least, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute’s findings support changing state laws to allow adopted adults to obtain their original birth information.Illinois, like most states, keeps original birth certificates and most other adoption records sealed, including any genetic problems in the birth parents’ family. That information is released only by court order. Only Alaska and Kansas have always allowed adults to see their original birth certificate. Six other states — Alabama, Deleware, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon and Tennessee — have re-established adopted adults’ rights to direct access to their original birth record.Resistance to change has been strong, however. Critics say birth parents were assured confidentiality when they gave up their child, and that it’s unfair to ‘expose’ them later on. That promise should expire when that child becomes an adult and entitled to the same rights as other adults. And why not? The Donaldson Institute found that in states that provide direct access to original birth certificates, the biological parents’ lives were not ruined by revealing their names, and in fact many welcomed a meeting. Moreover, abortion rates did not rise and adoption rates did not fallJulie Tye, president of The Cradle adoption agency, said many biological mothers welcome the chance to see their adult child and know they made the right decision in giving him or her a chance for a better life. Each year, the agency acts as a go-between for about 30 birthmother reunions, including one for a mother in her 80’s.
State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), an adoptee, four years ago sponsored the Illinois law that allows adoption agencies to search adoption birth records for medical information. “There was a time when you could go in and get a birth certificate over the counter, and you should be able to do so again,” said Feigenholtz, referring to an earlier era before there were such restrictions. She was reunited with her birth mother in the late 1980’s. She plans to introduce a bill early next year that gives all adults access to their birth record. “That’s a pretty basic civil right.”Times have changed. Adoption no longer is a hush-hush arrangement a woman makes to avoid the stigma of being an unwed mother. It’s time Illinois law changed as well and stopped treating adopted adults like children.