A Voice of Reason: Sane Views for a Crazy World

April 3, 2007

A Tale of Three States

Filed under: Abortion,Adoption,children,Congress,Culture,Family,General,Health,History — avoiceofreason @ 8:25 pm

I’ve lived in three states during my 44 years, and they have played major roles in my life. New York is where I was born, and still reside, and I’m a NYer, all the way. I went to college in Pennsylvania, and considered staying there, as I came to enjoy the historical significance of this state. I also lived, and have a small plot of land in North Carolina, “The Old North State”, and I make sure that the one daughter who was born there remembers she is a “Tar Heel”. I like the places I’ve lived, and tend to like almost anywhere I visit, because deep down I like people and tend to enjoy their cultures and ways of life. However, these three states have something else in common, more influential even than my living there for portions of my life, and that is the policies that they maintain with regards to adoption records.

During the “baby snatch years of the 50’s through the 70’s, children were pawned off for profit to adoption agencies throughout the land. White children, born to mothers in dire straits considering cultural and social mores of the era, basically signed all rights away to children that they would never see again. While this is understandable from the one who adopts the child, the staggering number of women, who regret the choice they made, and who wish to know something about the life they carried inside them, is over 90% according to recent non-partisan research.

It gets worse. These three states, an “Unholy Trinity if I may be allowed to get into the Easter Spirit”, are the only states in the Union which block the attempts of the adopted children, now middle aged adults, to get basic, confidential non-identifying information, such as ethnicity, medical history of parents, ages at the time of birth, reasons for surrendering of parental rights, parental occupations, and anything else which would be non-identifying, after all we wouldn’t want some wealthy parent who made it to have to shell out part of their estate to their offspring, would we, and would be important from a humanistic self of sense, and profoundly important regarding healthcare. The question I have about these three states refusal of this basic and deserved access to information is WHY don’t they allow it, and WHO benefits from the stonewalling.

I’m in a particularly populist mood, so I have my suspicions that some social faux pas’ of the wealthy and powerful have been conveniently swept under the rug. Candidly, I feel a child has the right to know more than identifying information; they deserve the right to have a name, and to have access to relevant medical, financial, and legal information. In a sense, the opinion of this reasonable person, is that these children were used as pawns to meet the understandable need of people who often could not bear children, and there is merit in that. However, the aspect of hiding a “dirty little secret” of some socialite or elitist is enough to get the most sane blood to a rampant boiling.

If you want to do something decent write your state legislator a note about the policies of the three states mentioned. Put yourself in the millions of children, now your neighbors, members of the PTA, and co-workers who have been denied, in essence, a self-identity.

6 Comments »

  1. Actually, I disagree. I lived in NC for 13 years, but didn’t know this was the law and assume since you didn’t mention SC, our law is different. I’m not directly affected on either side.

    Here’s my argument for disagreeing. Adoption is painful for the child and for the parents. It’s easier if the parents can make a clean break. If they fell they can’t do that, they may be pushed to take other actions, like have an abortion or even something worse (killing or abandoning the baby when born).

    I support a third party intervention program. Basically, the parents and the children can register with a third party if they want to make contact. If both agree, the third party shares the information and then they take over.

    I have some friends who adopted. About 2 years into the process, the mother came back and wanted the child back. I saw the pain that they went through while the courts got involved.

    Comment by Randy — April 4, 2007 @ 1:01 am | Reply

  2. I’m not talking about contact, I’m talking about access to non-identifying information such as was mentioned in the post. This is actually quite important for the person’s health.

    Comment by avoiceofreason — April 4, 2007 @ 6:24 am | Reply

  3. This post came up via a Google alert on adoptees. There are more states with various inane laws regarding open records, but they tend to change for the worse with alarming frequency. The three you mentioned though are notoriously restrictive, and decisions on exactly what to release are decided on a county by county basis by the presiding judge at the time. One county judge may provide an adult adoptee with their original records that have identifying information blacked out, while a judge in the next county over will make him retain counsel and prove before the court a valid reason to have his nonidentifying information released.

    I left a link in the website box above an overview on both sides of the open records debate as this appears to be, if I can copy a phrase, a ‘fair and balanced’ type of blog. There are further links at the end of the article if you’re interested.

    Comment by Interesting Post — April 4, 2007 @ 11:26 am | Reply

  4. Yes, I have found out this to be true through somewhat personal experiences, although I am not an adoptee.

    Thank you for the “Fair and balanced”. I try to be reasonable, but sometimes I do give in to emotion, but don’t we all!

    Of all the states, it seems that PA is by far the most capricious, but maybe that is because I am most familiar with them.

    Comment by avoiceofreason — April 4, 2007 @ 5:25 pm | Reply

  5. Interesting post, excellent view of both sides. Good inforamtion.

    Voiceofreason: sorry for misinterpreting your view…

    Comment by Randy — April 4, 2007 @ 6:20 pm | Reply

  6. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I believe that all information should be given, but that non-identifying information is not given is beyond the pale.

    Interestingly, in my admittedly novice research, states that have full disclosure, after they have done so, have seen a drop in abortion. While I doubt that the disclosure is causative, it doesn’t seem to have a negative impact.

    I think that once someone is disinclined to an abortion and seeing the pregnancy to term, other factors become less relevant.

    Comment by avoiceofreason — April 4, 2007 @ 7:02 pm | Reply


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