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.