Adoption Puzzle
Adoption Puzzle

Why are Adoptees Denied Their Rights?

Adult adoptees should have the rights to records and birth certificates that concern themselves without having to have permission from anyone. Adoptees deserve the right to know SOMETHING about their background as adults.

I do not want to obtain my original birth certificate for the purpose of finding my birth mother. I've already done that without the help of state or government agencies. Keeping records and birth certificates from adoptees is not going to keep us from locating and contacting our birth parents. However, supporting open records will allow adult adoptees the right to information that all non-adoptees considers their BIRTH RIGHT and they don't require parental permission to get it!

It will allow adult adoptees to gain the tools needed to obtain important medical information - information that is withheld to any adoptees not adopted at the exact moment they came into this world. This situation, however, simply does not happen. I was not legally adopted until I was thirteen months old. I had medical conditions that kept me from being adopted any earlier. These medical mysteries continue to be kept from me because the name on my amended birth certificate is different than the name on my medical files. The state agency won't even admit I had medical problems, but the hospital will give me that information if and only if I have my original birth certificate.

This does not involve just myself - it involves any children that I may have. What if what was wrong with me is hereditary? Why do I not have the right to know what every non-adoptee is given: a medical history, a birth certificate? It is about me, therefore it should be my right to have it.

I am not a criminal, but in this instance I feel I'm being treated like one. My rights as a citizen of the United States are being violated because of the fear of what might happen in some cases. If that is the way we as American citizens should live our lives, why bother living? I could go out my front door and be hit by lightning, raped, mugged or even murdered. Following that logic, the country should pass a law that no one is to ever leave their homes because of what might happen - and not even then could your safety be guaranteed.

It is absolutely ridiculous to deny someone her rights because of "WHAT IFs". No one is guaranteed anything out of life except that you will live and you will die. The United States of America finally instituted civil rights in the 1960s, but because I'm adopted they do not apply. I find that very sad. I pay taxes like every law abiding citizen, yet because I'm adopted I may be treated like a potential criminal.

I also do not know where people are getting the idea that birth mothers were told they had total privacy. I know plenty of birth mothers who will stand up and say they were guaranteed no such thing - including my own! In fact, I do know that over 450 birth mothers submitted their names to support Measure 58 in Oregon. This was done in a very short amount of time. I can only imagine how many would have responded if they had more time to do so. In any case I do not remember signing any papers stating I would never ask about or want to seek my heritage! There must be some compromise we can make to value and honor the rights of both adoptees and birth parents.

As a baby I had no say in what was happening to me. I was unable to negotiate what I wanted in the settlement. I am not and was not a piece of property that can be regulated with no opportunity to change the matters surrounding my own adoption. I only want what I know is mine: open records and access to original birth certificates.

This has to do with so much more than whether or not birth mothers need protecting. It has to do with not discriminating against those of us who could not stand up for ourselves in the past, and who now want equal rights to defend and solicit information about ourselves.

Regarding my parents who raised and loved me, they agree that I should have the right to my records. They helped me find my birth family and played a very instrumental part in the reunion. In fact, they were there when I met my birth family, and I could not have done it without them. My birth family was happy and excited I found them. Thank you, Mom and Dad!

Support adoptee rights without strings attached. Human beings should not require parental or state permission to obtain information about themselves. We are not children anymore, and our birth parents - and the states who shield them - should be adult enough to deal with us as real people with real needs, desires, and hopes for an end to the mysteries that have put unnecessary holes in our lives.

- Deborah (Adoptee Reunited 1996)

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