The National Council for Adoption is against changing the laws back to allowing adult adoptees to obtain their Original Birth Certificate. Catholic Charities is as well as other large national adoption agencies. Active lobbying against, and testifying against changing the laws happens each time a state considers reversing their laws. Doom and gloom stories of the sky will fall if adult adoptees have the right to know who they were born to be. Adult Adoptees will turn into stalkers and ambush their mothers. Mothers were promised this wouldn’t happen. Families will be ruined…and so on until it makes you want to gag.
Today I found a study – that does not have results of the effect on mothers upon contact, but rather looks at a randomly selected adult adoptees from the first group to request their pre-adoptive birth records. I have not found any indication or stories of bad things happening in the 10+ years since Oregon reversed their laws although there has been plenty of time since the laws were changed. Add to that the sheer number (see below) that have received their pre-adoptive birth records, surely, if there were issues they would have been shouted from the mountains by those oposed to opening our records. I stumbled across mention of this study and thought it would make an interesting post.
Oregon opened pre-adoptive birth records to adult adoptees in 2000. In the book Adoption: Law, theory, policy and practice by Cynthia R Mabry and Lisa Kelly, I found on page 658 a reference to a study done in 2002 (Link to the actual study below). It describes that between June 2, 2002 and July 20, 2002, 2,529 adult adoptees applied for their pre-adoption birth records. Dr. Julia C Rhodes and four colleagues conducted a random study on 123 of those adoptees. Their goal was to evaluate the impact of releasing pre-adoption birth records to adult adoptees.
The Study was named “Releasing Pre-Adoptive Birth Records: A Survey of Oregon Adoptees.
- Average age: 41; 64% Females; 97% White. Residents of WA, OR, CA.
- 1st largest group wanted to locate mother or father or both
- 2nd largest group wanted medical information as most important
- 3rd largest group were just curious
- 15% already knew the identity of their mother
- When others received their records most only received mothers identity
- Only 1/3 received information on their fathers
- 70% tried to locate their mothers from the information provided
- 37 adoptees did not receive information that was helpful in locating their mothers
- 35 did not attempt to find their mother
- 33 were successful; but 6 decided not to contact their mother
- 3 mothers who were identified were found deceased
- Of the 23 who contacted their mothers all but one reported receiving helpful medical information
- 14 reported interaction with mother was very good
- 6 reported interaction with mother was good
- One mother refused contact
- 32 adoptees who received father information attempted contact
- 16 found fathers from that information
- 9 decided not to contact their father
- Results of contact with father was not provided
The authors concluded that regardless of their success with contact of one or both parents or obtaining medical information, 98% of the adoptees believed that obtaining the records was important.
The published study results can be found here and go into more depth and details.
In the notes it talks about the contact preference form parents can fill out stating that they are open to direct contact, through an intermediary, no contact wanted. I am unsure of the exact length of time they had before adult adoptees (age 21) could receive their pre-adoptive birth records but it was at minimum a year. During that time 342 forms were filled out, 75% – 235 were open to contact, 25% – 77 wanted no contact.
Comparing the above percentages of 75% (235) to 25% (77) to the numbers published for the 10 year anniversary, the percentage who did not want contact dropped dramatically only 8 more parents filled in a contact preference form requesting no contact bringing that number to 88. While the initial 75% (235) increased to 533 (edited number poor math skills).
- Records ordered: 10,594
- Records issued: 10,151
- Contact Preference forms submitted by Parents: 638
- Number asking for contact with adoptee: 518
- Number asking for contact through an intermediary: 35
- Number asking for no contact: 85
Changes in the average number of records ordered during the last ten years
- During the first year, average number of new orders per month: 293.4
- During the second year, average number of new orders per month: 74.2
- During the third year, average number of new orders per month: 61.4
- During the fourth year, average number of new orders per month: 46.8
- During the fifth year, average number of new orders per month: 38.8
- During the sixth year, average number of new orders per month: 39.2
- During the seventh year, average number of new orders per month: 34.2
- During the eighth year, average number of new orders per month: 35.3
- During the ninth year, average number of new orders per month: 33.3
- During the tenth year, average number of new orders per month: 32.8