Show me the confidentiality promise

03 Nov

Below is the exact wording of my surrender document that was in my sealed closed adoption file that was opened by court order. Because the myth of confidentiality just never seems to go away, despite no one ever providing evidence that confidentiality was guaranteed, I decided to show you exactly what my surrender document states.  The surrender document to the court is the only document that could contain that promise of confidentiality that would make it a valid binding contract under law. 

I have said it before, but it is worth noting that my adoption petition with mom and dads signature on it shows the exact same name of my mother, as is on this document and also included her middle initial.  I always knew my last name but they had forgotten her first name, and did not have a copy of the adoption petition they signed.  So confidentiality was never given.  In fact, my family had no idea I did not know who they were, and made the assumption I did not want to know them.  

I am a typical non-agency baby from the Baby Scoop Era, the time when all mothers were supposedly so very worried over their confidentiality from their child, and only surrendered because of that promise of confidentiality.  I was your typical case where the doctor put the mother in touch with the Chief Juvenile Probation Officer of the court who handled voluntary surrenders by unwed mothers and found us families.  Following is the entire wording of the document except I have used x’s where I have stripped out identifying details I am not willing to share – show me where it promises anything to the natural mother. 


This matter coming on for hearing this xxxx day of xxxx, xxx, upon the petition of Miss xxxx xxxx, natural mother of said child, there being present at said hearing, Miss xxxx xxxx, natural mother of said child, Mrs. xxxx xxxx, Chief Probation Officer, and the Court inquiring into the welfare of said juvenile, finds

1. That the twenty-four hour service of Notice and Summons was duly waived by Miss xxxx xxxx, natural mother of said child, and

2. That said child is four days old, having been born xxxx x, xxxx, and

3. That said child, Baby Girl xxxx, is a dependant child in that said child has no parent or guardian willing to exercise proper parental control in that said child was born of an unwed mother and said petitioner prays to relinquish said child for adoption, and

4. That it appears to be in the best interests and welfare of said child, Baby Girl xxxx, that she be made a ward of the xxxx County Juvenile Court, shall be permanently removed from the care, custody and control of said mother, Miss xxxx xxxx, xxxx South x, xxxx, xxxx, and said mother, Miss xxxx xxxx, be permanently deprived of any and all rights to said child; said child shall be placed in the care, custody and control of Mrs. xxxx xxxx, Chief Probation Officer, xxxx County Juvenile Court, with authorization to consent to the adoption of said child by such person or persons as may be approved by the Superior Court of the State of xxxx, and the Court being fully advised in the premises,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the said child, Baby Girl xxxx, be and it hereby is, made a ward of the xxxx County Juvenile Court, permanently removed from the care, custody and control of said mother, Miss xxxx xxxx, xxxx South x, xxxx, xxxx, and said mother, Miss xxxx xxxx, be and she hereby is, permanently deprived of any and all rights to said child, said child is hereby placed in the care, custody and control of Mrs. xxxx xxxx, Chief Probation Officer, xxxx County Juvenile Court, with authorization to consent to the adoption of said child by such person or person as may be approved by the Superior Court of the State of xxxx.

Dated this xxxx day of xxxx, xxxx.         xxxx / JUDGE

What is much more likely is that agencies promised no one (society) would ever know they had given birth as an unwed mother, and they could retake their place in society “as if” nothing had ever happened.  That the elaborate fiction of going away to care for a sick relative or other story would be accepted, and they were to go home and never talk about it, find a man and get married and have more babies. 

Some agencies may have lied to mothers, but is it right to deny all adoptees because some agencies may have lied?  I have to say as a cynic, that I am more inclined to believe they fight so hard against us having our records because of how they treated our mothers, and do not want that to come out into the light.

A couple of days ago I detailed the results of Oregon opening their records, and the study done on the first group of adoptees to get their pre-adoption birth records, aka Original Birth Certificates.  No harm was done. 

There is no reason at all, to not support Adoptee Rights to have a true record of our birth.

Take the time to read the post below by Amanda at Lost Daughters and if you have not read the book the post is about – order it today and really start to understand what happened during the BSE to our mothers.  Then go and read the PEAR post and consider standing up and support Adoptee Rights.  Finally Amanda has a wonderful post today you cannot miss that really speaks to the whole matter.

“The Girls Who Went Away” Makes Top 100 Feminist Non-Fiction List (and Why This is SO Important)

National Adoption Month: Raising Awareness & Rights  

When “Pro-Adoption” Becomes “Anti-Adoptee”


Posted by on November 3, 2011 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child, Ethics


Tags: , , , , , ,

8 responses to “Show me the confidentiality promise

  1. shadowtheadoptee

    November 3, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    I’ve always wondered just exactly what one of those forms said. Thanks. I was adopted through an agency


  2. shadowtheadoptee

    November 3, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Continued from comment above: I am certain E was never promised confidentiality. Her response, when Carol reached her, “Is someone looking for me?” IMO, that says it all.


  3. The adopted ones

    November 3, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Shadow – I doubt the wording would be all that different – primarily the difference would have been who had the courts approval to approve the adoption petition on record in court, and in your case the agency would have been given that right. Some states may not have required mothers to go to court to surrender – I can’t say for sure, although some states still require it. Other states only require the surrender to be witnessed.

    Personally, although it might be harder on the mother I think going to court to surrender should be the norm. It would stop any coercive action by unscrupulous individuals, and also the mother would not be allowed to sign while still medicated which does still happen.


  4. dpen

    November 3, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    I don;t think there is an adoptee decree around that mentions privacy or confidentiality. I do think that many mothers and their famlies were TOLD that they would have privacy and confidentiality. I think that many parents of the young mother ate that up and sigh her up! Also society looked good upon it as it “helped” the good girl that got caught. I also think that maybe the girls went along with it because they beleive the hype that theirs lives would be ruined if they had a baby, that they would be cast out ect.

    I do have all my adoption papers…even the one where she sighed me to the state…and nothing mentions confidentiality.


  5. The adopted ones

    November 3, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Dpen – I forgot you were surrendered to the state like I was. I do think they were promised privacy and confidentiality at the time by going to a home or relative – but it was then and there protection from society – not against their child long into the future. My mother was asked by another relative what she would do if I ever showed up – her reply was tell her other kids as soon as they got through teen years. My grandfather made it known he wanted to meet me. I was a secret from those too young when I was born but not to any of the adult extended family.

    I tend to think the industry fights so hard because the want to hide the bad practices because if both sides get together the lies come out. I have never seen a state fight to stop the law from changing and there were a lot of us voluntary surrenders to the state because our mothers were unwed. The state doesn’t have anything to hide so they don’t fight to keep the records sealed.


  6. dpen

    November 3, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Adopted ones, True, I never thought of it that way. The state has really nothing to lose by opening records. I actually contacted the state Social worker that did all of our adoptions back when i starting searching 26 years ago(yikes). She just asked me why i was doing what i was doing but did not try to influence me one way or another. She really was a good person.

    My nmother never really talked to me about what had happened, not sure if she really forgot as she said she did or just could not go there. The more questions I asked the more irritated she became so i just backed off. So i have no idea if the privacy thing came up. I think it probaly didn’t. What happened with me was that my nmother wanted to keep me but had no resources. She told me that when she got married when i was about 7 and firmly enscounsed in my afamily she went to the state to “get me back” but was unable. Said she never signed the surrender papers(of which I have a copy) and that was that. I beleive that either she did not understand what she was signing or was just desperate to do SOMETHING about me. I will probaly never know the truth.


  7. cb

    November 4, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Most adoptions in Auckland NZ in the 60s were done through private agencies – different to the rest of NZ. I have no idea if my mother was offered confidentiality or not, sadly she took her secret to the grave at the age of 39.

    I have often thought that if mothers really wanted confidentiality, why didn’t more of them just lie and give false names etc – would anyone back then have ever known whether they were telling the truth or not? I just ask because I have heard of cases here where the parents of a mother have given false info so that the child could never be traced back to them. I did think at the beginning of my reunion with extended family that someone could quite easily have used my nmom’s name instead of their own. It was only after speaking to friends she went to NZ with and the family she lived with over there that I was able to confirm that she was whom she said she was and not someone using her name.


  8. Don't We Look Alike?

    November 13, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Thanks for posting that form.



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