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Misconception in open adoption…

30 May

By TAO

I have seen an increase in comments that domestic open adoption has solved the problem of the adult adoptee not having the same right to their Original Birth Certificate (OBC) as non-adopted, or, that the adopting parents obtained the child’s OBC prior to the adoption so their child won’t be denied the right.

Open adoption still has the records sealed, and when the adoptee reaches adulthood will still be denied the right to access to their OBC in a closed state.

Obtaining a copy of the OBC before the records were sealed, doesn’t mean your adopted child isn’t still denied the right as an adult to access their OBC in a closed state.

Neither of the above addresses the inherent difference between adopted people and non-adopted people.

Parents (first and adoptive) do you really want your children to be denied the same right to access a factual record of their birth (their OBC) that every non-adopted citizen enjoys, and the only reason they are denied is because they were adopted?  I keep circling back to the desire I see by people in the community to make adoption be seen as a valid way to form a family – how can it be seen as valid when secrecy still exists to the point that such a basic right is denied only to those adopted?  I also see how many adoptive parents in the community can rally together and write letters to get the adoption tax credit passed – where is the same fervor to get archaic laws changed so the child they adopt is not seen as less than a non-adopted person?  What is stopping you from actively working for/supporting Adoptee Rights?  If you have concerns can we talk about them?

If you support Adoptee Rights have you gone and talked to the wonderful people working to change the archaic laws at the Adoptee Rights Coalition to find out what you can do to help?

http://www.adopteerightscoalition.com/

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44 responses to “Misconception in open adoption…

  1. iwishiwasadopted

    May 30, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Why would adopters want to do that? Our birth certificates are like titles to a car, ownership papers. They like to see their names on those papers.

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    • TAO

      May 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      I wish – while I am sure some have no interest and will fight against it – others aren’t like that at all. We don’t like being painted with the same brush so why do it to others?

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      • iwishiwasadopted

        May 30, 2013 at 7:32 pm

        IMHO, anyone who adopts is misguided. I’m talking agency infant adoption. Any human being who would consider it humane to separate a mother and newborn has a few screws loose. Such people want ownership and possession of their purchase. Follow the money. If adopters wanted open records, they would be open by now. Of course there are a few remorseful adopters, but the vast majority are OK with what they did. As my A mom said, “I didn’t do anything wrong, don’t forget, SHE
        gave you up”.

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        • TAO

          May 30, 2013 at 8:42 pm

          Iwish: We all have our hurt and pain whether adopted, first parents, or adoptive parents. Sometimes (often) potential adoptive parents go in blind to adoption even with the internet. They don’t want to believe the loss, pain and child trafficking associated with the wonderful world of adoption. Only after adopting and living adoption for years does the real research begin. If it wasn’t for adoptive parents in Int’l adoption so many countries wouldn’t be shut down that needed to be. It is only through adoptive parents speaking up and saying something is wrong that there is push back in that arena.

          I am sure it is often scary to realize as a domestic adoptive parent the unethical things happen in your own country, state, city, in your back yard and in your own home. It has to be very hard to say I was part of this, I created my family on this pain and loss.

          There are many adoptive parents that I consider my allies and friends. They are doing the hard work in this country a long side their adopted children. Many adoptive parents have stood beside adoptees and first parents to get states to change the laws to open records. I don’t think many PAP’s even think about the human side of adoption – they aren’t there yet.

          Not all adoptive parents are willing to face the hurt, scary side of adoption. Not all adoptee and first parents are willing to face the scary stuff either. I think we are all in a fog for a certain amount of time. It takes a lot of strength to say “I didn’t know better”. We all have to come together on this – it can not be us against them and painting everyone with the same brush can’t be done. There are many adoptive parents that realize this now and are willing to work together to make adoption what it should be – finding a home for a child who needs one.

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          • iwishiwasadopted

            May 30, 2013 at 10:47 pm

            If it wasn’t for adoptive parents in Int’l adoption so many countries would not be shut down that needed to be. It is only through adoptive parents speaking up and saying something is wrong that there is push back in that arena.

            Adoptive parents stopped unethical adoptions in many countries? I thought the countries themselves were fed up with being used by american adopters. I find your claims hard to believe. In fact I hear many adopters lamenting the fact that countries are closing.

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            • TAO

              May 31, 2013 at 12:03 am

              Iwish: I am approving your comment but your comments today have upset me and stress is unhealthy for me – I can’t make it any clearer than that. I have tried to explain my position to you but you won’t hear me on my own blog. You are choosing to use the term adopters which despite the fact that it is the legal term and widely used by Europeans and Australians – I suspect you do it to make clear your feelings about all adoptive parents knowing that within the US it is considered akin to a negative slang term.

              I understand that you have strong feelings about adoption, but again, you are painting every adoptive parent with the same brush. If that was the case every single adoptee would have the same story because were were all raised by carbon copy adoptive parents. We don’t, they aren’t. There are good, bad, and in between adoptive parents. There are ones naive and others who have seen far too much and paid the price for speaking up and everything in between.

              I care about ethical adoptions for those who need a home and whether you like it – or not – some do need homes.

              Whether or not you believe my claim that it is adoptive parents speaking out that are driving the change is up to you. I am telling you what I have obsverved over many years on-line. I am not requiring you to agree.

              I’m done – if you can’t be part of a civil conversation then don’t take part.

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    • Stephanie

      May 30, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      Bingo… It is all about ownership and possession.

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      • TAO

        May 30, 2013 at 4:54 pm

        Stephanie – do you honestly believe that all adoptive parents are the same? Carbon copies?

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        • Stephanie

          June 1, 2013 at 1:11 pm

          Aren’t you the one who posted about open adoption? There are thousands upon thousands of mothers who were duped in fraudulent open adoptions. Did I say ALL adoptive parents were carbon copies? I don’t believe you will find that in my comment. I did say it is about ownership and possession for many people. This I know first hand. They are the one’s who gain at the expense and suffering of a mother and her child and MANY don’t give a rats behind about that suffering, so I am not going to sugar coat my comment to make you and them feel better. Thanks.

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          • TAO

            June 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm

            Stephanie,

            Did you actually read the post? Recognise what the post was actually about?

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      • iwishiwasadopted

        May 31, 2013 at 2:33 am

        Sorry. I never intended to make anyone ill.

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        • TAO

          May 31, 2013 at 3:17 am

          Iwish: it’s plau I never thought you did- I just meed everupme tp get a;pmg – make adoption better for the future.

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          • TAO

            May 31, 2013 at 2:34 pm

            Apparently I should not try to type without my reading glasses on. What I meant to say above: It’s okay I never thought you did – I just need everyone to get along – make adoption better for the future.

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            • Monika

              May 31, 2013 at 7:44 pm

              I absolutely LOVE your replies to iwish. I encounter the attitude iwish displays frequently. Just because one has a very bad or very good experience with adoption doesn’t mean everyone has the exact same experience…or should have the exact same experience. I make great efforts when I’m talking about the good and bad in adoption to not paint everyone with the same brush.

              All that aside, open adoption does NOT equal open records. Should it?? Absolutely! I wrote a post a while ago on my own blog and I can’t even remember if it was about open records specifically. But one of the people that left a comment on the post suggested that when adoptions are finalized that ALL of the parents’ names should be on the official document created at finalization – that instead of a new birth certificate that there should be a document of adoption created that would be just as legal as a birth certificate but wouldn’t erase an OBC to create it. I still love that idea. Of course it would force adoptive parents to acknowledge that they aren’t the only parents of that child. For some this wouldn’t be difficult. For others, it would be impossible.

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            • Monika

              May 31, 2013 at 7:53 pm

              Also, original records of birth were NOT sealed to protect biological parents or adoptees. If they were sealed to protect adoptees or biological parents, they would be sealed at birth/time of relinquishment. They’re not. They’re sealed at adoption finalization. If a child is removed from his or her biological parents due to abuse and the parents’ rights are terminated, the OBC is NOT sealed. So if a child is relinquished but never adopted, he or she can obtain his or her OBC at any time.

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  2. TAO

    May 30, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Crickets…

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  3. monk-monk

    May 30, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Open adopt does NOT equal open records.
    Open adoptions are NOT legally enforceable.
    Open adoptions can vary from getting pictures 1 time a year (with no other identifying information) to visits and knowing each other. It’s not okay to lump them all into the same category. Technically I was in an “open adoption” and still had to do a lot of research to find my family when I was an adult. The few pictures/birthday gifts once a year doesn’t really mean an open relationship, kwim?

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    • TAO

      May 30, 2013 at 6:23 pm

      Monk – you are absolutely correct that there are so many different types of adoption that fall under the umbrella deemed as “open” or that they would even stay open – I was just trying to address the myth that open adoption equals open records.

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      • TAO

        May 30, 2013 at 6:24 pm

        Which I apparently have failed to explain in the post…

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      • monk-monk

        May 30, 2013 at 6:36 pm

        Yeah, for sure! And i’m trying to expand on that thought! 🙂 so many people are so misinformed on the subject! I’m especially sad when mothers place and think that they’re in an open adoption only to find that it means 1 picture a year…

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        • TAO

          May 30, 2013 at 6:44 pm

          Monk – you are right again – just having a bad start to the day today… 🙂

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        • TAO

          May 30, 2013 at 6:59 pm

          The one picture a year is like a consolation prize…

          I would guess that perhaps 95% of all open adoptions are actually the same as closed with contact possible through an intermediary that existed for many adoptions…

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        • Monika

          May 31, 2013 at 8:39 pm

          I’m writing a book on open adoption and interviewing many people only to find out that updates once a year (or even more) constitute openness for even many birth moms. I consider those closed adoptions with updates. I believe strongly it’s more about attitude from BOTH sides (because I’m finding just as many birth moms with poor attitudes about openness as adoptive parents) than the actual practice. However, the actual practice becomes much more like a familial relationship with the attitude of openness than having a certain number of pictures, letters, phone calls, and/or visits in a year.

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          • TAO

            May 31, 2013 at 8:55 pm

            You are right that the mindset is everything and that is perhaps the hardest to explain to people. Perhaps starting at the first point that openness is supposed to benefit the adoptee and not to just make the adoption happens – which seems to be some agencies intentions. Will be interesting to read your book!

            Couldn’t reply up thread to your post: I honestly understand Iwish’s belief because people have done a lot of things that aren’t nice and if your parents reinforce that behavior it makes it worse – there is a lot of promising this or that and not delivering happening by agencies, parents, becoming parents without being ready to be adoptive parents which is a completely different kettle of fish…lots of room for anger – the only thing is that over time I realized that the anger needs to be used as fuel for change. Heaven knows I don’t have the grace I should in my words (lots of rants on the blog but they only apply to a specific not a group) – having consensus building conversations can fuel change. If not, there is no hope for change.

            We all need to make it better and not tolerate bad in adoption…speak up when something is being done wrong…

            Jumping down from my soap-box…

            thanks for commenting and loving the conversations happening.

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          • monk-monk

            June 1, 2013 at 2:59 am

            How much is a lack of willingness on relinquishing mother’s sides as far as a “poor attitude” as actually a lack of believing they deserve or are worth having more openness (since society holds both the “selfless for giving baby away” AND “how could a mother abandon her baby” notions at the same time)? How much is power differential between parents with legal rights toward a child and relinquished mothers who don’t have any rights at all? How much is due to the fact that adoption deals with the symptoms, without really dealing with the problem of young/poor/lack of educaiton/lack of parenting skills/no support/drugs/alcohol/inster-other-reason-for-relinquishment-here? How much is due to the incredible pain of constantly being reminded that you are not raising your kid and the numbing “ease” of denial?

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            • monk-monk

              June 1, 2013 at 3:03 am

              My comment was in response to Monika, not to you TAO, but it put it right under your comment?

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          • Liz

            June 3, 2013 at 6:10 pm

            YES! I agree with you Monika. I have the same reaction when I hear that pictures or letters are considered to constitute “openness.” While I don’t want to make assumptions about what works for other families, I do think that using the label “open” to describe a one-sided relationship in which adoptive parents have all the power isn’t accurate. What’s worse, that use of “open” can be a marketing gimmick used by agencies to make expectant parents relinquish.

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  4. jeannette4175

    May 30, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    I love this post, seriously it rocks. You put into words from an adoptee perspective what I have thought of only but couldn’t explain. tThe open adoption experiment does not change the law. Adoptees are still denied the rights to their OBC. It is not a valid form of identification even if you have a copy of it. Adoptees are still denied their rights, like a second class citizen.

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    • TAO

      May 30, 2013 at 6:28 pm

      Thanks Jeannette.

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  5. Heather

    May 30, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    I feel you did a great job explaining your point & monk-monk elaborated on it well. Thank you both..

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    • TAO

      May 30, 2013 at 8:44 pm

      Thanks Heather…

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  6. eagoodlife

    May 30, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    And of course the majority of open adoptions become closed within two years, which makes a nonsense of any arguments for it anyway.

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    • TAO

      May 31, 2013 at 12:06 am

      True enough Von – I wish there was some required accounting of that but with post adoption visits covering such a small time frame I guess there never will be a way to figure that out.

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      • Beth

        May 31, 2013 at 2:17 pm

        It seems to me that “open” adoption is usually “open” in some way to the parents, but not the adoptee.
        There is no guarantee that even in an “open” adoption that the adoptee will even be told they are adopted, let alone get more info. I’ve heard it many times that aparents have been in touch, or sending pics, to original parents and the adoptee doesn’t even know. Often they have the identifying info. And often they withhold this info until the adoptee “asks”. I’ve seen many adoptees extremely upset when they find out that their life has been shared in pictures and updates, and they never knew it. Was given no choice or knowledge about this sharing, or a choice of being able to share things themselves, and get pics and updates for themselves.

        To me it’s not about OPEN for all the parents – it’s about “open” to the adoptee, including original records of birth.

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        • TAO

          May 31, 2013 at 8:56 pm

          Exactly! but then I always agree with my friend Beth (almost always – have to include a disclaimer although I can’t ever remember not agreeing 🙂 )

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  7. Lori Lavender Luz

    May 31, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Thanks for your thoughtful post on this, TAO. I make some of the same points in my book — that even though a parent has a copy of their child’s OBC, that doesn’t always mean that grown child will one day also be able to access it. And that it is in the best interest of adoptive parents to restore equal access this basic civil right to a group of people that their children are members of.

    Thanks also for pointing out that individuals in a group are not all the same. Wishing you well.

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    • TAO

      May 31, 2013 at 8:57 pm

      thanks for joining in – hopefully your book stays at the top of the list for a long time – any agencies make it required reading yet?

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  8. Lori Lavender Luz

    June 1, 2013 at 12:32 am

    From your lips…

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  9. wsbirthmom

    June 1, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    I never even knew of this until after my son was LONG GONE.

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  10. penniemoney

    June 1, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    I was adopted when I was ten years old. I remember being surprised when I saw my new birth certificate, with my adoptive parents names on it. It looked as if my adoptive mother had given birth to me in the city where I was actually born. I knew my biological mother, and her name, along with another man’s name, who is not my biological father (another story altogether) is on my original birth certificate. It all seems like a huge lie, and still bothers me to this day. There is no accurate record of my birth. Future generations that will see my altered birth certificate, or my original birth certificate may never know the truth.

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  11. Liz

    June 3, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Thank you for this, and for the encouragement to step up and advocate.

    I’m an adoptive mom and remember the first time I saw our daughter’s amended (falsified) birth certificate. I felt four things simultaneously: SHAME (it said I gave birth to her and that is a HUGE lie), GRIEF (where is her mom’s name? the person who ACTUALLY gave birth to her? she can’t be erased!), RELIEF (because we needed that piece of paper in order to get our daughter a social security card), and FURY (why is this lie necessary for the paperwork required for travel/taxes/etc.).

    The shame of the lie makes me very very upset, but I need to face it so I be more active in working for adoptee rights. It’s an over-simplification to say that adoptive parents are the “beneficiaries” of this system. Maybe some adoptive moms can believe the lie, but I can’t.

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    • TAO

      June 3, 2013 at 6:06 pm

      Thank you Liz – I hope you will go talk to the folks at the Adoptee Rights link in the post – adoptees should not be denied the right to a factual birth certificate. Thanks again!

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  12. lopk

    June 8, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    I think if adopted parents wanted adoptees to have there birth records we would have them so a lot don’t seem to care that adoptees don’t have them I don’t think adoptees will ever be treated as good as the non adoptees to many people don’t care what a adoptee has to go through the non adoptees don’t care if the adoptee is discriminated against I love this blog finally something I can relate to I cant stand the non adopted talk its all about how wonderful I am and how loved I am I cant relate to non adopted people so its nice to read something I can relate to

    Like

     

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