To those who don’t agree with Adoptee Rights…

10 Feb


To anyone who disagrees with an Adoptee Rights Bill to allow Adult Adoptees to request, and receive, their Original Birth Certificate.  If you have followed along, I’m sure you have listened to, or will listen to testimonies by adoption attorneys, adoption agencies, and adoption professional lobbyists who will speak about mothers being given promises by them, or their predecessors, and how those promises need to be kept.  They will also likely testify about the mothers wanting that privacy, but perhaps not explain the privacy they may have wanted at the time.  I’m not going to go into the obvious argument about the state not being required to protect promises made by businesses – when everyone knows laws change all the time, or there wouldn’t be legislators.  I want to talk instead about what a mother may, or may not have wanted at the time, and the concept that it still holds true of what she wants today.  I want you to challenge yourself, to do what I am going to do below.

What I wanted when I was young versus what I wanted later…

  • I was going to be a doctor – until I changed my mind when I realized what you had to do to become one – and I couldn’t even dissect a dead frog in science class.

  • I was going to run away and live with my first boyfriend – until I changed my mind.

  • I was going to be an accountant – until I realized I didn’t like working with numbers.

  • I was never going to get married – until I met my future husband.

  • I wasn’t going to be a mother – until I got pregnant and then found out I loved being a mom.

  • I wasn’t going to be a homeowner and have to stay in the same place – until I found my dream home.

  • I wasn’t going to change careers – until I was given a job offer I couldn’t refuse, that turned into the best job I ever had.

Now, as you can see I have changed my position on many life changing events, dramatically, and those changes are just ones that are off the top of my head, if I actually sat down and thought about it, I’m sure I could fill a full page, and if you try this exercise, I’m sure you could too.  We all change over time, and that comes from lived experiences, maturity, interactions once we are outside of the family home.  We grow, we broaden our perspectives, and at some point we start looking back at the what if’s, what choices we made then, what we would do differently now, if we could change the past.

Mothers who gave up babies for adoption from around my era, are no different from any of us, you probably have known one, or even two, who did – but nothing makes them stand out as different than you.  They are not some mythical type of person who is forever required to be that unwed mother whose shame was so great – she just wanted to put the past behind her, forever.  She’s just as capable of changing her views over her lifetime as you, or I, because we are all human beings, and heaven help us all – if our views never changed past what we believed at the age of twenty.

Now, if you are worried because some adoptees seek reunion – she’s also just as capable as we are, to decide who she associates with, and who she doesn’t.  If one day her child sends her a discreet letter, she can make her own mind up on what to do.  She isn’t that scared woman frozen in time, today, she is likely a grandmother, or great-grandmother, fully capable to say what’s on her mind.  Trust me on this, if a mother can survive loosing their child, they have the strength of will to carry on despite the pain, so if you are worried about the small minority of mothers who wouldn’t want to know their child was well – they are strong enough to say no, I don’t want to know you.

Please make this the year you support the legislation in your state to finally change the laws that were created due to actions by people like Georgia Tann.  If you don’t know about her, please read “The Baby Thief The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoption” by Barbara Bisantz Raymond, an adoptive mother.  Once you have finished reading the book, I hope you will understand why the laws changed when they did, and not really for the reasons you are being told today.


Posted by on February 10, 2014 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7 responses to “To those who don’t agree with Adoptee Rights…

  1. Sherrie Eldridge

    February 10, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    I am not sure what you’re saying. Are you saying that we shouldn’t be protective of birth mothers who made the decision to relinquish decades ago? As an adopted person, I believe that the child, no matter her age, is the one with the rights. That is what adoption is all about. The child deserves her parent’s names and history. We’ve had enough trauma as it is.


    • TAO

      February 10, 2014 at 8:59 pm

      Hi Sherrie – one of the reasons people who are against adoptee rights always offer up is that it will ruin a mothers life if adoptees get their original birth certificates, because they wanted privacy and were promised privacy. They don’t get that why they went away was to protect the family from community shame – not that they never ever wanted to know anything about their child type privacy.

      Sometimes it is hard to understand my intent. My intent with the post was to 1. make people think – truly think about the fact that we all change our minds throughout our life, 2. recognize that mothers have the ability to say no, I don’t want to know you, 3. state has no obligation to ensure a promise made by a business is honored when the business knows that laws change all the time.

      Hopefully that made sense. Just trying to make people think.


  2. cb

    February 10, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    Also, there is a misunderstanding of what confidentiality for birthmothers actually meant. They wanted confidentiality from the rest of society but it didn’t always mean they wanted confidentiality from their child.

    As is pointed out in the “Idea of adoption” by Elizabeth Samuels:

    Click to access Rutgers%20Law%20Review_2_.pdf

    Page 14.


  3. Valentine Logar

    February 13, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    I have said this before, I think it echos what you are saying. I believe, as an adoptee, I should have access to all the information I needed to make good decisions about my health and welfare, including my medical and genetic background. My adoption was closed and I didn’t have any of that. The courts ordered my files opened. My parents were afforded the right to maintain their privacy, thus the intermediary (court appointed). First contact was through that intermediary.

    If my birth parents had refused contact with me all the information I wanted would have been gathered by that intermediary. I still would have received my original birth certificate, I would not have been allowed to contact my birth parents though, by court order.

    I am fine with this process. I was lucky, both my parents welcomed me with open arms.


  4. marilynn

    February 19, 2014 at 2:21 am

    nobody with offspring has a right to hide the fact they have offspring its a public health issue.


  5. Lesley1000

    February 27, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Hi there

    I was actually doing a search on google with the words “why did no one stop Georgia Tann?”. I hadn’t even heard of this woman before watching a video about Joan Crawford and she was mentioned in this clip on youtube. I then looked her up and, to be honest, could find a few articles but was amazed that this person’s name wasn’t known worldwide (I am from the UK, so I don’t know if she is known to everyone there). I am not adopted and have no connection with anyone adopted, but this site came up and I wanted to learn more. I do not know the laws in the U.S., but am pretty sure you have a right to access your records in the U.K. I just thought you could everywhere, but obviously not. I think that whilst the mother has rights, the person who has been adopted should have the right to be able to find out their details. I am not even sure I can read that book because from going to never hearing of her, I have read up a bit of stuff and then, coincidently, saw a ‘Deadly Women’ episode which featured her. I had to walk out and it was just a reconstruction. It is sickening that not only was she capable of doing the vile things she did, but that the judicial system (specifically Camille Kelly) that allowed her to get away with it. Neither of them were brought to justice and none of the parents or children got any justice at all. Sorry to waffle on, but anyone reading this who can say to a person who is adopted that they do not have the right, need to be made to watch and read about these people. I know they are not directly involved in the law, but it would be interesting to ask if the people making these decisions were adopted themselves. I think we all know the answer to that.


    • TAO

      February 27, 2014 at 8:46 pm

      Lesley – the UK unsealed the laws in 1975 (I think-somewhere around there). Ireland is still closed. Canada is by province. The states are primarily all closed but states are changing. Ironic that people who aren’t adopted believe they can dictate how someone adopted feels or what they need. It’s the second tier status that they won’t come out and say it is – but goes back to the laws of illegitimacy when they were allowed to discriminate against if you were born to a mother without a wedding ring on her finger.

      Sadly, there are many Georgia Tann’s. I’m sure the UK had them to. Canada – it was Lila and William Young who operated the Ideal Maternity Home (IDM) and others of their ilk. It was a horrible time for women – many different churches have much to be ashamed of too.



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