I read the article below, and my first thoughts were – they are a wee-bit late with their offers of help, and pronouncing they know best how an adoption search should happen in Illinois. Then my thoughts wandered from why now three years after the law restored the right for adoptees to receive their original birth certificate, to, who do they think they are. (read the article first).
Searching for biological family complicated <—- Adoptees need to be told this? They don’t have the cognitive abilities to understand an adoption search may bring up deep emotions for all parties – and is going to be complicated? Guessing you can tell I was angry just reading the title…the first line didn’t help at soothing my ruffled feathers: “An Illinois law passed in 2010 has given thousands of adopted children access to a non-certified copy of their original birth certificate.”, seeing as this law affected adoptees with a date of birth starting January 1, 1946, my guess is, they are long past the point of being called children…
All snark aside…the piece bothered me on so many points that should be obvious to anyone, let alone “adoption professionals” and yet, they want you to know that an “appropriate search” is to use the Illinois Adoption Registry and a “protocol laid out” for mutual consent sharing of information. If not that “appropriate way” then either use the court intermediary process that uses a “confidential intermediary” – to let them make contact for you, because they know better than you do. Because being approached by a stranger with your personal details is far better than the adoptee you brought into this world so many years ago?
The problem is those “children” who were adopted who take the information and do it themselves…
Jane Turner then talks about searches for adoption processed by DCFS are processed by Midwest Adoption Center (MAC), and yet, while perusing other pages on the MAC site – it does not seem to have been updated when the law changed, or since the new law went into effect that on January 1, 2012 that restored the right of the adoptee to request, and receive a non-certified copy of their original birth certificate. Rather, it seems the “recent” changes they speak of below are when the Illinois Adoption Registry and Medical Information happened, which I believe was around 2006. And you want adoptees to trust an organization to do the most important search you ever undertake, but doesn’t seem to care enough to update their website?
“At the time of an adoption, the original birth certificate of the child and all the documents pertaining to the legal process of adoption are “impounded” by the Court. The legal documents are held by the Court and the original birth certificate is held by the Department of Vital Records. Court records are not available except by order of the Court. Recent changes in the Illinois Adoption Act provide for certain circumstances in which the original birth certificate may be released upon mutual consent of the parties named.
The Court adoption files do not usually contain any social or medical information pertaining to the child or to the birth family. A copy of the original birth certificate is only rarely included.” (bolding mine)
For adoptions through agencies, those agencies will be happy to do the search for you, and make contact as discussed by Denise Brown.
“Denise Brown, Caritas Family Solutions director of adoption, said if the adoption was carried out by an adoption agency, the agency can help facilitate the search in a way that makes the children and parents feel like they “aren’t alone” in the process.
Brown said if the child or parents want to search on their own, they should call her office for advice while conducting the search.”
Again, the troubling “child” verbiage, and assuming the adoptee’s parents are still alive (did I mention it includes adoptees born starting Jan 1, 1946). I did find Adoption Searches on the Caritas website – of course, it will cost you, how much is not listed. At least they are aware of the changes to the law, even if they only show it at the end of describing everything they offer, and only as a if you are interested, you can get your original birth certificate now.
Turner then speaks about common sense things about making contact, as if, no adoptee has ever delved into discussions about how to sensitively step into contact. “Turner said basic social rules should be followed to prevent being intrusive in a birth child or birth parent’s life.”
I found the article, infuriating, condescending, unhelpful, and so much more. What I couldn’t figure out was the timing of the article, the law went into effect January 1, 2012, and many adoptees have received their original birth certificate and chose whether or not to search. Not only that before the law went into effect, a comprehensive notification of the law changes took place for a year so birth parents could decided if they wanted to strip their name off the original birth certificate…(470 did) out of tens of thousands mothers.
After writing all this, I read the comments to the article, and in one, was a link to an article Carbondale resident meets biological family 39 years after adoption published earlier the same day, before this one that made me angry. An article about an Illinois adoptee who (gasp) actually managed to make contact in a very gentle way, that speaks of the intent to protect her mother above all else. No idea why they decided to do two articles and ask adoption agencies to weigh in. Nor why an adoption agency would accept the request. It’s time to give credit that adoptees have probably have put more effort, and energy, and deep thought, into how best to make a request for contact – than an adoption professional has.
It’s time for those followers of the cherished Positive Adoption Language (PAL) to add that adoptees grow up, and generally, don’t care to be called children…so under the Positive Adoption Language side: Adults who were adopted should be called based on their preference, which could include; Adopted Person, Person Adopted, or Adoptee, under the Negative Adoption Language side, it would say calling an adult who was adopted as a child; an adopted child, or adopted children. Something like that anyway…