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Talking about adoptees…

18 Jan

Recently, an adoptive parent was incredibly rude and dismissive about adoptees online, repeating the old trope that happy adoptees were too busy living their lives to be online in adoption groups, and the adoptees online had an agenda.  I took the exception to what she was saying about adoptees, but then had to remove myself because it stressed me out too much.  I don’t do stress.

But she is right.  I did come online because I had an agenda.

I needed to search for a company who could find my mother for me.  My agenda was to find out if knowing my family health history could have prevented what happened to me, to prevent anything else from happening, and to offer my FHH to my family of birth.  I found a company to do the search for me after mom petitioned the court for me (one page form of questions and place to fill in the reason to unseal), the judge unsealed the records and the court sent mom the court order.  I wasn’t happy with the way the search was handled, I did get one clue from them that allowed me to make contact with a relative.  All in all – it was well over a year before I had any family health history.

I’ve since found out I was lucky to have been born in that state, the judge unsealed my records for good cause, no hoops to go through, just here’s a court order to get all the adoption records and your original birth certificate.  I had no idea others states operated differently, I was clueless about adoption laws in general.  What I’ve learned is how onerous some of the current state laws are that adoptees face, even if they can show “good cause”.  To give you an idea of what I mean by onerous, I did a google search and Iowa came up first and I’ve included New York as well.

An adoptee from Iowa can petition the court to unseal their adoption records for “good cause”.  Here’s the text under (2) of 600.16A:

600.16A TERMINATION AND ADOPTION RECORDS CLOSED — EXCEPTIONS — PENALTY.

(2) d.  The juvenile court or court may, upon competent medical evidence, open termination or adoption records if opening is shown to be necessary to save the life of or prevent irreparable physical or mental harm to an adopted person or the person’s offspring.  The juvenile court or court shall make every reasonable effort to prevent the identity of the biological parents from becoming revealed under this paragraph to the adopted person.  The juvenile court or court may, however, permit revelation of the identity of the biological parents to medical personnel attending the adopted person or the person’s offspring.  These medical personnel shall make every reasonable effort to prevent the identity of the biological parents from becoming revealed to the adopted person.”

It is unlikely for there to be any relevant medical information in the file, if there is any info at all, it would be out of date and useless.  Iowa will allow medical personnel to view the many decades old file, and I guess the medical personnel could do the leg work necessary for their patient’s health, which I doubt would ever happen…

An adoptee from New York, living in New York also has to provide competent medical evidence to petition for “good cause”, but it must be from a licensed New York physician that certifies the need.  If the adoptee doesn’t live in New York the requirement still exists, so they would have to travel, find a doctor in New York to certify a serious physical or mental illness that would qualify as “good cause”.  All of that would be a cost borne by the adoptee, providing they are well enough to travel if they don’t live in New York. (source)

“To petition the Court to gain access to the sealed adoption file on medical grounds, you must attach to the petition a medical certification from a physician licensed to practice medicine in the State of New York addressing a serious physical or mental illness. Such certification needs to identify the information required to address said illness.”

If you do that, this is what happens:

“If such request to open a sealed file is granted, the Court will appoint a non-interested party (an attorney) to review the file.”

There is another way if it is an emergency, the court will appoint a GAL to review the file, and if needed, contact the biological parent and ask for permission to give the information requested.  If it isn’t granted they will advise the court. You can read #4 of § 114. Order of adoption here.

Once again, it seems far more complicated than my experience.  In New York they also have Adoption Information Registry.  But again, they have some requirements that place a burden on the parents by birth, if they want to file updated medical information, they can only do so if a doctor provides the info on his letterhead.

“Medical Information: Birth parents can give medical and psychological information to the Registry any time after the adoption. If the adoptee is already registered, the information will be shared with him or her. If the adoptee is not registered, the information will be kept until the adoptee registers. The information is important to adoptees because it can indicate if they have a higher risk of some diseases. Medical information updates must be certified by a licensed health care provider.”

So, that could be done at a cost by the parent by birth to provide health information about themselves, but what about pertinent info about other close relatives, other parent, grandparents, siblings etc.  Makes no sense that you can’t give the standard family health history form you fill out at the doctors.

Just seems silly…

**************

I’ll leave you with this gem from Iowa that has nothing to do with family health history and everything to do with the adoptee experience…

“The Legislature amended the Code of Iowa to make access to sealed adoption records easier for adult adoptees that were adopted prior to the July 1, 1941 sealing of adoption records. When you complete the Affidavit Requesting Opening of Sealed Adoption Records, indicate the date of adoption. If you were adopted prior to July 1, 1941, indicate on the affidavit that Iowa Law does not require you to provide “good cause”. This amendment of Chapter 600, Termination of Parental Rights and Adoption, should expedite the process for you.”

So, when Iowa sealed adoption records in 1941, they retroactively sealed all adoption records before that date as well.  Those adoptees whose adoption was finalized before July 1, 1941 still have to petition the court, wait for that to process through, and then be granted the right to see their adoption records.  That is, if they are still alive and found out that the retroactive sealing of their records back in 1941 has been undone.

 

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13 Comments

Posted by on January 18, 2016 in Adoption

 

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13 responses to “Talking about adoptees…

  1. eagoodlife

    January 18, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    TAO writes – ” an adoptive parent was incredibly rude and dismissive about adoptees online, repeating the old trope that happy adoptees were too busy living their lives to be online in adoption groups, and the adoptees online had an agenda”
    Doesn’t everyone have an agenda for being on FB and in groups, Administering Groups or Pages? How sick are adoptees of being told how to behave, what to do, what is appropriate behaviour and treated rudely, inconsiderately and with disrespect. We are as ‘legitimate’ as anyone else!! We have rights, even if those are not recognised in some places and their restrictions bound up in seemingly ridiculous and convoluted red tape, procedures and money making exercices. How sick are we of explaining ourselves, justifying our actions and defending our attempts to have what others have?

    Liked by 1 person

     
  2. eagoodlife

    January 18, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    Everyone who comes online has an agenda of some sort. I see this commenter was good at assumptions!

    Like

     
    • TAO

      January 18, 2016 at 10:48 pm

      One of the rudest people I’ve ever encountered in my life, including drunk bar patrons. And you are right, you wouldn’t go online if you had nothing to go online for.

      Like

       
  3. Mark Plotczyk

    January 19, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Anytime I encounter a adoptive parent stridently slapping adult adoptees, attempting to put them in their place, trolling them, etc (and it’s happened to me… to the point where I quit posting) I remind myself of the great James Hillman’s observation about universal chronic behavior: “All symptomatic behavior reveals, IN THE VERY THING IT INSISTS ON, exactly what it lacks.”..In other words that adoptive parent un onciously “knows” the Truth and it is too much to bear, thus must be denied.

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    • TAO

      January 19, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      Thanks Mary

      Like

       
  4. Kellie

    January 19, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    I recently quit a closed facebook group because of this reason. They existed for those dealing with infertility, potential adoptive parents and adoptive parents. They stated in a post if you had an “agenda” you needed to leave and take it somewhere else because it wouldn’t be tolerated. It was not stated in those words, but that is the way I received the message.
    I wouldn’t say I had or have an “agenda”. Using that term implies you mean to do harm, and it is negative in my opinion. Apparently having an agenda is you try to open anyone’s eyes to the damage they may be doing to someone else unknowingly, or just trying to help someone see a different point of view. It seems to me it is mostly seen as an attack on their way of life.
    In a recent discussion with someone who was once close to us, this person was demanding answers for actions we had taken yet at the same time declared they did not want to listen to the reasons because they didn’t want their mind changed about their opinion of us or their opinion of adoption. It is absolutely incredible the lengths people will go to to avoid that discomfort. And yes this person is an adoptive parent.

    Like

     
    • TAO

      January 19, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      The adoptive mother – definitely saw / tried to use “agenda” as a negative warning to everyone about adoptees…so, I figured I turn it around – even if she never reads it…perhaps someone else will.
      Like Von stated – everyone who goes online, first has an agenda, or they wouldn’t have bothered…
      Personally, some of the dominant voices aren’t enjoying the shift in their environment….awe…

      Like

       
  5. cb

    January 19, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    “repeating the old trope that happy adoptees were too busy living their lives to be online in adoption groups”

    Uggh. I get sick and tired of hearing that all the time.

    My so-called “agenda” for originally coming online as an adoptee was to get advice about the best way to make contact (and I have a certain lovely blogger to help for pointing me in the right direction :)). I then stayed because I found reunion to be rather emotionally draining (which surprised me because I didn’t think it would be like that because of my only being able to connect to extended family) so it was great to have BTDT adoptees who understood and validated those complicated and paradoxical feelings.

    One might say that my *agenda* now is to try to help people overcome those usual stereotypes. For example, there seems to be the assumption that all online adoptees are people who *had a bad experience* and have their parents and come online to spew their hate by attacking anyone who wishes to adopt. The vast majority of adoptees I know who came online did so for reasons similar to myself, i.e. exploring their biological origins in some way. Of course some people still do think that that in itself is sign of a “damaged adoptee”. And yes, here are times that adoptees might call out a hopeful adoptive parent for doing something that one feels is unethical but oftentimes we are doing so for the same reason that anyone would call them out, because one thinks what they are doing is not right. Unfortunately, enabling friends will tell them it is “us” not “them” and the HAP goes on their merry way doing what they were doing and “reassuring” themselves that if anyone disagrees with them, it is because of the disagreeing person’s issues, not because of their own behaviour. Note that I see this more on a certain non-FB page.

    Another so-called “agenda” is to try and get people to separate things and to see that things can co-exist, eg with the first, it is possible to love one’s adoptive parents and family yet also have issues with the adoption industry and with the second it is possible to love two families without betraying he other.

    Sometimes one does feel like one is bashing one’s head against a brick wall. One starts to think that people are seeing us as normal people but then we end up getting “othered” and told that “not everyone is like the adoptees on this forum” etc.

    My latest “agenda” would be to get people to think about “why” they like an article or “why” they like a particular person’s POV. I am sometimes intrigued as to why a person might pick a certain article over another. I for one try to find articles that are as respectful to all parties as possible – even if a topic is controversial, some articles are able to get their view across better than others.

    So maybe I do have “agendas” but they have involved throughout the years.

    I think perhaps part of my *agenda* is to try to stop people assuming they *know* what *my* agenda actually is despite the fact that at no time have I ever said anything negative about any of my families or even about my own adoption. I do think the US adoption scene is in a total and utter mess but my opinion on that is related to my own observations online, it is not because of having had a “bad experience”.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • cb

      January 19, 2016 at 8:33 pm

      Sorry, I’ve used the wrong words a few times – should be “and hate their parents”, not “have their parents” and also “evolved throughout the years” not Involved throughout the years”.

      Liked by 1 person

       
    • TAO

      January 19, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      true…

      Like

       
  6. Beth62

    January 23, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    “Recently, an adoptive parent was incredibly rude and dismissive about adoptees online, repeating the old trope that happy adoptees were too busy living their lives to be online in adoption groups, and the adoptees online had an agenda.”

    I always wonder what it is that makes people that comment like this so unhappy that they feel the need to be online talking about their stuff (and agendas) instead of out living their busy happy lives…

    Like

     
    • TAO

      January 23, 2016 at 4:35 pm

      Damn Beth – you have the best responses. Pretty sure you’ve run into this person before, just not sure exactly which one it was, there were so many…

      Like

       
      • beth62

        January 25, 2016 at 7:09 am

        I don’t have time for any of them, too busy being happy 🙂
        Besides, they tend to talk into my mirror at themselves -instead of talking to me! Awfully annoying, those that refuse to acquire a taste for beets.

        Like

         

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