The National Council for Adoption has concerns on adoptees using DNA tests to find their families of birth and get health information.
“These implications can be sorted largely into two categories: understanding and contextualizing the information in a report, and search and reunion efforts. These categories disproportionately impact the adoption community. Therefore, it is imperative that both those who were adopted and their adoptive families, birth families, and agencies are informed about such issues and able to react appropriately.”
Whether I, or any other adoptee chooses to take part in DNA testing for health information or for searching is no one else’s business. There is nothing to react to.
Towards the end of the article they note that perhaps DTC companies should screen for adoptees looking for families of birth so they can offer them help to find an adoption professional to help / guide them through the process, i.e. have a ‘are you adopted” check here…
“Genetic testing companies could create more adoption-sensitive services by offering a screening question such as “are you adopted?” in their initial survey; and then presenting resources for individuals who were adopted and for birth parents, if the customer responds in the affirmative. Offering lists of free resources, including adoption professionals, support groups, websites with more information, and other accessible materials, would allow adopted persons to access resources typically made available during the search and reunion process through an adoption agency or professional.”
Yeah, no, adoptees should not have to identify as adopted when they do dna testing, nor should they be asked to identify themselves. .
They are warning about taking the medical aspect too seriously. I don’t disagree, for many more nuanced reasons than what is noted in the article. But also because there is no better way to predict what you could face than a well documented family health history.
Rather, in regards to testing for health information, you should have focused on educating adoption agencies who are members of yours to do better than to have let the abysmal practices of the past continue to the present in many ways by some agencies. Instead, all agencies could have focused on educating parents by birth about how important it is to have a solid family health history to start with (i.e. get the info from elders in the family), why updates are needed throughout life, and that the agency requires this for the child. Do adoption agencies do reminders on their website and FB pages, newsletters, retreats, reminding them how important it is to update the child’s file? Do they mandate best practices are followed when they do get an update; that they notify the adoptee or adoptive family to contact them? Or do they follow what seems standard process for some, perhaps many, that the adoption agency files updated health history in the file on the odd chance someone would ask. I don’t know what happens if an adoptive parent asks, but typically, if the adoptee asks for anything from their file, they are charged far more than the cost of pulling the file, copying the info, stamp and envelope. All of these practices (that are still happening) leaves adoptees in the position they now are, without needed information, hence doing the DTC genetic health and family information testing.
Final note: The adoptees choosing this route are long grown, please stop assuming they need your help to manage being adults. Some adoptees have already weighed in on their Facebook page.