Who has the right to deny a person knowing his/her birth history? That is a question of debate in the adoption society: should a birth mother’s desire for a closed adoption mean the child cannot have access to birth information?

That and more is discussed by Ron Upshaw along with his adoptive and biological mother. Catherine, Ron’s biological mother, placed Ron for adoption in 1970. She recalls everyone being in control, telling her that Ron would not be able to access her and wasn’t even allowed to see him in the hospital after he was born. Catherine stated, “There was a very old fashioned power structure that I think put mothers at a disadvantage, and I think we accepted whatever their decisions were because we felt like we didn’t have any rights.”

Alice, Ron’s adoptive mother, stated that she was told Ron would have access to birth information when he was 18 years old.

As an adult, it was a lot of work for Ron to find Catherine. He had to hire a middle man to send messages between the two of them. A meeting was later scheduled.

Although some states have passed laws that allow children that were adopted to have access to their birth certificates when they turn 18, many have not updated their laws to reflect this.

Catherine is happy that Ron reached out and found her and that they have a relationship now. Catherine stated, “I don’t think you should err on the side of the mother who relinquished the child for adoption. She shouldn’t have more consideration than the adoptee.”

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