I was wondering if we could discuss the pros and cons of having open adoption records. I think most people here, myself included, are in favor of open records.
If you are in favor of open records, how open? For what reasons?
If you are against open records, are you completely against any type of open records? For what reasons?
If you are uneducated on the topic (which is kinda where I lay, with a leaning towards in favor), post questions to learn more.
I would really appreciate feedback from all sides in a respectful manner. If someone is adamantly for open records, please do not take a post against open records personally, and vice versa. I realize this is a sensitive issue for some, in particular those who have had to deal with major life consequences of not having open records. So lets all try to have a nice conversation and no sand throwing ;) What may seem obvious to some is not so obvious to others. Hopefully we can all learn something about open records.
I see what you're saying lady.
I will say that my original post is for/against OBCs. It didn't occur to me until after I posted that "open records" might mean more than OBC.
ladyjubilee
Again, this is where things start turning gray. From one poster saying 100% open records to all parties, to now only the relinquishment records open to all parties.....and even not "all medical" records. Which is my point, I'm not against "open records", but there is a huge valley of nuance between being pro "open records" to anti "open records".
For instance, I'm totally in agreement, I don't want anyone having my medical records (I'm not a biological parent in any respect). Pffft, I don't know all my mom's medical information and I wouldn't want her knowing all mine--and the only treatment I've ever had was a myringotomy. But, let's say we go to open records---and the loudest voices want "open" to include medical records. Who decides which records are open? Who goes through to decide that an abnormal pap smear result 10 years ago isn't included but psychiatric admission for situational depression is?
I just think its more complicated than people like to admit.
LadyJubilee - states have changed the legislation and the only info the adoptee gets is the OBC. The adoptee can still get their non-id info from the state and pure speculation would state that once the law changes then the people in the state adoption unit don't have to go through and black out the identifying info to make it non-id info.
Non-id provides family health history info provided at the time of surrender (willingly provided) (same type of form non-adopted fill out at the doctors - what runs in your family - heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer etc), social history, i.e. father graduated high schoool, is Catholic and 21 years of age at surrender and of English descent...really nothing scary at all.
Kind regards,
Dickons
Please read the pdf which is a survey conducted on the impact of opening records in Oregon.
Releasing Pre-Adoption Birth Records: A Survey of Oregon Adoptees.
[URL="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1497462/pdf/12500963.pdf"]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1497462/pdf/12500963.pdf[/URL]
It really isn't a big deal.
Kind regards,
Dickons
I have my records from the agency, I do not have my OBC. I had to get a court order and I'm lucky it landed on a judge that is adoptee friendly. I have basic medical information that my mother provided when I was born, information on siblings and educational levels. There isn't a heck of a lot there on them.
Pieces of Mom and Dad's homestudy is in there. Some pictures of them and a few reference letters.
I don't like that my ABC is a lie, I don't like that my son's is a lie. I don't like that M was erased from my life and I don't like that my role in my son's life has essentailly been erased.
I don't think everyone should have access to everything. I shouldn't have access to whatever is in my Kiddo's file after I signed the papers.
While foster to adopt situations are different than DIA that doesn't mean that the adopted person shouldn't have access to their own information.
This is one thing that is pretty much about the adopted person. Flame away and get mad at me for saying that, I'm a first mom too, but my son has more right to know who he is than I have to be protected.
Dickons
No - the change in legislation would only release what is in the actual state held records.
Hummermom - some moms leapt to the conclusion that it would include Mother's most intimate records - that is why they try to be specific and use OBC etc instead of open records in language. It is what is held by the state - not the agency, and even if the agency provided info they would not be allowed to provide that info because of HIPPA.
Kind regards,
Dickons
Okay, that's what I thought. My first post stands. Thanks!
usisarah
For some, paperwork from the adoption may include first mom's medical records. I found out after we were matched that our agency asked emom to sign a waiver so that they could have access to ALL of her medical records. I have a feeling she did not know what she was signing. I for one would never allow someone to have access to that kind of info.
I would never give an agency that kind of access for any reason. I'm with you on that one. What in the world do they need it for anyway?
I was born in a country, New Zealand, where the records have been unsealed for 27 years.
I believe both parties (adoptee/bparent) are able to access the original birth certificate of the adoptee unless a veto has been placed. That is of no danger to the adoptee because obviously the bparent knows their original name.
In regards to bparents being able to get access to their child's adopted name - it is as follows (quoting from booklet):
Under the Adult Adoption Information Act 1985, birthparents cannot simply gain access to their child's adopted name. They must make an application to have their child searched for and approached by a social worker. This is subject to a veto check and assumes that their son or daughter can be located through public records such as electoral roles.
Lady Jubilee, would you find the above reassuring?
When I wrote away for OBC originally and recently, I received my OBC first. If I wanted information about birthmother, I needed to send off a copy of my OBC.
My OBC mentioned.
My birth name
DOB
Place of birth (it listed hospital - this hospital was connected to a mother's home so I was able to work out her agency from this)
Birthmothers name
Her age at time of birth
Her place of birth (I feel place of birth can be more helpful for finding someone than their residence at time of birth, especially for a non-teenage bmom. My bmom had a fairly common surname. When I first received OBC 24 years ago, I actually think I may have checked the phone book for the town of her birth and saw so many people with her surname that I decided it would be like finding a needle in a haystack. However, I have since discovered that the surname was very common in that region and that they would have been relatives of hers so if I had mentioned her name to anyone called, they would have known who she was)
My non-info contained general information that she had provided about her family and other relevant info like family and personal general medical history. As has been pointed before, often the bmom wasn't able to provide much medical history at all. The only medical history I received was rather irrelevent, i.e. an uncle had had polio. All other information provided by bmom was very accurate and in fact, I think my other relatives learnt some new stuff from it lol (nothing too private, just what type of work she was doing in NZ).
There was also info about my birth.
Because of my bmom having passed away, I was able to get more information at a later stage. I was able to get copies of ger social worker interviews. However, even so, there was still stuff I still will never have access to (bmoms more personal info) and that is as it should be.
When I received info, I received an excellent booklet called "approaching your birth parents, issues and options to consider". Because I was resident in Australia and not NZ, I didn't require counselling. However, NZ resident have to undergo mandatory counselling - presumably this is more or less covering what was in booklet.
I personally took years between *finding* my relatives online and on electoral rolls before even thinking of approaching them. I suspected that they wouldn't know of my existence and I thought very carefully about THEM and their possible reaction before making contact.
I hate that Cam has an ABC. How is it even possible, in this day and age, that civilized human beings can just erase the person who gave birth from a birth certificate? It's a rhetorical question, more than anything, it just really bugs me. My daughter should not have to look at her BC and see a big, fat lie.
I am for open records. I am not sure I believe in having a mother's complete medical history...not sure where I stand on that. I mean, I have a pretty complete picture of my mom's history, but that's because she is very open and knows I need that info.
Great discussion, Sarah. :)
jcm
I hate that Cam has an ABC. How is it even possible, in this day and age, that civilized human beings can just erase the person who gave birth from a birth certificate? It's a rhetorical question, more than anything, it just really bugs me. My daughter should not have to look at her BC and see a big, fat lie.
I am for open records. I am not sure I believe in having a mother's complete medical history...not sure where I stand on that. I mean, I have a pretty complete picture of my mom's history, but that's because she is very open and knows I need that info.
Great discussion, Sarah. :)
I think most adoptees mainly want to know about inheritable diseases etc. I personally don't need to know too much about anything personal medical info of hers that is not relevant to my own medical history.
Also, even though obviously uncle having polio is not something that is that private, it isn't really relevant in regards to medical history, so it wasn't that important to know that.
(Actually, the polio thing was of interest to me personally for another reason, it did help at least confirm that my bmom was the person who was pregnant rather than someone using her name because only someone in my bfamily would have known he had polio (it had only a very minor effect))
Hummer,
I'm not sure why the agency needed emom's medical info in our situation. I would assume they told her it would make things easier for them when an adoptive couple wanted to know how the pregnancy was going? That's just a guess. I don't think this practice is uncommon. Had I known, I would have requested they not ask her to do that. I understand PAPs wanting to know about the health of the baby, but IMO asking for release of all medical info is inappropriate.
Ok sorry to go off topic on my own thread lol.
So are there reasons to be against an adoptee being able to receive their OBC? I can see how other things (medical info, etc) can be up for debate in different people's eyes. But I'm still not seeing a valid reason to not allow an adoptee their OBC. Well except the argument that a birth parent may want anonymity. Is that a valid reason? Are there other reasons?
I'm not wanting to start a fight here. Just trying to see all sides of the OBC debate.
usisarah
Hummer,
I'm not sure why the agency needed emom's medical info in our situation. I would assume they told her it would make things easier for them when an adoptive couple wanted to know how the pregnancy was going? That's just a guess. I don't think this practice is uncommon. Had I known, I would have requested they not ask her to do that. I understand PAPs wanting to know about the health of the baby, but IMO asking for release of all medical info is inappropriate.
Ok sorry to go off topic on my own thread lol.
So are there reasons to be against an adoptee being able to receive their OBC? I can see how other things (medical info, etc) can be up for debate in different people's eyes. But I'm still not seeing a valid reason to not allow an adoptee their OBC. Well except the argument that a birth parent may want anonymity. Is that a valid reason? Are there other reasons?
I'm not wanting to start a fight here. Just trying to see all sides of the OBC debate.
In both Australia and New Zealand, if a bparent wants anonymity, they need to place a veto. I think most places, when going from sealed to unsealed records, do this over a period of about a year so that vetos can be set in place by anyone who wishes to do. In NSW, I believe they last for 5 years, so I think you have to keep updating your veto - I only know this because a lady I spoke to was contacted by the relevant government department about contact by her bsister even though this lady had placed a veto herself against contact. This lady actually did decide in the end to go ahead with contact. I am unsure about lengths of vetos in other places.
I know that people are ambivalent about vetoes. I believe that in some places, contact can be made with vetoes in place but it must be done by the relevant government department.
Many bmoms will tell you that they weren't promised confidentiality at the time of placement.
Actually, in NZ during the closed adoption era, a bmom was legally allowed to ask the name of the aparents at the time she signed her release forms. However, hardly any woman did because:
1) She was told by the social/adoption workers that it was illegal for her to know who adopted her child.
2) The lawyers would have been very unlikely to dispel her of that notion.
I know that the anonymity of first parents is often used as a reason to not allow adoptee's their OBC. However, in my experience only, I've never "met" (as in talked to online, haha) a first Mom that didn't want their child to be able to access their OBC. Not saying that speaks for ALL first parents by any means.
Other opposition I have read online includes:
- "protecting adoptees from potentially pleasant information"
and my fave
- opening records and allowing access to OBC will increase abortions.
Not sure where all the support for those ideas comes from, but these are a couple arguments I found online.
Other opposition I have read online includes:
- "protecting adoptees from potentially pleasant information"
Sorry, TGM, I did have to smile at your typo :)
Once again my wish as I blow my candles out today, 50 years to the day that I was separated from my mother, will be:
:cake: As an adult adoptee citizen of the US I wish to be treated equally to the adult non-adoptee citizen when I request my record of birth from the dept. of vital statistics.
This info, knowing her name, would allow me to ask questions I may have about medical issues or whatever I'd like to know more about, directly, as well as look up a death certificate and cause of death if needed. Not to mention finding info about siblings I may have. It all hinges on the info in this OBC document.
I needed a name and a DOB at the very least to do this.
I really don't think that is asking too much, or is asking anything unreasonable!
I wanted to explain the lie/falsified thing for me -
I have to mention that I searched for info to find my people for more than 20 years, and I was forced to cheat, bribe and beg to actually find them. I've contacted hundreds of strangers, gave them my personal info and had to ask them if they were my mother or father.
I didn't link the lie/falsifiedӔ thoughts to it all until after years of frustration of being denied and being kept from being able to find my people. And of course all the responses like be grateful you were so luckyӔ you're real parents are listed on your current record of birthԔ"your request is a smack in your real parents face" really really helped move me in that lie/falsified direction.
I dont' in any way think it is a lie that my AMom and ADad are my Mom and Dad, that is not false.
I really don't think your average person knows that OBC's are sealed and replaced like they are in adoption.
Especially today since open adoption is so common.
I've told so many people and the usual response is WHAT? :confused: That doesn't seem right at all. (my response too LOL)
Even tho I know all of my relatives now, I NEED, I MUST say that I'm still legally denied knowing my mothers name or obtaining MY document about MY birth that has her name on it. :( The only legal piece of paper I know of on the planet that links us as mother and daughter.
I still have great faith and hope that this will change nationally for me and my fellow adoptees eventually. I've been waiting and hoping for over 30 years, I just hope I am still alive to see it when it does happen.
Thank you sarah for this thread, and others for just talking about it. A great medicinal birthday present for me. I feel lighter and breathe a bit easier today becasue of it. :thanks: