Adoption Studies and Open Records

The University of Colorado has been conducting a study called the Colorado Adoption Project for 29 years. I lived there for 36 years and NEVER heard of this study until yesterday. I have read over the website and plan to read further studies all of which are available online.

I have mixed feelings about this. Reading words like laboratory and battery of tests makes me feel like these children were lab rats, on the OTHER hand an ongoing study of this nature could potentially change the face of adoption forever and in a good way!

My husband and I were discussing open records again. He asked me “what if records were opened and the statistics started seriously swaying toward rejections”. Currently the statistics indicate that the majority of birthmothers wish to be found. I don’t know about birthfathers.

I gave thought to what the essentials are that we, as adult adoptees, need from open records.
If the birthparent were to deny contact I think there are a few essentials that should be supplied to the adoptee. Medical records (ongoing and updated each year or so), Heritage on BOTH sides, photographs of mother, father and all siblings. We need to see who we look like, have that visual connection. Not to mention eliminating the possibility of ending up on the Jerry Springer show entitled “I married my brother”.

The problem here is that it’s sometimes difficult to combine logic with emotion. Everyone for closed records seem to indicate that it is a respect issue. This is emotion, not logic because we were not a party to the adoption agreement. In my experience when trying to explain why I think records should be opened it is extremely difficult for people to get the emotional side of things but a lightbulb seems to go off when I start throwing out statistics/logic. This isn’t always the case but I have better luck coming from a scientific standpoint then trying to get people to see how emotionally important it is more often than not.

So my bsister asked me if it weren’t possible for there to be birthmothers out there that actually do give up their children with absolutely no desire to reunite. Being a rather emotional creature it seems unlikely unless they are in serious denial but as I read more and more stories of rejection like my own I am beginning to wonder if there actually are birthparents out there so emotionally closed off that they really could care less if they ever meet the children they gave up. I guess in the case of the emotionally closed off birthmother it would be better to say these particular birthmothers gave away their babies. One suggests a loss, the other does not.

I have listened to many adoptees say they JUST want medical information, JUST want heritage and I have watched these same adoptees get closer to reunion and say ‘well, maybe it would be nice to meet” etc… It’s like their feelings evolve as they get closer and closer to their destination. I’m not suggesting that they weren’t honest to begin with or that any adoptee who remains steadfast in their desire for basic information are somehow wrong. I am saying that it’s human nature to evolve and God knows this journey evolves our beliefs, our sense of self every single day. This is not a bad thing.

So the question remains. If records were to be opened, as adoptees, could we be content if the basic essentials of medical information, heritage, photographs were to be provided to us? If our birthparents denied contact would these things be enough? I guess they would have to be………logically speaking.

Colorado Adoption Project URL:



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5 responses to “Adoption Studies and Open Records

  1. depends on the individual and there are already laws in place to prevent harrassment from one citizen to another so why the extra layer for adoptees?
    Besides, even having just a name could provide so much information via the internet without actually having contact.
    Granted, I would much rather have face to face contact, but it would be something.

  2. I don’t think natural mothers should be allowed to refuse initial contact. And vice versa.

  3. Mia

    In a perfect world I don’t think they should be allowed to deny contact either, but we all have the right to decide how we act in response to the events in our lives. Those decisions have consequinces we have to live with. This is why I think we should be very clear about what it is we need, what information is our right to have so if they make the choice to deny contact we still can walk away feeling at least OK. I don’t like that the consequinces of my birthmother’s actions have such a profound effect on me. I am left with nothing and that is just not fair.

  4. I am with Kim. I do not believe that a woman has the right to remain anonymous from her own child. Having a relationship is another issue – that is something that you cannot force. It always saddens me when a woman refuses contact though. But if she is not strong enough to handle contact, there’s only so much you can do.

    But, I have no problem with forcing a woman to provide basic info – it is the least that a woman can do for her own child.

    BTW I am a reunited birth mom who was found.

  5. Anonymous

    If records were to be opened, as adoptees, could we be content if the basic essentials of medical information, heritage, photographs were to be provided to us?

    No – we are all searching for love. It’s biological instinct!!

    I haven’t read your entire blog but it really hit home with me.

    I was adopted thru an agency. They helped me find my bmother. We met once. She wrote letters, said we should get together sometime, but never went past musing about it. I met the family at my b-brother’s funeral. How sad. Bmother died. I have no contact with bsister.

    Found bfather after God interviened. Wrote him a letter. He wrote back saying he didn’t know who I was. I wrote back again. Sent photos and the story as I know it from Bmother. B-Brother called. Says Dad had a stroke a few years ago and doesn’t remember anything. I’ve talked to the son a few times. He won’t tell his sister – he says she would be too upset.
    Right now I’m in a “what a bunch of a*&^%les” mode of thinking. Some days it really, really hurts. I am good enough – if anything I am better that THEY deserve. Ouch.
    Feel free to contact me. I don’t blog.

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