YOU Decide!

I am going to try and make this post as uncomplicated as possible but that’s not going to be easy. Most of the people who read this blog are aware of this information. For those who read who may not be aware of these facts I urge you to ponder this situation and come to your own conclusions. If you are an adoptive parent or a birthparent you are obligated to have a clear understanding of the laws as they stand and the effect they have on your child.

I believe that presenting a unified front by those DIRECTLY INVOLVED meaning -adoptive parents, first parents and adoptees is necessary. We must use logic to combat agendas of personal gain and misguided moral judgement. These groups aren’t a bunch of schlups. We are talking about well established, well rooted, lucrative organizations working against our right to identity. This is NOT an easy battle.

FACT:

When an open records bill is presented for consideration you can pretty much always count on the following organizations to show up in opposition.

National Council for Adoption

American Civil Liberties Union

Catholic Conference

Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministry

Right to Life

There are others opposed but again you can pretty much count on the above showing up.

Let’s use NJ as an example of these groups unified position , go read what they have to say.

Now consider:

The NCFA exists because of the support of it’s members which largely consist of ADOPTION AGENCIES. I believe agencies such as these see a very real threat to business in open records policy. Potential adoptive parents this is where YOU can make a serious difference. Do not use the services of an agency that supports closed records! Let them know you would not use an organization that would deliberately stand in the way of your future child’s rights.

The ACLU’s purpose is to protect the CIVIL LIBERTIES of citizens of the United States. These are a few key points taken from their mission statement. Does anyone see the hypocrisy in this?

# Your right to equal protection under the law – equal treatment regardless of race, sex, religion or national origin.
# Your right to due process – fair treatment by the government whenever the loss of your liberty or property is at stake.
# Your right to privacy – freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into your personal and private affairs.

Am I and millions of other adoptees not citizens of this country? I ask you, which represents the concept of civil liberties?

A.) Presumed wanted confidentiality by birthmothers?

or

B.) Adoptees, the only citizens in this country provided with FALSIFIED LEGAL DOCUMENTS regarding their identity? The only citizens who’s REAL and ORIGINAL birth certificate is unavailable to them.

It is important to note as stated so elloquently by a friend of mine: Birth parents have never had the legal right to anonymity from their offspring. Relinquishment and adoption are two separate legal acts. Records are and have been sealed at adoption only. If a child is relinquished but never adopted, they will retain their original records into adulthood.

FACT:

The Catholic and Lutheran religious organizations both have LUCRATIVE adoption services, Catholic Charities and Lutheran Family Services and Lutheran Social Services.

In addition to their adoption services Catholic Charities and the Lutheran agencies offer:

NON -Identifying information which ranges in price (around 100.00).

Search Assistance which also ranges in price. It is not unusual for it to cost in upwards of 500.00 which is non refundable even if the search is unsuccessful. Here and Here are some examples.

Keep in mind that they are not only profiting from our adoptions but they are later charging us handsomely for our OWN INFORMATION. I know of several cases in which an adoptee paid for non-id which was later found to contain largely falsified information. Meaning, the information was changed, altered or “tweaked” prior to the adoptee being placed. Many of these adoptees suspect information was altered to make them more “adoptable”, changing or leaving out information that could make them “less desirable” to a potential adoptive parent. I’m sure you can imagine the ramifications of open records to an organization who may have had case workers take part in such underhanded practices.

Right to Life’s main contention with open records is that it will potentially raise the number of abortions if confidentiality is not offered to pregnant women.

Marie Tasey of NJ Right to Life says; “We believe that if you remove the option of confidentiality from a woman who is pregnant … that could encourage some women, for whom confidentiality is paramount, to have no other choice other than to have an abortion,”

She goes on to say;

“The result, Tasey said, would be a law designed to give adoptees more access to information about their origins, but would instead create obstacles for women to put their children up for adoption in the first place.”

Aside from the fact that this is an unsubstantiated MYTH, this mentality clearly supports the notion that being young and pregnant is still something to be ashamed of and hidden at all costs. It is NOT the message we should be sending women who find themselves pregnant and in need of unbiased and readily available support. As a matter of fact I suspect the possibility of knowing the fate of their child at some point would actually SUPPORT the idea of adoption for women considering that option.

I also honestly believe that women who would consider abortion aren’t going to be swayed not to (as Tasey suggests) by keeping records sealed. They are most likely going to make that decision based on personal belief and current circumstance.

I do not believe that confidentiality could ever be paramount (meaning superior to all others) to an adoptees right to identity. I am dismayed that this organization pushes to remove this so called “obstacle” from a perspective birthmother and proceed to place it directly in front of the child they claim to care so much about. It makes no sense.

I think we can all agree that at the very least these organizations motives are suspect and should be challenged. I do understand that for some adoptive parents the prospect of open records is daunting, as it is for some birthparents. However, the bottom line is YOUR CHILDREN are the ones who ultimately suffer by the laws as they stand. We are the ones who are being discriminated against. It is a parents job to set aside personal issues to ultimately do what is best for their children. Even though we have very influential groups working against our rights, adoptees should have at least FOUR people in their corner. Are you?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A point about this post I don’t want to get lost in the comments section:

Here’s what it boils down to: PROFIT. Businesses protecting their financial interests by supporting that which their customers demand. In the case of adoption the customers are PAP’s. It stands to reason that PAP’s are the key here. If they quit using the services of businesses that support closed records it would become financially detrimental for these businesses to do so. The big fish are easy targets for our blame but the bottom line is they are really not the source of the problem. Any wise businessman provides what their customers demand. It’s the CUSTOMERS that need to start demanding something different. If a business continued to support closed records for other reasons (such as unethical practices) they would simply cease to exist if their customers vanished!

PAP’s:

*****This doesn’t only apply to the issue of open records. It also applies to the necessary demand for the ethical treatment of pregnant and new mothers as well!!!!!!!!! Do not allow emotional/ personal desire to overrule morals and ethics. Educate yourselves and do not allow yourselves to be scammed by unethical businesses! They do NOT have your best interests nor the child’s (and CERTAINLY not the mother’s) at heart, they have THEIR OWN best interests at heart. Regardless of how good their sales pitch is.*****

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24 Comments

Filed under Adoption Politics, Open Records

24 responses to “YOU Decide!

  1. I’m in your corner! As we look to adopt a second time, not only are we avoiding using the services of an agency that supports closed records but we are also avoiding agencies that insist on acting as an intermediary between us and an expectant mother, wanting us to exchange no personal contact information with each other. That just does not work for us!

    The day we meet with an expectant mother, we want to try to exchange information so that we can communicate openly, honestly and not have others speaking for us.

    Thank you for your perspective! You’re giving me a lot to think about.

  2. P. S.

    It is important for people to realize that The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child has been ratified by 193 member states (countries) – almost all the members of the United Nations – EXCEPT the U. S. and Somalia.

    See: http://www.unicef.org/crc/index.html

    The Convention acknowledges that every child has certain basic rights, including the right to life, his or her own name and identity, to be raised by his or her parents within a family or cultural grouping and have a relationship with both parents, even if they are separated.

    The United States has had particular difficulties in ratifying the “CRC” mainly due to strong opposition by conservatives to the treaty. The administration of president George Bush has explicitly stated its opposition to the treaty:

    “The Convention on the Rights of the Child may be a positive tool for promoting child welfare for those countries that have adopted it. But we believe the text goes too far when it asserts entitlements based on economic, social and cultural rights. … The human rights-based approach … poses significant problems as used in this text.”

    Read about the opposition here: http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/00000021.asp

    YOU Decide.

  3. I have never understood how ACLU fits into this picture. What is their rationale? Have you ever found anything that says why they are in favor of closed records? It seems a complete no brainer to me that they would OPPOSE closed records – I just don’t get why they are in favor.

  4. Margie,
    They believe in protecting the birth mother forever as well. They believe the hype that has been put out by these groups. Planned Parenthood and NARAL believe that adoption is a medical procedure. They don’t want to be considered too abortion oriented unfortunately. These adoption agencies are seriously afraid of being sued for the way that they have treated the mothers.

  5. Margie,

    The ACLU is focused on protecting gay rights (I’m all for that), and gays want to adopt, which makes the ACLU pro-adoption. Conflict of interest. Same is true of NOW.

  6. Here’s what it boils down to: profit. Businesses protecting their financial interests by supporting that which their customers demand. In the case of adoption the customers are PAP’s. It stands to reason that PAP’s (straight, gay or otherwise) are the key here. If they quit using the services of businesses that support closed records it would become financially detrimental for these businesses to do so. The big fish are easy targets for our blame but the bottom line is they are really NOT the source of the problem. Any wise businessman provides what their customers demand. It’s the CUSTOMERS that need to start demanding something different. If a business continued to support closed records for other reasons (such as unethical practices) they would simply cease to exist if their customers vanished.

  7. Mia….make that 5 people who should support what is best for children. I agree that money is the driving force keeping records closed. I also agree that until the patrons of these business (i.e. PAPs), it is conceivable that open records would exist. Right now most states I believe have laws that state the records are closed (no choice). However, if there were a state that allowed choice and an adoption agency that came into being that only provided adoptions where records were open – I just wonder if an agency like that would get a lot of press, especially if there data indicated that adoptees, their mothers and adoptive parents provided significantly healthier adjustments, identities, families and most of all children.

    Anti-smoking campaigns really didn’t take off until businesses by choice created no smoking areas. Why could not adoption agencies provide adopters that option now (if it were legal to do so) and then let’s broadcast the differences. I suspect we know what it would show and I think open adoptions/records would proliferate. Just a thought.

    Great post to jog the brain Mia!

  8. LeRoy in theory your idea is a great one. However, as the mentality of the masses stands today this concept would NOT proliferate. It would fall flat on it’s face. You happen to read the blogs of people who get how important origins are. You have NO idea how many AP’s and PAP’s out there are dead set against the idea. We are just blessed to have the company of either those who understand the importance of their children’s origin or those who are willing to contemplate it. Those who disagree only stick around long enough to insult us, not long enough to actually learn anything.
    It’s the AP’s and PAP’s that aren’t listening that we need to figure out how to reach. I believe it’s getting better but the majority still represents chosen ignorance because it’s easier and because it better suits their vision about what adoption “is”. Does that make sense?

  9. Mia…I understand what you are saying. In a democracy (a capitalistic one at that), I am not sure how the changes we want to bring about will occur any other way except through research and education. Much the same way anonymous donors provide sperm and eggs to make fatherless or motherless children (legally), I don’t know if anyone will be assertive enough to promote legislation to make adoption records open. I think it would only work state by state showing its successes for the children. I would much rather we built on the strengths of what we believe works well for kids rather than avoiding what we know does not. That is why I am so focused on anything to strengthen families and I am convinced when we can keep families together to help meet the needs of their children, we all win.

    What might you propose as a strategy to change public opinion and/or laws so that adoption records are open? I am all ears…well in this medium, make that all eyes 🙂

  10. This is a very informative post. Like many other aparents and paparents, I didn’t know which agencies were part of the NCAF. I admit that I gingerly went down that list, PRAYING that the agencies I’ve used weren’t going to be there. Thankfully, they weren’t.

    I think just getting the message out is a big help because their are folks who are simply ignorant. I understand that it’s going to be the rest who are hard to win over. I think that once people realize that they will be screwing over their children in a major way, more people will see the light and want their children to be able to find exactly who they came from.

    Of course, there are always those folks who are a hopeless cause.

  11. ACLU boggles me too. I’ve always had the utmost respect for ACLU. Now — this?! So, are we tromping on first parents’ civil liberties or something???

    *sigh*

    The “logic” of some of this escapes me.

  12. Margaret you may want to check this list:
    NCFA Member Agencies:
    http://www.ncfa-usa.org/agency/mem_agency.html#
    If your agency is on there consider writing to them and telling them as an AP you are in support of open records.

    Remember M2One to look at it in the context of profit. What orgs. claim they support something for and what they actually support it for can be vastly different.

    LeRoy I wish I had a clear cut strategy! I know it’s a matter of cutting through emotional barriers and misconceptions but if someone isn’t willing to listen you can’t force them to. This is why I get so excited to see PAP’s and AP’s making an effort by reading our blogs!

  13. Mia, I’m writing an article about adoption that includes the aspect of sealed records. Is it okay with you if I link back to this post?

  14. Hi Julie,

    I’m sure it will not only be OK but appreciated but I would like to ask who the article is for if you don’t mind. Or do you mean for your blog?

  15. At this point it is just a blog post, but I may work on it a bit more and make it an official “article” – to be published where, I don’t yet know. lol

    Thank you for letting me link. The post is up now.

  16. Suggestion Mia…why not make a compilation of adoptees’ blog entries describing their feelings; publish it and then either sell it or give it away to PAPs or APs? I am sure there are books out there but what I have read the past few months as been pretty moving….perhaps this has already been done though.

  17. Thanks Julie, I’ll go check it out!

    LeRoy it’s worth thinking about. I’m just not sure how one would distribute such a booklet. The hardest obstacle would be getting it into the hands of the right people. I doubt the agencies would hand it out. lol Still a good idea though.

  18. LeRoy Dissing said “why not make a compilation of adoptees’ blog entries describing their feelings; publish it and then either sell it or give it away to PAPs or APs?”

    Good idea. Why not hire a publicist, pay them with a percentage of proceeds to the book sales, another percentage to form a powerful lobby to counteract the NCFA?

    Anyone here good at such details?

  19. I’ve been giving this a lot of thought too. I’m down with the flu right now so not at all productive. Julie I would love to talk with you about this further. Maybe we could chat on the phone when I am feeling better?

  20. Anytime. Just email me and give me your number so I don’t ignore the call. lol

    I have another killer idea… working on the details. Michael Moore is involved. (slightly evil grin)

    (((((Mia))))) being sick sucks. Feel better soon (like yesterday)!

  21. And Julie…proceeds could go to help fund an organization to help mothers who are considering adoption to be aware of all the issues. Plus hire a lobbyist to work on legislators to change laws so they are more adoptee/parent friendly…perhaps even develop a magazine or publication the comes out quarterly delinating adoptee/parents’ feelings, talking about identity, loyalty, open records, and many other related, important topics PAP and AP should know about. I wonder how well that would fly. It seems like there is a big gap a magazine like this could fill. I have a hunch it would go over big and get a lot of negative publicity (we’ll take it) from the mainstream 🙂

  22. Honestly Julie I think Michael Moore is the Rush Limbaugh of democrats. I would pull my hair out if I were stuck on an deserted island with either of them! lol Still though I am VERY curious to hear your ideas. ;o)

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