Clarification

 Regarding my post Fact vs Fiction~

After hearing from both Andrew Curliss (the News Observer journalist who wrote the article) and from David Vaughan, (the gentleman for which the article was written) I am afraid my post Fact vs Fiction may have been misunderstood. Before some clarification I would like to begin by thanking Andrew and David for bringing this matter to the public eye. I would also like to offer a hearty thanks to Representative Margaret Dickson for her efforts.

With that being said, here is a portion of my response to Andrew Curliss:

I clearly understood the comment (“Whose rights trump whose?”) was from a SUPPORTER of open records. My tone may have come across cynical but it was intended to challenge the
current thinking regarding the word “rights” in regard to open records.

All too often the argument circles around to whose “rights” are more important. My
point is that there is only one party whose rights are being infringed upon and
that is the adoptee. As I said earlier there is no such thing as a right to
confidentiality so how can it be a matter of whose rights trump whose? It is the
adoptee’s birth certificate that is sealed, not members of our natural family
and not members of our adoptive family. They all have their birth certificates.

In conclusion I would like to say that although we are all GRATEFUL for the assistance of the elected officials who ARE paying attention, I think it is extremely important that they convey the proper message because they are getting listened to. It is of the utmost importance that the matter be presented clearly, without the added social garbage so often piled upon it. Again, the only rights being infringed upon are the adoptees and this is a point we cannot lose sight of.

Most Sincerely.

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33 Comments

Filed under Adoption Politics, Open Records, Truthful Musings

33 responses to “Clarification

  1. I agree with you Mia…everyone should have “equal” rights and the ability to exercise them when needed. I also agree that giving recognition to those who support that concept is proper and develops good will.

  2. David Vaughan

    Thanks Mia, I understood the point you were trying to make, I just wanted to make sure you knew she was on our side. I appreciate your thoughts and support and I am glad you got to talk with Andy as well, we are really thankful for the effort he put in to make it a wonderful article.

    Later

  3. Polly

    Mia, there are good reasons birth mothers want to hide their pregnancy. A woman who was raped, for instance, or a victim of incest, might be harmed psychologically if this child were to come back into her life and cause her to relive that horror all over again. How would such public disclosure help? And we know some adoptees would not hesitate to contact relatives of the birth mother in the quest for “more information,” despite the possibility that the details of conception are hidden and shameful to the birth mother. How do you balance the rights of the child over the rights of the mother? This argument is not as black and white as you make it out to be. Those supporting confidentiality realize that reality sometimes is not as pretty and romantic as some adoptees hope for.

    I fully support providing an easy way for both mother and child to sign permission to be contacted later in life – this exists already, I believe. This seems to me to be the most common-sense solution. And if the birth mother wants no contact and no information given out, I would respect that, however difficult it may be for the child to accept. It goes the other way as well. Some adoptees don’t want contact with their birth families. That, too, should be respected.

  4. mia

    I’m sorry Polly but our birth certificates have nothing to do with reunion. Just as non adopted persons birth certificates have nothing to do with their personal relationships or lack there of. It actually IS a black and white issue.

    Let’s just follow your thought process anyway. In cases of rape are you suggesting that the adoptee is somehow responsible right along side the rapist? No, that would be silly. Why is it then that the rapist has his birth certificate yet the adult adoptee does not? We have laws in place in this country to protect people from unwanted contact. Adoptees having access to our birth certificates is not a criminal act. Please don’t make it out to be one. Secrecy and shame and unresolved emotions have nothing to do with a human being’s right to their identity.

    You said: How do you balance the rights of the child over the rights of the mother?

    Again, I will say….my mother has her birth certificate. My mother knows who she is, where she came from, what nationality she is, her medical history, her heritage. Her rights are not being infringed upon in this manner. Shall we just make it an eye for an eye mentality? Shall we strip a mother who relinquishes a child of everything listed above and call it even? Shall we make her sign over her identity right along with her child? I would be so sad if that were the case. I would not wish this feeling, this lack of a sense of Self, on anyone.

    What RIGHTS of our mothers are being infringed upon by giving us our idenity?

  5. David Vaughan

    Polly,
    Perhaps you should read the article from this past Sunday in which I never discuss reunion. For what ever reason my conception happened and then the choice of relinquishing me for adoption was made, I am thankful because no matter what I was given the opportunity to know and love the mother who raised me.
    Most adoptees are NOT interested in reunion as I have found it, but simply being able to attain the same information that any non-adoptee can. Reunion for me is a by-product, I have no ache or urge to meet them, but I do need a family medical history to help my doctor’s determine if there are other issues I may encounter in addition to the one I already have.
    I understand your anguish and fear of acknowledging the past, however you were selfless once when choosing life, and selfless again when relinquishing for adoption…that’s great love, so is it so hard to be selfless one more time and allow adoptees access to legal documents the can help answer questions or save the life that was once selflessly given away?

  6. Well said, David.

    Know that Mia speaks from the heart. She’s one of a kind and she’s an incredible person! I am so GRATEFUL to have crossed her path! This package of dynamite (that we call Mia) is about to change the world (and in a positive way)! Mark my words! 😉

    (((((((((MIA)))))))))))

  7. mia

    Gee Kevin, no pressure there! lol

    David thank you, I thought your comment was well put too.

  8. Mia, this is totally off the subject but I wanted to let you know that I’ve nominated you for the Thinking Blogger Award. Hope you don’t mind. 🙂

  9. mia

    Thank You so much! I adore you so the feeling is quite mutual. I love your openness and your desire to be the best mom you can be.

    I can’t wait to read the other blogs you nominated! I find my time seriously limited lately and have really missed reading blogs. I have to find a quiet time to sit down and catch up with everyone soon.

    xoxo

  10. Polly

    David, I am neither an adoptee nor a birth mother. I am just trying to see both sides. I think it is fine to get medical information. Why can’t that information be sought while allowing either party to maintain confidentiality? In the case of rape/incest, I think it is perfectly logical and humane to allow the birth mother all means possible to allow her to move on and not be haunted by the past. We all know that some adoptees, armed with their birth mother’s name, would indeed go overboard and dig for information from the mother’s relatives, considering it their right to know all the gory details without consideration of their birth mothers. And on the other side, some birth mothers, armed with knowledge of their children’s whereabouts, would harass those children for a “relationship” despite the child’s wishes.

    I think medical information can be supplied without giving away confidential information. Perhaps it could be a legal requirement in adoptions that the birth parent supply a full medical history and keep it updated with information on immediate family upon request from any adopted child. Failure to do so would be a breach of contract and punishable by a fine.

    That would satisfy the medical questions without breaking any confidentiality concerns.

    My questions regarding the issuance of the original birth certificate is that it would allow unrestricted tracking of an individual despite any wishes to the contrary. That is why I think the issue is not so cut-and-dry. I realize it’s an emotional issue. Adoptees want to know “who they are” and see it as their right, superseding the right of their birth mothers to protection of their psychological health. I don’t have the answers, but I certainly hope I am allowed to think of balancing the rights and responsibilities of both parties and would hope others would also consider them as well.

  11. Mia, just came by to say that PstSecret changes every week, so you may not get to see the exact same image and reply I did, but I have a copy/electronic image of it if you want to email me.

  12. Okay, and after reading these comments above, I also have to come back to say that I’m not only an adoptee, but also an advocate for abused women, and victims of violence, so much so that I cannot let this go.

    If a woman has PTSD and trauma after a rape and /or subsequent pregnancy, she needs to get help for her issues for her own sake, whether or not she ever encounters the child she gives up for adoption. I have worked with rape victims of all types, and the ones who keep it all in, keep it a secret from their family, and pretend it never happened, do far far worse than the ones who deal with it.

    Closed records do not protect the psychological health of the mother, they perpetuate the trauma, and the shame. They also let the rapist get away with not taking responsiblity for his crime. Which means he may get to commit crimes against more innocent family members. A bad idea, IMHO.

  13. mia

    Auriela I was going to write a post about just this subject. I am so glad you brought it up. I whole heartedly agree.

  14. David Vaughan

    To all,

    The ability to bear children is a gift from GOD, no matter how the conception happened, I believe that it was GOD’s will. I agree that a rape victim may not want to re-live the event, but trying to deny that it happened…punishing the child of the event is not justified, nor rational as aurelia stated earlier. The document I have as a birth certificate now is a lie and is a false document (some people are charged with this as a crime), it should be called an adoption certificate. As for some adoptees taking this information and seeking out family members for answers to their questions, if that is their intent they will find a way to get this information with out having their records unsealed. This is the information age and nothing is completly hidden anymore.
    Polly, you are certainly welcome to your thoughts no matter where you come from in the triad or not in the triad.

    Let me ask you to put yourself in my shoes for a moment and see how you answer this question:
    Hello Polly, my name is Dr. Vaughan and we have your child stabilzed at the moment in ICU, but we are unsure of the cause for their condition. We need you to answer some questions of the childs family medical history, can you do that for us? This will possibly speed up our ability to treat them if you can.
    [Your child is adopted and the adoption happened in a state that seals the records and you cannot access them]
    What would you do for your child?
    What if your the one adopted and your child is biologically yours and the doctor still needs to know your family’s medical history?
    This is why the information needs to be open to the ADULT adoptee or their lineal descendant.

  15. Polly

    I am not a Christian, so I am not sure I agree with David that children are a gift from god. I think they are part of a natural life process, but if you are pulling religion in this discussion, I think I’ll have to bow out. I always lose when Christians get into it. Talk about black and white!

    Anyway, I also agree that rape victims need to come to terms with their trauma. Their treatment is up to them, however, not up to well-meaning anonymous people who tell them they need to “get over it.” That patronizing and belittling attitude leaves a bad taste in my mouth. If they want to keep something secret, who are you to tell them not to? And how do you know they have not dealt with it in their own way? A woman should not be vilified for wanting to keep something secret. She may indeed have “gotten over it” through treatment or whatever, but that doesn’t mean she wants her cousins, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles all contacted and asked about the trauma, just so one person can have more details about “who she is.”

    And I think that family medical history can indeed be supplied on an ongoing basis while keeping confidentiality. David, you missed the extent of my suggestion above. Given my suggested solution, in your hypothetical case, the sick person would have had that information already, required by law. She would not, however, have the name of her mother to track down and harass all living relatives in order to get the lurid details of her conception, all under the guise of “knowing who she is.” Unless, of course, her birth mother signed the waiver form to allow that information passed.

    Privacy is sacred and should be protected, in my opinion. The government is in the process of dismantling most of our privacy walls anyway; we should be left with something. Contact and personal information should be given only by the consent of both individuals.

  16. mia

    Well ouch. Just ouch.

    Polly your concern for the emotional well-being of our mothers is touching. I find it rather strange though that your concern is cut off right above the womb.

    As a mother I can say with all certainty that to love me is to love my sons and daughters. We are not “the trauma”, we are not “just one person”. Putting “who she is” in quotations in and of itself made a statement and spoke volumes about your mindset toward adoptees. Which seems strange to me because I suspect you are the mother to one. Maybe not but either way your wording is disrespectful. Do we not deserve just a tad more respect here?

    Compassion for another human being is wonderful but in your case it seems rather one sided and quite frankly a bit confusing. You may not realize it but when you say things like “she may want to keep someTHING secret…well, you make it personal. Why no compassion and understanding for us? You seem confused about what adoption is and what it is not.

    You have struck a lot of emotional chords with me. I allowed your words to hurt me. That’s my deal not yours, but at the end of the day Polly our emotions have nothing at all to do with open records. Regardless of how you feel or how I feel or how she feels, it still has nothing to do with our right to identity.

  17. The issue is black and white. Birth certificates and reunions are separate issues.

    If one class of citizen is allowed access to their original birth certificate, but others are denied – while countless minimum wage file clerks can see it – that is a civil rights issue.

  18. mia

    Thank you my friend. ((((((Theresa)))))
    Too bad the ACLU doesn’t see it that way. I guess they lost their lawbooks in a fire. Must be the same fire that claimed our records huh? ;o)

  19. Someone please explain to me why 5% of the natural mothers who may wish to remain unknown to their offspring should trump 95% of us (adopted people).

    How does a law ever get passed that protects such a small minority at the expense of the vast majority?

    Why should adopted people and the generations that follow them have to remain forever in the dark about their genetics and heritage?

    It’s unconstitutional. It’s APPALLING.

    If I am not a full-fledged citizen of this country, what am I? I suggest Civil Disobedience. I suggest that all adoptees in states with closed records refuse to pay their state taxes until access is granted.

  20. Anyway, I also agree that rape victims need to come to terms with their trauma. Their treatment is up to them, however, not up to well-meaning anonymous people who tell them they need to “get over it.” That patronizing and belittling attitude leaves a bad taste in my mouth. If they want to keep something secret, who are you to tell them not to? And how do you know they have not dealt with it in their own way? A woman should not be vilified for wanting to keep something secret. She may indeed have “gotten over it” through treatment or whatever, but that doesn’t mean she wants her cousins, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles all contacted and asked about the trauma, just so one person can have more details about “who she is.”

    Yes, their treatment is up to them, Polly. And if a long-lost child comes to them for a reunion, their treatment is still up to them… they can seek counseling and treatment to deal with any trauma that may get brought to the surface, or they can continue to refuse.

    Giving adoptees their OBCs doesn’t “force treatment” on anyone.

    It’s funny… as someone who is a consumer of mental health treatments… I find your reply to be much more condescending in regards to trauma than I find Auriela’s. In fact, I find Auriela’s comment to be right on the mark.

    And I think you are confusing the right to privacy with the right to anonymity. (Or should I say, the fictitious right to anonymity?) There is no legal document promising relinquishing moms the right to anonymity. There is no law promising it. There is no amendment in the Constitution promising it. (Though I imagine the NCFA would love to get an amendment…)

    BTW… according to the polls we have available, somewhere around 98-99% of relinquishing moms are perfectly okay with open records. Many WANT open records.

    You can count me in that group.

    I love my daughter. I want her to have what belongs to her. I want her to be treated like every other citizen in this country. I want her to be treated like an adult, not infantilized. I want to be treated like an adult, not infantilized–not having some lawmakers assume I need their “protection” to keep my horrible past from “retraumatizing” me. I’m perfectly capable of dealing with any trauma myself, without the help of the politicians, thank you very much.

    Make no mistake: closed records are condescending–to adoptees AND to their moms. They don’t protect us. They keep us firmly shoved in the proverbial closet of shame.

  21. David Vaughan

    Hello everyone, the House J1 committee will hear our bill on Tuesday May 1st at 10 am. If you live near Raleigh and have the time, come be there for support.

  22. mia

    Julie and Nicole I really appreciate your comments. I am STILL (after all these years), learning how to convey truth without allowing other’s opinions to get to me. It’s hard sometimes, dealing with the same tired arguements over and over and over again. Some of them are triggering for me, I tend to take certain comments personally. I need to learn to remove myself emotionally and stick with the facts because they really do speak for themselves.

  23. mia

    GOOD LUCK DAVID!!!!! Please let us know how it goes! Can I send any last minute letters of support?

  24. Polly stated:
    Mia, there are good reasons birth mothers want to hide their pregnancy. A woman who was raped, for instance, or a victim of incest, might be harmed psychologically if this child were to come back into her life and cause her to relive that horror all over again. How would such public disclosure help?

    I can prove this to be not true. We have a birthmother who was a rape victim and has been reunited with her son and has a happy ongoing relationship with him, who will be speaking at the committee hearings.

    It wasn’t the child’s fault… and once again, not about reunion.

    Also, this legislation will give those birthmother’s who do not want contact a way to voice that now. Something they have never had. With the latest technology and the internet, adoptees and birthparents alike are finding one another without birth certificates. So now a birth parent can choose if they want to have contact, have contact through a confidential intermediary or the do not want contact. We only hope that if a birth parent chooses no contact that they will send an updated medical information form to the audlt adoptee or adult lineal descendant of a deceased adoptee.

    The other statement Polly made regarding giving medical information at the time of adoption…. well that has always been there. However for a lot of us that information is over 50 years old. When the birthmother relinquished, she may not have had the breast, cervical, or heaven knows what other type of cancer. She may not have known that aunt susie had schizophrenia which by the way is very genetic. So you see updated medical info is pertinent.

    But this legislation is strictly about a right to a document which everyone else has a right to see except for adoptees.

    I would urge anyone who reads this who is from North Carolina, or if they relinquished, adopted or were adopted in NC but no longer live here to write to the legislators to the county in which the above happened. Also out on our website we have a testimony template which they can fill out and send to me by Monday.

    Thank You Mia for this terrific blog.

  25. Oh by the way we welcome testimony from any concerned citizen living in NC also who believes this is a right for adult adoptees.

  26. mmmmm- if Polly is neither an adoptee or a birth mother – her convictions sound strongly of an adoptive mother who does not want their adoptive child to go looking for their first family????
    JMHO

  27. Well, it seems that while I was away, all heck has broken loose. Thanks to many of the pp who defended my point. (And sorry if we are hijacking your blog Mia!)

    As for Polly, well, I never once said “get over it” nor would I EVER. As for the patronizing and belittling comments? Fighting for someone’s right to live in honesty is never patronizing. The adoptee’s in question Polly could only come forward after 18 years. Feeling shame after 18 years is not a sign that someone has worked on their issues. It’s a sign that they need to keep going.

    As long as we continue the myth that sexual assault is a different crime than all others, that the victims (our first mothers) are at fault, the shame is continuing, & we will continue to suffer as a society. Your uncles and aunts would know if someone had broken into your house. Or stolen your car. They would still love you and care for you. So why should it be different with rape or incest?

    In fact, with incest, there is even a greater urgency. Generations of women in the same families have been assaulted, become pregnant, required to give up their babies, and those children of incest have had greater medical problems, genetic problems which stem from the circumstances of their birth.

    Ongoing medical information isn’t going to help as much as knowing their mother and father are related, either by looking at their OBC or speaking directly to the first mother. Some of these genetic illnesses are deadly, and no, the right to privacy doesn’t even come into it.

    Ontario’s new Privacy Act, for instance, specifically allows descendants to look into their relatives medical files for health information. (This mainly applies to people in non-adoptive families.)I had no right to do that before, but now I do, because all courts around the world recognize that all rights have limits.

  28. Seems like everyone is sorta ganging up on Polly a bit, as she has indeed struck a nerve trying to find reasoning for supporting some kind of closed records scenario.

    I can tell you all that less than a year ago, I kindof had the same line of thinking. It seems so logical to want to protect privacy. It really does seem logical to most people, particularly those not impacted by adoption, to assume that parents who place their children for adoption just want to move on with their lives and not have those wounds re-0pened.

    I guess what I’m saying is – go easy on Polly as it takes a looooong time to travel along this path of thinking about things from the perspective most of you are espousing here. It sounds to me that she really is trying to put herself in the shoes of a birth mother. And for her, it’s natural to think that maybe she would not want to be contacted.

    In my mind the bottom line is this and I hope this helps you Polly. A woman gave birth and the child was adopted by another family. The adoption took place, there is no guarantee of secrecy. All involved made a choice in the matter except the child. Those who made those choices do not have a right to hide them from the child for whom they were made.
    -GDS

  29. Polly wrote:

    “We all know that some adoptees, armed with their birth mother’s name, would indeed go overboard and dig for information from the mother’s relatives, considering it their right to know all the gory details without consideration of their birth mothers.”

    So your rationale for sealing every adult adoptee’s birth records is because “some” adoptees may “go overboard”. Adult adoptees are responsible, law abiding citizens unless proved otherwise, at least that’s the guiding principle of the laws in the US that I live in. Why should all adult adoptees have the right to their identity violated because some hypothetical adoptees may act in a way that disturbs you?

    Just because there is a small minority of first parents may have been raped or victims of incest (and I think you’ll agree that the vast majority of women who relinquish are not raped nor the victims of incest), it does not follow that the state should seal the records of the vast majority of adoptees who are not the issue of a rape or of an incestuous relationship. It’s disproportionate, and when you add the implication that adoptees are potentially unstable stalkers, your remarks transcend emotionalism and begin to tip-toe into hysteria.

    “My questions regarding the issuance of the original birth certificate is that it would allow unrestricted tracking of an individual despite any wishes to the contrary. ”

    Well, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but searching for and contacting a birthparent is not against the law, even in states with sealed records.

    “That is why I think the issue is not so cut-and-dry. I realize it’s an emotional issue. Adoptees want to know “who they are” and see it as their right, superseding the right of their birth mothers to protection of their psychological health. I don’t have the answers, but I certainly hope I am allowed to think of balancing the rights and responsibilities of both parties and would hope others would also consider them as well.”

    After birth certificates were unsealed for adult adoptees in Oregon in 1998 by ballot initiative, we worked with their legislature to design a contact preference form which allowed first parents a mechanism to communicate to their desire to be contacted or not contacted. This form can be updated without limitation and placed in the file with the original birth certificate. This way all adult adoptees in Oregon may access their state held documents of birth, the first parents can communicate their wishes, and, thusfar, the sky hasn’t fallen. Alabama and New Hampshire have used this model.

  30. Anonymous

    I apologize, I should have disclosed that I am indeed the mother of two adopted children. I am in full contact with both birth mothers. We talk often on the telephone, my children know their first and last names, and I hide nothing from the children. They are still very young, so I tailor my information to them in an age-appropriate fashion. When they are older, I am sure there will be visits, telephone calls, letters, etc. I am very aware my children will have questions and want to know about their birth families and I plan to make it as easy for them as possible.

    I also am a sister to an adopted brother who has no desire to know his birth family. The one person he did meet stole money from him.

    I can see why some birth mothers want to keep their information private,whether because of trauma or whatever. I feel that “rights” go both ways. Obviously many of you don’t. How do you balance a child’s right with that of the birth mother who has a right to decide what she wants her family to know? That is my only point, one I am afraid has been lost in all the vitriol thrown around. I had hoped that some of you would help me explore the various options. The one I suggested, a lifelong contractual obligation (with fines for non-compliance) to provide updated medical data while maintaining privacy, was thrown out immediately. Not sure why. I think it has potential as a middle ground for those who want or need medical data only.

    Mia, I often learn from your blog and I appreciate it very much. It has opened my eyes in many ways. However, I can see the learning does not go both ways. In this blog, it is your way or the highway. That’s very sad. Good luck with that sort of attitude. It will find you no allies. It’s easy to keep convincing those who are already convinced, when what you want to find (I think, I hope) is middle ground with those who don’t think like you. Attack mode when someone like me opens their mouth is not a good strategy for that.

  31. mia

    Polly if you will read through MY comments to you without the assumed anger I would hope you see a far different picture. You were not attacked you were challenged.

    Like I said earlier, you happened to touch upon a subject that is extremely triggering for me so emotion was involved. That is something I work on continually. If you have read my blog for a while you should know that I welcome varying opinions and do my best to be “fair” in my response. I have actually shifted my thinking plenty after someone gave me a new perspective to consider. But you are correct about your idea being dismissed. I didn’t address it because I didn’t think it was a good idea. I assume you understand we are allowed to disagree. Medical information is not all I seek. Identity for me is equally important. Your idea does not support that fulfillment.

    I can understand how voicing an unpopular opinion can result in feeling ganged up on but you too had a unique opportunity to learn something here. You have heard from all members of the triad in support of open records with substantial and solid reasons why. Yet you have come back with the same exact question. I am not suggesting you completely change your mind but some acknowledgement for what everyone has said here would have been nice.

    I hope you come back but if you decide this isn’t the place for you I wish you peace.

  32. Even though there have never been any written promises to birthmother’s, everyone wants to protect them. What are you protecting them from? They gave up a child, not some unsuspecting ogre.

    I become weary trying to tell people to stop assuming what adult adoptees will do if they obtain their birth certificate.

    Two other states have the same provision we are allowing for in NC. A contact preference form. This will allow birthmothers to state: They want contact, want contact through an intermediary or they do not want contact. This is something they cannot do today in NC, with people finding people everyday via the internet.

    The medical data is not the only item. This legislation is about a right to a document. A document which is a vital statistic of that human beings very existence on the planet. The amended birth certificate, is a document which is issued at the finalization of adoption, not at birth, and therefore cannot and will NEVER be a birth certificate.

    If every other person in North Carolina is allowed to have a copy of this document, then why should restrictions be placed on the adoptee? They are the one person who never had a voice or a choice in the contracts signed by adoptive parents and the state.

    Once they become adults however, they should have the choice if they want it. It is time to allow for maturity in the 21st century. Time to allow adoptees to become adults in the statute not just in life.
    Roberta

  33. “I can see why some birth mothers want to keep their information private,whether because of trauma or whatever. I feel that “rights” go both ways. Obviously many of you don’t.”

    I think that adult adoptees and first parents have equal rights to all the other citizens of the US. No more, no less. No other parent gets the right to block their adult offsprings’ ability to access their own personal records. I think the question needs to be why should first mothers be accorded a right that no one else has?

    “How do you balance a child’s right with that of the birth mother who has a right to decide what she wants her family to know?”

    Since when is it the state’s obligation to protect family narratives? A first mother may tell her family anything she likes, but its not the state’s responsibility to guard her secret. Anyone, an aunt, a sibling, an old neighbor, is free under the current system to tell the first mother’s family what they know. The government has no more role in securing a first mother’s secret than it does to insure no one tells the truth about the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus.

    “That is my only point, one I am afraid has been lost in all the vitriol thrown around. I had hoped that some of you would help me explore the various options. The one I suggested, a lifelong contractual obligation (with fines for non-compliance) to provide updated medical data while maintaining privacy, was thrown out immediately. Not sure why.”

    For one thing it would violate HIIPA laws, the federal standard for medical information privacy. The identity of first parents is not safeguarded in any way outside of the sealed records laws in states that have them, but an individual’s medical information is tightly secured by federal law.

    “I think it has potential as a middle ground for those who want or need medical data only.”

    Adult adoptees should be treated equitably under the law, they should be able to access the same records of birth that non-adoptees can.

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