I’ll make this short and sweet. I don’t speak for adoptees, nor do they need me to. Except, people keep using us first moms as an excuse to deny adoptees equal rights and access to their birth certificates so I couldn’t simply just sit around and not say anything.
Today the Missouri House voted 125-28 to pass legislation for “open access” to original birth certificates for adopted persons born in their state. Seems all well and good on the surface, right? Wrong.
This bill is dirty. This bill is a “mother, may I?” bill. It makes adoptees seek permission from the people who gave birth to them in order to see an accurate and true record of their birth. Not only that, it allows the agencies and attorneys that facilitated their adoption to charge them MONEY in order to seek out the natural parents to see if it’s okay with them if the adoptee gets their original birth certificate. And, if the natural parents can’t be found, then, SORRY! No birth certificate for you. How in the world is this a GREAT thing?! Houston, we have a problem.
Why should adoptees have full access to the original and accurate record of their birth?
Because it’s theirs. Not yours. Not the state’s. Not the adoptive parent’s. THEIRS. Because adoptees are the only class of people that exist in this country that DON’T have access to their records.
What about birthmothers who wished to remain anonymous?
First, the percentage of natural mothers that wish to remain anonymous is MINISCULE, at best. But even if it weren’t, it doesn’t matter. Too BAD. Your wish to remain anonymous does not trump someone’s right to an accurate record of their birth, like everyone else has.
What about clauses that let birthmothers redact their information off a birth certificate? That should be allowed right?
Nope. Not. At. All. See, we are confusing the right to refuse contact with the privilege of remaining anonymous. They are NOT the same. The right to refuse contact exists for every person on this planet. I don’t have to talk to my neighbor if I don’t want to. I don’t have to talk to my mother either. Even if I’m not adopted. If I tell someone not to contact me anymore and they continue to do so, I call the police and file a report for harassment. WE ALREADY HAVE LAWS IN THIS COUNTRY TO PROTECT PEOPLE FROM UNWANTED CONTACT. This confusion seems to stem from the confusion of the right to know one’s accurate birth information, like everyone else, with the privilege of having a reunion. Original birth certificates do help facilitate reunions, yes, and that’s a wonderful thing! But that is not the only reason adoptees deserve the right to obtain their original birth certificates. Even if an adoptee has NO interest in a reunion, they still have the right to an accurate record of their birth. Period. Reunion is separate from the right to this information.
But what if the birthmother hasn’t told anyone about the child she gave up? Wouldn’t that ruin her life?
Because a picture of a person holding a sign circulating around social media with millions of views and shares sure is a lot more private, isn’t it? Non-identifying information, viewed by the correct person, is just as telling as identifying information. Wouldn’t those very very very few women who didn’t wish to have their “secrets” made public have rather a sibling, child, friend, NOT find out about the child she gave up through a picture on social media? Besides, it wouldn’t matter anyway. Adoptees should have a RIGHT to their accurate birth record…no matter what.
Who exactly is opposing total open records and original birth certificates – UNREDACTED?
Who, really, I want to know? I’m sorry I’ve been too busy to do all of my research, but who, exactly, wrote this bill, and why wasn’t the bill written to give true, full access to the adoptee? What, did someone find the one (out of a million) birthmother who opposes being found? Is it the religious zealots that facilitate the adoptions in the first place worried about future clients? I’ve heard the abortion argument thrown in there – if women think a child will find them later they’ll abort it instead.
Absurd!! Totally absurd!! A woman who has no problem with abortion isn’t going to carry an unplanned pregnancy to full term, anyway. Sorry, isn’t going to happen. So, WHO IS IT EXACTLY that is opposed to this and why are legislators willing to compromise when it comes to the RIGHTS of a certain
subclass of people in this country?
The solution is all very simple. I’ll tell you why.
I’m a birthmother, first mother, natural mother, biological mother, who relinquished my child to adoption. I’ve worked tirelessly in the adoption community, have conversed with thousands of other first mothers, and I have not met ONE that opposed their child obtaining intact full access to their original birth certificate. In Ohio, out of 400,000 original birth certificates, belonging to adoptees, their were 259 requests for redaction. That is LITERALLY 0.006% of birthmothers. You have about the same chance of winning the Ohio Lottery – FYI. So why are people being denied rights for the privilege of such a miniscule number of people?
Well, they say, because at least the majority will have access. No. Just no. I don’t care. 259 adoptees being denied their rights for the privilege of someone else to remain anonymous – NO.
Let’s try this in another context.
The slaves who can get permission from their slaveowners will be freed.
You can practice your religion after we first get permission from your high school teacher.
As a woman, you can vote, but only those whose husband’s give permission.
See where this is going?
Would ANY of you accept any of THESE compromises? Then why are you now?
Dear Missouri Lawmakers,
I bet you think you’re doing a great thing! Some of you may truly believe that. Here I am, telling you, you’re NOT. You are doing a grave disservice to the people of Missouri who were born in your state and adopted. They had no choice in the matter, no say so. Their original birth certificate was locked away.
I IMPLORE you to stop right now and pass a CLEAN bill.
I’m just a birthmother, and adoptees don’t need me to speak for them, but I am SICK AND TIRED of being used as a scapegoat to deny rights to people. I won’t stand for it any longer. Do the math, it doesn’t even make sense.
One irate birthmother.
“It makes me feel used, all over again, when they say it’s about protecting the birthmothers. It’s like, you weren’t protecting me then, you really, now that I know what I know, you wanted my child.”
-Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy