Monday, November 27, 2006

DEAR STATE LEGISLATOR

My name is Amy Burt. I am writing to you to ask you to change the adoptee access laws currently in place. These laws as they stand now violate an adoptee's basic human right to have his/her own original birth certificate. As Homeland Security is changing the laws for getting passports, adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents and many others will soon be affected. If the date filed is not within two weeks of date of birth, that person is suspect. An individual has to find other forms of identification proving their birth. This is something that adoptive parents and adoptees do not have under current state law. The Surgeon General is also promoting family medical history. Adoptees again do not have this especially those born in the days of closed records.

The main argument against access law is promised confidentiality. I have website links to two petitions signed by birth mothers across this country proving otherwise. These mothers also did not want that confidentiality especially from their children. I also have website links to the recent Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute research study proving otherwise again. I also have a website link to the Vital Statistics Department of Oregon again proving this information. Interesting facts from Oregon: 1% of birth parents don't want contact from their children. 1/4 of 1% want to be contacted via a confidential intermediary. I also have a web site link to the National Association of Social Workers who also believe that adoptees should be allowed access to their records.

I have also enclosed links to the two court cases, one in Tennessee and one in Oregon. Both of these pages show the Courts ruling on allowing access to adoptee access.

In Oregon this is what those judges ruled:

Because a birth mother has no fundamental right to have her child adopted, she also can have no correlative fundamental right to have her child adopted under circumstances that guarantee her identity will not be revealed. The state did not create a contract with birth mothers to guarantee them that their identities would not be revealed to their adopted children without their consent. Thereby the state is not honor bound by the so-called promises made by medical, religious, and social services to the birth mother.

In 1983, the legislature provided that not all original birth certificates were to be sealed when a child was relinquished for adoption, and the birth mother had no say in whether the original birth certificate was sealed.

In Tennessee:

Under former statutes, disclosure of records required judicial determination that such disclosure was in the best interest of the adoptee. Upon such a determination, there was no requirement that birth parents or other individuals be notified or have the option to register a veto preventing contact. There could also never be any reasonable expectation of confidentiality.

The argument - Open Records impede the right to familial privacy - falls short. With parenting, contraception, and abortion, women are exercising their rights to familial privacy. With adoption, birth parents relinquish their rights; thereby they do not get the procreational privacy as claimed for by this argument. Both of the states' court systems saw this in this argument.

Now this is very harsh looking at this conclusion. I do believe all in the adoption triad deserve access to adoption records and original birth certificates. I believe both birth parents deserve to know that their child is okay. With the laws currently in place, my birth father and my sister (his daughter born before I was) can not make contact with me nor I them. He and I both have been denied our rights. We did not give up our rights. My birth mother is the only one who gave up her rights, but somehow she has all of them now. Explain that one to me. I have been told that if she feels shame that the state should protect her. I was also told that the state should protect adoptive parents who have not told their children that they are adopted. By allowing access to the triad members, you are lifting the veil of shame surrounding birth mothers. As far as those adoptive parents not telling their children, how can a child find out if they do not know the truth? I personally don't believe that it is right for an adoptive parent to deny the truth from an adoptee.

It is time to give us our rights back. When Concerned United Birthparents, Origins-USA, adoptive parents, adoptees, birth parents, the National Association of Social Workers, Bastard Nation, American Adoption Congress, The Evan B. Donaldson Institute, the NACAC, the Child Welfare League of America, and many many others support our access to OUR records. Why can't you, the state legislator, listen to us? It is OUR lives that you regulate. Shouldn't you ask OUR opinion on this?

Sincerely
Amy K. Burt
Http://www.amyadoptee.blogspot.com (click on my blog and that will take you to the many many others who write about adoption)

Here are all the links that I mentioned in my letter:

The Petitions:

http://www.petitiononline.com/forbmoms/petition.html
http://www.geocities.com/moreopenrecords/
http://www.petition.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?nyarpt1


Studies and Research:

http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/research/2006_11_birthparent_wellbeing.php
http://www.txcare.org/surveyab/stats/adoptionrecord_ssl.html

Surgeon General Family History Project

Http://www.hhs.gov/familyhistory/

National Association of Social Workers

http://www.socialworkers.org/research/naswResearch/adoption/default.asp

Court Cases from Tennessee and Oregon

http://www.americanadoptioncongress.org/tennessee.htm
http://www.americanadoptioncongress.org/oregon.htm


Adoptee, Birth Parent, and Adoptive Parent Supporters

http://adopta2ya.com/
http://www.bastardnation.org
http://darkwing.uregon.edu/~adoption/
Http://www.cwla.org
http://www.chosen-babies.com
http://concernedunitedbirthparents.org
http://www.originsusa.com/
http://www.americanadoptioncongress.org
http://www.nacac.org

10 comments:

iris eyes said...

Amy, then there is the point that in most cases the mother did not 'willingly give up" her rights...they were taken from her under duress.Children were removed from their mothers in the hospital, before anything had even been signed. Mothers were threatened with"court termination" if they did not "sign voluntarily"..the whole idea that a "birth mothers right to privacy" was being protected is absurd and nothing but a criminal cover-up in these situations.
A forced surrender is nothing but a kidnapping...the government and the agencies know it and that is one of the real reasons why the records remain sealed.

AMYADOPTEE said...

I totally agree with you. I have to tackle this according to the way these attorneys have presented themselves in the law. I totally support birth mother rights. I have said that repeatedly. I have to debunk their theory. I have shown links to people who have experienced this. I will post any replies that I get.

Lindafisk said...

A wonderful post. I am also an adoptee in Texas, just found your blog recently and really appreciate it. Adoption is so hidden, it's good to see people who bring it out into the light! Thanks, Lindafisk

http://lindafisktimes.blogspot.com/

iris eyes said...

Amy, it isn't just about "mothers rights"..it is also the agencies trying to cover up what they did and what they know the records will reveal.They don't want it opened up because that opens them up to liability.I am not talking about the so-called liability if the "confidentiality" is "breached". I am talking about the illegalities that the open records can reveal.
The agencies and attorneys are very afraid of being sued(maybe worse).I have heard them admit it..

Sealed records are hiding much more than peoples names.

AMYADOPTEE said...

Again I agree with you, but I am an adoptee who is chasing the open records laws in Indiana. I am trying to change the laws the best way I know how. I think these adoption agencies of the past should be sued but I can't do that because I was not one of those that was affected by that type of situation. Have you thought about doing that? It seems that you were affected by that situation. If the courts and the legal system could hear what you had to say, maybe we could both do something

iris eyes said...

Amy, I do work in legislation and policy on these issues..that is where I have heard the agencies admit their fear of being sued.There are some lawmakers who have caught on.It is especially interesting when the adoption agencies lobbyist also lobbies for the abortion rights groups and the foster care agencies.

The agency that took my child was already sued and put out of business.

And you probaby already know all about Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Childrens Home Society. That was back before most/many of us were even born.Janine Baers book"Growing in the Dark" suggested that the sealing of records in this country started with Georgia Tann, who was found guilty of stealing 5000 babies through a racketeering charge.

I think it is time to start asking more questions...what all are they covering up??Instead of trying to counter their arguments with statistics.

We need to be more on the offense than the defense.

I know this is very very difficult and made even harder when you live far from the state where your records are(mine are not in my state of residence , either).

AMYADOPTEE said...

Okay I will look into and post something within the next couple of days. I hope I can use it in my next letter to the leggies in Indiana. Got anything on any upthere? Email me at amyburt40@yahoo.com

iris eyes said...

I don't know much about what is going on in Indiana, Amy..or its past history in adoption.I think you probably need to be there or know people who are, in order to get a more complete picture and history.

Wasn't it you who said that there is an adoption agency and an abortion clinic sharing the same building in a city in Indiana? Now that would be interesting to explore...especially since both sides have been opposed to opening the records.

AMYADOPTEE said...

I have found stuff on the previously mentioned agencies. What really gets my attention is adoptive parents suing adoption agencies for wrongful adoption. I don't know if that is a good thing or bad thing. To me as an adoptee its horrible. The ACLU, NARAL, and Planned Parenthood are some of biggest deformers in the world. I have to wonder about the effect of the birth mother research study has on them. If they have bothered to really think about women not having a adversarial relationshipt with their children. I sit here wondering - my own birth mother is frozen. Does she read this stuff- does she even acknowledge the pain that her parents put her through - what she has put me and two other people through. All I can say is why couldn't my mother been one of you guys.

FauxClaud said...

Damn woman, you HAVE been good and busy!
I am taking this one to LAbany with me!!!