My name is Amy K. Burt. I am writing all of you again. I am sure by now that you have heard of the Allison Quets case. I am also sure that you might have heard about Rashad Head. I am even more sure that you have heard about Stephanie Bennett. All of these people and many many more have suffered at the hands of adoption agencies and their attorneys.
With Rashad Head, he did everything right. He filed with both of the putative registries in Florida and Georgia before his child was even born. Five days after his son was born he established paternity in a Georgia Court of Law. The judge actually said it was the fastest he had ever seen someone file. When the adoption agency called asking for consent to the adoption, he said a resounding NO. Somehow his son ended up being adopted by Ricky Watters, former NFL Miami Dolphins player and his family. Ricky Watters ended up returning Rashad's son to the adoption agency. This young man, supported by his family, still does not have custody of his child. The judge in this case still has not done a DNA test.
With Stephanie Bennett, her high school counseling gave her a pamphlet belonging to an adoption agency and told her to run away from home. Her parents were never notified by the school. It is also my understanding that the school district's superintendent owns the adoption agency. How would you as parents feel if your daughter became pregnant and was given this very advice? Most states require that parents be notified if the minor child has an abortion but minors have the absolute right to put a child up for adoption without her parents' consent. A minor can not even enter a contract in every other aspect of their life but they can give a child away without parental consent.
With Allison Quets, she was coerced by her boyfriend, his family, the adoption attorney ( who believes in compliance in the adoption plan ), and the adoption agency. This woman was ill from a severe form of morning sickness. There were times when she thought she would not live to raise her children. She changes her mind about the adoption within twelve hours after signing. She has spent $400,000 trying to undo this. She is desparate at this time and takes measures into her own hands. As a parent, I am sure that you can understand.
I present evidence again about how a majority of birth parents did not want confidentiality, did not ask for confidentiality, and do not need that confidentiality. Oregon's statistics prove overwhelmingly that 99% of birth parents do not want that confidentiality. In the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute's research study, birth parents again spoke loudly. Their statistics were 90%. Why are the laws currently set up to protect the few? What are you going to do about the statistics that prove that birth parents are hurt and destroyed by the laws currently in place? Can you imagine what it feels like to give a child up for adoption? I know that I can not. Do you really think that these women and men feel any different? They are just like us. You would be surprised how many adoptees and their parents are really roaming around. We are everywhere. We are not in the stereotyped places. We are your everyday average folk. We have one that is a governor in Iowa. We have one that is in the New Hampshire legislature. I am sure that there are many more but we do not hear their voices.
Why is it that adoptees and their families are punished without having done anything wrong? The non adopted folk do not deal with this. We are guilty before we can even prove we are innocent if we have done anything wrong. Why are our parents continually punished for what they did? Our mothers were many times coerced by society, their parents, and the agencies involved in each of their cases. There are countless of women who have horror stories to tell. Some were never given any pain medicine. Some were tied to a hospital bed and left there until they delivered. Some were also drugged so that they would not remember the delivery, the signing of the relinquishment, or even see their own child. Just read Ann Fessler's book (The Girls Who Went Away) about these women. I am sure you saw the articles in the Detroit paper.
All that we are seeking is access to our records. Unfettered and total access to our records that record our lives. I deserve to have a copy of the document that records my birth. I do not necessarily have the right to a reunion. Since having that dream (which would make me happy) would be considered in the pursuit of happiness, you are denying my right to pursue happiness. You are also denying my right to privacy by interfering in my life. The state government decides that I can not see the records that record my first five weeks of life. I tell my daughters often the story of their beginning. Its my favorite stories to tell. Don't you discuss that with your children?
As I have researched the two court cases that fought against opening the records, the courts both concluded that this basic human right does not include adoption. With abortion, contraception, and parenting, women are exercising their right to familial privacy. With adoption birth parents are giving up their rights. A woman does not have the right to put her child up for adoption. As such, that same woman does not have the right to have her name withheld and secreted away from that child. Abortion is a medical procedure. Contraception is also a medical procedure. Both of these are protected under the HIPPA law and medical privacy laws in the entire country. Every parent has the right to pretty much raise their children as they see fit. With adoption, a parent signs away their rights. Its called relinquishment. With adoption records, the courts did not seal them at this time. They sealed them once the adoption is finalized. In many states, the relinquishment papers are not eveni n with the sealed records. If confidentiality was a concern on the part of birth parents, then why are relinquishment paperwork not sealed initially?
Explain to me why adoptees are forced to comply with a contract made about them, without their consent, and for the rest of our lives. Why are we the forever children of adoption?
When the passport laws go into effect, many of us will not be allowed to leave the country and return. We do not have the records that properly record our birth. We do not have the medical history that our country's Surgeon General says that we need. Non adopted individuals can go to their parents and find out. We can not because we are adopted.
Again I have enclosed the links to many of the statistics, the petitions, the research studies, and so much more. Remember this ~ Moses also returned to fight for his birth family against the Egytians. Let us have access to our records.
Amy K. Burt
Studies and Research:
Surgeon General Family History Project
National Association of Social Workers
Court Cases from Tennessee and Oregon
Adoptee, Birth Parent, and Adoptive Parent Supporters