I hope you had a good vacation. Now its time to get to work. My name is Amy K. Burt. I am an Indiana adoptee. I am asking you to change adoption as it now stands. I am not only asking you to allow adoptees and their parents access to the very records that record their birth but also asking you to step up and protect them as well.
Last year I wrote to you about natural parent and adoptee rights violations. I prayed that Indiana would not have its own case. Sadly it does. His name is Brynden Ayre. He is father in a very desparate fight for his child. He and his girlfriend conceived a child. She didn't want to raise another child. She had threatened to "dump" this child. He had family and friends on the lookout at every hospital. He registered on the putative father registry in Indiana and later Texas. She attempted to put the child up for adoption in Indiana but he was registered. She did the same in Texas but he was registered there too. Somehow she came across a Utah agency. The agency was the Adoption Center of Choice. They violated his rights completely. How is he able to keep with every state? His child was surrendered for adoption. His rights completely violated. He has no idea where his child is. He is now part of a group of fathers facing this issue.
Sadly it doesn't stop there. This story should shock the heck out of you. I hope it does. Melanie Addington was arrested on child abuse. She shook her newly adopted baby boy and then slammed him against the wall. Why should you be concerned? This baby was an Indiana hoosier. Which Indiana adoption agency/attorney allowed this to happen? Will the natural parents ever be allowed to know that their healthy baby boy was permanently brain damaged by the adoptive parent that they entrusted their child? Were comprehensive home studies and psychological studies even done on this family? As state legislators in the state of Indiana, you are responsible not just to your constituents but to those hoosiers who have been moved out of your state.
What could change and improve adoption in the state of Indiana? Allow adoptees and their parents access to the records that accurate record their birth. Sadly this is 21 years too late. Make open adoptions legally binding. Inform the natural parents if their children have died like what this woman is fighting. Take the money out of a huge unregulated business. The adoption industry is now according to the New York Times reports a 6.7 BILLION dollar business.
The arguments against adoptee access are foolish and harmful. Adoption vs. Abortion in five states has proved very fallible. Oregon, New Hamphshire, Kansas, and Alaska have had the lowest abortion rates across the country. They too have also had the highest adoption rates. Most adoptive parents are supporting access for their adopted adults. They truly are understanding that adoptees do indeed need access for their own civil rights and their heritage.
In both Tennessee and Oregon, their courts agreed with us fighting this uphill neverending battle.
Oregon's Supreme Court opined:
Because a natural 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 natural 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 natural 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 natural mother had no say in whether the original birth certificate was sealed.
Tennesse's Courts opined:
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 natural 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, natural 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
Interestingly enough the right to life groups in these states backed out these arguments once they were satisfied that adoptee rights would not affect the abortion rate in their state. We have proved it true in several states now. Last heard that the state of Tennesse was considering doing away with their contact veto. There also has been no reports of adoptees stalking their natural parents.
Confidential Intermediary laws don't work. Neither does the passive registry. The CI system is set up to protect others. It doesn't allow to parties to have their own private conversation with the other party. It assumes that both parties can not handle their own affairs in a reasonable manner. It treats all searching in a humiliating and demeaning fashion. Many times adoptees and their families have been crooked out of hard earned money. Money that the agency and attorney has profitted twice on. They attain money from the natural parents and their families. They also attain money from the adoptive parents. They later do it to the adoptee. These laws currently continue to punish adoptees just by the fact of their birth and subsequent existence. Depending upon the CI and their moral compass, the CI usually controls the conversation with the searchee. The searcher has no idea of what the conversation has really entailed. I believe that Indiana has the most successful reunion rate with their registry at a whopping 14% when a majority of states is at a cruel 4%. How long do adoptees and their families have to jump through hoops to get you to read through the lines?
The other interesting part of all of this is that 99% of natural mothers want contact from their children. Every adoptee access has proven this time and time again. What is it going to take for you the Indiana legislator to see this? When are you going to believe us? When are you going to stop being persuaded by monied adoption officials otherwise? I challenge you to step up and protect the rights of those who are on the losing end of this scientific project called adoption? When are you going to give those living adoption back their choices and rights? When are you going to give back adoptees their civil right to access a set of documents that accurately record our births? Are you going to continue to turn your back on hoosier adoptees all over this country?
Amy K. Burt
Amy K. Burt
(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:
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
There are many other adoptees, natural parents, and adoptive parents listed on my blog. They all support access to the original birth certificate along with adoption reform. Its up to you now to make the change.