Last night, I met someone who was from Indiana. Yep my very own birth state. I was amazed at the level of ignorance that this woman had. I wondered if by chance she was a first mom. It is still in the back of my mind. I thought about it. I have a great many more people visiting my blog because of the Allison Quets case. I realize more and more that I as one of the representatives of my community need to provide concise and information facts about adoption.
1. Things a person should NEVER say to an adoptee.
a. You should be grateful that you were not aborted.
Well for most of us adult adoptees, we are from the closed era. Abortion was not a viable and realistic option. It might have been available for the rich who could go to another country. The women from those days could have used a back alley abortionist. For the most part, it was a very unhealthy choice for themselves. Most of us adoptees would rather not have been adopted. We have had to deal with society's view of us ~ we are property of our parents, we are not the real children of our parents, the media has concentrated on the more horrible aspect of us ( like the man that kidnapped those boys in Missouri ~ he was adopted), and we are stalkers are just a few of the things that we are viewed.
b. You should be grateful that you were adopted.
It seems that our society wants to inflict their feelings on ours. All it does is negate our feelings. As an adoptee, I feel that my feelings about adoption are not important. This again makes us feeled owned, not free, independent individuals that can and do think for themselves. Whether or not we search, it has nothing to do with our parents. It is absolutely no reflection on our parents and how we were raised. Many of us did come from good homes. Our parents absolutely do not want to be viewed as their property. Now some parents do treat their kids that way. I do realize that there are those that had it rough.
c. I wish that I had been adopted.
No very honestly you don't. When you do begin to search, you are faced with roadblocks. Many in high powered positions feel that adoptees should not know our past. They feel that we belong to our parents. An adoptee is faced with negative views, harsh opinions, and adversarial governmental officials. A deathly ill adoptee can go to court to get more information and still be told that his/her situation is not compelling reason enough. We get comments like these all the time. Our adoptive parents get the weird looks. They too get the rude comments. Our first parents are treated like trash.
2. First Parent facts.
a. In Oregon, 99% of first parents wanted contact from their children. They did not want interference from more governmental officials and social workers. Even social workers know this. That is why they too support open records. They basically feel that two adults should deal with their situations privately and amongst themselves. I read a research study done out of Cornell University where 80% of adoptive parents approve of first parent contact with their chldren.
b. Recently the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute did a research study supported this fact as well. Their results came up with 90% of first parents want contact. Their study also did some to discredit the public's view of first mothers and fathers. Most of these women are just like everyone else. I met a first mother for the first time when I was in college. It was a girl that I went to high school with. Her boyfriend was someone that I was in choir with. Her son's adoption was open at a time when that just didn't happen. It was still very new. The next one would forever play a part in my life. Her name was Sandy. She was the city treasurer from Del Rio, Texas. My husband had gone to the ranch to check up on the things. It was before my family came in to visit. She held my daughter. Somehow we got into a conversation about adoption. She told me that she had a child that she gave up. She asked me if I had ever searched. I told her that I had thought about it. I asked her the same question. She said that she didn't want to disrupt her child's life. She felt that she did not have that right. I don't think that I ever bonded with someone like I did her that day. I knew that I was her child for that moment. I knew that my daughter was her grandchild for that moment. I knew that she was my first mother if for just a moment. I guess that began something for me. I began at that point to gather information for myself. Dakota was about two at that time. I went ahead and got the non-identifying information from the state at that time. It also cost $250.00 at that time to have my first mother contacted. We just didn't have the funds at that time. So it was placed on the back burner. That is where it remained for seven more years.
c. They do love their children. Many of these women and men do want love and want for their children. Many if not most were coerced into giving their children up for adoption. The Rashad Head case, the Stephanie Bennett case, and the Shawn McDonald case are examples of this. These cases are happening today.
d. Reasons why first parents want the records opened. They want to prove that they were mistreated and coerced by adoption agencies, their families, and the attorneys. Of course the very obvious, they want contact from their children. In Oregon, it was a voter initiative that won adoptees their rights. 500 first mothers put an ad in the Oregon newspaper stating that they wanted open records.
3. Adoptive Parent facts.
a. Most of this is based on my own experience with my family. My one sister feels that parents owe their children honesty. My own mother encouraged this search of mine. She wanted the both of us to be young enough to appreciate each other. She wanted her to know her grandchildren. After my father died, she felt that life was just too short to let it slip away. As I travel in my own internet community, even adoptive parents want truth for their children. Once an adoptive parent can put aside their fears, they realize it brings their child closer to them. They get to watch their own children become who they were truly meant to be. They realize that nature can affect as much as the nurture.
The laws that are currently in place are being made by the adoption agencies, attorneys, and their lobbists, National Council for Adoption and Catholic Charities. Our state legislatures have been listening to them for years. These laws govern our relationships with our families. Adoption is the only arena that is governed to the hilt. They tell us how to deal with our relationships. The public again is always telling us how to deal with our relationships. We are beginning to step forward and tell our stories. We are beginning to step forward and tell our legislators that it is time for us to make our decisions about our relationships with our families. It is time to take back our power and own that power.
It was in two court decisions that began the process of freedom from governmental interference. The Tennessee case, Doe vs. Sunquist, and the Oregon case both decided that closed records were about governmental interference. The state governments are interfering with our lives by denying us our records. They also concluded the right to familial privacy extended to contraception, parenting, and abortion. With adoption, a first parent is giving up their rights. Even in abortion these days a woman has to sign documentation that she is fully knowledgeable about the consequences of abortion. Many family planning clinics now keep a record of how many abortions are performed. Confidentiality doesn't exist any more. The judges in these cases saw that a woman did not have a fundamental right to put their child up for adoption thereby did not have the right to keep that their identity secret from that child.
With all these facts, all the links to the organizations that support us, and with our voices, we respectfully ask that you listen to us. We ask that you take into account our feelings and thoughts on adoption. When you write your state legislators, remember that the laws are being made about us. Those laws do not reflect our feelings, thoughts, and our rights. They are being made for the adoption agencies and attorneys. I have always been told to follow the money. Who stands to gain the most by closed records? The adoption agencies and the attorneys. Adoption as it stands today and yesterday is about the money that they make. Please make adoption of the future about the children who really need it. Lets make adoption of the future be a rare event. Lets not tear up families unnecessarily so that others can make money off our backs, our sweat, our tears, and our pain.