Friday, June 24, 2011

Lost Daughter: Sealed Adoption Records Debate

By Trace A. DeMeyer
I am a Lost Daughter. I am an adoptee. There are millions of adoptees like us. Sure, there are more than five reasons adoptees need their “top secret” sealed adoption files. The following reasons are MY TOP 5. I really do believe all adoptees on this planet deserve to have a copy of the original birth certificate AND their sealed files opened and handed to them on a silver platter. This vital information needs to be – now and forever – a human right for all children placed in an adoptive family.

  1. NAME: I have three enormous family trees - not just my adopters but both my birthparents. Since I was illegitimate, my father’s name was not listed in my adoption documents. That meant I’d need to find HER in order to find him. Since she didn’t want to meet me or acknowledge I exist, that landed me smack up against a new brick wall. So I drilled an opening but it wasn’t easy. (Read my memoir ONE SMALL SACRIFICE to find out how I got my own name back and how I found my father.)
  2. OBC (original birth certificate): Nowadays, if you have a fake (amended) birth certificate, Homeland Security could decide not to give you a passport. Some adoptees who have forged documents say it can happen when you apply for anything official: like your driver’s license, social security card or library card. Hello! Didn’t anyone stop and think about adoptees when they made such stupid rules? Even scarier, if you were born in another country and your new parents forgot to get you USA citizenship, this could be real BAD for those adoptees who could end up deported adults!
  3. MEDICAL HISTORY: The first time you visit a doctor’s office, you’ll get forms that require you fill in your “real” parents and grandparents medical history. Are they kidding? NO. Secrecy doesn’t serve adoptees. We have no clue who our natural parents are or their medical conditions or cause of death. What I needed most and why I opened my adoption file in the first place was exasperation at my doctor’s office paperwork. I wanted and needed my medical history. Apparently the adoption industry didn’t think about this. Their “secrecy is good” mentality makes me ill.
  4. ANCESTRY: Yup, promises you can find out if grandmum ran a restaurant or grandpop was a dog breeder-poet. Adoptees have enormous family trees with branches to climb and roots to examine. Ancestors could forever remain a mystery if you are an adoptee in a closed adoption. Not to mention you might date and marry your first cousin (almost incest and a downright scary genetic nightmare) or you might be working the swing shift with your own brother and not even know. Ancestry is serious stuff -  if you're dating or planning a family.
  5. BABY HISTORY: Those 1st nine months were critical to brain development. Lack of bonding with one individual (hopefully a mentally fit mother) did affect who I could trust for a lifetime. Placing me with a stranger - months later – after her miscarriages - was truly not a good plan. I could not replace what my adopters lost. This did break my spirit (but I recovered eventually when I opened my adoption in Wisconsin with a kind empathetic judge.) In a closed adoption, you’re not even supposed to wonder who you are, let alone ask out loud. Who wrote these ridiculous rules anyway? I was lousy at pretending which is why I had to know my name, my ancestry, my medical information. Last November I finally read my sealed adoption file from Wisconsin via court order. I have had no luck getting my OBC in Minnesota but I’m not giving up.
We (adoptees) have suffered enough...

The creators of this animated debate on YouTube do cover the most important points Click here