Saturday, August 4, 2012

Adoptee Rights Are Civil Rights

I wrote a post recently in which I talked about how much I have gained from my adoption reunions and how difficult it is for me to encounter stories of adoptees who can't get started on the search because of lack of access to identifying information. I ended the post by urging my readers to support adoptee rights. While it is true that a desire for search and reunion is one of the reasons why an adoptee might desire his or her original birth certificate, it's far from the only reason. I myself, for example, didn't need my original birth certificate for search-and-reunion purposes, but I sent for it anyway and, as I have discussed previously, I am extremely grateful to the adoptee rights activists in Maine who who fought to secure this basic civil right for me.

After publishing my recent adoptee rights post, I wrote to the Adoptee Rights Coalition to confirm that it was okay for me to use the image I had copied from their site. I received a reply from Jimm Mandenberg, an ARC board member. He thanked me for my support of adoptee rights and said it was fine for me to use the image, but he also included the following statement:

"We view adoptees' access to their own birth certificates as a fundamental civil right in and of itself, not as a tool for search and reunion. While the certificate may provide some useful clues for search, we view any contact between consenting adults to be a different issue entirely and not one of civil rights denied."

It's an important clarification, and I don't disagree with his point. Though I was focused on the "useful clues" aspect of the issue in my previous post, I agree that the access to original birth certificates is fundamentally a civil rights issue. The problem currently is that one class of people are denied access to something all other Americans have access to. That's discrimination, and it's not justifiable.

The countdown to the adoptee rights demonstration in Chicago is now at two days. If you can't be there in person, please do what you can to support the cause in your own way.


4 comments:

  1. I SO agree. Why is one set of people denied something so basic? Because the originator of sealed adoption records wanted to hide her illegal adoptions (all 5000 of them), and (I believe) others followed suit because then it'd be easier to promote the lie that adoptive parents could just pretend their kids had been born to them. You should add this post to my List.ly on my "Angry Birthmother" post.

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  2. Thanks for you comment and the List.ly suggestion. Done!

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  3. warriorprincessdiariesAugust 7, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Yep, not asking for anything special, just the same rights as everyone else. : )

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  4. I still don't understand why certain groups of people don't understand this as a Civil Rights issue. I really, really don't. :(

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