All of this begs an obvious question: if birth parent anonymity was never truly protected in many cases, why are adult adoptees still denied access to this information? Why is it OK for adopters to see such information but not adoptees?
I am lucky because my adoptive mother considered the information to be mine. She viewed herself as the holder of it during my minority years, but believed that it was her responsibility to share it with me if I asked for it as an adult. But not all adoptive parents handle things this way. Why should adult adoptees -- who are, let me state the obvious, no longer children -- be subject to the whims of their parents rather than being able to decide for themselves whether or not such basic, self-identifying information is relevant to them?
Adoptees are in a unique position because decisions are made for us when we are infants that affect us our entire lives. We are not party to these decisions: we do not sign a paper agreeing to any of these terms. And yet, even when we become legal adults, we are still held to those decisions that were made for us before we had a voice.
Amanda of The Declassified Adoptee wrote an important post yesterday, which included the following words:
As a client of adoption, I did not get to see my adoption record until I was almost 25 years old. I asked my agency if I could see it several times years prior and was told "no." These were my files, describing my pre-adoption life and experience, with my name on them. They are mine. When I finally obtained my files, it was after a long and expensive legal process through my birth state's confidential intermediary. I had to have special permission for my own file to not be heavily censored. I do not know very many adoptees who can go back to their agencies or other adoption facilitators and get their records.I don't know many adoptees who can do that either. But why is this not our basic right once we are of legal age?
While you are here, please take a few minutes to watch the following (it is not an ad):