Wednesday, October 8, 2008

No You Can't - You're Adopted

I used to have a close friendship with an adoptive mom I met through the school where both of our sons attended. "Used to" is they key word as our friendship is consistently losing the bond it once had.

Our different views of adoption is at the core of it.

When our friendship first formed I wasn't brave enough or confident enough in my own feelings to put a voice to my opinions when she would talk about how she was handling adoption with her son. I would paste on the phony smile, nod my head and try my hardest to ignore the choking sensation as I swallowed back what I wanted to say.

But my voice hasn't been so silent lately and that change isn't a step my friend has welcomed with open arms.

We do more debating than talking these days.

It's a battle I don't see a good end for, especially not with our latest disagreement.

We were discussing the process of adopting back my son - something she disagrees with even knowing the abuse he suffered with his adoptive mom. And the discussion turned to adoptees and their original birth certificates.

I shared with her how ridiculous I thought it was that even after my husband and I were again recognized as his legal parents, he still wouldn't be able to have free access to his original birth certificate. How, for my oldest son - almost twenty one years old - to have his original birth certificate, he had to sign a form which I also had to sign and then it had to be notarized, sent to the right department within our state who then, weeks later, send it out. This compared to my second son who is eighteen and can walk into our human services offices here in town, fill out a form and walk out within half an hour with his original birth certificate.

Her response . . . she didn't agree with the fact that my oldest son had any access to his original birth certificate. She didn't understand why he would need or want it. Didn't see how it was in any way denying him the same rights others in this country take for granted.

Her view - there is no reason for adoptees to have access to their original birth certificates because the altered ones are the ones that tell them all they need to know about who their parents really are. For her, it had absolutely nothing to do with rights being denied. Instead it was about the adoptee accepting who his or her parents are and leaving it at that.

And she is so wrong. So very, horribly, terribly wrong!

This isn't even an area where I will claim it's just my opinion. Because it's not. It's more than that. It's wrong outside of anyone's opinion. Wrong no matter where you sit in the adoption debate.

Wrong because it's a denial of the basic human rights that everyone deserves.

I don't understand how we sit in the year 2008 and there is still those who must fight for equal treatment. Battle to have access to the same records as so many others have. Argue with those who sit in our legislation for information that is theirs and should be as easily available to them as it is to every other citizen.

It just makes no sense to me. None at all.

And it angers me that one of the strongest supporters of denying adoptees their original birth certificates and their other records is the giant monsters of the adoption industry. The agencies fight to deny this right from the very people they claim to care the most about - the innocent children whose lives they played with so long ago and continue to play with even into their adult years.

And who do they hold up to make themselves appear the great "saviors" in all of this - the first/natural moms they never gave a crap about. Claiming they are protecting our privacy. That, even though they kicked us to the curb and didn't give a damn about us once they had our children, they are SO worried and concerned about us they couldn't possibly support adoptees rights to their records because of some false claim that we were promised anonymity.

If the story of Pinnochio were a true occurence, these people would have noses the size of Texas!

I have yet to come across a single first/natural mother who was promised this. And even if I did, even if there are those out there who believe somehow these restrictions protect their privacy - it shouldn't matter. It shouldn't mean a damn thing to the legislators who are given the responsibility of ensuring equal rights for all.

Whatever excuse they hear, whatever reason they are told, how in the world can they even think to consider that in making their decision. The simple, obvious fact of the matter is - NOBODY on this earth is so special that their feelings or arguments override the equal rights of another human being. NOBODY!!!

And yet it continues to happen over and over again. Adoptees constantly facing the denial of their rights because someone, somewhere, says it's "the right thing." And the fact myself and other first/natural moms contact these legislators, let them know that the adoption giants do not speak for us and that we want them to have the same equal rights, it never seems to make a dent in their decisions.

So then where do we go . . .

We go outside the world of adoption!

Yesterday while sitting on my front porch with a dear friend of mine, I was approached by a supporter for Dianne Primavera - currently running for re-election as a State Representative. When I didn't ask the usual questions of today's election and instead asked about her support on adoptee rights and views of infant adoption, I stumped the supporter to the point she called Dianne who in return agreed to come to my house and speak to me personally about my concerns.

I know her position in the political powerfield isn't one where she has any true say in adoptee rights. I know on the political ladder, she's barely made it past the bottom rung. But she came and she listened and she learned for over an hour. Will it make an immediate difference . . . of course not. But it was a step. One of many we need to take to make these changes.

We need to reach outside our circle, to family, friends, coworkers - anyone we come into contact with. We need to educate those who take for granted their access to their records and have no clue to those who are denied the very same rights. It is up to us, who know the truth, to become the voices for change to the many, many who don't have a glimpse into what is being denied of so many adoptees.

We need to continue to contact our legislators with every chance we get but we also need to make a committment to go even further. We need to take the vow to talk to anyone and everyone we can. Never stopping, never giving in until the voices of those who support restricting adoptee rights are barely heard underneath the uproar of the many who understand how wrong it is to deny anyone their basic human rights no matter what the circumstance.

It is where we can do a great thing and stand together from all sides of the adoption debate to make one great, amazing change. It is an area where it doesn't matter which tag is put in front of who or what you are. Because it doesn't matter, It doesn't make a difference in the fight to give back the rights adoptees deserve and are fighting so hard to get.

Talk and then talk some more. Find every opportunity you can to share the truth of adoptee rights to everyone who will listen. Don't quit. Don't give in. Because this is a fight that is all of ours and can not be set aside until every adoptee in every way has the same rights as everyone else.

6 comments:

  1. Hmmm adoptees should accept who their parents are. Someone sure as hell didn't tell my adoptive mother. She hates sealed records as much as I do. She would move heaven and hell to get my natural mom in my life. Every time I call her she asks me what have done in the state of Indiana. Forget Texas she says. Concentrate on Indiana. I have to tell her that I can succeed in Texas. I can't in Indiana because I am not a voter there. I guess they did not got to the same class.I think your adoptive parent friend needs to accept that she would not be a mother if not for that natural parent. An adoptee is not owned by an adoptive parent. Boy I can see my amom shaking her finger at her. My amom has been around me too long and in Texas too long as well as I have.

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  2. Kite - Your mom is amazing. I have a wonderfully supportive mom too and think it is one of the best things we can be blessed with.
    I hope though, that my mentioning my amom friend that you in no way felt you needed to defend your mom and if you did, I am so sorry.
    I am fully aware her opinion DOES NOT reflect the opinions of all moms in her position and that it is a lack of knowledge and understanding on her part and her part only that brought her words about.
    And for the crumbling relationship I have with this mom I have another amazing friendship with another mom who adopted her second son. She was, and still very much is, someone who held me up and helped get me through the last couple months and is a very outspoken supporter for honesty, fair rights and change for all sides in adoption. While I mourn the rifts in one friendship, I am so very thankful for the amazing closeness and support I have on the other.
    I proudly stand up with your mom, my mom and all other mom's to fight for adoptee rights and to expose the horrible truths of today.

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  3. Thank you Cassi - well said. It IS ridiculous, and adoptees ARE denied basic rights - and the protected class IS the agencies - and the adoptive parents - which is why adoptive parents need to speak up, too. These are your children, getting screwed out of their own identities, and things like birth certificates that everyone else takes for granted.

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  4. Thank you so much for speaking with your representative! Yes, it is a small step but miles are made of steps.
    It has been my experience that many people are unaware that sealed records still exist and are opposed to them. Lawmakers are elected officials and we need to publicize those opposing open records to prevent their re-election.

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  5. Hi Cassi, you are soooo right! It is baffling to say the least that this once friend of yours cannot see what is so very simple. It is one of the biggest issues many have with adoption, that it denies those who are supposedly being rescued or helped, a very basic right of all human kind.

    Thanks for highlighting this very important topic.

    Myst xx

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  6. I thank God every day that I have a copy of my adopted daughter's birth certificate. Not only do I have a copy of her's but I have one of her bio-mom and bio-dad's. When they ask me to adopt her they gave me all kinds of information to put up for her. I just wish they could come around and see her.
    Angie

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