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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Fight for Open Records

I'd like all of us to offer a standing ovation to the incredible people who organized and participated in yesterday's demonstration for adoptee rights in Philadelphia. These adoptees, first parents, adoptive parents and others who love adoptees are ALL fighting to give EVERY person in the United States the right to his or her original birth certificate (OBC).

Adoptees deserve their OBCs. They have a civil right to their past histories... because it is THEIR history.

Until recently, while I supported an adoptee's right to his or OBC, I didn't really see why I needed to fight this fight. Then I read something that Claudia wrote and my viewpoint changed in a split second. You, too, might not believe that this issue is relevant in your life, especially if you adopted internationally (and therefore have little to no chance of obtaining your child's OBC) or if you chose open adoption, but ALL adoptive parents everywhere should care about this issue. Why? Because preventing adoptees over the age of 18 from viewing their OWN original birth certificates is government-sanctioned, legal discrimination against adopted persons.

And you are the parent of an adopted person.

As Claudia so eloquently stated, Sometimes being a parent is not just about boo boos and school supplies. Sometimes being a parent is about making the world a just place for our children. Sometimes being a parent means we have to act on a bit more than making cookies for a PTA bake sale. Sometimes being a parent is about fighting injustice. This is one of those times.

If you missed the demonstration in Philly yesterday, know that they'll be doing the same thing next year in Louisville. And you can support them! I hope that you do.


Aunt LoLo said...

A great thing...and one I never thought about. A child's history should not be sacrificed so their birth family can save face. A child is worth it.

bbmomof2boys said...

hmmm....I just typed up a long comment playing devil's advocate but then I realized what does it matter? If I were adopted I would want to find out who my birth parents were no matter what and the first thing I would do would be to get my original bc. Its truly a shame that most states seal them. The choice to get the original birth certificate should go the that person named on it, not the state. Such a simple concept - why is so hard for people to see it?

Our girls may never know who their birth parents are. They will grieve this as we grieve along with them. People have asked me if I'll support Little T if she wants to search for her birth parents and I say how could I not?????


redmaryjanes said...

I had never heard of this before. Do you know how the demonstration went? I hope that it was successful for them.
I don't know if Sophia has an original birth certificate or not, but I do agree that people should be allowed access to theirs.

Kiy said...

Thanks for this. I did not know of this organization - but Louisville is on my calendar (well, the month, has the actual date been set?) for next year! I also added a button.

Again, thanks. You continue to educate me ... and make me smile with little Miss T's antics. They remind me of a future Miss T, lol!

Cheers, Kiy

Kristy said...

Great Post lady!!!

Love, Kristy

Jboo said...

Standing ovation going on right here in Nebraska too! Thanks for posting about this.


Mahmee said...


Rebecca Ramsey said...

This is so interesting. I've never thought about it that way before.

Patty O. said...

Wow. I didn't even know that it was possible that an adopted child could be prohibited from getting their original birth certificate. Why is that? It just makes sense that it is their right to have one....

I don't have any adopted children of my own, but my niece and nephew were adopted from Russia. I appreciate this post, because I agree with you that this is important, and not just for parents of adopted kids. We should care whenever someone's rights are violated whether it directly affects us or not. And really, whenever someone's rights are violated we ARE affected in one way or another, I think.

The Gang's Momma said...

Every time I think I'm doing okay with what I need to know in this journey of parenting my Li'l Empress, something else comes up and I feel all out of the loop all over again. And in my own backyard this time too. Darn it! But thanks for the post - it's good information and I'll be sure to inform myself about the issue now that I know it exists. I swear, being in this adoption community is like being in college again :) So much to learn and process . . .

Carla said...

Yes it is discrimination isn't it? Never thought of it like that, but it's true.

You know I support this, and will support them.

Now, if we could only get those "family medical history" forms changed....grrrr....why not leave it with "Are there any medical concerns you have either from your own past history or from any extended family member?"

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this.

This issue important for all Americans who believe in equality, not just adoptees. Our states should not be allowed to place separate conditions on any adults, especially on a matter such as their own identity.

It matters very much, even in open adoption situtions. When our kids are small, it's hard to picture them as autonomous independent adults some day. But being the parent of five grown children, I can vouch that it happened faster than I could have imagined. Your adult children should not have to rely on you to play gatekeeper to a simple piece of paper every other non-adopted American takes for granted and has unrestricted access to. Unless you live in one of the six open states, your legislature doesn't believe your grown children should be entitled to equality; it considers them suspect and in need of special treatment simply by nature of their adoption.

As far as next year's rally, it will be held either July 19th or 20th, 2010 in Louisville, KY. There is still a lot of wrap-up work needed for this year, compiling and re-contacting all the legislators we spoke with during the convention and making sure they are familiar with Maine's recent bill, so this will take some time.

Anyone who is interested in helping -- the best thing you can do is contact your own local Assemblyperson and Senator. If you need help finding them or need letter ideas, you can visit the letter writing campaign page at http://tr.im/shdK If anyone has any questions about contacting their legislator or needs help with letter or phone call ideas, feel free to email adopteerightsphilly@gmail.com

Thanks again so much!

Margie said...

Well said, TM and Adoptee Rights Philly! Every adoptive parent needs to own this issue, write their legislators, and start working to make equality for adopted people a reality.