Wow, I just read an interesting article on the availability of open records for adult adoptees. I was un-aware that in a few states, adult adoptees have a right to access their birth records.
For the person who was adopted…this gives a wonderful opportunity to explore their roots. It could also, open them up for a variety of experiences good ones and some not so good. But, when you don’t have all of the information about yourself and others do; it must be debilitating.
I can understand the need to know! I know myself well enough, that i would have driven myself batty with questions; especially, when i was a teenager. Or when i had my first child, graduated, got married…went to college…any of those milestones that would start a person to question where they came from.
I am sure that the idea of open records is a very controversial thing.
When a woman or a couple decides to give up their child for adoption today, things are different than they were say 20 or 30 years ago. There are so many more options now, than there was at that time. Back then, it was basically a choice to tell the child or don’t tell the child.
Now days, there are all sorts of adoptions, including open ones where the biological family and the adoptive family decide what level of contact is acceptable to each.
I just wonder though, with the openess of the records for “adults” today to search their birth records from back then…i wonder how many of those stories are happy endings? How many turn into pain for either the adoptee or the birth parents? It is a mixed bag in alot of respects.
I am an adoptive parent, interestingly enough, of two different age groups of children. Things were very different in each of those adoptions. I, myself, am not sure how i feel about the idea of the openess of the records. I think it depends on the situation of each adoption. But, i can see both sides of the issue.
All six of my children understand that they are adopted. My older three children were foster children who had an ongoing relationship with their birth family far into their remembering years. We even allowed some relationships to continue for a time after we were no longer legally bound to do so.
In my set of younger children…one child we allowed a very long- term birth parent and child relationship. We even allowed that birth mom to move into one of our homes. This also did not work out long-term.
It did for a time…but the birth mother never really developed any deep bond for our “shared” son. After he became a teenager….she would set him up for destructive behaviors by trying to lure him away with “freedoms” like drinking. Contact had to be removed by personal orders of protection as it became harmful for him.
The next child’s adoption was an “open adoption”. The birth mom didn’t maintain contact past the first year or so. The birth father was never disclosed to the agency. He may not have known of his son. This is something we will never know. It is a loss as my son will never know this part of his history.
The youngest child has not had contact in any way, since about the age of 3 months or so; this was not our choice. The birth father never chose to have contact even though he lived in the same town. The birth mother went on to have three more children and moved out of state. We haven’t heard from her in a couple of years.
With our history…i think it is a good thing that the viewer’s have to be adults. I can’t speak for a birth parent’s view. I am sure waiting for that child to become an adult is agony. I know with each and every milestone…holiday…mothers day, fathers day…it is a shared day in my mind with a set of birth parents.
It makes sense that some birth parents are comforted by the idea of open records. Others may not want that option available to the adoptee without their approval.
Adoptive parents have mixed feelings… you want them to have the knowledge and a relationship; but, in the back of your mind you worry that maybe it will change your relationship with your child even if you want them to pursue that contact .
As for the adoptee, i have known some that have a strong “NEED” to pursue their roots; others, who have none. All wonder, though about their history….i have no doubt. It is human nature to have questions about your own past.
What it really comes down to, is individual wants, needs, as well as rights. What happens when those rights conflict…whose right’s take precidence? Who decides?
It is usually the legal system. But, by the time it gets to the system…alot of emotional ups and downs can occur along the way. It is a deeply personal issue, isn’t it?