May 2nd, 2007
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Here we go again. This article discusses the open records issue as legislation is under way in North Carolina to change laws re acess.

“This is a very tough thing to balance — the privacy of a birth parent against the search by an adoptee for their own personal information,” said Brinton Wright, a Greensboro adoption lawyer and board member of a children’s home.

Has anyone else noticed when discussing birth parent privacy, you rarely see birth parents quoted? Why do you suppose that is the case? Does everyone else really know what birth parents want?

If you read many newspaper articles, you will see quotes from everyone BUT birth parents about how we need our privacy. Who stands up the most and screams about how we need to be protected? Some adoptive parents who want records to remain closed, that’s who speaks for us. Adoption agencies and lawyers sometimes talk about how birth mothers need their privacy.


Why don’t newspaper reporters ask birth parents if they want or need privacy more often? Why on earth do they listen to adoptive parents, adoption agencies, adoption attorneys or social workers? Haven’t many of us already figured out that protecting birth parents is not foremost in their minds?

Let me backtrack on my last statement. I do realize that many adoptive parents now do care about ethical adoptions and fair treatment to pregnant women considering adoption and/or birth parents. However, even many adoptive parents do not understand that few birth parents do not need or want their “privacy.”

Why on earth would most birth parents want or need protection from their own children? The touted privacy that we are often told that we want serves to keep our children from us. Do you know many birth parents who desperately hope that their children never find them? I do not. However, I do know plenty of birth parents who are searching or would love to be found.

If birth parent privacy was so desired, why is there such a huge trend towards open adoptions? Why do birth parents complain when adoptions close on them? Aren’t they thrilled about having their privacy back?

Okay, I know what is coming now. You want to know about those few birth parents that DO want their privacy, right? Giving birth in America has always been a recorded event. Adoption records have not always been closed. They used be open in all states, with little, if any ill effects. There should be no presumption ever that if you give birth your child will never know your identity.

When and if an adoptee contacts a birth parent who may not want contact, generally they have no desire to disrespect their wishes. Why do we seem to believe that adoptees would invade their birth parents’s privacy and cause problems? I give adoptees a great deal more credit than that.

It is unfair and unjust to expect another human being to know nothing about their heritage. Wanting to know your roots is a basic human right. Birth parents rarely want or need protection from their own children, and I wish that people who are not birth parents would stop saying that we do!

For More Resources:

Birthmothers Plead for Change to North Carolina Adoption Records Law
I found this article after writing how birth parent voices are not heard often enough about this issue!

Should Adult Adoptees Have Access to Their Original Birth Information?

Photo Copyright 2007 Jan Baker

5 Responses to “Birth Mother Privacy – A Myth or Reality?”

  1. susannyc says:

    I’m a birthmother and I want privacy. I don’t want the child i gave up for adoption to ever find me. I understand curiosity but I chose adoption with the understanding that privacy would be the undeniable fact. If I had an inclination I would be found one day by the child, I would have had an abortion, thats just a simple fact and not a pro or con either way. I made the most difficult decision of my life and gave the child life,then gave the child up so they could actually have a life. All I ask for in return is anonymity. Thats it. I don’t want to ever be found and I don’t want the child to know who i am or was or who i’ve become.

  2. susannyc,
    Yes you did make a very difficult decision to give your child life instead of killing it. However, has ANYTHING medical happened in you family since you had that child? If so, do you feel it is fair to the child or even YOUR future grandchildren, NOT to know that those medical complications may be?

    Remember YOUR child that you RELINQUISHED, NEVER had a say in the contract YOU and the STATE made or in the contract that the STATE and their new parents made.

    You can have your anonymity, however give your now ADULT person UPDATED medical information so they are working from a even playing field.

  3. westcoastbmom says:

    Wow…adoptionreforist. What a way to guilt trip someone. Even in intact families there’s no guarantee you’ll ever know family medical history. My family of origin is a very closemouthed family and they don’t discuss personal things…and they get very upset if asked. You have absolutely NO RIGHT to judge the first poster, nor any other birth mother like this! I feel the exact same way about it…only difference was the State of California violated my privacy and gave the adoptee and his “sainted” a-mom IDENTIFYING information they were NOT supposed to get., then they both contacted me and eventually I got delivered a kick to the face from my child with their critical and judgmental comments. I hope I never see nor hear from either of those two again. They turned my life upside down. How is it an “even” playing field when on side can come in and criticize and judge and be invasive and the other has to sit back and take it????

  4. noelani2 says:

    Wow, I am really surprised at two of the replies, and sorry that things worked out so badly for the one poster. Obviously, there are exceptions to everything, but I really believe that most birth mothers who placed children during the days that closed adoptions were almost the rule are not unhappy to be contacted. I have known many women who had placed babies, who would have given a great deal, just to know that the child was alive and having a decent life. Three of our adoptions were closed, although because of the laws in Germany, where he was born, we did have some identifying information about the third. My second son’s birth mom (whom we had been told never wanted any contact whatsoever) hired a private investigator to find him when he was 21. She had been counting the days until she could do it, too, and always grieved for him! The laws in Arizona had originally allowed the birth mother to search when the child turned 18 but, just before he turned 18, it was changed to 21.

    I always felt a need to find my third son’s birth mom. I found her three years ago and had the privilege of telling her that she was a very young grandmother! She was SO happy that I found her! My son and his little family have been to visit her every year since then, and they maintain close contact. I did, however, email her quietly, first, and ask if she wanted contact. If she hadn’t, I would have left her alone and probably wouldn’t have even told my son that I had found her.

    The son I really want to say something about, though, is my oldest son. He was born in 1983 and neither we nor the birth mother were told anything, or given a choice in any of it. Some adopted kids never stop feeling rejected and unloved and he was one of them. He would say that he thought his birth parents just said, “get that piece of crap kid out of here” when he was born and there was nothing I could say that would convince him otherwise. He really suffered over it! I knew that she was the only one who could convince him that she cared about him and did what she thought was best for him. Even if she hadn’t wanted a relationship, if she at least could have told him a little about his birth and her reasons for choosing to place him, I think it would have helped. Unfortunately, Utah is one of the worst states to search in. We had nothing to go on. I really feel that, as an adult, he should have had the right to the information about his own birth. In fact, it infuriated him that some lawmaker could tell him that he had no right to his own personal information! He felt badly when his younger brother’s birth mom found him. I told him that, because of the laws here, she might be searching for him and just running into brick walls. Now, I hope she isn’t searching. I hope she is out there somewhere, just assuming he is having a good life and being comfortable with her decision. I would have given a great deal for her to find us, before July of 2009, but not any more. My son died of a drug overdose that month. He was 26 years old. I’m not saying that it is in any way his birth mother’s fault (in case anyone is thinking that). I just think it is possible that, if he could have had some kind of contact and she could have told him, herself, that she cared about him, he might have valued his life enough to not want to be careless with it. If any adoption reformers know of a place I might be able to share this story, where it might be helpful, please PM me here.

  5. guard0307 says:

    I am a birthmother who had my privacy violated by the adoptive mom.I was only 17 when I gave birth to a boy. The adoptive mom worked for the hospital where he was born and retreaved private information she said she may of needed later in his life. She used this information to get into my confidental medical records at another hopsital and retreive my private information. Her and her sister then turned this information over to a young man whom is claiming to be the boy I gave birth to. Infact they gave him All of my family members information. Some of the people who were not even aware I had this child. I eventually met the youngman (still unsure if he is the child I gave up) gave him medical information and even allowed him to meet one of his younger sisters. In the end I found out he was a drug user, gang member that had mental issues. He has stalked and threatened me from the last time I talked to him. So Yes, I wish I would have been left alone and never been found.Now everything concerning his birth and his conception is out for the world to know about. This is the worst possible thing that could have ever happened to me. I thought I had done something good to allow another person to have a good life that I could not have given to him and it has come back to bite me. A birth mothers privacy should be hers until she allows herself to be found. At this point in time I wish i would have been given the chance to keep mine.

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