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!
Photo Copyright 2007 Jan Baker