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vs. "unmarried" - Pregnancy, Birth and Falling in Love
with Your Baby
"the systematic transfer of a child from the natural family
to a customer through legal and social means, accompanied by the
payment of fees by the customer to a broker, destruction of the
original mother-child family unit, and erasure of the original
identity and heritage of the child."
deep identification with our forebearers, as experienced originally
in the mother-child relationship, gives us
our most fundamental security. Every adopted child, at some point
in his development, has been deprived of this primitive mother.
This trauma and the severing of the individual from his racial
antecedents lie at the core of what is peculiar to the psychology
of the adopted child. - psychiatrist Florence Clothier (1920's)
Records Debate: Why Adoption Records CLOSED
Listening to politicians, "b---mother privacy"
is the reason universally given for keeping North American adoption
records. Natural parents are thus portrayed as the obstacle to open
records, or the lobby who demanded that records be closed, to "get
on with their lives" and prevent being found by their lost
children. Nothing could be further from the truth.
general public assumption seems to be that, from the beginning,
adoption records were closed in large part to protect the birth
mother's identity. But that isn't the case at all" - Professor
Elizabeth J. Samuels, Baltimore School of Law.
Lobby for Closed Records:
Secrecy in adoption
has much to do with the desire by adoptive parents to "protect"
their families from the natural parents. See "How
Adoption in America Grew Secret" by Elizabeth J.
Samuels, (reprinted with permission of the author). Birth records
weren't closed for the reasons you might think.
in adoption probably has its roots in a desire to
protect the child from interference from the biological parents
and to hide the often illegitimate circumstances of the child's
origins." - Ministry
of Communications and Social Services Report by the Committee
on Record Disclosure to Adoptees (1976)
adoption in America only came into being starting in the second
half of the 19th century, and at first all adoption records
were open to the public. When they began to be closed, it
was only to the general public, and the intent was to protect
adoptees from public scrutiny of the circumstances of their
birth. Later, as states began to close records to the parties
themselves, they did so not to provide lifelong anonymity
for birth mothers, but the other way around -- to protect
adoptive families from possible interference or harassment
by birth parents." -
"How Adoption in America Grew Secret - Birth Records
Weren't Closed for the Reasons You Might Think", Washington
Post article by Professor Elizabeth J. Samuels, Baltimore
School of Law.
disappointment and sometimes heartbreak exists when the adopting
parents learn that even after a legal adoption an official
birth certificate cannot be issued without reference to the
original name....We have suggested a provision be made for
the issuing of a form corroborating the registration
and omitting the original name." - The 33rd
Report of the Superintendent of Neglected and Dependent Children
social workers actually assured the adoptive family that the
birth mother would never reappear. Adoption
Reunions Michelle McColm (1993)
parents often feel betrayed by the prospect of government
sanctioned reunion registries.
The moment the infant
was placed in their arms, he or she belonged to them alone:
hence the rationale behind altering the birth certificate
and retaining the original in a sealed file. Once
Removed: Voices From Inside the Adoption Triangle
Redmond, Sleightholm (1982)
still cant get over the fact that my daughter found
her birth mother. We were told that we would never see her
or have contact with her. Adoption Wisdom
Marlou Russell, Ph.D. (1996)
good is ever accomplished, and much heartbreak and disillusion
for everyone [is] caused by leaving open any avenue by which
a natural parent can reappear, uninvited and unwanted .
. .""How to Adopt A Child" - Ernest and Frances
Why Are Some Adopters Insecure?
insecurity is simple in its root: people who adopt have taken
another mother's child as their own. And they know instinctively
that if something can be taken, maybe - just maybe - it can be
well: even if they believe that the mother "gave her baby
away," a nagging fear might still persist that indeed she
is not a cold, heartless monster who could give away a precious
baby. And If they do believe that she "made a decision"
(and few women actually had two options to decide between, hence
no decision!), there is the fear that she might "change her
is always risky for the adopting parents to deal directly
with the parents or through an inexperienced third
person. It leaves the way open for the parent to change
their minds and to try to get their child back. Even when
the law stands in the way of this, the unpleasantness can
ruin the happiness of the adopting family and the security
of the child. The good agency stands like an impenetrable
wall between the two sets of parents, keeps them from ever
knowing each other, keeps them from ever making trouble for
each other, and thereby protects the child. Baby
and Child Care Dr. Benjamin Spock. (1959)
Who's Keeping Records Closed?
Hearing the arguments of the sealed records supporters, one
would assume that legions of birthparents would have rallied
to try and uphold their promised and desired confidentiality.
Or perhaps legions of adult adoptees would organize to send
a message of their happiness with their silenced status.
Well, that didn't happen. Instead,
it was the Edna Gladney Home, an agency in Fort Worth Texas,
who went to its supporters, comprised mainly of adoptive parents,
to raise money for a lobbying organization to defeat the open
records provisions of the Model State Adoption Act.
" The result was the National Committee for Adoption.
The NCFA and at its helm, William Pierce, convinced Senators
such as John Tower and Jeremiah Denton to argue that open
records threatened adoption, and when Reagan took over
the White House, the original Model State Adoption Act had
been supplanted by an anemic version that did away with the
open records provisions, as well as many other reforms. The
shortened act formed the basis of the Uniform Adoption Act
currently making the rounds in several state legislatures.
Are you a mother who lost her child to adoption?