"Birthmothers" Open Adoption Stories
   "Adoption practice works on the premise that, in order to save the child,
   one must first destroy its mother." - Dian Wellfare, founder of Origins Inc.


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"Why BIRTHMOTHER Means BREEDER" by Diane Turski
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dear birthmother letters

 

Married vs. "unmarried" - Pregnancy, Birth and Falling in Love with Your Baby


 

open records

 

Adoption: "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."

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”A 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)

 

Open 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.

"The 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.

The 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.

"Secrecy 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)

"Legal 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.

"Keen 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 for 1926


A
dopters and Reunions:

“Most social workers actually assured the adoptive family that the birth mother would never reappear.” Adoption Reunions – Michelle McColm (1993)

“Adoptive 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)

“I still can’t 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)

"No 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 Cady (1956)


Why Are Some Adopters Insecure?

This 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 "taken back."

As 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 mind."
“It 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?
(From the Bastard Nation article " SEALED RECORDS AND ADOPTION REFORM: An Historical Perspective," by Shea Grimm):

" 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. Inste
ad, 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?

Sign the petition at Mothers for Open Records Everywhere to help Open Records for Adoptees, No "birthparent" confidentiality or privacy was promised or is desired.

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