Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Adoptees Have Their Day! The Evan B Donaldson Adoption Institute release its white paper report this week.

The Evan B Donaldson Adoption Institute calls on all states to open up adoption records to adoptees.

November is National Adoption Awareness month. The non-profit research organization couldn't pick a better time to release a thirty-one page white paper based on an extensive study, calling for opening up access for all adoptees, in all states, to their records and original birth certificates.

As an adoptee who has searched and successfully reunited I know how much this would mean. Yet even if New York opened its adoption records I could only get the documents. My birth certificate was and will always remain a faked original. In the early 1950s several New York hospitals practiced what I'll call "under-the-table" adoptions. They would admit the birthmothers under the adoptive mother's name and complete the original birth certificates accordingly. One such hospital was Beth-El, then in Brooklyn, now nonexistent, where I was born.

Access to adoption records would restore the basic civil right to adoptees, that of knowing one's heritage, who we are and where we came from. It would give us back our roots. Accessing ones records doesn't necessarily mean reunion or barging in on a birthmother's current life. Besides when I searched I did a lot of reading. I knew that I might not find what I was looking for. Or that I might not find anyone alive or if alive the possibility that the other side wouldn't want to reconnect. I consider myself lucky. I was found and met my birthmother and maternal grandmother who died a few months later. My birthfather had passed away twelve years earlier, but I met a half-sister and have corresponded with three half-brothers and my birthfather's second wife.

I now know my paternal roots back eleven generations, of which eight or nine are quite filled out. Though this isn't so for many it is possible for some to follow up with some genealogical research and make interesting discoveries.

Besides, even the U.S. Surgeon's office's Family History Initiative claims knowledge of biological medical history to be especially worthy in "prevention, early diagnosis and treatment" in conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and mental health issues. I have heart disease. My paternal grandfather died from it. I'm a cancer survivor as is my birthmother. Both sides of the spectrum suffered from various kinds of cancer. My birthfather died from esophageal cancer. My adoptive parents kept my adoption so secretive that even my medical records contained misleading information based on their medical history. This is definitely unacceptable and could be very dangerous. I have since updated my records with the true facts as I now know them.

I can only see this paper's release as a great step in the right direction. I can only hope that change is coming, and coming soon. I wish all my fellow adoptees the civil right of knowing one's heritage and roots.

I'd like to hear your feedback so please leave me a comment.
Till next time,

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