One reason adoptee access to their OBC must be framed as a human rights issue

Because In the history of the world, no one ever washed a rental car. We care only about what we own.

I heard this phrase yesterday in a radio interview with Aaron David Miller. The subject was peace in the Middle East, but it struck me immediately how applicable this phrase was to adoptee rights. It makes me really angry to observe how nonplussed the majority of lawmakers are about adoptee rights, and I think this little phrase offers at least a part of the explanation.

In terms of adoption, it's an ugly phrase, and although the issue of open records is the "rental car" here, I am pretty sure it will be triggering to many adoptees. I apologize for any pain that reading it will cause, and hope you understand that I use it purposefully, because I want to demonstrate how dismissive lawmakers are of adopted adults and their justified demand for equal rights.

Lawmakers get and even feel ownership of some of the issues that intersect with adoption. They'll speak out for the need to find homes for kids in care - kind of a no brainer, although I wonder if they get the complexity. If they're of a particular political point of view, they'll speak out against abortion and will support anything to limit it, which of course bumps right into first mother privacy and then on to OBC access. Some of them even got transnational adoptee citizenship, although by failing to provide for adoptees over eighteen at the time the law was passed, I think they got it wrong, at least in part.

But most just don’t seem to get how egregious it is to isolate a segment of our population from the rights the rest of us enjoy. Maybe it's because they have no personal connection to adoption, in which case, they ought to get some real-life education from some adopted people.

I'm also getting sick of the "ethics experts" who debate this issue from whatever angle they find to prove the point they want to prove. It's real simple folks: Adopted individuals deserve the exact same right to their birth certificate as those of us born to our families do.

You’ll roll your eyes at yet another of my references to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, but I have to say it again: These people should be all over adoptee rights, but they're not. I’m not talking about the CCAI, the educational institute that grew out of the CCA. It functions pretty much like the NCFA except they say they don't endorse legislation. I'm talking about the actual Congressional coalition, the group of senators and representatives who have joined the CCA and say they’re concerned about adoption. Well, that should mean they’re concerned about adopted adults, which is what the kids in need of families they're rightfully concerned about will grow up to be. Listen to the adoptees, CCA, listen to the adoptees.

So, yeah: In the history of the world, no one has ever washed a rental car. Our job is to give Congress the title and keys and force them to own it.

* * * * *

A good place to start is with this petition to give adult adoptees this basic right; please sign and spread the word.

Message to Theresa: Remember our list of CCA members? CCA is actually posting one now and updating it with each Congress. Everyone, when you get ready to write to your congresspeople, you can see if they're members of the CCA here.

One more announcement, which you'll hear more about: Korea passed a law allowing dual citizenship yesterday. Kudos to everyone at G.O.A.'L and to every KAD who has worked to make this law a reality. There are issues that remain unfinished, including Korea's military service requirement and how that will affect dual citizenship for adoptees, so stay tuned to G.O.A.'L for more news.

Comments

I think from my slightly(?) biased position on the adoption triangle that law makers probably do know adoptees because they know many adoptive parents and those adoptive parents have their ear. Not to mention the adoption industry.

Or one of their own kids or someone else in their family is having fertility problems and thinking about adopting so they see this is impacting on those people.

It's sad but it's true. When I first found my son, a number of people's first words to me were - I just think of those poor adoptive parents who raised him. This group included my own sister because as she told me, at one point she thought she might have trouble conceiving and might be looking to adopt.

It is frustrating as heck but we still haven't reached the point where the desire to know where you came from is perceived as non-threatening.

As they say, it all depends on whose ox is getting gored and I think many, many people still see the gorees as the adoptive family, not the adoptees (and their mothers/fathers too)

Keep up the good work Margie. You go get 'em.
Margie said…
I agree that if lawmakers know anyone directly impacted by adoption, it's adoptive parents. They may know adopted children, but I suspect they have much less contact with adult adoptees, particularly adoptees speaking on the issues.

Although I focused on open records here, if first parent rights were added to the mix, then I think they would be even less known to lawmakers. I think it's likely they've had contact with first parents even less than adult adoptees.

The main thing is that they don't have enough contact to embrace the issue in the way they need to to commit to it. It's a real shame, just as your point that the desire to know where you came from is perceived as a threat.
Quiskaeya said…
This so very interesting to me because I was adopted, but from another country. My adoption took placed abroad and I was raised abroad. Therefore, even if I wanted access to records it would be difficult b/c record keeping in my country of orgin (Haiti) is incredibly inconsistent.

I agree with you that adult adoptees should have the right (if they so choose) to have access to their records. I don't understand why there would be legislation that would prevent that. It makes no sense to me.

Prior to the adoptee reaching adulthood (18yo) if the law dictates the adoptive parents should make that decision, I can understand that. However, once the adoptee is an adult, that choice should be his/hers to make, IMO.

I'm so glad you found my blog and left comments! It gave me a chance to discover yours in return and I love it!
I will just add that even when people do know a first mother they have a hard time processing that this relatively together, well-educated, seemingly ok person is a "birth" mother.

The stereotype is dying a very slow death. I think there is a reason for that. It is easier to see the mother as "other" for many people.

Keeping the records closed, and maintaining it is for the protection of these women, is one way to perpetuate that.
Margie said…
You're absolutely right, UM - and it also is true, I think, that lawmakers may know first mothers, but not that they ARE first mothers. Mothers aren't always likely to share this, so opportunities to educate are lost.

And yes, for sure, keeping records closed perpetuates this. Has to change.

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