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Old 08-16-2013, 03:55 PM
 
Location: The New England part of Ohio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by susankate View Post
As you point out, the sealing of records was done to "protect adoptive families from interference by biological family", and not to protect biological families. This "interference" was often more a psychological thing i.e. if one's child can never know who their bparents are then psychologically they can be more inclined to think of them in an abstract way.

The fact that records are only sealed at finalisation of an adoption is further proof that it is about the adoptive family and not the bfamily. As pointed out many a time, if a child's adoption wasn't finalised for whatever reason, then as adults they would be able to access their OBC at any time, it is only once an adoption is finalised that the records became sealed.



Again, they are ONLY sealed on adoption finalisation, they are NOT sealed on termination of parental rights.



The actual sealing has nothing to do with the creation of the amended birth certificate. In open records states and countries which have the same form of adoption, there is still an amended certificate created, the only difference is that at the access age (18 or older depending on the state/country), the adult adoptee can also get a copy of the original birth certificate on request.



Even in open records states, OBCs are not kept with non-adopted people's certificates or amended certificates, they are still filed separately and the adoptee needs to specifically request a copy of the OBC.

I actually just recently asked for a copy of my OBC and a few years later, my amended (adoptive) birth certificate. Getting my amended certificate was a piece of cake. Getting my OBC required that I fill out a form giving certain information and getting a doctor or JP to confirm that I was who I was. My OBC was then sent to me. However, if I lose it again and want another copy, I would still have to go through the same rigmarole. All that unsealing the records means is that we adoptees can actually get a copy - it doesn't mean the OBC goes back into the general population.

One could say they are metaphorically still "kept under lock and key" but in unsealed states, the key is allowed to be used more freely to unlock the lock. It would be like having a locked strongbox without a key (= sealed records state) and a locked strongbox with a key (unsealed records state). Thus, the main difference is in regards to access - i.e. it is not like all OBCs have been released out of captivity and suddenly refiled in with other birth certificates - they will in fact always remain separate and need to be requested separately to our amended certificates.



Funnily enough, the "excuse" given re sealing records was to "protect the adopted child", even though they were really sealed so that adoptees could never know who gave birth to them - it is much easier for adoptees to have less interest in one's bparents if they have no idea who they are (I can vouch for this from experience). Thus since the records were supposedly to protect ME as a child, then as an adult, I should be allowed to say "No, I don't want them sealed to protect me anymore now that I'm an adult".

They were not sealed to protect birthparents - that's not to say that some bparents may have been lied to in the old days. Also, others were told that their child would have no wish to know them - so I can understand that some bparents might think that a searching adoptee had an ulterior motive because they didn't believe that their adoptee might just want to get to know them as a person. Also, many bmoms were made to feel so ashamed that they did end up equating shame=baby and thus if their adult child contacted them, it would be like their shame contacting them. It is sad what was done to them. There are actually also many bparents who have no wish to be "protected", many are actually interested in how their child turned out.

There are ways to contact even now. You know. There are registries. If you do not see a woman looking for a male child born in...oh... Long Island NY on August 12th 1970, there is a good chance that the woman has a family and children. The child given away because the mother of birth is curious - or intrusive.

It's stalking.

People cut cords with blood relatives all the time. It isn't unusual or even specific to adoption.
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Old 08-16-2013, 10:33 PM
 
Location: Chicago area
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
I graduated from high school in 1964. Abortion was illegal but certainly available to white women with money. You just had to know the right people.

Too many people today have no idea what the "morals" of that time were. Good girls just didn't "do it". There was no such thing as date rape. There was no such thing as sex education in schools or talk of birth control. Single women could not even get BC pills once they became widely available. If a good girl from a good family "got herself" pregnant the whole family was subject to shame and humiliation. Careers would be damaged (the girl's father). Social status was threatened. Siblings were stigmatized. And if a girl got pregnant the first thought in the family was "Oh god, who knows?"
Isn't it sad that some people still want it that way?
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Old 08-17-2013, 02:36 AM
 
Location: Chicago area
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Most people don't know much about the health conditions in their family because, for the most part, there isn't much to know. Most people die from age related conditions - not very notable and nothing that really concerns you anyway. But at least you know that. You know that there is no major genetic disease in your family that kills people early.
Your family could be like my former co-worker, Lisa's, for example. Her mother, her aunt, her grandmother and a cousin all got breast cancer in their early 40's. Her grandmother and aunt both died. Lisa knows this since she has grown up in the family and her aunt and grandmother's early deaths are common knowledge in the family. With that knowledge she can take action that may save her life. She may choose to have a mastectomy to eliminate the risk of getting breast cancer all together.
Had she been adopted instead, though, she wouldn't have this knowledge and wouldn't know to take lifesaving preventative measures.
Most adoptees probably have nothing remarkable in their family's health history but for those who do, like Lisa, it's very important for them to know about it. Without checking with those who know the history adoptees will never know if their family is like mine where everyone has died from old age related diseases or if it's like Lisa's where major genetic illness exist. Why shouldn't they have the right to get that info?

Last edited by Jaded; 08-18-2013 at 02:20 AM..
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Old 08-17-2013, 08:12 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Granny Sue View Post
I'm sorry you are so angry at these people who gave up their rights to their children so that these children could have a better life than the one they could give them.
Most of the "motives" as you call them really lies in this.....It's an extremely personal emotional decision to make...not one that is made easily. Maybe the birth parent needs to move on for their own emotional and mental well being.
And I've never understood why people don't think that the birth parents have no consequences of their actions. They are judged for the rest of their lives. Even tho in reality...they did the right thing.
And I'm sorry you feel that they are exempt.....they live with it every single day of their lives. Now every day of their lives they live with the reality that their lives that they have tried to hard to rebuild can come crashing down.....and they will be judged all over again.

What is reality to you isn't necessarily reality to another.
IMO the motives are not coming from birth parents.
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Old 08-17-2013, 07:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
I graduated from high school in 1964. Abortion was illegal but certainly available to white women with money. You just had to know the right people.

Too many people today have no idea what the "morals" of that time were. Good girls just didn't "do it". There was no such thing as date rape. There was no such thing as sex education in schools or talk of birth control. Single women could not even get BC pills once they became widely available. If a good girl from a good family "got herself" pregnant the whole family was subject to shame and humiliation. Careers would be damaged (the girl's father). Social status was threatened. Siblings were stigmatized. And if a girl got pregnant the first thought in the family was "Oh god, who knows?"

She was either sent off to a home for unwed mothers or out of state. Either way it was hush hush. And everybody hoped and prayed nobody found out either now or ever. It is for this reason I always assumed records were sealed to protect the privacy of the bmother. BTW- usually girls would not name the boy for fear her father or brother would "kill" him or cause him great harm. Girls had to shoulder all the blame cause, after all, we all know boys will be boys...nudge nudge, wink wink.

I knew several girls in high school and college who put children up for adoption and they lived in fear it would come back to haunt them later in life. Women of this era were so unfairly treated and judged. It is these women I feel for if records are opened. Some have tried to go on with their lives and build families. I'm sure they never forgot but the fear of being outed kept most of them quiet.

I'm so glad I lived to see things ease up a bit. Abortion and adoption and sex and infidelity are openly discussed--well by many people. I remember in the 70's the actress who portrays Red on Orange is the New Black and was the star of the soap Ryan's Hope, Kate Mulgrew, placed a child for adoption and was very open about it. Abortion was legal and safe but she is a strict Catholic and would never consider such a thing. I was absolutely shocked she was so open after most girls would have done anything to keep adoption quiet. Joni Mitchell placed a child for adoption. Both have been reunited with those children.

Personally I think open adoption is probably best for everybody but I'm sure there are still many who would prefer strict privacy for many many valid reasons.
Sealed birth certificates of this era should only be opened if bmothers agree to it. That may not be fair to adoptees but these women made that decision with the understanding it would be private and that should be honored. More recent bmothers would know when they placed a child the records could be opened when the child reached majority and their decision can be made with that in mind.
First of all, I can understand to some extent what it was like at that time because it was like that to some extent when I was growing up, especially in my community. I know that if I had become pregnant and no-one knew in my family and there has been no way for me to care for the child and I felt there was no option but to relinquish the child, I too would be scared of anyone finding out. However, I know that in this day and age, it is something I would now have to face, regardless of whether I lived in a sealed records state/country or not.

This is because, whatever state a birthmother lives in, there will always be the possibility of contact - the main reason being because of the rise of the internet. I worry that everyone on here who has birthmother friends may have lulled them into a false sense of security that because they live in a sealed records state that they are safe from contact. The thing is that many adoptive parents received information iuncluding names at the time of their children's adoption, regardless of whether the bmom had been told about being granted confidentiality or not. Because of the popularity of the internet and its use as an invaluable people searching tool, many of these adopted people are starting to look for their bparents and many of these adopted people live in sealed records states.

As for "outing" one's bparents, I would actually imagine that if one had received one's birthparents names via official channels, eg via applying for one's OBC, one would actually end up being better prepared as to how to go about doing so. I personally believe information booklets should be sent with each OBC so that the the person receiving the OBC knows how to make the approach. I am not sure about Illinois but I know that if I had wanted to search, I could have asked the NZ government Dept of FYC to do so or do it myself.

Those who have received information from unofficial channels, like from their adoptive parents, would need to do their search unofficially unless they wanted to pay a fortune to a CI or PI. (Don't forget also that in a sealed record state, the bmother could be contacted by a CI at any time). It actually seemed to me that at least half of the people on shows like Find my Family actually had the names of their bparents provided via information given to their adoptive parents at the time of the adoption. If confidentiality in adoption was all about protecting the bmothers identity from the child, why did so many adoptive parents have that information about their child's bmothers identity?

Confidentiality had been promised to bmothers but this confidentiality was more a general confidentiality in that their identities were protected from the public. It was never originally about protecting their identities from their own child. The later sealing of records in many places came about because the first wave of adoptees and bmothers started seeking each other out and this went against the point of the modern style of adoption. Thus records were retroactively sealed so that this couldn't happen without the adoptive parents say so. The adoptive parents were often given the name of the bmother and if they so wished, they could share that with their child but many went to their graves without ever letting their child know - in fact, in many cases the adoptee didn't know they were adopted.

Anyway, the point of the above is just to point out that in this modern time, no birthmother can be guaranteed that her birth child won't seek her out REGARDLESS of what state she lives in.

Thus, if I were a bmother in the hypothetical scenario described in the first paragraph, despite my fear of being found out, I would realise that it is always a possibility regardless of where I lived. I would have to make a choice of whether to keep feeling fear or to face my fears.

If I were a bmother whose family knew and whose family considered it all a mistake that should just be hidden, that would also be very hard and one can understand a bmother in that situation feeling fear of being outed - i.e. many of her family and friends have judged her all her life so she may well imagine that everyone in the world judges her too, including her adopted out child. Often the difference between a compassionate family and a family that might have judgmental family members (especially if it is her parents) can make the difference in how a bmother faces the future after relinquishment. Sometimes family and friends may have their own personal reasons for encouraging the bmother to feel fear towards their adopted child. Others may, by implying that searching adoptees are abnormal, may in fact further instill fear in their bmother friends because their bmother friends may then feel that their adopted out child will only search them out if there is something wrong with said adoptee.

As an adoptee, I would know that adoptees can be good people so if I were a birthmother as well, I would know from my own experiences that not all adoptees are out to "out" their bmothers or to inflict revenge on them or any other such thing. I know that the vast majority of adoptees who search do so with general feeling of benevolence in their heart towards their bmothers. That doesn't mean that reunions can't get fraught with difficulty and I can understand that people might not actually want a long term relationship as such. However, when it comes to making contact, often a "No" will suffice if one doesn't want contact.

Regardless of whether a bmothers wants contact or not (her own choice), living in fear of contact is a different issue - those around her need to help her face her fears so that she knows how to cope if contact should happen - because as I pointed out earlier, it doesn't matter where she lives, there is always the possibility.

Quote:
Sealed birth certificates of this era should only be opened if bmothers agree to
it. That may not be fair to adoptees but these women made that decision with the
understanding it would be private and that should be honored. More recent
bmothers would know when they placed a child the records could be opened when
the child reached majority and their decision can be made with that in mind.
The evidence is that many bmothers do agree to it. Not all birthmothers agree to it but they are also protected by being able to sign a "no-contract" preference form. Their feelings are honoured by this "no-contact" form.

They still receive the same general confidentiality that they had in the past, i.e. that their birthmotherhood won't be exposed to the world. That is the confidentiality they were actually promised, not confidentiality from their own child finding out.

Perhaps that is what people don't understand - bmothers made their decision knowing that it would be private from the public finding out - they still have that same privacy. It is not like bmothers names are all released to the public when records are opened.

Every time a state or country unseals their records, everyone keeps having this same arugment and in none of the places has the sky fallen down. Funnily enough, it seems that when unwelcome contact is made directly by an adoptee it seems to be in a SEALED records state, perhaps due to the difficultiy of knowing whether contact would be welcome or not. Because information in unsealed records states is by official channels, it can be better controlled.

The truth is that this thread was started because of the observation that Illinois was "opening its records" when in fact its records were unsealed almost 2 years ago without fanfare or problems. It just shows what little a deal it actually is. Those Illinois bparents who don't welcome contact will have filled out their "non-contact" preference forms and in a way can feel more protected from unwelcome contact than their fellow bmothers in sealed states - after all, those other bmothers could be contacted at any time by their children who have received info from adoptive parents and are using the internet to try and find them.

Last edited by susankate; 08-17-2013 at 07:55 PM..
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Old 08-17-2013, 08:00 PM
 
1,879 posts, read 1,851,005 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheena12 View Post
There are ways to contact even now. You know. There are registries. If you do not see a woman looking for a male child born in...oh... Long Island NY on August 12th 1970, there is a good chance that the woman has a family and children. The child given away because the mother of birth is curious - or intrusive.

It's stalking.

People cut cords with blood relatives all the time. It isn't unusual or even specific to adoption.
If the birthparents have died, they can't register. Thus a register would have been no use to me.

Also, many of the bmothers who search via registers have married and had children. They may be fortunate to not have judgmental husband, family or friends and they and their family may welcome hearing from the adoptee.

Btw I'm slightly confused as to what you mean by "it's stalking"? Do you mean bparents and adoptees who register on registers are stalking each other?

Quote:
People cut cords with blood relatives all the time. It isn't unusual or even
specific to adoption.
I personally have no wish to cut ties with either blood or adopted relatives, I have no reason to. In fact, I am one for expanding family rather than excluding family. I consider my biological family and my legal family to all be my family whether I am in contact with them or know them or not. There are some who feel that only the people in their day to day lives should be considered family but I feel that that would mean I would have to exclude relatives like my adoptive cousins/uncles in NZ - just because I don't know half my adoptive cousins doesn't make them less family. I've never met any of my grandparents, adoptive or biological, but they are all still my grandparents.

Last edited by susankate; 08-17-2013 at 08:24 PM..
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:38 PM
 
1,409 posts, read 798,436 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
I have some friends who placed children in the 60's and they tell me it would ruin their families if they were "discovered". One was a one night stand at a frat party and she didn't even bother to track down the father, nor did she list his name on the OBC. She just wanted it over. The other was in a long term steady relationship with a high school boy but his parents didn't want him to marry her- she always felt it was the ultimate rejection and she just wanted to get it over with but she did list the boy as the father. She is now wealthy in her own right and fears somebody coming along to want something from her and to out her and this boy.
I believe in open adoptions now and think it is probably best for everybody but for the birth mothers who made plans thinking it would always be behind them, I think it would be devastating in their elderly years to have to deal with somebody asking a bunch of questions and making accusations. And if they are deceased then what would keep an adoptee from contacting a family member who might not have known and then open a big can of worms for everybody.
This is often one scenario, although certainly there are also many birth moms who wanted to keep their child but back in the day, a teen who was pregnant, living at home in high school was treated like a pariah....there was a whole kind of underground culture of young mothers whose children were basically taken from them against their wishes. THAT is the other side of the coin
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:00 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mondayafternoons View Post
This is often one scenario, although certainly there are also many birth moms who wanted to keep their child but back in the day, a teen who was pregnant, living at home in high school was treated like a pariah....there was a whole kind of underground culture of young mothers whose children were basically taken from them against their wishes. THAT is the other side of the coin
Of course that's true. A naive teenager may think "OH i can do this, I want to keep my child" but remember back in the day there were no services, special schools for teen moms, housing help, medical help. Absolutely nothing except a whole society judging them for something many avoided simply by luck.

I knew a girl who risked a very unhealthy and illegal abortion in 1966 because her parents were talking about sending her to home for unwed mothers. She knew what was in store because a friend had been through it. It was punitive. The girls were not allowed to even know what sex the baby was or see it. She knew she could not live through that and what happened after that. It was especially difficult for her because her parents had more anger and shame than compassion. Today thank god girls can be properly cared for and are allowed to be part of a decision. If they carry the child to term I would think open adoption would be the best solution to a difficult situation.I hope and pray our society never goes back to the old ways but it seems some conservative politicians are hell bent of making this happen.
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Old 08-20-2013, 07:45 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
Of course that's true. A naive teenager may think "OH i can do this, I want to keep my child" but remember back in the day there were no services, special schools for teen moms, housing help, medical help. Absolutely nothing except a whole society judging them for something many avoided simply by luck.

I knew a girl who risked a very unhealthy and illegal abortion in 1966 because her parents were talking about sending her to home for unwed mothers. She knew what was in store because a friend had been through it. It was punitive. The girls were not allowed to even know what sex the baby was or see it. She knew she could not live through that and what happened after that. It was especially difficult for her because her parents had more anger and shame than compassion. Today thank god girls can be properly cared for and are allowed to be part of a decision. If they carry the child to term I would think open adoption would be the best solution to a difficult situation.I hope and pray our society never goes back to the old ways but it seems some conservative politicians are hell bent of making this happen.
NK I tend to agree with you whole heartedly most of the time. This post is generally indicative of that until you state that the best solution for everyone is open adoption. It MIGHT be the best solution but that is only going to be true for some individuals. For some families, the best solution might be a closed adoption. For some the best solution is to raise the baby themselves, especially if they have a great and willing support system. For others, abortion is the best solution.

Moderator Cut.

Last edited by Jaded; 08-21-2013 at 09:35 PM.. Reason: Off-topic
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Old 08-21-2013, 09:36 PM
 
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Thread is about Original Birth Certificates being unsealed...and privacy issues that may arise due to this.
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