Imagine… just for a moment having your rights striped away. Your right to know your health information. Your right to know where you came from. Imagine not being able to take preventive measures against mental illness or a serious genetic disorder. Diseases that you could have been prepared for, prepared your own children for. Imagine being denied access to your own birth certificate, or receiving information from an adoption agency that detailed abuse and other challenges when you were a child but being unable have the full story of what happened to you. Adoptees don’t have to imagine because they live with this everyday.
As a citizen of this country I am grateful to be born where we enjoy many freedoms and rights. Yet, the most basic of human rights is not given to adoptees...the right to know who they are and where they came from. As recent as last year, over 7 million people have been stripped of this most basic right. A right many of us take for granted. While medical history is important to an adoptee's health, KNOWING one's identity is also important to emotional health.
The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, section 1 states:
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
All citizens of the United States enjoy this freedom, yet individual States continue to deny this basic right to adoptees. There was an article at www.adoptioninstitute.org/research/2010_07_for_records.php that “examined the most current evidence related to restoring adult adoptee access to birth certificates.” Here is a sample from that report:
• Barring adopted adults from access to their original birth certificates wrongly denies them a right enjoyed by all others in our country, and is not in their best interests for personal and medical reasons.
• Alternative solutions to providing adopted adults access to their OBCs, such as mutual consent registries, are ineffective and do not adequately address the needs of adopted persons.
• The overwhelming majority of birthmothers do not want to remain anonymous to the children they relinquished for adoption and support (or do not oppose) those children's access to their OBCs.
• Providing adult adoptees with access to their original birth certificates does not threaten the integrity of adoptive families or the institution of adoption; indeed, the evidence suggests that the opposite is the case.
• In other countries and in U.S. states that have restored adopted adults' access to OBCs, or never sealed these records at all, there is no evidence of any of the significant negative consequences critics predict.
Please sign this petition to help restore these rights to adoptees and have States such as Michigan and New York allow access to their original birth certificates and adoption agencies to allow full access to adoption records. Everyone deserves the right to know who they are, where they came from, and their medical history. Imagine what it could do for so many.