We want to hear from you. What are the most pressing issues for adoptee rights in the United States, today and in the future?
Within one to two weeks of the November elections each year, Adoptees United will release a report on the overall state of adoptee rights. The report will include a look back at what has happened in the past year and what we expect will happen in the coming year. It will also analyze issues we expect to see in the near future, including what legislation we expect to be introduced or pursued. Finally, we will set out our priority actions and encourage all adoptees and their allies to unite behind those priority actions, whether it involves legislation, education, fundraising, special projects, or a mix of these and other issues.
Each year, we ask to hear from you. What do you see as a pressing issue for adoptee rights? We are specifically focused on rights for adult adoptees, whether involving intercountry adoption, US citizenship and immigration issues, equal rights legislation concerning the right to request and obtain original birth certificates, and issues that may arise around adopted people and required identification documents.
Today, we are opening up that discussion. We hope to hear from you and will use insightful comments for the Adoptees United report we plan to release by mid-November 2019. So, let us know your thoughts.
Karen Lynch says
I want to be able to access ALL of my adoption records. In Illinois I was finally able to receive my original birth certificate. It is ridiculous that I am not able to receive my adoption records from Chicago Foundling home. I am an adult. They are my records.
Making our original records available to us is the most pressing issue to me. We have a right to know!
Kristi webb says
It’s unbelievable how they think we have no right. Who came up with 1982 and down you can get your original birth certificate in ct.
Kristi webb says
It’s unbelievable how they think we have no right. Who came up with 1982 and down you can get your original birth certificate in ct. how can we change the legislation
Nicole Vaughn says
I would like to have my original birth certificate and any information that’s in the file. I was told by the State of New York that I have no rights to my original birth certificate! Why? Just because I was adopted at 3 years old! That’s MY birth certificate!! I have rights too just like everyone else.
Adoptee rights activist William Hammersley (RIP) successfully annulled his adoption in Australia and was able to take back his original name. I would love to see this option available to adoptees worldwide — not only access to the OBC but the right to use it for legal identification and genealogy purposes. (For future generations, too.)
That’s right access alone is not equality – use and recognition of it as an identifying document is equality. Never altering them will be equality
As an adult, adoptees should have access to their entire adoption file. Its just wrong that there’s a file on me that I
have no right to! Better access to siblings should be provided as well.
F. A. Cato says
Allowing adopted persons to have copies of and have access to ALL of their adoption records is what every organization which represents them should strive for. Not allowing adopted persons ALL of their records is a civil rights issues. We have a moral right to all of those records. It’s inhumane to deny a person their own personal records that relate to them from their birth.
Ruth Sanderson says
With the changes in the laws, since the 9-11 attacks, I’m currently unable to get a passport because I can’t provide an original birth certificate. Next year, the “Real ID” becomes a mandatory requirement. This will go into effect in October, 2020. Again, one of the requirements is an original birth certificate. Without the “Real ID” driver’s license, we will not be able to fly domestically, let alone internationally. Will this also mean that I will no longer be able to drive? I resent being essentially ‘held hostage’ in my own country for no other reason than the fact that I was adopted. As an adult, I’m angry that I have no rights to my own information and personal identity. The general public doesn’t realize the scope of the problem. As an example, in the state of Michigan, all adoptions were “sealed” from 1945 to 1980. Thousands of adoptees are affected. This needs to change.
Gail Sanasac says
I completely understand, My license expires next year and with out OBC I wont be able to even get a license where I live because they have gone 100% real ID. Something needs to be done, but it seems not one cares.
We should have the right to access EVERY piece of information pertaining to our adoptions. There should also be more mental health resources available to us.
Kim Poledna says
While I agree open records is huge, I think the important issue suppressing this progress is the popular “positive only” adoption narrative.
Unless the general public is made aware of the real pressing issues facing adopted people, they will not come on board and less progress to establish our rights can be made.
Education on the inflated rates of suicide, family abuse, incarceration, and addiction caused in part by the suppression of our equal rights to information and trauma of infant via maternal separation needs to be established, well known, and talked about.
Yes, this is a Civil Rights issue! No other group of US citizens is discriminated against so strongly with our government’s full backing! Everyone has a right to their identity and their history!
Individual judges should not have the sole say as to whether you can have access to your information or not!
Can not believe my own personal information is legally withheld, to include medical facts, in order to allow anonymity for someone’s personal convenience. How is that actually STILL legal? Not to mention staggering monetary amounts for info obtained. How is this legal… to leave a live human being devoid of their own information and medical facts- a cipher?
Gail Sanasac says
what amazes me me is that the so called right of the birth parent ( the one who signed their rights away) supersedes that of the child, who had no say or choice in the matter. With Real ID act going in to effect this coming year, this is really going to hurt a lot of people such as myself because I can’t even get a drivers license in the state I live in when mine expires in a year, because the state of Georgia, where I recently moved from Mississippi, has gone 100% Real ID. So now I am going to have to try to find the means to fight the state of Mississippi to obtain what is rightfully mine in the first place.
Adoption agencies should have to pay into victim’s rights funds set up exclusively for adoptees, since they are the victims of decisions made about their lives without their consent or participation. Adoptees should then be able to access specialized mental health care or any necessary services with the funds. All records must be fully available to adoptees.
I agree! Absolutely.
Mary Kellermann-Bryant says
As an older adoptee, having the right to my records would solve a lot if medical issues for me. But since Baltimore Maryland will not open records to anyone before 2000, I have to be dying to petition my records. This is so ridiculous. I know when I was 18 I was not mature enough to handle the truth as I am now.
How dare anyone in any public agency get to decide that anyone of any age ‘can’t handle’ the truth? The truth and the facts are the only thing any government agency should have the authority to write down and the individuals who are impacted by the truth, which would be you and everyone your related to, should have access to factual documents, not fabricated ones. You always deserved the truth whether or not you yourself feel you could have ‘handled it’, that was never anyone’s place to decide that some people need to be lied to or lied about.
Rudy Owens says
WIll there be a national law like the United Kingdom’s, implemented in 1975, giving all adult adoptees their original birth records? I think not, at least in my view. (We need to talk about this a lot more though.)
Will there be a national apology, similar to what Australia’s Prime Minister did in 2013 to all birth mothers from the 3 decades after WWII (and secondarily to adoptees)? Likely not also. (Again we need to talk about this more too.)
Will adoptees nationally create a movement that creates a clear, unifiying, and single vision for equality that challenges decades of inequality? That remains to be seen.
So my ask for this discussion will be small and achievable with limited resources and the reality of where things are in 2019.
I would like for there to be a group of adoptees only that asserts the interests of the diverse group of U.S.-based adoptees in any dialogue in the media where adoptees are discussed and adoption is discussed substantively. There needs to be a rapid response team that is accessible 24/7 to any media outlet that highlights and key facts, historic inequities, the history of domestic and international adoption, the issues of inequity facing the diverse group of U.S. adoptees, and goals for restoring rights that have been taken from people simply because they because adoptees and are, sociologically, perceived as illegtimate human–whether that is ever acknowledged or not. No more Adam Pertmans. No more NCFA. The media need the accessible messenger who is credible to them. This group also needs to be response to misinformation, and have a strategy to force rebuttals and follow-up stories when there is misinformaiton.
This must be a diverse group that is on message and relentless in its messaging in every public statement.
If we can’t even do that, I’m not sure there will be later steps that can achieve legislative victories at any level. If we do this, we’ve taken a big first step.
Rebekah Henson says
I agree with many of the other commenters here—we deserve access to not just our original birth certificates, but ALL documents relating to our adoptions.
Also raising the desperate need for adoptee citizenship with a fury too forceful for the public to ignore so it takes over Twitter and the public consciousness with the same undeniable ferocity as all other immigration rights/abuse issues. We need every single member of Congress to draft and back emergency legislation with the same conviction and urgency they did for the family border separations last year.
I’d also add robust mental healthcare led by a thorough understanding of trauma and grief in ALL adoption—infant, older child, international, whatever, we still all experience the same complex, disenfranchised grief regardless of the age we were when we joined our adoptive families. Adoption issues need to be a required course in every educational institution for every single person pursuing a degree in social work or mental health. It’s a life-and-death issue when our community is at a four times higher risk of attempting suicide.
As someone who was separated from all of my siblings for 19 years completely unnecessarily, I also strongly believe we need to encode a child’s right to remain connected to ALL their relatives in every state’s adoption laws, with some kind of ramifications for adoptive parents who intentionally try to isolate their child from their own relatives—especially in private infant adoptions, where safety risks are hardly ever a factor in voluntary placements.
I think I’d also add empowering adoptees with the right to sue—successfully, with the expectation to win with laws on their side—the agency that handled their adoption if they were placed with a permanent family more abusive or destructive than the family they were taken out of. It’s far past the time for agencies to be held accountable for negligence in properly vetting parents/home environments/not following up regularly to ensure the child they played a key decision-making role in transplanting remains healthy and well cared for.
Margaret LyBurtus says
As a mother of a surrendered Adoptee I would like them to be able to have completely unfettered access to their original birth certificate. Truth of their heritage and medical information.
marilynn huff says
I started a survey because it’s time to stop fighting for access to original birth certificates and instead demand that they not be falsified in the first place. The falsification of people’s vital medical records of birth surely creates a legally recognized identifying document but it is not equal to that of a legally recognized identifying document that identifies people who are believed to be the actual offspring of the people named as parents on the birth certificate. The federal government, department of health services is the entity that dictates to states what information needs to be collected and what steps states need to take to ensure that the individuals named as parents in fact reproduced and created the offspring named on the certificate. The federal government needs to take a stand against the falsification of birth records and penalize states for issuing two birth certificates to document the existence of one citizen.
It is a clear case of not providing equal protection under the law for citizens who have been or will be adopted. Adopted people should be identified by their original unaltered birth certificates only altered in cases of medical inaccuracy. They should be able to use those original certificates to identify themselves and use their adoption decrees if they need to demonstrate that they were adopted or demonstrate that they had a legal name change. Adoption should not require altering the identity of adopted individuals. I believe that asking for access to an original can be denied because the request is not a request for equal protection under the law. Asking for equal protection under the law would be more difficult to reject because everyone is issued a certificate that authorities believe to be a medically accurate record of human reproduction resulting in the birth of those people’s offspring. People with offspring should not be exempted from having their names recorded as parents as it results in unequal treatment for their offspring. This is not a state issue. The problem is that states have laws that discriminate against adopted people as they had laws that discriminated against gays and different races.
Marcia Staples says
First- thanks to all who had a hand in getting NYS3419 passed that now awaits Gov. Cuomo’s signature and its enactment Jan. 15, 2020 that will give adult adoptee access to our Original Long Form Birth Certificates.
I won’t be surprised if my OLFBC has fictitious names on it. My b.m. registered with the NYC hospital using a fake name, and my listing in the NY,NY Birth index has that same fake surname.
(I know the true names because of DNA tests.)
The adoption agency records are sealed from revealing identifying information under NY Domestic Relations Law 114 and NY Public Health Law 4138-C details the generalized information they can release. Was legal proof of the surnames required at the time for entering data on OLFBCs? It will be awful if b.m.s were allowed to falsify those records. We need to have access to ALL our records including all the Agency files.
Courtney A Dobson says
I’m concerned for the state of illegally adopted/trafficked adoptees within the US (and possibly other countries) that have improper documentation and/or falsified records.
They too are at a high risk of deportation and would likely be rendered stateless.
Most legislation brought forth to try and close citizenship loopholes does not often include these adoptees, who are left vulnerable to ever increasing attempts to get rid of undocumented persons.
I want them protected as well.
Aside from full disclosure of our entire adoption files in all 50 states.
I have always felt very unprotected by the United States Constitution.
Religion for starters. My mother had the right for me to be placed in a Catholic home. Twice, 2 adoptions; this right was ignored in my case.
I have been into a court of law attempting to be religiously recognized under the constitution. As the religion that I have chosen. Is not of the dominant religions. I spoke of my right as an adoptee, to identity, and dignity. And to the fact that I have never had either. It all fell on deaf ears. I do not have the right to speak up for myself as adoptee. I do not have the right to know my culture. I have no culture, I have no dignity. And I never have.
I deserve Identity. I deserve religion. I deserve to speak freely. I deserve, the dignity of knowing each and every placement I have been. I deserve to be included and protected as a citizen of the United States of America. Beyond the ability to pay my taxes and have a social security number.
We are treated like the illegitimate of the world. And I am tired of it!
christina Miller says
As I have to finally deal with the whole “real I’d” at 57, I’m again thrown back to my Real Identity is not what is on my birth certificate! I have been very fortunate and meet both my biological “real parents “, but that is not how I am allowed to identify with. The word “ real “ itself is a trigger!! Why