February 3, 2014

"Personhood" for Whom?

“The laws of this state shall be interpreted and construed to acknowledge on behalf of the unborn child at every stage of development all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of this state." ~ language in the newly passed Oklahoma "Personhood" bill

* As a pro-life Oklahoman and an adult adoptee, I am saddened by the lobbying effort of the Right to Life groups against ethical adoption reform and adoptee access legislation.  See "When It Is Illegal To Know Who You Are."

Think about it. Adoptee's very identities are aborted when their birth certificate is sealed. No matter how much they love their adoptive family, they live their entire lives asked to fulfill the legal role of someone they were not born as. They are human beings who have a right to know their truth. 

I would like to address pervasive myths regarding Adoptee Access Legislation currently
being passed in several states across our nation. Restoring the
unconditional right of adult adoptees to obtain their original birth
certificates is a human right supported by The Child Welfare League of
America and several other child advocacy and adoption groups. Statistics
in the states that have restored this right show that abortion rates do not increase and adoption rates do not decrease.
(See American Adoption Congress at http://www.americanadoptioncongress.org/reform_adoption_data.php)

The Supreme Courts of both TN and OR (both adoptee access states) have ruled that birthmother's were never promised confidentiality under the law, but instead, archaic
"sealed records" laws in adoption were only enacted to
protect the newly formed adoptive family. In fact, if a birthmother
relinquishes her child for adoption, but for some reason the child is
never adopted, that child's original birth certificate is never amended
or sealed. This alone proves that "sealed records" was not enacted to
protect the "privacy" rights of birthmothers. It was enforced upon them.

The true story of Philomena Lee shares the plight of millions of women during the "Baby Scoop Era" who lost their children to adoption. 
(See Jan Baker's article, "Open Records: Do Birthmother's Need Protected? at http://adoption.about.com/od/adoptionrights/a/openbirthmompro.htm
Kansas, our neighbor to the north, has never sealed original birth
certificates to adult adoptees. Restoring the right of adult adoptees to
obtain their original birth certificates is a basic human right.

Birth certificates of American citizens should never be "sealed" or "amended" (falsified) from the very person they belong to, yet the adoption industry continues these practices. This is unethical and violates the very core beliefs that the "right to life" movement claims to support.  Whose interests do we serve?      

True "personhood" mentality would not permit this to happen to millions of fellow human beings. Yet, these very organizations lobby against adoptee access legislation.  They lobby against ethical adoption reform measures that would ensure human-rights protections for the very ones they claim to serve (OK HB 2442 & HB 3011).  See "Veronica Case Leads to Adoption Reform Proposals".   

Their powerful lobby reduces adopted individuals to a commodity; our very identities sealed and amended for the fulfillment of an economically driven supply & demand based system.(See "Shotgun Adoption" in The Nation ~
http://www.thenation.com/article/shotgun-adoption) or "Giving Away Baby".

Legislators can prove themselves as "pro-life" by extending the SAME rights and privileges of "personhood" to adult adoptees

Currently, in all but 7 states, adoptees remain "perpetual children" in the eyes of the law, without the rights and privileges afforded to every other American citizen to access their own record of birth. Archaic "sealed records" law strips adopted citizens of their human dignity, identity, and history.
(For information about the states that have enacted this legislation see Adoptee Rights Coalition at http://www.adopteerightscoalition.com/p/for-legislators.html)


Heather said...

WOW - I hadn't considered this with the personhood measure. why do you think Oklahoma is so far behind almost every other state in adoptee access? (I mean besides the fact the OK is behind in almost every other area as well...) Do you anticipate that the personhood measure will force them to address the access issue?

*Peach* said...

Hi ((((Heather))),

I felt compelled to write this post because the Right to Life organization is actively opposing HB 2634 (an unconditional adoptee access bill), even though statistics from other states that have passed the measure show that abortion rates do not rise.

Interestingly, Catholic Charities in Georgia is supporting their adoptee access bill. Oklahoma could learn from other states.

The only thing "sealed records" does is protect the monetary interests in the business of adoption (adoption is fiercely competitive and brings in many millions of dollars per year to the "professionals"). "Sealed records" create an atmosphere for conflict of interest and unethical adoption practices. It does nothing to protect those who are actually touched by adoption.

Here are the members of the OK House Judiciary Committee, if you (or others) would like to write an email in support of HB 2634, so that adopted people can access their original birth certificates.


*Peach* said...

The bill passed the OK House overwhelmingly, but has not been heard in the Senate Judiciary committee.

Oklahoma Senators please look at the actual statistics from other states and restore the personhood of thousands of OK adult adoptees.

Julie Gaglione said...

Peach, thank you for this wonderful post. In the years between my 46th and now 48th birthday I have been on a mission to learn the "truth of my life." Luckily I was adopted in Tennessee where I ultimately had access to these "truths" even though I have known the names of my first parents for over 20 years. Fear kept me from seeking to know them. Now I have overturned all those stones and know my whole truth...100 percent, lies and falsehoods, and misconceptions included. This has helped me as I will celebrate my 48th birthday on Valentines Day this Friday (a birthday I share with my first father...not a coincidence I believe) to finally grow into adulthood. It feels good to finally grow up.

Peach said...

So happy for you! Happy Birthday!