Secrecy still rules in the world of adoption. Access varies widely, unfairly, state-to-state. Only 9 states give full access to records or OBCs for the adoptee, and some with tight restrictions attached. Lots of control, lots of fear. The Denver Post article details the many fears people have about this issue. Check out the reader comments too--many are explosive.
When your very existence is surrounded by fear in this way, it can be emotionally confusing or damaging. To insinuate that adoptees are "dark secrets" whose presence will "destroy lives" is hyperbolic and hurtful.
In Colorado, record numbers of people filed for their original birth certificates following this court decision. Isn't that evidence of how important this is?
The question on allowing access is always this: Whose rights matter most?
- The adoptive parents'? They might fear that their child will reject them if s/he is allowed to seek information about or contact with birth families...let me tell you, the possibility of rejection is MUCH higher when they are denied the right to this information.
- The birth families'? The birth families might fear lack of privacy and therefore not want an adoptive child to seek. Often that's not the case, but sometimes it truly is.
- The adoptees'? Many say that access to birth certificates is a civil right that belongs to every citizen and should therefore belong to adoptees as well. Many also say that access to information about heredity, etc. is also a basic human right.
Perhaps all parties should have the right to say "yes" or "no," but what about when interests conflict? Does the adoptee's rights supersede the birth mother's? Does the adoptive parents' rights count more than the adoptee's? How can we make everybody happy?
Not everyone can be happy unless it's a perfect world. And let's face it: adoption is often evidence of a broken world. When a mother is in a situation where she must give up a child, when a couple cannot get pregnant, when a child has to be removed from a dangerous situation and become property of the government, this is not perfection. Adoption can be a wonderful thing, but it is a human thing so it is flawed and emotional and complicated.
It appears that things might be moving in a progressive direction in Colorado. Hopefully this will encourage further retroactive provisions. When people see that the world doesn't end when access is granted, more draconian laws will be lifted.