Parentage, Right to Know?

Category: Culture
Date added
2021/07/05
Pages:  4
Words:  1099
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It is easy for a child to know who they got their nose from, which parent they got the color of their eyes, the lucky double joint genetic, but what about the kids who look in the mirror and are filled with questions about their origins? An adopted child should be able to see their records after eighteen, closed adoptions aren’t truly closed in this technological age, and having families intermingling isn’t as horrendous as it’s made out to be.

Adopted children seek answers to questions of their origins: ethnicity, culture, medical history, or simply their mother and father’s names (Bergal, 1). Adopted kids should have the right to these answers, after all they are two halves of someone they do not know (Bergal, 1). The trend of closed adoptions started when Georgia Tann, infamous child trafficker from the ‘20’s, sold off children in a human trafficking ring and used an adoption agency as a front. Closed adoptions covered all traces of it’s sinister intent (Rosenbaum, 4). In general, closed adoptions were very selective about the children. At one point in its history, it heavily incorporated eugenics (Rosenbaum, 3).

Ninety-five percent of adoption agencies offer some form of open adoption (Johnson, 2). The amount of communication can vary from a letter once a month to an agency to monthly visits. Open adoptions aren’t as intruding as generally depicted (Beckstrom, 2). Most adoptive parents consider their child’s biological parents part of a family, merging in a way step-families do. Open adoptions let the birth parents have a relationship with their child. Open adoptions are decided before birth, it’s not forced upon anyone (Stewart, 1).

One family in particular, the Eiselts, who adopted both of their children have opened their homes and hearts to the birth mothers. Melissa Oys is a young woman not much older than her twenties, is treated like one of the Eiselts (Stewart, 2). Oys and her daughter, Sydney, interact more like an aunt and niece, just like a handful of other open adoption cases. In those few, they have more of an aunt and niece/nephew dynamic. The Eiselts’ other adopted child, Jordan, has an open relationship with his birth mother. Here was her perspective on the open adoption:

‘ “”Now, I kind of see him as this nephew… He is a very important person in my life, and he always will be, but I have finally gotten to that point where it’s OK if I don’t think about him every minute every day.””’

Since it’s shown that open adoptions can still hold a healthy family dynamic, is there a benefit to have an adoption closed? There’s always the rare possibility of so; but there is an old stigma around adoption, starting with having children out of wedlock. In the 60’s and back, there was a stigma about single mothers or having children out of wedlock. Most women were ashamed of this and tried to bury their past by having closed adoptions. Then it seemed beneficial, but now in modern society, a single mother or a child out of wedlock isn’t an issue (Bergal, 2). One woman, Sara Feigenholtz, who was adopted found her mother when she was an adult. During their meeting, her birth mother told her that she needed protection from society and not her child when she became an adult (Bergal, 5)

Since then, in 2016 and in Ohio, over 9,000 adoptee requests and 7,800 certificates were issued. Only 259 parents wanted to be redacted (Bergal, 4). Around 5% are confidential in the U.S. (Rosenbaum, 3). This shows that most birth parents are interested in having some form of communication with their child. Even if it’s one-sided, mothers placing their child’s birthday on the calendars secretly and waiting one day to get a phone call, or the adopted child wanting to thank their birth mothers for putting them up (Schroeder, 6). Many birth parents are grateful afterward for the opportunity to know their child is happy and healthy (Schroeder,7).

“It’s not like this shameful thing; they were like, ‘Do you know how long we’ve been waiting to meet you?’ (Rosenbaum, 8) Closed adoptions seem futile to use for secrecy in this age of technology. There’s plenty of DNA sites like 23andMe and Ancestry.com that could pinpoint their estranged relatives or even to their parents (Rosenbaum, 2). On social media, they’re easily searchable as well. Sites like Facebook and Instagram give a wide net for adoptees to browse, it is changing what adoption is (Belkin, 1). Wouldn’t it be better to have a controlled degree of openness than for the adult child to pop up abruptly at some point in life? Having a closed adoption isn’t going to make the child disappear. Actions have consequences and this is the consequence. Wouldn’t someone want it on equal terms? Rejection should always be expected, but while discovering answers it won’t always will be easy (Browne, 2).

Bob McNish was a closed adoptee and was on the hunt of his birth parents: going through the judge that oversaw the adoption, the doctors at his birth, and finding someone who he thought could of been his possible twin (Akin, 1). He, like all the others, are plagued with the existential questions every adopted kid holds. He feels that like all others he should have a right to his own past (Akin, 1). The parents had to live through their struggles and think they have a right to their privacy, but so do the kids. It’s terribly unfair for someone that you don’t know to have that much control over life, it would be easier if it was two-way (Akin, 3). There’s concerns about the parent’s reactions, maybe another rejection, but discovery of birth parents is at their own risk. It’s their choice to find their birth parents. A solution to this could be getting the original certificate during a certain period of time.

Twenty-eight states already have an openness law while still protecting the rights of the parents (Johnson, 2). Some states want to offer the birth certificates after the adopted becomes eighteen, like in Florida where they only do court orders (Researcher, 1). Although, nine states, like Colorado and Alabama, have unfettered access (Bergal, 2). During the time of 2004-2015, 1760 adoptees received certificates and 13 declined contact entirely (Bergal,3).

Adopted children should have the right to know their parents because they are a part of them. They can discover their culture, ethnicity, and answer the numerous questions. the child probably has. It’s not common for a birth parent to straight up reject their child, the birth parents are curious too.”

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Parentage, Right To Know?. (2021, Jul 05). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/parentage-right-to-know/

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