We Need A 21st Century Adoption Dialog
Hundreds of families came together on National Adoption Day in November to finalize adoptions from the foster care system. These celebrations rightfully honored adoptive families and supported the placement of some of the 115,00 children awaiting placement. National media paid ample attention to these events.
But the story that the media does not adequately cover is that roughly six million adult adoptees are denied the right to information about their own identities through the archaic laws that exist in most states. Adoption reform organizations such as the American Adoption Congress support legislation that gives adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates without restrictions or limitations. Who among us would want to have the most intimate knowledge about our origins withheld from us? Knowing you who are and where you have come from is a basic human need and an essential civil right.
The adoption community that is made up of public and private agencies, attorneys and social workers, frequently relate to adoptive parents as their primary stakeholders. But alongside that community, in what often seems like a parallel universe, are the interests of adult adoptees. Their voices that need to be heard, for surely they are the central stakeholders in adoption. Let’s encourage a national conversation that privileges all corners of the adoption triangle: the adoptive parents, the birth parents and the adoptees themselves.