Birth Mothers Who Want Privacy Should Support Open Adoption Records

I mentioned this previously in my blog post on “Adoption BEWareness Month Part II” as well as on OSoloMama’s blog, and I think it warrants a post of its own. What I said was:

[I]f women don’t want the offspring they gave up for adoption to contact them, then they ought to support open adoption records. Because as it stands in closed records states, the only way for adoptees to obtain info is to contact their birth mothers.

The biggest argument against restoring original birth certificate access to adoptees is that we are all potential stalkers out to harass our birth mothers. Putting aside how ridiculous that is, in reality, most birth mothers desire contact, and most adoptees just want some information. The way sealed records operate, our only choice is to contact our mothers for that information.
I posit that original birth certificate access actually HELPS that small percentage of mothers who desire privacy.
My own is a case in point. When I began searching, it wasn’t with a mind to find my mother. Granted, I had a few hazy daydreams of meeting her over coffee, but my real goal was finding out about myself: how my adoption was arranged, what my birth name is, what my ethnic heritage is, where I fit in a long line of ancestors. And I spent a decade doing everything I possibly could to find out without contacting my birth mother. I did my own research. I asked search angels for help. I hired a private investigator. I tried both the state in which I was born and the state in which I was adopted, and as you all know got shuttled between them like the unwanted ball in a game of hot potato. Tried to use the Illinois Confidential Intermediary system, failed, hired a lawyer, tried again, succeeded for certain definitions of “succeed”, made brief contact with my birth mother, was denied further contact, and wound up exactly where I started… except for a few extra tidbits of vague information, some hefty bills to be paid, and a signed denial of contact form from my birth mother which denies me access to the very records I originally sought.
Score: adoption industry, several kazillion; Triona and her family, zero.
Now, if I had access to my original birth certificate, in the same manner as the non-adopted, I could have spent half an hour and $15 at the courthouse to obtain what took me thousands of dollars, thousands of hours, and a lifetime of pain to attempt to obtain. And I wouldn’t have had to contact my birth mother at all.
Compromise legislation and post-adoption “services”, however kindly (or unkindly) meant, merely pays lip service to records access. They have nothing to do with the privacy of anyone except the adoptive parents, and those agencies and individuals who are attempting to hide the misdeeds of adoptions past. Why else are the Illinois intermediary program’s procedures more confidential than my own private data? Why else are the original birth certificates of adoptees impounded, not upon relinquishment, but upon finalization of the adoption? Why else are adoptive parents often given paperwork that names the birth mother?
Those scant few birth mothers who want privacy should support original birth certificate access. Because the way the system is rigged in closed-records states, the ONLY state-sanctioned way for an adoptee to obtain information is to contact our birth mothers, whether we want to or not.


  1. Thanks for another excellent post. I linked and tweeted it. It is to much for deformers and trogs in the legislature to comprehend what you’re saying

  2. Thanks for the link, BD!

  3. You know what I worry about with casual thanks for the info contact – it’s this. Meeting your child is an extremely emotional experience. To see my child for just a few fleeting moments, answer a few questions and then never see them again would be devastating.

    I have always suspected that this is what those birth mothers who oppose open records are coming from. It is extreme fear of the pain. They have kept it in chains for all these years and they are very afraid of letting it free.

    Please do not construe this as an argument against open records – I just wanted to express my thoughts.

  4. Great post…keep it up.

  5. You are so right about all of this. Unless you are a searching adoptee you have no idea how much time grief, and money goes into searching to only get peanuts! A close college friend of mine saved every penny just to be able to hire someone to do the search for her, and mannnn was it an emotional roller coaster to only find out that they found her b-mom and when the request was made for them to meet she didnt get a response from her b-mom. The social worker in the case attempted contact twice and no response. I feel terrible for my friend. How horrible can a b-parent be? I did a post before on my site about paying to get information to find birthparents and I think its horrible. Especially to only find out they the b-parents want no contact. shame.