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Doc Hancock

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Should adopted children have access to their true birth records and know their birth parents?

Many states still prohibit children from knowing their birth parents. Only non-identifying information can be provided. Those opposed to releasing records claim that birth mothers were promised confidentiality. Is there an overriding principle that children have a right to know who their birth parents are? Thank you.

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  • Jul 24 2013: I think they do, but not until they are adults. Creating a life is something an adult should not be allowed to walk away from, even though adoption permits them to walk away from the parenting. A person should not be left with a lingering question like that their entire life, and should have the opportunity to meet their birth parents should they so desire.
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      Jul 24 2013: Thank you Robert. Let's see how others feel for the next 13 days. I'm sure you will have some who agree and others who do not. I am using TED to research this subject. Thank you again.
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    Jul 25 2013: Yes, I believe the information should be available. I know people who were adopted and chose at some point to explore the information, and I know people who were adopted and have no desire whatsoever to access that information. One important reason to make the information available, is for medical history, and it is beneficial for people to be able to access that information if they choose.
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      Jul 25 2013: Thank you Colleen
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        Jul 25 2013: You are welcome A. P. Hancock,
        You write in your introduction....."Many states still prohibit children from knowing their birth parents"

        Which states?
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        Jul 25 2013: Thanks A.P.

        That link provides this information:

        "In nearly all States, adoption records are sealed and
        withheld from public inspection after an adoption
        is finalized. Most States have instituted procedures
        by which parties to an adoption may obtain both
        nonidentifying and identifying information from an
        adoption record while still protecting the interests of all parties".

        The rest of the document reinforces the fact that there are a number of different procedures by which parties may obtain information. I do not see anything that indicates any state "prohibits children from knowing their birth parents", as you stated.
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          Jul 25 2013: When you read details from each state you will find that many states only provide non-identifying information and that identifying information is only obtained by court order or by the written consent of the birth parent. They have a "registry" where adoptees and birth parents can post information. That is because the adoptee cannot have access to the name of birth parents. See Arkansas, for example.
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        Jul 25 2013: I read the details A. P., and agree with what you are saying here...."that identifying information is only obtained by court order or by the written consent of the birth parent".

        What I'm saying, is that states do not "prohibit" children from knowing their birth parents. There are ways to get the information and "know" their birth parents. There are several processes by which this can happen including court order and consent of the birth parent, as you insightfully state in your most recent comment.
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          Jul 25 2013: You will find that those states which require court order are very, very reluctant to release the birth information. Adoptees are often prohibit from having access.
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        Jul 25 2013: Thankfully A. P., I've never had to go through that process, although I have friends and relatives who have.
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    Jul 25 2013: yes they should. my husband is adopted it was kept a secret for many years. Bits and pieces if his story have been lost with the passage of people who could have helped him find his birth father. He feels incomplete for to know where your life began and by whom is part of who you are. He will never have the opportunity of creating his "family tree"
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      Jul 25 2013: I often make reference on TED that I was raised in a orphanage. I knew my parents .... others did not. The common fact or us was that this is what it is ... we either grew strong mentally or lost the race.

      I understand the desire to find the birth parents, discover the "roots", and search your genealogy.

      When we got to high school we talked about a lot of things including this. My answer may not help you much ... but it was the best a young kid (me) could think of.

      You have to have a license to hunt, own a dog, fish, and about any thing ... any one can father a child. I have been in a lot of foster homes and can tell you this. You have a father and a mother who gave you life ... but there is also people in your life that you can call daddy and mommie (or what ever). They were there for you. Loved you. supported you. They are every bit as much parents as those who gave you birth.

      If those people denied you ... they do not want to be part of your life. So be it.

      There are hunters that will track the info for you ... it is expensive but may be worth it to you. Go to the web and type .... How to find birth parents.

      Good luck. I wish you well. Bob.
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        Jul 31 2013: Dear Bob, please accept my apologies for taking way too long to reply. I thank you for your sharing for I did not know about your life journey. How I admire your strength of character ! My husband was adopted by a wonderful couple at birth and he does feel blessed. The question as to his birth father rear it's head when our first child was born. This is when family history comes into play; what did he look like, where was he from, medical history, siblings that would be cousins? things such as these. Time has passed and 2 more daughters came into our lives and we are building our own history which is so important to him. there will always be those unanswered questions but, as of late he has no desire to search. Bob, your words truly speak the truth about adoptive parents; "They are every bit as much parents as those who gave you birth."
        again...thank you and I wish you all good things! mary ellen
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      Jul 25 2013: Thank you, Mary
  • Jul 25 2013: In my country, Korea, there are two types of adoption.
    First, gereral adoption. I think it works in many other country as same. When a couple want to adopt a baby, they can. After the baby grows up, he can find his biological parents whenever he wants.
    Second, special form of adoption (I cannot translate the term accurately in English..sorry :) ). This is totally for an adopted person. Couple who seek to adopt baby only can take a child whose age is under 15 years old. It keeps an adopted child from not adapting his/her new environment. Relationships between biological parents and an adopted child are totally broken up, when poster family adopts him.

    I thinkg it totally depends on an adopted person oneself. If he wants to find his real (biological) family, it could be better for him. They all should act as they want. No one prevent them from going after their heart (^^ )
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      Jul 25 2013: Thank you, Sophia.
      • Jul 26 2013: I want to know your opinion, Doc. And this conversation make me think of lots of things. What way will be more helpful for an adopted person?
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          Jul 26 2013: I will share my thoughts at the end of the conversation. Thank you for asking.
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    Jul 24 2013: It seems to become important to many to know their biological parents throughout their lives and I personally think they have a right to contact them, as well the parents have a right to not face them, especially if they decided their actions under the promise of confidentiality. A third moderating and neutral party should assist this process, to make both sides understand what their sights are and maybe to help to overcome to high expectations as well as fear.

    For new children born by birth mothers and/or sperm donor 'promised confidentiality' should be revised in general, to avoid this unfilled 'vacuum' which many describe as a 'non healing wound'.
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    Jul 24 2013: Gale, thank you for sharing your thoughts and your story.
  • Jul 24 2013: I agree! They should be able to find out - that is if they are adults. My son (who I adopted) is a child of artificial Insemination from an unknown donor. Now this has a "sticky" point as you well can imagine.
    he is now 15 & knows about his birth but NOT who the donor was. It does upset him a bit but I don't even have that info.
    He does know he is great loved & that helps a lot.
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      Jul 24 2013: Gale, thank you for sharing your thoughts and your story.