Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Louisiana Catholic Bishops Correct In Opposing Open Access Adoption Records Bill

I say this as someone that has certain stake in this outcome. Regardless the Catholic Bishops are right. See Bill would allow access at 24 years of age

Many adoption agencies including those with the Church made agreements with the mothers and indeed fathers many years ago.

....Current law requires adopted people to go through a legal process to obtain partial birth certificate information. They need to demonstrate to the court a “compelling necessity,” such as inheritance issues and medical concerns. Those who are adopted now receive an amended birth certificate with the names of their adoptive parents, while the original certificate is put under seal.
The legislation was narrowly approved on a 3-2 vote by the Senate Committee on Judiciary A after nearly two hours of debate, despite opposition from the Louisiana Conference on Catholic Bishops.
“At what point in time does a person have a right to know who they are and where they come from?” Martiny said. “We ought to be fair to these people and not make them jump through (legal) hoops.”

Rob Tasman, associate director of the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops that helps with adoption services, said it would be unfair to retroactively make birth mothers’ names public to their children when they had an expectation of privacy.
“There are plenty of women who have been promised their identities will be protected,” Tasman said. “The breaking of that promise is a serious concern.”...

Correct Mr Tasman. It was noted there was not much opposition to this bill but as was pointed out:

.....State Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, argued that the birth parents who would oppose the bill are those who want to remain anonymous and would not come forward to testify against the legislation.
“There’s no way for us to see the other side of the coin,” Claitor said.
“With all due respect, I’m not sure there is another side of the coin,” Martiny responded.
SB155 next moves to the Senate floor for debate......

Really? No other side? Though again I would benefit from this , I have at times a HUGE curiosity myself about questions about my birth, this is just unfair. AGREEMENTS were made and this should not apply in a retroactive fashion.

Read the whole thing and I hope you call to oppose this legislation. We currently have a voluntary registry available for birth parents and children to use to meet up. If people wish to make this the law for the future fine. However it should not apply retroactively. Again promises and understandings were made.


J.D. said...

Let me begin by saying I respect your views. However, I was adopted 30 years ago via closed adopted. I'm not 100% certain if it was through a Catholic agency or another type of organization. Once I was old enough to understand what being adopted meant, I was handed about 5 sheets of paper with all physical characteristics, limited medical history, and little else information. What do you know about your family? Put yourself in my shoes for a minute. Can you imagine not knowing where your certain inherited traits come from? Not to mention research shows it is becoming more and more important to know your family medical history. What if all the women in my biological family have breast cancer? Don't I have the right to know so I can begin mammogram screenings earlier? Early detection saves lives. In a way, anyone who blocks this bill from passing may putting hundreds, maybe thousands of lives at risk.
While I don't believe this is the case with my specific adoption since I have 2 biological older siblings who were not adopted out, I have done my research and I know that back in the 1950's to about the late 1970's all adoptions done through religious organizations where closed so the mother and father would not bring shame to their families and church. These organizations would hide this women away and treat them like animals because they made a mistake. Wake up, this 2011. There are birth mothers out there who have been reunited with their biological children and can now feel content with their lives. When you give a child away there is a void you will have for the rest of your life. Think what it's like for the mother, having to carry a child in her for 9 months, only to be able to see that child briefly before it is ripped away from her. How do you think she feels? There is and always will be that bond with that child. Since you are a man there is no way you can relate to that experience. You cannot carry a child within knowing you have to give up part of yourself then have to live with it THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. There are women out there who will talk to you, but you aren't seeking them out.
I will tell you I have no desire to meet my biological parents. I'm sure other adoptees feel the same way. But there are plenty of other adoptees who's biological parents were subjected to the Catholic shame and practically forced to give away their child who was born out of wedlock so as not to "embarrass" themselves in their community. Now in modern times they realize there is NOTHING to be ashamed of, and they have every right to find their child as their child has every right to find them.
Perhaps one day I will search for them so I can get an update medical history and learn more about my heritage. So many people, and possibly even you, are blessed with knowing where you came from; what cultures run through your blood. Your heritage is part of your IDENTITY. That identity is what you want to deprive adoptees from. We have a right to know our background just like you.
What are you so scared of? I respect everyone's right to privacy, but what is the worst that can happen? Sure, some reunion attempts will be made, but chances are good that the worst that could happen is the biological family is not emotionally equipped to dredge up the past. If that's the case, the adoptee will accept and respect that, and over time everyone will heal emotionally and move on. No one will die if you pass this bill; and contrary to popular belief open adoptions are growing in these modern times because the stigma of having a child out of wedlock is vanishing, so the number of abortions are NOT going to increase (I"m still not getting that twisted sense of logic, but I"m pro-choice so I guess I will never understand). I really don't think the Catholic Bishops are thinking outside the box here since apparently they all know their family and medical history, and don't care about we who do not have that privilege.

Rose said...

I am a birth mother who was forced to give up my child in 1957. I did not want to give up my child. Nor did I ask for privacy. In fact, I begged for the birth certificate to remain unsealed. I was told that I was a sinner and did not have the "right" to have my child ever know who I was. I am his mother. I am 71 years old. He is 54 years old. Aren't we able to decide for ourselves ? I contacted the office of vital statistics last month and requested that the birth certificate become unsealed. I was told that I could never unseal it. Why not ? I didn't want it sealed in the first place. Another lady I knew who also gave up her child against her will in the 1950's went to her death begging for someone to find her child before she died so she could explain what happened to her. So she could tell her that it wasn't her choice to give her up. So she could tell her how the Catholic nuns belittled her and told her that she wasn't worthy to ever know her child. NONE of the girls in the maternity home wanted to give up their babies. None of the girls wanted the records sealed. No one asked us what we wanted. We were not given a choice then and you are not giving us a choice now.

Anonymous said...

The Registry does NOTHING for those of us and we are MANY that have birth mothers from another state. When I was reunited, I told my birth family I'd been registered with the Louisiana Registry and they all said "The what?" My birth sister told me "our" mother stayed severely depressed her entire life because she didn't know how to find me and desperately wanted to and guess who suffered for that severe depression? Not only my birth mother but my 4 birth siblings, all of whom I now have a great relationship with and can't imagine life without. The myth of privacy is a LIE and I missed getting to know my birth mother who also died wanting to see me from breast cancer and I really needed to know that information. Petitioning the court is not only expensive but anyone who thinks that most that petition for "compelling" reasons given by state law actually get their records is sadly mistaken. Most are denied. And this bill was amended by those wanting our records to say the birth mother could, if she wanted, have any identifying info taken out. Even after we gave in to ALL concerns, you don't see them listed anywhere. We are adult adoptees who want our original B/C. Period. My birth mother is deceased and there is no birth father shown in my records, I already know that. So, this is for my birth mom who WASN'T ashamed she had me - THANK YOU BETTY JEAN WARDLOW for giving me life and I love you and wish I'd gotten to meet you on earth. Notice we don't need our B/C to be reunited?

Anonymous said...

I think if more people viewed the Dan Rather report, "Adopted or Abducted", found on Yahoo News, Youtube, and blip tv, then the support for the Catholic Church's argument would diminish. In addition, to the Church being involved in adoption scandals in Spain, Ireland, and Austria (where the Church made an official apology); new reports reveal that an estimated 1,500,000 young American women experienced force adoption at the hands of the Church here in the States, between the 1950's and 1970's. So perhaps the real reason that the Catholic organization does not want there records open is because of the liability involved if the truth is discovered.

Anonymous said...

Yes, they were correct in opposing it so as to avoid yet another scandal: in this case coercing women into giving up their children. The Catholic Church is corrupt and rotten to the core.... bishops protecting child molesters, etc. Nothing that organization says should be given any credence.

ELayton2013 - Formally, Anonymous said...

I agree with your opinion concerning the failures of the Church; yet I believe that transparency in birth records will not only give freedom to so many detached biological families, but will also provide a foot hole for change in the Church. I am not willing to give up on the Catholic Church and believe that we have an obligation to demand more of the leaders of our faith - by insisting upon a level of awareness that prevents past violations from being hidden and future temptation from being chanced. Beyond, the scandals that have come to light in the recent past, just imagine how many other laws can be broken and our system of government manipulated when a persons identity can be manipulated; i.e. multiple birth certificates, multiple identities, incomplete Social Security Death Registry, etc.