Monday, September 21, 2009

Being for Open Adoption

People choose to adopt children for many reasons. All have the same goal of having a family, but the reason why people actually adopt goes much deeper than that. Common reasons people adopt are that someone in the couple is infertile (or even both can be), they can pass on a disease to a biological child, or people may adopt to save children from bad situations and give them better lives. There is also stepparent adoption, international adoption, interracial adoption, and even homosexual adoption. In every case, at some point or another, the question arises whether the adoptees (children) have the right to know who their biological parents are, otherwise known as open adoption.
I think that those who are against open adoption haven't seen what can happen when an adoption isn't open. For example, my uncle is adopted. When he married my mom's sister, like any other couple, they wanted to have a baby; they were going to, but something went horribly wrong.
My aunt found out that the baby inside her was only going to have a brain stem-no brain had formed. The child would've had a very hard and most likely short life, so they terminated the pregnancy. My aunt and uncle went to the court system, and found out that my uncle had some condition from his biological parents that caused Tina (that was going to be the baby's name) to not have a brain. However, since his adoption was not open, they couldn't release the condition; they could only tell him it existed. Just think how much easier it would've been on them if they knew before-hand about the condition-it would've saved them so much hardship (Robertus interview).
Another argument that opposers of open adoption have is that the birth parents will change their mind and try to reclaim the child. According to Kathleen Silber, who is the assistant director of the Independent Adoption Center located in Pleasant Hill, CA, "adoptive parents usually fear open adoption at first…as they learn about it, we find that most couples want it." Silber also said that "the adoptive parents get peace of mind from knowing the birth mother has chosen them, and seeing that she is committed to the family she has created…the birth mother also gains peace of mind, when she sees the child is loved and well." Silber's center counsels to about two-hundred adoptions per year (Esch, no page).
Another opposing view on open adoption is that it violates the birth parents' right to privacy. In 2005 in Ontario, Canada, The Adoption Information Disclosure Act (Bill 183) was created. Here is how it was laid out:
Right To Information
* Adoptees who are 18 years old or older will be able to obtain copies of their original birth registrations that will provide them with their original birth name and may identify birth parents.
* Adoptees who are 18 years old or older will be able to obtain copies of their adoption orders that may provide information on the adopted person's given name at birth, birth registration number and name of adoptive parents.
* Birth parents will be able to have access to information from their child's birth records and adoption orders if the adoptee is 19 years old or older. Information about the adoptive parents would be removed from the adoption records.
* Adult adoptees will be able to register a "waiver of protection" that will allow the Ontario Registrar General to release information to a birth parent even though the adopted person may have been a victim of abuse by the birth parent.
Protecting Privacy
* Birth parents and adult adoptees can apply to the Child and Family Services Review Board (CFSRB) to prohibit disclosure of identifying information in circumstances where there are concerns about preventing sexual harm or significant physical/emotional harm.
* Birth parents and adult adoptees can register a "no contact" notice with the Registrar General. This means the birth parent or adoptee must agree, in writing, not to contact the person who registered the "no contact" notice, before he or she can receive information from the birth registration or adoption order. A person who violates a "no contact" notice may be fined up to $50,000.
* When an individual registers a "no contact" notice, it may include family and medical history and a brief statement concerning the person's reasons for not wishing to be contacted. That information will be passed on to the adoptee or birth parent if he or she applies to the Registrar General. (New media journalism).
Not in every case do birth parents want privacy, or are able to keep it though. Andrew Knight of Ontario was able to convince officials to let him to find his birth mother, Barb Beveridge, because he suffered a blood disorder in 1999, and needed her to provide health information; neither has been affected negatively because of this. "It's something that has enriched and broadened my life in so many different ways," said Knight; Beveridge has no regrets about being contacted, and that Knight is now "an integral part of her life." He was even walked down the aisle at his wedding by her and his adoptive mother, Janet Knight (Volmers, no page).
What if it is a child who wants to know where they came from? In Minnesota, Sydney Eiselt was able to grow up knowing who her mother is. Melissa Oys (the birth mother) and her family thought they wouldn't have very much contact with her at first, but the Eiselts gladly welcomed them. Peggy Eiselt said that she can't imagine kids not knowing their roots. (If one thinks about it, it really would be hard to not know where you are from.) The Eiselts adopted another child, and keep that adoption open as well, and the birth mother even said "he (Jordan) is a very important person in my life, and he always will be." She gets to visit him, and Peggy emails his updates to her (Beckstrom, no page). If this was in every adoption case, children would never have to wonder who their parents are.
Open adoption is not only better for the child, but for the parents (both sets). For the birth parents, like Silber said, they are truly happy when they know their child is being loved and is happy. The adoptive parents will be happy because they can give that love and happiness to the child. As already pointed out, the child will never have to possibly hurt their adoptive parents by asking where they are from- they already know as long as it's open. In the case of my uncle (and I'm sure there are others), if his adoption had been open, he and my aunt would've been saved from a lot of grief. Adoption in general is for sure better than abortion (but that's a completely different issue), and when it is open, it brings happiness to everyone involved, not to mention that there are no secrets-just complete honesty, which truly brings success in any relationship.
Blue Eyed Texas Belle

Works Cited
Beckstrom, Maja. "Thanks to Open Adoption Rules, Kids Grow Up Knowing Who They Are and Where They Came From." Sirs Researcher, 3 June 2003. Web. 20 Sept. 2009. <>.
Esch, Mary. "OPEN ADOPTION GAINING ACCEPTANCE ACROSS U.S." 16 Jan. 1994. Web. 19 Sept. 2009. <>.
New media journalism, 2008. Web. 20 Sept. 2009. <>.
Robertus, Todd. Telephone interview. Aug. 2009.
Volmers, Eric. "Adopting Controversy with Bill 183." Sirs Researcher, 15 Aug. 2005. Web. 20 Sept. 2009. <>.

1 comment:

FauxClaud said...


Thank you so much for you post supporting openess and less secrecy in adoption!

One other important point to remeber is that even if an adoption was not open, the adoptee still has a right to their idenity, so open records and access to the orignal birth certificate is very important.
In the US, we are still fighting for that.. only 6 states allow access to the original obc for adult adoptees,, that leaves 6 million adoptees without medical records or their truth. Laws need to change!