Assembling Self

Friday, November 2, 2012

Common Misconceptions about Adoption

I have found over the years the majority of people are very misinformed about adoption.  I have to admit when I was petitioning courts fourteen years ago I was surprised by what I did not know about adoption, and by the vast amount of inaccurate information regarding adoption and adoptees that was circulating.  So, I'd like to take five of the most common I've encountered and how it impacts adoptees.

To clarify, OBC stands for "Original Birth Certificate" which many people are unaware adoptees even have.  Adoptees are issued an ammended birth certificate upon adoption with the false information of the adoptive parents on it, replacing their original identity.  OBCs are then sealed and in most states adoptees are not allowed access to it even after numerous court petitions.  OBCs are only sealed upon adoption NOT relinquishment.  If a child is never adopted then their OBC remains in place.  That being said, let me address some adoption myths.

Adoption records have always been sealed.  Sealed adoption records are in fact a recent phenomena in the long history of adoption.  Initially birth certificates were sealed to protect adoptees from the stigma of having “illegitimate” stamped onto them.  Kansas and Alaska have never sealed their adoption records they have always been available to adoptees once they become of age.  Adoption records were first accessible to all three parties, adoptee, adoptive Parents, and biological parents, but closed to the public.  Beginning in the forties social workers and adoptive parents promoted the closing of records to protect the privacy of adoptive families and adoptees.  Many states did not seal their records until the 70's and '80's. Alabama did not close theirs until 1991 and reopened them in 2003.  Adult Adoptees are asking that the rights to access their OBCs be RESTORED.

Birth parents were promised confidentiality upon relinquishing their children for adoption.  Actually many biological parents were told to go on and forget the children they gave up, and many were told it was illegal to search for them and were threatened into obscurity out of fear.  Although this “claim” of confidentiality given by adoption agencies in regards to adoptee rights legislation, no evidence or documentation has ever been brought forward by a relinquishing parent or agency member to prove it, even when requested by legislators.  Statistics and data gathered by states that have opened OBCs to adoptees over the last 15 years show the vast majority of birth parents believe and agree the children they relinquished, adult adoptees, should be given access.

Open adoption records will cause more abortions and less adoptions.  As I mentioned previously Kansas and Alaska have never closed adoption records and statistically have always had lower rates of abortion and higher rates of adoption.  In states again that have reopened their adoption records and allowed adult adoptees access to their OBCs show these same rates.  Adoption and abortion are two separate issues that often become entwined with one another by those who are not familiar with adoption facts.  The shame and stigma of out of wedlock pregnancy is long gone.  The era of secrecy in adoption should be gone as well.

There are registries and intermediary systems already in place if people want to find one another.  Adoptees ammended birth certificates are altered and changed including many times date of birth, place of birth, and lacking hospital or county of birth.  This misinformation can deter people from finding one another, or finding one another too late.  Also, misplaced and lost files and information by intermediaries, social workers, and government offices influence important and vital connections attempting to be made between biological family members.  Personal agendas and opinions regarding adoption by those working within post adoption positions bear influence as well in adoptees attempts to obtain their own information.  People many times do not know where to look for these registries or have knowledge of them, or where to go to find them.  People die and never have the chance to sign up to say they want to be found and yet again adoptees lose the chance to know and be known by their biological family members.  State adoption registries have a very low success rate.  Adoptees should not have their own personal and private information placed into the hands of anyone but themselves.

Open adoption is prevalent today so there is no need for adoptee OBC access.  Most adoptions today have some degree of openness.  However, once biological parents relinquish their children they also give up any legal right regarding their children.  Open adoptions close without biological parents having any recourse in a court of law.  Original birth certificates are still sealed and not accessible even to adoptive parents.  If contact between parties is lot these connections can be permanently severed along with the adoptees right to have information.

There is more but I will cover that later.  If you read this far THANK YOU!  If you have any questions please feel free to ask me, another adoptee, or I would encourage you if you are still interested to look it up on your own.  Knowledge is power!


  1. Thank you Assembling Self!
    You provided me with so much information and enlightenment I feel like I can breathe. I too am adopted but actually have never ever had an ABC I've checked and most my state IDs and such were issues with adoption papers because there is no ABC. My aparents honestly never petitioned for one, I don't know how they were not ordered to but I've searched and there is no such documentation. This has been a subject of humor until recently. Now I wonder if its a blessing or curse. Maybe if I never had an ABC my birth parents and I could connect more easily from accurate information.
    Anyways, thank you

  2. The era of secrecy is over in adopted children:

  3. Stephen i hope you are right. I think some of the brain washing, especially when a person is traumatized is powerful and people don't let go of old ideas. As a natural mom, i too was told very strongly not to try to find my daughter. Everything you wrote here is very true. in fact i was told since i didn't want to relinquish that she would be taken away immediately