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Adoption - Is Family Heritage a Human Right?

  by Laurie Frisch

With the adoption industry promoting the illusion of adopters being the real parents of the unrelated children they are raising, adoptees are being denied basic knowledge about themselves. Who are they really? Who are their ancestors and what is their health history?

Marion, IA (PRWEB) July 20, 2004 -- In the movie "Roots II", the African man Kunta Kinte newly arrived in America and auctioned as a slave, submits to being whipped almost to death before he will acknowledge the new name given to him by his owner. This determination to maintain our identity is something most people relate to; fortunately most people will never know what it's like to have their own identity unacknowledged.

In adoption, the true identity of a human being is obliterated, beginning with the issuance of an amended birth certificate. The amended birth certificate lacks the adopted person's name at birth and her parents' names, instead identifying the adopters as having given birth. In some states, even the place and date of birth on these official documents are false. In spite of the Freedom of Information Act, even adoptees who are adults are denied access to their original birth certificate in most of the United States.

Adopters have been told by those who profit from adoption that if they love a child enough, the child will not need his true family. Many people probably think that for someone adopted as a baby, their identity forms based on those who raise them. Identity is often confused with developing good values. But is it the same?
In the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling, Harry's parents are the basis of his identity. This is true despite the fact that Harry’s parents died when he was an infant and Harry was raised by his Uncle and Aunt Dursley.

Harry's experiences living with the Dursley's are similar to those of many adoptees. The Dursley's try to suppress Harry's inherited tendency toward magic, which they can't understand. They lie to Harry about his parents telling him they died in a car crash. Questions are discouraged. While the Dursley's dote on their real offspring, Dudley, they can’t relate to Harry. Despite their concerted efforts to suppress it, his talent for magic becomes apparent anyway even before the Wizard world reconnects with him. His hair grows back in one night after Uncle Vernon decides to cut it all off. He is transported mysteriously to a rooftop while being chased by Dudley and his gang.

The Dursley's denigrate Harry’s true parents, insulting not only his parents, but Harry in the process. At one point in his anger over the insults he uses his magic to blow Mrs. Dursley up like a balloon which then floats away into the sky. Many adoptees find the denial of their true family by their adopters and others in society to be an insult.
Heritage and the family bond is essential to the identity of all the characters in the Harry Potter books. Harry's rival, the bully Draco Malfoy, has inherited a dark nature from his father Lucius. The Weasleys are a poor but prominent wizard family. Neville Longbottom, whose parents were tortured and driven insane, do not even recognize their son. But when his mother recognizes him as someone she likes and gives him the gift of a gum wrapper, he saves it. And while Hermione Granger's parents are Muggles, they at least have a bond with and appreciate their daughter as herself and allow her to develop her talents as a witch.

Those who truly care about Harry make it a point to keep his parents memory alive for him. "You look just like your father, but have your mother's eyes," Harry is told. It seems this simple statement is a great comfort to Harry. Even when Serius Black, Harry's godfather, asks Harry to live with him, Serius does not mention changing Harry's name and pretending to be his father. Serius respects Harry's heritage.What does an adoptee think when viewing this movie? The comfort of natural belonging is something that adoptees lack. They are "special," in that they are different from everyone around them. Whether their true mother is dead or alive, adoptees surely can’t help but wonder about her.

On an internet discussion board, Dave Staplin, a 48-year-old adoptee, introduces himself as "Mark (my real name, given at birth)." He states: "I played the role I was assigned faithfully for decades. I played the "as if" (born to my adopters) game as well as anyone, and like Sleeping Beauty, I stayed asleep and untouched. One day about 2 years ago, I began to wake up, and realized that what was important to my adopters was not me as I really am, but their image of the child they wanted. I was a stand-in, a representation of their dream of children and family."

In a message titled, "Why We Would Want to be Adopted Back By Our Parents - An Adoptee's View," he states: "We who have been adopted have been sentenced to carry out someone else's wishes, carry on someone else's name...When I began searching for my mother, every manipulative trick in the book was pulled to dissuade me from doing so. Again, concern only for what THEY want...Why would we want to be adopted back by our real parents?...We are NOT your children...no loving god would let happen to children what happens in closed adoptions... As to the adopter's pain, it doesn't begin to compare to the pain created by the way our lives have been manipulated."

While many people have been led to believe that adoption is caring for a child in the best way possible, inherent in adoption is the denial of a human being's own identity and heritage. While adopters claim they have a lot of love to give, it's what they don’t give that is harmful: Respect for the true family of the child they are raising as his family.

Adoptees sometimes do not even know whether the people they are dating or marrying are their own cousins or siblings. This may be especially true for Donor Insemination adoptees and Embryo-adopted adoptees who may guess at the truth but are less frequently informed of their adoptive status. For those adoptees who do know, adopters control them using measures such as guilt, material possessions and the lure of an inheritance. After having searched in vain for decades for their true family, many adoptees discover after their adopters have passed away that the adopters had in their possession identifying information that could have helped the adoptees locate their parents. And the adopters withheld it.

There are other methods of permanency for a child that do not deny him his heritage such as natural family preservation, custody, guardianship and kinship care. These methods require no lies about family relatedness and they put the child's interests first.
It's not in the best interest of a human being to be treated as the property of adopters. Even many of the people who have adopted agree that their adoptees deserve to have identifying information about themselves. And nearly all moms whose sons and daughters were adopted-out would love to know how their children are. Yet the National Council For Adoption, representing agencies which profit from selling the fantasy of "real parenthood" to prospective adopters, stands in the way.

We must have justice for all adoptees. In the future, no child should have her identity or any other information changed on her birth certificate. No child should be subjected to having his own heritage disrespected and denied. With adoption, not only the adoptee but each successive generation is cut off from their heritage. What right could be more basic than the right to your true identity? What could be more demeaning than to have who you are ignored or denied? Is Heritage a Human Right? It most certainly is.

 

Source: Adoption - Is Family Heritage a Human Right?

 

Note: "Birthmother" is a dehumanizing and coercive term, which makes a mother appear as if she was only the source of a baby for adoption, not her child's mother and parent. Instead of "birthmother", "birthmom", "birthfather", "birthparent" (aka "birth object") the honest terms "mother", "father" and "parent" should be used. If necessary, mothers whose children have been adopted-out may be called "natural mothers" to distinguish them from the people who adopted their children.

 
 
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