Sunday, May 25, 2008

Recently Published Letters RE Adoption Legislaion

Birth parents' rights denied

Asbury Park Press, Thursday, May 22, 2008

Origins-USA is a national nonprofit group advocating for mothers' rights and keeping natural families together. We represent and are the voice of mothers who have lost children to adoption. As such, Origins-USA objects respectfully albeit strongly to the April 22 commentary "Adoption law protects privacy of birth mothers, too."

A Jan. 24 press release on behalf of the NJ Catholic Conference claimed that mothers who lost children to adoption want — and were promised — anonymity and "protection." However, the conference admitted no agreement making a promise of confidentiality exists and points instead to policies regarding privacy from public scrutiny, which is quite different from wanting anonymity from one's own flesh and blood.

Every mother who was persuaded or pressured or lovingly lost a child to adoption suffers lifelong irresolvable grief in sacrifice for all of his or her minor years. Inasmuch as no parental rights extend into one's offspring's adulthood, how can relinquishment of a right to "parent" extend into the majority years of one's offspring?

The only thing promised such mothers was that our children would have a "better life." Being denied equal access to legal, identifying documents, as is taken for granted by all other citizens, was never mentioned as part of any papers signed by any of us or expected.

It is no longer the 1970s. A great deal has changed in terms of gender equality in the ensuing years. Fathers are tracked down to admit their paternity even when it is embarrassing or risks their careers. Origins-USA supports the rights of mothers who neither need nor want "protection." It is a smoke screen for a legalized veil of our shame for us while protecting only those who profit from baby-brokering.

Mirah Riben



Sealed records put adoptees, kin at risk

The writer of a May 16 letter "Family medical history crucial for adoptees'' is of course right. Family medical history is a vital part of everyone's health care. Outdated laws that deny adoptees and their birth families access to each other put all of them and their descendants at risk. I am a mother who lost a child to adoption and I have been working with this population, researching and writing about adoption issues for nearly 40 years. It is a red herring to believe that mothers want anonymity from their own children.

Mothers who lose children to adoption often go on to have subsequent children without any knowledge of genetic health issues affecting their lost child that might change that decision or be important to the health of their other children.

Medical information needs to be constantly updated, and the only way to keep it current and accurate is for people to be allowed to communicate with one another.

Why do New Jersey adoption records remain sealed? Because those who profit from adoption operate better under the cloak of secrecy. It's time to stop supporting baby brokers at the expense of the right of citizens to life, liberty and equality.

Mirah Riben


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