Saturday, March 6, 2010

Disturbing Attitude of NJ Adoption Reformers

I have tried to dialog with those who are trying to get the NJ bill through the legislature. See the proposed bill, S799, is available here and previous post: NJ BIll Adoptee Access Passes The Senate Committee.

I have asked that they remove:
5.    (New section) a.  An adopted person 18 years of age or older, a direct descendant 18 years of age or older of the adopted person if the adopted person is deceased, or the adoptive parent or guardian of a minor adopted person may obtain from an approved agency or the attorney who facilitated the adoption any family history information concerning the adopted person that is contained in that person's adoption file, upon submission of a written, notarized request to the agency or attorney.

As used in this section, "family history information" includes medical, cultural and social history information provided by the adopted person's birth parent and maintained by an approved agency or attorney who facilitated an adoption.
I have suggested that they'd be more likely to get the support of mothers and the ACLU with it. I pointed out that this aspect of the bill dirties it and makes it no longer and issue of EQUALITY.

I pointed out that mothers don't even have access to agency records about ourselves.

It all fell on deaf ears.  Oh well. I tried. I even said that I would consider a POSSIBLE compromise giving the adoptee such access upon the death of the mother or her refusal for contact. Not acceptable. 

This may be the first time I come out in public opposition of an access bill.  Still waiting for feedback from others...

Question for adoptees: If you could get your OBC would that satisfy you, or do you also feel you deserve to have agency records?


KimKim said...

Adoptees in South Australia are entitled to "agency" records. They don't have adoption agencies in Australia, it's all government run. They are also allowed their OBC's.

AdoptAuthor said...

I have no idea what those records would include, but for the first time i think I'm glad I'm NOT in Australia!

What do birthmothers have a right to?

Anonymous said...

What is it you'd prefer they didn't have exactly? What kind of information might be in agency files that an adoptee shouldn't be able to get?

AdoptAuthor said...

As stated in my previous post on this issue: NJ BIll Adoptee Access Passes The Senate Committee

These agency files contain "judgments made about us by social workers. If we cried too much they called us hysterical. If we didn't cry enough they called us uncaring. Agency records are BRUTAL and can give adoptees a very wrong impression. Some say we didn't know the father when we did.

"When a mother I know met her daughter, the daughter asked about her uncle with "mental problems"!! She was stunned. Then she finally remembered that she had told a social worker that her brother - as a teen - had smoked some pot."

They contain no valuable medical info - only what a YOUNG mother might know. For instance, at the time I relinquished I would not have been able to tell anyone what my the still living parents would die of or even that I would develop a chronic autoimmune disease.

Any records pertaining to ME, are MINE. Adoptees are entitled to THEIR OBC, not MY records!

We relinquished our right to parent. We did not give up or have taken from us any other fights as US cirizens, such as HIPPA right to privacy of our medical records.

I believe that dotees deserve THEIR OBC and then have the right to ASK their mother and she in turn has a right to answer or not...same as any of my other kids, who, BTW would have no right whatsoever to these records about me that offer snapshot of us at time of crisis and distress in our youth.

I cringe at the thought of what might be in them! But, I have o idea - because I have or right to see them! So, why on earth should anyone else have that right?

Melanie said...

I am in a fight right now to get my non-id redacted info from my file - and it's something the state of Texas guarantees me - the only guarantee an adoptee in the state of Texas has -and the agency is refusing to give it up. So getting state law to reflect such a thing is one thing; getting agencies on the other hand to comply - I've been told when filing a complaint with the state - the agency has up to a year to comply with my request.

I do believe I have the right to both the file from the agency (who gave me three different summary sheets - 5 years a part - that had differing information each time - so I don't trust the summary sheets at all) to decipher for myself - as well as access to my original birth certificate.

I'm also a birth mother. When I found my son last year I learned that he and his family had been denied information that I had specifically sent to the agency (medical, social history updates) when they requested it.

I realize once I get the information - that some of it will be according to the person who interpreted it at the time - which I actually know the social worker in my case personally. I can take it with that particular grain of salt that some of it will be misinformation. I do however feel I should have access to it. In the state of Texas adoptive parents also are granted access to the redacted non-id if the adoptee is a minor child.

If I am able to get an OBC or find my birth family I will most definitely ask them to verify the information; but chances are I won't find them - so this is the only link I have to any sort of history.

Anonymous said...

Kitta here:

I agree with Adopt Author. I surrendered a child in 1968. Agencies offered counseling to young mothers, and the counseling was protected and confidential under the mental health privacy laws of the time. Today, it would be covered under HIPAA. Any subject discussed with a social worker or other professional counselor was private. This counseling was to be treated the same as marriage counseling or psychiatric services, etc.

And the "medical files" are even more private, in some cases. These may have been submitted by ob/gyns. Pregnancy and reproductive health information is very private and should not be released to anyone other than the patient.

I have a copy of my agency medical file and it contains information that is erroneous, and would be not only useless but misleading and possibly harmful to a person who did not know.

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