MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

By ANN S. KIM
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA - Cathy Robishaw wants to hold her original birth certificate in her hands, to look at the name she was given at birth, along with the names of her biological parents.

The Falmouth resident believes it's a desire that many of her fellow adoptees share, but many do not have that ability.

[url=http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/news/statehouse/070502adoptees.html]SO...

lucky
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

Signed into law, taking effect 01/01/09

[url=http://janus.state.me.us/legis/LawMakerWeb/externalsiteframe.asp?ID=2800... Act To Provide Adult Adoptees Access to Their Original Birth Certificates[/url]

Naran
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

This is a double-edged sword for many. I know adoptees who will welcome the ability to find out where and how and to whom they were born. I can also imagine people who gave up children for adoption decades ago being very dismayed at the prospect.

Bob MacGregor
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

As an adoptive parent, I have mixed emotions about this. It doesn't apply to our family, but I can imagine where it might cause some stress (of differing sorts) for both the adopted child and the birth-parents.

lucky
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

Naran, adoptees can hopefully obtain important medical history as a result of knowing more about their birth family.

Naran
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

Lucky - believe me, as I said - I know adoptees, and I understand the reasons and benefits of such legislation.

I can also sympathize, however, with a woman who has never told her present-day family about a child she gave up for adoption when she was fifteen. And, maybe never told her parents, either.

lucky
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

That's true, Naran, no doubt this bill will open plenty of cans of worms. May be why it won't take effect for two years, to give people time to let family members know.

Back in the day (Im talking pre-Roe v Wade), when a single mother had a child the mother's name was the only one on the birth certificate. Most times the father's name wasn't even included as far as I know. Which leads me to wonder how many men are going to deny paternity, leaving the adoptee with only half the parental information.

I know of one case where an adoptee found her birth mom, who then contacted the b-father. He wanted to meet the girl too, but first had to tell his children about having fathered a child before they were born. The man's wife knew (she had been an acquaintance of the birth mother), but did not want their kids to know about it, so it caused a lot of turmoil.

Still, if I were adopted I think I would want to know my biological roots.

Naran
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

I know I would.

Shandier
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

They already have places where you as an adopted person can leave their information or those who gave kids up for adoption can also leave their information so that if the other party has done the same, they can be matched and get to know each other. They also have open adoptions where such details are ironed out between bio and adoptive parents. That's wonderful since everything is open and where privacy is wanted, it remains.

I have a half sister I have never met. She is an adult now and I would like to meet her. My mom and our bio dad divorced when I was two and he remarried and had her. I wouldn't knock on her door since I have no idea what she knows or even IF she knows about me. It would be pure selfishness on my part to trudge into her life without regard for her. I have never tried to find her, nor will I.

I feel the same could be said for anyone who for their own sake wants to muck up someone else's life in such a way. Medical histories are another issue, but that can be taken care of by filling out the form we all have every time we see a doctor for the first time. No names needed for that.

Robert
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

[quote="Naran"]
I can also sympathize, however, with a woman who has never told her present-day family about a child she gave up for adoption when she was fifteen. And, maybe never told her parents, either.[/quote]

So this woman's "present day" relationship is built on lies? Are you OK with that?

lucky
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

A couple of links

[url=http://www.cwla.org/programs/adoption/open_records3.htm]Child Welfare League of America[/url]

[color=darkblue]1. The research is clear that birth parents and adopted adults do wish to be found by one another.

In a comprehensive study of the issues involved in adoption, the Maine Department of Human Resources Task Force on Adoption found in 1989 that adoptee and birth parents wish, in overwhelming percentages, to be found by one another.[/color]

[url=http://www.obcforme.org/index.htm]OBC for ME[/url]

[color=darkblue]Members of OBC FOR ME believe that Maine adoptees have been denied the human right that all other residents of Maine have and that is to go to the vital records office and get a copy of their original birth certificate. It is their history, it is their origin and they have the human right to that information.[/color]

Robert, years ago it was a very shameful thing to have an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. So it's not as much lies as shame. Especially if the girl was from a religious family.

Naran
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

I guess she should have had an abortion instead, huh, Robert? Then she'd have less to keep private.

Robert
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

There is a third option Naran. Honesty. :wink:

Naran
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

Shandier - if you are adopted, you may have no way of knowing your bio family's medical history. If you don't even know who your parents are, how are you to know whether they have a family history of heart trouble, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, etc.?

That's the kind of medical history adopted folks generally mean when they refer to it.

Naran
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

Robert, some people have a different version of what "privacy" means, and maybe don't feel like telling their three-year old that Mommy had another kid 25 years ago.

lucky
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

Reading this bill, there is a section that states:

3. Contact preference form. The state registrar shall develop a contact preference form on which a birth parent may state a preference regarding contact by an adoptee. The form must contain the following statements from which the birth parent may choose only one.
A. "I would like to be contacted. I have completed this contact preference form and a medical history form and am filing them with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics."
B. "I would prefer to be contacted only through an intermediary. I have completed this contact preference form and a medical history form and am filing them with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics."
C. "Do not contact me. I may change this preference by filling out another contact preference form. I have completed this contact preference form and a medical history form and am filing them with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics."

I am assuming contact forms will be filed with the original birth certificate.

Robert
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

[quote="Naran"]Robert, some people have a different version of what "privacy"[/quote]

The baby did not choose to be born, so if a man and a woman produce an unwanted child, should they even expect privacy? Knowing who your parents are is knowing who you are. Some people are interested in their heritage.

[quote="Naran"]
maybe don't feel like telling their three-year old that Mommy had another kid 25 years ago.[/quote]

Now you are being ridiculous.

lucky
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

Ok, also in this bill are guidelines for obtaining the original:

Access to original birth certificate by adopted person

An adopted person, the adopted person’s attorney or, if the adopted person is deceased, the adopted person’s descendants may obtain a copy of that person’s original certificate of birth from the State Registrar of Vital Statistics, referred to in this section as “the state registrar,” in accordance with this section.

1. Requirements. The adopted person must be at least 18 years of age and have been born in this State.

2. Application. The adopted person must file a written application with and provide appropriate proof of identification to the state registrar.

3. Issuance of birth certificate and forms. Upon receipt of the written application and proof of identification pursuant to subsection 2 and fulfillment of the requirements of subsection 4, the state registrar shall issue a noncertified copy of the unaltered original certificate of birth to the applicant. If a contact preference or medical history form has been completed and submitted to the state registrar pursuant to section 2769, the state registrar also must provide that information.

4. Fees; waiting period. The state registrar may require a waiting period and impose a fee for the noncertified copy provided pursuant to subsection 3. The fees and waiting period imposed under this subsection must be identical to the fees and waiting period generally imposed on persons seeking their own birth certificates.

5. Forms; rules. The state registrar shall develop by rule the application form as required by this section and may adopt other rules for the administration of this section. Rules adopted pursuant to this subsection are routine technical rules as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A.

I read that to mean that if I am a birth parent of an adult adoptee I myself cannot get a copy of the original certificate of birth for the child I surrendered, although I can get a copy of the birth certificates for my other adult children. A birth parent might like to have the surrendered child's certificate too. I wonder why the restrictions?

Bruce Libby
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

As a parent of an adoptee I see an element of what Shandiar eluded to
"mucking things up" on the drive for this bill.

I believe and I could be wrong, this is anecdotal only, but a well adjusted
adoptee ,raised in a loving family will probably not have this desire
to seek this knowledge. So far my experience.(35years)
If the adoptee does so that is up to them as an adult I could only counsel
them! I have an added elelment that thru a mistake in the legal process
we have a name that we were not supposed to have. Which of course
would make a process a little easier if it ever arose as an issue.

All thru the years we have in a way resented this crusade and its'
implications for our family and our privacy, often the view of that is
as stated different to many!

Dan Billings
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

[quote="Robert"] Knowing who your parents are is knowing who you are. [/quote]

That's a sad way to look at life. I define who I am by what has happened since I was born.

Michelle Anderson
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

[quote="Robert"]Knowing who your parents are is knowing who you are. [/quote]

Self-esteem problems? First of all, that is simply hogwash. Babe Ruth never knew his parents. Neither did Eleanor Roosevelt, Charlotte Bronte, Herbert Hoover, Leo Tolstoy, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Bertrand Russell, James Michener, Carol Burnett (well, she knew her mother, but barely), George Washington Carver, Audie Murphy, Somerset Maugham, JRR Tolkien, Bessie Smith, Johann Sebastian Bach, Ella Fitzgerald, Buffy Sainte-Marie, or Aaron Burr. Just to name a few.

Secondly, I would suggest that there are more accurate definitions of "parents" than the one you are apparently using.

lucky
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

Bruce - I am a birth mother, thus my interest in this topic. I reunited with Maria, now 35 years old, in 1994 after we both consented to a release of information. I truly believe knowing me and my children has enhanced Maria's life; it has definitely enhanced mine, she is a wonderful person who was very well raised by loving parents. She has been able to share in the excitement and joy of the birth of the new babies as well as other family milestones. It's made for more people who care about her and who she can care about, in my opinion.

But would I have pushed if not invited? No way!!! That would not be love, that would be selfishness.

Bruce Libby
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

lucky I in no way wish to diminish your experience and
congratulate you on it's success. I can only hope that if we experience this
that it will be as successful as your experience.

Maybe I did not express it well , but deep down , I believe this is one of those
issues and life experiences that is so personal and individually private that any
discussion of it borders on the impossible ,for people not involved, to fully appreciate on
both sides of the issues pro and con! There are a few of those left in life.

Once again I give my warmest regards to your success!

lucky
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

Thank you, Bruce! I did not think you were being negative about the issue at all, no worries about that!

I also don't want to give the impression that the success of our reunion was easy, it was not. There were boundries that had to be set, sensitivities to her parents to be considered, it took a lot of thought to make this work.

Like you said, every experience is very different. I happen to have been very lucky.

I wonder about the adoptees on reunion registries whose birth mothers have died. They must wonder why no one is registered to reunite with them. For better or worse, this thing is going to happen, and I can only hope it will be for better rather than worse. I do believe it is the right of an adult adoptee to at least know who their birth parent is.

Robert
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

[quote="Michelle Anderson"]
Self-esteem problems? [/quote]

Absolutly not.

[quote="Dan Billings"]
That's a sad way to look at life. I define who I am by what has happened since I was born.[/quote]

What I was trying to say Dan, if the child wants to know his heritage, not just the mother, but aunts and uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers, he should be allowed to know. Anything short of that is selfish. If you make a child, own up to it.

Robert
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

By the way Michelle, Babe Ruth was abandoned at 7 years old, he was not adopted. Babe knew his parents.

[url]http://www.baberuth.com/flash/about/biograph.html[/url]

Dan Billings
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

[quote="Robert"]
What I was trying to say Dan, if the child wants to know his heritage, not just the mother, but aunts and uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers, he should be allowed to know. Anything short of that is selfish. If you make a child, own up to it.[/quote]

So we should outlaw selfishness?

The issue is whether the State should force release of information when the parent who gave up the child does not want it released. Giving that information out does not mean anyone will necessarily "know" their heritage.

Robert
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

It appears Eleanor also knew her parents and was not an adopted child. Should I check the rest of your list?

[quote]Eleanor Roosevelt was born, the eldest of three children into a wealthy and prominent New York family (her uncle was President Theodore Roosevelt), but her mother and one brother died when she was eight and her father, an alcoholic, when she was 10.

She and her other brother were raised by their emotionally distant grandmother after her mother died until she was sent to Allenswood boarding school in England at 15, where she began to blossom. In 1905 she married a cousin, Franklin Roosevelt,
[/quote]

[url]http://famous.adoption.com/famous/roosevelt-eleanor.html[/url]

Robert
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

[quote="Dan Billings"] So we should outlaw selfishness?
[/quote]

No.

Michelle Anderson
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

[quote="Dan Billings"]The issue is whether the State should force release of information when the parent who gave up the child does not want it released. [/quote]

Is that legal?

If I gave up a child with the understanding that my name and other information would remain confidential, am I not legally entitled to have that contract honored?

Dan Billings
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MAINE- Lawmakers look again at adoption bill

I have heard it argued that there was no actual contract that made such a promise.

Even if there was, the child was not a party to the contract. If you accept the argument that the child has a right to the information, no contract between other parties should deny them the information.

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