Protecting the Privacy of Birthmothers

Free Adoption Records - no Promises of Confidentiality

Original Birth Certificate Access by Adopted Adults and the Lies of the Adoption Industry

I am, quite frankly, sick and tired of the adoption industry pretending to protect me and other birthmothers. I just listened to the wonderful interview of Adult Adoptee Diane Crossfield speak on behalf of the ( at minimum) 6 million American Adult adoptees who are denied access to their birth certificates. You can hear the taped version of The Takeaway; Adoptees Fight for Access to Original Birth Certificates here.

Another Adoption Professional Worrying About Birthmothers “Right” to Privacy

Tom Snyder, who is against OBC open access legislation, chairs the family law section of the New Jersey State Bar Association and has no right to speak on my behalf! Yet, he, along with countless others oppose open access legislation somehow have decided that they have a tender spot in their hearts for all us poor defenseless birthmothers how will somehow be “outed” by our now grown relinquished children.
I don’t know where they get this loopy idea from ( perhaps the National Council for Adoption?) , but aside from being patronizing, insulting and assuming that all adult adoptees have the biological imperative to become harassing stalkers, it’s also just WRONG!

Adoption Relinquishment: Can’t Promise Privacy that Never Was

Besides the simple fact that in adoption the original birth certificate is NOT sealed until the adoption is finalized ( which leaves the OBC open as public record frequently for at least the first 6 months of longer) I must point out, as Diane mentioned again in her commentary the original NJ Adoption bill, circa 1940, that closed the records does not mention confidentiality for the surrendering parents, in fact, it explicitly states that its purpose is to:

“assure people adopting children that a [birth] parent or the parents of the child adopted may not turn up at some future date to embarrass both them [adopting parents] and the child and possibly even do harm. A parent may surrender a child in good faith and subsequently have a change of heart or mind and upon discovering the whereabouts of the child the problem may become an embarrassing one to. Then too, there is always the danger of such information being used illegally.”

Nothing there about protecting us poor birthmothers! If they didn’t worry about us back then, then why start being all concerned now?

Because Impossible “Privacy” Keeps Adoption Records Closed

That’s the truth. Every time I lobby or speak to a legislator about sealed adoptee records, they ALWAYS have the same concern; ” the poor birthmother who doesn’t want to be found” . I like the fact that they usually assume that I am an adoptee, so it’s great fun for me to suddenly put their “poor birthmother” stereotypes right out on the carpet! But the sad truth is that the law makers are all concerned about birthmothers and our fake confidentiality. It happens in New York, It happens in the New Jersey hearings and it happening over and over again in Louisville, Kentucky, San Antonio Texas, and Philadelphia where I went for the Adoptee Rights Demonstration. I know it will happen in Chicago this August , too.

The Numbers of Birthmothers Wanting NO Contact from their Adopted Children

The simple fact is that it is less than 1% of all relinquishing mothers desire to never set eyes on their children again. In truth, the average percentage of American Birthmothers who do not desire contact is 0.993471.

How do i know this? Well, I just sat around and collected what statistical information I could on the four US states that enacted original birth certificate legislation: Maine, Oregon, New Hampshire and Alabama. Alaska and Kansas, while they never sealed their OBC’s upon adoption, haven’t ever collected the statistical data either, so they are no help!

Look, I made a factual adoption statistics chart:

Less then 1% of Birthmothers in the US expect privacy


Less than 1%

That’s the facts, man. Less than 1% of Birthmothers in the US desire to keep their adult children at arm’s length. So out of the 6 to 8 million adult adoptees in the United States, we can assume that there are say 6 million birthmothers and .993471% want to be left alone. That comes to 39,174 birthmothers. So because of 40 thousand mothers another 6 to 8 million people and their children and their children’s children get denied medical histories, get denied their identity, get denied their truth.. for the good of 40,000?

I prefer Star Wars to Star Trek, but in this instance I agree with the logic of Dr. Spock:
“The good of the many outweigh the needs of the few”KEY
State = The US state were the original birth certificate has been issued due to the enactment of adoptee rights legislations
Years= The years that the stats are given by
Contact Preference= The numbers of birth parents who issued a contact preference upon the enactment of the new laws
yes=the numbers of birth parents who signified that they would like contact with their adult adopted children
yesw= The numbers of birth parents who signified that they would like contact with their adult adopted children with the help of a intermediately
no=The numbers of birth parents who signified that they wished NO CONTACT with their relinquished children
Medical History= If given, the number of birth parents who provided updated medical information for their relinquished children
OBC Given = The number of Original Birth Certificates issued by the State
HIGHEST pecentage on NO moms=1.476%
lowest percentage= 0.913%

average percentage of birthmothers wishing NO CONTACT IN THE US= 0.993471%

Some more Information about Protecting the Rights to Privacy

England restored the unqualified right to the original birth registration to adult adoptees in 1975. Victoria (Australia) did likewise in 1984.

New Zealand and New South Wales (Australia) followed and expanded these changes. This led to broad social reforms in adoption and post-adoption services. The results are extremely positive. Many jurisdictions in Canada and the USA are using the successful Down Under changes as a basis for their reforms.
Two different veto systems were developed. An Information Veto initiated by New Zealand in 1985 allowed a birth parent or adoptee to veto the release of identifying information to the other party for a period of 10 years. Five years later, in 1990, New South Wales developed a time-limited, signed, explanatory No-Contact Notice. The N.S.W. no-contact notice recipient could not be refused his or her birth registration data, but must not contact the other party while the veto remained in effect.
In New Zealand, only 6% of birth parents placed information vetoes. Some veto recipients sidestepped the veto successfully, searched for and found the birth mother. In all such cases, the birth mother was glad to be found and professed to be ‘protecting’ someone else. There were no complaints. Ten years later, when information vetoes had expired, virtually none were renewed
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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine,, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

1 Comment on "Protecting the Privacy of Birthmothers"

  1. Great, informative post, Claudia. I’m really sick of people who have no experience with this projecting their “perspective” on us. Then, even worse, using that “perspective” to prevent people from learning their identities. Ugghh.

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