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Monday, November 12

On being denied your identity

A study by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute reports that adult adoptees should be allowed to see their adoption records. They say that there have been overwhelmingly positive outcomes in states where it is legal for adoption records to be unsealed.

Catholic organizations are opposed to unsealing the records fear that women may choose abortion rather than adoption if their identities are in jeopardy. The ACLU in Connecticut is opposed to the release of birth records and considers itself a voice for birthmothers who are reluctant to speak out publicly.

I dunno. As someone who lived her life feeling a bit cheated as to my genetic identity, I support any measure to unseal adoption records, but on the other hand, perhaps my birthmother who is now in her late 60's has lived her life as a pillar of virtue and would view my showing up on her doorstep as the ultimate myth destroyer. There is a type of Irish Catholic that is totally secretive and I suspect that my mother's birth family was like that. I was rushed into an adoption agency immediately after I was born. I married into a secretive Irish Catholic family like that, so I can sort of relate to that attitude even though it's a very un-juicy life. My dad's Irish side of the family are the opposite. They are the sentimental, mushy, lovey-dovey, demonstrative types who loved letting skeletons out of the closet at a family party and would cry while they sang Irish songs. But I digress.

Do I have a right to crash in on my birthmother's life at this stage of the game? Maybe she wonders about me and wonders if she has more grandkids. But maybe she just chalks up what happened many years ago as a teenage indiscretion with a totally cute boy she couldn't resist and is now something she just doesn't want to talk about. Or maybe she was the town slut and doesn't want that factoid to come out at this stage of the game. I prefer to think of myself of someone that was conceived in love in the backseat of a car overlooking the NYC skyline on prom night in 1954.

My birthname was Elaine Philbin, but my birth certificate has been changed and my new name and adoptive parents are on the paper. What sucks is that my time of birth is missing and I have never been able to have my astrological chart written. I couldn't fill out most forms when I would go to the doctor either. But maybe it was good that I didn't know what health conditions ran in the family. Supposedly my family health history was divulged to my adoptive parents.

What's good was that my parents really really wanted to have a baby and were thrilled to get me- not everyone born in this world can say that. Sometimes though, when a shit storm would brew in the family, I was very happy to remark, "I'm so glad I was adopted."

My parents and only sibling are dead now. It would be kind of nice to know if I have another family out there. Or maybe not.

If my records are ever unsealed, I will definitely take a peek.

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