Jump to content

Menu

Birthmother sues after meeting child


Recommended Posts

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/homepage/20090623_Distraught_womansues__alleging_N_J__helped_child_of_rape_find_her.html

 

Sad, but an important reminder that not all sides want an open adoption or reunification.

 

Very sad. I think there is far too much pressure for "openess" right now. Not everyone wants that kind of openess. Strongly encouraging "contact" can be very hurtful and harmful.

 

Personally, I like the idea of an online database where you can post your info if you're interested in having contact but I strongly dislike the idea of people seeking others out before knowing for sure that they want any contact.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very sad. I think there is far too much pressure for "openess" right now. Not everyone wants that kind of openess. Strongly encouraging "contact" can be very hurtful and harmful.

 

Personally, I like the idea of an online database where you can post your info if you're interested in having contact but I strongly dislike the idea of people seeking others out before knowing for sure that they want any contact.

:iagree:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here you have the option of signing a 'do not contact' waiver. Your info is NOT given out, period.

 

My husband is an adoptee. We looked into adopting. One thing that I've found with the adoption triad is that there is this confusing mass of 'rights'...and all of them stepping on someone else's. Some adoptees believe that they have the right to know their birth parents...regardless of how the birth parents themselves feel about it. Personally, I agree with health information being available, there are inheritable issues that absolutely should be made known to adoptees, but to force birth parents to make themselves known? To me, that's completely unacceptable. And there are birth parents who feel that if all an adoptee wants is health info then not to bother contacting them...either they want it ALL...a relationship, etc, or forget it. Some birth parents claim that they are just as much a parent as the adoptive parent, and are deeply offended at any implication that they are in any way 'lesser than'.

 

Adoption is a heck of a lot more complicated than it would seem at first glance...and one of the FIRST things that needs to get agreed upon is that one person's rights end where another's begin...because adoption seems to be the rare situation where that is completely thrown out the window.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here you have the option of signing a 'do not contact' waiver. Your info is NOT given out, period.

 

 

 

 

The problem is, many states (NY, Conn., Mass, LA among them) have in recent years introduced bills which provide for complete retroactive openness of records.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The problem is, many states (NY, Conn., Mass, LA among them) have in recent years introduced bills which provide for complete retroactive openness of records.

That is true. I also know of many women who have chosen to not place children for adoption simply because there is so much pressure for the adoption to be open. Many families adopting internationally are doing so because they don't like being forced into an open adoption situation. Even state foster care agencies are pushing for open adoptions with regular contact between biological family members and the new family.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The adoption of our daughters were closed, but both birth mothers had to sign something saying whether or not our daughters could contact them when they were 18. Both mothers agreed that they could.

 

I feel terrible for both the birth mother and daughter in that story.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While I feel badly for the woman, did anyone else read the part where she received a letter asking for her contact preferences? She ignored the whole situation because it was painful, never returned the letter or stated that she did not want to be contacted, and now is suing?

 

I'm sorry. I'm sorry she is having to relive a very painful part of her past, and that her bio daughter doesn't seem to be respecting her wish to be left alone (although I also feel badly for the daughter that wonders about her bio mom). BUT I don't think she has the right to sue if she ignored a letter clearly stating that they needed to hear back from her about her preferences.

 

JMHO

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is certainly an issue that requires much thought. I can see the benefits of both open adoptions (relationship, access to accurate medical history, etc) and sealed ones (primarily privacy). Granting "rights" to one side certainly could result in diminishing the rights of the other...

 

You boardies are determined to make me exercise this ol' brain all through summer break! I am trying to imagine myself in the shoes of each of the women in the linked article. How sad for both of them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very sad. I think there is far too much pressure for "openess" right now. Not everyone wants that kind of openess. Strongly encouraging "contact" can be very hurtful and harmful.

Personally, I like the idea of an online database where you can post your info if you're interested in having contact but I strongly dislike the idea of people seeking others out before knowing for sure that they want any contact.

 

 

:iagree:, as well. As an adoptee, I have worried that birth family would find me and expect a relationship that I do not wish to participate in. I am a very private person and the thought of strangers calling me their daughter, sister, etc. makes me uncomfortable.

 

I think a database is a great idea and could allow for different levels of contact.

 

I'm also an adoptive parent, so should my own children choose to search, I hope options are available to them AND that they'll respect the right to privacy that every individual deserves!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While I feel badly for the woman, did anyone else read the part where she received a letter asking for her contact preferences? She ignored the whole situation because it was painful, never returned the letter or stated that she did not want to be contacted, and now is suing?

 

I'm sorry. I'm sorry she is having to relive a very painful part of her past, and that her bio daughter doesn't seem to be respecting her wish to be left alone (although I also feel badly for the daughter that wonders about her bio mom). BUT I don't think she has the right to sue if she ignored a letter clearly stating that they needed to hear back from her about her preferences.

 

JMHO

 

Yes i saw that as well. I think she must have realized, somewhere in the back or her mind, that by ignoring the letter and doing nothing that it could be possible for this to happen and then to sue for $1,000,000.00?? Why so much money? :confused::confused:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While I feel badly for the woman, did anyone else read the part where she received a letter asking for her contact preferences? She ignored the whole situation because it was painful, never returned the letter or stated that she did not want to be contacted, and now is suing?

 

Well, my interpretation was different. But I am certainly not familiar with that state's laws, so I'm not sure. But I thought the article said that by law, her records were sealed, and they sent her the letter asking for permission to open them (something they need a court order to do). Since she did not respond to the letter, they did NOT have her permission, so they actually broke the law by giving out her information. But I'm off to read the article again to see.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, my interpretation was different. But I am certainly not familiar with that state's laws, so I'm not sure. But I thought the article said that by law, her records were sealed, and they sent her the letter asking for permission to open them (something they need a court order to do). Since she did not respond to the letter, they did NOT have her permission, so they actually broke the law by giving out her information. But I'm off to read the article again to see.

 

Oh wow! I didn't see all of that. That is another thing entirely then.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is just so sad.....So sad.

 

My thoughts....Even though I sympathize with the mom about the trauma she went through as a young girl, it is sad to me that she has not come a little farther in the healing process then that even a letter from the adoption agency can re-traumize her to this extent....it doesn't have to be that way...there are steps to healing that she could have taken and it appears she has not and for that I am even more sad for her. To live like that for 30 years is such a waste.

 

I also hate secrets and am sad that we, as a society, keep secrets like this. She doesn't need to be ashamed of what happened or that she put her child up for adoption. She didn't need to keep it a secret from her subsequent children - that just adds to the false shame and bears witness to the fact that she has NOT healed from what happened to her. Sad again...I hope things are changing in that direction. I realize this was a long time ago. My kids know all about my sexual abuse ( not the detials but the fact that it happened.) and that takes the shame off of me and puts it on my abuser. It lets them KNOW me and what events in my life helped to form the person I am today. It is important to me that they know...I can't imagine keeping it a secret.

 

Note: I am not blaming the mom for anything- just expressing sadness for how this has played out in her life knowing that it could have been different/ better.

 

I don't think anyone on either side should be contacted unless they have experssed the desire to be. That just seems like common sense.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think you can ever make a single law to please everyone. Both of my children are adopted. My ds was private and semi-open. We did meet his birthmother and I know her name. However, she did not want contact after the adoption. When he is 18 or older I will give him all the details I have (if he wants them) and let him make choices. I hope he fully respects his birthmother and her wishes.

 

My dd was adopted from foster care. I hope she never wants to find her family and I will seriously discourage it. Her biological mother is a very frightening woman. The courts found her scary enough to hire armed guards to protect us whenever we had to appear in court at the same time as her (unless she was arriving from jail in arm and leg shackles). All of the siblings have long prison records and are considered dangerous as well. We were always instructed to not tell our living location or any contact information at all. Our dd was placed with us after birth and was deliberately placed hours away from any family because extended family members would harass other foster families that lived in the same area as them.When we were in court for the termination of parental rights, the courthouse received an annonymous call that her "friends" were planning on abducting "the baby" and that we were being watched. We had to have the baby there for a final visit (yep, law says if she wants one, she gets one). The judge had us locked in his chambers with armed guards outside until we could leave because he took the threat seriously. I have birthmother's name, the names of all siblings, and even some extended relatives but I hope to never give them to my dd after she learns of the circumstances around her adoption. And, I hope that the records are never opened - I shudder to think that her biological family can find her or us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Yes i saw that as well. I think she must have realized, somewhere in the back or her mind, that by ignoring the letter and doing nothing that it could be possible for this to happen and then to sue for $1,000,000.00?? Why so much money? :confused::confused:
From our experience in dealing with state agencies, they won't pay any attention or change policy unless it costs them a great deal of money and embarassment. Apparently her attorney is trying to accomplish both in the same lawsuit.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, my interpretation was different. But I am certainly not familiar with that state's laws, so I'm not sure. But I thought the article said that by law, her records were sealed, and they sent her the letter asking for permission to open them (something they need a court order to do). Since she did not respond to the letter, they did NOT have her permission, so they actually broke the law by giving out her information. But I'm off to read the article again to see.

That was my understanding as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh wow! I didn't see all of that. That is another thing entirely then.

 

Well, I may have overstated it. That's the picture I had formulated in my mind when I read the article. But now, looking back, all I'm finding is this:

 

According to the complaint, the Atlantic City woman was told that she had to take pre-emptive measures to keep her identity private, but Weisberg says that she was always under the protection of New Jersey law, which states that adoption records can be unsealed only with a court order.

 

So I'm not sure. It sounds like someone at DYFS misinterpreted the law, but I guess it will require people with much more knowledge of the law than I have to figure that out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

My dd was adopted from foster care. I hope she never wants to find her family and I will seriously discourage it. Her biological mother is a very frightening woman. The courts found her scary enough to hire armed guards to protect us whenever we had to appear in court at the same time as her (unless she was arriving from jail in arm and leg shackles). All of the siblings have long prison records and are considered dangerous as well. We were always instructed to not tell our living location or any contact information at all. Our dd was placed with us after birth and was deliberately placed hours away from any family because extended family members would harass other foster families that lived in the same area as them.When we were in court for the termination of parental rights, the courthouse received an annonymous call that her "friends" were planning on abducting "the baby" and that we were being watched. We had to have the baby there for a final visit (yep, law says if she wants one, she gets one). The judge had us locked in his chambers with armed guards outside until we could leave because he took the threat seriously. I have birthmother's name, the names of all siblings, and even some extended relatives but I hope to never give them to my dd after she learns of the circumstances around her adoption. And, I hope that the records are never opened - I shudder to think that her biological family can find her or us.

 

My God bless you richly for your willingness to put yourself in this situation. What a wonderful blessing for your DD, to be plucked from all that evil and placed into loving, caring arms....oh my...... I pray that she will somehow, someday, deeply understand how rare and wonderful her adoptive parents are!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From our experience in dealing with state agencies, they won't pay any attention or change policy unless it costs them a great deal of money and embarassment. Apparently her attorney is trying to accomplish both in the same lawsuit.

 

Sad but true I think. :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure I can post my feelings on this. I can only say that I am VERY pro-adoptee rights. I've experienced reunification. No, it's not all a fairytale....sometimes you get nuts mixed into the blessing and sometimes you get blessings mixed in with the nuts...hmm, sounds like most families. Personally, this woman's reaction is immature. I feel for her and what happened 30yrs ago, but the child is a PERSON. She is not the attacker nor is she the event. She is a person with a history that she has a right to know and understand. Give her the information and request no more contact if she doesn't want it.

Edited by mommaduck
Link to comment
Share on other sites

While I feel badly for the woman, did anyone else read the part where she received a letter asking for her contact preferences? She ignored the whole situation because it was painful, never returned the letter or stated that she did not want to be contacted, and now is suing?

 

I'm sorry. I'm sorry she is having to relive a very painful part of her past, and that her bio daughter doesn't seem to be respecting her wish to be left alone (although I also feel badly for the daughter that wonders about her bio mom). BUT I don't think she has the right to sue if she ignored a letter clearly stating that they needed to hear back from her about her preferences.

 

JMHO

 

I thought that too. I also think that suing for 1 million dollars is another example of abuse of the court system. I mean, come ON? One million? What about the adoptees rights to know her history. How painful is it for her? Having someone sue like this can hurt adopted children and birthparents nation wide. I do believe this is an exception, not the rule. I hope the courts throw it out.

 

Our adoption of our son is a fully open adoption. His birthmom even babysits him (and our other children) when we go out of town. It works for us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is just so sad.....So sad.

 

My thoughts....Even though I sympathize with the mom about the trauma she went through as a young girl, it is sad to me that she has not come a little farther in the healing process then that even a letter from the adoption agency can re-traumize her to this extent....it doesn't have to be that way...there are steps to healing that she could have taken and it appears she has not and for that I am even more sad for her. To live like that for 30 years is such a waste.

 

I also hate secrets and am sad that we, as a society, keep secrets like this. She doesn't need to be ashamed of what happened or that she put her child up for adoption. She didn't need to keep it a secret from her subsequent children - that just adds to the false shame and bears witness to the fact that she has NOT healed from what happened to her. Sad again...I hope things are changing in that direction. I realize this was a long time ago. My kids know all about my sexual abuse ( not the detials but the fact that it happened.) and that takes the shame off of me and puts it on my abuser. It lets them KNOW me and what events in my life helped to form the person I am today. It is important to me that they know...I can't imagine keeping it a secret.

 

Note: I am not blaming the mom for anything- just expressing sadness for how this has played out in her life knowing that it could have been different/ better.

 

I don't think anyone on either side should be contacted unless they have experssed the desire to be. That just seems like common sense.

 

We have no idea how far this lady has come or how much she is healed; indeed, we have very little idea what exactly she had to heal from. Even if it was a 'simple' case of being raped, getting pregnant, and giving birth to a child you then gave up for adoption . . . really, should we have any opinion on what steps she should have taken, or how much she should have 'healed'?

 

Everyone is different. While I do agree in general that secrets are harmful, this lady did move on, she created a life for herself and had a family. I know you are not blaming her, but what was best for you may not be best for someone else.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure I can post my feelings on this. I can only say that I am VERY pro-adoptee rights. I've experienced reunification. No, it's not all a fairytale....sometimes you get nuts mixed into the blessing and sometimes you get blessings mixed in with the nuts...hmm, sounds like most families. Personally, this woman's reaction is immature. I feel for her and what happened 30yrs ago, but the child is a PERSON. She is not the attacker nor is she the event. She is a person with a history that she has a right to know and understand. Give her the information and request no more contact if she doesn't want it.

 

I hear what you're saying. I truly do. This is such a complex issue. But in a society where abortion is legal, I think personally we all ought to bend over backwards for women who make the brave and selfless choice to carry a pregnancy from rape to term. I feel so sad for this woman who, 30 years after the event, obviously is still traumatized by it. And infuriated to think that the man who did this to her in all likelihood has never paid a price. I don't know what the answer is. I don't have any idea where the adoptees' rights begin and the birth mothers' ends. But considering the circumstances of this particular adoption, I tend to believe that the birth mother deserved the benefit of the doubt. What's done is done, though. It's just sad all around.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Adoption is complicated and no two cases are the same. My own brother is adopted - a closed adoption from the early 1970's. He wants to find birthparents simply for some answers to medical issues, but the files are sealed. My own children are adopted. My boys (bio brothers) are from foster care. I think their b-mom would like to meet them sometime in the future. She was devestated when parental rights were terminated, but she's a mess. I hope my boys can meet her some day when they are adults and are able to process what kind of person she is. I hope she is alive. My daughter, OTOH, is a Safe Surrender Baby. I have no idea the circumstances her b-mom was in and so it'll be a little touchy when/if she wants to search her out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While I feel badly for the woman, did anyone else read the part where she received a letter asking for her contact preferences? She ignored the whole situation because it was painful, never returned the letter or stated that she did not want to be contacted, and now is suing?

 

I'm sorry. I'm sorry she is having to relive a very painful part of her past, and that her bio daughter doesn't seem to be respecting her wish to be left alone (although I also feel badly for the daughter that wonders about her bio mom). BUT I don't think she has the right to sue if she ignored a letter clearly stating that they needed to hear back from her about her preferences.

 

JMHO

 

In the first place, the article doesn't state that it was a certified letter, and, if it was not, they actually had no idea if she received it or not. If they assumed that mailing meant she absolutely had it in her hands, they have a disturbing amount of faith in the postal system.

 

In the second place, no letter has the power to overturn the law. A lack of response did not give them any legal standing whatsoever to release those records.

 

Suing for large amounts of money always strikes one as slightly tacky, as though money is the person's only motive. But the sad fact is that the threat of being sued gets attention and motivates people to follow the law.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is the main reason we went with international adoption...to avoid this very situation. If our ds chooses to try and seek out his bio mom (which will be nearly impossible) he can do so as an adult but we will not facilitate that.

 

I am a child of adoption and I look at it this way...I am just glad I was not aborted...and I leave it at that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hear what you're saying. I truly do. This is such a complex issue. But in a society where abortion is legal, I think personally we all ought to bend over backwards for women who make the brave and selfless choice to carry a pregnancy from rape to term. I feel so sad for this woman who, 30 years after the event, obviously is still traumatized by it. And infuriated to think that the man who did this to her in all likelihood has never paid a price. I don't know what the answer is. I don't have any idea where the adoptees' rights begin and the birth mothers' ends. But considering the circumstances of this particular adoption, I tend to believe that the birth mother deserved the benefit of the doubt. What's done is done, though. It's just sad all around.

 

:iagree::iagree::iagree: Very well said. She could have aborted the baby and didn't. That says something.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hear what you're saying. I truly do. This is such a complex issue. But in a society where abortion is legal, I think personally we all ought to bend over backwards for women who make the brave and selfless choice to carry a pregnancy from rape to term. I feel so sad for this woman who, 30 years after the event, obviously is still traumatized by it. And infuriated to think that the man who did this to her in all likelihood has never paid a price. I don't know what the answer is. I don't have any idea where the adoptees' rights begin and the birth mothers' ends. But considering the circumstances of this particular adoption, I tend to believe that the birth mother deserved the benefit of the doubt. What's done is done, though. It's just sad all around.

 

 

She could have headed off the issue if she had #1 responded to the letter from DYFS, #2 written a letter with pertinent medical and heritage information, #3 state that she wished that letter to be the only contact made due to reasons a, b, and c. That would have been reasonable. It is not unreasonable for the biological child to have looked up her biological siblings as well as her biological mother. Siblings, in many cases, tend to have a bond regardless of the circumstances. My siblings base our relationship on our own efforts and where each of us are at, not based on our parent's issues or history (and believe me, there is plenty there!).

 

I do understand that the issue is complicated. However, I think there was a time where people put a child up for adoption and thought, "well, that is that" as though a "problem has been solved". There is still a future out there for a child and a past that child will most likely want to know about or need to know about.

 

As the saying goes, "you don't know where you are going till you know where you've come from"

Edited by mommaduck
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure I can post my feelings on this. I can only say that I am VERY pro-adoptee rights. I've experienced reunification. No, it's not all a fairytale....sometimes you get nuts mixed into the blessing and sometimes you get blessings mixed in with the nuts...hmm, sounds like most families. Personally, this woman's reaction is immature. I feel for her and what happened 30yrs ago, but the child is a PERSON. She is not the attacker nor is she the event. She is a person with a history that she has a right to know and understand. Give her the information and request no more contact if she doesn't want it.

That information could have been supplied via a letter. Turning up, uninvited on someone's doorstep is completely beyond ok. If she wanted to know something, then she could have written a letter and waited for a response. It isn't just the adoptees story, its also the birth parents, and they have the right to say no. To call a rape victim's reaction 'immature' is pretty vicious.

 

Again, one person's right to know ends where another person's right to NOT speak begins. His rights are not more important than her rights, and vice versa.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That information could have been supplied via a letter. Turning up, uninvited on someone's doorstep is completely beyond ok. If she wanted to know something, then she could have written a letter and waited for a response. It isn't just the adoptees story, its also the birth parents, and they have the right to say no. To call a rape victim's reaction 'immature' is pretty vicious.

 

Again, one person's right to know ends where another person's right to NOT speak begins. His rights are not more important than her rights, and vice versa.

 

I'm speaking about the $1 million dollar lawsuit, not the anxiety attack. I DO understand how it can be upsetting. However, the child is not to blame for what happened and should not be blamed for seeking answers. Yes, a letter could have been sent (and from the sounds of it, it would have been ignored). At the same time, the woman could have followed through with the letter that was sent to her and then no one would have shown up on her doorstep to begin with. I also know how it feels to have one parent consider you a nobody and not deserving of any answers.

Edited by mommaduck
Link to comment
Share on other sites

She could have headed off the issue if she had #1 responded to the letter from DYFS, #2 written a letter with pertinent medical and heritage information, #3 state that she wished that letter to be the only contact made due to reasons a, b, and c. That would have been reasonable.

 

Yes, I certainly don't disagree with you that she probably could have handled this situation differently/better. I suspect she's spent a great deal of time thinking about all the things she could have, should have done too. It's so easy to know in hindsight, not always quite so easy to see in the moment. It will be interesting to see what the judge decides and what kind of precedent this might set.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

However, the child is not to blame for what happened and should not be blamed for seeking answers.

 

Oh, just for the record, I am NOT blaming the child for seeking answers. Perfectly natural and understandable! But if DYFS broke the law in giving out her information without her consent, then I am blaming THEM.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, I certainly don't disagree with you that she probably could have handled this situation differently/better. I suspect she's spent a great deal of time thinking about all the things she could have, should have done too. It's so easy to know in hindsight, not always quite so easy to see in the moment. It will be interesting to see what the judge decides and what kind of precedent this might set.

 

Very true. I'm sure she did and hindsight is always 20/20.

 

Yes, I may have come off harsh. I apologise. I do feel for the woman. I feel for the daughter and the rejection she received also. I just believe that the lawsuit is overboard. It looks like there was enough blame to go around in this case (DYFS, the biological mother, and the biological daughter).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, just for the record, I am NOT blaming the child for seeking answers. Perfectly natural and understandable! But if DYFS broke the law in giving out her information without her consent, then I am blaming THEM.

 

I know that...but from the daughter's POV, this is how rejection can be taken or even given.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have no idea how far this lady has come or how much she is healed; indeed, we have very little idea what exactly she had to heal from. Even if it was a 'simple' case of being raped, getting pregnant, and giving birth to a child you then gave up for adoption . . . really, should we have any opinion on what steps she should have taken, or how much she should have 'healed'?

 

Everyone is different. While I do agree in general that secrets are harmful, this lady did move on, she created a life for herself and had a family. I know you are not blaming her, but what was best for you may not be best for someone else.

 

I do know (thru personal experience) that a person can experience a traumatic event and work really, really hard to overcome the effects of that event on their life, eventually coming to a place of peace and healing. I know that this would certainly be better for any person rather then letting the event continue to cause further trauma for years on end. I think it is pretty clear that this woman hasn't traveled very far down that road - she is claiming $100,000,000 worth of further trauma was caused to her - and was just expressing sadness on her behalf for that fact.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't understand how it came to be that the adult child just turned up on the doorstep. That's one thing that boggles my mind. Anyone that's ever helped facilitate a reunion NEVER advises that tactic. To me, that's incredibly invasive. So yeah, I *do* have a problem with that. I really do, and I'm married to an adoptee and am what's considered an 'adoptee lite', having been raised by my mother and step father, without contact from my bfather.

 

Yes, the birth mother SHOULD have responded and stated clearly that she was NOT wanting her info given out. However, she mistakenly believed that what was required was her CONSENT and that without written consent, none of her info would be given that she would continue to be protected as per the law. So not responding was equal to a 'no'. That seems to be the issue here. That her info was given out despite not having given the necessary permission.

 

I don't blame the adoptee for seeking answers. For turning up on a doorstep uninvited, yes. That's completely ballsy and unacceptable to me, and I don't know of anyone that works in reunions that would ever advise it...in fact, I know that they advise AGAINST it because of how incredibly badly it can go. They advise letters, emails, working up to potential phone calls, perhaps meeting in a NEUTRAL spot...not invading someone's personal space like their home.

 

Switch perspectives for a moment. If this was a birth PARENT seeking an adoptee, would it be ok if they turned up on their 18 yos doorstep?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't understand how it came to be that the adult child just turned up on the doorstep. That's one thing that boggles my mind. Anyone that's ever helped facilitate a reunion NEVER advises that tactic. To me, that's incredibly invasive. So yeah, I *do* have a problem with that. I really do, and I'm married to an adoptee and am what's considered an 'adoptee lite', having been raised by my mother and step father, without contact from my bfather.

 

Yes, the birth mother SHOULD have responded and stated clearly that she was NOT wanting her info given out. However, she mistakenly believed that what was required was her CONSENT and that without written consent, none of her info would be given that she would continue to be protected as per the law. So not responding was equal to a 'no'. That seems to be the issue here. That her info was given out despite not having given the necessary permission.

 

I don't blame the adoptee for seeking answers. For turning up on a doorstep uninvited, yes. That's completely ballsy and unacceptable to me, and I don't know of anyone that works in reunions that would ever advise it...in fact, I know that they advise AGAINST it because of how incredibly badly it can go. They advise letters, emails, working up to potential phone calls, perhaps meeting in a NEUTRAL spot...not invading someone's personal space like their home.

 

Switch perspectives for a moment. If this was a birth PARENT seeking an adoptee, would it be ok if they turned up on their 18 yos doorstep?

 

Like I said, there looks to be enough blame to pass around in this case. No, those of us that have been involved in family reunification would not recommend or encourage someone just "drop in" (I've helped friends find relatives, I do genealogical research, I'm "adoptee lite" and was blamed for everything my bio-dad ever did without being told what that was...found that out for myself, and my husband has a cousin that found her "unknown" brother...only father and grandfather knew about him and didn't tell anyone, and I'm in the process of putting together family history for him). However, showing up on the doorstep does happen. It is ballsy. Sometimes it's the only way a person feels they can do it is to just do it...and if they have no guidance in the matter, then they may not know HOW they should do it.

 

Maybe she should have contacted Troy ;)

Edited by mommaduck
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do know (thru personal experience) that a person can experience a traumatic event and work really, really hard to overcome the effects of that event on their life, eventually coming to a place of peace and healing. I know that this would certainly be better for any person rather then letting the event continue to cause further trauma for years on end. I think it is pretty clear that this woman hasn't traveled very far down that road - she is claiming $100,000,000 worth of further trauma was caused to her - and was just expressing sadness on her behalf for that fact.

 

As someone else mentioned, the dollar amount may have more to do with changing laws to prevent this from happening again.

 

But, really, it's not our call about whether she could or should have made more progress in her healing. My step-mother had a child at 15, the result of a rape, and although she has had years of therapy, and, I would say appears to be healed (how can anyone outside really know), she has no desire to meet that daughter. That is her choice. Healing or coming to terms with a traumatic birth event does not automatically ensure that the birth mother will have a desire to meet the child. I absolutely feel that for the grown daughter to arrive on the doorstep of the birthmother is a violation, and it does not matter what her healing process is (though I agree with you about the sadness; the whole thing is heartbreaking). It should not have happened.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can totally relate to this situation. When I hit my late twenties, both of my adopted parents passed away and I found out that I was adopted. My birth mom was raped at 17 by 3 men. I met her through a confidential intermediary but she was bi-polar and my existence created emotional issues for her. I attempted to find my birth father but I don't know which one is my father without a paternity test and no one was interested in pursueing that option. I understand the need for privacy on their part and by no means want to force a relationship,but I feel the need for closure. I don't know who I am . I am not even sure what nationality I am. I thought I was italian but actually have indian blood. I can't tell my children about a history that I know nothing about. I now have no family except for mystery relations that do not even know I exist. I see people that resemble me and wonder if that could be sister or cousin. I can't know me until I know my history, and I feel every human being is entitled to that information.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure I can post my feelings on this. I can only say that I am VERY pro-adoptee rights. I've experienced reunification. No, it's not all a fairytale....sometimes you get nuts mixed into the blessing and sometimes you get blessings mixed in with the nuts...hmm, sounds like most families. Personally, this woman's reaction is immature. I feel for her and what happened 30yrs ago, but the child is a PERSON. She is not the attacker nor is she the event. She is a person with a history that she has a right to know and understand. Give her the information and request no more contact if she doesn't want it.

So that leaves as the only option, if you care to minimize the impact of a violent rape and resulting pregnancy, killing the child? Is that better? The kid is blessed to have life. I don't think she has any "rights" to the bio-mom's life now. I wonder if that bio-mom is now wishing she had gone the abortion route?

 

That, imo, is the problem with the pro-adoptee "rights" stance. It leaves victims of rape with no possible measure of grace, and leaves them with no in-between other than outright killing of the child. How is that better? Why do the rights of the child supercede the rights of the bio-mom, who was also a complete victim in this case? {and, yes, I'm earnestly asking...trying to understand why the absolute rights would belong to the child, but not the mom who sacrificed plenty for the kid already}

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So that leaves as the only option, if you care to minimize the impact of a violent rape and resulting pregnancy, killing the child? Is that better? The kid is blessed to have life. I don't think she has any "rights" to the bio-mom's life now. I wonder if that bio-mom is now wishing she had gone the abortion route?

 

That, imo, is the problem with the pro-adoptee "rights" stance. It leaves victims of rape with no possible measure of grace, and leaves them with no in-between other than outright killing of the child. How is that better? Why do the rights of the child supercede the rights of the bio-mom, who was also a complete victim in this case? {and, yes, I'm earnestly asking...trying to understand why the absolute rights would belong to the child, but not the mom who sacrificed plenty for the kid already}

 

That is a ridiculous accusation and absolutely was NOT implied! You're reaching for extremes.

 

They both have rights. THAT is the issue. The issue with adoptee rights is the balancing act of supplying vital information to an adult child EVEN IF the bioparent does not want contact. That CAN be done. As far as victim: they are both victims of the same circumstance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is a ridiculous accusation and absolutely was NOT implied! You're reaching for extremes.

 

They both have rights. THAT is the issue. The issue with adoptee rights is the balancing act of supplying vital information to an adult child EVEN IF the bioparent does not want contact. That CAN be done. As far as victim: they are both victims of the same circumstance.

Did you miss the part where I mentioned that I was asking a sincere question?

You missed the chance to convince me.

They may both be "victims of the same circumstance", but the bio-mom has already made a sacrifice in allowing the child to live. Perhaps the exchange for life, is that the bio-child doesn't get to know every detail of bio-mom's life, or involve themselves in it after the fact. Sounds like a reasonable trade to me. You get to live instead of being killed, but you don't always get to satisfy your curiosity.

I also don't know how it can be considered reaching for extremes. If extreme pro-adoptee rights folks prevail on these issues, the only option pregnant women will have for protecting their privacy is to abort.

 

You may say that that was not implied, but really, with the state of abortion rights in our country, why would a bio-mom who wanted to preserve their rights do anything else? {oops, forget I asked, the last time I asked a rational question, you chewed me out...}

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you miss the part where I mentioned that I was asking a sincere question?

You missed the chance to convince me.

They may both be "victims of the same circumstance", but the bio-mom has already made a sacrifice in allowing the child to live. Perhaps the exchange for life, is that the bio-child doesn't get to know every detail of bio-mom's life, or involve themselves in it after the fact. Sounds like a reasonable trade to me. You get to live instead of being killed, but you don't always get to satisfy your curiosity.

I also don't know how it can be considered reaching for extremes. If extreme pro-adoptee rights folks prevail on these issues, the only option pregnant women will have for protecting their privacy is to abort.

 

You may say that that was not implied, but really, with the state of abortion rights in our country, why would a bio-mom who wanted to preserve their rights do anything else? {oops, forget I asked, the last time I asked a rational question, you chewed me out...}

 

Put yourself in the shoes of someone who was constantly reminded that by their mother that she could have "aborted you", but you've been "graciously" given the gift of being alive, so therefore, you have no right to ask questions or receive answers....then have someone ask that question. Imagine how you would react.

 

Most adoptees are not asking for "every detail" of the bio parent's life. They are asking what the circumstances of their adoption was (there is a good chance that this adult child did not know until she showed up on the doorstep), what their medical history is, what their ethnic heritage is, and in some cases what their family history is....genealogical research is valid. Also, the biomom may not want contact, but what if a sibling, upon finding out they have a sibling, wants a relationship? Do none of them have a right, simply because the biomom "graciously allowed" the child to live?

 

Question...would this woman have sued any means the adoptee used to find her on her own? There are many that have found bio family without help from the state. This issue affects access to public records as well.

Edited by mommaduck
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the first place, the article doesn't state that it was a certified letter, and, if it was not, they actually had no idea if she received it or not. If they assumed that mailing meant she absolutely had it in her hands, they have a disturbing amount of faith in the postal system.

 

In the second place, no letter has the power to overturn the law. A lack of response did not give them any legal standing whatsoever to release those records.

 

Suing for large amounts of money always strikes one as slightly tacky, as though money is the person's only motive. But the sad fact is that the threat of being sued gets attention and motivates people to follow the law.

 

True, the article does leave out a great deal of detail. We don't know what type of letter was sent, how many, etc. We also don't know that a court order was not obtained. I tend to be a bit of an idealist, and am always very bothered by people who take no personal responsibility, ignore issues that need to be dealt with, and then turn around and blame the world (or DYFS) for their lack of involvement/head in the sand attitude and cry poor me. I have also dealt with ugly issues, and ignoring them does not make them go away. I agree though, that if someone did deliberately ignore the law and give out information that was to be kept private that it needs to be addressed.

 

Well, my interpretation was different. But I am certainly not familiar with that state's laws, so I'm not sure. But I thought the article said that by law, her records were sealed, and they sent her the letter asking for permission to open them (something they need a court order to do). Since she did not respond to the letter, they did NOT have her permission, so they actually broke the law by giving out her information. But I'm off to read the article again to see.

 

True, they did not receive her permission, but it's possible a court order may have been obtained anyway - or maybe someone screwed up royally. It's a tough situation. I still feel that the bm should have responded. If I receive a letter that requires action - certified or not - and I don't respond, I am still responsible for the results of non-response. After all, not making a choice is a choice in and of itself. It's a choice to let the other party make your decision for you. Think insurance, credit cards, etc. Nothing as life altering as adoption records and possible contact, but still legal requirements. It's very possible they were required to notify her that her daughter was seeking information and if an explicit no contact response was not received then they could go ahead with whatever was needed to initiate contact.

 

Please note - I am not saying that the daughter should have just shown up on bm's doorstep. There were many other options for first contact. But bm also shares some of the responsibility by ignoring the letter telling her that her daughter was searching for her. If she had made it clear at the outset that she wanted no contact it's very possible this could have been avoided. After all, laws get changed and overturned (and ignored) all the time. Assuming the law when she first put her daughter up for adoption had never been changed or altered - especially after receiving a letter requesting information - was foolish.

 

Hope this made sense.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But, really, it's not our call about whether she could or should have made more progress in her healing.

 

I said she "could have" not that she "should have". It should be okay to say that she "could have" because other people do so it certainly is possible and that is what "could have" means.

 

Healing or coming to terms with a traumatic birth event does not automatically ensure that the birth mother will have a desire to meet the child.

 

I agree. And I never said a word about weather the birth mother should or should not want to meet her child.

 

I absolutely feel that for the grown daughter to arrive on the doorstep of the birthmother is a violation,

 

I agree completely.

Edited by katemary63
Link to comment
Share on other sites

With court, there is always the case that if one party does not respond, the court may automatically decide in the favour of the pursuing party. This happens even in adoption. If the bioparent does not respond after attempted contact, then it is considered no-contest. So it is possible that a court order was issued. (obviously we don't know as it wasn't mentioned either way in the article)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...