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  #1  
Old 01-04-2012, 07:22 PM
usisarah usisarah is offline
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Open Records

I was wondering if we could discuss the pros and cons of having open adoption records. I think most people here, myself included, are in favor of open records.

If you are in favor of open records, how open? For what reasons?

If you are against open records, are you completely against any type of open records? For what reasons?

If you are uneducated on the topic (which is kinda where I lay, with a leaning towards in favor), post questions to learn more.

I would really appreciate feedback from all sides in a respectful manner. If someone is adamantly for open records, please do not take a post against open records personally, and vice versa. I realize this is a sensitive issue for some, in particular those who have had to deal with major life consequences of not having open records. So lets all try to have a nice conversation and no sand throwing What may seem obvious to some is not so obvious to others. Hopefully we can all learn something about open records.
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  #2  
Old 01-04-2012, 07:43 PM
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Ok, I know there's going to be some deep discussion on this, so I'll start with a very simple, surface issue. In the scheme of things, it may not be the most important to everyone, but honestly, in my new position as a sorta adoptee, it is the most important for me in terms of records.

I will start out by saying that OBC's and ABC's are really not an "issue" for me. I don't now, nor have I ever had really strong feelings either way, I.E. considering ABC's a lie, falsification, misrepresentation, etc (not saying I'm right - just saying it's not a hot button issue for me and that I basically just consider a BC as a piece of paper that I need to show every now and then for identification purposes).

Nevertheless, because my OBC is sealed and my ammended BC is dated more than a year after my birth, I am now unable to get a passport without going through a whoooole lot of hassle and jumping through a billion hoops.

Because I can't get my passport, I can't go to Mexico to see my brother get married.

On the flip side, I'd love to be able to have my boys' OBC's because I know their other moms would like copies of them.

So whether reasonings are because we feel that ABC's are falsified, because we feel we should have the same rights as all people, or simply because we want to get a #&$@ passport without going through a boatload of hassle, I think it is very important for adoptees to have access to our OBC.
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:52 PM
usisarah usisarah is offline
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Ok here's a dumb question.

When people talk about open records, are they only talking about the original birth certificate? Or are there other records out there?
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:58 PM
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No - it can be anything from birth certificates, to medical information, to identifying information about their family of origin.

I'm fortunate, because our OA's have afforded us the ability to have access to ALL of our boys' information, except for AJ's bmom's familial history, as she was adopted as well.

How much information should people be allowed to have and when? I simply can't say. It's hard for me to really put myself "there" as the mom of adopted children because we HAVE all the info...and as an adoptee, I suppose I'd like to be able to HAVE access if I'm ever interested.
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Old 01-04-2012, 08:01 PM
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I am 100% for open records on all sides. It's an equal justice under the law issue for me and I see no reason that adoptees should be treated any differently than anyone else with regards to legal proceedings in which they were the subject, original birth certificates and all other possible government-issued documents.

Frankly I was shocked when I joined this site and learned that adult adoptees aren't permitted this information. It's insulting and smacks of discrimination.
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:45 AM
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Sarah,

There has been push back from some mothers when the discussion happens around open records. When you get to the bottom of their concerns (which are valid) it is that completely open records would mean both counselling records and very personal medical records (along the lines of your yearly exam etc). I have never heard an adoptee say they would want those types of records.

The trend is now to try to refer to OBC access to not cause fear of ALL records being provided. Pretty sure the legislation to release the OBC would include the standard non-identifying info the SW would create, i.e. reason for placement, education, religion, nationality, etc, with the identifying info left in.

Did that make sense?

Kind regards,
Dickons
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:18 AM
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Dickons, thanks for that info!

I'm definitely for access to OBC and identifying information, however I can see where there would be some push back to getting counseling records or personal medical records. As my Mother's biological child, I don't think I could have access to that info for her, right? If something were to happen to me later in life and I wanted to know my familial history, my Mom could sure lie to me, slam the door in my face, not share. However, I still had a fighting chance! Adoptees that are denied basic information are also denied a chance to their medical and family histories - and the results can be tragic.

With regards to the OBC vs. Ammended BC....I don't know. I do think there's something....wierd? about a BC stating that someone gave birth that didn't. (Please, no flames!!!) I don't think that person is ANY less a Mother or has any less claim to a child. I don't think adoptees should have a different certificate that labels them as adoptees. Pie in the sky? I think we should ALL have Birth Certficiates with accurate birth info (parents, time, date, place of birth). THEN I think we should all have SEPERATE identification cards that are required for things like passports, school enrollment, whatever else. These could include information on legal parents, so would correctly show adoptive parents in that case.

That's just my first stab at two cents
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  #8  
Old 01-05-2012, 09:38 AM
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TG - no personal info like noted should be provided IMO...and it did cause people to be upset - anyone would be. But I certainly think that as far as family health history, any info you would normally know if you had grown up in your family should be provided.

Grandma died of a heart attack when she was 56 - Aunt had high blood pressure for years and had a stroke. Mom had breast cancer at 35. Stuff people share within and outside of family - and if they don't want names used you can use degree of relatedness.

I have never met any family who were so secretive that no one knew any of the others health concerns or what people died of...

Kind regards,
Dickons
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  #9  
Old 01-05-2012, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usisarah
If you are against open records, are you completely against any type of open records? For what reasons?


I don't know that I am "against" open records, but I think people don't always think of the all the consequences for everyone. A previous poster said that records should be "open" for all parties. Sounds nice and sweet when you're talking domestic infant adoption. Not so nice and sweet when you talk about situations like a previous (pre adoptive) placement I had. In that case, the county was literally having to hide the children as the birth family had made serious and real threats against the children. Would "open" records for "all parties" really have been a good idea in that case?

In another placement, that will soon be TPRd and go to adoption, one of the parents is a gang member. Again, would "open records" for "all parties" be such a great thing?

Even in little things.....LG's name has changed, but a sibling's name only changed slightly and in a way that was, well, to be expected. Even with a few months of the adoption, that child's name is being used by the family---in ways not approved by the new family. While they may well be using LG's old name, they don't have his new name (which was a total change) and can't use it. Incidentally, in LG's case rights were relinquished which would have slipped through any except saying "open unless rights were terminated by courts".


So, I'm not "against" open records in some cases, but I do feel that everyone sees issues from their own circumstances. If you don't have information and want information, you'd probably be happy to have open records for "all parties".....but in some cases open records for "all parties" means a nutcase that has kidnapped and raped children and is suspected of murder (as in the first example) would have all of the child/adopted adult's new information.
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickons
TG - no personal info like noted should be provided IMO...and it did cause people to be upset - anyone would be. But I certainly think that as far as family health history, any info you would normally know if you had grown up in your family should be provided.

Grandma died of a heart attack when she was 56 - Aunt had high blood pressure for years and had a stroke. Mom had breast cancer at 35. Stuff people share within and outside of family - and if they don't want names used you can use degree of relatedness.

I have never met any family who were so secretive that no one knew any of the others health concerns or what people died of...

Kind regards,
Dickons

COMPLETELY agree!! Thanks
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  #11  
Old 01-05-2012, 10:34 AM
usisarah usisarah is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladyjubilee
I don't know that I am "against" open records, but I think people don't always think of the all the consequences for everyone. A previous poster said that records should be "open" for all parties. Sounds nice and sweet when you're talking domestic infant adoption. Not so nice and sweet when you talk about situations like a previous (pre adoptive) placement I had. In that case, the county was literally having to hide the children as the birth family had made serious and real threats against the children. Would "open" records for "all parties" really have been a good idea in that case?

In another placement, that will soon be TPRd and go to adoption, one of the parents is a gang member. Again, would "open records" for "all parties" be such a great thing?

Even in little things.....LG's name has changed, but a sibling's name only changed slightly and in a way that was, well, to be expected. Even with a few months of the adoption, that child's name is being used by the family---in ways not approved by the new family. While they may well be using LG's old name, they don't have his new name (which was a total change) and can't use it. Incidentally, in LG's case rights were relinquished which would have slipped through any except saying "open unless rights were terminated by courts".


So, I'm not "against" open records in some cases, but I do feel that everyone sees issues from their own circumstances. If you don't have information and want information, you'd probably be happy to have open records for "all parties".....but in some cases open records for "all parties" means a nutcase that has kidnapped and raped children and is suspected of murder (as in the first example) would have all of the child/adopted adult's new information.

Are you referring to open records after an adoption or loss of custody has taken place? If so, then no, I don't think records should be open to birth family members after an adoption has taken place. My aunt can't go pick up a copy of my birth certificate (at least I don't think she can), so after one is no longer the legal parent, I don't think they should be able to go pick up the amended BC of their relinquished child. Is that what you're saying too? Sorry if it's not.

I don't see how allowing an adopted person to go pick up their own original BC is in any way dangerous or different in foster adoption than DIA? Am I not following you correctly or missing something?
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Old 01-05-2012, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickons
Sarah,

There has been push back from some mothers when the discussion happens around open records. When you get to the bottom of their concerns (which are valid) it is that completely open records would mean both counselling records and very personal medical records (along the lines of your yearly exam etc). I have never heard an adoptee say they would want those types of records.

The trend is now to try to refer to OBC access to not cause fear of ALL records being provided. Pretty sure the legislation to release the OBC would include the standard non-identifying info the SW would create, i.e. reason for placement, education, religion, nationality, etc, with the identifying info left in.

Did that make sense?

Kind regards,
Dickons

Hi Dickons--

Please educate me. I thought "open records" meant OBCs, legal paperwork from the adoption, etc. Does the term also cover things like firstmoms' medical records? If so, I'm going to have to revise my support.
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:09 AM
usisarah usisarah is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hummermom
Hi Dickons--

Please educate me. I thought "open records" meant OBCs, legal paperwork from the adoption, etc. Does the term also cover things like firstmoms' medical records? If so, I'm going to have to revise my support.

For some, paperwork from the adoption may include first mom's medical records. I found out after we were matched that our agency asked emom to sign a waiver so that they could have access to ALL of her medical records. I have a feeling she did not know what she was signing. I for one would never allow someone to have access to that kind of info.
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:26 AM
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ladyjubilee ladyjubilee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usisarah
Are you referring to open records after an adoption or loss of custody has taken place? If so, then no, I don't think records should be open to birth family members after an adoption has taken place. My aunt can't go pick up a copy of my birth certificate (at least I don't think she can), so after one is no longer the legal parent, I don't think they should be able to go pick up the amended BC of their relinquished child. Is that what you're saying too? Sorry if it's not.

Again, this is where things start turning gray. From one poster saying 100% open records to all parties, to now only the relinquishment records open to all parties.....and even not "all medical" records. Which is my point, I'm not against "open records", but there is a huge valley of nuance between being pro "open records" to anti "open records".


For instance, I'm totally in agreement, I don't want anyone having my medical records (I'm not a biological parent in any respect). Pffft, I don't know all my mom's medical information and I wouldn't want her knowing all mine--and the only treatment I've ever had was a myringotomy. But, let's say we go to open records---and the loudest voices want "open" to include medical records. Who decides which records are open? Who goes through to decide that an abnormal pap smear result 10 years ago isn't included but psychiatric admission for situational depression is?


I just think its more complicated than people like to admit.
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hummermom
Hi Dickons--

Please educate me. I thought "open records" meant OBCs, legal paperwork from the adoption, etc. Does the term also cover things like firstmoms' medical records? If so, I'm going to have to revise my support.


Quote:
Originally Posted by usisarah
For some, paperwork from the adoption may include first mom's medical records. I found out after we were matched that our agency asked emom to sign a waiver so that they could have access to ALL of her medical records. I have a feeling she did not know what she was signing. I for one would never allow someone to have access to that kind of info.

No - the change in legislation would only release what is in the actual state held records.

Hummermom - some moms leapt to the conclusion that it would include Mother's most intimate records - that is why they try to be specific and use OBC etc instead of open records in language. It is what is held by the state - not the agency, and even if the agency provided info they would not be allowed to provide that info because of HIPPA.

Kind regards,
Dickons
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