Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Open Records for Mothers, Too! Why....?
Intrinsic; in·trin·sic; Adjective /inˈtrinzik/ /-sik/ inherent; 1.Belonging naturally; essential
Esoteric; es·o·ter·ic; Adjective /ˌesəˈterik/ 1.Intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest in a subject or issue.
Egalitarian; e·gal·i·tar·i·an ;Adjective /iˌgaləˈterēən/; 1.Of, relating to, or believing in the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.
Dignity; dig·ni·ty: Noun /ˈdignitē/; (dignities plural);1.The state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect.
Anyone who reads my blog knows that I am not big on long, dry recitations of legal prescedents, dates and data. There are those who are much better at that sort of thing than I am. I tend to follow what I know, in my deepest self, to be true and right and extrapolate from there. If I have managed to pick up pertinent data and can readily access it, I will include it. But rambling through the history of this arena of activism is not my bag. If I have an idea, I'll put it out there. If someone says it can't be done, I'll ask why. If the reasons are sound, I'll look for another avenue to the goals I want to pursue.
The question was raised, on First Mother Forum , of whether Natural Mothers should also be granted access to the amended birth certificate of their surrendered, adult child. I firmly believe it is fair and right and that we should be granted equal access to all records pertaining to our surrender, labor, delivery and our child's adoptive name. The Original Birth Certificate gives identifying information about the Natural Mother. Why shouldn't a Natural Mother have identifying information on her adult child?
It has more to do with those words up there than with the possibility of reunion, although I think that the right to know who your child is and how that child has fared is our right based on a primal need. Not everyone went through what I and many other mothers did during the EMS. But a huge number did. So many of us had all our autonomy, our self respect and our very worlds taken from us, along with our child. We were secreted away, shamed and went through our pregnancies in atmospheres of punishment and censure.
When the search phenomenon began, we either started looking, ourselves, or filed our names with registries and waited and hoped. Others hunched their shoulders and hid themselves even deeper in the personas they had generated for themselves out of old, entrenched fear and shame, I am sorry to say. Many of us who lost our self-respect fought hard battles to regain it and still managed to stay honest about our pasts. The freedom and lightness of being brought about by simply telling the truth was heady stuff.
But for me, reunion, and knowing aren't enough. How we are and were seen and treated by society is also important. We've been the bad girls/delinquents long enough and I, for one, am terribly tired of it. I don't care how much hostility flows my way from adoption facilitators, attorneys and adopters. You used me and my sister mothers in the worst way and then we were discarded. Well, guess what? We are still here. And we are no longer helpless, young, dependent girls afraid of an intolerant society.
So, I can't quote the legal and constitutional reasons, former legal battles fought, and their outcomes to explain my strong belief that Mothers should be included in the fight for open records. But I can say that it is intrinsically the right thing to do. We have the esoteric understanding and involvement that places us in midst of those concerned with these rights. And to do so will open the door to true egalitarianism in the adoption activism milleu and allow us all our dignity. That might not be backed up with all the data, but I believe we definitely should have access.
More than that, I believe we deserve it. Sometimes, it's just a matter of what is right.