Monday, March 07, 2011

Medical Records My Arse!

While I watch myself, my adult children and the other natural mothers and adult adoptees in reunion around me, the brandishing of medical records as the raison d'etre for the drive for open records goes on. It is so amusing to note that, when contact is finally made, medical history is NOT the first question or topic that arises.

I am not saying that a medical history is not important. I am saying that, in my opinion, it is a smoke screen created to protect adopters' feelings. I also suspect it is a good come back when an adult adopted person is accused of being ungrateful and disloyal. Unfortunately, they get a lot of that. The fact that few raised family members have all their answers and that personal medical information is protected by the HIPAA regulations seems to have escaped those who argue that family medical history is their main objective and should be mandatory.

Now, having asked a number of my adopted friends and observing the reunions in my family and around me with my friends, I can say that the most important question they want answered is "Who is my Natural Mother?" The next question is all about the Why? It's about the circumstances of their birth and surrender. Then, they want to know about the Natural Father and any siblings. They want to know why they love art while their adopters love science and from whom their auburn hair and brown eyes came. THEN medical questions will arise. That is when we all find out that lots of us know very little past our parents' ailments, etc. In other words, we are not filled with generations of biological lore concerning our genetic deficiencies.

When that first face to face meeting occurs, do you know what the vast majority brings with them, on both ends? Pictures! We are hungry for images of our children as they grew up and our children are equally hungry to view the faces that look like them. It is about a Mother's need to know how her child fared and an adult adoptee's need for identity. You don't see us greeting each other with our medical files in hand.

I remember putting up banners and balloons and having cake, champagne and deli platters ready and a list of my ailments, and my parent's was the last thing on our minds. It came up much later and I gave them what I knew and what affected them. Any other personal information remained just that...personal. If I don't tell my raised children everything or my reunited children everything, who thinks I am going to sit still for the state requiring everything? Let's get real. Just as we all have the constitutional right to free association and can approach anyone we wish, with courtesy, about forming a relationship, we also have the same right to privacy that EVERY citizen enjoys, including adoptees. Some things are just no one's business but our own.

In reference to that fact, it has happened that many adoptees, for whatever reasons, have denied contact to their Natural Mothers. There are many mothers with broken hearts who talk about their hurt on private groups online. I'd say that there were just about as many of them as there are rejected adoptees. They might want to pass on medical information, but most of them just want to see and hold their adult child, just once, and know that they are OK. Some of us have suffered some rather nasty treatment at the hands of our adult children. Why it is assumed that we are less human and less deserving of courtesy and respect is beyond me. I just know I don't sit and accept it...not from mine or from anyone else's.

The smoke and mirrors that the Industry and pro-adoption factions are using to obscure and deny the real reason behind the demand for open access to the Original Birth Certificate is causing a battle of sorts between some of the adoptees and Nmoms. This is just what the NCFA and the EBDI and the agencies want. If we are attacking and defending, then we are distracted from them carrying on business as usual. Mandatory medical histories are just part of another illusion performed with razzle-dazzle and sleight of hand. I wonder how many of them have realized that the amended birth certificate and the adoption practices of, especially, the EMS are legalized crimes? Call it what you will, the amended birth certificate is a fraudulent document, a fake.

I am so hoping that, as adopted people and Nmoms start working together more, that the veils will be lifted and the distracting ruffles and flourishes cut away to reveal the simple truth of the objective.

Let us all, mothers and adoptees, know WHO. We'll take it from there.


Jenn said...

This was a very interesting post to read as an adoptee.

First of all, I'm preparing to meet my dad for the first time this week. I'm so excited and I had to laugh when I read this post because I am in the process of sending photo's to CVS to be printed so I can bring them with me. I wasn't sure if I should bring the pictures, but I defiantly will now.

Next, I am one of those adoptees who used the whole medical excuse. I wasn't sure what I wanted from my mother, so I just told my adoptive family that I just wanted medical information in order to make it easier on them. After I started talking to her I realized that I wanted a relationship, which she didn't want and I had to respect that. I had to admit that I wanted more than just a medical record. I was able to get my answers, which is what I was really after and know my story now. You are dead on when it comes to this, at least in my experience.

Another part of it was that I went to see a doctor for a medical condition that could potentially kill me and the doctor refused to help me because I did not have a medical family history. Apparently she couldn't do her job without it and it was my fault for not knowing it. I wish I had read this post first and had been able to tell her that there are raised children who might not have known if one particular thing ran in the family.

While I agree that nobody has to tell anybody their medical history and some don't share, I think that if someone told you they needed it or they might die, you'd tell them. At least I know I would. Or if you had something that was genetic and could kill someone if they didn't know about it, you'd probably tell your children. The fact that adoptees are kept from even asking because of sealed records is ridiculous. We have the right to ask for it. It's the asking part that I think trips people up. I don't expect the full truth, but I do expect that if there's something that could help me out in the future it would be really nice to hear (so I won't die or something). But really, I feel like I should get to at least ask.

Also, just as a side point, as a raised kid, you probably would have some idea about your parents' medical histories. I know my adoptive parents' because I've been around them and I know when they go to the doctor and when my mom got sick I knew what was going on because it was a big deal. She never "told" me anything, but I knew what was going on. I think that's an important thing that adoptees are missing. But that's just my opinion.

Again, great post!

Robin said...

"Ask" is the operative word, here, Jenn. Unless it is obtrusively personal, I will answer any question my children ask.

But I will not have my information mandated by law and enforced by the state. That violates my constitutional rights. It also continues a long practice of treating natural mothers as a lower class deserving no respect.

Jenn said...

Wow, I honestly had no idea that the government was trying to force people to give up that medical history. I figured they were just asking for it. Well, I guess you really do learn something new everyday!

Robin said...

If it is in a legislation, then it is mandated of any mother who vetoes contact in one way or another...another stupid provision. The state should not be in the mix at all other than allowing the concerned parties, all of them, unrestricted access to identifying information.

In any event, all a mother has to do is evoke her HIPAA rights and her constitutional rights. Legislation that carries such provisions cannot stand up to a constitutional challenged and would have the ACLU rubbing their hands in glee.

Marley Greiner said...

From my POV, the "medical history" excuse comes from adoptees' fear of asking for what they want. They want their obc, their records, whatever the state hides, but instead of asking for that and looking "ungrateful" they ask for medical histories. They may also believe that courts look upon medical histories as "worthy" and "respectable." People however, get turned down all the time on medical grounds.

The worst part of these pleas, however, is how once "medical history" get a hearing, rights go straight out the window. States are quite willing to set up anonymous medical registeries as a replacament for real records access. Then they can say, we gave you what you want, now go away. Politically, medical histories are a deadender, and anyone who argues on those grounds is nothing but a sealed records activist in lipstick.

I'll also note, that it's people pleasing adoptees and their reactionary organiztions such as the EBD and AAC who beg for medical histories.

J. Marie Jameson said...

Nice post Robin.

In my own personal experience, I always found that people tried to put the medical records excuse on me as the first and foremost reason. But, much to my aps chagrin, I always maintained that I wanted to simply know my mother. I wanted to offer her the choice to have a relationship with me; the chance for us to be part of each others lives.

Lori said...

Robin, Great Post! I think that you have tried to make this point before and I have to agree with you, whole heartedly. I will give my daughter any history she wants, but my private life is mine - no one else's. Also, just an FYI for Jenn - I had to ask for info on my mother, she never told us anything. I have severe asthma and smoked for 29 years - never knowing that my mother had it and most of her sibs and their children. Raised children don't always know what is up either. Sometimes you just have to ask the question.

Von said...

Medical history was the last thing on my mind in reunion. Photos came first.