Apparently the RI state legislature has, in the past, voted on bills to give adult adoptees access to their sealed records. According to the P.rovidence J.ournal, the bills pass the House, but not the Senate. Currently there is a possible compromise in the works that may pass both chambers, and allow adult adoptees over the age of 30 to obtain their records.
First of all, as a member of an open adoption triad, I am obviously in favor of the free flow of information, especially for the adoptee. I do recognize, however, that the level of openness my adoption family has been able to achieve is not always possible. I understand the many valid reasons why some adoptions are closed, or at least not fully open. I'm not sure if those circumstances extend to the adoptee's right to know their info as an adult. What I mean is, I get why some birthfamilies can't have visits with the adoptee; but what does that have to do with the adoptee just plain KNOWING their own info once they are grown?
The opponents of unsealing the records all claim to be advocating for birthmoms' privacy rights. I was pretty shocked to read this. Again, mine has always been an open adoption, but I can promise you, no one seemed concerned with my privacy post placement, or even brought the subject up when I was pregnant, before the openness had begun. The whole argument of someone worrying about my privacy 18 years post placement makes me laugh out loud. This argument is a big giant PC bullshit argument.
So what is the real reason some people want to deny adoptees access to their information? I saw one tiny little quote that mentioned adoptive parents' privacy and feelings, and I think this is where the truth is: not to sound harsh, but adoptive parents do seem to sometimes be the most considered, the most protected members of the triad. (APs, call me out on this one if I'm wrong.)
One comment really burned me up. A member of the assembly spoke in reference to the age at which adoptees deserve to know their info: "I think 18 is too young. It's a tender age. I want them to be able to find their records in an appropriate and meaningful way, not because they want to get back at their adoptive parents." Um, huh? Wha? Well, thank you, Mr. Member, but it's not up to you to decide why an adoptee wants their info, or what kind of experience it will be. Talk about controlling! The issue is centered around their rights, not their feelings, or their parents' feelings, or whether or not it is "meaningful".
Another very bizarre quote was in reference to birthmoms. One lawyer said, "The parent that gives up her rights, they're in a sense making a contract with someone. That contract is essentially: I am going to give you an opportunity for another life, but I am going to back away from your life. And that's the last thing I'm doing for you or with you." Wow, that's not what I said to Colin, thankfully. I am kind of a naive type of person, and this kind of jibberish blows my mind. I really thought we were past this kind of old school thinking. Also, even if that quote were universally true, what in the world does it have to do with the adoptee getting to see their records 18 years later?! I really, truly do not understand.
To me, it's a no brainer. The info is theirs. Apparently many many people are threatened by the possiblity that they get to see it.
Adoptees had the least amount of control at the time of placement. When Colin was a newborn, it blew my mind that we were all setting a course for his life and he was unable to give us his input. (I know this is true for all newborns, adopted or not, but it feels especially heavy in adoptions.) How can people justify continuing to have control over them in this way?