Should birth parents’ names be erased from birth certificates and replaced with adoptive parents’ names? Rebecca of Fosterhood wrote a very moving and thought-provoking piece on why this practice should be banned. All My Pretty Ones wrote additional support. And I agree with Rebecca and AMPO … to a point.
Erasing Birth Parents’ Names Denies their Importance
Birth parents play an incredibly important role in children’s lives. They gave the children life, their looks, their temperament, etc. Birth parents should most definitely be respected, honored and cherished, and falsifying who really gave birth or fathered children seems to be unbelievably disrespectful.
Official Documents Should be Truthful
I don’t want my name to be listed as having given birth to my son (it wouldn’t be true!). It’s a record of his BIRTH. Why should government employees be knowingly and willfully faking official records?
Adoption is Awesome
Why create a lie? Adoption is no longer a cause for shame. We are proud of our son’s heritage, history and first family. We think adoption is an awesome choice and way to make a family. Open adoption is the norm now.
Adoptees Have the Right to Disclose
My son, like many other adoptees, likes to decide who to tell about his life history. If he knows you, likes you, and feels comfortable, he may choose to reveal this intensely personal aspect of his life. Birth certificates are used in many different transactions: registering for school, getting a driver’s license, getting a marriage license, etc. Why should he be forced to share his story with random strangers if he doesn’t feel comfortable? And let me tell you that school officials will make certain assumptions about your child based off of adoptive status! (argh!)
Older, Foster Adoptees Particularly Sensitive
Children adopted at an older age and children adopted out of foster care may be particularly sensitive about wanting control over to whom and how to disclose their adoptive status. Having lived with birth parents for a period of their lives, having suffered trauma and loss, they often are highly selective about with whom they talk about adoption. Can they trust this person with their biggest, deepest emotions? It raises such painful memories. And people tend to ask probing questions about what it was like. And sometimes (uneducated) people think differently of children after they disclose.
So I have no clear answer here. What are your thoughts?