National Council For Adoption (NCFA) and Mr. Marc Zappala
Anita Walker Field, aka Grannie Annie
Re: “Mutual Consent: Balancing the Birth Parent’s Right to Privacy with the Adopted Person’s Desire to Know,” by Mr. Marc Zappala.
Mark Zappala, I read your report with shock and awe. You have played havoc with the truth. You have made sweeping generalizations that are simply not true. And most relevantly, you have come to all of your conclusions based on your single premise that birth mothers have a fundamental right to privacy which the state governments must uphold. That is the underlying principle for all of your arguments. You even used the phrase seventeen (17) different times in your report. It’s your gospel. But you know, Mr. Zapalla, that if this particular statement cannot be proved, then we must throw out everything else in your report as not truthful.
Therefore, I ask you: Where’s your proof? You expect us to just take you at your word. You say it is so – and magically, it is so. Sorry! This just doesn’t work for me.
The NCFA has not now or ever offered up even one genuine proof as evidence of the existence of a legal right of the birth mother to privacy from her adopted adult “child.” Tell me please, where are you hiding all these important documents?
I challenge the NCFA to produce any facts it has to back up its statements that birth parents have a fundamental right to privacy from their adopted “children.” Show me, please, some solid legal evidence of this “right” that would allow birth mothers to be able to choose whether or not their adopted “children” shall receive their original birth certificates. Where is it written?
I know that if someone tells a lie long enough, people start to believe the lie. And I know that you all have created a whopper of a lie when you told us that birth mothers have the “right to privacy and anonymity from their adult adopted “children.” You have put just the right “spin” on this lie for so long now that folks all over the country are feeling sorry for the plight of those poor birth mothers whose lives would be ruined and whose “rights” would be trampled if adopted adult’s original birth certificates were ever issued to them.
Birth mothers DO NOT have a fundamental right to privacy from their adopted adult “children.” And I’ll prove it to you right now, right here, right this minute in this blog.
REASONS WHY A BIRTH MOTHER RIGHT TO PRIVACY IS A MYTH
1. The original birth certificate is not sealed to protect the identity of the birth mother. It is sealed upon decree of adoption, not upon the birth mother’s relinquishment. A child relinquished but never adopted has an unsealed birth certificate. If protection of the birth mother was intended, the birth certificate would have been impounded and sealed upon the termination of her legal relationship to the child, not at the beginning of the legal relationship of the adoptive family. The birth mother signs away all legal rights, forever, to her child when she signs the surrender documents.
2. There is no violation of privacy of the birth mother because there is no public disclosure. Only the adult adoptee whose birth occasioned the creation of the original birth certificate, and whose true facts of birth are contained within it, will have access.
3. Birthmothers signed relinquishment, irrevocability and waiver forms, but there have been no contracts produced promising that an adoptee’s original birth certificate would remain sealed at the discretion of the birth mother.
4. Furthermore, such a contract, if ever produced, would be invalid under the terms of contractual law. One cannot create a binding contract which damages or burdens one party without that party being fairly represented.
5. The state is under no obligation to honor or uphold a promise made between private citizens, most especially if this promise arguably violates a third party’s constitutional, civil, and human rights. [For example, real estate developers during the 1950’s entered into “Gentlemen’s Agreements” with their home owners; the realtors promised not to sell any houses to Jews. Eventually this practice was struck down because the contract between the private citizens was violating a third party’s civil rights.]
6. Sealed records proponents claim that birth parents have a right to remain anonymous from their offspring and often articulate this claim as stemming from a constitutional “right to privacy.” However, the courts have generally determined that the federal constitutional right to privacy means protection of individuals from government intrusion.
7. In a 1997 landmark decision, the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit Court, in Doe v Sundquist , found that information concerning a birth is not protected from disclosure by the Federal Constitution, and that the right of privacy “does not extend as far as to encompass a general right to non-disclosure of private information.” Further, they opined that: “A birth is simultaneously an intimate occasion and a public event – the government has long kept records of when, where, and by whom babies are born. Such records have myriad purposes, such as furthering the interest of children in knowing the circumstances of their birth.”
8. Measure 58, a ballot initiative passed in Oregon in 1998, approved the unconditional opening of original birth certificates to adult adoptees upon request. Immediately after the election, Measure 58 was challenged in court. Six anonymous birth mothers, represented by an attorney with support from the National Council For Adoption filed suit in state court, claiming that open records violated contracts of anonymity made at the time of relinquishments, as well as their right to privacy. This suit was dismissed in mid-1999.
Judge Lipscomb stated, “…Even assuming birth records to be an intimate personal matter, the effect of Ballot Measure 58 is only to give access to the person born, not to the general public. And significantly, there was no privacy or confidentiality at all which was attached to adoption records at the time of the enactment of either Constitutions. See Does v Oregon, Summary Judgement.
9. The Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision, holding that birth mothers have no constitutional guarantee of privacy regarding the fact that they relinquished a child, despite promises they may have received that their identities would be protected. Does v. State of Oregon, 164 Or.App. 543, 993 P.2d 833, 834 (1999). The Court refused to extend an earlier stay blocking the law from taking effect, leaving the U.S. Supreme Court as the only option for the opponents. In May, 2000, the Supreme Court rejected the six anonymous birth mothers’ request to stay the law. After nearly two years of court battles, Measure 58 went into effect.
Mr. Zapalla, I’ve just shown you some of my proofs. Now I ask you to show me some of yours.
ONCE AND FOR ALL, PUT UP OR SHUT UP.