Eclipsing Antiquated Laws
Today in Denver, which lies just south of the Path of Totality, I was offered the opportunity to look directly at the solar eclipse by someone proffering a pair of paper sunglasses adorned with the printed logos of an oil change chain and a local news station. I declined, saying that I would watch it on television or Twitter.
My eyes, while still reasonably good, are not what they used to be and I didn't want to take any chances. I was already experiencing the eclipse without seeing it. A surreal dimming of the mid-day light at 11:47 am was accompanied by cooler air. One client, who lives in the foothills, said that she heard warnings about possible increased rattlesnake activity due to the eclipse (which made no sense to me, since as I understand it, reptiles become less active in cooler temperatures.)
Eclipse can be used as both a noun and a verb. I have always preferred the verb form:
"Today in Denver, the sun was 95% eclipsed by the moon."
I like this one even better:
"Within our lifetimes, antiquated laws rooted in shame and secrecy will be eclipsed by new ones guaranteeing adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates and adoption records."
Even if you live in a state that is outside the Path of Totality, you knew it was happening. Even if you live in a state that appears to be sealed up tighter than my eyelids at 11:47 am today, you still feel the change. You sense the power of truth and transparency in adoption; the shift in thinking about connection to origins, whether via a piece of paper or a DNA test.
Unlike the eclipse, gazing directly into the light of equal access to records is not damaging to the viewer. Instead, it is liberating. Healing. Satisfying. Empowering. Affirming. And yes, sometimes it can be terrifying and often transforming. But, like the once-in-a-lifetime Eclipse of 2017, it is steadily, inexorably moving across the nation and around the world. It may bring out some snakes who try to oppose it with the same old tired, spurious arguments. But look at the thirteen states in which OBC access bills were introduced in 2017. It is happening. And as a result, adoptees' open eyes will, at last, gaze at our truth for as long as we want.