Do You See What I See? A Layman's Observations About Truth and Lies in Adoption Reform

“…and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” - John 8:32

The above quote has been widely misappropriated and misapplied by adoption reform activists through the years to assert that knowledge of our roots through obtaining the truth contained in our original birth certificates will set adult adoptees free from a variety of genealogical, psychological, medical and discriminatory maladies. Though the assertion has wide appeal, the verse, when read in the context of the preceding verse, of course has nothing to do with the adoption reform movement. It’s an appealing, inspiring concept that may have some general application, but in the final analysis, it’s a soul-stirring truth claim rooted in a huge inferential leap wrapped in a misapplied scripture.

Similarly, the valid and passionately held belief (which I share) that every adoptee should have access without a court order to an unaltered copy of their original birth certificate, which should contain the true name(s) of their original parent(s) has fallen prey to embracing appealing political assumptions that, so far, are simply rooted in fiction.

How can advocates expect to win a battle for truth in adoption if the foundational assumptions undergirding their political platform are fictional?

The discussion about adult adoptees’ right to obtain a non-certified copy of their original birth certificate is heating up, and I, for one, believe it’s a conversation long overdue. Is it a civil/fundamental right rooted in principles of due process and equal protection found in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution? Is it a procedural right? A human right? A policy decision left up to states that create remedial rights for citizens in order to carry out the administration of compelling interests of the state regarding a document created by the state for purposes of the state?

Last month’s blog outlined key differences between the “all or nothing now” (AONN) camp and those who I call Pragmatists, who have evolved to a different mindset after years of legal input and time in the trenches.