The adoption process in our country traditionally has been designed to safeguard the rights of adoptive parents, insure the solidarity of the adoptive family, and preserve the anonymity of the natural parents. To accomplish this, when adoptions are finalized, the original birth certificate is "sealed" and a new certificate is issued in the name of the adoptive parents. Once sealed, the laws of most states specify that the original record can be opened only by court order and for "just cause." A few states have provisions for opening of the records on demand of the adoptee when that person becomes an adult. This provision often turns out to be true in theory but not in practice, and the definition of "just cause" has varied greatly from court to court.
Most adoptive parents have warm and loving relationships with their adoptive children. Most try to pass on to them, at appropriate times, as much of the birth information as they know and are able to provide. Most adoptees have a warm and loving and truly bonded relationship with their adoptive parents. In spite of this, and regardless of their attachment to the adoptive parents, some adoptees, as they reach maturity, have a compelling desire to learn of their natural parent or parents.
Many adult adoptees and adoption specialists see this search as essential to the establishment of a sense of identity. Most reports of reunions indicate that adoptees have been pleased with the meeting and that their ties to their adoptive parents have been strengthened thereby.
- Copyright © 1977 by the American Academy of Pediatrics