The Role of the Pediatrician in Adoption with Reference to ‘The Right to Know’: An Update
The adoption process in our country traditionally has been designed to safeguard the rights of the adoptive parents, ensure the solidarity of the adoptive family, and preserve the anonymity of the birth parents. When adoption is 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 adoptees when they become adults. This provision frequently is true in theory but not in practice, and the definition of "just cause" has varied considerably 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 have a compelling desire and/or need to learn of their birth 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. In addition, there is the growing body of law that has spoken to the right of people to know the content of various personal records.
- Copyright © 1981 by the American Academy of Pediatrics