Oprah Winfrey’s discovery of her secret sister made big news recently, and this has led to a lot of talk about the reunion of family members separated by adoption.
I was listening to an NPR discussion of the topic in the car yesterday, but had to snap the radio off because what was being said got me agitated. I have strong views about this subject and didn’t want to unnecessarily raise my heart rate while driving.
Here’s the thing: All human beings have the right to know who they came from. It is knowledge that is more than mere information, it is connective tissue. It is identity.
Can you imagine not being allowed access to your own birth certificate? That's a reality for six million American adult adoptees.
Although the closed adoption system has undergone reform in the last few decades, and the need for adoptees to know their heritage has come to be widely understood, most sealed adoptions records remain sealed.
There are only two states that never participated in the sealing of adoption records (Alaska and Kansas) and six other states that now allow access, but most do not.
I was raised by a family that was not biologically mine, but I was never legally adopted. The issue of sealed adoption records does not affect me personally, but I sure do understand the need to know. I sure do support the right of anyone, anywhere, to know who they are.
There's lots, LOTS, more I could say about this issue, but don't want to get too wound up. I'll just say how happy I am for Oprah's sister. Wow.