Disclosure Vetoes

I am going to be real with you, dear readers. In case that statement confuses you, by real I mean there is going to be some swearing involved. If a few four letter words of the milder variety offend you, consider this your trigger warning.

I had never heard of a disclosure veto until just this year. I was talking with another adopted person, who matter of factly mentioned that, if their parent had signed a disclosure veto, they would have been given an uncertified copy of their birth certificate with their parents names redacted.

From a supposedly open access state.

What the hell is a disclosure veto?

A Disclosure Veto is this tricky bullshit that legislators came up with in some states where adoptees have been magnanimously granted Open Access to our original birth documents. Certificates that should be considered a basic human right.

A Disclosure Veto is a mechanism whereby the persons parent may inform the state that they do not give permission for their identities to be revealed to their child.

The parents human rights supersede those of the adult offspring. By law.

And this feckery is considered part of OPEN ACCESS.

What can I say? Lawyers and politicians and the adoption industry are involved. Just taking peoples money and pretending the human rights of a portion of the population do not exist.

What’s even more baffling than this casual disregard for logic and respect for our humanity is that even people who have used DNA to determine their parents identities are still denied their documentation!

I could take copies of my DNA results, photos of my parents and extended family and a full family tree in to the records department and still be denied access.

The lunatics are running the asylum.

Am I angry? Absolutely. If you are not, you should be. I am fortunate in that I was born in a country that doesn’t play these cruel games with people. I know who my mother is from my birth certificate. I used DNA to figure out who my father was. You could say that I have no stake in this game, but you would be wrong. The game is one of Human and Civil Rights. It should matter to everyone.

I can come from my place of privilege, as someone who has access to her non-redacted adoption file and original birth certificate and insist that other adoptees be granted the same recognition of their humanity. If you are not an adoptee, you can come from your position as someone whose rights to their identity has always been recognized and advocate for reform.

Disclosure Vetos are wrong. They are inhumane. They are out-dated. They need to be done away with.


Published by andestanley

Hi. I'm Ande. My name is pronounced On-dee. In 1999, I learned that my feelings over the years that something was a wee bit off in my family was ACTUALLY True. In my thirties, I accidentally discovered that I am an International, Stranger Adoption. Think adult woman locked in a restaurant handicapped stall, trembling, sobbing, dripping snot, wondering why her "mom" would consider a Fresh Choice an appropriate venue for confirming her suspicions. After returning home from that little humiliation, I began what I think of as The Great Paper Chase. This blog is about that chase. A little from the legal perspective, but primarily from the emotional and physical. Over the years, I managed to find a slew of clueless people, and a few well informed individuals, who helped me navigate applying for and receiving my paperwork. I encountered almost zero people able to help me with the arguably more important side of adoptee-dom. How do I cope with how all of this makes me FEEL? When I am feeling infantilized, what do I do? When I can hear my heart pounding in my ears and my head feels like it may explode into a hundred dangerous bone shards and a whole lot of squishy mess, how do I calm myself? Am I crazy for wanting my file, my original birth certificate, my proof of existence? How do I find the courage to open this damn envelope? Now that the envelope is open, what do all these squiggly lines actually mean?! Will I feel this guilt, fear, grief, shame, anger…forever?! I decided to start this blog as a way to explore the emotional and physical challenges of seeking our identities and adoption files, as part of community. I don't think of this as My blog. I think of The Adoption Files as Our blog. Our place to ask the questions, discuss the emotions, validate one another and plot the next steps in the journey. Along the way, I will share some of my experiences as a Late Discovery, International, Stranger Adoptee trying to make sense of the lies, the application forms, the attitudes and the consequences of reclaiming myself. I hope to hear from others as they apply for, receive or are denied thier paperwork, summon the courage to open those envelopes or emails, and read and reread the contents of those communications. I also hope to wheedle a few interviews with professionals in the legal and mental health and physical health communities who have valuable insights into how we, as Adopted people, can recognize the need for, implement and maintain healthy coping strategies so we can come through this process healthier and stronger than when we began. The goal is empowerment. The goal is also connection. Adoption life, what I think of as The In-Between, can be incredibly lonely. I have benefitted greatly in recent years from the discovery of this whole online world of Adoptees finding our voices and forming connections and sharing our stories. Every single one of them has helped me along the way, whether they know this is so or not. They amaze me every single day. If you are reading this, know that you are amazing. You are inspiring. You are not alone. We are United in more ways than we can imagine. Just one of those things that unite us is that we all have some form of paperwork, some absence of it, some document we are seeking. Now, let's talk about that paperwork.

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