Oregon Adoptee Rights Initiative
Measure 58
Our Birth Certificate: Our Right

Letter to the Editor
The Oregonian

To the Editor;

I was gravely disappointed with the Oregonian's decision to oppose the Adoptee Rights initiative, Measure 58, especially since the views expressed in your September 23rd editorial are based on several fallacies. Birth certificates of adoptees in Oregon were NEVER sealed with the intent of "protecting" birthparents. Records are not sealed when a birthparent relinquishes, and so the sealed records statute cannot be seen as a promise of confidentiality by any stretch of the imagination. The names of birthparents are published in newspapers as a matter of law prior to an adoption finalization hearing, and if a child is never adopted but remains in foster care, the records are not sealed at all. In fact, by statutory decree, if the adoptive parents or the adoptee requests it prior to finalization, the birth record remains unsealed. The birthparent is the one party who gets absolutely no say in whether the records are sealed under Oregon's current law and that is because the outdated intent of sealed records is to insulate the *adoptee* and the *adoptive family* from the "stigma of illegitimacy". It is absolutely absurd that the Oregonian would posture self-righteously about the state "keeping its word" when in 1957 all records were retroactively sealed after having been open previously. What about the "word" of the state to adoptees and birthparents prior to 1957?

Measure 58 does not seek to "change the past" any more than desegregation or an end to slavery sought to "change the past". In fact, it is ironic that the Oregonian would use the phrase, since it is precisely the practice of sealing birth certificates and issuing false ones that attempts to "change the past". Measure 58 would simply undo a grave injustice by dismantling a system that unfairly denies ADULT citizens the records of their birth based solely on their adoptive status. Measure 58 would put an end to the discriminatory practice of hiding the facts of birth from the adults for whom the birth certificate is generated for to begin with. Measure 58 is about justice, it is about the state keeping its word to treat all citizens equally under the law.

Lastly, I must say that it is the height of irony for the Oregonian to endorse a system of shame, secrets and lies on a platform of honesty.


Shea Grimm
Redmond, WA

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