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

Letter to the Editor
Published in the Oregonian September 29, 1998


The Need To Know Origins

The relinquishment of a child is usually a devastating experience, I applaud your efforts to try to ameliorate a birth mother's pain and embarrassment by maintaining confidentiality in a Sept. 23 editorial opposing Measure 58. However, you are misinformed.

After I relinquished my daughter in a closed adoption, I kept it a secret. When she was 16, she found me, and of course, my life changed dramatically. Being found was not easy or painless, but it was clear that her need to know was greater thn my need for secrecy.

I am now a member of a birth-parent support group and have done extensive research on birth mothers. Without exception, every birth mother I have talked to has said that, knowing what she knows today,she would have made a different decision. She would have chosen one of three other options to a closed adoption: raising the child, having an abortion, or arranging an open adoption.

We made the decision to relinquish in closed adoptions because there were no other choices. That's how the system and society were back then

As for the promise of confidentiality, it was usually only implied, rarely stated, and never put in writing.

Especially since we believed we would never see them again, giving up our children was not done lightly. We had to believe that what we were doing would mean better lives for our sons and daughters.

Now, if as adults their need for their original birth certificates is so great, then by all means, they should have them. And should they come and find us, we will cope with the embarrassment and we will handle the emotional storm, because they are our blood and we want now what we have always wanted---to honor their best interests.

Pat Florin, Ashland.

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