Monday, November 12, 2012

A bit of a rant

I just saw this article about Catholic Bishops in New Jersey. It states:

"Every year, the NJ Catholic Conference of Bishops lobbies to defeat an adoption reform bill that would allow adoptees, as adults, to secure their original birth certificates (OBCs).  This opposition is based on unfounded fears and misinformation.  The bishops do have money, however, and they are significant players in New Jersey’s political arena."

This hits close to home for me as an adoptee from New Jersey who was raised as a Catholic. My OBC is held hostage in that state. It doesn't even matter that I'm a step-parent adoptee raised by the woman who gave birth to me. I still can't have my original birth certificate. There is no issue with the supposed "secrecy" or "promised confidentiality" that they claim to be so concerned about and my natural father is dead. There is no reason on this earth that I should not be able to have in my possession my own personal birth records.

As the author says, the Bishops feel as though their religious freedoms are threatened. They claim there's a war against religion because of a birth control mandate in the Affordable Care Act. The mandate simply requires insurance companies to include contraceptives in the policies for the people who CHOOSE to use it. There's a lot of talk about Christians being persecuted and religious freedom under fire. Hogwash. How about motherhood under fire? How about a war against single motherhood? How about a war against truth? How about a war against adopted people and their civil rights?

It's no secret to the people close to me that I have a problem or two with the Catholic church. The list is long and too much to get into here but for today the issue is adoption. They not only want to keep my and my daughter's OBCs locked up, they were a major player in taking my daughter from me 32 years ago through Catholic Social Services. They were the ones who somehow convinced me to sign a consent to adoption form when I was only 6 months pregnant. We had left NJ and were living in Florida. I checked the FL statutes. At that time it was illegal to sign an adoption consent before the birth of the child yet that didn't stop CSS from getting me to sign. It's still illegal.

I had just arrived in Lakeland the month before. I was sent to live with a woman 2 hours away from my home because I was a disgrace to the family. I couldn't be seen in that condition. CSS arranged for my housing. They arranged the adoption. They made it very clear that the best way to handle my "situation" was for me hide, give birth, and then not see my baby at all - it would be "easier on me" that way. I could go home, start my life over, move on. Sure.

So, I rang in 1980 living with a stranger in a strange town and CSS gave me a form to sign giving THEM custody of my child at birth. They didn't have me sign this form when I was still living at home with my parents, they waited until I was alone. It was the first week of the new year and my daughter wasn't born until mid-April. I have a copy of the form now. It only took 31 years for me to get it. In fact, I was shocked when I saw the form. I have no memory of signing it. I don't know what that means. Did I block that memory? Why would they have me sign something like that except to ensure that they got their hands on my baby. They knew that if I didn't sign it, and I had access to my child, I could have fought to keep my baby. The form was their way of making sure that I didn't see my baby after she was born. It was their excuse for the BFA signs.

After my daughter was born, the final papers signed and I was back home, it was like I stopped existing. For CSS it was over, they had my child. There was no contact from them. There was no interest in how I was dealing with the grief. There was no concern for me whatsoever. So Bishops..... tell me again how concerned you are for mothers and their well being. Tell me again how you feel for the mothers who were "promised confidentiality" so as a result their children should not have access to their own personal records. Is all of this obstruction and lobbying against open records for my benefit or yours? Could there be some reason you don't want people to know about their own histories? The truth maybe?

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