Tag Archives: adoptees

Equal Rights … Something We Should All Care About

January 12, 2011

For my second posting on this blog (is it too late to figure out a more elegant word to describe these things?), I’m offering a commentary that is being published today on The Huffington Post. It’s about a subject near and dear to my heart – adult adoptee access to original birth certificates – and the context is what I truly believe it should always be: giving all Americans equal rights. That’s something everyone, and not just people with direct connections to adoption, should care about. Here’s the link to the Huffington Post piece, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-pertman/post_1565_b_807939.html, and the commentary is also right here:

At the beginning of the 1900s, grim predictions punctuated the debate over women’s suffrage. Everyone in the family unit would be damaged in innumerable ways if this outrage were allowed to happen, argued the critics, some of whom went so far as to predict the end of civilization itself.

Half a century later, another historic social change was in the offing, and the warnings of impending disaster were at least as dire. Indeed, some opponents of the movement to extend civil rights to people of color in our country were so sure that personal and social ruin were lurking around the corner that they fought with filibusters, nooses and guns to maintain the status quo.

Forecasting the future evidently is a difficult thing to do. Looking back is obviously easier, and it leads to two unambiguous conclusions. First, whether the effort is to give women the vote, provide African-Americans with equal rights, create access for people with disabilities — or level the playing field for any other discriminated-against segment of the population — there will be nay-sayers who insist that horrible things will occur if the sought-after change is allowed to transpire. Second, they will be wrong.

No, this is not a commentary about “don’t ask, don’t tell” or any other gay rights issue, though the identical observations would certainly apply. Rather, it’s about providing legal and moral equality for a segment of our population that is not generally perceived as deprived of any rights: the approximately 7 million Americans who were adopted into their families. And the right denied to most of them is so basic that it almost sounds like a joke: access to their own original birth certificates. Continue reading

Crime and Punishment

January 26, 2011

Here’s some news for The Outrage File: “A Korean woman in Arizona, who was adopted and brought to the U.S. when she was eight months old, is facing deportation after a second conviction for theft, reports the Korea Times. The 31-year-old mother of three is currently being held in a federal detention center in Arizona.” Follow this link to read the whole story: http://newamericamedia.org/2011/01/korean-woman-adopted-as-infant-facing-deportation-in-arizona.php.

The bottom line is that this woman’s adoption took place before the implementation of current law – which gives automatic citizenship to children adopted from other countries – and neither she nor her parents applied for citizenship for her. So, even though she has lived in the United States all her life, has given birth to three children on our nation’s soil, has never as much as visited Korea and doesn’t speak the language, American authorities want to send her “back.”

Should people who commit crimes be punished? Absolutely. But this is a crystal clear example of how adopted people are sometimes treated differently, and I do NOT mean for the better. Can you imagine something comparable happening to someone born into her/his family, whatever the crime? Of course not, but this woman isn’t the first adoptee against whom deportation proceedings have been initiated and, alas, some have been successful.

The law needs to be fixed, and such proceedings have to stop. They’re not just unfair – they’re outrageous.