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