Friday, 8 March 2013

House Bill 148 - A Birth-mothers View AND Plea for Help

posted 3/8/2013 by ViewFinder

"I am a Birth-mother to two children whom I placed for adoption just over 15 years ago.  Wednesday, 3/6/13 I spent several hours on the lower level in room 25 in the "House" at the Utah State Capitol.  I was participating in the presentation of House Bill 148 to the House Health and Human Services Committee.  The schedule posted gave a start time of 4:10 PM.  However multiple committee members arrived after 4:10, one not even until after the first bill was about to be voted on.
 

Local Residents standing through 1 1/2 hours of  SB0166S02
I had taken my seat at 3:30 not moving through 2 1/2 hours of discussion- mostly a VERY long presentation on the taxation of nicotine cartridges.  I sat through two other bills and watched in amazement as those making the decisions came in late, excused themselves, laughed with each other during public speaking and sometimes presentation by bill sponsors.  It was rather disturbing to watch some of their behavior.  I was there on a very personal level, as were so many other Utah residents, that there were more people standing than sitting.  It was 6:30 in the evening before we even began presentation of HB 148.  I was hungry, tired and experiencing a significant headache- yet I stayed because this was truly important to me, and potentially a life-saving bill.

I was able to give my personal experience and share my struggles and significant heartache.  My story is not typical of most birth-mothers in that I chose to keep my children, yet in the end determined that the best thing I could do as a mother and protector of my children would be to place them for adoption.  My daughter was 16 months old and my son 3 months old when I placed them.  The one thing that gave me the strength to follow through with the adoption was the potential for a partially open adoption, one where I could receive pictures and letters from the adoptive family, REASSURANCE that my children were safe, protected, happy and healthy.  Had the open or partially-open adoption not been possible I would NEVER have placed them for adoption and they would have certainly been exposed to significant dangers through their biological father, (drugs, alcohol addiction, violence, and gangs).  I stand by my statement yesterday that -had I known how difficult it was going to be (placing them for adoption and actually saying goodbye), had I known how much I would truly struggle mentally, emotionally, financially, professionally, physically and spiritually as a single mother to two babies I would not have chosen to keep them.   Had open/partially-open adoption not been available- I would have chosen abortion.  I could not bare to carry these children inside my body, bond with them and yearn for them just to say goodbye before I was even able to say hello.  I could not bare the idea that I would never have the potential to reunite with my children in the future if that is what they desired, or to not know that they were at the very least okay.  At the young, foolish and selfish point in my life- it would have been easier to choose abortion so that I could spare myself the pain and suffering one endures when they place a child for adoption.

After several other members of our community spoke up in support, there was one last public speaker.  Gayle Ruzicka (a constant presence during legislation) just one woman was able to say her words and help to sway our committee members to put the bill on hold until the next Legislative Session- A FULL YEAR~!  The very odd thing is that Gayle spoke NOT of personal experience, but of personal opinion and what she states she believes a young woman would choose to do if adoptions were not automatically closed.  Gayle presented her thoughts to be that women would choose abortion if adoptions were not closed.

I have never met another Birth-mother personally who did not share in my desire to reunite someday with their children.  I have never met another Birth-mother who would choose abortion because they feared contact in the future from the infant they gave birth to.  I have never met another Birth-mother who opted for closed adoption and didn't later wish that they had chosen open.  MY experience is that the opinions Gayle Ruzicka presented are not realistic.  

Rebecca Davis pictured above
Rebecca Davis, a representative of the Utah Adoption Council and a long time employee at Children's Service Society of Utah was able to provide statistics on percentages of how many Birth-mothers actually want a completely closed option- in the years since 1998 she tracked the numbers 96% chose an open, or partially open adoption.  Mrs. Ruzicka did not provide any statistics, nor names, nor personal experiences where she could relate to the cause and effect the current law has, and what this bill can and will do to help Birth-mothers, their Birth-children and those children's children medically.

Part of House Bill 148 allows the Birth-mother to update her Medical History, and allow for that to be open, giving adopted children access to their biological medical history.  THIS IS HUGE!  My Grandfather died of Cancer.  My Maternal Grandfather also had type 2 Diabetes.  My father had type 1 Diabetes.  Both of my sisters and my mother have required their Gal-bladder out around the age of 35 (luckily I still have mine).  My children need this information- it could potentially save their lives.  Without this bill passing, the current law prohibits adopted children access to updated medical records.  This is ridiculous. From my understanding the option to update medical records carries over even into partially open adoptions, as the law is written- because once the adoption is finalized the records are unable to be updated, unsealed etc. unless by a court order.  

There were warnings from friends and associates when I told them that the Utah Eagle Forum was opposing this bill, warnings that I would be wasting my time because "all Gayle has to do is nod her head in approval or disapproval and the house representatives will vote as she nods", "they fear her, and the potential 100+ protesters she can produce in a moments time with just a phone call".  

I was certain, despite warnings, that this bill was the RIGHT THING, and that it wouldn't matter what one woman's opinion was... our representatives would have no choice but to do the "right thing".  BUT... they didn't.  Our support for the bill was not enough for it to pass and move to the State Senate.  It has been moved back to the rules committee for an interim study.  

Representatives stated their concern was that this bill could potentially have adopted children appear on the doorsteps of their biological mothers who did not want contact.  But the bill is written in a way that the birth-mother actually CHOOSES if she wants to have her Identity a part of the records that are open.  She gets to CHOOSE if she does NOT want her identity a part of the records.  SHE ALSO HAS THE OPTION TO CHANGE HER MIND AT A LATER DATE!  If her circumstances change, and she later wants the contact or NOT- she can DO SO!  Why in this day and age are we allowing the government to choose for us what our future should/could/will be?  Why is a woman's right to choose for herself not being taken into consideration.  The representatives concerns are invalid because the adopted child still does not have to seek out their parent- but would still be able to access vital information about themselves such as updated medical records.

HOW IS THIS A PROBLEM?!  

WHY IS GAYLE RUZICKA'S OPINION SO IMPORTANT THAT IT OUT WEIGHS SEVERAL OTHER CITIZENS PERSONAL EXPERIENCES ON THE MATTER?

WHY ARE OUR REPRESENTATIVES NOT REPRESENTING THE MAJORITY HERE?

The evening prior to this hearing I created a Sign On Petition in support of House Bill 148 that will be delivered to our representatives when we have received enough support to show them that our community agrees that a mother should be able to choose for herself and not have the government impose on her only one option.

I am asking that you please review House Bill 148, and if you agree that Adopted children should be given access to their UPDATED MEDICAL history, and that the Birth-mother should be allowed to CHOOSE for HER records to be open, or closed, and also have the ability to change that at a later date- then I urge you to please consider sharing this truly important matter with your family and friends and seek their support.

WE BIRTH-MOTHERS and ADOPTEES NEED YOUR SUPPORT!


4 comments:

  1. I am a birthmother who surrendered a baby 52 years ago.
    By sealing adoption records the government has created a "class" of people (the adoptees) which is denied a basic civil right. They are denied their original Birth Certificate.

    How and Why can a group of uninvolved people make decisions for me about who I can and cannot know? How can they forbid me from knowing my own daughter?

    Utah, join the United States of America and open the sealed adoption record that were sealed 72 years ago. It's well past time.

    CS

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  2. https://www.change.org/petitions/the-utah-legislature-gayle-ruzika-does-not-represent-me?utm_campaign=share_button_action_box&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear CS- your story is heart-wrenching and moving. Many individuals feel the sorrow you express, and agree with your request "Utah, join the United States of America and open the sealed adoption record that were sealed 72 years ago. It's well past time." Stay strong, and remember to fight for what you believe in. If we don't stand up for what we feel is right- it will never change.

    Love and Respect. ViewFinder

    ReplyDelete
  4. Check out my page and my wall on facebook. We are here, we are searching. We want to be found and we will support you if you need us there.


    https://www.facebook.com/melissa.emery.3572?ref=tn_tnmn


    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=101287776723690&set=a.100501863468948.889.100005274030616&type=1&relevant_count=1



    THE ALARM IS SOUNDING!
    We are ALARMED that ADULT ADOPTEES do not have access to their original birth certificate, or court and agency records concerning themselves!
    We are ALARMED that ADULT ADOPTEES birth information has been
    altered and falsified, the protected by the confidentiality law.
    We are ALARMED that ADULT ADOPTEES are unable to obtain a current medical history - especially in light of 3000 known genetic diseases!
    We are ALARMED that ADULT ADOPTEES are often given false and misleading information about their background by social workers, attorneys, and other 'helping professionals' in the field of adoption!
    We are ALARMED that ADULT ADOPTEES must pay agency fees to receive non-identifying information; state fees to be placed on a state registry; and attorney fees to petition the court system in an effort to receive what is rightfull theirs - their IDENTIFYING information!
    We are ALARMED that confidentiality laws have stripped ADULT ADOPTEES of their own, their childrens' and their grandchildrens' entire genealogical history and genetic heritage causing a malady known as ancestricide!
    We are ALARMED that in a free and democratic society, these basic human God-given constitutional rights promised to all Americans are denied to ADULT ADOPTEES! © ALARM Network 2013


    https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/523058224413333/?fref=ts

    ReplyDelete