Ontario passes adoption bill.
I don’t think I like this. My main problem with it was the number of questions swirling in my brain as I read it. If the article left me with that many questions, how many loopholes are in the legislation? From a more internal standpoint, I have no interest in finding my biological family. Never have. Don’t expect I ever will. My brother did find his biological family. He’d be better off not knowing them, frankly. (And his half-brother illustrates perfectly the life that awaits those not afforded the luxury of a stable home to grow up in.)
If I came down with some hideous disease, I guess I can see looking up the biologicals for more info, but hey, a) at that point, I’ve already got the disease, so what is finding them going to do? (unless maybe I need a kidney…) and b) if it’s hereditary, they’ll probably already know, so what’re they supposed to do – apologize? (Besides, I got my non-identifying details background report when I was 18 with the intent of learning medical history, and it told me jack, so maybe they don’t know or wouldn’t tell me even if I did find them.)
Thing is, every adoption has a story, and no two are the same, even adoptions under similar circumstances aren’t the same. And hell, adoption isn’t the same now as it was 20 or 30 or more years ago. Things are done a lot less by force. Everything’s “open” now. Everyone has “rights”. (I freely admit that, in most cases, I don’t think that teenagers should be allowed to keep their babies. And I’m sure that if one doesn’t currently exist, someone would form an advocacy group to protest me and call me a fascist…) Should people whose children were removed from their care due to abuse or neglect now automatically have rights to contact those children? How do you tell a child – or an adult – that the recurring nightmare they’ve had, that Daddy will come back, might just come true, thanks to the government?
In a case like mine, my only reason for not wanting to connect with my biological family is basically, “Not interested”. Would that be enough for a judge, if it came down to my biological family not accepting that I didn’t want share birthday parties and Christmases with them? (Or, an equally pat answer, from a biological mother to a child to wanted to know her: “I just didn’t want you”. Imagine hearing that during your tumultuous teenage years?)
And what about my parents, or any adopted child’s parents? They are often marginalized in these situations (not the “real” mother/father my ass), but I know from personal experience that they are as central and involved in the issue as anyone who shares DNA. As far as I understand it, every parent’s ultimate nightmare is to be forced to stand by helplessly as their child is hurt. But that is potentially exactly what this legislation could do. Plus, while presumably records will remain accessible only to those 18 and over (good Lord, I hope so…), while an 18-year-old adoptee is, technically, an adult, 18-year-olds are still teenagers. God help me if I was forced to live with all the decisions I made or opinions I held when I was 18. And in some cases, that’s exactly what this legislation will force some people to do, too.
Yes, the article quotes the Premiere as having said, “You’ve got a right to know but you don’t have the right to a relationship.” But really, can anyone be so naive as to think, in reality, that it would be that simple? Adoption is a heart-wrenching and gut-wrenching thing to have to go through for most people, and I can’t see, having made the decision to re-open that wound, that someone would just accept, “Sorry, nope” after the law has given a person access to the records.
Now, the legislation does serve those who are in situations where both parties do want to re-connect. It removes a lot of red tape, I gather. And hey, good for them. But. It still isn’t so simple. What if the meeting doesn’t go well and everyone doesn’t live happily ever after? What if only some family members want to re-connect with the adopted child? What if only one parent does?
I don’t agree with “all secrecy, all the time”. But this isn’t the polar opposite of “all rights, all the time”, either. This legislation favours those who want to know, because knowing things is politically correct now. I’m just not sure that particular Pandora’s box is what will best serve us.