For Adoptees, Open Birth records may offer New Facets of identity
Seeking the path of our origins, through history, ancestry, and anthropology, is human nature. Most people, whether or not they’ve been close to an adoption experience, can empathize with the feeling of wanting to know one’s own origins. This is evident in our popular culture. It’s why DNA testing kits like 23 and Me have been trending in recent decades. It’s why the question comes up in nearly every adoption experience represented on screen or in written stories:
"Who are my birth parents?"
While searching for birth parents is a rather emotional tale, there’s practicality in it as well. Adoptees do not necessarily know their medical history, which can be a disadvantage in receiving well-informed health care. Psychologically, knowing more about birth family can solidify a sense of belonging and connection to the world that adoptive parents simply cannot offer. We as humans innately seek knowledge about our history and ancestors. While this isn’t necessary to live a full life, it can enrich one’s sense of identity.
In 2016, The Atlantic published one Arkansan's journey in finding her sense of belonging.
As of May 2018, adoptees in Arkansas can now request access to their personal records that were once closed. While birth parents did have the first right of refusal for releasing their files, only a handful out of thousands actually took the steps to remain anonymous. Read more about it in the news:
Adoptees in Arkansas now able to get once-sealed birth files (Arkansas Online)
What's Your Take?
Were you or someone you know involved in adoption? What’s your take on unsealing birth records in Arkansas? We’d love to hear your opinion in the comments.
If you don’t share a similar experience, but are curious about the facets of adoption - you can listen to the live audio of our show on this topic. In 2017, The Yarn put on a stage production featuring eight real life stories about the adoption experience. Storytellers included adoptive mothers, adopted children, and family members of adoptees. Hear it here:
Three-part podcast on “The Call: True Stories of Adoption” at Big Rock Switchboard:
You can find other shows from our 2017-2018 season at https://www.bigrockswitchboard.com/theyarn
About the Yarn
We aim to highlight stories around the issues that are most important to our Central Arkansas community. If you have more information or something to share that deepens the conversation our show themes, let us know! There’s space for you on this blog. Thanks in advance for contributing!