Julie Stromberg’s story “Let’s Pretend,” in Perpetual Child: Dismantling the Stereotype (Adult Adoptee Anthology), takes the reader inside the experience of an adoptee who learns that her birth certificate is a lie. Her adoptive parents are listed as her birth parents. With that lie in place, how can she trust the rest of the information on the document? What if everything else about it is a lie?
Although Stromberg is now an adult adoptee in reunion, with a family and a successful career, she still feels as if she is stuck in a game of “Let’s Pretend.”
Like many of the pieces in this anthology, Stromberg’s is short. Like the others, it hits me hard and takes me time to absorb all the thoughts and feelings it conjures up.
To think that adults are being deprived of knowledge about themselves is medieval.
Maybe Governor Christie should read Stromberg’s story. He has until April 28 to decide on the New Jersey Adoptees’ Birthright Bill that would give adopted adults over 18 access to their full original birth certificates. He vetoed a version in 2011, and he’s been dragging his heels on a decision on this one.
So far, only seven states –Alabama, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Ohio, Oregon, and Illinois –have passed access legislation for adopted adults since 1999. I hope that Governor Christie will allow New Jersey to be the eighth. Then we need 42 more states!
Adoptee rights advocates have stiff opposition in this fight. You know what groups are against adoptees having access to their own records? New Jersey Right to Life, the state Catholic Conference, the New Jersey State Bar Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union New Jersey chapter.
That’s pretty bad when the ACLU doesn’t think adoptees should have rights. And how does giving adoptees the rights to which they have a right! affect abortion? Do you really think in this “day and age” that the stigma of illegitimate births is a big deal? Do you know what the statistics are for births occurring outside of marriage today? More than half of babies are born to unmarried women.
The whole thing is ridiculous. It’s 2014. Why are adoptees being left back in the days of repression and secrecy?