Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Adoption follies update

Some time ago I posted an article about impending Ontario legislation that would, in its current form, permit adoptees to track down their birth parents—even if the latter do not wish contact.

There is now a petition on-line for those who want the legislation to include a "disclosure veto": that is, the right of either an adoptee or a birth parent to place a legally enforceable note on the record stating that they do not wish to be contacted. I would urge all those who believe that the promise of privacy given to adoptees and birth parents (usually mothers) should continue to be kept, to sign this petition:

UPDATE: (October 6) Readers may judge for themselves, simply by reading the comments here, whether I was right in my earlier article, at least on an anecdotal basis, with respect to the state of mind of those on the other side of this debate. But there is one matter that does require correction. I was remiss in suggesting, above, that a disclosure veto simply amounts to a request not to be contacted.

A contact veto, per se, is indeed available under the proposed Bill. A disclosure veto, however, allows birth parents or adoptees to keep details of their identity confidential, to prevent the possibility of contact. The difference is really one of added security, given that obsessive individuals might not be deterred by a contact veto. (A look at the dismal failure rate of temporary restraining orders should give one pause for thought in this connection.) Unwilling birth parents or adoptees should be spared the fear of unwanted contact, and nothing less than a disclosure veto will provide assurance in that respect.

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