The Problem With Sealed Records

Adoptees are denied
the biological, historical, emotional, and existential connection
which every other person tends to take for granted.

If an adoptee is searching,
they are attempting to heal a primal wound,
about which they have no conscious thoughts,
only feelings and somatic memories –
plus an aching sense of loss.

~ The Primal Wound by Nancy Newton Verrier

My mother tried and was denied access to her adoption records in the early 1990s when the Georgia Tann baby stealing and selling scandal hit the national consciousness once again 40 years after her death.

Sadly, no one told her only a few years later, the Tennessee legislature passed a law that would have allowed her to have the records.  So much would have been better for her if she had been given what I was given as her child in 2017.

Tennessee even gave me a “special letter” of authorization that was meant to open doors to other relevant records but both Virginia and Arizona refused to even consider the possibility hiding behind sealed records laws and wanting me to spend money on lawyers and go to court seeking to coerce them into doing what they should have done anyway.

It is hard for someone who has not been touched by the void of identity that adoption creates to understand how it feels to know nothing about one’s origins.  Thankfully, inexpensive DNA testing and matching sites like Ancestry and 23andMe are making possible the reunions and family connections others would deny us.

~ today’s image is a painting by Sam Sidders

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