An Adoptee’s Bill of Rights



We are living in exciting times, my friends! After much arguing, adoptees in New York state are hopefully closer to obtaining their Original Birth certificates (OBC). This is a HUGE victory for adoptees, and we are gaining rights to our OBC’s in many states. Unfortunately, there are some other states that still need to follow. So, This week, I am bringing to you something I found in an adoptee group. Its author is anonymous, but it rings true for adoptees. Please, discuss this with your families- I am including some of my personal opinions with this list. So, without further adieu, I bring you:

The Adoptees Bill of Rights:
Author Unknown

  1. We have the right to dignity and respect.
    As does everyone! But, I would like to take this moment to point out that Representative Helene Weinstein said some hurtful things when she was arguing against adoptees’ rights to have their OBC’s. She went so far as to call adoptees “unwanted”. This is very offensive, Helene! You really should have thought of a different word to use. We are people, just like you, and by calling us “unwanted,” you basically disregarded us as human beings. I hope your constituents remember this when they go to the voting booth.
  2. We have the right to know we are adopted.
    I am glad I know I am adopted. Yes, it comes with it’s certain brand of heartache, but in the end, I am glad.
  3. We have the right to possess our original birth certificate.
    I can’t tell you how happy I was to receive mine. Yes, it gave me more questions than answers, but now I know my REAL name. You can’t put a price on that.
  4. We have the right to possess all of our adoption records.
    This is one thing I don’t have, but wish I did. It would perhaps guide me and give me more answers than I have now, including the name of my birth father as he did not sign my birth certificate.
  5. We have the right to full knowledge of our origins, ethnic and religious background, our original name and any pertinent medical and social details.
    My name was “baby girl [last name].” My foster mother called me “Molly.” I don’t know if that is the name my birth mother gave me, or if it was just what I was called. Other than that, everything I know about my ethnic background was found by doing a DNA test . We shouldn’t have to spend $100 to know where we are “from.” P.S. I am very British.
  6. We have the right to updated medical and social history of our birthparents.
    Um yes, there have been a few years between my birth and now. A lot of things could have happened since then. My daughter was born with a hole in her heart, and I found later that one of my biological aunts had a hole in her heart as well- probably pretty important information.
  7. We have the right to personal contacts with each of our birth families, as all other humans.
    Basically this is the thing I have been wanting for my entire life.
  8. We have the right to live without guilt toward any set of parents.
    In an earlier blog, I talked about who your “real” parents are. While I know who raised me, I would like to know who brought me into this world. I have kept my search a secret from my adoptive parents because I don’t want to hurt their feelings. I should be able to share my happiness and woes without the fear of making anybody feel as though they are being replaced or betrayed.
  9. We have the right to treat and love both sets of parents as one family.
    Because as the old saying goes: “It takes a village to raise a child”
  10. We have the right and obligation to show our feelings.
    In a later blog, I will discuss this further, but as I said, I have kept my search a secret and many of my feelings about being adopted have been swept under the rug in fear of hurting people’s feelings.
  11. We have the right to become whole and complete people.
    Not knowing your roots, your biology, your “people” leaves you with a hole inside. It’s like being a puzzle with missing pieces. I know that when I put together a puzzle only to find pieces to be missing, I get mad. But this is who we are, incomplete.
  12. We have a right and obligation not to violate the dignity of all people involved in the adoption triad and to carry our message to all adopted children who still suffer.
    There is a reason why I don’t share ALL of my information on here: I know that my bio mom is a very private person, and I don’t think she would take too kindly to me blasting her name and the names of my half brothers all over the Internet. This is also why I don’t talk much about my adoptive parents. They have a right to not have their names put out there, and I know how to respect the rights of others. One of the major concerns that is brought up in the hearings about opening up birth records is the right of the birth parents to their privacy. In some respects we should respect that, but in others, no way should they be “protected” at our expense.

So- the Adoptee bill of rights, pretty major stuff, and a great thing to discuss with your loved ones. Be blessed, all of you, and happy communicating! Oh and Helene Weinstein- I will tap into my British roots to give you “The ole’ two finger salute- {raspberries!!}.”


Written by
Betsy was born, adopted, and raised in central Illinois, and has lived there her entire life. She is married to a very fantastic, understanding man named Lucas, and is a mother to her dream children: Eli (10), and Cailyn (7). Her household includes two dogs, Cleo the papillon, and Jelly the pug, a bearded dragon named "The Doctor", a frog named Lazarus (who came back from the dead), and a fish. When she isn't managing her "family zoo", Betsy volunteers with her church, and with Boy Scouts, and is an adoption advocate.

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