LA County Post-Adoption Services

February 6, 2006

Okay, so before I pay some stranger $650 to give me the names and phone numbers of my birth parents, let’s exhaust the more obvious channels first. Like calling the Post Adoption Services “duty line” at the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. I left a message. They’re supposed to return my call promptly.

They just called back. (That was prompt!) The woman took down my information. She said all they can do is send me my non-identifying information – stuff I already have – unless… Unless someone in my birth family has a form on file saying that it’s okay for me to contact them. In that case they give me their name and contact information.

I’m trying not to get my hopes up, but I think there’s a better-than-usual chance that my birth mother may have submitted such a consent form. She cared for me during the first year of my life. A year is a long time. You get attached to someone in a year. You get to thinking you might like to see that someone again. You fill out a form indicating that you’d like that someone to contact you if they feel like it. *

On the other hand, if there’s no such form I’m basically screwed. As far as I know there is no other recourse. I’d have to go to court with a super good reason for them to give me the records and I don’t have what they’d consider a super good reason. Just wanting to know your own history isn’t a super good reason. Wanting to reclaim your own past isn’t a super good reason. So I’d have no further options.

Except maybe to hire someone who says they can find out for me and hope that they’re not scam artists.

Adoption law is cruel. At least it was back in the 60s. Did it never occur to anyone that grown people have a right to know about themselves? Where did this very obvious and common-sense insight get lost? One hopes that adoptions in this day and age are more enlightened.

(* Fascinating tidbit: I happen to know someone who works for another Los Angeles County agency. She once told me that she had a friend who worked in the Children and Family Services area and that this friend said that when they receive a request for info like mine that they actually contact the birth mother and literally ask her if she wants to be contacted. They don’t tell the adoptee this, but that’s what they do. According to this friend of an acquaintance. Okay, so it could be total bullshit, but you never know.)

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  1. Scott, since I’m one of your newly found friends (didn’t know I was lost?), and didn’t want to get too personal so soon, but (there’s always a but) I’m concerned that you are so determined to find your birth parents. A few questions come to mind: are the people who raised you still alive? What will you do if you do find the person(s) who created you and gave you life? What happens if what you discover is not up to your expectations (are you seeking a fantasy answer to your ills?).

    You mention that you want to reclaim your own past. Do you not remember the last 37 years? Ditto for your history. It’s the same 37 years. And as for it being a right. . .I’m not sure that is in the “bill of rights.”

    You mention that your birth mother kept you for a year. At least she gave you life, she could have sucked you into a sink or left you in a dumpster or a port-a-potty. You were given to a family that raised you. What more could she have done? Maybe she needs to remain incognito.

    As for open adoption, my opinion is that children do much better with only one set of parents, a mommy and a daddy, preferrably. The parents are the ones doing all the raising, providing, worrying, educating, laughing with, etc. Any one else considered “parents” will only lend confusion and disunity to the child. And the bottom line is the child’s best interests, right? But, that’s just my opinion… for what it’s worth.

    How’s that for my first ever response to a blogger’s comments?

  2. My father is still alive and he knows all about my desire to find my birth parents. He helps me.

    If I find my birth parents and they “don’t live up to expectations” then I guess I’ll be disappointed. The world won’t end. Life is risk. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    Knowing one’s own origins isn’t in the Bill of Rights, but I wonder if it shouldn’t be a fundamental human right that nobody can withhold this information from anyone else.

    You were given to a family that raised you. What more could she have done? Maybe she needs to remain incognito.

    I’m not suggesting that she or anyone else should have done something differently. There’s no accusation here. And why might my birth parents need to remain unknown? Unknown to whom? And even if they did have such a need I don’t know that it’s any more compelling than my own “need” to know about myself. Anyway, they hold all the cards. They can decide to be unknown forever. I don’t get to decide. I have no legal recourse if they don’t come forward.

    my opinion is that children do much better with only one set of parents

    I couldn’t agree more. But I’m not a child, and I’m not looking for extra parents. Remember I said grown people have a right to know. We’re not talking about children here.

    How’s that for my first ever response to a blogger’s comments?

    Pretty bold! But nicely done. 🙂

  3. […] Your request for Post Adoption services and information has been assigned to me. In order to begin processing your case, I will need to have proof of your identity such as a photocopy of your driver’s license. Once I receive it, I will be able to respond to your request. […]

  4. Hi Scott, I realize that you were on your search last year, but I just found my way over to here….

    I just want to say..don’t give up hope. Have you read Ann Fessler’s “The Girls that Went Away”? I highly recommend that to you as the stories of the mothers there will most likely very much mirror the story of your own surrender. It’s really very eye opening. ( an in fact Rebecca should read it for sure!)..
    Chances are…your mother never forgot you..in fact considering that she tried to parent you as long as she did really speaks volumes..breaks my heart. Keep trying. DOn’t give up hope..and there is a GREAT Ralley this July in New Orleans for Adoptee Rights…join us, becasue you SHOULD have A RIGHT to your past!!

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