Wednesday, October 21, 2009


There have to be alot of emotions to deal with when at the age of 68 you learn that you were adopted as an infant. Did Rick's father "spill the beans" so that he might have closure from the long kept secret or did he forget that Rick did not know? It is hard to say when you consider his father is 100 years old.

Last January when Rick called me, I became determined to help him. He was not only a Chicago adoptee like myself but my heart went out to him to learn of his adoption at a late stage in his life. Anita Field and I are the co-founders of IL Open plus we are good friends. So we have been putting our heads together in order to try to help Rick.

Rick's petition to open his adoption records was denied. I was so angry when I learned of this because I felt that good cause was shown. I'll always suspect that Judge Patrick McGann (Cook Co.) did not even bother to read Rick's petition. Instead he probably instructed office personnel to get out one of the popular denial forms for him to sign. Otherwise I do believe the Judge would have ruled in favor of Rick having copies of his adoption documents.

Not long after receiving the denial Rick received a copy of his final decree of adoption with his birth name and that of his birth mother's whited out. Rick, his wife, Anita and I all four tried to determine the length of names that had been whited out. It was pretty much anyone's guess. Then while Anita was reviewing the IL adoption laws she discovered a provision where Rick's father could request the final decree of adoption since he was a petitioner. We wondered if white out would be used or not. But to pay a $9 fee to Cook County was definitely worth a try in case names would not be whited out. The letter did have to be notorized and a copy of Rick's father's ID enclosed. Thank the Lord he was able to sign the letter! It was not long at all when the decree arrived with no names whited out. Now Rick knows his name at birth and that of his birth mother's!

But isn't there something wrong with this picture? Rick is 69 years old and a veteran but yet he needed his daddy's permission to know his birth name and that of his birth mother's.

When will IL adoption laws provide for adopted adults to be treated like grown ups instead of little children? We must continue to fight for changes in the laws. Please don't leave it up to your neighbor to do. Everyone is needed and no matter how busy anyone is they can take time to contact legislators. On IL Open's website there are links leading to contact informaton for legislators. Here too is information about how to obtain your final decree of adoption if you are fortunate enough to have an adoptive parent still living. Don't delay with doing this because IL legislators are known for making changes to help prevent adopted adults from learning any identifying information about their birth mother.


Abrazo said...

Thank you so much for being there to help Rick & for not letting a Cook County judge have the last word. It is absurd that grown adults must have permission notes from their parents in order to access information that always have been theirs and theirs alone. That in this day and age people once adopted are still having to go to such lengths to obtain their own truths is egregious. This is not "an adoptee problem" but an American civil rights issue that we must all be committed to changing for the sake of all citizens of this great country.

Mary Lynn Fuller said...

You are so right in that this is an American civil rights issue. I do feel that more are going to have to come out in numbers like has happened with other groups.