So imagine with me that you are deported to a new place. Your past has been erased and you are merely told that you come from a healthy people and that everything is groovy.
Well that is all fine until you get sick and need a doctor. If you happen to ever visit a doctor what is the one thing that they look for? Yup, family history. But you explain that you are from healthy people. The doctor then looks at you like you are smoking crack and demands to know if you know anything at all. He tells you that this is important. That no matter what others have said this matters.
Wouldn't you be upset? I mean what if cancer runs in your gene pool and you need testing or people to look for markers? Would you be scared? Angry? Confused?
But for many people this is a daily way of life. In the world of closed adoption doors are continually shut on our medical histories. When I was adopted in 1974 all the agency told my parents is that I came from"healthy stock" (can you say moooo?) and that my biological family wanted me to be raised Lutheran.
Do not get me wrong, I don't object to closed adoption in general. I think some things are not meant to be aired out in the world and privacy needs to be respected. But I would like to take a second look at medical records being forever withheld.
For years I would go to doctors and not have anything to be able to tell them. They would press and haggle me and all I could say was "sorry, I just don't know." It got to be draining to the point where I would dread going and having to go over the same song and dance over and over again.
But I'm one of the lucky ones. I now have my medical history. The day that history came to me and I held it in my hands for the first time I cried. Not because there were horrible things in it, but because I now had answers. I felt really empowered. When I went to my pcp last year with that history everyone was so excited!! She looked at me and said, "Now Mrs. Fields, we know and knowing will help us to give you the best and right care."
It also was important yesterday. I haven't been feeling too swift for awhile and going to a specialist and giving them my family history helped. They knew what tests to perform right away and what they may be looking at. Once again I felt empowered that I have this.
I have been very blessed with all of this. Not only have I gotten a comprehensive health history I also have some pretty awesome and special new people in my life that I am daily grateful for. I feel like a puzzle that has all of the pieces in the box.
But for every adopted child who has their records there are so many more who do not. Who sit and wonder. Once again I'm not saying that everything has to be aired out. Some things are too painful and awful to disclose and may negatively impact the adoption. But it may be helpful to include more health information. Especially information that may save the adopted child's life.
I have health information on both of my children and it is a huge blessing. The only things I really can't answer on their forms is the time they were born and if they were breast fed. And frankly, in the grand scope of things that is peanuts.
I guess at the end of the day I know where I stand on this. Every child has a right to their medical history. Thanks to times changing on how adoption is perceived more and more adoptions are semi open to fully open. Laws are changing as well. A group of my friends at Bastard Nation (catchy title, right) have been successfully lobbying (and some are outright suing) to have access to their records. Although others may say what is the big deal, when it comes to my health and the fact that I want to be around to see my babies grow up (plus if I bump off Shannon will shame my daughter by not being able to come up with a matching outfit! I can't even leave him alone for a few hours let alone indefinitely!).
At the end of the day my parents are the two people who took me in and raised me as their daughter. But my genetic makeup comes from the family strong enough to let me go. I dwell in two worlds and am a happy citizen in both. I can only hope, pray and continue to advocate that the day will come that my fellow adoptees are able to have the restoration of their rights and knowledge of their heritage.