Lia FourakisMr. BondsAcc. Eng, Period 1 10 January 2018Finding a FamilyNot everyone in the world has the family he or she wants. Not everyone knows his or her real parents either. For children who have been adopted, these relations may not be possible. Adoption is defined as giving up one’s child to other parents and forsaking all responsibility to them as well. (Sheposh) Policies have been in effect in the United States since the late 1800’s that restrict a mother and her child’s communications. Sealed records policies completely restrict access to documents like birth certificates and adoption papers to all parties involved. Closed adoptions, currently regulated in several states, require a mother to release her child to an adoption agency or private service, which will then find a home only it deems suitable. Taking a mother and her child’s perspectives into consideration, current United States adoption policies must be amended in order to abolish sealed records and closed adoptions laws, which have long since restricted mothers’ knowledge, a child’s availability to his or her family information, and mother and adoptee relations. Stricken by guilt, but riddled with curiosity, mothers who give up their child later want to initiate contact; however, their knowledge is restricted by sealed records and the nature of closed adoptions. Any mother can be wracked with guilt at giving up her child. It is not up to the government to punish these people for giving up that kid by limiting their access to information. Moreover, these feelings can lead to even worse problems for a woman later down the road. According to Coleman’s and Garratt’s research in their article, From Birth Mothers to First Mothers: Toward a Compassionate Understanding of the Lifelong Act of Adoption Placement, birth mothers who place their child for adoption suffer from grief at the time and then later report feelings of sadness, depression, and remorse. These issues that plague women are a result of the terrible, harsh decision they had to make some years prior. If we had open adoptions more often than closed ones, these mothers might suffer from less grief over giving up their child and then not being able to know where or how he or she was. With open adoptions, mothers can rest assured their child is in the best hands possible, which they selected. Additionally, women give up their child to adoption for a variety of reasons: may it be lack of proper finances, abuse history, or social pressures. However, their situation at that time does not dictate their actions or feelings in the future. As Coleman and Garratt concluded through their investigations, Around 50% of the annual pregnancies in the United States are unintentional … 82% are with adolescent females. This leads to increased adoption statistics when the unexpecting mother lacks the resources to properly take care of her child. There are many unplanned pregnancies in this country that result in adoption. But, these mothers that put their son or daughter up for adoption, where he or she is forever gone, are criticised and punished. They also cannot see that child or know information pertaining to him or her in the future. We need to consider those women’s heartbreaking stories and make sure that open communications are still available to them and their adoptees in the future if one of them decides to changes their mind. If case of that event happening, a mother has the right to gain access to the blocked records needed to learn about her child that she misses. Thus, the policies concerned sealed records need to be amended to permit these relations and not restrict a woman’s knowledge about her baby. Additionally, as a result of sealed records laws and the nature of closed adoptions, adoptees frequently cannot access their personal records that they need or are simply just curious about. The same complications arise when adoptees with unsatiated curiosity or medical needs try to learn more about their biological family, as when mothers attempt to go to courts and state governments in order to gain information about their children and are then blocked by records policies. Both parties of heartbreaking adoption stories long for some sort of contact and access to information which may facilitate that. Reasons for communications may stem from biological and medical requirements, inheritance requirements, or merely a desire to know one’s family. According to Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context,Many adopted children, however, longed for contact with their biological parents, and numerous biological parents shared this desire for contact … Concerned United Birthparents (CUP) maintained that most mothers did not ask to keep their identities secret and that many wished for some knowledge of or contact with their children. (“Adoption”)Even biological mothers do not wish for their identities to be kept secret. If their child longs for contact, a face to face meeting, or genetic information, these birth mothers do not want him or her to be restricted by the government’s laws. Moreover, in modern day, it is not even the birth mothers or the adoptive parties decision as whether or not an adoptee has the right to any of their information. Instead, the choice lies in the hands of third party state intermediaries: outsiders who have no context on what the mother’s or her child’s life is like. Court orders are one of the only methods in which one can find any clues about their adoption. In some states, these are merely granted from compelling need, medical requirements for applications, or psychological necessity (Arnest). In order to be granted access to one’s records, adoptees have to go before their local courts and present a “convincing case” as to why they require the information. It varies with the judge as to what is deemed “compelling need.” This process is not fair to helpless children who just want to know more, or to biological mothers, who sit sadly wondering if they could ever contact their lost child. The laws concerning admittance to records are not favorable for anybody. The deciding person for each case has the heavy burden of deciding to reunite families or ignore that task. In most cases, the judges, along with current government decrees, severely restrict adoptees’ availability to their biological information. Thus, sealed records and closed adoption policies must be amended to accommodate the sharing of necessary information for the initiation of contact between children and their birth mothers.Closed adoptions sever all ties between mothers and children and sealed records withhold the necessary information a mother requires to contact her child, thus preventing all sort of relations between adoptive parties. After adoption in most states, the government seals records and adoption agencies withhold all pertinent information about the adoptive family, making it next to impossible for a mother to ever see her child again. But, these severed ties lead to the suffering on both parties, which could be ameliorated with some kind of open relations. Open adoptions have been shown by research to alleviate mothers’ suffering. Swift severing of communications affects women more than choosing where to give their child up to does. This problem shows the benefit of open adoptions. A mother has a say in what future opportunities her child can have (Coleman and Garratt). Many believe that a mother will be better off is her baby is taken away, never to be seen again. But, as recent studies prove, that way leads to feelings of depression and hopelessness. With open adoptions, these issues can be alleviated by having the comfort of knowing a child is in a good home and that one can contact him or her again. Many adopted children have tried to search for their biological parents, only to be met with disappointment and additional roadblocks. As Lauren Gallow states in Adoption, The movement for greater openness in adoption has been propelled in part by adopted children who have tried to search for their birth families, only to be frustrated by the secrecy surrounding the process. The trend towards open adoptions has been ongoing … As the place of adoption in American society continues to shift and change, it is clear that it will continue to be a controversial issue because it is so closely related to cultural notions of the definition of family, as well as laws and regulations related to reproductive issues.This issue causes a controversy, stemming from family beliefs, over whether there should be any openness in adoption. The secrecy and complications are what have been frustrating for adoptees. When the legislators enacted the sealed records laws, they did not take into serious consideration what the adoptees would want when they would grow up. As a result, those curious adoptees are currently suffering. A continuing trend towards openness in adoption will lead to amendments of the law if more attention is raised to the issue. Relations can be initiated and all parties will be satisfied. If sealed records laws were altered and closed adoption methods removed, a mother could meet her child again and be a part of his or her life. Opposing parties may claim that removing sealed records policies and instating more open adoptions will lead to additional issues. They state that private adoption agencies, not regulated by the federal government, merely auction babies of to the highest bidder and do not consider the conditions of homes that they are sending the child to. This abuse of power leads people to call for more regulation and stricter policies concerning adoptions (Hogan). Additionally, the opposing side argues that open adoptions lead to more difficulty for mothers in breaking emotional attachments to a child when an adoption is to be finalized (Adoption).When one studies adoption, one has to take into account mothers’ viewpoints on why they are giving up their child. Sometimes it may be financial reasons, or other times, psychological ones. Whatever it may be, we need to respect those decisions, instead of punishing mothers and children later in their life by blocking all means of information-sharing and communication. According to Patricia Coleman’s and Debbie Garratt’s research, Women who have placed a child for adoption have historically been far less actively researched than the other individuals in the adoption triad: the adoptees and adoptive parents. They often have unmet psychological needs related to the decision to place for adoption, the placement experience, and as they endeavor to move forward post-adoption. It may be true that some adoption agencies do not place children properly, which leads some people believe that the government instead should see to that process. Additionally, open adoptions admittedly may make removing sentimental connections harder in some instances. Nevertheless, open adoptions eliminate a much more threatening issue: mothers’ suffering in the future from losing her child and succumbing to depression. Open adoptions also ensure that the adoption agencies do not carelessly place the babies; instead mothers can choose the best suitable family for their babies. Moreover, abolishing sealed records policies will address the women’s depression and feelings of loss by permitting future contact between the adoptee and his or her biological family.Closed adoptions and sealed records policies that restrict access to children’s’ information result in birth mothers that suffer with depression and sadness. Taking into account psychological and physical issues that stem from laws that restrict a mother’s knowledge; an adoptee’s availability to medical information, barring a compelling need; and mother-child relations in adoption, one needs to amend sealed records laws and closed adoptions principles to prevent these problems. It still remains important to consider both sides of this controversial issue, adoption, in order to understand that both methods of adoption cause serious issues. Open adoptions create more emotional bonds that are hard to break, while closed adoptions cause the suffering of mothers and adoptees from lack of contact. By researching current policies and their effects, one can learn more about what adoption truly is in the United States and how the nation’s humanitarian policies compare to those of nations around the world. Through this study of adoption, other researchers can realize that there are two valid points to the adoption debate and there are not any clean cut, simple solutions. Many parties’ opinions and stories, as discussed above, need to be taken into account and all of the issues still need to be addressed. However, considering the nation’s current policies, adoption laws need to be amended so that every child can have the home they deserve and a family they know.