Looking for Mom

I am an adoptee. I was born April 16, 1961, DeWitt Army Hospital, Fort Belvoir, to a 14-year-old girl. I have been searching for my birthmother for over 20 years, with only a last name to go on, and the search is very depressing. My records, as most, remain sealed, in an effort to protect my birthmother, and help preserve her secret ("Origin Unknown," May 14).

What about my rights as a citizen of Virginia, and of the United States of America? Why am I denied access to my own personal birth records, and information? Is it because my birthmother was told she would remain anonymous? I, obviously, never agreed to this! There are so many people searching for the truth about their own relatives, and no one should have the right to deny anyone access to this information, except for the people directly involved.

Why can't we simply have the parties place a letter in their file stating whether or not they wish to have contact? At the very least, we should have access to updated medical information. I have gone through life having to tell each doctor I have gone to that I have no clue as to my medical history. I have a family of my own now, and I would like to know, for my daughter's sake, if there is any genetic history that she needs to know about.

I have had the best life anyone could give me so far; I only want to be treated equal. Are adoptees and birth-families doomed to be outcasts of society for their whole lives? Do the people making these decisions to keep our records sealed even care about what we want?

Helen "Suzy" Haraway Kushlak

(Birth name: Gaye Wishart)



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