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NYT: A Son Given Up for Adoption Is Found After Half a Century, and Then Lost Again


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http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-son-given-up-for-adoption-is-found-after-half-a-century-and-then-lost-again/ar-AAcOQWE?ocid=U142DHP

A Son Given Up for Adoption Is Found After Half a Century, and Then Lost Again

 

On a rainy spring evening last year, Margaret Erle Katz noticed a voice mail from an unfamiliar area code and dismissed it as a message from a telemarketer. A day later, though, she listened. And listened, and listened.

 

The faint voice on the other end of the line belonged to a man for whom Ms. Katz had been searching most of her life. The caller, David Rosenberg, was the son she had reluctantly relinquished for adoption in Manhattan when she was a girl of 17.

 

For decades, Ms. Katz, now 71, repeatedly tried to contact her son through the Manhattan agency that began arranging the adoption in 1962. None of the messages were ever delivered. And Mr. Rosenberg, whose birth certificate showed only the names of his adoptive parents, with the original records sealed, didn’t know where to start.

 

Then his wife gave him a $99 kit from a DNA-testing company; and a vial of Mr. Rosenberg’s saliva gave momentum to his search. A distant relative began a hunt that eventually led to his mother. In his quest, Mr. Rosenberg was like a growing number of adoptees, who use testing kits and the research power of the Internet to help locate birth relatives. A spokesman for the company whose kit he used, 23andMe, said about 6 percent of its 1 million customers were adoptees; nationwide, adoptees account for less than 2 percent of the population.

 

In recent years, tales of mothers and the children they relinquished for adoption, lost for decades and finally found, have become a familiar topic in news accounts and popular culture. A book about Philomena Lee, an Irish woman forced by Catholic nuns to surrender her son for adoption in 1952, and her lifelong attempt to find him was turned into an Oscar-nominated film.

 

Though it is less well known, many American women gave up their children to adoption under similarly coercive circumstances. From 1951 to 1975, an estimated 2.6 million American women relinquished their babies, according to research by the Department of Health and Human Services. Most were young and unmarried, trapped by conservative postwar mores that forbade premarital sex and restricted birth control, even as the sexual revolution simmered.

 

Ms. Katz and others, including some who call themselves the American Philomenas, hope to spur adoption reform. New York remains one of more than 30 states in which adoption records are sealed. Legislation is pending that would allow adult adoptees to petition a judge to unseal their birth certificates, but adoption rights advocates say that the bill does not go far enough and that all records should be open. Last year, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey signed a law that will allow access for those adopted in that state to their birth records as of Jan. 1, 2017.

 

By the time they met last July, Mr. Rosenberg was dying of thyroid cancer. Mother and son had only three weeks in which to condense a lifetime.

I recommend reading it all if you have time.  Heartwarming and depressing at the same time.  

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I don't know, I think adoption records should probably remain sealed

 

I think birth certificates should be accessible to the person born

 

the DNA route will soon surpass it anyway

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I want mothers to be encouraged to pursue the adoption route... and not have to worry about these sort of reunions unless they WANT to is a bit key to that.   Same for parents who accept a child as their own.

 

With today's technology it should be easy to set up a database that is locked until BOTH partners flip a switch saying that they want to initiate contact.  if both say yes, then records are released (to both) if either say no, then records remain locked (to both).   Once one or the other dies.. i suppose the switch can automatically switch to "yes"?

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As an adopted child who ended up getting in touch with the biological father, I always feel the need to caution people searching out their birth parents.  It isn't always what you hoped to find and can cause a lot more pain in the long run.

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Are there medical reasons for people to want to find their birth parents?

 All the ones that I have ever met looking for their birth parents wasn't for medical reasons but instead wanting answers and just wanting to get to know their birth family. 

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As an adopted child who ended up getting in touch with the biological father, I always feel the need to caution people searching out their birth parents. It isn't always what you hoped to find and can cause a lot more pain in the long run.

That sucks. Sorry to hear that.

I can't understand how some people can produce kids and feel so indifferent about it.

My biological mom left when I was 2. I've seen her once since then, but there's never been an effort to establish any kind of relationship.

So weird.

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