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Thursday, October 24, 2013

When Is It All Right for the State to Break Its Promises?

In response to an item reported in this week's Public Record, I've submitted this comment to my state senator, Leanna Washington:

I understand the State House has just passed HB162, which would abrogate the confidentiality of sealed adoption records.

I have no personal stake in this issue, as I am neither a birth parent, adoptive parent, nor an adoptee. I care deeply, however, about honoring commitments. Birth parents who gave up their children for a sealed adoption did so based on the state's promise to keep their identity a secret. If this bill becomes law, the state will be breaching its trust with those citizens.

No matter how understandable and how intense adoptees' curiosity may be, it cannot trump the state's obligation to keep its commitments. The public's confidence in government is already at an all-time low; an abrogation of its commitment to birth parents would only push it lower still.

Please also bear in mind that the public debate on this issue is inherently skewed, because one side's interest is based on a desire for confidentiality, which could be jeopardized by speaking out about this. If the mail you receive is one-sided, that doesn't mean public opinion really is.

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