I have decided adoption laws haven’t changed because too many law-men and law-women are not adoptees. That is right. If adoption doesn’t affect them or their wife or their kids or their relatives, they don’t care. There are bigger fish to fry, like getting reelected each time. Usually the law-maker is wealthy, and their friends are the kind of people who adopt.
Think of Arizona Senator John McCain who adopted a daughter from India. Do you really think he wants her to open her adoption and find her Third World family? I don’t think so.
Rich adopters believe the adoptee should be grateful and satisfied to be one of them -- and they’d prefer the adoptee not go looking for trouble. They probably like our adoption laws the way they are – sealed tight and secret. Why? No risk, no complexities, no contact between adult adoptee and his or her birth-family, no headlines. Remember adoptees become legal property and apparent heirs of their adoptive family…and an ungrateful adoptee risks losing all that.
Caring about adoption privacy (or not caring) goes back to the era of “judging” single women. It was thought some of these women could not possibly raise a baby alone. (Oh really?) And darn them for getting knocked up in the first place. (What about the sperm? It takes two people.) Darn those girls for being unable to say no. (You just can’t pass over relic judgments like these that still exist.) Who is thinking about children who become orphans? (Not a chance. There are lists of people willing to pay thousands of dollars for a baby and adopters prefer secrecy, too.)
A lot changed in the 1970s – which seems pretty recent. Available adoptable babies dropped significantly. There is still no accountability for the guys who knocked up the girls. There is no stigma for the sperm-deliveryman.
This leads me to an interesting idea. Some of these law-men had mistresses (more than a one) and their offspring could have been placed in a closed adoption. Wouldn’t that be a revelation? Think of Anthony Weiner who just lost his Senate seat over sex-ting. At least we know about Strom Thurman and John Edwards who each had a child with a mistress.
Then we have the philanderers. Think of presidential-hopeful Newt! Back in 1999, shortly after Gingrich stepped down from his position as speaker of the House and resigned from Congress, he met Callista. She was 33 to his 56. They had an affair for six years during the Republican-led impeachment of Bill Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Gingrich told wife #1, after 18 years of marriage, that he was seeing someone else over the phone. (It could have been worse: According to his first wife, Newt was married when he met Mrs. Gingrich #2, and he asked #1 for a divorce while she was recovering from cancer surgery in the hospital.) Newt married his mistress Callista, now-wife #3, in 2000.
Then we have Austrian-actor-turned-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger whose little tryst with the housekeeper produced a son and caused an uproar and his upcoming divorce to Maria.
Other governors, like David Patterson and Mark Sanford had mistresses. Some 30 years ago, a Maryland governor’s made his mistress his wife. After Marvin Mandel issued a statement confessing his love for the tall, blond Jeanne Dorsey, his wife refused to leave the governors mansion for half a year. The governor had to stay in a hotel. Mandel's divorce was finalized in 1974; that very same day he married Dorsey, and they lived happily ever after. (Well, first Mandel was convicted of mail fraud and racketeering and went to jail. Then he got out and then they lived happily ever after.)
There are reasons for secrets and secrecy, right? Perhaps the rich and powerful make their own rules about family values, hiding the affairs and the offspring.
It seems obvious to me now. Closed Adoption is the perfect way to hide a secret.