I came across this article yesterday in the New York Times. It was written by a woman who was adopted and now has a son of her own. The son was having heart problems, and a critical decision in his treatment depended on whether he had a family history of a certain genetic disease. The mother, because she knew virtually nothing about her biological relatives, could not answer the question.
The author points out that the existing law, allowing for secret records, was designed to protect birth parents and adoptive parents, but not adoptees. She supports legislation pending in New Jersey that would allow adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates.
I completely see the author's point; it seems unfair that one would lack access to important medical records just because one was adopted. On the other hand, I worry that many birth mothers would be reluctant to consider adoption at all if they did not have the option of anonymity. Discouraging adoption doesn't help anyone, least of all the adoptee. Also, there are plenty of other people who can't get detailed data on their relatives because those relatives are deceased or geographically distant.
What do you think?