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Published Tuesday June 2nd, 2009 at 7:35pm

Original Article by David Newland

Disclosure: I was put up for adoption onthe day of my birth by an unwed mother who could not care for me. I wasadopted three months later by a loving couple who provided the familyenvironment I could not have had otherwise. The system, such as it was,worked for me: I've had my challenges, but clearly, I was one of thelucky ones.

I've written about being adopted before and it's no easier to talk about now than it was then. But as Ontario opens its adoption records, I'm compelled to write again.

Ontario's Ministry of Community and Social Services is trying to accommodate both sides of the adoption disclosure debate.On one side are those who feel the right to know - for both adopteesand birth parents - is paramount. On the other side are those whobelieve the parents who gave up children on condition of secrecy haveevery right to maintain that secrecy forever. Whether the Access to Adoption Records Act strikes the right balance is an open question.

Ihonestly don't even know where I stand. For me this is an emotional,not a political or procedural question. I can tell you that it is akind of purgatory to wait for years before learning anything other thanthe "non-identifying information" that was available to me as a youngadult in the early 90s. Not knowing who my birth parents were, whatbecame of them, and how I wound up at the mercy of the Children's Aid Society were questions that haunted me for years. From that point of view, more openness and less bureaucracy is a welcome change.

It'ssad but true that secrecy in the sixties, when I was born, (let alonein the years prior) was the result of a level of social shame that Ihope we never see again. Today in Ontario and many other jurisdictions,all adoptions are open adoptions, and that's probably a good thing. Ata minimum, knowing your genetic history can aid in monitoring yourhealth and preventing or managing hereditary conditions.

Onthe other hand, sometimes secrets are kept secret for a reason. Havinggone through the process of searching for my birth parents under theprevious rules, having conversed with my birth father by phone and met my birth motherin person, I can confirm that. Pregnant girls and women give childrenup for adoption under many different circumstances. Seldom are theyhappy ones. Nor does every child wind up in a happy home.

Manyadoptees wonder endlessly about their origins, as I did. Manybirth-parents worry endlessly about their offspring, as my birth-motherdid. Adoptive parents have their questions too. In an ideal world, we'dput an end to the mystery in a way that left adoptees, their parents,and their birth-parents all satisfied and happy.

In the realworld, information alone will not bring happiness or wholeness. Thattakes hard work, self-knowledge, love, support, co-operation among allparties, and plenty of resources. Again, I've been one of the luckyones, and I'm grateful.

I wish everyone who's diving into their gene pools at long last may be so lucky.