Truth in Adoption: Taking the Mystery Out of My UnSealed Adoption Records

November 20th is National Adoption Day. To “celebrate”, I spent the day in mourning for the family from which I was taken. It is a fact of life that for every adoptive family to be happy, there is a family that had to be broken in order for the adoptive family to get their precious baby. I lost my entire family because of adoption. For this, I am not happy. I am not grateful. I am not glad that I was not aborted. I almost died at my premature birth; many day go by with my wishing I had died so that perhaps my mother could have lived. I never blamed my  father for my relinquishment for he was grief-stricken, faced with immediate decisions, and he made those decisions under duress. I was raised in a loving home as an only child, showered with love and affection. However, the lifetime of deceit, intentional lies and actual disdain and panic that I would one day meet the very siblings my adoptive parents fought to prohibit me from knowing — that is what is despicable about my adoption. That, and the fact that my name was changed, my identity was changed, for no good reason. A lifetime of pain and loss for me and my children.

Happy National Adoption Day. NOT.

These are the papers that I obtained from Surrogate’s Court, Erie County, New York:

On Oct 24, 1956, my natural father and pre-adoptive parents met in Surrogate’s Court. They signed a joint contract “Consent to Adopt and Agreement to Adopt”.

Notice that the paper states that my natural father “will not interfere with the rights, duties and privileges of said child when adopted. He was not, as opponents to open records claim, granted any special confidentiality by the consent to adoption papers that he signed when he relinquished his parental rights to be my legal father. My father told me, when we discussed this a few years later, that the judge told him to stay away from the newly formed adoptive family. There was no verbal or written promise of confidentiality granted to my natural father.

Here is the agreement signed by my natural father and my pre-adoptive parents:


Here are the other papers released to me by the Surrogate Court Judge.

As you read these papers, keep in mind that while my adoption was treated as a closed adoption, both sets of parents knew of each other before I was conceived. My adoptive parents (before they became my parents) and their extended families were present at the funeral of my natural mother to pay their respects at her passing. As you read these papers, keep in mind that the five children involved had no say in what the adults did to permanently separate them as a sibling group. With so much information exchanging hands, with so much at stake, this adoption should never have taken place.



My Final Order of Adoption:



~ ~ ~ Joan M Wheeler, BA, BSW, born Doris M Sippel, author of Forbidden Family: A Half Orphan’s Account of Her Adoption, Reunion and Social Activism, Trafford Publishing, Nov 2009.

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