“The heart of a mother that abandons her child holds a sea of secrets, hiding in the dark like a vampire ready to jump out and bite you. Some family secrets are generations old and others newly created. Healthy families tend to avoid keeping secrets.” Judith Land
Closed confidential adoption is a process by which an infant is adopted by another family and the record of the biological parents is kept secret. The name of the biological father is often not recorded, even on the original birth certificate.
Minnesota was the first state to pass an adoption confidentiality and sealed records law to prevent the adoptee and the biological parents from knowing anything about each other to “protect” the adoptive parents from disruption. Infants were placed in state-mandated foster care for several months until the birthparent was certain about relinquishment and the adoption process was completed. Children treated this way often developed psychological problems identified as orphanage-type behavior, often evident even in adopted adults.
The infant from a closed adoption was issued a second birth certificate identifying the adopting parents as the child’s parents. The revised birth certificate became the legal name and identity of the child. If the city of birth and the name of the hospital were omitted from the revised birth certificate, adoptees from closed adoptions were denied passports.
Closed secret adoption has been increasingly criticized as being unfair to both the adoptee and the birth parents. Treating the identities of a child’s parents from a closed adoption as a state secret is a gross violation of human rights according to many adoptees, especially when genetic medical history is important for preventing disease and saving lives.
Fortunately, there has been an increasing trend in recent years toward open adoption.