Saturday, May 24, 2008

CANADA/ONTARIO: Editorial: Adopting a New Law, May 23, 2008

May 23, 2008

Editorial: Adopting a new law

After 80 years of secrecy, the Province of Ontario is about to throw back the shroud of shame that it dropped on adoption in this province in the 1920s.

Adoptees and birthparents will soon be able to access the records kept on them by Children’s Aid Societies and the province’s Registrar General. For adoptees, it will mean the facts of their birth and arrival on the planet will become as available to them as they are to the rest of the population.

The ability to track relatives for health reasons or simply for the knowledge of one’s self that can be gained from such searches will become commonplace and an accepted part of our social structure.

In a column in today’s Standard local MPP John O’Toole searched for, and thinks he found, the one possible flaw in the system. He decries the fact that children taken from abusive homes could be sought out by their former parents in their new adopted homes after such children reach the age of majority.

Mr. O’Toole seems to want to continue the practice begun by his party in the 1920s of deciding for Ontario adotpees what will and won’t be good for them even into adulthood. It apparently did not occur to him that once such adoptees become of age they can get any number of legal guards put in place to stop unwanted contact and even though the relationship was abusive, the adoptee may require such contact for health information.

It is interesting to note that Mr. O’Toole turned down two requests in the 1990s to sponsor legislation to open the adoption files in Ontario even while other provinces turned out aged and morally corrupt adoption laws. The mistake that Mr. O’Toole and many of his fellow politicians have made over the last 80 years - and continue to make - is the characterization of adoptees as infants requiring protection.

The majority of adoptees in Ontario are fully grown adults with a well-formed sense of what is beneficial to them and what is not. They have the same curiosity about the good side and dark side of their families that all people have and they have the same rights to genetic history that all citizens of Ontario do.

All adult adoptees can judge the legislation on its face. All can read and write. One wrote this editorial.

Link to article

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