Op-ed: Adoptee access — a personal story

Carol Hudak

Carol Hudak

The bill is called “Adult Adoptee Access to Birth Parent Health Information and Original Birth Certificate” (HB1544).

As Connecticut adult adoptees await the legislative verdict on HB1544, I’d like to share a story:

I learned that my birth brother, whom I never met and is now long deceased, graduated from Western Connecticut State University.

Op-ed submit bugI contacted the university’s Haas Library Archive Department and asked if they could find his yearbook picture. I gave them an approximate year, and they were more than up to the challenge.

By the next morning, I had the graduation picture of my brother in my mailbox. I learned he majored in Speech/Theater. They also offered me the yearbook his picture was in!

On Monday, April 8th, I went to WCSU to receive this yearbook. I met with Patrick Shea, Herbert Janick Fellow in Research & Archival Management.

He explained what was involved in the search.

It is impossible to describe how it feels to see a picture of my own blood brother. We look alike, and were similar in so many ways! You have to be adopted to appreciate how incredible this feels and how important it is to know your blood history.

My brother later went to New York University and, like me, was a professional writer and musician. He reviewed for “Opera News” magazine.

As I read a few of his reviews that I have been able to find, I am actually ‘reading’ myself! Our styles and wit were similar. Clearly, we were “two peas in a pod.” I grieve never having known him.

I await word of House action on HB#5144.

Connecticut adult adoptees had open access to their original birth certificates until 1974, when closure was tacked onto a bill and passed – without a public hearing.

Now, in 2014, will the House, Senate and Gov. Malloy ‘grant’ adult adoptees the right that is ours? The right to know who we really are and our medical history? Will they right an egregious wrong?

When adopted, we adoptees are put into a witness protection program; i.e., we ‘adopt’ someone else’s heritage. It may be a good heritage, however, it is not our heritage, and that is the issue.

I have a wonderful (adopted) brother. That does not negate my need to know my biological roots and medical history. As I look at my birth brother’s picture, I can tell you: Blood Matters!

Thank you Patrick Shea, Christina, Vivon and others I met during my memorable visit to WCSU. Thank you all so very much.

Carol Hudak is a Trumbull resident.

 

 

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