Thursday, September 20, 2007

"Court quashes adoption disclosure law"

CBC's Metro Morning followed up on this story, also covered in the Sept. 19 edition of the Toronto Star, by saying that one of the opponents of Ontario's recently passed adoption disclosure law was an established, Catholic mother of four who did not want a pregnancy at age fifteen revealed. Because this mirrors many birth mother situations in Korea, we thought it worth pursuing the story. The Toronto Star article does not go further into this particular case, but alludes to it by quoting the legal representation against the bill, Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby, as saying: "What is not good is to take someone who was promised privacy and then unilaterally say, 'Ah, too bad. We've changed our mind, you live with the consequences."'

As Korean adoptees who often don't possess identifying information, the issue of disclosure is often a mute point. But the principle behind disclosure is the same whether in domestic or international adoption. Often the needs of mother and child are at odds, and within patriarchal or religious cultures, the mother often chooses or is forced to forsake the needs of her child. But to assume that this decision is made free of consequence is unrealistic. Sooner or later, the child, now an adult, will have questions about his or her origins. Who has the right to tell an adoptee that he or she cannot access this information? Do the courts have the right? After yesterday's decision, apparently they do. This is an unfortunate step backwards for disclosure advocates, such as former Ontario New Democrat member Marilyn Churley, who fought so long to get this bill passed in the first place. Sooner or later the chickens come home to roost. Can you really have a child and give it up without consequence?

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