Adoptees Need Their Medical Histories

My son once told me that being adopted was like being in the Witness Protection Program–but without access to family medical history. With all the debate about healthcare swirling around us, I find myself thinking about healthcare and adoption. I most definitely want reasonably priced healthcare for all Americans. BUT adoptees need more than that–which is to say they need what those of us familiar with our biological families have. Our medical histories.
I know what my grandparents died of…and my father. I know that my mother has high blood pressure and that quite a few people in my family have circulatory issues (Maybe from smoking.) I know that despite the fact that most of us are as pale as the underbelly of an eyeless sea-creature, no one has contracted skin cancer. And that while we can eat pretty much anything, I know we’ve got one member with severe wheat allergies and issues with dairy. Another is allergic to dessert pollens and olive trees. Curvature of the spine is a big issue. Maybe hip degeneration. Imagine not knowing those things about yourself. And when adoptive parents hold that baby in their arms, don’t THEY want to know? ┬áMy maternal grandmother was allergic to penicillin and Novocain. One of my three children has that penicillin allergy and it can be life threatening. How can parents rest easily without knowing? For many, many adoptees, the information is available. Unsealing adoption records would make it accessible.

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