I’m a stats and story person. Actually, more a story person. But as a lawyer, I ferret out the facts so I can present them in a way that supports my client, often through a theme or narrative. Without facts or stats or even basic information, though, it’s tough to make out a solid case, however compelling the story.
Which is part of my frustration, both nationally and locally. We generally have an abundance of stories but little or no solid and collected facts. We hear, for instance, that adult adoptees receive redacted files, are denied OBCs, or get the runaround while trying to obtain information that is rightfully theirs. We know this anecdotally, just by talking amongst ourselves or following and chatting with each other on social media. And yet there are no solid facts or stats to back up some of those stories. They exist, sure, but they likely do not exist in a collected way that may convince or compel.
Like how often an adult adoptee is denied access to an original birth certificate. Or how much money an adult adoptee must spend to get an OBC or identifying information. Or how easy or hard it is to get anything. Or what you get in the end by participating in a complex, costly, and somewhat forced and fruitless registry or intermediary process. Or maybe it wasn’t fruitless? We don’t know.
I’m hoping to change that. First, I’ve begun collecting available statistical information from states, agencies, and registries. I’m also making formal requests for data that is important to adoptees and should be available to the public. Second, I’m initiating a project today to collect stories and facts about the adoptee experience in getting what’s rightfully theirs. Including stories of people who don’t want anything, for whatever reason or no reason.
I’m calling it the OBC Tracker, though it also seeks data about efforts to secure any other information, whether identifying or nonidentifying. It’s a survey that should take three minutes to complete, even less if all you want to do is tell me is why you may not want to look for your truth in the first place.
Take it here or click on the fancy button below. It’s confidential. I don’t even need your name or email, though they are helpful if I want to follow up to clarify something. And if you want all the legalese about what I may do with the information, I’ve got that covered too, just after the button. In regular print. Well, a little smaller print, but not yet fine.
What I Do With the Information
First, I do not disclose any identifying information with anyone unless I have written permission to do so. Ironic, isn’t it? Anyway, if I do publish information, it will only be aggregated information that cannot be used to identify a specific person. For example: “of 14 people who reported using a voluntary registry in 2017, only 2 reported receiving any identifying information.” Or, “120 people reported that they have sought an OBC through court action, with only 15 people reporting success.” I made these up, so don’t quote me on them.
Also, I am not using this project to solicit clients. That’s dumb and kinda sleazy. If you have a legal matter, please feel free to complete the OBC Tracker but you must contact me separately here if you are interested in legal representation. I will not respond to requests for legal advice through the OBC Tracker. It’s not wise, nor is it cool. Still have questions? Just email me. There’s no harm in asking.