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Genetic Roulette

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To the editors:

I read with great interest your recent story "Life Without Father" by Bryan Miller [October 9]. Having heard of Single Mothers by Choice on WBEZ recently, I was amazed to hear the repetition of certain statements. The tone of the overall story seemed to be pointed in the women's favor, ignoring any effects of this situation on the children. As a 39-year-old male adoptee who's spent ten years in the adoption rights movement, I have learned that anyone who thinks that genetics is not the overpowering factor in a child's development is sadly mistaken. The genetics versus environment ratio has been quoted as high as 90 percent genetic/10 percent environment in recent years. Any woman who feels that an anonymous donor is better than a known one is playing Russian roulette with her child's future. With all the discovered factors of genetics that can affect medical and mental wellness, to ignore that completely is madness. I've met literally hundreds of reunited adoptees over the years and I keep hearing the same thing "I am so much like my birth parents; we look alike; our mannerisms are the same; we have the same career; etc." and "my adopted parents and I have nothing in common." When their children grow up, don't be surprised if they look and act just like their anonymous birth fathers. And also don't be shocked if in 18 or 20 years they decide to search for their birth father. We in the adoption rights movement are seeing young adults, conceived anonymously in the late 60s and early 70s searching now. At the 1991 American Adoption Congress Convention in Los Angeles, I met a young woman who was going to the UCLA medical school to look at graduating class photos from 1970 and 1971, searching for her anonymous donor father. Babies don't stay babies forever; they grow up, become teenagers, and adults and want to know all the details of their heritage. In the 50s, when adoptive parents burned their child's adoption decree and other papers so they could tell their children they didn't know anything, they thought that would stop the child's curiosity. All people want to know their history and their heritage. As to the experts, lawyers, and social workers quoted in the story, they all have a vested interest in keeping secrets from people. Like the baby sellers in the adoption racket, these people have no interest in the child's future, only in the parent's money. Open adoption was created when the adoptive parents and the birth mothers empowered themselves "in the best interests of the child." I hope these women will learn that truth and openness are the right way to start a child out in life and end the use of anonymous donors. I recently heard one doctor express regret about all the unknown children he may have fathered while in medical school. I hope more donors think about it.

John Oles-Leighton Finucan

Vice President

TruthSeekers in Adoption

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