“I Have Roots and Branches” provides a detailed and personal window into the lives of people who have been touched by adoption; it focuses on the lives of twelve people including adoptees of all ages, adoption lawyers and birth parents. The film begins by introducing the adoptees while they participate in their favorite activities as well as engaging in traditions and everyday activities with their families. In fact, for the first part of the film, a viewer may not know these people were adopted, or why they are connected. I believe that it was director Flory Herman’s intention to show that adoption has touched more lives than we are aware of. This does a lot to address any unease that someone who is new to adoption might experience.
Against this background are monologues and interview segments depicting each perspective on the adoption process and its outcome. The film examines the emotions related to adoption, such as the curiosity of an adopted child about their background and biological parents. The film also addresses how a child will often times feel love and appreciation for their birth parent because they gave them the opportunity for a better life than they felt they could provide at the time.
A reflection given by birth mother Joann, who made an adoption plan as a nineteen year-old college student, brings clarity to the potentially confusing mix of feelings involved in the decision to make an adoption plan. She said that there is a difference between what she gave her child and what his adoptive family gave him: she carried him, gave him life, and he is a piece of her, but that his adoptive family loves him as their child, and his place in the family is undeniably secure. She said that “[she] wanted him to have the life that [she] couldn’t create for him”.
“I Have Roots and Branches” is available in the Adoption STAR video library and serves as an excellent introduction to the adoption journey for those considering adoption as well as the people in their lives.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie agreed that going forward, all adoptions in New Jersey should have open records. However, according to this story, Christie proposed changes to the bill that would have allowed adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates and medical records.
According to the story, the conditional veto would allow adult adoptees to seek a “confidential intermediary” from an adoption agency to perform a search for their birth parents. If after one year, the birth parents were not found, the adoptee could receive the original birth certificate. If the birth parents are found but do not want to be reunited, they will be asked to provide complete medical history for the adopted person, however this will not be mandatory.
“I believe that additional safeguards are needed to best balance the needs of adoptees seeking the identity of their biological parents with the expectations of birth parents who may wish for their identities to remain private,” Christie said in the article.
The New Jersey Democratic lawmakers, who initiated the bill said, “they were unsure whether they would accept Christies changes and make them laws.” According to the story the democrats cannot override Christies revisions because they do not have enough votes. If they do not approve the bill the current law would remain in effect.
Is this newly revised proposed bill a good compromise or should adult adoptees be allowed to receive their original birth certificates, despite the anonymity promises to birth parents in the past?