The Lack of Discharge Rights Discriminates Against Adoptees

What possible legal reasons should prevent an adopted adult from discharging an adoption? If adopted people actually do have the same rights as everyone else in this society, then the answer is this: None.

Without a transparent process and criteria for discharge written into the legislation, the continuing discriminatory treatment of adopted adults that could never be justified under a court’s scrutiny are able to be continued without check.

This has nothing to do with having regard for the welfare of the adoptee. The issue that is being hidden behind the lack of transparency in process and criteria for discharge is that of the adopted person’s natural family’s (and possibly the adopter’s, or the case worker’s, or any interested party who may contact’s) attitude to the discharge.

But as our society has learned from the LGBT movement, an attitude or a comfort zone – no matter how strongly held – should never be allowed to trump a right.

In the ‘normal’ non-adopted world, parents lose the right to have any legal say in how their children live their lives when their children reach legal adulthood at 18 years of age. Besides in unusual cases where an order of guardianship is made, extended family and siblings never had any legal say at all.

Yet in the case of an adopted person it appears that the attitudes of extended families and/or the opinions of case workers or others are being actively assisted by the legislation to allow them to influence legal decisions about the adoptee well beyond 18, throughout their life, and through the adopted person’s old age – and even beyond death.

The only person/people who have a legal care and control in the life of a child are the parents, and only until 18. If a relinquishment was signed, this gave the rights from the parents to the State until 18, and if the child was adopted, this gave the rights from the State to the adopters who then had legal care and control until the child turned 18.

All of these legal controls ended at 18. Importantly, for the relinquished child in State care but not adopted, the State legal control also ended at 18 and the birth certificate was never changed.

Where are the laws devoted to regulating this person’s relationships with the family they did not grow up with? Where are the departments and public servants overseeing laws of who may contact who, or who may know of the existence and name of who in these cases?

Every single person who signed the relinquishment form could have been the parent of the children then adults who did not end up being adopted out by the State. There is no legal difference in what they signed. The adoption occurred afterwards, and was a separate legal act. The relinquishment in all cases went until the relinquished child was 18 years old.

So any notion that the parents, the State, or the adopters retain any of the legal influence or control that they had prior to the adoptee ceasing to be a minor would not hold weight in a court if discharges were subject to a transparent process and specific, named, criteria.

The attitudes of others to the discharge would not (and should not) influence the legal decision about the right of an adopted person who identifies as the person they were when they were born, with the ancestry they had when they were born, to legally live and die as that person – and to reclaim the use of the birth certificate that was taken from them without their consent.

  • Is it still presumed that adopted people are inherently dangerous, and need to be contained by special laws which do not apply to other members of the community – and that the laws the rest of this society lives under are not appropriate for this particular minority group?
  • Is segregation and discrimination still something to be seen as normal in adoption?
  • Are adopted adults still to be overseen by public servants in a department whose job it is to decide how a certain group of people should be able to live their lives?


Or can we finally be allowed actual equal rights?

– not just equal rights “adoption style”? 

Sharyn White – 2016


” Not intended to be a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. “