This year, many Americans learned through the film “Philomena” about a mother who longed to hear about her adopted-away child while he longed to meet her. As Mother’s Day approaches, many women in the United States feel the same way.
Contrary to popular belief, they were not promised confidentiality, and many of them did not want to lose their children but felt they had no choice in a time when their families, their schools, and/or their economic situation put extreme pressure on them to relinquish their children.
Most viewers of the film were repelled by the acts of the convent that kept Philomena and her son from knowledge of each other. Pennsylvania has a law that does something similar, keeping adoptees from getting their original birth certificates, a right all other citizens have, and thus from learning their original names. But right now in Pennsylvania, HB 162, which would restore this right to adult adoptees, has passed the Pennsylvania House and is sitting in the state Senate Committee on Aging and Youth, waiting for a vote. This bill passed the House committee unanimously and was thoroughly discussed at a hearing by the Senate Committee, but since then the committee leadership has changed.
If you are a constituent of the new chair, Sen. Randy Vulakovich (he represents the 40th District, which includes part of Butler and Allegheny counties), and you care about the American Philomenas and equal rights for their adopted-away adult children, ask him to schedule a vote on HB 162.