by Sam Sloan

Ever since I can remember, I have been interested in the issue of adoption. I was not adopted, nor have I given away a child for adoption. I suspect that the reason for my interest is that my mother was a child psychiatrist and the director of the public mental health clinic in Lynchburg Virginia, and was naturally involved in adoption cases which she probably talked about at home.

In any event, this is an issue which interests me. I have helped several people find their long lost parents or children.

I can understand why, once a mother has given away her child for adoption, she loses all rights to reclaim her child. However, I cannot understand why the child, having been given away for adoption, loses all rights to reclaim her mother and father.

I believe that children have the absolute right to know who their parents are. They are being denied this right. I am told that an estimated three million children have been adopted in America. Most of these children were adopted in the period 1950 to 1965, the heyday for adoptions. This was the period of the post-war baby boom, a period when birth control was not readily available, when abortions were illegal and dangerous and when unmarried mothers were usually told that it would be best for the child to be given away.

After 1965, the sexual revolution started. I was directly involved in that. Birth Control pills became widely available. Social workers told expectant mothers to keep their children and stopped recommending adoption. Abortions later became legal. The birth rate plunged.

Those born in the period 1950 to 1965 are between 32 and 47 years old now. Many, perhaps a majority, are interested in learning the identity of their birth parents.

I have helped several people involved in these cases. It has been my experience and the experience of others that everyone who makes a strenuous effort to find his or her birth child or birth parent succeeds eventually, although sometimes it takes months or even years. Not being one to do things in a piecemeal way, what I want to do is to crack open the system completely and to make this information available to all.

Here is my idea of how to do this: This is just a proposal which I have been thinking about for some time. Any suggestions, comments or corrections, please e-mail me.

The biggest state for adoptions was California. Not only is California the biggest state in terms of population, but it became the Mecca for pregnant teenage girls in the 1960s. Girls in trouble from the Eastern United States would go to California to get as far away as possible from their family and from anybody who knew them to have an abortion or to give away their child for adoption.

How do I know this? The reason is that during this period it was known on the Berkeley Campus that if you wanted to have an abortion, the person who would be willing to help was Sam Sloan. Pregnant girls in trouble approached me frequently with their problems. I became involved in their cases. What I was doing was technically illegal but I felt that I was performing an important social service.

I had a list of highly qualified abortion doctors in Mexico. The code words to reach them was to dial a certain number in Tijuana and say "I am calling from Berkeley".

Almost all of these girls got abortions, but a few gave birth. In one case, I believe that I am the only person who knows the actual name of the birth mother. She gave a fake name at the hospital.

My plan to open up the adoption records of California is as follows:

California is perhaps unique in that anybody can get anybody's birth certificate. However, records involving adoption are sealed. Every adopted person has two birth certificates: (1) The certificate issued at the time of birth which gives the actual name of the biological mother and (2) the certificate issued after the court approval of the adoption, which lists the names of the adoptive patents.

These two certificates all have completely different information. There is nothing linking them together, EXCEPT THAT BOTH CERTIFICATES HAVE THE SAME CERTIFICATE NUMBER.

Therefore, my plan is to obtain a listing of every birth certificate ever issued by the State of California. I know where I can obtain such a list, but I will have to pay for it. (Mind you, this is strictly illegal. I would never do anything against the law.)

The list, known as the California Birth Index, will contain millions of names. I understand that the list is of poor quality, too difficult to scan. If that proves to be the case, I will have to hire typists to enter the data on all these millions of births.

Once all this data has been entered, a simple computer search will pull up everyone who has two birth certificates. Every adoption which has ever taken place in the State of California will become known to me.

The reason I do not do this and have not done it already is the question of money. I estimate that with $10,000 (ten thousand dollars) I can buy a bootleg copy of the California Birth Index from a source known to me and then hire typists to enter a significant portion of the data. Since $10,000 is enough to start but not to finish the job, I will sell the data as it becomes available. For example, I might charge $100 to tell an adopted child what their original name was and to provide the original birth certificate. This seems to me to be a reasonable amount to charge. Information would be provided through the Internet.

I am not trying to make money out of this, but I am trying to generate enough income to pay for the data entry of the millions of names which will be involved.

Therefore, in order to implement this plan, I need to raise $10,000. I am looking for a donor or an investor or for some other financial arrangement.

Any comments or suggestions or money would be appreciated.

Sam Sloan

UPADTE - RELATED NEWS: A Florida woman is suing the investigator who tracked her down for a reunion with the daughter she gave up for adoption 35 years ago.

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