Thursday, February 08, 2007

Hurray for the database admin that does not pay attention to details

Adoptees in Wisconsin had a brief window of opportunity to get the names of their first parents, before some tattle-tale know-it-all goodbody reported the security breach. Gee, thanks Dave!

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater associate professor David Munro discovered private adoption records late last year that were accessible via the Consolidated Court Automation Programs (CCAP) database.

You know I'm just being ungrateful here. There are all sorts of horrifying nuggets that get leaked on the web when supposedly private databases aren't protected.

I'm most ungrateful though that it didn't happen in Pennsylvania. Damnit all.

I had to amend this a bit to include something my buddy Dave said

“What if a student from my class found that they had a half-brother or sister that they didn’t know about?” Munro said. “It could be devastating for a family.”

Now, lest you think Dave teaches vulnerable babes in the woods, think again. He teaches college, for chrissakes. By all means, Dave! Shield those legitimate kids from the devastation of their bastard siblings! We could be – (gasp!) disturbed!

10 complaints from ingrates:

Anonymous,  February 9, 2007 at 12:28 PM  

Well, yes, and that is so much like the name of an abused child getting out.

Ridiculous!! ARGH!!

Dave February 9, 2007 at 9:49 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave February 9, 2007 at 9:52 PM  

Sorry to offend by doing the right thing. I have no problems with information being made available if it will not hurt any of the parties involved. However if a woman gives up her child to be adopted with an expectation of privacy it should be honored. She may have later on married and never told her husband of her past.
.....On a personal level I have no problems if my son contacted his birth parents. However at the time of his adoption both of his birth parents indicated that they would have no problem with him contacted them when he became an adult.

Ungrateful Little Bastard February 9, 2007 at 11:38 PM  

Hey Dave, thanks for dropping by. Questions: What’s your nationality? What is the history of heart attack in your family? How about cancer? How about diabetes? Or stroke? Whose eye color did you inherit? When did your ancestors come to America? Who was your dad? Who was your mom? How did your parents meet? Where was their first date? I can’t answer any of those questions. And a fact: the majority of women who relinquished babies in the 1960’s were never told anything about privacy. And whose rights are more important? Because I am the product sold for $8,000 in 1963 by the adoption industry, my rights supposedly mean nothing.

Ungrateful Little Bastard February 9, 2007 at 11:39 PM  

Mom2One - have I told you lately that I love you ;)

Amyadoptee February 10, 2007 at 2:07 AM  

Yes Dave you have a lot to learn. Beware your son will grow up being bastards just like me and Bastard... BEWARE BE VERY AWARE

Anonymous,  February 11, 2007 at 5:19 PM  

All due respect, Dave, what makes you the arbiter of what's "the right thing?" The people who want their records, emphasis on THEIR RECORDS, are adults, capable of contacting someone without telling all of the other people in the household why they are contacting said person. These people have a right to know who they are, what their medical histories entail, basic information that any other person has granted to them. The fact that some civil service clerk has access to Ungrateful Little Bastard's records and she herself cannot access them herself is a travesty.

These women who relinquished babies typically did so 30-40 years ago. Is is beyond the realm of possibility that they might be willing to let the children born to them see their birth records? In fact, I believe a survey was done of birth mothers and they agree that adoptees should have access to their birth records. Give me some time, and I'll check and see if I can find that information. Have you checked for any kind of information like that, or did you just take it upon yourself to decide that you were "doing the right thing?"

Listen, I'm not an adoptee so I could very easily just walk away from this, but I'll tell you something. I've been an adoptive mother for 5 years now so I've lived with adoption for a fraction of the time that most of these people have lived with not knowing their own personal histories. Lame excuses like protecting birthmothers' privacy are already getting old and tired for me so I can't even imagine how frustrated it would be for an adoptee who is personally invested in this. I really can't.

Most of this really isn't directed at you though, Dave. This is directed at most of the state legistlatures who need to change the laws to let adoptees have access to their records. I guess all you did was play into their hands which in turn means playing into the hands of many adoption agencies who don't want their corrupt practices of yesteryear (some of the present-time) exposed.

This is getting long enough for a post of its own.


Theresa, back 'atcha, girl. Back 'atcha!

Ungrateful Little Bastard February 11, 2007 at 7:24 PM  

Thank you so so so so so so so so much. In all fairness, not being a reader of this blog the poor guy probably didn’t have a clue that this snarky entry was just one in a series of snarky entries making fun of all adoption news that happens to come in via my Google news alert, and that no one is immune. What I'm planning on doing with the recent batch of celebrity adoptions really should be censored ;)

No one’s actual birth certificate, bastard or otherwise, should be available via a simple click on a web page, without some form of registration. Why give the identity thieves anything easier than they already have? Now if it was a matter where anyone could fill out a form and get their original birth certificate, that would have been a totally different matter.

What did get me is that age old contention that we adoptees are someone’s dirty little secret who need to be kept hidden to preserve the integrity of a legitimate family. I think we’re all pretty damn tired and ungrateful of bearing the burden imposed by secrecy and lies. No one ever asked our opinion, just told us to shut up and keep the peace.

All that being said, I don’t know adoption laws in Wisconsin. If it is another closed record state, I hope from the depths of my ungrateful little heart that some adoptee was able to a name during that four month window, and that it helped him or her make the next step in their ever emotional and personal search and reunion process.

Dave February 17, 2007 at 12:24 AM  

Just thought I let you all know that I came back to read all your comments. I repect your options and can not claim to understand your individual situations. I can understand why my actions may have upset some of you.

I am not in any way trying to discourage you from changing the system. I was choosing to have the existing system follow its own rules. At the time I reported the problem I was not aware of the extend to which information may have been revealed. It appeared to me that the names of thousands of records related to either juvenile court and/or family court records were revealed. While I knew some adoption records were partially revealed due to my son's own records, I did not know how much of what was suppose to be sealed was indeed revealed.

While I do lean toward information being more open I feel it shouldn't be accidental or by chance. Rather the debate over the issue needs to made in the state legislative bodies. The area of privacy issues is complex but that does not mean it should not be discussed and debated.

I am concerned that computer systems reveal personal information that they should not. For example on the same computer database system that I was using before, I have recently found six restraining orders taken out due to child abuse that lists the name of the child that was abused. While this is not the norm (most did not list the child) this information apparently is not sealed. Clearly a public debate is needed over what should or should not be available at a click of the button.

One more thing before I end. In Wisconsin when we adopted my son (1983) open adoption was not yet in place or an option. The agency we worked with asked the birth parents if it would be all right if my son contacted them when he became an adult. I am not a lawyer, but I was left with the impression that it was a legal requirement. We our fortunate in that both parents agreed to this. While my son wanted to contact his birth mother to invite her to his High School graduation it turns out adult meant 21 in Wisconsin for this law. He is now 23 and has not made another attempt to contact her through the state system. I tell you this because you are correct in thinking that I don't understand your situation. My son has a choice I wish all adopted people did, but unfortunately we live in a very imperfect world. Through reading through your postings and Amy's Blog I am again made aware of the pain many feel in adoption triad. I wish I could end this on an up note, but I can't find any thing upbeat about pain.

Ungrateful Little Bastard February 18, 2007 at 12:32 PM  

Coolness, thanks. As I said it was a bit of snarkiness directed at all google news alerts that match the word adoption... but I stand by my deepest hopes that if someone was searching for a bit of their past that was denied to them, they were able to get it.

In general, public records *I* feel need to be requested; not just available by a click of the mouse. I don't want anyone reading the details of that restraining order I had to take out against George Clooney to get him to stop stalking me. ;)

But that idea of availability still stands. My original birth certificate is my right. And with all fairness, love, respect and understanding to my first parents for the era and air of secrecy of the time I was born into, they all do have 18 to 21 years to prepare themselves for the possibility that the relinquished child will want to search. And the fact that the relinqished child has those same "what if"'s shoved down their throats daily. We all know it well.

I feel it's sad that if your son's first parents had wanted to know about the graduation that by law they wouldn't be allowed to know. I am glad for Wisconsin in general that the option is available for those who do choose. Wish it was that way in all states :(

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