Social Question


Do children have the right to know their biological parents?

Asked by RANGIEBABY (2097points) August 20th, 2010

I can pros and cons on this particular issue. I am undecided at the moment.

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20 Answers

Mom2BDec2010's avatar

I think they should know who there biological parents are. If I didn’t know who mine were, I would want to know.

muppetish's avatar

Yes, I think they have a right to know who they are but I do not the think their biological parents (especially if they have legally waved off any parental rights to the child) should be in any way obligated to meet the child.

However, I am not a parent. I am not an adopted child. This is only an outsider’s opinion. I’d like to read more about this from people who have been in this situation or know someone else who was.

daytonamisticrip's avatar

Yes, no question yes.

perspicacious's avatar

I am of the opinion that they do in every case.

marinelife's avatar

I believe they are entitled to medical and family history information. I believe that this is best done in a meeting or series of meetings.

Then, if the biological parent does not want a relationship, they have the right to decline one.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I agree with @marinelife. The child has the right to their family medical history and to know who they are. Knowing them doesn’t not mean that a relationship has to ensue. If the parents don’t want to have a relationship with their child, you can’t force it (and trying to do so will only cause problems).


@ALL So does everyone agree there should be a law to open the childs history when ever the child wants to know? Because, right now I believe there are judges that close that information permanently at the request of the parents.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Most states seal the records of closed adoptions and keep them sealed until there is a court order to unseal them. In those states, either the child or the birth parent has to petition the court to unseal the records. There are a few states that will unseal the records once the child is 18. In open adoptions, the records are not sealed. Typically, when an adoption takes place, the birth parents give their medical history and that is part of the child’s paperwork and should be in their adoption file. I believe the child should have the right to view their medical history at any time (as long as the adoptive families have it). I believe they should be able to see their sealed adoption documents at 18 as well. I can’t decide if they should be able to see the sealed documents sooner than 18 though (it’s just a tough decision and I can see good and bad in it).

JilltheTooth's avatar

Is this thread only about adoption?

JilltheTooth's avatar

Hey, guys, I appreciate the GA, but my question remains. If it includes anonymous donors I’d love to weigh in.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@JilltheTooth Good point. My cousin had 5 children by 3 men. Child #3 was adopted by Husband #2. He didn’t find out that it wasn’t his dad until he accidentally found out in his teens. I’m not sure if they ever planned on telling him.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@JilltheTooth I never even thought about donors. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that (hopefully @RANGIEBABY won’t mind). My initial though to the question was adoption and children whose parents walked out before they were born or when they were really little.

JilltheTooth's avatar

OK, here goes. As unpopular as this may make me, I don’t think children have the right to know. I think, in a perfect world, medical information would be made available, if necessary, but not necessarily the identity of the parents or donors. I think the children have the right to try and find biological parents, if they want to, but I feel pretty strongly that if the donors/parents really want to remain anonymous that their wishes should be respected.
I know a number of men that would not have donated sperm but for the anonymity aspect. I know women who want nothing to do with the child given up for adoption because that child would only be a reminder of terible pain and strife.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Curiosity is natural, but satisfaction of curiosity is not a right.

cookieman's avatar

We adopted my daughter from China and there’s little to no chance she could find her biological parents if she wanted to She was abandoned in a field and transported over a hundred miles away from where she was found. Her birthday is a guess and her first and last name were made up by the orphanage director. She spent almost a year in the orphanage before we adopted her.

And you know what? I’m more than ok with that.

We’re perfectly honest with her about her origin story and the who’s and why’s of it all. If she someday wanted to try and find them, I’d help her do it but as far I’m concerned my wife and I are her real parents. It’s not about the biology, it’s about who does the work. And I’ve told my daughter this in no uncertain terms. She’s seven, she gets it.


@JilltheTooth sorry I just got back and read where you want to know if it is just about adoption. No, it is about any child anywhere that wants to know who both parents are. Some children live with only their mother and never knew their father, but he is still alive. Or as you say donor parent.

Brenna_o's avatar

YES. If the child is adopted or you have a child from a surroget mother I believe the child (at a age where they can understand the situation) should have the right to know there true birth mom, and birth dad.
I once saw a news brodcast of a boy who had to get his blood tested at school, and from the results he got from the school he found out he was adopted.. And his adopted family never even mentioned anything till the school told the guy.

cookieman's avatar

@Brenna_o: Having “right” to know your biological parents and being told you’re adopted are two completely different things.

To not have told that boy he was adopted is insane. I believe adoptive parents should be honest about everything with their adopted child from day one (at an age-appropriate level of course).

Seaofclouds's avatar

@JilltheTooth I agree with you about the sperm donors. They got into the situation never planning to know if a child ever even came to be, let alone know anything about the child. As far as I know, sperm donors fill out medical forms with their medical history and that information is given to the people that use the sperm.

I understand what you are saying about closed adoptions as well. I think children are going to be more apt to want to know their biological parents in adoption cases (especially if they are unhappy with their current situation and feel like their parents just “gave them up”). I think a child knowing who that person is is a good thing. Knowing who their biological parents are does not mean there has to be a relationship with them. If that parent still wants nothing to do with the child when the child is an adult, they can just be honest with the child and tell them that. I would hope that any child that goes out looking for their biological parents have an idea that it may not work out the way they want it to and I would hope that their adoptive parents were helping them and supporting them through that time.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Seaofclouds : I don’t know how it is now but 23 years ago when I got donor sperm we knew nothing of the donor’s medical history. The bank I went to screened very carefully, including for allergies, and were very careful not to give an Rh negative woman Rh positive sperm. Other than that we got only a physical description. Long ago and far away, it may be different now.

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