- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 18, 2000

Column raises right questions about mass immigration

Diana West hit the nail squarely on the head in her column ("The melted U.S. pot," Op-Ed, Jan. 14). Mass immigration is significantly changing the character of America, and if this republic is to continue to "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity," our immigration policy and its consequences must be addressed.

Miss West eloquently made the point of how we need all the more to emphasize assimilation in our mediating institutions schools, churches, the family, etc. If we hope to survive as the last, best hope for mankind, then America needs to remain America, not be transformed through mass immigration and multiculturalism into just a bunch of people who happen to live in proximity to one another.

If things remain unchanged, then our nation will ultimately become subservient to transnational bodies such as the United Nations. We owe our patriotic forebears greater honor than that. Our immigration policy should serve our national interests.

James R. Edwards Jr.

Springfield

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Most welcome is Diana West's column about the UN-ification of the USA with its many unassimilated peoples. Miss West lays out the case for at least debating immigration even though doing so is politically incorrect. The U.S. Census Bureau now predicts as its upper range value, not maximum value, 1.2 billion people in this country within this century. Almost all of the increase will be due to immigrants since 1970 and their offspring. Through inaction we have an accidental public policy with life-threatening hazards to the health of our nation. Let the debate begin.

James G. McDonald

Arlington

Arms, not good intentions, needed to secure peace at home and abroad

William Goldcamp's recent article, "Ambushing the gun industry," (Commentary, Jan. 10) superbly articulates the relationship between our commander in chief's fallacious domestic and international small-arms policy. It is rightly so that Mr. Goldcamp uses the word hollow to describe the existing ideology of the present administration's enforcement of the myriad laws enacted during the Clinton administration seek not to punish nor deter criminal activity, as much as it seeks to control and limit by fiat, the established legal commerce of weapons, regardless of use by civilians or military.

On the domestic front, it is reprehensible that existing court opinions support the non-liability of law enforcement in protecting the safety of the individual (which I agree with), even as the anti-self-defense minions continue to erode the right to personal protection. We have become a nation of sissies who have forgotten that the New World Order requires the loss of American freedoms, and President Clinton is giving up those freedoms hand over fist. Mr. Goldcamp's criticism of the mistaken belief that domestic tranquility and international peace can be secured without the deterrent value of weapons sums it up better than I ever could.

Eric Liu

Foster City, Calif.

Adoptees aren't confusing curiosity about parents with 'rights'

In response to Robyn Blumner's Jan. 15 Commentary article, "Confusing Curiosity and Rights," article, may I share with you my story and viewpoint as an adult adoptee who successfully and happily found her birth parents? Please do not allow any fear, ignorance or prejudice to prohibit the rights of adult adoptees to have access to their birth information.

As an adult adoptee who at the age of 30 found both her biological parents in 1981, I am living proof that reunions can be positive. Not only was our reunion positive, but at the end of my biological mother's life, when she was disabled by a stroke, I became her caregiver for the last 3* years. What began as a search for genetic background, family heritage and answers as to why I was placed for adoption, turned into a very nice friendship and a blessing for my biological mother.

The search was completed with the blessings of my adopted family and welcomed by my biological parents. The results were like adding new friends but in no way changed the relationship I had with my adopted family. Letters were exchanged, we met occasionally, and we often spoke on the telephone. My birth parents never wanted to give me up but felt forced to by parents and social stigmas, never wanted total anonymity from me, had tried for 30 years to find me and were thrilled to be connected once again. They stayed together their entire lives and never felt complete until they found me again. They acknowledged me publicly, and our lives went on as usual only a bit more enriched.

Adoptees do not search to replace the parents who raised us. Wanting to know one's genetic links is a natural strong desire for adoptees. It was very important to learn this information since over 100 diseases skip a generation. When we conceived our son after nine years of marriage, we had no idea of my medical background because it was all denied from me for 31 years. Finding the truth gave us piece of mind and avoided an unnecessary amniocentesis test. Knowing my genetic background now helps me protect my health in my remaining adult life. It was a tremendous help to me and my family.

It wasn't until my biological mother took ill that I got to know her intensely as well as coming to grips with her financial and intense medical problems. By then my biological father had died, and she had no one to take care of her. We moved her from Florida to our home in Illinois so we could oversee her welfare. We were given power of attorney by my birth mother and essentially became a parent to her.

Birth parents cannot hide or live a lie forever. Someone always knows the truth. Facing the truth is better than avoiding it. Running away and hiding is not a solution. In birth parent's defense however, I feel adult adoptees have rights to their information but must use what they learn with discretion and respect toward their birth families and adoptive families.

Barbara S. Hedlund

Urbana, Ill.

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I write in reply to the article by Robyn Blumner. She writes, "At its core, the issue for adoptees is a gnawing curiosity about their natural parents, the circumstances of their birth and the reason they were given up." This is incorrect. At its core, the issue here is equal protection under the law for an entire class of citizens whose right to access the original state-held records of their births was abrogated decades ago. The United States lags far behind most of what we used to call the free world in granting this right to adoptees.

Prejudicing the issue with phrases like "prying" and "wrenching" records open serves to obfuscate with emotionalism what is really a clear-cut issue: These records primarily pertain to the adoptees whose births they record, and as long as they remain sealed, the era of shame that led to their sealing lives on. The whole issue of birth mother's "privacy" is a smoke screen behind which the lucrative adoption industry, as represented by the National Council for Adoption, attempts to hide its own past misdeeds. No court has found that concept to have any validity, and to claim that birth mothers were promised privacy completely fails to understand adoption practice; records are not sealed at relinquishment, but at adoption finalization. No one could have made such a "promise" in good faith; if some adoption practitioners did so, they far overstepped themselves, and the state has no responsibility to hold to such a promise.

An industry which has been permitted to operate behind such a cloak of secrecy for decades may well have something to fear from the light of day. Adoptees and birth parents do not. I am 50 years old and find patronizing remarks about who my real parents are quite offensive. I also find a system by which the government keeps what amount to secret dossiers on law-abiding citizens offensive as well. Our right to privacy, the right to documents which define our genetic, legal and historical identities, is being violated. The legislatures of some states and the electorate of one have come to see the wrong in this system as well. In time, so will the rest. The era of sealed records will soon end. We will end it.

Cynthia Bertrand Holub

Philadelphia

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