Friday, March 6, 2009

DAR and Adoption

In my review of Adopted: The Movie, I mentioned that Korean adoptee Jennifer is told that she cannot join Daughters of the American Revolution even though her adopted father is eligible for Sons of the American Revolution. Only blood related lineal descendants are eligible.

I was curious enough to go to the DAR website to see what they said about adoption and membership, if anything. The membership requirements are pretty clear:
Any woman is eligible for membership who is no less than eighteen years of age and can prove lineal, blood line descent from an ancestor who aided in achieving American independence. She must provide documentation for each statement of birth, marriage, and death.

And then in the FAQs, there's this:

Q. I'm adopted can I still become a member?

A. Yes, but only through your birth parents' lineage, not that of your adopted family. All lineage for DAR membership must be bloodline descent.

The FAQs seem like deliberate cruelty -- prove your lineage through your birth parents in the U.S. where we seal original birth certificates of adoptees. That'll happen, right?! (But on the other hand, I know of a case where a court found "good cause" to unseal an adult adoptee's birth certificate because the adoptee had reason to believe he was of American Indian ancestry and wanted tribal membership. Putting aside the fact that adoptees should be able to access their birth certificates any time they want, for good reason or no reason at all, maybe adoptees can petition to unseal birth records to prove eligibility for DAR?)

This isn't an issue that will affect us. Not only am I not a lineal, blood relative of a Revolutionary hero, I'd be completely uninterested in joining even if I were. But if you know adoptive parents who are members of DAR or organizations like it that disallow membership by adopted descendants, maybe you could pass this information on to them. I'd like to think that any AP would immediately end thier relationship with the DAR on receipt of this information.

6 comments:

Wendy said...

You would hope that an AP would do so, but I have to say that I doubt it. They are people who will go through hoops to prove they are related to some not so nice people and/or groups and take pride in that connection. There are those who still introduce their children as their "adopted" ones, unfortunately, the criteria for adoption in the past was basically a desire to adopt (some could say that is still the case in many private adoptions today--oh, and the cash). If only education was a requirement, as we know in China adoptions it is practically a joke with many agencies.
That part of the film was so heartwrenching--you are, but you are not--what a powerful and sad message that continues in many aspects of the adoptees life.

Anonymous said...

Well, I am eligible to join the DAR through "bloodline descent" (my grandmother on my father's side). However, I have no interest at all. My grandmother was very proud of her DAR membership, but when she died, none of her descendants even wanted her DAR pin! I guess I find it hard to believe that an adopted person would want to join the DAR so much that they would go to such lengths to prove they were eligible by "bloodline descent" (or want to join because they were adopted by someone who was DAR- eligible).

My grandmother was a very nice person, by the way. She lost her mother when she was only 3 years old. She was raised by her aunt and uncle. I that her throughout her entire 89 years of life, she wished she knew more about her mother. I imagine her feelings were similar to the way our children might feel about their birth parents.

Sue (Meredith and Maggie's mom)

Elizabeth Kryda said...

I'm an adoptee who recently found out I am a direct descendant of a Revolutionary War patriot through my birthfather. It was kind of exciting to know my lineage that far back after 28 years of knowing nothing about my birth lineage, and another 25 of knowing nothing about my birthfather's. There is something appealing about the idea of joining the DAR--but I can't prove by birth certificate who my birthparents were, so my application would fail. The idea of lineage has always had emotional impact for me--DAR is kind of that, with bells and whistles!

Marci Purcell said...

I agree with Elizabeth. As an adoptee and knowing I have the DAR bloodline connection this is very validating. Knowing I come from somewhere and wasn't just "adopted" from thin air is grounding. I do not yet have my OBC either, so cannot gain entry.

Marci Purcell said...

I agree with Elizabeth. As an adoptee and knowing I have the DAR bloodline connection this is very validating. Knowing I come from somewhere and wasn't just "adopted" from thin air is grounding. I do not yet have my OBC either, so cannot gain entry.

Swapping Gone Mad Robert Randy said...

I wonder how the heck they know one is adopted if one does not tell them.