RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- Imagine not being able to gain access to your birth certificate. That is an unhappy reality for many adopted adults.
To recognize National Adoption Awareness Month and raise awareness about adoptee rights, a new play dubbed “The Good Adoptee” will be performed in Ridgefield, Stamford and Danbury.
The 90-minute play was written and directed by Suzanne Bachner and is sponsored by Access Connecticut Now and Calo Programs.
It tells the true story of Bachner’s search for her birth parents in the face of New York State’s sealed records law.
The play helps to support work to restore Connecticut adoptees’ access to their original birth certificates, according to Karen Caffrey, president of Access Connecticut.
The play will be performed in Fairfield County on the following days and times:
- Friday, Nov. 11, 8 p.m., First Congregational Church, 103 Main St., Ridgefield
- Saturday, Nov. 19, 2 p.m., UConn, 1 University Place, Stamford
- Friday, Dec. 9, 8 p.m., King Street United Church of Christ, Danbury.
100 percent of the proceeds of the play will support Access Connecticut.
Founded in 2013, Access Connecticut is a nonprofit statewide volunteer adoptee rights organization that works to restore the right of adult adoptees over the age of 18 to obtain a copy of their original birth certificates.
Before 1975, all Connecticut-born adoptees had that right. But that is no longer the case. Connecticut-born adoptees whose adoptions were finalized before Oct. 1, 1983, are denied access to their biological heritage and medical information, she said.
Access Connecticut has been working to get the law changed, Caffrey said.
“We got a partial bill (access to original birth certificates) passed in 2014, so that adult adoptees who were born and adopted after Oct. 1, 1983, can get their original birth certificate,” she said. “We are now trying to extend that law to cover all adult adoptees, for those who were born before 1983.”
The legislature will next meet in January to discuss this issue.
“It’s a feeling of being discriminated against. Getting ready for the legislative session, our sole goal is to get this legislation passed,” Caffrey said.
Barbara Montgomery, a Norwalk birth mother involved with Access Connecticut for over 20 years, said, "Connecticut adult adoptees deserve to have the same basic right given to all Connecticut non-adopted residents.
“Adult adoptees should know their medical history, which is vital not only to their health, but also the health of their children,” Montgomery said. “It is disrespectful to the dignity of adult adoptees to continue being denied access to their original birth certificates.”
For years there has been a great deal of secrecy and stigma about illegitimate birth and pregnancy outside of wedlock. “These secrecy laws are based in old, outdated societal beliefs about bad blood," Caffrey said.
“Now adoption is practiced with a lot more openness,” she said.
“The play is our major fundraiser,” Caffrey said. “It touches human themes about identity, belonging and connections. Everyone belongs to a family and has ancestors and has a heritage and those who are adopted do, too.”
Each performance will include a post-show Talk Back with Suzanne Bachner and actress Anna Bridgforth, who stars in the production.
“Going to a show, buying a ticket, volunteering and sharing your energy -- all of this helps our cause,” Caffrey said.
Calo Programs is a family of programs that addresses the dysfunctional patterns that arise due to early trauma, particularly families with adopted children.
Tickets cost $25, and $20 for seniors, students and military veterans . For more information about the play, click here .
The play, which premiered in the United Solo Theatre Festival in 2015, won awards for Best Autobiographical Script and Best Actress.
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