I have adoptive parents who are very much exceptions to the rule. When I was a child they were 100% open about the circumstances of my birth and adoption, sharing with me every bit of information they had available, encouraging me to think *and* talk about it, and eventually hiring searchers to assist me in locating my first family. As an adult, they have fully supported me as I entered into reunions, experienced a rather traumatic end to one reunion, worked on adoption legislation, and tried to find my voice as an advocate for adoptee equality and adoption reform. Did they and do they get everything right? No, of course not, they’re only human. But my experience of what adoptive parents are like has been so very different from nearly every other adoptee I know. For all the deep, persistent pain and grief/loss from adoption, I am certain that I have had a safer, healthier, happier life as a result. And yet, when I speak out about the injustices, atrocities, and human rights violations that have occurred (or, worse, are still occurring) in adoption, people who don’t know me well always assume, with such confidence in their assumptions, that I am only “angry” because I have a personal axe to grind and thus the information I’ve presented must be false, while people who DO know me often argue against whatever verifiably fact-based opinions I’ve offered because they feel that the (many) things that are wrong with adoption as a whole somehow pale in comparison to how “right” my adoption was, that I am insulting my own adoptive parents and all the “good people who are saving unwanted/suffering children”, and that I’m personally causing harm to “the poor, sad people who desperately want a baby” because I’m trying to make it harder for them to get that perfect, blank-slate newborn they deserve. It often feels like there’s no way to be a credible source of adoption information when you’re an adoptee. No matter how many degrees I earn, no matter how many hours of research I’ve done, no matter how much legislation I’ve read (or, for that matter, helped write), no matter how many other adoptees and first parents I’ve talked to, no matter how many books and articles I’ve read, and no matter what my own experience has been, I will never be considered as credible as my coworker’s friend’s cousin who is an adoptive parent and says that their children are “just fine with it” or an adoption worker who espouses the belief that all adoptions are “beautiful miracles”. I wish people would listen to adoptees and first parents without feeling the need to immediately jump to defense of adoptive parents and the institution of adoption. I wish that, instead of viewing reports of ‘bad’ things that have happened in adoption as rare, isolated events, people would recognize them as the interconnected hallmarks of a deeply flawed system. Regarding birth certificates: I think access to OBCs should be universal and completely unrestricted. I’d love to see birth certificates standardized across states, especially since they are used for so many federal identification purposes. Rather than issuing amended birth certificates to adoptees, there should be a way to add adoptive parents or legal guardians, and any name changes an individual has over the course of their lifetime (from adoption, marriage, etc.) to the OBC—this way everyone’s got the same document whether they’re adopted or not.