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CNN Today

Adoptive Rights Advocate Discusses Oregon Open Records Law

Aired May 31, 2000 - 2:03 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: With us now from Portland to offer her perspective on the open records law is Delores Teller, president of the Oregon Adoptive Rights Association and vice president of the American Adoption Congress.

Delores, thanks for being with us.

DELORES TELLER, OREGON ADOPTIVE RIGHTS ASSN.: Thank you for having me.

ALLEN: What do you think, first of all, of the story we just heard about the birth mothers that fear their loss of privacy, the rape victim that wants to stay anonymous?

TELLER: Well, they are definitely in the minority. And I'm here today representing the 5.7 million women, such as myself, who were compelled to relinquish children in a shame-based society and are very happy and celebrating this new law in Oregon.

ALLEN: Is that why you became so involved in this? You wanted to be reunited with the child that you gave up for adoption?

TELLER: Yes. And, also, I am one of about half -- 50 percent of birth mothers that will tell you, I was promised that my son would be able to get his birth certificate at age 21. And then I found out that wasn't true when he turned 21 years of age.

ALLEN: And what was it like when you were reunited with your son?

TELLER: It was overwhelming. It was a really freeing up of a lot of feelings that I had about grief and shame, and it was a chance for me to heal from a lot of issues that I have carried in my heart for a long time.

ALLEN: So your opinion is -- you talked about the shame-covered decision that birth mothers make, that most birth mothers would want more openness. That's what you found?

TELLER: Well, if you look at reality, birth mothers were largely white, middle-class women and girls that were raised in very conservative suburbs of the United States. And we have been raised and groomed to be wives and mothers. And then we were separated from our children. So it wasn't like we were anti-mothers and we didn't want to no the whereabouts of our children (OFF-MIKE).

ALLEN: We apologize. Something happened with the audio. If we get that fixed, we'll continue our discussion with Delores Teller. For now, we'll move on to other news.

First of all, before we move on, if Oregon's new adoption law is of interest to you, we'd like to direct you to our Web site at cnn.com. There you'll find links to the following related sites: the National Council for Adoption at www.ncfa-usa.org, the Adoption Institute at www.adoptioninstitute.org, and the Oregon Health Division at www.oshd.org. Also, you'll find a poll where you can register your support or disapproval of the Oregon law.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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