February 15th, 2008
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Categories: February 2008

This story out of The Clarion Ledger in Mississippi provides an example of why open records are needed and why adoptees need and deserve easier access to their medical records.

In the article, we are introduced to Lauren McCrary, an adult adoptee. Lauren and her twin brother were adopted together after their birth in 1969. Raised partially in Mississippi and then partially in Texas, Lauren remembers being told that she was adopted around eight or nine. She says she never had any problems being or knowing that she was adopted, but as she grew up she found herself thinking of her birth family, wondering why she had blue eyes, if she had other siblings, etc. But she ran into many dead ends whenever she tried to find her birth family because of Mississippi’s laws.

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But then late last year, at 38, Lauren was diagnosed with cancer. She began chemotherapy but doctors said she would need a bone-marrow transplant. Thirty percent of people needing a bone-marrow transplant find a match in a sibling. The only sibling that Lauren knew of was her twin brother, Ilya. He was tested first and was not a match.

She was left wondering if she had any other siblings. Lauren contacted the agency that she was adopted through but they would not release information to her without a court order. Somehow after more pleading (and the article makes it unclear exactly how) Lauren was put in touch with her biological Grandfather, who is dying of cancer.

Lauren does indeed have another sibling, a younger brother in fact, named Thomas Mayer. His brother said that their mother passed away from cancer in 2000. He and the twins had different fathers. They are waiting the results to see if he is a match or not. In the meantime, they have enjoyed getting to know one another via the phone and computer.

It just pains me to hear this story because if Lauren McCray had known that there was a family history of cancer perhaps her doctors could have been on the look out for it or had she been able to know information about her birth family sooner perhaps she could have had the opportunity to meet her birth mother before she died.

2 Responses to “An Example of why Open Records are Needed”

  1. lmccrary says:

    The adoption agency put me in touch with my grandfather,but only after they found out that the media and a non-profit company called Emergency Medical Locators were helping me.
    The local NBC station in Dallas-Fort Worth did a two part story about my medical situation. The Clarion Ledger also did a story with a follow-up. I am currently at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.
    They have a specialized Blood and Marrow Transplant Unit. My doctors found me and unrelated donor through the National Marrow Donor Program. I had my stem cell transplant on April 17,2008. Now it is a waiting game. Waiting for all of my blood counts to recover. I was registered through the NMDP before I found out I had leukemia. If you are atleast 18 years of age and in good health please consider signing up with the NMDP! You could save someone’s life.
    I thank God everyday for my unrelated donor!

    LM

  2. lmccrary says:

    My only regret is that I never got to
    meet my birth mother, Sharon. The other thing that just blows my mind is that for more
    than ten years my twin brother and I
    lived just two hours away from our birth mom and our brother.We moved to Texas in 1982. They moved to Texas in 1984. Our
    brother joined the service after High
    School. Our birth mom lived in Texas
    until 1999. Right after she got sick
    with cancer,our brother took her home
    to be with her family.

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