The Right to Know
The heart of the adoption issue: Does the right to privacy outweigh the right to know?
By Colleen Van Tassell
Four years ago, a stranger called Patricia Austin and asked: Does April 22, 1963, ring a bell? The stranger told her that the daughter she gave up for adoption had been looking for her.
Austin, a psychologist, filed suit in Florida against Virginia Snyder, the 77-year-old investigator, alleging invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The suit claims Snyder used information that was illegally obtained from the court file. Austin also says Snyder “coerced and psychologically terrorized her into talking to her.”
Snyder says she used a copy of a marriage license, not information obtained from sealed records, to find Austin.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Austin’s 35-year-old daughter claims she “just wanted to know something about her history.” She and Snyder say Austin was shocked but pleased when contacted, and that the birth mother and daughter maintained a telephone relationship for several months. … Continue Reading