Cancer Ever After

Musings on Infertility, Adoption, Parenthood and Cancer

The Real Criminal

on 12/22/2014

Tim’s side:

Apparently, there is a major difference when a woman goes to get fingerprinted under the Adam Walsh Act versus when a man does. As part of the adoption process, we are required to undergo an extensive background check, which includes fingerprinting. Prints are checked against local, state, and federal criminal databases.

I took my lunch break to go to the local police station to get fingerprinted and was mostly through the process when one of the two officers reviewed my paperwork. He inquired what the “Adam Walsh Act” was pointing to where it was written in the bottom corner of the form. I shrugged and said, “I’m not sure. This is for the background check for adopting a child, so I guess it has something to do with that.” The officer stood up, puffed up, and replied, “That’s John Walsh’s son. You know the dude from America’s Most Wanted?” The other officer, a woman, then began inquiring about the adoption, and I told her our story thus far. Meanwhile, the male officer was giving me a strangely aggressive look and only nodding. I finished being printed, cleaned my hands, signed the forms, thanked them, and left.

On my way back to the office, I thought the whole exchange was a little offf. I still had some time on my break, so I Googled the Adam Walsh Act. It took some digging to find how it applied to our circumstance. The requirement for fingerprinting for adoption is a little known byline added to the Adam Walsh Act. The Act was signed into law in 2006 that requires all sex offenders to be registered and, depending on the severity of their crimes, the frequency of updating their info–including fingerprints. I was quite humiliated and a little angry when it hit me. The local police now thought that I was a sex offender registering, not a decent person trying to adopt a baby.

The few people we have worked with through adoption agencies all apologized for how invasive the background checks would be. That didn’t quite prepare me for the reactions that I have received just in this one step of the process. And we’ve only just begun…

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