About Adoptee Rights: An Open Letter to the News Media

Because it’s much easier to Tweet a link.


As a member of the media, I wanted to take a minute to ensure that you were aware of one of the last disenfranchised class of individuals that are denied their civil rights by law in the United States. Did you know there are over 6 million adult adoptees in the United States who are affected by outdated adoption legislation?

Adopted people are the only group of US citizens denied access to their Original Birth Certificate (the OBC).  It truly is a form of discrimination as the adoptee has no way of choosing the circumstances of their birth, relinquishment and adoption, but the circumstances of their birth is held against them long into adulthood. By law, they are treated like perpetual children.

This is one of the many areas of adoption legislation where the states have power over making the laws. In the US, 48 states continue the practice of sealing adopted children’s original birth certificates upon finalization of the adoption.

As it is a state issue, there is a real patchwork of varied laws regarding OBC access Alaska and Kansas never sealed the OBC. New Hampshire, Oregon, Maine, and Alabama have changed legislation to allow adoptees access to their OBC upon age 18. Rhode Island lets the adoptee have access at age 25. Other states, such as Illinois, allow access at age 18, if the birthparents allow it which is insane considering that birthparents have long given up any rights to the said “child”. Still other states, such as Ohio and Massachusetts, allow some adoptees to have their legal documentation while other adoptees are denied based on arbitrary years of their birth.

Normally, I would stick to the point that our American adoptees must be treated equally as a matter of civil rights; which is a recognized right of all children according to the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child (articles 7 to 10 specifically) and the government has no business legislating to whom adults can have or not have a relationship with.

But I would like to point out another side affect of this cruel treatment.

Due to the basic human desire to know one’s true history and understand one’s roots, our US adoptees must find ways around the antiquated laws to find their families.  Adoptees and birth families have always searched for and found their families, though many searches have been known to take decades. The rise in social media has provide a new tool that allows lost family members to make the connections they so long for. The Evan D. Donaldson Adoption Institute recently issued a new report regarding the influence of the internet on adoption and there have been many previous stories regarding families coming together using the web. I, myself, located my relinquished son back in 2005 on MySpace.

As of late, the newest tactic is to create a picture with one search/ birth information and through the adoption and social media communities, they get spread and hopefully go viral.

Perhaps you have seen the rash of news articles regarding adoptees turning to social media to find their families?

These stories are not isolated. Various members of the adoption community have created vast clearing houses of these images on the many social media sites form Facebook, to Pinterest, to Tumbler where they are tweeted, shared, and hopefully, maybe, find their way to the one person who could provide clues about their origins. We tirelessly share and promote our fellow Adoptionland members and pray that they find those whom they seek.  There are over a hundred images like this with the numbers growing daily.

You can find them on these various sites:

And then, there AdopteePhoto.com. Yes, this is how we roll in the adoption community. We create sites, videos, pages, etc all  to help others with their searches because the laws refuse to help us!

Adoptees Searching with Social Media Need help

Sealed Adoption Records reduces people to this level. They have to beg for help from strangers on social media just to find their families.

While sharing one image 7,000 times might help that one person, there are over 6 million others that will fill that place. The only way we can really help ALL Adoptees have a right to find their families if they choose to is to allow them to have access to the original birth certificates.

As a member of the Board of Directors of the Adoptee Rights Coalition, I would love to entice you to call some attention to the need for Adoptee Rights Laws in this country. There are bills in New York, Ohio, Washington State, Missouri, Maryland, & Pennsylvania that would finally restore the civil rights of adult adoptees, but they need attention and support. The Adoptee Rights Coalition will have their 6th annual Demonstration on August 12th, 2013 at the National Council for State Legislators annual summit in Atlanta.

Please consider helping the fight of adoptees for their identity.

Thank you,

In truth,

Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy



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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine, Adopt-a-tude.com, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

9 Comments on "About Adoptee Rights: An Open Letter to the News Media"

  1. Gaye Tannenbaum | February 16, 2013 at 10:40 am |

    Claudia – There is a FaceBook group of people searching in Uruguay “Adoptados Uruguay” In Uruguay the government doesn’t seal the OBCs, they destroy them.


  2. Excellent as always. Extremely well written.

  3. Carry On! It’s the dunderheads in the state legislators that need educating. The pathetic process of searching by holding up a poster may do some good, at least it is seen by the media

  4. Mchael Schoer | February 18, 2013 at 11:07 pm |

    Great article. I’m active in Ny state & I’m here until the job is DONE !!!

    Thanks to everyone involved in adoptee access to OUR original birth certificates.

  5. Great article.

    I’m a late discovery adoptee who’s been searching for several years to no avail even though I had a story in the NY Daily News outlining my discovery and offering a reward to anyone who could connect me with my birth family.

    Lately I’ve been thinking – is it against the law for NY State to impact my pursuit of happiness by robbing me of my family and heritage? Can the state be sued for denying me my human rights?

    • Gaye Tannenbaum | February 21, 2013 at 1:34 pm |

      Anyone can be sued. I suggest you read everything you can get your hands on regarding the ALMA v Lefkowitz (NY) lawsuit from the 1970s. That was the last time it was tried.

  6. There are two bills for Ohio…which are House Bill 61 and Senate Bill 23. For more information on these bills you can check out http://www.adoptionequityohio.org/ to get more details.

  7. IDIOT SPAMMER | July 2, 2013 at 5:41 am |

    How To Adopt A Baby Or Child
    Adoption can be daunting, confusing and downright scary. You’ll be introduced to some great techniques to cut down your confusion and worries, and find out how you can be the one in control of the situation, rather than simply being along for the ride. Everything from choosing the right agency or professional, to what you should have in your adoption plan (You DO have an adoption plan, don’t you?)

    • Congratulations! md.appel20@gmail.com

      You have been BANNED from Musing of the Lame!

      Your completely inappropriate comment promoting your super sleazy “How to Adopt” guide will NEVER EVER get published. You have wasted your time by demonstrating your lack of sensitivity to legitimate adoption issues and your inability to research a site before you drop copy and paste comments ( if you BOTHERED to read, you would see that any promotion of adoption on MY blog is completely gross and not supported)

      And now I shall PUBLICLY SHAME YOU! on my adoption networks which are vast and far reaching.

      How DARE you try to make money off of the SELLING OF HUMAN BEINGS.
      Oh and by the way, the comment shows to ANYONE who has ANY clue about adoption that You are a complete IDIOT. The freaking expectant parents make the “adoption plan” not the hopeful adoptive parents.

      Enjoy burning in hell. Give Georgia Tann my best!

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