Adoptee Rights

Why Should We Care About the Fight to Open Adoption Records

Adoptee Rights & Access to their Original Birth Certificates

In the US, 48 states continue the practice of sealing adopted children’s original birth certificates (the OBC) upon finalization of the adoption. In all but 4 of those 42 states, adult adoptees do not have unrestricted access to their OBC like all other people do at the age of 18.

Right now, only Alaska, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Alabama  allow unrestricted equal access to all adoptees over the age of 18.  In Rhode Island, they have restored access to all adoptees over the age of 25. Washington State,  Illinois, New Jersey, Indiana,  Colorado, Connecticut, Montana and Ohio now have had successful legislation introduced that does allow many adoptees to access their OBC’s, BUT it is not EQUAL access as they still have birth parent vetos’ in the laws ( in Ohio it;s a one yer window in time where the birth parents can have their names removed, but medical information still goes through) and that gives one party the ability to control another party.  New Jersey, Colorado and Connecticut have also recently changed their laws. Unless the adoptee’s birthparents had the knowledge that they could apply for the OBC before the adoption records were sealed, then that adoptee might never see the record of their birth and even then, the ADOPTEE as an ADULT Citizen of the US is NOT treated the same as other US citizens in regard to their legal documentation.

This is one of the many areas of adoption legislation where the states have power over making the laws. Alaska and Kansas never sealed theirs at all, but the other 48 did, some as early as the 1930’s and some not until the 70’s. Some sealed records laws, such as NY, can trace their roots back to the corrupt practices of Georgia Tann and other unscrupulous lobby groups who must have been hiding something.

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Costco Shines Spotlight on Adoptee Rights

By Lori Holden Costco announced on Facebook a few weeks ago that it was seeking commentary for its Informed Debate column in its monthly magazine,The Costco Connection. It asked, “Should it be mandatory to give adult adoptees full access to their birth records if they want it?” The post generated more than 2300 comments, some which may be featured in the November issue. Scanning through, I noticed some folks wondering…


How Search and Reunion Saved My Life

By Laura Marie Scoggins One of the most common questions adoptees are asked when they tell people they are searching for their biological family or have been reunited is “why would you even want to search?” The insensitivity of this question makes my blood boil. I have to pause and count to ten before replying. Sometimes when that doesn’t work and the blood boiling makes my head feel like it’s…


Equal Rights for Adoptees Cannot Be Compromised

By Mirah Riben In 1989, my first book The Dark Side of Adoption was published. That same year I organized a speak-out at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC at the culmination of a walk of adoptees and mothers who had lost children to adoption that began in New York City. Also, that year, at the AAC national conference in NYC, I organized a “red tape” event that garnered media…


Rights of Adopted Persons at Risk in Pennsylvania

By Mirah Riben “Our nation was founded on a bedrock principle, that we are all created equal. The project of each generation is to bridge the meaning of those founding words with the realities of changing times. A never ending quest to insure those words ring true for every single American. Progress on this journey often comes in small increments. …. “This morning the Supreme Court … reaffirmed that all…


Bait and Switch Foils NYS Adoptee Rights

By Mirah Riben “In this day and age, there is no reason why there should be restrictions on an adoptee having access to their original birth certificate.” David Weprin, New York State Assemblymember representing Queens 24th Assembly District. A New York bill allowing adults who were adopted as children to obtain access to their original birth certificates, was “destroyed” by members of the NY State Assembly before it passed by…


New York’s Adoptee Rights Amended Bill Disaster TAKE TWO

When you tell man who wrote a bill that he doesn’t know how to write a bill, you issue a challenge. When you insult him and he obviously picked up on that, he comes back at you with the bill he wrote to prove the point. And so, due to that meeting held by UI, our formally beautiful CLEAN NY OBC Adoptee rights bill with a lovely and simple contact preference, has been amended to a version of the 2104 disaster. This is what happens when you throw down the gauntlet. So yeah, the HORRIBLE NO GOOD VERY BAD BILL has come back. A2901 is now A2901A


Dear TX Senator Donna Campbell,

By Lori Holden Let’s talk — adoptive mom to adoptive mom. I understand having fears about adoption and, by extension, fears about making changes in adoption law. Change can be scary. For decades many states have had laws on the books to protect people from the humiliation of unwed pregnancy or the shame of infertility or the stigma of being born to unmarried parents. In response, we have put up…