Friday, June 11, 2010

Access to Original Birth Certificates

Governor Quinn of Illinois recently signed into law provisions for adult adoptive children to finally receive their original birth certificates. In the viewpoint of the National Adoption Center, making birth record information more accessible to adopted adults is a good thing and very important.

We receive numerous phone calls and emails from adult adoptees about the question of search and reunion with birth family. Often the first step is locating the original birth certificate. Adults who were adopted as infants or young children are the most common group of people searching for adoption information and birth relatives and most often the search is for the birth mother. When we can, we provide search resources to those who want to search but, unfortunately, the legwork is really up to the adult adoptee. The Center’s public policy supports the rights of adoptees to their original birth certificates and all medical and historical records.

The new law in Illinois has some provisions on openness; effective immediately all children and parents involved in an adoption that took place before 1946 can get their birth certificates, however, for those in later situations, the state is going to spend one and half years notifying birth parents and adoptive adults that they need to contact the state to let them know if they wish to be found. After Nov 15, 2011, those involved in adoption can request birth certificates and if no other party has filed an objection, the birth certificate will be sent.

Some adult adoptees just have to find their birth families to answer the questions about where and who they come from and what genetic traits they inherited. Others decide to leave Pandora’s box closed. They all deserve what those of us who are not adopted just take for granted; the ability to get access to their personal information when and if they want it.

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