Birth Mother Privacy – A Myth or Reality?

May 2nd, 2007

Here we go again. This article discusses the open records issue as legislation is under way in North Carolina to change laws re acess. "This is a very tough thing to balance -- the privacy of a birth parent against the search by an adoptee for their own personal information," said Brinton Wright, a Greensboro adoption lawyer and board member of a children's home. Has anyone else noticed when discussing birth parent privacy, you rarely see birth parents quoted? Why do you suppose that is the case? Does everyone else really know what birth parents want? If you read many newspaper articles, you will see quotes from everyone BUT birth parents about how we need our privacy. Who stands up the most and… [more]

All Adoption Records Were Open in the U.S.

April 5th, 2007

Advocates for closed adoption records tout the secrecy and closed nature of adoption and infer that is how it has always been. However, when legal adoption began in the United States, all records were open. Adoption records were open in every single state in the country. Yet by 1960, more than half of all states had shut down access to modern adoption records, often in response to a 1941 amendment to the Social Security Act that required child welfare records be kept confidential. Some states took this to mean that adoption records needed to be sealed. A number of other factors contributed to the trend in sealing adoption records. Most states followed the dictates of the time and closed records in their states. However… [more]

Newspaper fights to Open Records

March 27th, 2007

A newspaper in Indiana is fighting to open adoption records in Indiana in a specific adoption case. A law is currently being considered in the state as well to make it a misdemeanor to accept anything of value for arranging surrogate births in the state. The Indianapolis Star on Thursday filed a petition to open records in the case, which is pitting Indiana's adoption secrecy law against the public's right to know how the courts do business. Their efforts to open adoption records in Indiana is detailed in this story as the Indiana Court of Appeals reviews the case of a 60-year old man who hired a surrogate to have twin daughters for him. You might remember this story. The adoptive dad of the now… [more]

Proposed Bill to Provide More Information for Adoptees

March 10th, 2007

This bill has been proposed in Illinois to help provide more medical information for adoptees. But the bill touches on one of the sorest spots in the national adoption debate. At issue is how much information should be provided to adult adoptees about their parents. A 29-year-old Port Byron woman after suffering two miscarriages, now has a healthy son. She wondered about her family medical history with each miscarrage. Yet, she knows nothing of any family medical history that her son might benefit from knowing. She is adopted. The proposed legislation will require full disclosure of family medical problems at the time of adoption. Sounds like a step in the right direction, right? Is this really the answer to providing medical information to adoptees? Think… [more]

Tennessee’s Journey to Open Records

January 26th, 2007
Categories: Open Records

The photo accompanying this post is the State Capitol of Tennessee, the state where I grew up. Tennessee is one of the few states where an adoptee can get their original birth certificate at age 21. Their state law does allow for the birth certificates to be restricted, however, if a veto is in the file from a birth parent. I found this article at which gives some background information about how the quest to open the records in Tennessee was inspired. The journey began with a need that Caprice East had for medical information. Opponents of open records are quoted in the article with worries that the Tennessee case would cause records to open all over the country. All sorts of… [more]

CO Original Birth Certificates Part 1

January 4th, 2007
Categories: Open Records

Effective January 1, 2007 adult adoptees may get their original birth certificate in CO if certain criteria is met. It is my understanding that CO passed this law a year ago and was supposed to have a state and national awareness campaign but that hasn’t seemed to have happened for whatever reason. You can access the CO law on Lexis Nexis at and click your way to title 19 section 5-305. If I am understanding correctly adult adoptees and natural parents who have been previously reunited may obtain the adoptees original birth certificate due to a new law. In other words, if your adoption was finalized prior to 9-1-1999 upon presentation of a certified order and proper identification that… [more]

NJ Advertising Dollars

December 15th, 2006
Categories: Open Records

An interesting article appeared in the opinion section in the Courier Post Online on December 7, 2006. The link to the article is listed above. Apparently, the legislation in NJ that would provide adoptees access to their birth records was changed prior to the vote on Monday. The original legislation proposed one million dollars over 12 months for advertising the open access to adoptees birth records being granted. The thought process was to significantly amplify the proposed change so that natural parents who do not wish to be contacted can protect their privacy. The latest bill now under consideration by an Assembly committee has whittled the advertising funding to $90,000. According to the article, one billboard in Salem… [more]

More on NJ Legislation

December 12th, 2006
Categories: Open Records

Marley Grainers blog on the Daily Basterdette makes a lot of sense and she is right. If this legislation or any other legislation gets passed that contains a contact veto, changing it down the road is going to be very difficult. Just as getting legislation passed in the states that currently have closed or sealed records to open them up and give adoptees everything they are asking for is difficult. However, isn't meeting the needs of 99% of the adoptees who would be able to obtain their original birth certificate better than zero? Especially in the states that have a strong Catholic lobby. Don't get me wrong, I want to have it all, too. But is it realistic… [more]

Closed Records and Medical Informaiton

November 30th, 2006
Categories: Open Records

If searching there are some that feel that closed records are an inconvenience and in doing a search it did not build character as the adoptee attempted to overcome enormous obstacles. Some feel that closed records are a violation of human rights and individual freedom. Many feel that the fact is that an adult has a right to his or her genetic origin. The adoptee never consented to the situation and would benefit not just as the age of majority but all through their life from the information that is now held secret. Some feel very strongly that closed records are a mistake but with open records comes a responsibility for all triad members to respect the wishes of each other… [more]

My Take on Confidentiality

March 4th, 2006

Confidentiality, it has been said, is to protect birth parents from later intrusion into their lives by the child and to let them put the past behind them and move on with their lives. This confidentiality for adoptive parents gives them peace of mind that the birth mother won’t intrude into their lives and let them put the past behind them and to move on. Karen, my blogging buddy, brought up the subject of confidentiality in adoption. The quote above was in one of her latest blogs. Therefore, I thought I would share my take on confidentiality with you. She is right that confidentiality has been said to protect birth parents. That idea is one that the proponents of closed records often mention. However… [more]