Wednesday, February 13, 2008

States Are Increasing Adoption Openness

A story in USA Today highlights a banner year for states that increased adoptees' access to their birth history.

Last year, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Jersey approved legislation that gave adoptees at least some access to their pasts. Massachusetts approved access to original birth certificates for adopted persons born before July 1974 (when records were sealed in that state) or after January 2008. North Carolina approved indirect access through a state-appointed intermediary. Beginning in January 2009, Maine will become only the eighth state to give adult adoptees full access to their birth records, including their birth parents' names.

The story quotes Darryl McDaniels (aka the rapper DMC) explaining why such access matters to adoptees like him: "This is really about identity and the truth of a human being's existence.... We never start a book from Chapter 2," he said. "As adoptees, we live our lives from Chapter 2."

The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute recently released "For the Records: Restoring a Right to Adult Adoptees," which examines issues related to states’ open records laws and supports the view that all states should allow adult adoptees to access their original birth information.

It's great to see states beginning to realize that adoptees have a right to understand their past. For more on NACAC's position on openness, visit our web site.

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