Access to Birth Certificates

An article in the November 2015 Costco Connection sparked dialogue about adult adoptee access to original birth certificates.k18869906

“Currently, the majority of states do not allow adopted persons to access this vital document upon reaching adulthood. Approximately 16 states allow adopted persons to request their original birth certificate in varying degrees, from full access to access with certain restrictions. New Jersey currently is the next state to allow adopted persons to access their original birth certificate (with some restrictions); the New Jersey law will take effect on January 1st, 2017. Efforts are underway in many states to advocate for the basic human right of adopted persons to access this core document.”

The Donaldson Adoption Institute, Annual Report, 2015

If the 8 million individuals that receive the Costco Connection weren’t aware of the debate over birth certificate access for adult adoptees, they became familiar with it thanks to the company’s November 2015 edition. The content and accompanying commentary was spread over two pages and can be accessed on-line via the following link: Costco Connection: Should it be mandatory to give adult adoptees full access to their birth records if they want it?

Adoption STAR Founder and CEO’s Michele Fried’s has written extensively regarding he take on open adoption records. Here is an excerpt of what she’s written about the topic in the past:

“As an adoptive parent of five children, and as an adoption professional in the community, I am completely supportive of open records. My children should have the right to obtain their original birth certificate and information surrounding their birth, just as I have the right to find out the same information about myself. How does it feel to grow up with an amended birth certificate? How does it feel to be told you cannot obtain your original birth certificate?

While adoption is a different way of forming a family it is by no means a lesser measure of what a family is. However, it is different. And the word different should be embraced rather than feared. This difference must be taken into account and be treated with respect. Adults must be treated with respect whether they joined a family by birth or by adoption. Adopted adults must have the ability to do what non-adopted adults take for granted.”

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