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November 13, 2007


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Ron Morgan

It's kind of funny that we're posting about open records on the FOIA blog... Adoption records are one category of records explicitly exempted from the FOIA. We're in the category of state secret, like where the folks on witness protection hang out, or where Cheney's bunker is located...

Ann Wilmer

If a child is relinquished but, for one reason or another, adoption is never finalized then the ONLY birth certificate they have is the original one, the one that names their biological parents. Therefore, no agency or court or legislature can legally promise a birth parent life-long anonymity. And no agency has ever produced evidence of such an agreement. Confidentiality, meaning that not every Tom and Jerry can have access to this information is one thing, anonymity is another.

I am fortunate to be reunited with my birth family but I was 50 before I managed to obtain enough information to find them. It took 19 years. If I had been given the truth -- MY records -- when I asked for them, that might have been enough for me. Instead, I had to find them to get answers to very basic questions.

I'm glad I did. But no one should have to go through what I did to know the truth of their origins. And many, many adoptees have as difficult a time as I did.


As an adoptee, it is very frustrating and, at times, heartbreaking to not have ANY knowledge as to ancestry, health information, and other vital issues. There are days when I look in a mirror and wonder who I look like. I wonder if I have brothers or sisters out there. I wonder if all of the health problems I am having are genetic and if I will pass these on to my children or if they are the result of something my mother did during pregnancy. I wonder why she gave me up and if she chose my adoptive parents. I wonder if I would have chosen to have children if I had known that there is a genetic component to my current health problems or if I would have adopted instead. Unfortunately, under current law, I cannot get answers to these questions. How can the legal system discriminate against an entire group of people by denying us such essential rights as these? How can anyone assume that it is right and good to cut a human being off from all knowledge of their past? What will become of this new generation of children who are the result of the laws which allow mothers to drop children off at a safe place, no questions asked, no identifying or health information given? Instead of moving forward, in compassion towards the adopted population, we seem to be regressing as far as the laws are concerned.

Paula McCormack

I am adopted and have also given up a child for adoption. My daughter has found me, but I have not found my natural mother. I think these records should be opened to all, if not for anything but medical history!!

Holly, adoptee

It's been 75 yrs since the bill for Sealed records was placed. With open adoptions and the fact that the babies that were relinquished are now adults in addition to the bmom's grandparents who placed a lot of shame on them for their "embarrassing situation" are deceased. I think we ought to get with the times. I want my medical history and to meet the sibling that I have out there. I'd like to thank my mother for giving me live and tell her how blessed I was to have the parents that I do have. I'd like my life to come full circle . . . before It's too late! Did I mention I don't know my heritage or where I was born? Sure, it seems like a small fact, but these "I don't know's" certainly leave a hole!

William Aronis

After serving my country in WW2 and Korea and almost being killed in a ship wreck going over seas I find it and insult to the service I gave my country by denying me access to my own birth certificate.


First of all, the Adoption Records will not be made "Public". The original birth certificate and/or records will only be released to the Adult Adoptee - no one else. At present Adoptees are the only class of American Citizenry that is held suspect by the government at large without due process.
Secondly, let's look at how silly the idea of "promised confidentiality" from an infant is. What parent in their right mind would ask to be protected from a newborn infant!!? The confidentiality was to protect the birth parents from public scrutiny ( and hypocritical judgement). The opposition to open records knows this full well, yet they violate it over and over in their efforts to deny Adult Adoptees the same Civil Rights that every other US Citizen has. How do they violate it you may ask?? Well, they get birth-mothers who are still reeling from the pain and shame of giving a child up and get them to testify at legislative hearings. These mothers are told that their information will be made public - and it is by the very people who say they are trying to stop it. Please, don't be fooled by the arguments of people who do exactly what they say they are trying to prevent.

Gretchen Adult Adoptee and adoptive parent

No one's concern for privacy must ever outweigh someone else's right to potentially lifesaving information. In today's world we know so much about the importance of current and accurate health information that it should be a no-brainer that adopted persons deserve, need, and have every right to their own records.

Gaye Tannenbaum

Nanny-State arguments aside, I'm all in favor of Confidential Intermediaries and Mutual Consent Registries - provided that they WORK!

So - I'm asking the FOIA experts out there - how can someone get data/statistics on state and maybe private registries - How many adoptees registered? How many birth parents? Of those registered - how many have requested identifying information, when available? How many have requested no contact? How many have been matched?etc. Do most triad people even know such things exist?

Instead of hypothesizing dire consequences or recounting selected worst-case-scenarios for those involved - how about some REAL numbers? And spare me the "if only one person is harmed" propaganda...

Personally, I don't want to knock on my birthmother's door if she doesn't want me to. But I'm still entitled to know who she is.


I believe since this "law & order" scheme is now under the umbrella "confidentiality" I demand a copy of the document I signed stating that. I sure didnt get a copy of the relinquishment papers either.
This should be a decision made by the people not the law makers. It is the right of every individual to know their identities if they so choose. This quiet silence is loud and clear and they will not go away. Within the last fifty 50 yrs. evolved the higher potential of learning power to the people and it is the right thing to do. Give them their rightful respect.

Joyce Bahr

Aparent, How about adoptees in the reform movement who are also adoptive parents and adoptive parents who work to unseal birth certificates?
As we go about our daily lives do we come in contact with adoptive parents? Do we dismiss feelings they have for their children because we want
adoptees to have birth certificates? No

Many adoptees will tell you that finding their roots strengthened their love for their adoptive parents.

It's normal to be protective of your child
and from his natural/birth parent who for some time in our history has been thought of as a low life.
Television since the eighties has presented a portrait of the "real natural/birth mother".
A neighbor, friend, co-worker, book worm, book author, journalist, mother, sister,---as strong as an oxe, as gentle as a lamb, as proud as a peacock, as graceful as a swan, as busy as a bee. We live in your neighborhood.

We have not heard of natural/birth parents hurting the adult adoptee
they find. Where are the tragic stories? There must be something to say for the
all of the ongoing reuions as many of us have been in
them for years. I do believe natural parents have contributed not only to the adult adoptees life but to society.

Time for me to pick up the phone and call my son's A'parents. Good night.


Your assumption is incorrect (I think it comes down to this--Is the interest of the adopted adult greater than the privacy interest of the birth parents.) Records were not sealed to protect the privacy of birth parents...where'd you get such an idea? They were sealed to protect the interest of adoptive parents, who lived in fear that the natural parent(s) would want to reclaim their offspring.


And let us not forget that original birth certificates are sealed in the case of step-parent adoptions. It's the "as if born to" myth.

Also - I find it interesting that the "constitutional right to privacy" the Pro-Life movement is using is the same "constitutional right to privacy" that gave us Roe v. Wade. Talk about strange bedfellows!

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