Access is a Human Right
“The law must be consonant with life. It cannot and should not ignore broad historical currents of history. Mankind is possessed of no greater urge than to try to understand the age-old questions. “Who am I?” “Why am I?” – Judge Wade S Weatherford, Seventh Judicial Circuit, South Carolina, ruling on an adoptee’s petition to access adoption records.
Adoptees Need Up-To-Date Medical Information
“In 2009, the U.S. Surgeon General established a Family History Initiative, which recognized that familial medical history can be of vital important in the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions and illnesses that are genetically based. Similarly, The Centers for Disease Control, Office of Public Health Genomics (CDC OPHG), in 2002 established the Family History Public Health initiative…
Substitutes for Access Don’t Work
“Critics of mutual consent registries – also sometimes called “passive” registries – point out that they make few matches; reunion rates through them range from “a high of 4.4% to a median of 2.05%….
No “Horror Stories” Have Resulted From Access
““By the end of June, [Oregon] Ballet Initiative 58 attorney and adoption activist Thomas McDermott suggested that most adopted adults and birth parents were reuniting quietly because, as Helen Hill, founder of the Ballot Initiative 58 campaign put it (Taylor, 2000b), “it’s a personal and private experience for most people.” Significantly, Frank Hunsaker (Taylor, 200b) (Taylor, 2000b)…
The Vast Majority of Birth Mothers Want Contact
“For statistical evidence of birth mother’s preferences, access proponents rely on a variety of types of data. With respect to New Jersey searches on behalf of adoptees, the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services reported that 95% of the birth parents it contacted agree to some form of contact.” (emphasis added)
Contact Preference Forms Allow Birth Parents To Communicate With the Adult Adoptee Without Contact
The bill proposed by Access provides a system for birth parents to file a Contact Preference Form, like this form succcessfully used in Rhode Island, which gives them the following options:
I would like to be contacted;
I would prefer to be contacted only through an intermediary; or
I prefer not to be contacted at this time.
Adoptees, Birth Parents and Adoptive Parents are Natural Allies, Not Enemies
Research has shown repeatedly that members of the adoption triad have mutual, not antagonistic, interests related to adult adoptee access to identifying information.
Madelyn Freundlich, Confidentiality Becomes Political: The New Strategy in Opposition to Open Records. American Adoption Congress Decree, Winter 1997/Spring 1998, at 4.
Complete Birth Parent Anonymity Is An Illusion Under Connecticut law
Connecticut Probate Courts have the ability to order access to the OBC in their discretion if the birth parents cannot be located, and they determine it does not harm the public interest, the adoptee, or the birth or genetic parents. In doing so, the Court is NOT required to notify birth parents that the OBC has been disclosed to the adult adoptee. See Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 7-53.
Birth Mothers Weren’t “Promised Privacy”: Secrecy Was Imposed, Not Chosen. Many Birth Mothers Were Banished and Shamed.
“In this deeply moving work, Ann Fessler brings to light the lives of hundreds of thousands of young single American women forced to give up their newborn children in the years following World War II and before Roe v. Wade.
Secrecy Harms Adoptees and Adoptive Families.
“Secrets within any family distort reality, undermine trust, and destroy intimacy. Secrets create exclusion, destroy authenticity, product fantasies, evoke fear, and kindle shame. For those touched by adoption, there is a high cost to pay.”
Openness Is The Norm In Adoption Today
“Closed” infant adoptions have shrunk to a tiny minority (about 5 percent), with 40 percent “mediated” and 55 percent “open.” In addition, 95 percent of agencies now offer open adoptions.
In the overwhelming majority of infant adoptions, adoptive parents and expectant parents considering adoption meet, and the expectant parents pick the new family for their baby.
Access Is More Private Than DNA Testing
Access to original birth certificates allows an adoptee to confidentially contact their birth mother, as opposed to DNA testing which can “out” the birth mother to other relatives. Based on 2015 data close to 50% of adoptees testing their DNA locate close biological relatives, a number which will reach almost 100% in a few short years. Original birth certificate access is MORE private than DNA testing.