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%….

Another limitation of mutual consent registries is that they are state-specific, so they cannot facilitate matches across borders, and they require adopted persons to know that dates and places of their birth (the latter of which may have been changed on their amended birth certificates). For example, in North Carolina from 1949 until rewriting of the statute in 1995, the law specified that amended birth certificates for adoptees change their birth place to the residences of their adoptive parents and omit the names of the attending physicians and the local registrars (General Statues of North Carolina, Section 48-29 of Chapter 48 Adoption of Minors). Finally, matches are impossible if either the birth parent or the adoptive person does not register because he/she has died, though the other may still want to find identifying information for other relatives.”

For The Records II: An Examination of the History and Impact Of Adult Adoptee Access to Original Birth Certificates, Policy & Practice Perspective, July 2010, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. p. 32; citing Samuels, E.J. (2000-2001). The idea of adoption: An inquiry into the history of adult adoptee access to birth records. Rutgers Law Review., 53, 367-437.