A question was asked on the Adoptive Families FB page on whether the adoptive parents had obtained their child’s original birth certificate before the adoption was finalized. I have to say that while I think adoptive parents should get a copy, it also makes them less likely to recognise that their child, based on the state they were born in may not have the same right as all other citizens born there. If they have their child’s OBC there is no incentive for some to stand up and say equality matters for all adoptees. To me that’s a problem…
But some adoptive parents who answered were poorly educated by their adoption professional, and that’s just not acceptable today. I’m using these examples because they are handy, but the same lack of knowledge isn’t just isolated to a few. Quotes below are from this post.
“We adopted both our children from Arkansas. They have two birth certificates and I believe when they turn 18 they can get access to original one.”
Sorry, but the answer is no, they can’t get their original birth certificate when the turn 18, or 77, for that matter. The only option I could find other than changing the law, is signing up on a mutual consent registry even just to get your non-identifying information. The state has a mutual consent registry (non-id as well) but every licensed adoption agency can create their own registry, or choose to turn their adoption registry over to the state mutual consent registry (no link to which agencies have transferred on the state website). Only those adoptions that went through the state, or the agency has transferred their registry, or those adoptees who aren’t sure their adoptions went through the state, will be able to join the state mutual consent registry. Doesn’t that sound like a mess? What if the adoptee has no idea which agency they were adopted from but knows it was an agency? What if that agency has closed and the files weren’t transferred? At best it is hit or miss to get even your non-id, let alone any mutual consent matches if the person from the birth family has no idea what agency the adoption went through. (source)
“We are adopting from Texas. We can request a copy of our sons original birth certificate when he turns 19. I asked our social worker if she could make a copy of the original and she said no. We found out his birth name when I was trying to straighten out hospital/doctor bills from before we brought him home to Minnesota.”
Only if your son knows the names of his parent(s) listed on the original birth certificate can he apply for a plain paper copy of the original birth certificate. If you only know his birth name, then you are out of luck unless you, or your child as an adult, petitions for ‘good cause’ and its granted, but that’s usually a very steep hill to climb (unless the parents by birth have signed waivers and I don’t know if Texas offers that). I’ve seen other adoptive parents fall for this ‘request’ wording around the original birth certificate, request does not mean you apply and receive it. To petition the court (request) to unseal your original birth certificate usually requires a severe medical condition, or other very compelling reason. (source (see the pdf for the Tx Adoption Info Brochure in the blue box)).
“We live in Vermont and were told that his original birth certificate was destroyed once our adoption was finalized. We only have the version with our names on it.”
No, the original birth certificate is not destroyed, far from it. An adoptee adopted after July 1, 1986 can obtain a non-certified copy of their original birth certificate provided a disclosure veto has not been filed – those adopted before that date are out of luck and can only be matched through the mutual consent registry until the law is changed.
Adoptee’s Original Birth Certificate: A non-certified copy of the adoptee’s original birth certificate (source (Vermont Dept. of Children and Services pdf on adoptees and access))
“In Louisiana they destroy the original birth certificate” note she did get her children’s OBC’s before the adoption was completed.
(4) The state registrar shall seal and file the original certificate of birth with the certificate of the decree. This sealed package may be opened only on the order of a competent court. (source)
Both Marley and Kat chimed in, but it was as if they hadn’t spoken. No questions asked about whether the laws could be changed, if there was a group dedicated to changing it. Just not interested at all, and yet, Kat defined the problem well when she stated:
“Adoptees in most states are prohibited from receiving a copy of their OBC. I think it’s great that so many APs acquire their child’s OBC for them but it is important that states change laws so adoptees have equal access to their own documents the same as all other citizens. We shouldn’t have to rely on our parents to give us access to our own OBC.”
Please, as always, let me know if anything is incorrect…have a great week…