Adoptee Rights Coalition Heading to Boston, MA

It's that time of year again for the Adoptee Rights Coalition to educate and encourage legislators to restore U.S. adopted citizens' access to their original birth certificates.  Did I say restore?  Yes!

At one time, original birth certificates were open and available to their rightful owners -- adopted people!  Mirah Riben wrote an excellent article outlining the issues here:

Adoptee Access to Birth Certificates Protects Their Parents' Privacy

Some of the issues we have the pleasure of discussing when working at the Adoptee Rights Coalition booth are as follows:

*educating that adopted U.S. born citizens have two birth certificates.  The amended (2nd) version is not put in place until after adoption finalization.  Meaning, that the original birth certificate (OBC) is available for a period of time prior to adoption finalization and is therefore not secret.  If an adoption is unsuccessful, then the original birth certificate is not sealed.  

*The above is true for step-parent adoptions as well.

Drawing the winner of the DNA kit - Chicago NCSL (2016)
* explaining how DNA testing is less private than restoring access to original birth certificates. Go here to read Gaye Sherman Tannenbaum's essay, The DNA Revolution, on how DNA is a game changer for OBC access.

* OBCs were not sealed to provide anonymity to first mothers.  It never existed and was not promised on any legal relinquishment document.

* Educating that abortion rates do not increase in states that allow restored access (in fact the reverse is true).

* Educating that not all U.S. states closed access -- Kansas and Alaska never closed at all.

Working the booth at the NCSL has been a life-altering experience for me.  Last year we met a legislator, adopted himself, who is passionate about changing the laws in his state.  We are hoping for those types of outcomes this year!

If you are attending the NCSL this year, please stop by Booth 640 and enter your business card for a chance to win an Ancestry DNA kit.

If you can donate to the cause, please go here.


  1. This is an older post, but I just found your blog so I'm commenting a little late.
    My husband was adopted at age 6 by a step-father. He changed his name back to his birthname as an adult. When he received his birth certificate after the name change it read:
    Rob Firstname
    aka Rob Secondname - Reason: adoption
    aka Rob Firstname - Reason: name change

    I then assumed when we adopted our children (sibling group, private/open adoption) in 2016 that their new birth certificates would read the same. But no, everything changed as if I gave birth in 2009 to an 8 lb baby girl with my last name.

    Luckily, I kept a couple copies of their first birth certificates and they are in their "special" bin with all their important papers, first mother's obituary, etc. so they will have them always.

    However, I think it is ridiculous that their second birth certificates reflect so little of their birth, even their birth names.


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