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Adoptee Access to Original Birth Records

Recently, a number of states have passed new amendments to their adoption laws, which permit adoptees to finally access their original birth certificate with the names of their biological parents. In the past nationwide, adoptees had no legal right to their original birth certificates on the public policy that biological parents who choose adoption should have the right to remain anonymous for any number of reasons (many due to lack of desire to be parents, lack of financial support to be a parent, or the child was begot due to traumatic circumstances such as rape or incest). Connecticut will be the next state in July 2015 to permit adoptees access to their original birth certificates. Currently, 42 states have statutes that seal birth records from as early as the 1930s.

Adoptee Rights in Illinois

Illinois was one of the first states to amend their Adoption Act and force the surrender of the original birth records to any adoptee interested. House Bill 5428 was put into effect on May 2010, and permitted adoptees who were born in Illinois before January 1, 1946 to access their original birth records. Surviving children of the adoptee were also able to obtain a copy of the original records. As of November 2011, adoptees who are older than 21 years of age and born in Illinois after 1945 are permitted to claim their original birth certificates.

Rights of Biological Parents to Remain Anonymous in Illinois

Birth parents who want to remain anonymous must preemptively apply to veto disclosure of their identity on the birth certificate. By vetoing the disclosure, all relevant, identifying information about the biological parent will be deleted from the original birth record. However, the veto disclosure only eradicates information about one biological parent; the other biological parent must request a similar veto to delete his or her own personal information. The death of a biological parent does not veto disclosure. As of May 2014, less than 500 biological parents have requested a disclosure veto to remain anonymous.

Public Policy Considerations for Giving Access to Birth Records

For many adoptees, the desire to access their birth certificates may have nothing to do with locating their actual biological parents. Many just want the information for their own knowledge. Others, however, may find the information extremely important, especially in the circumstances where access to relevant medical history would make a substantial impact on the individual's life and decisions when it came to their own medical history. Having knowledge that the adoptee might have assumed a debilitating, genetic disorder from a biological parent could aid in not only the initial discovery of a possible genetic disease, but could ultimately save the life of an adoptee who might have waited for the symptoms to occur before seeking help.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Naperville

If you are an adoptee interested in obtaining your original birth records, a biological parent who wants to remain anonymous, or a parent to an adoptee who wants to encourage or prevent your child from accessing the original birth records, there are many considerations and factors that must be evaluated. The legal issues surrounding adoption and the right of adoptees to have access to their original birth certificates are complex and difficult and an experienced Naperville family law attorney will be able to go through many of the possible legal issues that might influence your decision. Please contact one of our family attorneys today for more information about adoption laws in Illinois.

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