|AAC Established 1978 March, 2009|
ACCESS LEGISLATION ADVANCING
Rhode Island joins New York and New Jersey as states in the Northeast seeking legislation to allow adopted adults access to their original birth certificates. In the Midwest, efforts continue in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Ohio.
In Illinois and Missouri, there may be separate bills in process. Ohio will introduce a stand-alone bill, after access was eliminated from omnibus adoption legislation in the last session.
New efforts are underway in California, Hawaii, and South Dakota. Hawaii's newly introduced House Bill 1677 would permit adopted adults 18 years of age or older to access their original birth certificates from the state's Office of Vital Statistics.
State Senator Sandy Jestrad of South Dakota is an adopted adult, and introduced Senate Bill 153. On Feb. 18, 2009, SB 153 was heard in the Health and Human Services Committee, which added a significant provision. Besides giving adopted adults over age 18 years the right to obtain non-certified original birth certificates, SB 153 allows attorneys for adopted adults, and any descendants of deceased adoptees, to obtain the adoptee's non-certified original birth certificate.
In Oklahoma, legislators in the statehouse introduced House Bill 2174 on Feb. 16, 2009, to place limits on attorneys who "shop" for judges to approve adoptions with few questions asked. Oklahoma's House Bill 2174 would permit adoptions to take place in only one of four locations: the home county of the birth mother; the home county of the adoptive parents; or, in Oklahoma or Tulsa counties.
In another corner of the world, The Brisbane (Australia) Times reported on Feb. 10, 2009 that changes to adoption laws in Queensland will take effect on Oct. 1, 2009. Medical histories will made available to adults adopted before June of 1991. Other changes in Queensland's adoption laws will permit de facto couples to adopt, and will allow open adoptions. However, Queensland's new law grants people the right to state their objection to any contact.
UPDATE ON MAINE'S OBC LAW
Adoptee access legislation that passed in Maine during 2007 took effect on Jan. 1, 2009. By the third week of January, more than 400 adopted adults had applied to the Maine Office of Data, Research and Vital Statistics for their original birth certificates.
The newly enacted law in Maine requires birth parents who state they do not want contact to complete medical history forms. Thus far, two birth parents have indicated they do not wish to be contacted. For additional information on Maine's access legislation, please visit www.obcforme.org.
A WEBSITE WORTH A VISIT
Adoption Mosaic is a non-profit organization that offers education and support for anyone whose life has been touched by adoption. It is located in Portland, Oregon, and partners with numerous community groups.
According to its website, "Adoption Mosaic is in the process of developing several exciting new programs aimed at addressing the needs of adoptive fathers, single parents and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) parents."
To that end, Adoption Mosaic is conducting a survey, which is anonymous, and can be completed in ten minutes.
"For this survey," according to Adoption Mosaic's homepage, "we are particularly interested in the opinions of pre or post adoptive fathers although adoptive mothers are also welcome to respond."
To participate in the survey, please visit Adoption Mosaic's website at
and click on the survey link.
AROUND THE AMERICAN
Reform materials available on website
The AAC's website contains a wealth of information on how to pursue access legislation. Web links provide information on:
— Statistics from the state of Oregon since Measure 58 took effect
— A script to use when contacting legislators
— Creating a media campaign for specific legislation
— Launching a grass roots efforts for reform
— Myths about adopted adults' access to their original birth certificates
For a complete list of web links, please visit:
DMC's Music Video, Just Like Me
A web link on the AAC's homepage takes visitors to DMC's website for his music video, Just Like Me.
This music video is a collaborative effort between Darryl McDaniels and Sarah McLachlan, both of whom are adopted adults.
The web link to DMC's music video can be found on the AAC's homepage, under the Latest News column.
EVALUATION FORMS DESIGNED TO ASSESS EVENTS,
SERVICES AT CLEVELAND CONFERENCE NEXT MONTH
Attendees of the 2009 national conference in Cleveland will notice evaluation forms for the workshops, keynote speakers and presentations, and services at the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Cleveland. In particular, these forms will ask attendees for demographic data, and suggestions for future workshops and keynote speakers.
The AAC would like to identify members who are interested in helping to organize regional conferences for 2010, and another national conference in 2011. Workshops and keynote speakers form the backbone of conference events. Detailed demographic data will assist future conference planners in ensuring speakers and activities meet the needs of the AAC's members and conference attendees.
In addition to the evaluations for major events, such as the Town Meeting scheduled for Saturday, April 25th, and the Lunch With Your Region on Thursday, April 23, attendees will have a chance to supply feedback on each workshop they attend. Other questions on the evaluation forms ask attendees how they learned of the national conference in Cleveland, and how they are connected to adoption, as a triad member, professional, or in some other way.
During the national conference next month, please take a few minutes to complete evaluation forms for the workshops and events you attend. Your comments could very well help to determine who appears as a future keynote speaker, and workshop topics at future conferences.
To register, or to learn more about the national conference scheduled for Cleveland, Ohio Wednesday, April 22nd through Sunday, April 26, 2009, please go to: www.americanadoptioncongres.org/national_conferences.php
Submissions for The Beacon may be emailed to: email@example.com. Please send messages to the attention of Joan Schumack, The Beacon's content editor. Schumack also serves as the AAC's Communications Chair, and can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Adoption Congress comprises individuals, families and organizations committed to adoption reform. We represent those whose lives are touched by adoption or other loss of family continuity. We promote honesty, openness and respect for family connections in adoption, foster care, and assisted reproduction. We provide education for our members and professional communities about the lifelong process of adoption. We advocate legislation that will grant every individual access to information about his or her family and heritage.
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