Established in 1984, the Adoption Information Registry in the Department of Health provides a way for adoptees and their biological parent(s) to access identifying information provided they both agree. Many biological parents, however, are unaware of the existence of the Registry and so their birth children cannot avail themselves of identifying information, medical histories, and information regarding their family history, ethnic and religious heritage. It is also possible that a birth parent might die in the intervening years between relinquishing a child and that child coming of age and desiring identifying information, which would then be lost forever. This new law requires that biological parents receive a form allowing them to enter their identifying information and informing them that they can fill it in at any time or revoke it at any time.
“Even though they may love their adoptive parents, adopted children often have questions about their biological parents – questions that often go unanswered due to confidentiality issues,” said Senator Saland. “This new law simply tells biological parents when they surrender their child for adoption that the State Adoption Registry exists and that at any time they can submit information to be released to their child, when that child comes of age and requests the information. It also advises them that they can revoke the information at any time. This is a win-win situation -- confidentiality is not broken unless the child’s birth parents choose to do so, and those parents and children who wish to make contact can do so,” Saland concluded.
The new law takes effect in 90 days.