At the time Washington began keeping adoptees from their birth records no one understood the very negative impact not having access to one’s own past, identity, and documents would have on the adoptees. Many of the people involved, including many adoptive parents, birth parents, social workers, and legislators would not have agreed to the law if they had more information at the time, but they didn’t. The confidential intermediary system results in vastly different outcomes for each adoptee. They pay different amounts and and end up with different results. They could get a copy of their original birth certificate, a redacted copy of their adoption decree, or nothing. In 1993 an attempt was made to rectify that situation however the resulting law only gave conditional access to some adoptees.
When I placed my son for adoption it was to provide him with the best possible life, not to limit his rights into adulthood. Never did I imagine nor was I told that my decision would restrict his legal access to his identity, original name, and documents. Luckily we have a relationship through open adoption and he can know where he came from as he builds his own identity. This especially important since when I gave birth the medical history form was filled out by my 18 year old healthy self who came from a relatively healthy family. In the 11 and 1/2 years since many health problems have surfaced and most of them are possibly hereditary. I am grateful that I can communicate with him and his family about these new developments as they arise, and so are his parents.
However my son should not be one of the lucky few just because he happened to be born after 1993. All people deserve to have access to the records that pertain to them.
For this reason I support SB5118. As it is currently written it will eliminate the wording which only gives access to those born after 1993 and add language giving any biological parent who has submitted an affidavit of nondisclosure the ability to override it with a consent for disclosure.
I applaud Senators Carrell, Benton, Darneille, Bailey, Roach, and Honeyford for sponsoring this bill and hope a vote will be allowed in the Human Services and Corrections committee this legislative session.
If you are a registered Washington voter it’s easy to make your voice heard. You can CLICK HERE type in your address and find your district. From there you can email your representatives, senator, and the governor all at the same time. If you are available Monday 28 January 2013 at 10am (subject to change with little or no notice) there will be hearing of this bill. I personally cannot be there, but I will be letting Senator Carrell know how I feel before hand.
If you are not a Washington voter, but would like to support equality for Washington Adoptees I encourage you to also write the committee members and let them know you support this bill.