Why open records?
Open records are a crucial part of adoptee rights.
As as 17-year-old about to place a child for adoption, I wondered exactly what was meant by sealed records. Just a humble envelope? Closed with sealing wax, maybe? An envelope with the state seal? A locked file cabinet? A vault? I still don’t know exactly how they seal those records.
Because “birthmother confidentiality” is often trotted out as an argument opposing open records, it really can help the cause if birthparents sign. Only a handful of U.S. states grant adoptees access to their own original birth certificate. Even worse, some state claim that adoptees have access to their original birth certificates, but they don’t really. They’re only conditionally open. As an adoptee in a state like this, you have the right to request your original birth certificate, but it might come back redacted. What good is that? I think more birthparents would be in favor of unsealing those records if they really considered what’s at stake for adoptees..