Adopted adults across Texas seeking information about their history are left with unanswered questions. Texas Senate Bill 329 could expand access to birth certificates for adult adoptees in the state.
Christa Wood was adopted in Dallas County when she was two years old. After she turned 18, she took a trip to the vital statistics office.
They told her she could not see her birth certificate because did not know her birth parents’ names. This is something happening to all adopted adults seeking their birth certificate.
“The only way to gain access, and you’re not really sure of the result, is to go and petition the court of their adoption,” Marci Purcell, Texas Adoptee Rights board member, said.
Senate Bill 329 could change this.
“If the bill were to pass, first of all there’s a contact preference form, so birth parents would fill out the contact preference form before records became available to adult adoptees,” Purcell said.
Adoptees could then get access to that contact preference form, their birth certificate and their medical history.
“It’s difficult when you go in for a physical or a checkup and they’re asking you all these questions saying do you know your parents’ history of heart disease, cancer, whatever, and I can only say i don’t know any of that information,” Wood said.
Adoption rights groups lobbying lawmakers to pass the bill say people turn to online resources like ancestry.com to find their family, but this would allow for it to happen privately.
“Everybody wants to know their history and and who they are and about their parents, so why not?” Wood said.
We asked local adoption agencies their thoughts on Bill 329. Beverly Kline, Executive Director of Loving Alternatives Adoption, said:
“This is a dicey issue … There are a lot of issues surrounding privacy of birth parents, balanced with the rights of a biological child to know the identity of their bio identity. The best case scenario is where a good adoption agency acts as an intermediary for this situation, where both parties can be walked through in a sensitive manner, and where rights and privacy can be balanced with sensitivity to all concerned.”