Because some adopted persons and birthparents do SEARCH for each other after the child has grown into adulthood, many states have established registries that will provide identifying information if both the birthparent and the adopted adult are registered. (A few registries also require the registration of the adoptive parents.)
Groups that support OPEN RECORDS, or the ready availability of identifying data to adopted adults and birthparents, such as the CHILD WELFARE LEAGUE OF AMERICA INC., do not believe mutual consent registries go far enough, but supporters of the registries, such as the NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR ADOPTION, believe it is important to protect the confidentiality of both the adopted person and the birthparents, and unless both wish to meet, then information should not be shared. On the other side of the spectrum are some groups, mostly state-based, that believe registries go too far and merely set the stage for further intrusions into family and personal privacy.
The following states have established mutual consent registries as of this writing: Arkansas, California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia.
Some states have enacted "search and consent" laws, allowing adopted adults to contact the state social services department or an adoption agency and request the birthparent(s) be located. If the birthparent(s) are located, consent is sought to provide identifying information to the adopted person. The following states have search and consent laws: Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Four states have open records as of this writing: Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas and Tennessee. Oregon has an open records law on the books, but it is currently under court challenge.
Find more information on mutual consent registries
©2000 by Christine Adamec and William Pierce, Ph.D. Reprinted from The Encyclopedia of Adoption, 2nd Edition (2nd Edition) with permission of Facts On File, Inc.
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