Petition Closed
Petitioning Illinois State House and 2 others

Adoptees: Fight for the right to your own identity in Illinois!

Adoptee Rights are Human Rights. Help us defeat a bill before the Illinois legislature that will further restruct adoptee rights.

This is about identity. The basic right of all Americans, and especially adult adoptees in Illinois, to enjoy the same basic civil rights as any other state resident.

If anyone else's birth certificate were stolen, lawmakers would be up in arms. But if it's an adoptee, too many are content to look the other way. They don't get it. This is about identity!

Adoptees are parties to a contract they did not sign, and most were not even old enough to read. Current law in most states continues to treat adoptees as children in perpetuity long after they reach adulthood. Although they were party to a legal proceeding that forever altered the course of their life as children, they cannot even examine the documents as adults. Adult adoptees seek restoration of a right every other American takes for granted, unrestricted access to the public document that recorded their birth, unaltered and unredacted.

It is simply a matter of basic human rights. Give us back our original identity! Urge your legislators to vote against HB5428. Sign and send the letter below.

This petition was created before HB5428 was passed out of the House. This vote was scheduled for March 23 but on March 22, the legislative website was updated to indicate that the vote had been taken on March 18 instead. Bi surprise that no adoptee rights groups were invited to testify before the House committee considering the bill.

The bill is scheduled to be introduced into the Senate on March 23. Please write and please call your state senator if you live in Illinois.


Letter to
Illinois State House
Illinois State Senate
Illinois Governor
In the USA and all civilized nations, a birth certificate is the proof of the individuals existence and the cornerstone of his or her identity. Currently, when people are adopted in Illinois, they are issued a totally new and fraudulent birth certificate instead of a document verifying that they have been adopted. It's as if one's existence has been erased. It is a violation of the human rights of an individual who is most likely an infant and unable to defend his or her original identity.

It's time for this to end. To single out certain people for different treatment under the law based solely on their birth status is to create an unconstitutional minority of second-class citizens. It is long past time for adoptees to be treated as equal in these United States.

Lawmakers seem to be confusing the right of every adult to his or her own identity with the rights of another adult to confidentiality. This confusion flies in the face of two simple facts. One, women who surrendered a child to adoption were not promised that their name and relationship to said child would never be revealed. And, two, the confidentiality of both parties can be protected without anonymity. Adult adoptees should not be penalized and criminalized simply for wanting the same thing everyone else takes for granted: access to their original birth certificates.

Adoption reform advocates have long maintained that confidentiality and anonymity are not synonymous. Interestingly, the adoption industry's lobbying organization has even changed their rhetoric once they realized their error. In other states where this matter has been debated, courts have agreed that no confidentiality was ever promised in written form, and if promised verbally, was not enforceable.

There is no guarantee that a child relinquished for adoption will successfully BE adopted. If not, the child continues through life with the name they were given at birth and their original birth certificate is never sealed. And, if an adoption takes place, the mother's name is published in the newspaper and read out in court. Hardly a situation that provides anonymity. Contrary to myth, adoptee access to birth certificates does not reduce adoptions or increase abortions. In states with birth certificate access, abortion rates are actually lower, and mothers feel more comfortable considering adoption with the knowledge that their children, once adults, will have free and unfettered access to their identities.

The only thing that is worse than the absurd lengths to which state governments will go to maintain the “secrets” of private individuals is the greed with which the state and its designees will try to profit from them. This is particularly true in Illinois, where adoptees must go through the state's ineffective Registry and its accomplice, the expensive and often inaccessible Confidential Intermediary program. In fact, such programs require adult adoptees to contact their birth mothers in order to gain information, whereas access to original birth certificates would provide that information with no intrusion upon the mother at all.

Identity is identity, whether you are adopted or not. We call upon Illinois legislators to stand up for equal treatment under the law for all its citizens regardless of adoptive status, and to join with us in seeking to defeat HB 5428, the latest in a series of proposed laws that seeks to enhance the profits of the adoption industry at the expense of individual adoptees.

Further, we ask for sponsors of new, clean legislation that would restore the civil rights of adult adoptees to access their original birth certificates:

“Upon receipt of a written application to the state registrar, any adopted person 21 years of age and older born in the state of Illinois shall be issued a certified copy of his/her unaltered, original and unamended certificate of birth in the custody of the state registrar, with procedures, filing fees, and waiting periods identical to those imposed upon non-adopted citizens of the State of Illinois. Contains no exceptions.”

Ann Wilmer started this petition with a single signature, and now has 226 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.