Senator Campbell, Please join with Senator Creighton on SB329
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Senator Campbell, we urge you to join Senator Creighton in offering privacy protections to birth parents and restoring dignity to adult adoptees. Currently, Texas born adult adoptees are denied equal access to their original birth certificates. The only way for adoptees in Texas to gain access to their original birth certificate (OBC) is either know the names of the birth parents exactly as listed on the OBC or to petition the court of adoption for permission to access, a cumbersome process with varying results, ultimately risking rejection by the courts.
This is the 11th consecutive session that legislation attempting to restore access to original birth certificates to adult adoptees has been introduced in the Texas Legislature. That's 22 years... Since as early as 1991, advocates have been working toward restoring adoptees' rights to their information. We are optimistic that if you take a look at the real data Senator Creighton is presenting, you will see that SB329 enhances privacy, restores dignity, does not increase abortion rates, and is simply the right thing to do.
Senate bill 329 would accomplish the following for all Texas born adoptees over the age of 18:
- provides a vehicle for obtaining updated family medical history for older adoptees
- provides knowledge of self, including original name, date and place of birth
- provides the ability to trace family origins and ethnic information
- alleviates adoptees' fear of dating and or marrying biological family members
- establishes ties to genealogical societies, tribe memberships, and scholarship eligibility
- eases the burden on adoptees when applying for U.S Passports for travel. Often adoptees face challenges when applying for passports and other state and federal documents with the amended birth certificates they are given upon adoption
The idea of remaining anonymous from a blood relative in our information age is unrealistic. Click this Vimeo link to learn about 21st Century Game changers: https://vimeo.com/211421009
- Ftdna.com, Ancestry.com, and 23&me.com have over 5 million people and counting in their DNA databases -guaranteeing adoptees and birth parents genetic matches when they test. Adoptees are matching with cousins who are excited to help identify where the adoptee belongs in the family tree. They begin contacting other family members to arrive at an aunt, uncle, or sibling. Then they begin asking about the adoption that took place years ago. Birth parents are subsequently outed in a very public way. When adoptees have access to their OBC, it allows discreet, direct contact.
- Social media - With sealed records, birth parents and adoptees are being outed in very public ways on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media outlets; “...you will also want to INVITE everyone you know to like your page and share the image. A good way to do that is to create an Facebook event and very clearly tell people what they can do to help.”
Giving the birth parents a voice...
We are fair minded Texans trying to do what we believe is right for all Texans in the adoption community. We believe a contact preference form gives a fair and balanced approach to the legislation. It allows the birth parent the ability to express their wishes for contact, and in what manner, while granting the adoptee access to vital history and medical information.
Myths regarding abortion rates rising:
In decades long gone, some feared that if this law passed abortion rates would rise. However, since this type of legislation has passed in over 20 states and counting, rates have gone down in those states. Additionally, in Kansas and Alaska, where the OBC was never sealed abortion rates were lower than in neighboring states. So, in fact, the opposite seems to be true. See raw data here: http://www.texasadopteerights.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/1.-Abortion-Adoption-Infographic-462017-Final.pdf
No negative impact on adoption rates:
“On the same note, the same [above mentioned] states have higher adoption rates when there is open records and no secrecy. In fact, some of the openness in adoption can be traced back to a study done by the NCFA and the Family Research Council called, The Missing Piece, where they studied the feelings of mothers who relinquished (while blindfolded) and learned that women would be more open to adoption as a choice for an unplanned pregnancy if they could know where their child is and how they are faring. The findings of that study were turned into the federally funded Infant Adoption Awareness Training Program.” - ARC, 2015
In compassion we recognize that adoption is forever, and yet, so is biology. The quest for identity is innate and compelling to all, and knowledge of one's origins is essential. It does not undermines authentic family experience.
The 85th legislature has the opportunity to restore dignity and privacy to the adoption community by updating our archaic laws. Won't you join them in leaving this legacy?
Concerned birth parents, adoptees, adoptive parents, and those who support equal rights for all Texans
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