Adoption Controversies

September 10, 1999 • Volume 9, Issue 34
Should adoptees have access to their birth records?
By Christina L. Lyons

Introduction

Debra Clark searches for her birth records at the Cambria County Courthouse in Ebensburg, Pa., with help from Bob Mulvehill, founder of Lost Ones, a search group. (Photo Credit: Gene J. Puskar, Associated Press)
Debra Clark searches for her birth records at the Cambria County Courthouse in Ebensburg, Pa., with help from Bob Mulvehill, founder of Lost Ones, a search group. (Photo Credit: Gene J. Puskar, Associated Press)

Oregon voters approved a ballot initiative last November that would allow adopted children to obtain their original birth records when they turn 21, regardless of the wishes of their birth parents. Legal challenges have prevented the Oregon law from taking effect so far, but adoption rights activists are already working to put similar measures before voters in other states. Only two states -- Alaska and Kansas -- currently give adoptees 18 and older unconditional access to their birth records. Nineteen other states allow limited access. The controversy over open adoption records is one of several highly emotional issues dividing the adoption community. Controversies linger over whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to adopt and whether to allow parents to adopt children of another race.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Adoption and Foster Care
Dec. 06, 2011  International Adoption
Apr. 22, 2005  Child Welfare Reform
Sep. 10, 1999  Adoption Controversies
Jan. 09, 1998  Foster Care Reform
Nov. 26, 1993  Adoption
Sep. 27, 1991  Foster Care Crisis
Dec. 11, 1987  Independent Adoptions
Nov. 16, 1984  Issues in Child Adoption
Jun. 27, 1973  Child Adoption
Nov. 09, 1951  Child Adoption Safeguards
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Adoption
Civil Rights: Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered