Every January I do a search of bills introduced in the Oklahoma legislature dealing with adoption.
This year, along with a few others, OK SB 110 came up under a search regarding "birth certificates".
Several states have passed legislation recommended by the Child Welfare League of America, restoring the basic human right of every adopted person unhindered access to their own unaltered original birth certificate.
Kansas has never sealed original birth certificates from adoptees.
Oklahoma, however, has failed to ensure this right to its adopted citizens.
In fact, some of the language of OK SB 110 is quite concerning.
"The State Registrar shall seal and file the original certificate of birth, if any, with the certificate of decree of adoption...the State Registrar, upon receipt of a certificate of a decree of adoption, shall prepare a supplementary birth certificate in the new name of the adopted person with the names of the adoptive parents listed as the parents...
Two little words can bring big consequences.
Not only is it ridiculous that adopted people are issued a new "amended" (falsified) record of birth which lists parents who never gave birth to them, but also their original birth certificate (if any) is "sealed" from them indefinitely.
It is unlawful to falsify official documents in America except for the birth record of adoptees.
In fact, laws do not ensure that we even have an accurate and unfalsified original birth certificate at all. At times adoptive parent's names are put on an original birth certificate, before an adoption is even finalized.
This is a travesty.
It strips us and our children of important on-going family medical histories, genealogy, and identity.
The only ones "sealed records" laws protect are those who lobby government officials and make their living from the supply and demand based billion-dollar per year adoption industry in America.
Adoptees are made to feel like commodities when money exchanges hands in the "sealing" of our identities, and unethical and coercive practices can be hidden behind "sealed records" laws.
Adoption touches almost every family in America in some form or another. Genealogists have predicted that within another few generations NO American will be guaranteed an accurate family tree or genealogy because of "sealed record" laws in adoption.
They were enacted during the "Baby Scoop" era of the 40's, 50's and 60's to protect newly formed adoptive families, when vulnerable unwed mothers were given no other choice but to surrender their babies for adoption.
The Supreme Courts of both TN and OR have determined that restoring the right of adoptee's access to their original record of birth is constitutional because first mothers were never guaranteed (nor asked for) perpetual "confidentiality" under the law.
In fact, if a first mother surrenders her child for adoption, but for some reason the child is never adopted, but remains in foster care, the original birth certificate is never sealed.
They only serve to protect the adoption industry and the newly formed adoptive family, while they fail to protect the rights of the very children they claim to serve.
Statistics have also shown that abortion rates in states which have passed adoptee access legislation have declined more than the national average, while adoption rates remain consistent.
Interestingly enough, this proposed bill also states,
"To protect the integrity of vital statistics records, to insure their proper use, and to insure the efficient and proper administration of the vital statistics system, it shall be unlawful for any person to permit inspection of, or to disclose information contained in, vital statistics records, or to copy or issue a copy of all or part of any such record except to the person who is the subject of the record or in such person's interest unless ordered to do so by a court of competent jurisdiction..."
Adoptees are "the person who is the subject of the record", yet sealed records law in adoption prevents us from accessing our own records.
We are the only U.S. citizens denied access to our own original record of birth.
OK SB 110 goes on to propose...
"Each month, the State Department of Health shall transmit to the Department of Human Services a record of all registered births that have occurred within the state for the immediately preceding month. The Department of Human Services shall use such records for the purpose of assisting in the administration of programs related to children, including but not limited to child welfare, adoptions..."
This bill would require the OK Bureau of Vital Statistics to automatically forward every child's birth certificate born in Oklahoma to the OK Department of Human Services...whether that child and family is a client of DHS or not.
To me, this seems like an over-reach of power.
Even more so, it further disenfranchises every Oklahoma born adopted person, who is still denied access to their own records.