Local News

Legislation Seeks to Open Records to Adult Adoptees

Posted May 1, 2007
Updated May 2, 2007

— State lawmakers are considering a change to give adoptees access to their original birth certificates.

Recent numbers show there were about 9,000 adoptions between 2003 and 2004. State Rep. Winkie Wilkins, D-Person, the adoptive parent of a 32-year-old son, is one of the sponsors of House Bill 445. He shed tears while bringing the bill before a House committee.

“I can't keep the emotion out of this," Wilkins said.

David Vaughan has a medical condition and doctors need his medical history. However, he's adopted and can't get access to the records.

“I've never had a desire or an urge to seek out any kind of information on my birth parents until this happened,” Vaughan said.

The bill also allows parents to say whether or not they want to be contacted,and if they want to offer their medical history.

Not everyone agrees that opening the records is a good idea.

“I believe that openess in adoption is a great thing for all those who wish it, but I think this bill goes too far in trampling the privacy and rights of birth parents who chose a confidential adoption,” said adoptee Nicole Callahan.

Diana Ricketts, who supports the bill, said she never had expectations of privacy when she gave her son up for adoption 38 years ago. Both tried to find one another without success. Ricketts finally hired a private investigator.

“They told me, ‘We have found your son. He has died,’” Ricketts said.

The committee could vote on the bill as early as Thursday.


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  • goat1of2 May 3, 2007

    As a "victim" of a sealed adoption myself, I can say that not having a family medical history is a *big* problem. Doctors simply do not take symptoms seriously if you have no medical history of cancer, heart disease etc. There needs to be a registry where medical history can be shared, keeping the birth parents' identity secret if that's what they want.

    However, a map of the human genome or a medical history database will not solve all problems. My cousin was married for 15 years to a wonderful guy. Her hubby looked up his birth records--come to find out, he was her first cousin! That was the end of the marriage for them.

  • hooch May 2, 2007

    An interesting observation: The birthmothers who don't want their identity revealed that our lawmakers are supposedly protecting don't ever seem to chime in on these stories to post their opposition.
    At least not that I have seen. Prove me wrong.


  • boatrokr May 2, 2007

    Adoptees have a right to know. We are not property of our adoptive parents. We are not perpetual children who "deserve to be told only what other people think we should." Give us our records.

    This bill provides for no-contact wishes to be filed by birthparents who don't want to know the adoptee, but still allow the adoptee their information.


  • slyoung May 2, 2007

    I don't see how they are changing any rules on natural parents. No one promised me any confidentiality, and if they had I would not have wanted it. There was never any promise of confidentiality to natural parents, the only ones who want that are the adopters who need to restake their claim, and are in danger of having their ownership questioned.

    As far as the comment by MsLisaC363, how do you know, MsLisaC, that you were unwanted? Did your adoptive parents tell you that? What a lovely and compassionate thing to say about a woman who lost a child to adoption, or to the child that she lost. Read the book by Ann Fessler, The Girls Who Went Away, which should take care of that little misconception of yours. The book was on the Amazon list of Top 10 Best Nonfiction for the year 2006. It is due out in paperback next month, I believe. It is the story of women all over the country who were interviewed by the author, an adoptee herself, who is a professor at Harvard.

  • mslisac363 May 2, 2007

    Good, I'm adopted and think that I have the right to know my real family. My mother can go to hell as she never wanted me, but I would like to know my family medical history and any blood family that would except getting to know me.

  • mvnull May 2, 2007

    My mistake. I should have said, "I have a visceral problem with the state changing the rules on biological parents after the fact."

  • Gypsywinter May 1, 2007

    ""I have a visceral problem with the state changing the rules on adopted parents after the fact.""

    And Pray Tell what would be the 'rules' that might be changed for adoptive parents?? The 'as if' born to rule?? The fact that many closed adoptions from decades ago where many an adoptive parent never even told the child he/she was adopted? The adult adopted person (late discovery adoptee)only finding out by chance or at the death of the adoptive parents?? What was promised to adopters from the Closed Adoption/Records Era? Inquiring natural mother's minds would like to know!

  • mvnull May 1, 2007

    Just a quick comment. Within 5-10 years, there will be no need for familial medical histories. By then, the human hapmap will be completed and any information (and more!) can be discovered by a simple test. I have a visceral problem with the state changing the rules on adopted parents after the fact. Until the hapmap is completed, there should be provisions for exchange of medical information, without disclosure unless the biological parents agree.

  • hooch May 1, 2007

    Thank you for this story. For more information on NCCAR you can go http://www.adoptionreform-nc.org/