Local News

Legislation Seeks to Open Records to Adult Adoptees

Posted May 1, 2007 6:07 p.m. EDT
Updated May 2, 2007 8:10 a.m. EDT

— 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.