Local News

Proposed Law Could Help Adoptees and Birth-Parents Find Each Other

Posted June 19, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Adopted children sometimes search for their biological parents out of curiousity, but sometimes it's a matter of life and death.

Family medical histories are severed by adoption. Now, there's a battle waging that might repair the breach.

A proposed new law would set up a mutual consent registry where adult adoptees and birth parents could register and, possibly, be reunited. Advocates say the critical part of the bill would allow adoptees to get their medical histories.

Under the proposal, the process would be established as confidential. Advocates of the proposed legislation say it could save lives.

By the time Jackie Parker found out who her birth mother was, it was too late for them get acquainted. Her mother had died of breast cancer. But at least Parker was able to learn about her medical history.

Kim Beck wasn't so lucky, she hasn't been able to determine her birth mother's identity at all. Beck has what could be genetic medical problems, but doctors have no way of knowing without a family medical history.

This is why a group of adoptees and birth mothers are pushing for the bill to provide a medical registry. The bill would allow adoptees with serious health problems to get information about their family backgrounds. The state would do the work so there would be no contact between the adoptee and the birth parents, but adoptee Lynn Giddens says lawmakers are stonewalling the bill.

Birth mother Julie Bailey says they're only asking for health information.

Lawmakers who are sponsoring the bill could not be reached for comment. The bill is still in the House Human Resources Committee, so it isn't likely to be voted on during this session.

Photographer:Joe Frieda