Missouri: Adoption, Birth Certificates, and a Call to Action

Today the second reading of Missouri’s House Bill (HB) 647 took place. According to the Missouri House of Representatives website, HB 647 “Establishes procedures for  an adopted person to obtain a copy of his or her original birth certificate.” The emphasis is mine.  If you are a Missouri resident, consider voicing your support for this bill.

Why?

Adoptions cause the creation of two birth certificates. The first certificate, with the child’s birth name, the names of the child’s birth parents (sometimes only a birth mother is listed), and the date and place of birth, is the original birth certificate. The second certificate is the amended birth certificate. It has the child’s adoptive name, the names of the child’s adoptive parents, sometimes a different or vague birth location, and occasionally a different birth date. In many states, including Missouri, original birth certificates are sealed and not legally available to the adoptee or to their birth family members.

Perhaps you feel that this is a topic in which a person should just leave things alone. Not mess with the past. Imagine, not just as a genealogist, but as a human, not being allowed access to your complete identity. Now imagine that you lost a parent and were adopted by a stepparent. The OBC is still sealed. Even to those who knew their birth parents. The record, your record, is not yours to see, to touch, to file away, to stomp on, or to cherish. In a sealed records state, you haven’t a right to vital records and court paperwork regarding your birth identity.

Some Missouri lawmakers are working to change that. HB 647, if it makes it through the process of becoming a law, would set forth a method for an adult adopted person to obtain his or her original birth certificate. Lawmakers consider the voices of their constituents. Missouri residents should let lawmakers know how they stand on HB 647. The bill still needs to go through house hearings (hearings in which constituent voices might play a role), and the state senate before it gets to the governor. HB 647 is in the early part of that process. Read the full text of HB 647 here.

To learn how a bill becomes a law in Missouri, review this flowchart from the Missouri House of Representatives.

There is a Missouri Adoptee Rights Movement page on Facebook.

© 2015, Debbie Mieszala. All rights reserved.

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48 Responses to Missouri: Adoption, Birth Certificates, and a Call to Action

  1. Diane Geanuleas says:

    Although I have never been a citizen of Missouri, I support this bill because it can demonstrate to other state legislatures how much open records mean to adoptees. I am an half-adoptee from Michigan, where my actual birth mother and my step-father both had to formally adopt me, sealing my original birth record. Now my original birth certificate would be a real treasure for all of us. While I understand concerns about privacy, I support the availability of original records for any interested party to an adoption.

    • debbiemieszala says:

      Thank you for adding your voice, Diane. The more states that pass laws allowing release of the OBC, the better the chances for those without open records to consider opening them. I’ll be writing about Ohio in the near future, because Ohio has a similar change coming soon. I hope that you will one day be able to obtain your original birth certificate. When laws sealing OBCs were passed, I doubt they ever had closing records like yours in mind.

  2. Aleta Gerard says:

    I am an adoptee, born in 1960 in Ohio. I found the identity of my mother in 2011. My OBC says she was born in Kansas City, Missouri. She died in 1982. I found her family and traced her family back to 1750’s Worcester County, MA. In trying to access her birth record I was told, “Not without a court order” I couldn’t understand why and they would not tell me why. Then I found her best friend who told me that she had been adopted. So not only do I not know who I am, I do not know who she was. She was 58 when she died and I am very quickly reaching that age. I need medical answers for me and my children. What is really hard to understand is how a third party can tell you they are looking directly at information that concerns you, but you have no right to see it. Adoptions affect 1 in every 10 people. It is certainly time for these archaic laws to change.

    • debbiemieszala says:

      Thanks you for sharing your story. It’s important for people to understand how many people these laws impact.

    • Sue says:

      As I read and understand the current Missouri St law, you ARE eligible to receive all of the adoption records of your bio-mom, AS THE ADULT CHILD OF AN ADOPTEE. When the person denied you these records, did they know that your bio-mother was deceased? If this was a person at an agency, and not a court person, they may not be up to date on the newest MO laws. If your adoption occurred in Jackson Co, you may have this resolved easily as Jackson Co, 16th Judicial district is leading the way in MO for adult adoptees to receive info. Check this web site: http://www.16thcircuit.org/requesting-adoption-information

  3. Only Me says:

    As a mother who was FORCED under fraud, coercion and duress to release my daughter for adoption in Missouri at birth, I happily support good clean bills like this that support adoption rights! My experience is fairly typical for those of my generation…those before and after me.

    Here’s the problem – It’s not out of concern for the birth parents that the records were sealed as we were just the breeding machines used and exploited by the agencies for the benefit of themselves and their real customers- adopters. Our children were made products of a corrupt system. It’s all about the MONEY, MONEY, MONEY, MONEY! Oh yeah, satisfying their greed and selfishness.

    10 times out of 10…when you see opposition show up at these hearings, it’s usually agency attorneys and lobbyists, not birth parents! Why? Adoption is a highly lucrative business in this country.

    The Agencies and attorneys want to maintain all the control and power over us to keep the money flowing into their pockets and coffers! They are NOT in anyway motivated by concern for the privacy of birth parents! It’s not about us – we’re just the excuse they use to keep the records sealed!

    Hope and pray everyday that a clean open records bill passes! It would be a good thing for all of us frustrated by ill-conceived sealed record laws!

    • debbiemieszala says:

      I’m sorry that you had that experience. Hopefully, changes in the laws will allow adoptees to make decisions about themselves for themselves.

      • Cindy Jasinski says:

        Only Me, when did you give birth? I am an adoptee born in St. Louis in 1952, and fostered and adopted in Illinois. Had I been born in IL, I would have access to my information.

        I know my mother, Carolyn Taylor, was in a maternity home, and it is possible I have found the correct person through a lot of genealogy research. Most of the non-identifying information I was given from the adoption agency matches up (age, parents divorced, etc.). I have been waiting for a few weeks to speak to someone from the agency to see if possibly I can get a clue as to whether I am correct. Unfortunately, this Carolyn, her mother, step-father, and anyone else old enough to know have passed away. No other family members have ever of an out-of-wedlock child.

        I am curious as to whether or not information given to the social worker by Carolyn at the maternity home may have been “embellished”, which could explain the major inconsistency I have with my research.

        Thanks for your help.

        • Only Me says:

          I gave birth to a baby girl on February 9, 1965, in Boone County, Columbia, Missouri at the University Hospital. A highly delusional bitch of a social bullied, harassed me. She kept me in total ignorance of legal rights or any alternatives to adoption. She said my daughter was none of my business, and that my daughter would never think of me. In the agency records, the bitch commented that she thought was I relieved to be rid of my child. Later on, called her, and said “I hope you burn in Hell for what you did to me and my daughter!”. With any luck, she’s grilling away down there forever!

          • debbiemieszala says:

            Be sure to register with the Missouri Adoption Information Registry, if you have not already. http://dss.mo.gov/cd/adopt/adoir.htm Please send me an email as well, so I can point you to some other MO-specific resources. debbie@advancinggenealogist dot com

  4. Kathleen Adams Welter says:

    I lost a daughter for 42 years and was told she died at birth. Through this fantastic website I found her and we have been united as it should have been back in 1970. She ached to know and see her original birth certificate. I support this bill 1000%!

  5. Magdalena Devitt says:

    I was under the understanding that as an adult of a stepparent adoption who knows the identity of my birth father, now deceased, all I need to do is petition the court in St. Louis, Mo to have my file opened in order to obtain my birth certificate. Is this not true or is it a case of it just not being granted? I have found the limited info on the process for doing this vague at best. Therefore, any information you could give me on this would be greatly appreciated.

    • debbiemieszala says:

      Magdalena, I am going to give this my best shot, but since every state has their own records access laws, I will ask Heather Dodd to provide an answer as a Missouri expert.

      I have had someone who had a stepparent adoption tell me they were not able to obtain their OBC. The state statute indicates that OBCs are sealed. http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/stathtml/19300001351.HTML The 16th Circuit Court website indicates that OBCs are sealed. http://www.16thcircuit.org/requesting-adoption-information In addition, a 2011 news article says nothing about an adoptee who knows the identity of their birth parent being allowed access to their OBC. http://www.columbiamissourian.com/a/139647/law-allows-missouri-adopted-adults-access-to-records/

      What I did notice on the 16th Circuit Court website, was that an adoptee who knows the identity of a birth parent can request identifying information from the file, if the birth parents agree or are deceased. I did not see any language providing for release of the OBC on that page.

      If, by chance, your family preserved your original birth certificate from before your adoption, you would want to keep that very safe.

      I will ask Heather to chime in, because she is the expert on Missouri when it comes to adoption records.

      • Heather Dodd says:

        Good Evening Gals! Thanks for asking!
        Ms. Devitt stated “all I need to do is petition the court in St. Louis, Mo to have my file opened in order to obtain my birth certificate”

        Thank you for pointing that out. The way the law is written… you would think that it is as simple as that. The law does state “The state registrar shall file the original certificate of birth with the certificate of decree of adoption and such file may be opened by the state registrar only upon receipt of a certified copy of an order as decreed by the court of adoption. ”

        In other words……you can get your original birth certificate if you have a court order……Good Luck Getting That!!!!!! I really mean that!!! If you can get a copy of your original birth certificate, you are a lucky woman because you have found a judge who understands that it is your right to your own information.

        HB 647 is intended to help adult adoptees have the right to their own information without the need to request permission from the court or from their elders. Adult adoptees seem to be the only faction of society who are required to get permission to have their own historical information. Why is that? Are adopted adults less than Non-Adopted Adults?

        • Magdalena Devitt says:

          Debbie and Heather,
          Thank you both for your responses. I should have explained that I was asking in part due to a letter I received from MO Dept of Health & Senior Services telling me I must obtain a certified court order. Of course, I was totally outraged that I would have to ask permission from anyone and sent off a slew of emails to state reps stating so. But what has enraged me further is that there is absolutely no place I can find that instructs me on how I would go about obtaining said court order if I wanted to pursue this avenue…nothing!! Further in the letter I received it states exactly what the court order must state….so say by chance you did get a sympathetic judge, would they not know what has to be in the court order? Do either of you know if they keep any statistics on how many petitions are granted as a percentage to those filed with the courts? Not sure where to go from here, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

          • debbiemieszala says:

            Frustration is going to be a result of a system of secrecy. Giving tidbits of information, but not a system to put them together is definitely cause for frustration. If you can find simple instructions for petitioning the court on any matter, they might also apply to an adoption file. Fortunately, they added the required information for the order. If these are rarely granted, a judge might not readily know what the law says they must include. Handing that information to a judge removes a level of doubt and guides both of you in what the law says is allowed.

            In Illinois there are counties that are better to work with than others when someone wants to petition the courts for a confidential intermediary. I expect that skews statistics, because on average, it appears that people are being served. In reality, if they have poor success in one county, they head another that works with such cases more frequently, and petition there successfully.

            I will let Heather speak to Missouri statistics, because I do not have any. I do recommend supporting the bill that is in the system now, and asking your family and friends to do the same. If passed into law, it will remove the element of choice from those who hold your records, and place it directly with you.

  6. Magdalena Devitt says:

    Thanks Debbie. As to supporting the bill, it was the 1st thing I did when I came across it mentioned on your site! I have also sent it out to friends and family asking them to do so as well. Most are like me, simply stunned at the facts that unfortunately were unknown to us until just recently. Many thanks to you and Heather that have done more to educate us in a few emails than a months worth of research and subsequent inquiries to many MO agencies on this subject, most of which still remain unanswered!

    • M. Smith says:

      I do wish you luck. My understanding is that you must have the Court Order, and that they are VERY difficult to obtain. You can try it yourself or hire an attorney. The newly passed legislation gives access for OBC to people born prior to 1941 only. For those born after, the wait is about 18 more months. Originally, I thought to wait, but have read disturbing posts about all sorts of misinformation placed on amended certificates. Plus, The information I received after my petition to unseal the file is identical to what I already had. But my family has theories, so I am re-thinking my decision to search sooner.

  7. Vickie says:

    I see this just as I am getting down to the nitty gritty get serious on this, much thought questions,etc. has already been involved in my decision to be able to return to my original birth name. all of the adults and my brother are deceased, under duress which I will not make public here, I was a stepfather adoptee, I have very personal reasons why I want to have my birth certificate unsealed and change my name I had till eight years old back to that,one I need to get rid of exes last name for coser in everybodys mind. as part of my emotiona recovery of a lifetime of emotional and physical and other abuse when my life changed at eight or there abouts, its not pretty. so I do have my answer as to wether I need a lawyer or not. now I see why legal aid said towait ti after firstof year for certain person. But they have not returned my call. guess I better get on it ,its not going to be able to be done by my coming up 60th birthday when I hoped to celebrate a true new beginning of the rest of my life. I am much happier and stronger mentaly than ever. even when hanging on to tight rope for dear life raising my two wonderful children. thankyou and I will try to keep an eye on this. Issue

  8. Cindy Jasinski says:

    I really wish I could help with this petition. I was born in St. Louis, but fostered and adopted in Illinois, which is still my current state.

    My daughter and her family live in Missouri, so I will pass this on to them.

    Thanks for pursuing this.

  9. Pingback: Adoptee Access to Birth Certificates Protects Their Parents' Privacy - Democratsnewz

  10. Maya North (name on the papers -- Dionne Parsons) says:

    I recently had a partially successful search done — the Jackson County court has two searchers. My searcher found my (tragically deceased) birth father but my birth mother literally vanished without a trace. Even a private detective couldn’t find her. Because my birth father was deceased and because my bio mom couldn’t be found, I was given m bio dad’s info and have been exchanging emails with newly found brothers, sister-in-law, grown nephew and, a little, with bio dad’s sister — and yes, it makes me weepy just to think about it. However, because they could not find my bio mom for love or money, I was not allowed her info at all. (Mind you, because my other sister-in-law is a retired private eye and because my nonID info was detailed, I blessed well did find my bio mom — and her parents and sister — although only in genealogy — not to contact.) It offends me on so many levels that we aren’t allowed access to our identities just like any other citizen. I no longer live in Missouri, so I don’t have a voice, although given I was adopted there and thus subject to Missouri law, I blessed well should. I cannot begin to express how deeply I support a bill to give us the same rights as every other citizen of this country.

  11. Cindy Jasinski says:

    I had posted previously so I hope it is OK to do so again.

    I, too, was born in Missouri, but adopted in Illinois, where I have always lived. If my birth had been here, my OBC would be available to me, and I could possibly confirm that who I think is my birth mother (deceased) actually is my birthmother. No one is alive in that family who remembers a possible pregnancy.

    • debbiemieszala says:

      It’s fine to post again! I think that people sharing their experiences will be helpful to other readers who are learning about how to obtain records and conduct a search. I had a couple of thoughts on your post. Have you obtained you non-identifying information? The facts in that are often helpful when trying to identify a family group. Many adoptees are using DNA tests to help narrow down matches with biological family members. This is a possibility for you, if you have not tried it. Matches might show if you are on the right track or not. If a family member from your suspected group is also willing to test (we usually need to offer to pay for tests we ask of others) that could also help. Many pregnancies that resulted in adoption were hidden from a lot of people, so it is not a surprise if siblings or extended family members were unaware of a pregnancy. If you are interested in DNA testing, there are links to the three major companies (Ancestry, FTDNA, and 23andMe) on this website. A good number of adoptees begin with Ancestry, upload their raw data to Family Tree DNA (a small fee) and GedMatch (free), and also test with 23andMe. That allows for the most matches.

      • Cindy Jasinski says:

        Yes, I received my non-identifying info back in 2002, and in 2007, hired OmniSearch, with no additional finds. I do have my adoption decree with my birth mother’s first and last names (Carolyn Taylor – a common name), and was born in St. Louis in 1952. My birth father probably did not know about me. With so much more information now available through genealogy sites, I found a Carolyn Taylor, mother Ruth, and grandmother Harriet whose ages match my non-identifying info. Carolyn’s father left before she was born. I found a Carolyn Taylor and mother Ruth in the 1040’s census in Toledo; Ruth was divorced and their ages matched what I had. From there, I found so much family history online at various sites, back to her mother’s parents. There were lots of divorces and re-marriages. This Carolyn passed away in 1996, and anyone who would know about an illegitimate child is no longer living. She had three children, all living. Through a couple of family trees on Ancestry.com, I found her first husband (no one was attached beyond him). I sent e-mails to the “makers” of the trees, mostly because I did not know if they needed further facts that I had found; I did tell them that I may be related through adoption and gave a much shorter version than what I have written here. They are closely related to Carolyn through her first husband, and went ahead and asked around to see if they knew about me, which they did not. They did know Carolyn’s family, also. One did remember that Carolyn cried the day of her high school graduation (she was 17 when I was born and did not return to school). Others were skeptical, which is to be expected.

        I do have my Ancestry DNA uploaded to GedMatch, and just mailed specimens to the other two a couple of days ago. Ancestry only showed 2nd/3rd cousins on there site, and I don’t think GedMatch has any close matches yet (I need to learn how to translate that stuff!).

        One last bit of information: As of January 1, 2015, the State of Illinois is allowing for the free services of a confidential intermediary (through Midwest Adoption Center). I have a court date on June 8 to have a judge allow one for me. Letters have gone out to those already in their system stating that due to the quantity of searches, it will take months longer than previously expected. They will be able to access my identifying information from the adoption agency. If family is found (birth mother free, other family members $$$?), I would only get their contact information if they agree. So, it is still a long shot.

        And all that is why my original birth certificate would be extremely helpful! Thanks for your help.

        • debbiemieszala says:

          There is a Facebook group called DNA Detectives. They offer some free guidance on how to sort out DNA matches. Yes, as of 1 Jan 2015, CI searches are free in Illinois.

          • Cindy Jasinski says:

            I have heard of that through facebook Search Angels. Thanks for confirming it is worth looking in to.

          • debbiemieszala says:

            Also try the ISOGG group (International Society of Genetic Genealogy) and the DNA Newbie group. There are other DNA groups on Facebook that deal with adoptees. Once you find one, you start to see more of them.

  12. debbiemieszala says:

    The bill did not make it this legislative session. Continue to lobby for legislative change for anything that you feel is important. Voices matter. On to the future.

  13. Crickett Leber says:

    I’m helping my father Jay Leber (DOB August 13, 1964 in St. Louis no) search for his birth family. He was born in Missouri and resides in Illinois.. He was always told he was adopted and born at the Salvation Army Booth hospital but his birth certificate actually only has an address of the place of birth, no name, but the address (S Kingshighway) would mean he was born at the Jewish Hospital.. We applied for non id through Missouri but received info that he was not adopted in Missouri.. Contacted booths archive in Indiana and they told me that without his birth name or his birth mothers name they wouldn’t be able to find any information on his birth… (Assuming they would possibly have info of some kind since he was apparently born at Barnes Jewish) So I then contacted the Jewish hospital and they said they destroy all records after 30 years.. We still filled out the paperwork for booth hospital and my father had it noterized and mailed it in this past week… So most likely he was adopted in Illinois.. Monroe county Illinois… I contacted the Monroe county court house but they said he would not be able to receive non identifying information. They said he could not get any info… Not even a verification if he was adopted there or in anywhere in illinois. They told me to contact the adoption agency and the problem is we have no clue what adoption agency it was or if it was private. I have a feeling it was private because my grandparents knew a lawyer in st Claire County (Belleville Illinois) that apparently helped with the adoption but we don’t have a name and I have asked everyone I think would know something about his adoption and if they knew the lawyer but no one has given me any viable information. One of my grandmothers friends told me that she thought his birth father or mother was Jewish.. And that’s all the info I have gotten. My fathers adopted parents are both deceased and we have searched high and low for paperwork but have found nothing. My father was told once that his birth mother was unwed and 20 years old… And he said he just never asked anymore questions about it after that… Can we obtain non identifying information from the state of Illinois if his adoption was finalized here? And if so, what are the steps we need to take? Or if anyone else has any advice please go right ahead and enlighten me. 🙂 sorry for the long post, I just wanted to include all the info we have and all of the things we have tried… And I need to order the DNA tests for him so possibly there would be a match or something.. It’s just so crazy we cannot easily obtain any info on his OWN identity. I never knew adoption was like this, but it makes me disgusted with the entire system. My brother made a good point about the current adoption privacy laws, He said it makes him wander if they are a legacy of slavery.. Which I could go on and on about thinking about it.. I am new at this so any info to get us further would be amazing. Thanks so much.

    • debbiemieszala says:

      Hi Crickett. You have a brain-teaser of a problem for sure, and I’m sorry that you can’t get clear answers. I consulted the Illinois Adoption Registry, and have part of an answer. Your father is able to register in the Illinois Adoption Registry as an adult adopted person born out-of-state. (Links to registry forms are on my Illinois Adoption Resources page.) He needs to complete the adoption registry forms and submit a certified copy of his birth certificate from Missouri. He should tell the registry which Illinois county (or counties) he suspects that his adoption was finalized in. This is important, because the registry attempts to enter your dad’s information in connection to his birth parents’ names. That is so they can match him to a birth family member if a birth family member was also registered. Since the registry can’t get his original birth certificate from Missouri, they can only find birth parent names in the county adoption record. So, the registry contacts the county and asks for a copy of the decree. Here’s the catch. Since he was not born in Illinois, there is no provision in the law that allows the registry to tell him which county finalized the adoption. But if you name one county, or two, and get a registry confirmation letter that makes any mention of his birth information being confirmed through review of the decree, you will know they located the county that finalized the adoption — and that it was one of the counties you suggested. Then it is back to researching the suggested counties and determining which court departments did home studies in those counties. Home studies are where that non-ID info resides. (So, if anyone is left in the family who might recall who investigated the adoptive home, be sure to ask them for that information.) Complicated, yes. Indeed, like many adoptees whose adoptions cross state lines, he is stuck in that limbo of states not having equal adoption records access laws. So, register with Illinois and see what happens. I know the odds of a birth family member realizing he was adopted out-of-state and registering with that state’s registry are perhaps not high. But they are not impossible. A DNA test would provide him with some biological family matches to consider, even if they are not close matches. I saw that he is registered in adoption dot com. Register in as many registries as you can find. You never know what will be the key that helps to solve an adoption case, so leave no stones unturned. Good luck!

  14. Crickett Leber says:

    I cannot thank you enough for this wonderful information. This is the most information I have received these past few months and believe me I have emailed so so many different people but thought all the information in then comments here was very informative so just gave it a shot and made this comment. You are a great person and made me jump up and down like a child for knowing what the next step is for us and not having to research for days looking for this process. You are great thanks so much again.

    • debbiemieszala says:

      You’re welcome! I hope that you and your father are able to find answers. There are links to the three main DNA-testing companies toward the bottom of my website pages. If you choose to explore the DNA route keep those companies in mind (Ancestry, FTDNA, and 23andMe), as they are well-known.

      • Crickett says:

        I have another question actually. I was told once about 8 years ago that my fathers birth parents or one of them were local and my grandparents knew who they were. The source was not that reputable so I have put that on the back burner however 2 days ago I was seeking answers from different family members and once of them mentioned them thinking that his birth parents were local and that would probably be the reason I get no answers when talking to family members. They will say stuff about his sister who was adopted 4 years after but nothing about him. I was also told today he was 3 days old.. again I realize this may all be bogus but my question…. We probably wont be able to get the illinois adoption registry paperwork out til the end of this week.. If I do not have his birth name or birth mother/fathers info would I not be able to obtain information from a department who did home studies? For example, if I were to find contacts for different departments from monroe county illinois would I be able to call and receive info with just using adoptive my name/info?(I realize he could have been adopted in a different county I just have a strong hunch it is monroe county illinois” And if it could be possible which I know it would be easier to just wait for the paperwork but it is so hard to be patient with this.

        • debbiemieszala says:

          The files should be cross-indexed. The adoptive parents were the petitioners and they were the subjects of the home study (the info on the birth family is a page or more in the home study on the adoptive family). Yes, they should find it under the adoptive name and year of adoption.

          • Crickett Leber says:

            Okay– so we received the packet for Illinois registry back stating that we need “proof” of where his adoption took place at in Illinois. Not sure what our next move should be..

          • debbiemieszala says:

            Do they say what they will accept as “proof”?

  15. steven west says:

    I was adopted in Missouri, I’m 47 years old and had some health issues and when the doctor ask me about my family history the only thing I can say is I don know. I understand that the parents have rights but so do I. I have just as much right to know what runs through my blood, and what siblings that might want to be apart of my life.
    I believe this law should pass and it will not only help myself but others in my situation.

    • debbiemieszala says:

      Steven, many adoptees want to know about the medical background of their biological family members. You are not alone in that feeling. The bill stalled, so for now Missouri needs more support in the way of voices asking for them to revisit it. One thing that you can do in an effort to locate information is to send for your non-identifying information from the agency that facilitated the adoption. The medical information will be as old as the record, but it might have something of value. The other option, while records are closed, is to do DNA testing. Many adoptees are taking this route. The companies recommended are all linked on this website. Ancestry is having a Father’s Day sale. Many people start by testing at Ancestry and then uploading their raw data to GEDmatch and Family Tree DNA. The test results will compare you with others who have tested with that company, show you who you match genetically, and provide a relationship estimate.

  16. Sharon Gresham says:

    I am a 72 year old, born in Texas after my birth father was killed in combat in WWII. My mother remarried and I was adopted in 1952 by my stepfather after our family moved to Parkville, Missouri. I am now unable to get a driver’s license in South Carolina, being unable to present a document showing the change of name from my original Texas birth certificate. This 63 year old matter is causing me tremendous difficulty and stress as I am caught in a Catch 22 situation involving your “closed” state and my current state which insists on my producing a document you refuse to allow me to obtain.

    • debbiemieszala says:

      Are you trying to obtain a copy of your original birth certificate? If so, in Texas, if you know the names of your birth parents and are over 18, you can request a non-certified copy for $10. A link to the order form (form VS 145) is here. https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/vs/reqproc/faq/adoption.shtm#question%204 If you do not have an amended birth record with the names of your mother and adoptive father, you should be able to order one. I am unsure if Texas has any kind of paperwork that will show that there was an adoption, unless you have a copy of the adoption decree or petition.

  17. Pingback: Missouri: Adoption and Original Birth Certificates, Take Two | The Advancing Genealogist

  18. Rudy Owens says:

    Debbie: When discussing adoption reform, it is always helpful to point out key facts: adoption records in the USA univesally were open to adoptees and birth mothers prior to regressive legislation that began to be adopted nationally in the USA by state legislatures in the 1960s through the 1990s. So noting this is political, and never was a best practice rooted in evidence, is critical in all advocacy. Most of Elizabeth Samuels articles make this clear: http://law.ubalt.edu/faculty/profiles/samuels.cfm.

    Second, it is also helpful to show that open records are the norm, not the exception, across many modern, industrial nations. Cite the UK law giving all adoptees 18 and over access to all of their birth records. https://www.gov.uk/adoption-records/accessing-your-birth-records

    Getting caught in the weeds state by state is where the pro-adoption-as-global-business lobby wants the discussion to be, rather than showcasing how our laws are an aberation and even distortion of how we handled adoption in this country and how this practice works best around the world. Thanks for your post.

    • debbiemieszala says:

      It was the 1940s for Illinois. The WWII-era baby boom had an impact on closed records legislation. If people have adoption paperwork from before the time when records were closed in their location, they should take good care of it, because the chances of getting another copy are slim in many states.

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