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.
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.