Proposed MO adoption bill could help man find birth parents
JACKSON, MO (KFVS) - Giving a child up for adoption can be a difficult decision for some birth parents.
It can also be difficult for some children when they grow up and want to reconnect with their biological families. However, that could change under one Missouri proposal.
Right now it's very difficult for adults in Missouri who were adopted as children to get their own original birth certificate.
"I look at faces. I used to look at yearbooks from SEMO," Steven Hamblin said.
Hamblin was adopted at birth.
"My non-identifying information states that my father was a college student with an engineering degree," Hamblin said.
He said while he wouldn't trade his life for anything, he wants to know more about where he came from.
"I want to search and find my birth family. I want to know what my identity is as far as German, Irish, whatever I might be," Hamblin said.
He said access to his birth certificate, which includes his birth parents' names, isn't only about peace-of-mind but could lead him to more.
"It doesn't open up for my family medical history but it's a step towards being able to open your adoption records," Hamblin said.
A bill going through the state legislature would make it easier to get that information.
Through an application process, House Bill 647, would put Hamblin's original certificate in his hands for good, but some say that has its downsides.
"This would even open up records for adoptions 30 to 40 years old when women at that time were told nobody will ever know about this," Evelyn Beussink, the assistant director at Lutheran Family and Children's Services, said.
It's a move Beussink and agency director Leisa Blisset say could cause privacy issues.
"Could be crisis pregnancy maybe from rape so they don't want that information to get out," Blisset said.
They say they want to respect all parties involved in adoptions and know how emotional this issue can be.
"It could cause a lot of difficulties both the privacy concerns and the concerns about the trauma," Beussink said.
As for Hamblin, he said it's not an issue of privacy but of rights.
"It be a sense of relief. Right now, the one I have is a Xerox copy and I can see the staple in the corner where my original is folded behind it," Hamblin said.
There is another bill that deals with this same issue. Beussink and Blisset say they support House Bill 1112, which would allow adoptees their birth certificate with permission from their birth parents.
However Hamblin said that is not enough; that process is still too long.
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