Missouri adoptees, legislators push to obtain original birth records
(KFVS) - A Missouri legislator is working to change state law so adoptees can obtain their original birth certificate.
A southeast Missouri mother and daughter recently met for the first time after years of searching. Many people asked how the pair were able to find each other.
There is no fast avenue to obtain certain information as an adoptee, but state legislators are trying to change that.
"I've always wanted to know for multiple reasons. But, access to a birth certificate, for me it is a right," said Stephen Hamblin.
As an adoptee, there are certain parts of his life he wishes he knew more about.
After his first daughter was born premature, doctors were frustrated with Hamblin, who couldn't provide a medical history to help better care for his newborn.
"It was frightening, we were scared enough as it was and I couldn't provide the information the doctors said they needed to save my daughter's life," he said.
He blames the holes in his life on a Missouri state law that protects the rights of the birth mother. But, there's a new push to change that.
Representative Don Philips created House Bill 1599, which would give the adoptee the right to go in to his/her county clerk's office and apply for their original birth certificate at the age of 18.
As founder of the Missouri Adoptee Rights Movement, Heather Dodd says this has been an issue she and hundreds of other Missouri adoptees fought years to change.
"When an adoptive person goes and asks for that information, thousands of them are being told that no they cannot find the information, they cannot find that adoption file in order to get them started in that process," said Dodd.
Dodd says it's not always about reuniting families.
"I am working on a medical case right now where doctors are recommending the person get a family medical history so doctors can better diagnose what is going on," said Dodd.
The good news for Stephen Hamblin's daughter is that she's healthy and ready to start a family of her own.
And he's still hoping to learn more about past.
"If I have family that wants to be in my life that would be great but just having the knowledge of who they are and where they came from and what surnames are involved in my genetic makeup, I'd like to know a little more than I am Irish," he said.
Currently, an adult adoptee can go to court and request a court order to get his/her sealed original birth certificate un-sealed, but birth parents must agree to the request.
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