Adoption and Birth Certificate

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Updated: Mar 14, 2023
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Category: Adoption
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“Adoption is the act of establishing a person as parent who is not in fact or in law his child” according to the Encyclopedia of Britannica. The first legal adoption in the United States was allowed in the year 1851 (Williams 14). In the the 1900’s society had looked down apon those who had a child out of wedlock, so closed adoption records were a way to protect the privacy of all involved but by the 1970’s people began to challenge the practice of closed adoptions (Williams 16).

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There are many questions and issues in the topic of adoption but one of the major opposing viewpoints is if adoption records should be opened or closed. Open records means that an adopted child can see their birth parent’s actual name and their original birth certificate. A closed record adopted child has their original birth certificate and records sealed so no one is allowed to see without a court order. All adoption records should be open to the adopted child because adoptees should be able to have their official original birth certificate, know about their birth families history, and reconnect with their birth family if they have the desire to.

Every single person is given the right to have his or her original birth certificate unless that person is adopted and their records are sealed. If an adopted child’s records are sealed then their original birth certificate is sealed and a new birth certificate is made with the names of their adopted parent placed on the certificate. Not being able to see ones original birth certificate can be considered a form of discrimination due to the person being adopted instead of living in their biological parents care.

Being able to obtain ones personal recoreds is a basic right and should not be taken away just because they are adopted. Many of those who are adopted that are living in states that seal adoption records try to find ways to get their birth records, many even go to court to ask for them but usually they are unsuccessful without good reason. In the artical “Adoption Records should be unsealed” by Lorraine Dusky, Janet Allen, age 51, was not allowed to see her official birth certificate until New Years day in 2005. “I am no longer a child and I am delighted to finally have the same rights as non-adopted adult.

According to Lorraine Dusky, Some states had open birth records until the 1960’s amd 1980’s. But as adoption became more common during those times, most of the states left with open records closed them, no matter the age of the adopted child”(Dusky 181). Now, some states have unsealed records, some have unsealed records with restrictions, but most still have sealed adoption records. Although some people do not feel the need to ever find their birth parents and do not care about their original birth certificate, some people feel that a part of their identity is being taken away from them and the government has taken basic human right away that they deserve.

Adoption records should be unselaed for the adopted child to be able to obtain their birth families histoy.According to Lorraine Dusky, it is important for adoptions to have open records because with the names of their biological parents, adoptees may have the opportunity to find out vital information to update their medical records. Biologic family medical history in particular is one of the most important pieces of information that one can provide to a healthcare professional with.

When going into a doctors office, one of the many questions that the professional asks is about the patients family medical history. Doctors will ask this to provide the patient with the best medical care possible. With the information the professional can test for diseases that could be a possiblity due to their famiy medical issues and possibly prevent diseases that the patient may develop; doctors could give the patinet information on how to create a lifestyle that is right for them.

Many different factors can be a part of why a child is being adopted. Maybe they were adopted because a mother knew that they could not take care of the child and give the child the life that the parent belives the child should have. Another reason could be not concerned in the best interest of the child and the child was taken away from the parent due to neglect, or a completely different reason. At some point in an adopted childs life, most of them wonder and think about what their birth parents are like and who they are if they have never had the chance to meet them.

Mary Kenny suggests, many people belive that taking away the ability to know the birth parents of the child is a way to remove them completely so there is no curiosity of the child and birth parents can not cause issues but this is not true in a lot of cases (Kenny 186). No matter if the adoptee’s birth parents are able to be known by the child or not, they will always be apart of their life because that is where the child came from and most adoptees will still wonder and think about it sometimes.

Depending on the situation, in most cases having a good relatioship with a birth parent could be very benefitical to the adoped chid. The birth parent could erase any feelings of abandonment the the adoptee may be feeling, answer questions that the adoptee may have that no one else can answer, as well as increase the support system around the adopee (Romanchiik 170).

In some cases, the ability for a biogical mother to come back into the adopted childs life could be potentially dangerous for the child or the childs family. Although this is a very serious matter, in most cases this is not an issue. The law should not be based around the few “ifs” and gray areas with the exeptions. According to Brenda Romanchik, In confidnetial adoptions or closed adoption, there is “no contact between birth and adoptive families and no identifing information is provided (Romanchik 170).”

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Adoption and Birth Certificate. (2020, Feb 19). Retrieved from