Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Liberate the OBCs!

I do not have my OBC because I was born in the State of Missouri. See its laws below. They are quite draconian (and infantilizing), and as a state that produces Todd Akin would witness, Missouri is not a place very open to liberal progressive rational thinking. Change? CHANGE? You have to be kidding.

I frankly miss my Ted Drewes, I know my St. Louis high schools (first question you will be asked if you are a St. Louisan, by a St. Louisan, "Where did you go to high school?"), I love the Mississippi, but these days, I do not identify as a Show Me State woman. When people ask me where I am from, I don't say Missouri, and they don't guess that I am Midwestern anymore. Problem is, that's where I was born, and I have zero control over that. My OBC is languishing in a file, somewhere in Jefferson City. I hope it has friends and knows that I am on my way to liberate it from its airless orphanage, where it has been since 1970. I am sure it hasn't seen the light of day in over four decades.

Truth: I am embarrassed that I am not doing more to change the laws in Missouri (and in all states where OBCs are sealed away). I need to give of my money and time, as I did to the cause to defeat Todd Akin. (Note to self: you deserve to win this battle as much as Claire McCaskill did!)

Hereby witness my goal for 2013: make advocating for OBC access a personal priority. I have already committed to attending the Adoptee Rights Protest in Georgia next summer. I am an adoptee; it's been more than two years since attending my last protest; and I feel that I am letting my side down. If we don't work together, no one will work with us.

For more information about the specific types of hurdles faced by adult adoptees in the United States wanting access to their OBCs (and other information), see the excellent summary/introduction published by the Child Welfare Information Gateway at http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/infoaccessapall.pdf (It is slightly outdated, as it was published in 2009, but it still provides a good overview.) 


Who May Access Information

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 453.121
Nonidentifying information is available to: 
• The adoptive parents.

• The child’s legal guardians.
• The adult adopted person.
Identifying information is available to the adopted adult.

Access to Nonidentifying Information
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 453.121
Nonidentifying information, if known, concerning undisclosed birth parents or siblings shall be provided upon written request. Nonidentifying information can include the physical description, nationality, religious background, and medical history of the birth parents or siblings.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 453.121
An adopted adult may make a written request for information identifying his or her biological parents. If the biological parents have consented to the release of identifying information or if they are proven to be deceased, the court shall disclose the identifying information. If the biological  parents have not consented, the court shall notify in writing, within 10 days of receipt of the request, the child placing agency or court personnel having access to the information. If the agency or court is unable to notify the biological parent within 3 months, the identifying information shall not be disclosed to the adopted adult. If an affidavit executed by a birth parent authorizing the release of information is filed with the court, the court shall disclose the identifying information.

An adopted adult may request identifying information about an adult sibling. Identifying information pertaining exclusively to the adult sibling shall be released only upon consent of that adult sibling. The department shall maintain a registry for birth parents, adult siblings, and adoptive adults to indicate their desire to be contacted by each other. At the time of registration, a birth parent or adult sibling may consent in writing to the release of identifying information to an adopted adult. If such consent has not been executed and the division believes that a match has occurred, the division shall make confidential contact with the birth parents or adult siblings and with the adopted adult. The birth parent, adult sibling, or adopted adult may refuse to go forward with any further contact between the parties when contacted by the division.

Access to Original Birth Certificate

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 193.125
The original birth certificate is available only upon order of the court.

Where the Information Can Be Located
Missouri Division of Family Services, Adoption Information Registry

Sources: http://www.gsadoptionregistry.com/missouri/missouriadoptionlaws.html and http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/infoaccessapall.pdf

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