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New Law Helps Adoptees Access Records

OPB | July 8, 2014 12:06 p.m. | Updated: July 8, 2014 1:33 p.m.

Spirit-fire via Flickr / Creative Commons

Many Washington adoptees don’t know basic information about themselves. With adoption records sealed, answers to questions about ethnicity or medical history remain unanswered. A new change in the state’s adoption law went into effect July 1, giving people adopted before 1993 a chance to learn more about their family history and even identify their birth parents. Before the change, this option was only available to people adopted after 1993.

The law allows birth parents to opt not to have the original birth certificate released. Their medical history, however, will still be disclosed.

Rep. Tina Orwall (D-Des Moines) co-sponsored the bill that lead to the change in adoption law. An adoptee herself, Orwall never knew her birth parents and felt connected to other adult adoptees who did not know their basic medical information. The bill passed in 2013 and Governor Jay Inslee signed it into law later that year.

Are you an adult adoptee ? Have you connected with your birth parents? Will you be filing a claim with the Washington Department of Health? Have you given a child up for adoption? How do you feel about them accessing their birth records?

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