RESTORING ACCESS TO ORIGINAL BIRTH CERTIFICATES (OBCs) FOR ADULT ADOPTEES IN TEXAS

WHO WE ARE

A‌ ‌statewide‌ ‌501(c)(4)‌ ‌nonprofit‌ ‌organization composed‌ ‌of‌ ‌more‌ ‌than‌ ‌2,000‌ ‌Texas‌ ‌adoptees, birth‌ ‌parents,‌ ‌and‌ ‌adoptive‌ ‌parents dedicated‌ ‌to‌ ‌advocating‌ ‌for‌ ‌legislation‌ ‌that‌ would‌ ‌restore‌ ‌access‌ ‌to‌ ‌original‌ ‌birth‌ ‌certificates‌ ‌(OBCs)‌ for‌ ‌‌adult‌‌ ‌adoptees‌ ‌in‌ ‌Texas.‌

WHAT WE WANT

All adopted Texans to have OBC access.

CURRENT SYSTEM

  • Some adopted people have access to their OBCs.
     

  • Non-adopted‌ ‌Texans‌ ‌need‌ ‌only‌ ‌submit‌ ‌a‌ ‌form‌ ‌and‌ ‌$10‌ ‌to‌ ‌obtain‌ ‌their‌ ‌birth‌ ‌certificate.
     

  • Adopted ‌‌Texans‌ must either:
    1) Pay‌ ‌a ‌$10‌ ‌fee‌ ‌‌and‌ ‌identify‌ ‌
    their‌ ‌birth‌ ‌parents‌ ‌by‌ ‌their‌ full name or
    2) Attempt ‌to‌ ‌obtain‌ ‌a‌ ‌Court‌ ‌order‌ ‌‌in the county where the adoption was finalized granting‌ ‌access‌ ‌to‌
    their‌ ‌OBC‌, ‌which is not‌ ‌consistently‌ ‌available (and‌ ‌varies‌ ‌by‌ ‌county‌ ‌and‌ ‌judge.)
     

  • The‌ ‌vast‌ ‌majority‌ ‌of‌ ‌adoptees‌ ‌are‌ ‌precluded‌ ‌from‌ their ‌civil‌ ‌right‌ ‌of‌ ‌equal‌ protection‌ ‌under‌ ‌the‌ ‌law.

  • Unequal application of the law for adopted Texans.

HISTORY

  • Prior‌ ‌to‌ ‌1973,‌ ‌all‌ ‌parties‌ ‌to‌ ‌an‌ ‌adoption‌ ‌‌in‌ ‌Texas‌‌ ‌were‌ ‌able‌ ‌to‌ ‌access‌ the‌ ‌OBC‌.
     

  • The‌ ‌‌general‌‌ ‌public‌ ‌could‌ ‌not access this information.‌
     

  • In‌ ‌1973,‌ ‌‌Texas‌ sealed‌ ‌OBCs,‌ ‌even‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌‌parties‌ ‌to‌ ‌an‌ ‌adoption, based‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ prevailing ‌‌and false belief‌‌s about the impact of‌ ‌secrecy.‌

CASE LAW

TENNESSEE:‌ ‌Doe‌ ‌v.‌ ‌Sundquist‌ ‌(U.S.‌ ‌Court‌ ‌of‌ ‌Appeals,‌ ‌6th‌ ‌Circuit‌ ‌1997,‌ ‌TN‌ ‌Supreme‌ ‌Court‌ ‌1999)‌ ‌
 

OREGON:‌ ‌Doe‌ ‌1-7‌ ‌vs.‌ ‌Oregon‌ ‌(1999)

BIPARTISAN AND ORGANIZATIONAL SUPPORT

ADOPTEE OBC ACCESS HAS:

  • ‌Long-standing, broad,‌ ‌bipartisan‌ ‌support‌ ‌in‌ ‌Texas‌ and‌ ‌other‌ ‌states.

  • ‌Similar‌ ‌laws‌ ‌passed‌ ‌in‌ other states.

  • ‌Organizational ‌support‌:‌ ‌‌Holt‌ ‌International,‌ ‌National‌ ‌Association‌ ‌of‌ ‌Social‌ ‌Workers,‌ ‌‌The‌ ‌American‌ ‌Academy‌ ‌of‌ ‌Pediatrics‌,‌ ‌‌North‌ ‌American‌ ‌Council‌ ‌on‌ ‌Adoptable‌ ‌Children‌,‌ ‌Child‌ ‌Welfare‌, League‌ ‌of‌ ‌America‌ ‌(CWLA),‌ ‌‌Spence-Chapin‌ ‌Agency‌,‌ ‌‌Concerned‌ ‌United‌ ‌Birthparents‌,‌ Right‌ ‌to‌ ‌Life‌ ‌(Michigan,‌ ‌Indiana.‌ ‌Georgia,‌ ‌and‌ ‌Ohio)‌,‌ ‌The‌ ‌Episcopal‌ ‌Church,‌ ‌Church‌ ‌of‌ ‌Christ,‌ ‌and‌ ‌more.‌ ‌

© 2021 Support Texas Adoptee Rights (STAR)