An anonymous Facebook page is being used to distribute misinformation about a pending Florida bill and what it allegedly does for adult adoptees who request access to copies of their original birth certificates. The “page” and its administrators refuse to be transparent about their efforts and even block advocates—myself included—who work to correct their frequent misstatements. Thus, how about a simple fact sheet to address and dispel the many ongoing misrepresentations of the anonymous group? It’s below, and a printable PDF is here.
In the table below, the statement on the left has been made by anonymous advocates about when adoptees or others will receive copies of original birth certificates under HB357. This is followed by whether that statement is TRUE, FALSE, or MOSTLY FALSE, as well as a brief explanation as to how the bill actually works.
|Those adopted after July 1, 2018, receive OBC once they turn 18||TRUE||Adoptees who are at least 18 years of age and whose adoptions are finalized after July 1, 2018, have unrestricted access to their OBCs, beginning no later than July 2036.|
|Those adopted before July 1, 1977: OBC available immediately||FALSE||The bill provides no real mechanism for an adoptee in this group to obtain an OBC. The bill is instead so vague about pre-1977 adoptees that litigation will likely be needed to resolve the issue. Rather than provide access directly, the bill does nothing for Florida-born adoptees who were adopted prior to July 1, 1977.|
|Those who find family through DNA or other types of search and learn their mother’s name: OBC available at age 18||MOSTLY|
|This applies only to adoptees who were adopted after June 30, 1977, but before July 1, 2018. It also assumes that the “known name” matches the name of the birthparent listed on the original birth record. This is not always the case.|
|Those adopted through foster care who already know their mother’s name: OBC available at age 18||MOSTLY|
|See explanation above for DNA matches and birthparent names, which applies as well to this case|
|Those who have a deceased birth parent: OBC available at age 18||MOSTLY|
|This provision applies only to the “middle tier” of adoptees: whose adoptions were finalized after June 30, 1977, but before July 1, 2018. Presumably, the state will require death certificates of a birth parent, something Florida already requires in cases involving a deceased birthparent.|
|Those who were adopted at least 40 years ago may apply for the OBC beginning July 1, 2018||MOSTLY|
|This provision applies only to the “middle tier” of adoptees: whose adoptions were finalized after June 30, 1977, but before July 1, 2018. It also relies on the date of adoption, not birth, which means many adoptees in this group will be older—perhaps much older—than 40 years when they are finally able to request and obtain a copy of their OBCs|
|Birth/first parents who signed the original birth certificate: may obtain the OBC beginning July 1, 2018||FALSE||A birthparent whose child was adopted before June 30, 1977 has no right to request and obtain a copy of the child’s original birth certificate under this bill.|
|Adult descendants of adoptees: may obtain the OBC beginning July 1, 2018||FALSE||An adult descendant of a person who was adopted before June 30, 1977, has no right to request and obtain a copy of the descendant’s original birth certificate under this bill. Adoptions after June 30, 1977, must meet the same requirements as an adult adoptee, which are not easily determined under the bill.|
The fact is this: HB357 is an already compromised bill that creates three unequal tiers or classes of adoptees, based on the date of adoption. For some, there is no clear right to the OBC. For others, it involves a long wait, up to 40 years, before they can access a document that was already theirs in the beginning.
Follow or join Florida Adoption Initiative Reform on Facebook for straight answers. Don’t follow groups who remain anonymous and refuse to make themselves accountable to adoptees.
Finally, as a reminder, at least 26 national and state organizations remain opposed to HB357. This includes Adoptee Rights Law Center, Adoptee Rights Campaign, Adoption Rights Alliance (Ireland)/The Philomena Project, ALARM Network, American Adoption Congress, Banished Babies of Ireland, Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization, Concerned United Birthparents, The Donaldson Adoption Institute, National Center on Adoption and Permanency, The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), Saving Our Sisters, Trace L. Hentz, Access Rhode Island, California Open, Canada Open, Equal Access Oklahoma, Equality for Adoptees, Florida Adoption Initiative for Reform, Indiana Open, Michigan Open, Minnesota Coalition for Adoption Reform, Missouri Open, Nevada Open, New York State Adoptee Equality, Post-Adoption Center for Education and Resources (PACER).