While some advocates promote a new Indiana law as one of “open records,” the reality is not one of equality. Here’s an illustration demonstrating how the new law actually works.
Indiana does not recognize adult adoptees’ unrestricted right to obtain their own original birth certificate. While a new law expands the release of “identifying information,” which includes an OBC, a birthparent may prohibit release of that information at any time.
Wisconsin law does not provide adult adoptees unrestricted access to their own original birth certificates. Wisconsin “impounds” original birth certificates after adoptions and releases them only by court order or through Wisconsin’s Adoption Records Search Program.
Washington does not allow adult adoptees unrestricted access to their own original birth certificates. An OBC is available through the Department of Health but release is subject to birth parent disclosure vetoes as well as to corrupt contact preference forms.
Vermont does not allow adult adoptees unrestricted access to their own original birth certificates. Access may be obtained through a probate court order or by adoptees who are at least 18 years of age and who have already obtained identifying information from Vermont’s Adoption Registry.
While Ohio law has settled down a bit after legislative reforms in 2013, significant legal restrictions remain for adult adoptees seeking their OBCs. The state has redaction provisions, diclosure vetoes, and a tiered-system of access that breaks down adoptee rights by the date of adoption.
New Jersey is best described as a “fixed” partial restriction state. Because of disclosure vetoes, approximately 550 adult adoptees do not have access to their own original birth certificates, except by court order. All other adult adoptees in New Jersey have unrestricted access.
Nebraska OBC law is remarkably complex and confusing. Generally, access depends on the date of an adoptee’s relinquishment and also whether a birth parent—and sometimes even an adoptive parent—has filed a “nonconsent” form objecting to OBC release.
Montana law does not provide adult adoptees with unrestricted access to their own original birth certificates. Access largely depends upon the date of adoption and whether a birth parent requests that a court order be required before releasing the OBC.
Missouri law does not give adult adoptees unrestricted access to their own original birth certificates. A new law, effective January 1, 2018, provides access to an original birth certificate subject to significant restrictions, including birthparent vetoes and redactions.