I’ve recently been working on charts to demonstrate how complicated (or simple) state laws are for adult adoptees who request their own original birth records. I started with Maine as a model. Maine is simple: it recognizes the unrestricted right of adult adoptees to request and obtain their original birth certificates. Represented graphically, the process for requesting and getting your OBC in Maine looks like this:
I then turned to Indiana. I’ve already categorized Indiana as a “compromised” state, and the new law maintains a flurry of restrictions and contingencies, including a corrupt contact preference form disguised as a way to file birthparent disclosure vetoes. I have also summarized the new Indiana law and the way it operates here. But to understand fully how the law actually works—step by step—I set out the process in a chart. Here’s the first part:
Assuming your OBC is sealed in Indiana, the next step involves submitting information to the Indiana Adoption Matching Registry and rolling the dice to see what you get back. That’s where it gets ridiculously complex, with two forms to fill out and a backwards process that may lead to nothing. As in zombie emptiness, with birthparents allowed to file contact preference forms that prohibit the release of an OBC even if contact is desired through an intermediary and even after that birthparent dies. Here’s how it all pans out once you turn 21 and actually qualify to request “identifying information,” which should include a copy of your OBC:
See the difference between equality in one state and embracing discriminatory and damaging compromise in another? I call that “the law known as Indiana.” It’s been years in the making. But it’s finally about to arrive.