I’ve tweaked things in the the last week. Enough tweaks that it’s now worth highlighting where we stand and also what I’m working on. Let’s start with the United States of OBC. Here are the current numbers, along with an updated map (click on the map if you want an interactive version):
I log things as I change them, so you can always check the changelog first if you are wondering what I have recently modified. The latest tweaks, however, include:
Arkansas’ new law went into full effect today, August 1, 2018,. Arkansas is now listed as a compromised state instead of restricted. Why? I explain it in more detail here (and a summary of the law is here), but essentially the new law allows birthparents to redact their names from the OBC. Plus, it costs $100 to request the “adoption file,” which should contain the OBC.
After a looooong implementation period, Indiana’s new law is now fully stumbling forward. While this means my listing for Indiana has changed from restricted to compromised, it’s not an overall great improvement. Indiana has preserved all sorts of discriminatory tools, including a corrupt contact preference form, disclosure vetoes, and zombie vetoes. You can get more information about how the new Indiana law works here (and you can get the updated law summary here).
I’ve struggled with how to classify Maryland. It’s got a date-based discriminatory system that allows those adopted on or after January 1, 2000, to obtain their OBCS, so long as the adoptee is 21 and a birthparent does not veto disclosure. In practical terms—given the date of adoption and the age you need to be to request the OBC—there are so few qualifying adoptees that Maryland is essentially restricted. Nevertheless, I’ve moved Maryland into the compromised pile, for the simple reason that the law is in effect and, despite the vast majority of adoptees getting bubkes from the law, there may be a half-dozen adoptees out there who actually qualify to request their OBCs. So, consider it compromised.
This is a minor change to add a fancy graduation cap icon () to reflect that Pennsylvania’s new law requires an adoptee to graduate from high school, obtain a GED, or be legally withdrawn from school. Luckily, Pennsylvania has so far interpreted this requirement to apply only to adoptees between the ages of 18 and 21.
Latest Legislative Efforts
I’ve also updated the legislative maps to reflect how the sessions have essentially ended (though two states—Michigan and North Carolina—seem never to adjourn and I believe bills in those states are still technically active but realistically dead). Here’s the current map and a key to that map (you can also always find it here).
2018 Legislative Action
New and Continuing Projects
I continue to handle numerous state court cases as well as complicated citizenship issues involving intercountry adoptees. On top of that, however, I’m working on a number of projects, including:
- Compiling the statutes that ultimately sealed OBCs from adoptees in each state. That is, determining the year and the law in each state that made OBCs unavailable to adult adoptees;
- Working on a book-length project that will compile all the OBC laws from each state in a printed form, along with a flowchart of each state to show how the law actually works. I may seek Kickstarter or other funding to make this a reality, so stay tuned for that;
- I continue to work on legislative efforts in a few states, including New York and the New York Adoptee Rights Coalition. I’m talking with national and state advocates about additional united efforts in other states, led by adoptees and advocates in those states.
As always, I continue to learn. Despite wading neck-deep into adoptee rights activism, I still learn something new everyday and thank everyone who has the patience to answer questions when something doesn’t quite make sense to me. I also learn a great deal from the dozens of inquiries I get each month, some of which lead to full-out investigations but many of which end up in a short email exchange. Keep them coming.