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Give adoptees access to birth certificates
Letter to the Editor
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Published: 4/5/2010 12:00 AM

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Adult adoptees in Illinois face discrimination because of lack of access to their original birth certificates. Now a new bill, HB 5428, further threatens their civil rights.

To single out certain people for different treatment under the law based solely on their birth status is to create an unconstitutional minority. HB 5428 perpetuates this by requiring adult adoptees to go through intermediaries to obtain their birth certificates. HB 5428 contains a disclosure veto disguised as a contact "preference."

There's a difference between the right to identity and search or reunion. The former is a basic right of all citizens, the latter an individual choice. Mothers can say no to contact without signing a binding veto that prevents adoptees from obtaining the rightful documentation of their births. HB 5428 penalizes adoptees who research their origins to the tune of $10,000 or more - for what nonadopted people refer to as "genealogy."

Some adoptees cannot afford the existing intermediary program, or are not accepted into it. The sole entity contracted to provide these services has preapproval over petitions before the judge sees them. There is no oversight nor accountability.

In states with birth certificate access, abortion rates are lower, and mothers feel more comfortable considering adoption knowing that their children, once adults, will have access to their origins. Identity is identity, whether you are adopted or not. Our coalition calls upon Illinois legislators to support equal treatment under the law, and to join with us in opposing HB 5428.

Triona Guidry

Cary

Adoption Reform Illinois