Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Adoptions and birth certificates

(This letter was forwarded to me recenly via email and I'm posting it here for informational purposes. I understand that it was printed by the Tulsa World on August 28, 2010. I have not taken a position on this proposal. I do welcome your thoughts and suggestions. The reference to the work being done by me and Sen. Russell is refering to the two of us co-chairing the Adoption Review Task Force. The goal, in part, of the Task Force is to review all state laws related to the adoption of minors and make suggestions to the Legislature that will reduce fraud.)

Letter to the Editor by: Samantha Franklin, Bixby
Saturday, August 28, 2010

As an adult adoptee I appreciate the work Sen. Steve Russell and Rep. Jason Nelson are doing to better ensure more ethical adoption in Oklahoma.

When a child is born in Oklahoma and adopted, the birth certificate is sealed, and a new, amended birth certificate is created. Children born after 1997 have the right to obtain their original birth certificate upon adulthood. Adoptees born before 1997 can obtain it if a judge rules "good cause."

There is no law in Oklahoma that mandates adoption professionals to ensure the children they work with even have a factual, unfalsified original birth certificate. Please help ensure that our original birth certificates are factual and unfalsified.

This should be a situation that all Oklahomans, including adoptive parents, should take notice of if they think ethical adoption is important. Adoptees are considered as perpetual children in the eyes of the law and are being denied their medical and genealogical histories and truth. This is a generational issue, for all adoptees, their families (both by birth and adoption) and their children after them.

Unfortunately, many unethical practices are being hidden behind archaic "sealed records" laws. Even district attorneys' hands are tied to properly investigate because all adoption proceedings are sealed upon completion. Oklahoma needs to take a serious look at the states that have passed legislation restoring the right of adult adoptees to obtain their original birth certificates.
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