Hear Blog

Adoption Records Bill Passes House Judiciary Committee 11-2

February 15, 2016 Adoption Records Bill Passes House Judiciary Committee 11-2 Indiana’s adult adoptees have achieved yet another victory on their path to equal access to birth records. The House Judiciary Committee voted 11-2 in favor of Senate Bill 91, which if passed would give adult adoptees from Indiana’s “closed records” period access to their original birth certificate and adoption records. Advocates from Hoosiers for Equal Access to Records (HEAR) applauded the committee for hearing the concerns of adoptees. “We thank the House Judiciary Committee members for their commitment to providing equal access to personal information for all adoptees,” said Pam Kroskie, president of HEAR. Under current law, Hoosiers adopted after 1994 have access to their records. Those adopted between 1941 and 1993 during Indiana’s “closed records” period are forced to use a difficult and expensive intermediary system for getting their records—causing many to quit their search in frustration, or never start. The new law will equalize access to information for all adoptees. “SB 91 will finally allow adoptees to find the closure they desperately seek, uncover vital answers about their medical history and cure administrative headaches that come from having an amended birth certificate,” Kroskie said. A special thanks...
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Adoption Records Bill Passes Senate 43-5

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                 CONTACT: Laura McCaffrey Bose Public Affairs Group 317-684-5486 lmccaffrey@bosepublicaffairs.com   Adoption Records Bill Passes Senate 43-5 INDIANAPOLIS (January 21, 2016) – Today, the Indiana State Senate signaled a clear message of support for Indiana’s adult adoptees by voting 43-5 in favor of Senate Bill 91, which if passed would give adult adoptees from Indiana’s “closed records” period access to their original birth certificate and adoption records. The bill is authored by Sen. Brent Steele (R) and Sen. Mike Delph (R), and co-authored by Sen. Lonnie Randolph (D).  It will now travel to the Indiana House of Representatives for committee consideration. Advocates from Hoosiers for Equal Access to Records (HEAR), a non-profit formed to push for adult adoptee access legislation in Indiana, praised members of the Senate for hearing the concerns of adoptees. “This bill is so important to adult adoptees across Indiana,” said Pam Kroskie, president of HEAR. “We are deeply grateful to the Indiana State Senate for pushing Hoosier adoptees one step closer to equal access to records.” Under current law, Hoosiers adopted after 1994 have access to their records.  Those adopted between 1941 and 1993 during Indiana’s “closed records” period are forced to...
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Adoption Records Bill Passes Unanimously in Senate Judiciary Committee

Today, Indiana’s adult adoptees cleared a major hurdle in their quest to obtain sealed birth records. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-0 in favor of Senate Bill 91, which if passed would give adult adoptees from Indiana’s “closed records” period access to their original birth certificate and adoption records. Advocates from Hoosiers for Equal Access to Records (HEAR), a non-profit formed to push for adult adoptee access legislation in Indiana, praised the interim study committee for hearing the concerns of adoptees. “We are thrilled that with this vote the Senate Judiciary Committee recognized the importance of making access to personal information equal for all adoptees,” said Pam Kroskie, president of HEAR. Under current law, Hoosiers adopted after 1994 have access to their records. Those adopted between 1941 and 1993 during Indiana’s “closed records” period are forced to use a difficult and expensive intermediary system for getting their records—causing many to quit their search in frustration, or never start. The new law will equalize access to information for all adoptees. “Senate Bill 91 will allow adoptees to access their adoption files and original birth certificate, and will help them find closure, complete family medical history and eliminate paperwork complications that come...
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It’s Time for Equal, Open Access to Birth Records

January 6, 2016 The legislature of my home state of Indiana will soon be considering a bill (SB 91) to provide open access to birth records for all adoptees. Currently, only those who were adopted after 1993 have access to their original birth certificates. Those born before this date are in most cases only able to obtain a limited summary with non-identifying information. Very few of these provide any medical details, and frequently the details provided are errors or flat-out falsehoods. As a genetic genealogist I primarily work on behalf of adoptees with closed adoption files seeking information regarding their parents and family medical history. I have helped numerous Indiana adoptees identify their birth parents via their DNA records. While consumer DNA testing has provided an exciting new method for some adoptees to finally answer their longstanding mysteries, it does not replace the need for an open adoption system in Indiana. My Indiana adoptee clients come to me because the current “non-identifying information” provided to adoptees falls woefully short of their needs. First, almost no records contain medical information prior to the establishment of the Indiana Adoption Medical History Registry in 1986. In this regard, DNA testing provides a useful...
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Open Access to Adoptee Birth Records Passes Unanimously in Interim Study Committee

October 20, 2015 Adult adoptees from Indiana are now one step closer to accessing basic information about their identity. Today, the Interim Study Committee on Courts and the Judiciary voted unanimously 10 to 0 in favor of legislation, which if passed would give adult adoptees from Indiana’s “closed records” period access to birth records which have been sealed to them. Advocates from Hoosiers for Equal Access to Records, a non-profit formed to push for adult adoptee access legislation in Indiana, praised the interim study committee for hearing the concerns of adoptees. “We’ve been working to get justice for adoptees for years, and I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to see legislators lining up to support us on this issue,” said Pam Kroskie, president of HEAR. “We are grateful the committee members have helped clear the first hurdle toward a new law that will help provide adult adoptees with the answers the desperately need – and deserve.” Senate Bill 352 authored earlier this year by Sen. Brent Steele (R), and signed by Sen. Mike Delph (R) and Sen. Lonnie Randolph (D), sailed through the Senate during the 2015 legislative session but stalled in the House of Representatives. Hoosiers for...
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Update on Indiana Adoption Legislation

Many of our supporters have asked for an update on SB 352 – a bill that went before the 2015 Indiana General Assembly. If passed, the bill would have given adult adoptees from Indiana’s “closed records” period access to their original birth records. Despite broad, bipartisan support in the Indiana Senate, SB 352 did not receive a hearing in the Indiana House of Representatives. In early April, the bill stalled in the House Judiciary Committee and therefore was not heard on the House floor for a vote. While our bill did not prevail this session, adoption advocates from across the state remain hopeful. HEAR will continue its efforts to fight for adoptee rights throughout the interim and into the 2016 legislative session. As adoptee advocates, we strongly encourage you to continue reaching out to your legislators to make your voices heard. Writing your legislator this summer is just as important as it is during session – we must keep the momentum going! Please use our letter template to guide you in this process, and be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter to stay up-to-date on Indiana adoption issues. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may...
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Call the Governor Today!

Ask Governor Pence to Reach a Compromise in Committee and Move SB352 to the Floor for a Vote–We Urgently Need Your Help! This week, the board of HEAR, along with national Adoption Legal Expert & Attorney Elizabeth Samuels testified in front of the Indiana House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, in favor of House Bill SB352. Unfortunately, Lindsay Craig of the Governor’s office came to testify that the Governor’s office was opposed to the bill. “We feel the bill changes the rules of the game for birth parents after the fact (presuming that they were promised confidentiality in the first place),” she said, “and if we are going to change the rules of the game, maybe we should at least change the way we are handling things, like doing a better job of notifying birth parents that a do-not contact form is available if they want one, or maybe moving the date out that it takes effect from one year to two.” Committee members have held the bill for consideration, saying that they would rather any amendments to the bill come in their committee, rather than on the House floor. We believe a compromise is very possible, and can be reached. Drawing up...
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