INDIANA ADOPTION AGENCIES UNITED
2015 MEMBER AGENCIES
Heartland Adoption Agency, Bloomington
Adoptions of Indiana, Carmel
Adoption Resource Services Inc., Elkhart
Adoption Support Center, Indianapolis
Children’s Bureau, Inc., Indianapolis
Families Thru International Adoption, Inc., Evansville
Lutheran Social Services of Indiana, Fort Wayne
Miriam Project, Anderson
MLJ Adoptions Inc., Indianapolis
St. Elizabeth – Catholic Charities, New Albany
St. Elizabeth/Coleman Pregnancy & Adoption Services, Indianapolis
This group of quotes was compiled by Access Connecticut, as a listing of the opinions of stakeholder groups about why unrestricted adult adoptee access to birth records is important.
National Center on Adoption and Permanency. The National Center for Adoption and Permanency (NCAP) is a unique “one-stop” national organization that provides a broad range of multidisciplinary services and resources relating to adoption, foster care and child welfare.
“We had an era where secrecy was the basic M.O. of adoption,” said Adam Pertman, president of the NCAP. “We don’t live there anymore.”
American Academy of Pediatrics. A professional association of pediatricians with more than 60,000 members, which has the largest pediatric publishing program in the world. The AAP has endorsed the statement by the National Adoption Center found below.
“The most helpful thing a human being can learn in life is to be conscious of himself as an individual, and to be aware of who and what he is. Determining identity is a difficult process for some brought up by his natural parents; it is more complex for the individual whose ancestry is unknown to him (p. 948)…”(t)here is ample evidence that the adopted child retains his need for seeking his ancestry for a long time: (pp. 948-949)”.
American Academy of Pediatrics Commission on Adoption, (1971). Identity development in adopted children, Pediatrics, 47 (5), 948-950.
American Adoption Congress (AAC). The American Adoption Congress is comprised of individuals, families and organizations committed to adoption reform. We represent those whose lives are touched by adoption or other loss of family continuity. We promote honesty, openness and respect for family connections in adoption, foster care and assisted reproduction. We provide education for our members and professional communities about the lifelong process of adoption. We advocate legislation that will grant every individual access to information about his or her family and heritage.
“Enacting legislation in all states that guarantees access to identifying information for all adopted persons and their birth and adoptive families through records access and preservation of open adoption agreements.”
“Adoption: No Secrets. No Fear. is about normalizing the reunion and reconnection process. It is about access and adoptees’ right to know who they are. It is about the connection that birth parents feel with their children and their desire to know them as adults. It is about adoptive families and their support for openness at every stage of the adoption journey.”
Child Welfare League of America. The largest adoption-focused organization in the U.S. with thousands of state and private agencies as members.
“The interests of adopted adults in having information about their origins have come to be recognized as having critical psychological importance as well as importance in understanding their health and genetic status. Because such information is essential to adopted adults’ identity and health needs, the agency should promote policies that provide adopted adults with direct access to identifying information.”
– CWLA Standards of Excellence for Adoption Services 87 (2000)
And from the CWLA National Blueprint for Excellence in Child Welfare (2013):
Section 1.3 Children should have connections with their family and communities. Children have the right to live with their families of origin unless living with their families is harmful to them. When a child cannot live with both parents, the child has a right to be connected with both parents unless connection with one of the parents would be harmful to the child. The child also has a right to know parents, siblings, and extended family, and to maintain connections with their extended family. A child whose parents reside in different countries should have the right to maintain relationships and contact with both parents and other family members. Governments should respect the right of the child and his or her parents to leave the country and reenter the country, unless restrictions are necessary to protect the child or public’s health and safety.
It should be understood that the child’s right to be connected with family is not precluded by decisions that a child be raised by a single parent, a same-sex couple, grandparents, adoptive parent(s), or any other family configuration. Regardless of any decisions about the child’s living arrangement and family constellation, the child has a right to be connected with his/her original parents. When connection is not possible, or is not in the child’s best interests, the child has a right to know about his/her original parents.
When a child is adopted, the child has rights to connections with and awareness of both the original family and the adoptive family.
When siblings cannot live with their family they should be placed together unless there is a clear rationale for why it is not in their best interests. Separated siblings have a right to visit each other and to maintain contact.
Children have a right to maintain connections with their communities—schools, friends, neighbors, special people, and places they are connected to—even when they are required to move from where they are living.
I.4. Children should have access to information about their family history and background information.
Access to and understanding of family history is vital for children’s development and sense of self. Such access is also important for understanding family medical history.
I.5. Children should be able to preserve their racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious identity.
Children have a right to understand their heritage; to preserve their connections to culture and religion; to learn and preserve their traditions; and to have adults and peers support their development of strong and healthy racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious identity.
Concerned United Birthparents (CUB). The only national organization focused on birth parents – their experience, healing and wisdom.
“CUB supports adult adoptees’ right to access their records, without restrictions or qualifications. Knowing one’s identity is a civil right which is being consistently abused by the practice of sealed records adoptions. All human beings have the right to know their original identity which includes their genetic roots, their medical history and biological history.”
Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. A non-profit education, policy and research organization. The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute develops and implements a range of ethics-based policy and practice initiatives to address the critical issues facing the field of adoption.
“Every state should restore unrestricted access to original birth certificates for all adult adoptees, retroactively and prospectively. The experience of many other countries, of U.S. states where birth certificates have never been sealed from adopted persons, and from those states that have restored access, all indicate that there are few if any problems when access is granted. There is no significant legal, experiential or factual rationale for denying adopted adults the right to access their OBCs – a right that is enjoyed by all non-adopted Americans. Allowing access with the provision for contact preference forms is a practical solution that affords birthparents a greater opportunity to express their wishes – and therefore greater “protection” – than they currently have with sealed records.”
Holt International Children’s Services. Holt International, a Christian organization founded over 50 years ago, continues to be a world leader in international adoption and child welfare programs that enable children to have families of their own.
“Holt International Children’s Services supports access by adoptees and birth parents to identifying information about each other.”
National Adoption Center. Provides adoption opportunities particularly for children with special needs and children from minority cultures.
“The National Adoption Center believes that it is an inalienable right of all citizens, including adopted adults, to have unencumbered access to their original birth certificates. In keeping with this position, we believe that copies of both the original and the amended birth certificate should be given to the adoptive family at the time of finalization unless specifically denied by the birthparents. In any case, the National Adoption Center advocates that the adoptee, at age 18, be granted access to his/her original birth certificate.
The National Adoption Center also supports an adult adoptee’s unencumbered access to all medical and historical records.* These records should be given to adopting families prior to finalization.”
National Association of Social Workers. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, with 140,000 members. NASW works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, to create and maintain professional standards, and to advance sound social policies
“The need and right of adoptees to know their birth origin should be recognized and respected. This right extends to requests from adult adoptees for identifying information.”
NASW: Social Work Speaks: NASocialWPolicy Statements, 2000-2003 131 (5th ed. 2000)
North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC). The largest adoptive parent organization in the U.S. Founded in 1974 and committed to meeting the needs of waiting children and families who adopt them.
“NACAC believes that every adopted person has the right at the age of majority, to receive personal information about his or her birth, foster, and adoption history, including medical information, and educational and social history. NACAC supports efforts of adoptees to have access to information about and connections with their birth and foster families……Recognizing that many adult adoptees have a need for more complete information about their birth families, NACAC supports their right to this information and supports access to original birth certificates to any adult adoptee at age of majority.”
Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform (PEAR). PEAR is a 501(c)(3) Pennsylvania nonprofit corporation. PEAR started as a grassroots group of adoptive and prospective adoptive parents who came together to discuss the lack of a unified, respected voice for adoptive families.
“PEAR supports unrestricted access to birth records for all adults adopted as minors. We do not believe any citizen should be discriminated against by removing the right to obtain their personal, official documents. We oppose the imposition of contact vetoes, court orders or third-party agency interference with an adoptee’s right to access his or her original birth certificate.
Adoption should be about the formation of a family for the benefit and best interests of children, not the destruction of identity. As an organization we will support clean legislation submitted in any state that seeks to achieve the goal of opening records.”