Adoption registries have been instituted by many states in response to adult adoptees’ requests to see their original birth certificate. In Indiana’s case, an adoptee must file a request with the state to see their records. The state then undertakes an effort to find the birth/first parents in vital records. If they are found, the adoptee may choose one from a small list of Indiana confidential intermediaries, who then attempts to contact the birth/first parent to obtain permission to release the records. Also, birth/first parents or adoptees who wish to be found are allowed to leave a letter in their files giving their lost family members the information to contact them. While these registries may sound equitable in theory, in practice they often send adult adoptees on a long, frustrating and incomplete journey. Here’s why HEAR believes these registries are an inadequate system for everyone involved:
Opponents of change to closed records access laws often say “we have a registry already, and it’s enough.” For adult adoptees it will never be enough. It won’t be enough until the day they have control over the information that is at the root of their identity.