Another one bites the dust! Unredacted court files without restriction opened to all Hawai’i adoptees.

BN Map Hawaii

We are happy to announce that Hawai’i Governor David Ige has signed  HB 2082.

This law gives adult adoptees (age 18) AND birth parents of adult adoptees unrestricted access to the entire, unredacted court file of the adoption, including a copy of the original birth certificate contained therein, upon request. It is the only state to do so. In fact, we don’t think there is any state or even other jurisdiction (country, province, etc) that gives birthparents this kind of access. The bill goes into effect immediately. (Go to the link above to read the bill, it’s history, and mandates).

Please note:

We are somewhat concerned about implementation of this law so it is imperative that we get reports back from Hawaii adoptees and birth parents as to their experiences, particularly if they encounter any difficulties.  If you experience difficulties, please give us name and contact info (PM and phone number and email on request) so that we can get reports and move to address any problems.

While the law does not give adoptees access to their OBCs through vital stats, it goes one step further and gives them the entire court file. This should contain not only a copy of their OBC but will do so regardless of where they were born, which is a big plus as many Hawaii adoptees were born elsewhere, including other countries.

We do not know how uniform this process is going to be though – what documents are going to be contained within the file and whether the OBC will be a certified copy or not or if it will vary. We also don’t know how the courts are going to interpret the wording of the law – particularly as to “inspection” of the court file – and whether people will have problems getting copies as opposed to just viewing it.

We did not write the bill, it was written by a legislator and staff, so it’s not how we would have done it,

Please spread this information around in your search and other adoption groups the news of the Hawaii bill, now law.

A big thank you to Adoption Circle Hawai’i who worked diligently on this bill.

And thanks to Bastard Nationals and friends for making this happen.

8 down.  32 to go/ Bastards can do it!

Compromising away the rights of adoptees to get “something” for a few is never acceptable.


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One Reply to “Another one bites the dust! Unredacted court files without restriction opened to all Hawai’i adoptees.”

  1. Thanks for this. Is the count of states 9, not 8? Am I missing one? I wonder why there was such remarkable little media coverage about a major policy action that is at the heart of a debate that is now seven decades long. I wasn’t even aware of this til August 2016.

    It’s important to note key facts about Hawaii: the islands’ population has a diverse number of groups (Chinese, Native Hawaiian, Japanese, American Samoan, Filipino, Anglo, more). Hilo for instance is among the most diverse cities in the USA.

    For some groups, like Native Hawaiians, preserving ethnic identity is paramount to their aspirations as a people–for all children of Hawaiian ancestry. This legislation supports the core interests of many residents, who have consistently stated the importance of cultural and ethnic heritage for their people–and this by law is extended now to adoptees. There has also been historic abuse of Native peoples on the island (loss of independence, land and title battles), and leaders in Hawaii (as in Alaska) are sensitive to history’s past wrongs and listen to their constituents and take action in a political format with a consensus of the population.

    Hawaii’s experience is relevant in many ways and provides an alternative model that over time can be used to frame issues around core rights to know one’s past and maintain connections with one’s kin and biological family as inalienable legal rights. Alaska provides another useful model too–leaders there are also sensitive to maintaining family relations, particularly among Alaskan Natives, who experienced the trauma of having children sent to boarding schools and placed out of family in the foster care system that removed children from their kin.

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