We have an emergency in the Texas State Legislature. Probably one of the worst combination of so-called “adoptee rights bills” in history are on their way to crushing any chance of adoptee’s ever achieving equal access to birth certificates, now and in the future.

Senate Bill 499 was engrossed and passed the Senate on April 28, 2009 and was sent to the House. A companion bill, House Bill 4470, has been waiting in the wings. On April 28, 2009, testimony was taken and registrations recorded in the committee. The bill has been left pending in committee.

PLEASE WRITE AND CALL THE HOUSE COMMITTEE MEMBERS TODAY. Ask them to vote NO to SB 499 and HB 4470. We must not allow this destructive bill to get any closer to the floor of the House. The bill must be killed RIGHT NOW IN COMMITTEE. Contact information appears below.

SB 499 and HB 447 have some minor differences in language but they both contain the same myriad of humiliating restrictions on adoptee rights. In the Senate bill, an adopted adult can receive an original birth certificate now if he/she knows the identity of each parent on the original birth certificate, w/out obtaining a court order.

In the House bill, the state registrar may, if resources allow, on request provide to a person who was adopted before January 1, 2010, a noncertified copy of the person’s original birth certificate only if an adopted person’s birth parent has filed a contact preference form with the state registrar authorizing the release of a noncertified copy of the person’s original birth certificate.

Otherwise, both bills are prospective beginning January 1, 2010. They both contain:

Disclosure vetoes and contact vetoes which give veto rights to birth parents who legally and irrevocably relinquish children to adoption. These veto sections effectively codify into law a birth mother’s right to prevent her “adoptee” from ever getting an original birth certificate.

A “contact preference form” which is a term from Oregon for a non binding ‘preference’; however, these bills use the form as a means to deny birth certificates to adoptees.

Mandatory counseling for the adoptee and his or her birth mother by a state-selected social worker or mental health professional with expertise in postadoption counseling. The bills require “verification of the counseling “in a form satisfactory to the state registrar.”

Just as a state registrar has great discretionary powers to approve the “matches” made by the state’s adoption registry, now the registrar will have a similar control over which adoptee/birth mother matches she will find have had “satisfactory counseling.”

No such verifications are required for the contact and disclosure vetoes though. Anyone can file a denial form, which is not a preference form at all, but now would have the force of law. Anyone at an agency, a well meaning relative, or someone with a grudge can file a denial form, no questions asked.

TEXT OF HB 4470:



Contact Information

In order to send an email, you will need to go to each representative’s website listed below and submit your message there. I know this will take a few more minutes than our usual rapid cut/paste email, but this is how Texas works. You’ll have to paste your email 11 times instead of once. It’s not so bad.

Chair: Rep. Lois W. Kolkhorst
Capitol Office: EXT E2.318
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0600
District Address: P.O. Box 1867
Brenham, TX 77834
District Phone: (979) 251-7888

Vice Chair: Rep. Elliott Naishtat
Capitol Office: CAP GW.16
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0668
District Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
District Phone: (512) 463-0668

Rep. Garnet Coleman
Capitol Office: CAP GW.17
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0524
District Address: 5445 Alameda, Suite 501
Houston, TX 77004
District Phone: (713) 520-5355

Rep. John Davis
Capitol Office: CAP 4S.4
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0734
District Address: 1350 NASA Parkway,, Suite 212
Houston, TX 77058
District Phone: (281) 333-1350

Rep. Veronica Gonzales
Capitol Office: EXT E1.324
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0578
District Address: 4900 North 10th Street,, Suite C-2
McAllen, TX 78504
District Phone: (956) 686-5501

Rep. Chuck Hopson

Capitol Office: EXT E2.708
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0592
District Address: 214 South Main
Jacksonville, TX 75766
District Phone: (903) 541-2250

Rep. Susan King

Capitol Office: EXT E2.416
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0718
District Address: P. O. Box 2376
Abilene, TX 79604
District Phone: (866) 463-0718

Rep. Jodie Laubenberg
Capitol Office: EXT E2.504
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0186
District Address: 603 North Goliad
Rockwall, TX 75087
District Phone: (972) 772-8525

Rep. Jim McReynolds
Capitol Office: CAP 1W.3
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0490
District Address: 203 South First, Suite A
Lufkin, TX 75904
District Phone: (936) 634-9786

Rep. Vicki Truitt
Capitol Office: CAP GW.18
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0690
District Address: 1256 Main Street, Suite 248
Southlake, TX 76092
District Phone: (817) 488-4098

Rep. John Zerwas
Capitol Office: EXT E2.316
Capitol Address: P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0657
District Address: P.O. Box 434
Simonton, TX 77476
District Phone: (281) 533-9042


  1. A diclosure veto is a red herring. They won’t accept that we mothers can decide, for ourselves, the level of communication with our adult children. We don’t need bureaucratic protections from our own children.

    It seems that the louder we shout the truth that we were never guaranteed anonymity from our children, the more they push the disclosure veto garbage. While there might be a minority of mothers still quivering in their panties over the shame of yesteryear, the majority of us have grown way past that.

    We post this truth online, we write it in letters to the editors, communiques to our representatives and senators and to the heads of agencies, yet they refuse to listen to any but the few cowards they managed to dig up. It’s frustrating because it makes our adult children see us as the enemy. Arrrrgh!

  2. Oh…I am so sick of the disclosure veto protection BS that I want to scream. As Robin says, no matter how long and loud we try to get the news out–that most birth mothers do not want remain anonymous from the children they relinquished–legislators still persist in the idea that the law MUST be written for the few, those deep in the closet, who had not told their families, who do not wish to know their children.

    It’s very sad. Even if a birth mother cannot handle a relationship with a child, the mother owes that child at least one face to face visit, if desired. And No Adopted Person Should Have to be Faced with the Anonymity a Disclosure Veto can inflict.

  3. Have any of these people who write these bills…explained at length why they feel the surrendering mother and now adult child need ‘satisfactory counseling’??? What comprises ‘satisfactory counseling’ and who will be determined ‘satisfactory’ enough to deliver ‘satisfactory counseling’?? This is freakin’ ludricous and screams ‘back to the future’ when young unwed mothers were deemed mentally ill in a variety of ways. What in the hell are these legislators so damned afraid of that they seem to think it is necessary that adults need ‘satisfactory counseling’ in order to obtain an OBC?! I would really like to know the back-story of ‘satisfactory counseling’ and why? Surely there exists some lenthy supposed reasoning behind this..yes/no?

  4. As I see it the push for the disclosure veto in place of open records for adult adoptees is because it provides legal cover for those adoption agencies and others who do not want a light to shine on the ugly practices in which they played a key role. What is so ironic is that birth parents are found everyday even in states where there is a disclosure veto!

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