If you are looking for information on the Dmitry Yakolev/Chase Harrison case and other Russian adoption news, please scroll down to previous blogs


Just a few more days and Maine joins the charmed circle of free states: Alaska, Alabama, Kansas, New Hampshire and Oregon that allows full and unrestricted access to all adoptees of their original birth certificates.

Here is a press release from OBC for ME about the grand records opening and surrounding events.



Bobbi Beavers
Co-founder, OBC for ME
South Berwick, ME
[email protected]

Cathy Robishaw
Co-founder, OBC for ME
Falmouth, ME
[email protected]

New Law Affects Maine Adoptees

Maine has restored a basic human right to all Maine-born adult adoptees – the right to know their identity at birth! Just as New Hampshire, Alabama and Oregon legislatures have done in the past 12 years, the 123rd Maine Legislature made the decision in June 2007, via LD 1084, to correct an injustice the Maine Legislature enacted in 1953 when they declared that the original birth and adoption records of adoptees were to be sealed upon adoption of any child after August 8th of that year and leaving adoptees access to their original identity only at the discretion of the courts and only if adoptees knew this fact, which is buried in the cumbersome adoption laws.

Excitement is building as over 130 Maine-born adoptees from around Maine, plus New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Florida, California and other states have already submitted their info to the Maine Office of Vital Statistics. Many, including those living out-of-state, are coming to Augusta to request their Original birth Certificate on January 2, 2009.

Maine LD 1084/Public Law 409 – An Act to Allow Adult Adoptees Access to their Original Birth Certificates (OBC) – goes into effect January 1, 2009. Any Maine-born adult adoptee wishing to receive an uncertified copy of their original birth certificate in-person on January 2, 2009 at the Office of Vital Statistics in Augusta, must contact Lorraine Wilson immediately at the following address, email, or phone and provide her with the information (below) she will need to locate their records:

Lorraine Wilson
Deputy Registrar
Office of Data, Research and Vital Statistics
Division of Public Health Systems
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Maine Department of Health and Human Services 244 Water Street 11 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333-0011
(207) 287-3181
1-888-664-9491 (toll free)
[email protected]

The adoptee information needed:

* Name after adoption, Date of birth, Town of birth (if known)
* The relationship of the requestor to the adoptee (i.e., same person, son, daughter, etc.)
* Contact information of the requestor

In order to receive a copy of his/her original birth certificate on January 2, 2009, an adoptee will still need to download the official state application form from this website: The adoptee must also bring (or mail if not coming in-person) the filled out and notarized form, a certified copy of their current birth certificate, and a $10 check made out to: Treasurer – State of Maine.

Parents of origin (also called birth parents) may also NOW submit information, confidentially, to Lorraine Wilson:

* Contact Preference Form, which is downloadable from this website:

* Birth Parent Updated Medical History Form, which is downloadable from this website:

Everyone impacted by this law should read the rules compiled by the Office of Data, Research and Vital Statistics (Maine Center for Disease Control, DHHS), downloadable at this website:

REASONS FOR SUBMITTING THIS INFO EARLY: If an adoptee applies for the first time on January 2, 2009, it is very likely they will not get the uncertified copy of their original birth certificate that day. If birth parents have filled out their forms, adoptees will have updated medical info and possibly a current contact name and address that will expedite searching if that is what an adoptee chooses to do.


* Adoptees who obtain their OBC before a birth parent has submitted their forms will be able to request that DHHS send them the birth parent contact preference and medical history forms.
* In about 80-90% of the cases, the birth fathers name will not be on the birth certificate (DNA testing has not been available until relatively recently and birth fathers were not always required to be part of the surrendering process as they are now), unless the couple was married.
* Medical, genealogical and cultural histories are important to many individuals, yet for others, just having the document (“the deed to my person,” as adoptee Robert Hafetz says) will be sufficient at this time.
* To help people impacted by this law to work through the emotional roller coaster that this information may stimulate, OBC for ME has two adoption triad support group formats: ONLINE at this website – which requires a prior free Yahoo registration, and IN-PERSON with the next meeting on January 17, 2009, at Norway Savings Bank Community Room, Route 1 South, Falmouth, ME, 10 AM – Noon. There are also support groups in just about every state, province and country on this continent as well as in most overseas countries.

A private reception for adoptees and their families will be held at the Augusta EconoLodge at 5 PM on January 2, 2009. For more information contact Bobbi Beavers, [email protected]

OBC for ME

9 Replies to “COUNTDOWN MAINE!”

  1. Thanks for posting our press release, Marley, and please check the Portland Press Herald on Sunday as a journalist informed me he would run a story on the new law then. Cathy and i gave him the names of few people who will be impacted by the new law. We expect some reporters and TV stations to be at the Maine Office of Vital Statistics on Friday morning, January 2, 2009, as well.


  2. I am glad to see that another state has joined in, even if the natural parents are being excluded. Our time will come.

    However, I hope that the natural parents in Maine realize that the HIPAA laws can protect them from being forced to give out personal medical information. The medical information I gave to my children included only hereditary or possible hereditary ailments. There were certain aspects of my medical history that I feel belong, exclusively, to me…not even my raised children are privy to everything.

    For a state to require medical information from a group of people is as discriminatory to that group as refusing adopted people their OBC’s. The exchange of such information should be between the natural mother and her adult child and at her discretion. No one has a right to demand this information and I hope those medical forms are optional.

    No one else, in our society, is treated as if their health issues are something the government can demand. My reunited, adult children are well informed on my end and have as much info as I was able to gather from their fathers’ family history. But what was personal and private remains so.

    I hope we don’t grant one group their civil rights (and I agree that knowing one’s heritage should be a right granted to all citizens) while tampering with the rights of another. Anonymity and basic rights to privacy (granted to all citizens by the constitution) are two different things.

    The state, adopters and agencies (wanting to cover their heinous arses) need to butt out and let the adopted people and their natural parents work this one out between themselves.

    Maybe the day will come when this will be an issue for adopted people and natural families, and government, agencies, adopter groups and others can keep their noses out of it.

  3. I don’t think anyone has to worry about medical records being given to adoptees. None of the laws that ask for medical information can force anyone to give it, and none of them are asking for actual records from your doctor, just your say about your medical family history. If you don’t want to talk about something nobody can force you to, just as with the kids you raised.

    I would not care if the any of my kids wanted or got all my medical records as I have nothing to hide there, but that is not what this is about anyhow. It has nothing to do with HIPAA laws.

    Access to the amended BC for birthparents is a much more complicated issue than adoptee access to their own OBC, for many reasons. I rejoice that one more state is open to adoptees, even though I am a birthmother, not an adoptee.

  4. I am very glad, as well, and believe that everyone should know their identity. But I still think that a state, a government entity, requiring one’s medical history is invasive. Luckily, HIPAA protects us all from being forced to comply.

    Nothing anyone can say will ever convince me that access to the OBC is not as much our right as the adopted person’s. After all, when that OBC was filed, we were the legal parents.

    Having said that, I still celebrate for the Maine adopted people that will benefit from this.

  5. I had my son’s OBC, at least a short form copy, as he was in foster care, not adopted at birth. It was just sent to me without asking.

    I thought you were talking about birthparents getting the AMENDED BC. That is a different issue; sorry I misinterpreted.

    At some point my son’s adopted mother said he wanted the OBC so I sent it to him. I didn’t need it to know I gave birth to him:-)

    I don’t need HIPAA “protection” from any of my kids. And even if my surrendered son wanted nothing to do with me if he asked for medical info I would give it, in fact already have.

    No doubt those few creeps who don’t want to meet their kids won’t want to give out any information, medical or otherwise, anyhow. That whole idea is stupid.

  6. A couple things.

    Neither Bastard Nation or Bastardette will ever argue records access with an medical history argument. Obviously, medical histories are nice and some people really need them. Once you argue medical histories/records, though, you subvert the right of identity and records and become an entitled twit. You open the door for some weird anonymous medical registry for adoptees…and we gave you this, how dare you ask for anything else. You simply have to ask for what you want and stick to it. No one has a right to any one else’s medical history or records. (And how in the world will an OBC tell you anything anyway?)

    I’ll post BN’s statement on medical history arguments today or tomorrow. It’s on my other laptop.

    The medical history forms that states put out are pretty benign. If somebody wants to submit one, fine, but it should not be mandatory.

    Although I obviously oppose anything less than full access of the obc, it is sisckening that some proposed reformist legislation not only contains the disclosure veto, but mandates the return of a medical history form to validate the veto. It’s beyond the pale and reeks of state blackmail and bullying.

    I really really really hate HIPAA. It’s pure state nannyism. Medical privacy is about business and professional ethics and the government has no business sticking its nose in it. If someone divulges records or information they shouldn’t then fire them. Fine them. The last thing anybody needs is more government control over our personal lives, and don’t for one minute think that government snoops won’t get into records. HIPAA was barely in effect when it started to be abused by special interests to hijack information for their own benefit.

  7. Just to make it clear, I agree fully with Robin and Marley that medical records have nothing to do with access to OBC for adoptees, and that connecting them in any way is a bad idea.

    As to HIPAA, I do not want insurance companies or prospective employers or other commercial interests having access to my medical history, but since just about everything can be gotten by computer now, I think that is a lost cause.

    I hate HIPAA because I have two friends with adult children with serious mental illness, and it is hell for them to find out anything when their kids are hospitalized. One of these poor souls has a serious medical condition as well as schizophrenia, Chrohn’s disease.
    His parents’ hands are tied by privacy rules from getting complete medical information on their son, especially when he is a paranoid state and won’t tell anyone anything. This isn’t right and it serves nobody. Other laws protecting the “privacy” of the mentally ill leave them homeless, living in the streets without treatment, because they can’t be “forced” to understand that they are ill. Often they are a danger to themselves, sometimes to others.

  8. With the agencies and adopters pushing for mandatory medical histories as part of an open records deal, which is in their own best interests, HIPAA is the only thing we mothers have to protect our right to give only the information we see fit to give. I realize that, if there hadn’t been those profiting from the personal medical information of unknowing people, there wouldn’t have been a hue and cry for something like HIPAA. I know it is far from perfect in its structure or execution.

    I imagine some medical caregivers have been really stung by this issue since they are adamant about having a HIPAA notification of privacy rights in the file of every patient, now.

    There is practically nothing my reunited children could ask of me that I wouldn’t tell them concerning medical matters. But, I can see a requirement for medical history bringing on a requirement for more personal history that should not go through a SW’s office. I just think that they should do the asking and let me do the telling without interference by a beaurocracy. The requirement for personal information is not helpful in helping adopted people learn their heritage and is intrusive for the mother.

    I still see the positive, here. I have hopes, in Maine, of many adopted adults learning about their histories and many natural mothers knowing the fates of their children.

    As an aside; Maryanne, my husband has Crohn’s and it is, in part, definitely hereditary. He has a niece with UC, another with Crohn’s, his father had undiagnosed Crohn’s and his brother has RA which is closely related to Crohn’s.

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