Here is a collection of recent news articles in chronological order on the restoration of adoptee rights on Maine. I’m not making many comments on them, just putting them up here as a source of information. I’ll add more if they show up later.
Once again! Congratulations Maine!
Kennebec Journal, December 28, 2008
Adoptees await more information
About three-quarters of the House supported the bill, and two-thirds of the Senate, according to Bobbi Beavers of South Berwick. A co-founder of Original Birth Certificates for Maine, Beavers called the legislation “a human rights bill.”
“No one should ever be denied their original identity,” said Beavers.
Cathy Robishaw of Falmouth, another group co-founder and an adoptee herself, said a friend helped her find her birth mother’s name in the mid-1990s. But getting her original birth certificate Friday will be a “huge deal,” and not just because she pushed for the law for four years.
“I will just feel like everyone else at that point,” she explained. “It will just mean I’m not discriminated against, I’m treated like an adult.”
Belfast Village Soup, December 29, 2008
Adoptees may obtain their original birth certificates
The first two adoptees receiving their original birth certificates will be Catherine Robishaw, co-founder of OBCforME, and former Sen. Paula Benoit, co sponsor of LD 1084, the bill that passed into PL 409. There will also be brief statements on the impact of this new law. Opening day ceremonies start at 7:45 a.m. at Maine’s Office of Vital Records, 244 Water The first two adoptees receiving their original birth certificates will be Catherine Robishaw, co-founder of OBCforME, and former Sen. Paula Benoit, co sponsor of LD 1084, the bill that passed into PL 409. There will also be brief statements on the impact of this new law.
Boston Globe/Associated Press, December 30, 2008
Maine posts new laws
Original Birth Certificates for Maine, which pushed through Maine’s new access law, says it restores basic human and civil rights. Maine is the second state in New England and the sixth state nationally to grant unrestricted access to original birth certificates, said Roberta Beavers, the grass roots support group’s co-founder.
“Every Maine-born person, adopted or not, deserves the right to request their original birth certificate and know their identity,” Beavers said in an e-mail. She added that Maine’s new law does not provide for the release of the certificate unless requested by the adoptee.
Laws like Maine’s can be especially helpful as more emphasis is put on national security, Beavers said. She said that a New Hampshire-born adoptee living in Sanford, Maine, told her he had difficulty getting a passport recently because he did not have proof that he was born in the United States.
Beavers said she referred the man to the New Hampshire Office of Vital Records so he could get access to his birth certificate.
Portland Press Herald, December 30, 2008
Adoption records should be accessed with caution
It will be up to the children, many of whom are now older than their birth parents were when they signed the papers, to decide if they are going to access the records and what they will do with the information if they get it.
For people who have fought so long to learn their birth parents’ identities, the names alone may not be enough. The need to know more about them will be hard to resist.
But in their zeal to learn more about their birth families, they should respect the privacy of those who do not want to be found.
NOTE: See my January 1, 2009 blog entry for comments on this editorial.
Seacoast Online, December 31, 2008
New Law gives Maine-born adoptees access to original birth certificates
According to South Berwick resident Bobbi Beavers, who has been at the forefront of the effort to pass LD 1084, more than 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.
WCSH-TV, Portland, January 1, 2009
Adoption records open up
Video interview with adoptee Sean O’Neil, 12-year member of Orchard Beach Town Council
WCSH-TV, Portland, January 2, 2009
Restrictions lifted on original birth certificates
It was a day of discovery as more than a dozen adoptees braved cold temperatures to be the first to get their original birth certificates under a new state law. They stood in line waiting for the doors to open at the Maine Office of Vital Statistics in Augusta. Once inside they secured the document, that up until now, could only be obtained under special circumstances through a court order. Includes video interview with Cathy Robishaw (right, red coat) and Maine adoptees from Florida (man next to Cathy) and California.
Portland Press-Herald, January 2, 2008
Path to their roots opens for adoptees
Some choked back tears as they learned the names of their birth mothers, the places where they were born and, in some cases, the fact that they have siblings they’ve never met
“This is a pretty special day,” said Paula Benoit of Phippsburg, an adoptee who proudly held her birth certificate for the first time. A former state senator, Benoit helped pass a new state law making birth records accessible to those adopted in Maine. The law took effect today, and 141 people had pre-registered to get their birth certificates.
Also includes comments warning of dire consequences for traumatized first parents.
KDAF-TV, Dallas, Fort Worth, January January 5, 2009
New law gives Maine adoptees right to birth certificates
The day of discovery came as a new state law went into effect; the law gives adoptees access to their original birth certificates. Dozens pre-applied for their birth certificates and were waiting as doors opened at the Maine Office of Data, Research and Statistics. Inside, they were able to get copies of the documents which previously could only be obtained under special
Check out video with Cathy Robishaw Paula Benoit, Paul Schibblehute, and New Hampshire Senator Lou D’Allensandro, sponsor of NH’s law.
Dover (NH) Foster’s Daily Democrat, January 6, 2009
Maine adoptees allowed access to birth records
Some church organizations oppose such laws, saying it violates birth mothers’ privacy. A spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, which reportedly opposes the law, did not return a phone message last week seeking comment.
Wilfert, the adoptee from Cornish, said he won’t necessarily try to contact his birth mother. Just knowing her name might be enough.
“People should have a right to know where they’re from,” he said. “You’re finding something out about yourself that you haven’t known … it’s that idea you’re opening up something you’ve never seen.”
Paula Benoit, an adoptee and former state senator who helped push the law through the Legislature, said she petitioned a county probate judge for her certificate in 2007, but was denied. She finally picked hers up on Friday.
“I really felt it was mine to have,” she said.
Left to right and down:
House Sponsor: David Farrington
Senator Sponsor: Paula Benoit
Maine State Senator Bruce Bryant, Paula Benoit, Maine State Representative Mark Bryant. The Bryants are Sen. Benoit’s nephews; their father is Benoit’s oldest biological brother. Sen. Benoit onhy learned of the connection during the records access legislative campaign when she searched her own roots.
At least a half dozen of the 50 who got their OBC on Friday were positively reunited in person or by phone with their first mothers within 24-48 hours, with another half a dozen more well on their way but need a little more time to follow up on their research. These are some very happy mothers and adoptees. Below is a wonderful letter I received from an adoptive mom (I do not know nor had I heard from her before). Thanks putting all the stuff on your site. Please add the one Pam just posted at ANS. Love, Bobbi in Maine
Dear Bobbi Beavers,
I am so excited that my 32 year old adopted son can now get a copy of his original birth certificate
and, hopefully, get an updated version of birth family medical history.
I send his birth mother a silent prayer and thank you every single day (sometimes, many times a day) for allowing me the privilege to be his Mom. What a wonderful journey this has been. I remember when he
was elementary school age, he would sing in Junior Choir and I would wish that his birth mother could
sit beside me in the pew and share in the joy of raising this child.
There are so many treasured moments.
I have read many articles concerning the pending adoption law change and now the current adoption law but very few articles and news stories mention that the birth families can submit updated medical histories. That is so crucial and I wish that aspect got more coverage so that the birth families would know about it so they could submit their medical histories.
Thank you so much for all your hard work and passion.
Brilliant, Bobbi and all.
That’s amazing, Bobbi. I’ve never heard of reunions that fast.Thatnks for the new update.
I get ANS, but I didn’t seen the article you mentioned. I found one from Texas with video (!) and put that up. Is that what you meant?