Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization is the largest adoptee civil rights organization in the United States. We support full, unrestricted access for all adopted persons, upon request, of their own true, unaltered original birth certificates (OBC). We fully support HB 5453 and its companion S0361. We support no other bill in either chamber.
Bastard Nation is delighted to endorse and support SB 5453, a bill that restores the right of all Rhode Island adopted persons, without restrictions or conditions, to access their original birth certificates upon request.
- SB 5453 is inclusive. The bill, as written, is a simple-to-understand measure that recognizes the presumed right of all Rhode Island adults–adopted and not adopted– to unrestricted access and ownership of their true birth certificates.
- SB 5453 is about rights not reunion. It is about the relation of adoptees to the state. Search and reunion are personal matters outside of government control and mediation.
- SB 5453 maintains the current level of adoption “confidentiality” and practice. Adoption records are sealed upon finalization, not relinquishment. If an adoption petition is rejected by the courts, or the petition is withdrawn, the birth certificate remains unsealed. If an adoption is overturned or disrupted, the birth certificate is unsealed. Even in traditional closed adoptions first parent identities are often recorded on court documents given to adoptive parents without first parent consent. Similarly, legal advertisements with identifying information are often published, and courts may open adoption records for “good cause” without first parent consent. Most significantly, if a child is never adopted the birth certificate is never sealed. Thus, if sealing birth certificates was meant to hide parental identities absolutely, records would be sealed upon relinquishment, not finalization
- SB 5453 does not open original birth certificates to the public. Original birth certificates are unsealed only to the adoptees and designated persons, not the public.
Access Access to original birth certificates guarantees that adopted persons can prove their citizenship status and “legal identity.” Adopted adults, especially since 9/11, are increasingly denied passports, drivers licenses, pensions, Social Security benefits, professional certifications, and security clearances due discrepancies on their amended birth certificates, and their inability to produce an original birth certificate to answer the problems.
SB 5453 gives Rhode Island lawmakers the opportunity to lead the country in positive adoption reform by restoring adoptee civil rights in the state. The bill will harm no one, but will restore equality, dignity, and fairness to adopted persons and their biological and adopted families Please vote YES on SB 5453. It’s the right thing to do!