I want to preface this blog by saying that I am no expert on the South Carolina situation. I am pretty sure, though, that I have interpreted the law correctly.
I’m posting this entry as a smaller part of the big picture of sealed adoption records in the age of the national security state. While our battle is always about equal treatment under law and due process, in the restoration of our right to our original birth certificates, there are serous practical and political consequences that grow out of our lack of access.
Last night, Anne Piper Boyd, one of Bastard Nation’s Facebook friends posted a section from the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles homepage regarding application identification requirements to obtain a driver’s license in the state. It seems if you are adopted, the BMV–at least in theory– demands proof!
The activist group down there, South Carolina Adoptee Rights (SCAR–how appropriate!) tells us:
When an agency or attorney closes their business, there is not a statute that the files be retained or turned over to the state or how long the file has to be kept by the attorney or agency as the state only keeps records for the adoptions they handle.
It is unclear if SCAR is including OBC release in its description, so I went a little farther: to the HHS Child Welfare Information Gateway since it has a portal for OBC and identity access laws that is quicker than slogging through the state code. I found this for South Carolina.
Access to Nonidentifying Information
Citation: Ann. Code § 63-9-780
- The health and medical histories of the birth parents
- The health and medical history of the adoptee
- The adoptee’s general family background without name references or geographical designations
- The length of time the adoptee has been in the care and custody of the adoptive parent
- The adoptee is age 21 or older, and the applicants apply in writing to the adoption agency for the information.
- The agency has a current file containing affidavits from the adoptee and the birth parents and siblings that they are willing to have their identities revealed to each other.
- The agency has established and maintained a confidential register that contains the names and addresses of the adoptee and birth parents and siblings who have filed affidavits.
- The adoptee and his or her birth parents and siblings have undergone counseling by the adoption agency concerning the effects of the disclosure. The adoption agency may charge a fee for the services, but services must not be denied because of inability to pay.
No disclosure may be made within 30 days after compliance with these conditions. The director of the adoption agency may waive the 30-day period in extreme circumstances. The agency may delay disclosure for 20 days from the expiration of the 30-day period to allow time to apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to enjoin the disclosure for good cause shown.
Access to Original Birth Certificate
In fact, if the amended birth certificate is the forever birth certificate for the forever Baby Bumble, is the pre-adoption information necessary? As adopta tradition goes: You didn’t exist before you were adopted.
And that is just about as absurd as we can get.