On November 10, Rep. Robert “RJ” May pre-filed HB 4566 in the House. The bill amends the state’s current law, passed in 2018 (which started out clean and went down dirty) that permits adoptees, age 18 and over whose adoptions are finalized after July 1, 2019, to obtain a non-certified copy of their OBC “and “evidence of adoption,” but only with the consent of the biological parent(s) That consent is authorized through the submission of a “Contact Preference Form or other notarized documents. In practical terms, the 2019 law can’t be utilized until 2037, except in cases of older child/foster adoptions. Those adopted before the effective date are forced to file a petition to a state court, a procedure that has a near-zero success rate.
HB 4566 retroactively opens all OBCs, to adoptees 18 and older, regardless of the date of birth, but retains the Disclosure Veto/CPF. This means that adoptees must know the name of their birthparent(s) and get their consent to obtain their OBC. There is no mechanism in the current law or proposed measure to indicate if an adoptee can obtain their OBC if the bparent(s) is deceased.
I’m fuzzy on how this works, so if someone can clarify for me, I will correct this if needed. Or maybe it’s all just confusing to everyone.
Although the current law states, and the new bill follows through, that all adoptees with an approved CPF can obtain their OBC, the 2018-19 law, says that identifying information would be released through the state’s public adoption agency if 1) the adoptee is 18 years of age; 2) all parties consent in writing, and 3) the parties “undergo counseling by the adoption agency concerning the effects of the disclosure.” Birth grandparents and birth siblings can obtain identifying information from the state’s public agency. The only people who can take advantage of the “state’s public agency” services, however, seem to be those connected to a state-facilitated adoption, not private adoption agencies.
So in other words, HB 4566 doesn’t change much of anything. It simply increases greatly the pool of adoptee OBC applicants as well as the pool of biological parents that will gain a vested right to prohibit the release of the OBC under its provisions–a “right” that currently does not exist. So instead of furthering the right of Class Bastard to obtain their OBCs, the bill decreases it. Bastards will still be forced to go before a useless court and be sent away with a pat on the head.
I normally don’t dig around the background of sponsors, supporters, or opposition unless there’s a huge red flag, but I did this time around, I’m simply curious. HB 44566 sponsor RJ May is a first-term Rep from Lexington who bills himself “Pro-Trump.Pro-Life.Pro-Gun.” He operates Ivory Tusk Consulting, a political consulting firm that has helped elect several conservative candidates in the state. Its motto is “liberals need not apply.” His campaign page references RINOs and “radical liberals.” I looked around a little tonight to see if I could find his interest or connection to adoption if he has one, and have come up with nothing. (Best bio here). He just strikes me as a strange pol to take an interest in furthering “adoptee rights,” I say “furthering since this bill in deform circles would be considered a nice step forward. I think I know what is going on here but won’t say anything until I can figure it out better.
I don’t know much about the history of record sealing (1964) or adoptee rights restoration in South Carolina. In 2012 I wrote this blog after learning that under state law, people whose name had been changed needed to present legal papers –including adoption records–recording the change–to get a driver’s license. With the encroaching National Security State that requirement would mean adopted people could be SOL for a lot of things. Think Real ID.
As soon as NAM is over and I can quit writing every day, I will try to learn more about the bill and the whys of it. Whatever, is going on, HB 4566 is reactionary, regressive, punitive, and anti-adoptee. It’s only been prefilled and nothing can happen until the next session which starts on January 11, 2022, so there is time. I will keep you informed
Thanks to Mary Ellen Gambutti!
I will cross-post this to the Bastard Nation front webpage if I can clarify the role of the “state adoption agency.”
Day 26 of 30–
4 to go