South Carolina
Adoption Reform


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Alabama  Opens the Records

As of August 1, 2000, adults adopted in Alabama can request and receive their original birth records

Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman signed HB-690, a bill that allows adult adoptees unconditional access to their orginal birth certificates and other documents in their files held by the Department of Vital Services, at 6:34PM, Thursday, May 25th, 2000. The law went into effect on August 1, 2000, and makes Alabama the fourth state to allow adult adoptees unrestricted access to original birth information (the other states are Alaska, Kansas, and Oregon).

The law opens records to any adult with a sealed original birth certificate (OBC), and gives the person named on that OBC access to the entire file held by the Department of Vital Statistics. This file includes some of the court documentation and the final adoption decree.

Unlike the recent legislation in Tennessee which includes vetoes, the Alabama law has a contact preference form similar to that in Oregon. Oregon's form allows a birth parent to express a preference for unrestricted contact, contact through an intermediary, or no contact; however, if the birth parent desires no contact, he/she must complete an Updated Medical History form.

Credit for this success must go to the bill's sponsors in the House: Rep. Jeff Dolbare of Bigbee, and Rep. Bill Fuller of LaFayette, in the Senate: Sen. Phil Poole of the 21st District, and the adoption advocacy group AWARE - Alabamians Working for Adoption Reform and Education, as well as to the birthparents who spoke up, and the full House and Senate membership which voted decisively and expeditiously.

In an announcement sent out from AWARE, an explanation of the bill and its implementation contained the following:

HB-690 allows any adult who has a sealed original birth certificate at the Department of Vital Statistics to request and receive a copy of that OBC, as well as the entire contents of the Department of Vital Statistics file.

This is not the same as the Department of Human Resources file. The Dept. of Vital Statistics file will contain your OBC and some Court documents pertaining to your adoption, such as the Final Decree and the Court Reportof Adoption which is filed by the Court of adoption finalization. DVS told us that in some cases there may be other information, especially for adoptees whoare 40 +, such as letters from the agencies. It sounds like that will be rare. In most cases you will get your OBC and some Court papers. Many of you already have your Final Decree, since it was routinely given to the adoptive parents.

There are no exceptions to the above. Every adult adoptee will get these documents on written request to DVS in Montgomery, AL.

The contact preference form is simply a checkbox that the birthparent can fill out if requested from DVS. It allows them to state whether they want to be contacted or not (or only by intermediary). It also allows them to provide updated name and address, etc. if they do want contact. Inaddition, they will also be allowed to provide updated medical history on a standard medical form to DVS. That medical history form will be filed with your OBC, along with the Contact Preference form. The way the amendment isworded, a birthparent who wants to file a "no contact" form will have to also file the updated medical history.

Please note that the contact preference form will be a private communication from the birthparent to you. It is simply a means for them to express their wishes. They cannot block release of your own records to you in any way.They are simply allowed to voice their wishes regarding contact.

Release of the records will not be delayed in any way by this amendment to the bill. If a birthparent wants to file a form, then they have to request one from Montgomery.

Center for Health Statistics
P. O. Box 5625
Montgomery, AL 36103-5625


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