OBC ACCESS TODAY
When a child is adopted in America, his/her original birth certificate (OBC) is sealed and an amended birth certificate is issued, listing adoptive parents as birth parents. In many cases, adopted people are unable to receive unrestricted access to their original birth certificate even after turning 18. Research has fully debunked the notion of secrecy in adoption; it is proven that best practices promote transparency and openness. Furthermore, a public opinion survey conducted by The Donaldson Adoption Institute uncovered that 69% of the general public support an adopted person’s right to access his/her OBC. Yet, the majority of U.S. states still provide restricted to no access to OBCs.
This practice denies a basic human right to an entire class of people. A birth certificate is a vital record and all people have a right to unrestricted access of this critical document.
- No Access: There is currently no specific mechanism for adopted people to apply for and receive a copy of their original birth certificate outside of the possibility of obtaining a court order.
- Partial Access with Restrictions: Adopted people born and adopted during a certain time frame may apply for a copy of their original birth certificate. However, information may be redacted or release may be denied.
- Partial Access: Adopted people born and adopted during a certain time frame may apply for and receive a copy of their original birth certificate.
- Access with Restrictions: Adopted people may apply for a copy of their original birth certificate. However, certain restrictions may apply, such as identifying information being redacted or a birth parent being able to deny release.
- Access: Adopted people may apply for and receive a copy of their original birth certificate just like non-adopted people.
THE OBC 2020 MISSION
We are seeking to raise awareness and broadly educate surrounding the importance of unrestricted access to original birth certificates by adopted people. We will accomplish this via an organized advocacy effort to ensure that by 2020, every state without access has an active campaign to restore this right to adopted people while also supporting states currently working on reform as well as those that have achieved access. As we work to create a digital space that would provide one central place for resources, guidance, education, virtual meetings and strategic partnerships, we have asked for your help. We will share the results of our brief survey on how this resource could best serve the community soon.
GOAL 1: EDUCATE
To provide national and state-based information and education that frames the issue of unrestricted OBC access as a matter of human rights and ensure the truth and transparency that is vital to building strong families.
GOAL 2: ENGAGE
To create an interactive website which will drive national momentum surrounding the issue of unrestricted OBC access. The website will be built utilizing input from an advisory board of experts as well as data collected from the community to ensure areas of need are identified and incorporated.
GOAL 3: EXPAND
To create state-specific webpages to provide everything advocates need to take action locally. The state pages will provide opportunity to interact with advocates within the state as well as from other states in order to expand efforts.