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Kansas Adoption Attorney Says Adopted Citizens in Some States Still Face Restricted Access to Birth Certificates

Kansas Adoption Attorney Says Adopted Citizens in Some States Still Face Restricted Access to Birth Certificates
February 22, 2017 James Greenier

Kansas is one of only a handful of states that allow adopted individuals to have complete access to their official birth certificates.   Some states allow some, restricted access, while other states allow no access at all. The practice of restricting adoptees’ access to their birth certificates can pose problems for them because there are plenty of situations where an individual must be able to present his or her birth certificate to accomplish a particular purpose.  For example, you must present a birth certificate to get a passport, and some programs that have age categories for their participants, such as youth sports programs, often require that participants present an official birth certificate at the time that they register for the program.

In the past, birth certificates of adopted individuals were sealed for a few reasons, but many of those reasons are not valid today. For example, the stigma that used to be attached to children born to unmarried parents is largely nothing more than a distant memory. Another reason for sealing birth certificates is to protect adoptive families from the intrusion of birth parents, but there are plenty of other ways to do that than to deny an adopted person access to their birth certificate.  Also, when an adoptee and their biological parents search for each other, they are likely to be able to find them through social media and even through DNA testing, so it is unlikely that keeping birth certificates sealed would prevent any of those reunions.

Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons why official birth certificates should be available to adoptees is that there have not been any adverse effects of granting such access in the states where it is available. What’s more, in countries all over the world where adopted citizens can access their official birth certificates, no harm to adoptees, birth families, or adoptive parents has occurred.

Other reasons why other states may want to join Kansas and the other states that give adoptees access to their birth certificates is that granting access could improve access to information about family health history and genealogy. Also, many adoptions are open adoptions, which means that the spirit of the families who are adopting often leans towards free exchange of information between the birth family and the adoptive family. Keeping birth certificates sealed runs contrary to that desire to share information among family groups.

In Kansas, you may obtain your official birth certificate if you are adopted.  Likewise, if you have a child and you relinquish your rights to them so that they may be adopted, they will be able to access their birth certificate. If you are pregnant and you are considering adoption, you are likely to have many questions. A Kansas Adoption Attorney can answer your questions about adoption in Kansas, and they can help you understand your rights, the rights of your child, and the rights of the child’s other parent. If you have any questions about adoption, Kansas Adoption Attorney Thomas McDowell might be able to help. Call our office today, at (316) 633-4322 and schedule an initial consultation.