I keep reading about a movement for Open Records for people who have been adopted. What are they and why is this an issue?

Original birth certificates (OBC) and records were sealed from adoptees upon having been adopted — largely after WWII, when the stigmas of out-of-wedlock births, infertility, and adoption brought great shame. Amended birth certificates (ABC) — with the child's new name, the adoptive parents named as the child's parents, and sometimes a change in place of birth — were issued. Much of the information that was on the OBC was left off of the ABC.

The movement to have OBCs opened in all states has grown from adoptees wanting access to all details about their birth and adoption — about their histories. It is estimated that between six to eight million adoptees in the U.S. and somewhere of 80-100 million of Americans are affected by this movement (people "touched" by adoption). Aren't we all curious about our pasts?

It is also important to note that the majority of adopted children currently being raised in open adoptions, with contact between their birth and adoptive families, do not have access to their OBC upon reaching adulthood. Read more about myths and facts of unsealing of and access to OBCs and adoption records at the American Adoption Congress and the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.


Adoption Pro, Judy Miller

Judy M. Miller is an adoptive parent and adoption advocate living in the Midwest with her husband and four children. She is an adoption support specialist and coordinates and teaches parent preparation education to parents who are in the adoption process. Her essays and articles appear in adoption and parenting magazines and in A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Families (Adams Media), Pieces of Me: Who Do I Want to Be? (EMK Press), and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom (Chicken Soup for the Soul).

Judy has appeared on MomTV's Adoption Angles and TogiNet's Adoption ~ Journey to Motherhood. Judy spoke at the Parenting Summit in March 2011. She will present at the Symposium 2011 Opening Adoption: Realities, Possibilities, and Challenges in Richmond, Virginia and the Crossroads of America Adoption Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana this September.