Adoption News / Reunion

The Gift of a Sister

Even though they worked at the same Scottsdale elementary school, neither Janine Mullen nor Cindy Chadwick knew they were sisters.  One afternoon a serendipitous meeting changed all that.

Watch the full story here.


The Debate Continues

The debate over access to original birth certificates continues.   Listen to this discussion on The Takeaway, a national morning news program.

Adoptees Fight for Access to Original Birth Certificates
Monday, August 02, 2010

Adoption "Reality" Show

The New York Times reports, “Two Reality Shows Stir Publicity and Anger” .  Coverage of  “Find My Family” begins at the bottom of the page.

Adoption "Reality" Show

I admit it–I’m not much of a television watcher.  I find there are so many other things to do with my time than sit mindlessly in front of the “box”.  Sure, there are a few shows I do watch, but not many.

I particularly dislike reality shows.  Watching people behaving badly, tearful outbursts or scheming against one another isn’t my idea of entertainment. 

When I heard that a new reality show about adoption reunions would begin airing on TV, I found myself annoyed at the latest attempt to exploit the feelings of those whose lives have been touched by adoption.

A good aspect of the show: hopefully this show will shed some light on the need to know one’s family.

Bad aspect about the show: I dislike the insensitive terminolgy used, such as “give up for adoption”.

It will be interesting to see the comments from those in the adoption triad.

141 Adoptees Pre-register For Original Birth Certificate

141 Individuals pre-registered to receive their original birth certificate from the vital statistics department in Maine after a new state law took effect on January 1, 2009.

Some oppose the new law because they believe it violates the privacy of birthmothers.

News story

Thank Goodness It Was Changed

That one little word that caused all the problems for the Nebraska safe haven law has been changed. Effective 22 November 2008, the amendment to LB 157 limits the age of the child to 30 days or younger.

Maine Allows Access to OBC

On January 1, 2009, adoptees born in Maine and at least 18 years old, will have access to their original birth certificates. For birth parents who don’t want contact, the law included a contact preference. They may file a form which must contain one of the following statements:

  • A. “I would like to be contacted. I have completed this contact preference form and a medical history form and am filing them with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.”
  • B. “I would prefer to be contacted only through an intermediary. I have completed this contact preference form and a medical history form and am filing them with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.”
  • C. “Do not contact me. I may change this preference by filling out another contact preference form. I have completed this contact preference form and a medical history form and am filing them with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.”

For more information on this law, see:

“An Act To Provide Adult Adoptees Access to Their Original Birth Certificates”

With the passage of this legislation, six states allow access to original birth certificates. Those states are:

Alabama, Alaska, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire and Oregon

What do you think about open records?

One Word Can Make All The Difference

In this case, the word is “child” when the word that should have been used is “infant”. Nebraska’s save haven law went into effect on July 18, 2008 and prohibits “prosecution for leaving a child at a hospital”. The problem is that “child” means up to 18 years old. Parents, and I use that term loosely, took advantage of that loophole.

The first use of Nebraska’s law was on September 13, when an 11 year old and a 15 year old were left. In one instance, a 16 year old girl from Arizona was left, in another; a father dropped off nine children, ranging in age from 1 year old to 17.

Of the 34 children left under the safe haven law, the majority are between ll and 17 years old. This is the break down by age as of November 14.

  • 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 years of age — 1 child each age
  • 11 years old — 5
  • 12 years old — 3
  • 13 years old — 3
  • 14 years old — 3
  • 15 years old — 6
  • 16 years old — 2
  • 17 years old — 6

Nebraska governor, Dave Heineman has called for a special session to update the law. “This law needs to be changed to focus on its original intent, which is to protect infants,” he said.

One proposed amendment would protect infants up to three days old, another limits the age to a year or younger.

Let’s hope this mess is rectified as soon as possible. One has to wonder what kind of life these kids have had, and maybe they would be better off with a new family.

There’s an expression that I have heard many times which I now fully understand: “an old alley cat would make a better mother than . . .”

Source: Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services

National Adoption Month

Since 1990, November has been proclaimed National Adoption Month in an effort to call attention to the need for adoptive families for children in foster care. Month-long activities celebrate adoption as a positive way to build families.

The United States has approximately 510,000 children currently in foster care. Of those, 129,000 are waiting for a permanent family. Many will reach 18 without being adopted. (More than 26,000)*.

Maricopa County will celebrate with the adoption finalization of 226 children on Saturday, November 15. Celebrations are also planned for Prescott and Tucson.

*Statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families Administration on Children

Follow-up to Adoption Records "Finder"

Jill Ekstrom made her living finding birthparents and adoptees. In March 2008, she was accused of stealing microfilmed adoption records from a clerk’s office of the Davis County court in Utah. She pleaded no contest to five counts of stealing records–a class A misdemeanor.

She maintains her innocence and says she accepted the plea deal because of the effects on her family and health. She was sentenced to $850.00 in restitution, a $540.00 fine and 18 months’ probation.

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