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Adopted adults to get greater access to records

May 21, 2010 7:39:04 PM PDT
Illinois residents who are adopted will now have more access to records about their family history. Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation Friday that birth records more accessible to adults who were adopted. The law will also help provide key information on birth family's medical records

Melisha Mitchell said many birth parents long to know that their children are all right.

"What we wanted was to put this in our children's hands to say you make the decisions. You want to find me? You have my information. You can find me," said Melisha Mitchell, birth mother. "My whole life I have been waiting to do something like this. It means a lot to me," said Elizabeth Hutchinson, Mitchell's birth daughter.

Governor Quinn signed a bill into law that provides adopted adults greater access to copies of their original birth certificate without having to get a court order.

"To sign that law was a true honor. The strength of Illinois is the strength of our families and our citizens who are adopted want to know about their family and we owe it to them," said Quinn.

"Now that I can move on knowing who I am and where I come from. (It) is a basic human right that we now will have," said Howard Griffith, a former fullback for the Denver Broncos who played at the University of Illinois and was adopted

The bill, which is sponsored by State Representative Sara Feigenholtz, allows adopted adults born before 1946 to get a copy of their birth certificate by filing a request with the state adoption registry.

"I, like any other person, will be able to walk into the office of vital records and put my $15 down on the table and get a copy of my original birth certificate for the first time in my life," said Rep Feigenholtz, who was also adopted.

Adopted children born after 1946 will have to wait November 2011 to get their birth certificates so birth parents have an opportunity to request anonymity through the state registry.

As part of the new law , the Illinois Department Of Public Health, which administers the Illinois Adoption Registry and Medical Information Exchange, will launch a yearlong statewide campaign to inform and educate adopted adults and birth parents about the change to birth certificate law.

If the birth parents ask for anonymity, the adoptee can go to the courts five years later and initiate a search for updated medical information free of charge.


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