Some has asked about the "veto power" I mention in the previous blog. The current statute allows one birth parent to have "veto power" over the other. This means if a birth mother is anxious to have contact and signs a consent form and the birth father is found but declines to sign a consent form, this stops the connection for the birth mother as well. This is what I mean by "veto power." With HB 427 it would allow for the release of information on the consenting birth parent even if the other birth parent (usually the birth father) declines to consent. There is nothing more frustrating then having a birth mother who wants to connect and an adoptee who wants to connect and being unable to connect them. In reality, most of these folks do become connected through ISRR or some other registry especially if they are referred to the same reunion registry but taking out this restriction will help from having to use this work around to make it happen. Efforts are made to communicate with both parties until it is confirmed they have been connected by some method.
Again, HB 427 would release identifying information from the Court/agency file in every case except if the living birth parent declines. This too only lasts as long as the birth parent is living. Even if they have declined to sign a form or have put in writing that they do not want to be contacted, this information can be released once they die.
The legislators still bring up many issues that there are no simple solutions to. The hope is that if we can get HB 427 passed, even though it may not be as much as some would like, it would allow the Courts to release information not only to the adoptee with a consenting birth parent (which already occurs) but also those adoptees or their descendants whose birth parents are deceased. It is very frustrating to get to the end of a search and not be able to provide the information found because the birth parent is deceased and the statute prohibits it's release. I would love to be able to share with the adoptee the birth parent's name at death, where they lived, where they are buried, etc. The adoptees, even knowing this is a risk when they start, are also understandably disappointed. HB 427 would allow for them to be given that information.
The goal in every search is a reunion between adoptee and birth parent. With HB 427, if the bp is deceased, it would at least allow for the connection with the birth family.
Hopefully this helps to clarify. We are anxious to help the legislators understand why we need these changes in order to allow for the release of information in so many more cases. Already, I am thinking of all the adoptees I would be able to contact to let them know of the changes and they can now know the information they were not able to have before.
The goal in this attempt was to get SOMETHING passed. Asking for too much or too big a change never seems to get very far so the thought was to see how far the legislature WOULD go. Next time we can ask for a little more....