Illinois is trying to pass a bill that would make it easier for adult adoptees to get their original birth certificates, very similar to the bill in New Jersey. Republican Sara Feigenholtz is sponsoring the bill that would give many adoptees twenty one years old or older access to their original birth certificates. Birth Certificates have been sealed in Illinois since the 1940’s.
“Chapter 1 of everyone else’s lives begins with a birth certificate, a document I and everyone behind me are prohibited from having.”
Testifying before the committee with Ms. Feigenholtz was former Denver Broncos fullback Howard Griffith who is also an adoptee. He talks about how although he has a great adoptive family, he has never been able to shake the feeling that a piece of him is missing.
“There’s always still a sense of loneliness because you truly don’t know who you are, even though you have this support system.”
More specifically, if this bill becomes a law, it would allow anyone born after January 1, 1946 to immediately obtain copies of their original birth certificates. Anyone born after January 1, 1946 will have to wait until April 1, 2009 in order to give birth parents the opportunity to request anonymity through the state registry. To have their names removed from the original birth certificate, birth parents have to pay a fee of forty dollars or fill out a medical questionnaire.
Those supporting the bill are hoping that if birthparents wish to remain anonymous that they will at least fill out the medical history information so their child can obtain it.
The legislation passed through the House Committee on Adoption Reform earlier this month and now heads to the full House for further debate and then a vote.