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The ARC visits Indianapolis

Legislative Summit 2023

By Lynn Grubb

Advocates came from Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, Washington and Uruguay (Yes, South America!) to join the Adoptee Rights Coalition at the home of the Indy 500 to educate about the restoration of original birth certificates.

This year we collaborated with the National Association of Adoptees and Parents (NAAP) and Right to Know. There was a lot of interest during the two-day exhibition.

We received many of the same types of questions and concerns at the booth as we have in years past. One thing that was unique this year is the number of people who thanked us for coming! One man cried at the booth when he realized his wife (adopted) could access her birth certificate.

We are always pleased when we can give someone good news about the states who have been passing clean legislation (Louisiana and Minnesota adoptees will have access beginning next year!).

The thing that never ceases to amaze me is that people just DO NOT KNOW that adoptees have two birth certificates. I use an elevator speech and it goes like this:

A child is provided an ORIGINAL birth certificate at birth and later, IF an adoption finalization takes place, the state seals the original and replaces it with an AMENDED birth certificate, which lists the adoptive parents as if they gave birth. We refer to this as a legal fiction.“ (cue jaw drop).

Once we cover that education piece, the floodgates open. So. Many. Stories. And so much emotion with this issue from all sides of the adoption constellation.

In years past, we have done DNA kit drawings which have always been a big hit. An estimated one in four Americans are in the DNA databases, and more than 90 percent of testers get at least a second cousin match (2019 data).

We educate anyone who has concerns about privacy that it is MORE private to receive an original birth certificate than it is to contact random matches in a DNA database, revealing private information to strangers.

We continue to use a colorful wheel, which we affectionately refer to as the Wheel of Fortune or Misfortune. Birth certificate access depends on your state of birth and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose!

However, the Adoptee Rights Coalition is determined that ALL adoptees will be treated equally, with dignity, and have an opportunity for healing.

The ARC would like to thank all those who joined us in Indianapolis. We are diligently planning for the next Legislative Summit 2024 in Louisville, Kentucky. We are excited to be in the Bluegrass State next year!


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