Each year in the United States, thousands of children are adopted by parents who offer them a loving home and a caring environment. Many of these children, however, are forced to go through life with very little information about their biological parents, which can create significant challenges as they get older. Over the last several years, efforts around the country, and in Illinois in particular, have attempted to make more data available to adoptees looking for access to their original birth certificates and details about family medical history. Even now, the push continues in Illinois as a bill is under review the in state House that could make many adoptions significantly more transparent.
Areas of Concern
While privacy is certainly a concern for many parents who place their children up for adoption, many—including the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D- Chicago—believe that the current laws do not appropriately address the needs of the adoptees. As an adoptee herself, Feigenholtz understands the struggles that those who are adopted often face, especially as they pertain to health, heritage, and other familial concerns. “I hope this bill continues to help adoptees get answers to the questions they have because they are legitimate,” she said.
Rep. Feigenholtz was also instrumental in getting adoptees access to their birth certificates several years ago, but she does not believe that enough has been done in the interim. In her opinion, too much is dependent upon the individual adoption agency and how much information the birth parents are willing to provide. “Historically,” she observed, “this information has always been contingent on how the adoption was finalized.”
Ease of Access
If the proposed legislation is passed, adoption agencies in the state would be permitted to share a larger amount of non-identifying information with adoptees. Those who have been adopted would be able to learn the reasons behind their adoption, and much greater detail about their birth parents’ family medical history. Supporters of the measure believe that increasing access to information for adoptees will ultimately have a positive impact, as they will be better equipped to make life and lifestyle decisions going forward with their lives. Protecting the privacy of birth parents, they maintain, must be balanced with providing for the best interests of the children who are put up for adoption.
If you are considering adoption or are an adoptee looking to gain access to personal and family history information, contact an experienced Orland Park adoption lawyer. Our team is ready and willing to provide sound, responsible legal advice, and will remain at your side throughout the process. Call 708-518-8200 to schedule a free consultation today.