JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri residents who were adopted now have access to their original birth certificates.
Access to the birth certificates began on Monday thanks to the Missouri Adoptee Rights Act that was signed into law last year.
A nonprofit called G's Adoption Registry recently held an event in Jefferson City celebrating the new access. The event included speakers, events and entertainment, as well as an appearance by Republican Rep. Don Phillips of Kimberling City, who sponsored the bill.
Previously, Missouri law didn't allow people who handled adoptions to discuss any identifying information about the biological parents. State law also didn't allow people access to their original birth certificates if they were adopted though a closed-adoption process. This meant Missouri-born adoptees didn't have immediate access to medical history or family heritage.
Steve Hamblin, who was adopted, said there were medical tests his insurer refused to pay for because he couldn't show family history of medical conditions. He said he and his daughter eventually decided to get their DNA tested with a commercial service, and found some members of Hamblin's biological family.
Hamblin, who grew up in Cape Girardeau, said some opponents to the adoptee bill argued that biological parents were promised confidentiality. But barring access to direct information means other options have to be used, and "with DNA, with Facebook, there is no privacy," he said.
Allowing adoptees access to their birth certificates is a logical and necessary step, said Heather Dodd, founder of the Missouri Adoptee Rights Movement.