Missouri Adoptee Rights Act

Advocacy Happenings:
The Missouri Adoptee Rights Act

In May, the Missouri legislature passed HB1599, the Missouri Adoptee Rights Act, granting Missourians who were adopted between 1941 and 1986 access to their original birth certificates. While this law is a wonderful opportunity for adoptees to learn more about their biological history, the rights of their birth parents may be compromised.  Original birth certificates contain the names and often contact information of birth parents. And even though today adoption is seen as a selfless and courageous decision, in the past there was stigma and shame associated with it.  Many women never shared their adoption story with their loved ones and at the time of the adoption, were assured of confidentiality. In efforts to help ensure that this confidentiality continues to be respected today, LFCS is helping to raise awareness among birth parents of how this new law may affect them.

What Does This Law Do, Exactly?

  • Allows an adopted individual (or his or her attorney) to apply for an original copy of his or her birth certificate.
  • Outlines when an adopted person is able to obtain a copy of a redacted original birth certificate as well as an unaltered original birth certificate.
  • Creates a contact preference form and medical history form to be completed by birth parents and attached to the original birth certify cate of the adopted person.
  • These forms will be made available by the court and the clerk of the court must send the form and certificate of decree of adoption to the state registrar. The law outlines the processes to be followed for each form.

The law requires a public notification period and that ends on May 1, 2017. No original birth certificates will be issued before May 1, 2017, unless the adopted person was born before 1941.

In the meantime, LFCS is working with Catholic Charities, the Adoption & Foster Care Coalition of Missouri, Children’s Home Society of Missouri, and other partners to raise awareness among birth parents of how they can protect their confidentiality. To stay updated on this and other Advocacy happenings, join our Online Advocacy Network!