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Adoptee birth certificate requests soar after change in law

April 8, 2019

The number of adopted Hoosiers seeking information from the state about their birth parents has more than quadrupled since a new law took effect last year, opening access to the records.

“We’ve received 4,211 requests for adoption records since June 1, 2018,” according to Indiana Department of Health spokeswoman Megan Wade-Taxter. That compares to past annual totals of 953 in 2017 and 916 requests in 2016.

The surge in requests for adoption records can be traced to a law that took effect last year. Senate Enrolled Act 91 permits people born in Indiana and adopted between 1941 and 1993 to obtain their birth certificates and medical records. Those records previously were closed to adoptees who requested them.

Wade-Taxter said the surge in requests for records began after the bill was signed into law but before it took effect July 1. Requests for information continue to far outpace prior years, she said.

The health department now provides those records unless the biological mother files a written form objecting to release of the information. Wade-Taxter said the department does not track the number of birth mothers who file the form denying the release of information to adoptees, nor does the department track the number of requests for records from adoptees that cannot be honored.The surge in requests for information also has led to a lag in the time it takes the department to reply to adoptees seeking their records. Processing the requests in some cases has taken several months.

“We began seeing an increase in requests in June, as adoptees knew the turnaround time was several weeks, so their request, even if submitted in June, would not be processed until after the law took effect,” Wade-Texter said in an email.

More information about access to adoption records is available here.

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