Adoptions rights group urges lawmakers to open records

Lawmakers consider adoption legislation

AUSTIN - Members from Texas Adoptee Rights are urging lawmakers to pass Senate Bill 329, so that people who are adopted can see their birth certificate once they’re an adult.

"I knew something was missing,” said Sharon Glidden.

"I knew I would see her in heaven, but I never dreamed this day would come,” said Donna Pavey.

Mother Pavey and daughter Glidden were reunited just a few days ago after being separated for 52 years. Pavey said she was forced by her parents to give up her baby for adoption.

"I never want to let her go,” said Glidden.

While not everyone wants this type of reunion, Marci Purcell, who was adopted at 3-years-old, said for many adoptees, it is important to see the information on their birth certificate.

"Is their birthday correct? Where were they born?" said Purcell.

For their reunion, daughter Glidden took a DNA test and had a bit of luck through social media.

Purcell, who is also the vice president of Texas Adoptee Rights, said that is what many adoptees do to try to find information about their history.

"With the records being sealed, adoptees just go around those sealed records,” said Purcell.

She said that the current laws give birth parents a false sense of privacy.

"People are holding up signs on Facebook saying this is what I know,” said Purcell. "They target their searches, but they're very public."

The group supports Senate Bill 329, which would allow someone who is adopted to get a non-certified copy of their birth certificate when they turn 18. It would allow birth parents to fill out a contact preference form, to let their adult child know if they want to be contacted or not and it would aim to keep medical history up to date.

Dawn Scott adopted her daughter at just 3-days-old through an open adoption.

"I wouldn't want to parent based on the fears of another mother coming back for me, and that's not how they behave anyway,” said Scott.

She said that medical history is crucial.

"I know blood types -- I know every single thing -- I don't have to operate in a mystery zone. And that would scare me to death,” said Scott.

Some opponents worry mothers will decide against adoption if they know their child could find them down the road.

Connie Gray, the president and founder of Texas Adoptee Rights said she doesn't think that will be the case.

"Parents want to know that the children they gave birth to are okay, and although lots of people want to be in communication and contact, they don't want their business spread all over the internet,” said Gray.

"Not everybody wants a reunion, not everyone wants to search, but they have a right to,” said Scott.

SB329 was voted out of the Senate State Affairs Committee with six "yes" votes, and three "no" votes.

It has yet to be scheduled for a vote on the Senate floor, and some lawmakers feel there isn’t enough support for it to move any further.

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