SPRINGFIELD — With the passage of the Missouri Adoptee Rights Act, adoptees can get their birth records without needing a court order.
With the new year comes a change with adoption laws in Missouri.
Starting January 2nd, adoptees who are over the age of 18 will be able to get their original birth records through the Missouri Department of Vital Records.
Ragena Combs was adopted at birth, but has never had the chance to meet her birth mother. With the passage of the Missouri Adoptee Rights Act, it could make it easier.
“I have thought about trying to find my mother,” Combs says. “I think a lot of adoptees always feel like there is a part of them missing. Getting older, health and medical is always important to know. What kind of things they had in their history. It would be nice just to know.”
However, not all parents want their identity shared with the child they give up for adoption, and this law would allow for that. Ashley Wohlgemuth is an adoption advocate who says parents have more options now.
“An option they have is to release only medical information,” Wohlgemuth says. “Some adoptees want this information to know how to answer the question at the doctors office ‘tell me your family medical history’ and they can’t because they don’t know.”
There was a time when unwed pregnancies were generally more frowned upon than today.
“Missouri had a number of maternity homes where women could come and hide their pregnancies, so an adoptee wouldn’t have access to their information,” Wohlgemuth explains. “A birth parent would not have access to that information, the adoptive couple would not have access to that file unless they were given information from the courts.”
Wohlgemuth says those who are eager to get their birth records may have a waiting period due to an influx in requests.
“It does take time to access the original birth certificates, but you will get a response. It may take up to 6 weeks to get that response.”
Birth parents who do not want their information made available to the child have to go through the Missouri Bureau of Vital Records.
You can contact them at 573-751-6387 for more in-depth information for both adult adoptees and birth parents.