Like speed limits, divorce statutes and the public health code, the laws governing adoption are decided in state capitols, not in Washington, D.C. But unlike speed limits and other state-regulated areas of the law, adoption statutes vary widely from Augusta to Sacramento...

For a wide range of reasons (nearly all of which are based on myth rather than reality)...and despite an impassioned 30-year struggle to overturn inhumane sealed records laws...as of January 1, 2008, only four states (one by voter initiative and the other three via legislative reform) have successfully turned the clock all the way back...and reinstated adoptees' unrestricted access to their original birth certificates. Two other states have enacted open records laws that provide for either a birth parent contact veto or disclosure veto, and two additional states have always recognized an adoptee's right to access his or her original birth certificate... bringing the grand total of "open records" states to eight...

In many states, including Illinois, the post-adoption options available to adult adoptees and their birth parents today are more restrictive than they were in 1945 (for more on adoption history in Illinois, please see our "IL Adoption History" section)...which is pretty curious since societal attitudes on all the issues that spawned sealed records in the first place (i.e. shame and guilt over unwed parenthood, infertility, and being "conceived out of wedlock") have taken giant leaps in a more enlightened direction during the same 60-year period.


White Oak's Executive Director, Melisha Mitchell, with Gov. Pat Quinn following the signing of the OBC-Access Law in May 2010

















e-mail:  ILtreesurgeon@aol.com

phone: 312-666-5722