Indiana has joined the growing list of states to open birth records for adoptees. As of July 1, adoptees can gain access to previously sealed adoption documents, including a copy of their original birth certificate, unless a non-release was put in the file by a biological parent.

Thanks to a bill signed by Gov. Pence in March 2016, adoptees born before 1993 can request their adoption file. They must register through the Adoption Matching Registry. Adult adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents, and birth siblings are all eligible to register information. One must be 18 to register or 21 to receive information.

This great achievement would not have been possible without Pam Kroskie with the Indiana Adoptee Network. Pam has been leading the charge for the past 20 years. As an adoptee herself, she understands the plight firsthand.

Kroskie worked with state lawmakers to get the “Equal Access to Records” law passed into law in 2016. “They sealed our information from us. So it’s ours. And, it’s now time for us to have our information back,” said Kroskie. “We never wanted anyone else to feel lost and not be able to know who they are.”

Adoptees need to submit forms 47896 and 47897. Then the state will look in the file for a non-release form. If the form is not included in their file, they will release the file, including a copy of the original birth certificate and other court documents. That information will include names of birth parents.

Many people have shared concern that the opening of adoption records may lead to unwanted reunions. To that Kroskie says, “Adoptees don’t want to jump out and say ‘hi I’m here.’ They try and do a very respectful contact. Most of the reunions I’ve been involved with have been successful. But it’s not without work.”