Controversy Over Indiana’s Closed Adoption Records

About 350,000 adoptees in Indiana and their birth mothers could be affected by a bill that co-sponsor, Senator Brent Steele, is hoping will make it through the House. Passing 46 to 3 in the Senate, this bill allowing the opening of birth records between 1941 and 1993 will be a great gift to adoptees seeking more information about where they came from.

Those opposing the bill have nothing against adoptees. But rather, their concern is for birth mothers who were assured their anonymity at the time they placed their child for adoption. To help combat concern for birth mothers who desire to remain anonymous, a “no-contact” form may be filed. Once filed, their information will not be released. But for those who are not aware or who don’t meet the deadline in filing, records will be opened and adoptees will access.

Currently, adoptees born between 1941 and 1993 seeking information on their birth history have to go to court and use a confidential intermediary to have their sealed records released. This can be costly and there is no guarantee they will find what they are looking for.

The bill is now before the House. If passed, Indiana will join several other states who are now in the process of opening previously closed birth records.