Connecticut Adoptees Working Hard To Access Original Birth Certificates

No other group of people in the United States is systematically denied access to something as simple and yet fundamental as a birth certificate.

Rachel Skousen May 10, 2017

The Connecticut legislature is currently considering a bill that would allow all adult adoptees in the state of Connecticut access to their original birth certificates (OBCs) and medical history.

Karen Caffrey was adopted as a child. Though she was felt loved by her adoptive parents, she always felt a sense of disconnect. At the age of 19, after a 3-year-long search, she finally found her birth parents. It was a discovery that changed everything for her. She learned more about who she was and where she came from. She learned the why behind her adoption. Through reunion, she better understood her place in the world.

That’s why, as president of Access Connecticut, a grassroots movement dedicated to allowing all adult adoptees in Connecticut access to their original birth certificates, Caffrey is working tirelessly to ensure that all adults in Connecticut have access to their birth certificates and medical histories.

“We see this as a matter of equality for adoptees,” says Karen Caffrey, “especially older adoptees who are frankly passing from this life having without the same treatment under the law as other adoptees. We see this as a matter of medical history and as a matter of basic, fundamental humanity.”

Prior to 1975, all adoptees had the right to obtain a copy of the adoptee’s OBC. Sadly, an under-the-table legislative maneuver stripped adoptees of this right for 40 years. In 2015, a law was passed in Connecticut to allow adoptees who were finalized after Oct 1, 1983 to obtain a copy of their OBC.

The 2015 bill represented great progress for Connecticut adoptees. However, there are still 41,000 people in Connecticut who were adopted between the years of 1919 and 1983 who would also like access to their original birth certificates.

No other group of people in the United States is systematically denied access to something as simple and yet fundamental as a birth certificate: knowledge about who they are, who their parents are, what their ethnicity is, what their medical history is, and more.

To potential critics of the bill, Caffrey says this: “When people think of adoption, they think of children. But we’re all adults now. And we believe that as adults we can handle our information and our relationships just like everyone else.”

Learn more and support the cause by visiting the Access Connecticut website.

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Rachel Skousen

Rachel has a long-held passion for adoption that was sealed through her work as the content manager at Adoption.com. She currently works as a content specialist at Adopting.org, finding and sharing amazing adoption content from across the web. She is a mom of three and loves reading and napping in her spare time.


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