If adopted, what steps would you take to find information regarding your background, heritage, or biological family? What if all of the avenues you tried resulted in dead ends? Would the frustration cause you to give up, or would it make you more determined to find information that it seems all people are entitled to?

State laws have a big impact on information that can be released to adopted families. Each state is slightly different in their regulations, ranging from very conservative to very liberal. Lately, Missouri has been in the news for taking positive strides in granting more access to original and biological information to people who have been adopted.

Under the leadership of Missouri Representative Don Phillips, House Bill 1599 was passed in 2016 which gave adopted people access to their original (pre-adoption) birth certificate. Representative Phillips initiated and advocated for that bill as it was relevant and important for him. He was adopted and able to locate information regarding his biological parents because of his previous experience as a state trooper, but he was aware that many aren’t that fortunate. Thus, he knew the importance of the bill and worked hard to get the bill passed.

A new bill was recently passed which provides an additional provision. Now, adopted persons can request access to their deceased biological parent’s birth certificate.

It was not easy for Representative Phillips to get this bill passed. According to ABC News, there was not much support for it, as he stated, “the word adoption, it’s a poisonous word, and once you get past that and make it personal to everybody, find a way to make it personal because people don’t understand unless you’re an adoptee yourself.”

Many people who have been adopted, even with loving parents, struggle with self-identity when they have limited or no information regarding their biological family. It is very important that everyone has a chance to access that information if they desire.