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New Law Helps Those Related To Adoptees

Updated: Thursday, July 10 2014, 09:57 AM CDT
ILLINOIS -- Illinois has some of the most progressive laws when it comes to adoption information. And today, Gov. Pat Quinn took another step in that direction signing House Bill 5949.

In 2010, the Governor signed a law making it easier for adoptees to get their original birth certificate.

Four years later, he's expanding that right to adult grandchildren of the adoptees.

But not everyone thinks the access to information is a good thing.

When compiling a family history of a grandparent who is adopted, it leaves a lot of unanswered questions. Information isn't easy to find, especially since adoption was a very secretive process decades ago.

This new state law will make it easier for those looking for records.

"This allows them to have access to that and gives them a little more information so they may know oh yeah high blood pressure runs in my family, or this type of cancer is something I may need to worry about as I get older," said Erin Predmore, executive director of Family Service Center.

When Illinois made the process of finding information easier for adoptees in 2010, it was meant to give those adoptees a choice because as children, their voice was left out of the process.

"They as an adult may have wanted an open adoption, but no one asked them when they were an infant what they want," Predmore said. "So the adults make the best decision they can at the time, and then when that child comes of age they want to be able to weigh in on their own rights and be able to say that this is information that is important to me."

But years after the law, some adoptees think expanding access to information might not be such a good idea, because once you know the information, it's information you can't forget.

Lisa Marie Hardy, who was adopted at 11-months-old, thinks the access could have even deeper ramifications.

"It will make it less likely for people to give babies up for adoption," Hardy said. "I think that's an important process that we need because babies need homes and I think that it will make it so that people won't but up babies for adoption if that's information that's readily available."

But other adoptees, like Gloria Ebler, spent years searching records to find her birth family.

She was born in St. Louis, so her original birth certificate is still sealed under Missouri law, even after her birth parents have both died and she's met her birth family.

She wishes Missouri law would catch up to ours.

"It's so frustrating, so frustrating, it's just a piece of paper but I want it, It means an identity," Ebler said.

Now today's action will specifically help those who are trying to find medical information from grandparents who don't know their birth families, or those who are working on genealogy.

Adoptees will continue to have access to their original birth certificates if they so choose.New Law Helps Those Related To Adoptees

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