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Adoptions Records Bill Clears Senate

The Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation Thursday that seeks to allow adopted children access to information about their birth parents.

Between 1941 and 1993, adoption records in Indiana were sealed.  Adopted children can already access them through the court system, but that process is lengthy, costly, and inconsistent.

Republican Senator Brent Steele’s, R-Bedford, bill would open those records, while giving birth mothers some new options: to bar contact entirely, to allow contact only through an intermediary, or to only allow children access to medical records.  The bill passed the Senate Thursday, but Senator Carlin Yoder, R-Elkhart, says he’s worried that not all birth mothers will find out their records were opened and learn about their options.

“To go back and change this now is going back on a deal that we made with those birth mothers,” Yoder says.

But bill author Steele, an attorney who’s handled adoptions both during and after the closed records era, says no deal was ever made.

“So are you going to pass a bill that helps the majority, or worried about that one in a thousand case that says ‘I don’t ever want to be contacted’?” Steele says.

The bill cleared the Senate 43-5 and now heads to the House.

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