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Lawmakers Look Into Opening Closed Adoption Records

The bill would make it easier for those adopted during Indiana's sealed records period to access their original birth certificates.

Lawmakers next session will take another pass at legislation opening up records from Indiana’s closed adoptions era.

The move follows a failed bill this past session that would have opened records of adoptions between 1941 and 1993.

Adopted children from the closed records era have to use what’s called a confidential intermediary and the court system to have access to their birth records.

Bedford Republican Senator Brent Steele will give opening those records another try, this time with some changes.

Birth mothers would now have four options – allowing contact, allowing contact through a third party, not allowing contact, or barring contact but permitting the release of updated medical records.

Yet the same objections remain.

“And somebody shows up at the door and says ‘You didn’t file a form and therefore we’re going to announce to the world that I’m your kid.’ And your husband says, ‘What? We had a kid? You had a kid with somebody else?,’” said Rep. Tom Washburne (R-Evansville).

Washburne says mothers were under the presumption that their adoptions would remain closed. He says he’s worried not everyone will get word about a change in the law.

Steele says opening the records likely won’t take effect until 2018, giving the state plenty of time to inform as many people as possible.

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