For Immediate Release: October 26, 1998
Contact: Shea Grimm 425-883-7293

Oregon Adult Adoptees on Threshold of Equal Rights

Adoption Industry opposition spreads lies
and uses tabloid style diversion to protect unethical practices.

On Tuesday November 3rd, voters in Oregon will be asked to consider a ballot initiative, Measure 58, that will open original birth certificates to adult adoptees on request. Oregon and 47 other states in the U.S still seal the original birth certificates of adoptees upon finalization of the adoption. The adoptee's birth certificate is then amended. Birthparent names are deleted and replaced with the names of the adoptive parents. Other birth information may also be deleted or altered, including the birth date and place of birth.

In 1957 records were sealed retroactively to adoptees in Oregon. The stated intention was to protect the adoptee and adoptive family from the shame and stigma that "illegitimate" birth held at that time. Although society has evolved to the point where being adopted should no longer be shameful, records have remained sealed due to pressure from industry lobby groups composed of adoption agencies and attorneys. While studies indicate that the vast majority of birthparents favor opening records, these agency groups have continued to raise the specter of birthparent privacy as a way of covering up the real reason for their own opposition.

Measure 58 spokesperson Shea Grimm states that adoption industry lobbyists are hiding their own dirty secrets.

"Would you trust Exxon to give you an accurate read on environmental issues today? Would you rely on Philip-Morris to help set tobacco policy? Many adoption agencies have been operating for over a hundred years, and unfortunately in the past many of these agencies engaged in coercion, illegal baby-brokering, and the deliberate non-disclosure of critical medical and other background information, which may render a child less marketable in adoption. These special interests fear that opening records will expose these past unethical practices," said Grimm.

Records were recently opened in Tennessee after a local adoption agency was exposed in the media and before a shamed legislature for past illegal activities involving baby selling in black market adoptions. During the investigation, local attorneys and justices were found to have been part of the network of illegal adoption activities.

The issue of adoptee rights has never before been placed on a state's ballot. Measure 58 is leading in the polls and has overwhelming support among birthparents and adoptees as well as among the general public who see this issue as one of a basic constitutional right to access the government-held record of one's birth. Countries including Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and many others have already opened records to adoptees and report no detrimental effects on adoption as a result.

For more information see
Contact: Shea Grimm