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How Much Access Should Adults Adopted as Children Have to Their Biological Information?

There is a recent movie that can be streamed from a popular website that documents the life of identical twin sisters who until recent years didn’t know that the other existed. It’s a fascinating story and a great take if you have the time.  There are times when these stories about adoption bubble to the surface that beg the question, how much information does an adopted child have the right to and at what point in their lives?

There is a lot of regulation about this topic, and currently biological parents have the right to seal adoption records, ensuring their privacy for many years. This protects the rights of the parents, but what about the child who is in search of answers?

Medical advances have progressed to a point where certain tests can be run to determine genetic tendencies for many diseases including cancer, heart disease, genetic disorders, and diseases that follow familiar gene pools, but without documented family medical history, this is only one piece of the puzzle.

There is a lot of information available that can help fill in these gaps and a qualified lawyer can help to maneuver this maze on your behalf. What information is available can depend on if the adoption was public or private and whether the adoption records have been sealed. In Rhode Island and in most other states, adoption records are sealed and withheld from public inspection after an adoption is finalized. Most States have instituted procedures by which parties to an adoption may obtain both nonidentifying and identifying information from an adoption record while still protecting the interests of all parties.

It is important to know that looking for information does not always mean that the biological parents need to be contacted by you, embraced by you or be involved in your life in any way other than providing the insight that you desire. An adoption lawyer can mediate this process for you.  

In the case of the sisters featured in the movie, neither was looking for the other as they were unaware that each other existed. Medical advances are not the only triggers for uncovering the secrets of adoption. In this case, facial recognition software connected the dots independently and social media did the rest. 

In our world of regulations, laws and procedures, sometimes life can still deliver surprises.