AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The Maine Legislature is being asked to let adopted children learn about their birth families.
Since 2007, Maine has allowed adult adoptees to access their original birth certificates. Previously, adoptees could only see their "amended" certificates, listing the names of the adoptive parents but not the birth parents.
Lawmakers in the Judiciary Committee on Thursday began studying a bill to allow children under age 18 to access their original birth records.
The effort is being led by two people who have lived with adoption: Randy Joubert, who was adopted at a very young age and discovered, in 2009, that he had a brother and sister; and Martha Hulbert, a birth mother who gave up her child for adoption many years ago.
Both say adoptees have the right to their birth information.
"It comes back to the fact that it's our right to have our information," Joubert said. "Two people created a human being. That human being has a right to their information."
Hulbert told NEWS CENTER that the trend in adoptions generally is to be much more open with information, which she said is very different from the comparative secrecy in the early 1960s when she gave her child up for adoption.
But some adoption agencies caution that legislators need to move carefully.
Lindsay Brandon of the Maine Children's Home said the bill raises lots of questions about children accessing information and how to handle the desire of some birth parents to not be contacted by the children.
The Judiciary Committee plans to hold further discussions on the bill.