History of Georgia Adoptee Rights
The ability for an adult adoptee to obtain their original birth certificate (OBC) in Georgia was permitted until 1941. That year, all adoptees’ records, including the OBC, became sealed and held in the state’s ownership. Since 1941, the only way for an adult adoptee to possibly receive their OBC is to petition the court. This is a very expensive and time-intensive endeavor and not all petitions are granted. The decision lies in the hands of the judge in the county in which the adoption took place.
Efforts by EAGLE for Georgians made several attempts to get an unconditional OBC bill passed. In the 2001/2002 session, HB1127 died in the Rules Committee and never made it to the House for a vote. Then, SB192 in the 2003/2004 session passed in the Senate, but it was then removed on the House floor by amendment. The major opposition at the time was the National Council for Adoption (NCFA).
A new adoptee rights group was formed this year: Georgians for Equal Access to Records (GEAR). During the 2011/2012, HB748 was met with minimal opposition and moved out of the House Judiciary Committee to the Rules Committee for a vote. Unfortunately, it died in the Rules Committee and didn’t make it to the House floor.
GEAR continued their efforts for the 2013/2014 session and introduced the same adoptee equal rights bill. This time, HB524 was referred to the Juvenile Justice Committee and was met with opposition. In hopes of a clean compromise, GEAR added a non-binding contact preference form, which would still allow the adult adoptee to obtain an unaltered copy of their OBC. Unfortunately, the Welch Subcommittee asked for further amendments. The substitute involved discriminatory measures and passed out of the Subcommittee and Juvenile Justice Committee. As the discriminatory measures were not acceptable to GEAR, they pulled the bill from making it to the House floor for a vote.
In 2020, several Georgia adoptees connected online and were concerned that adult adoptees still didn’t have access to their own OBC in the 21st century! Hence, Georgia Alliance for Adoptee Rights was formed. Through 2021, many others joined forces. This talented and energetic group is comprised of birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents from different highly successful careers and backgrounds. The committee’s dedication to equal rights for adoptees is strong and their commitment will continue in Georgia until adult adoptees have the right to obtain their OBC. Period.
Adoptee Rights are Human Rights
“Imagine asking for your medical history or your school transcript or your case file from a lawyer and being told it’s secret. It’s your life! Your own personal history belongs to someone else – not a person but a government. That’s wrong. Georgia’s elected representatives now have the chance to make this right.”Stuart, Georgia Adoptee