Friday, October 08, 2010

Website offers info on new adoption law

By Jamey Dunn

People seeking information on a new adoption law that will allow adult adoptees greater access to their birth certificates can find it at a new website.

House Bill 5428, which Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law last May, allows people adopted before 1946 access to their birth certificate. The new website is part of a yearlong education campaign, after which adults older than 21 who were born after January 1, 1946, will be able to request their birth certificates.

Parents who have placed children up for adoption have the option to remain anonymous if they submit paperwork to the state, and new mothers will be asked what level of disclosure they would prefer. Rep. Sarah Feigenholtz, a Chicago Democrat, said parents always have the option to add or remove their names at a later date. She added that only 18 parents have requested anonymity so far.

Other education efforts will include public service announcements and a blurb on the envelope of the mailer the state sends out to remind residents to renew their vehicle registrations.

Feigenholtz said visitors to the website can walk through the changes in the law. “The site itself is kind of a primer and an explanation of the new law, and it has a direct link to the forms at [the Illinois Department of Public Health.]”

She said, as the largest state to pass such a measure, Illinois has become an example for other states considering similar laws. Feigenholtz is an adoptee and plans to apply for her own birth certificate when she is eligible in November 2011. “I am just ticking off the days,” she said.

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