This could be the year that nearly 1 million Texas adoptees can get a copy of their original birth certificate without asking a judge.
Texas adoptees said attempts to pass a measure making it easier for them to obtain the document have fallen short time and again in recent years.
But last week, House Bill 1386 sailed through the House on a vote of 499-1, sending it to the Senate.
The sledding probably won’t be so smooth there, but Elizabeth Jurenovich, executive director of San Antonio’s Abrazo Adoption Associates, is optimistic.
“The state of Texas adoptees have been denied the basic truth of their origins,” Jurenovich told News 4 San Antonio, adding that change is long overdue.
A spokesperson for Democratic state Sen. Nathan Johnson told the news station that both support and opposition are strong in the upper chamber.
It’s often not cheap or easy for an adoptee to get a copy of the original copy of the birth certificate under current law. First, they must be an adult who was born in Texas. And they generally must petition a judge in their birth county, and that means hiring a lawyer.
It is possible to get a copy without going to court, but applicants must already know the name of each parent named on the original birth certificate.
In years past, courts routinely sealed birth certificates and other adoption records to protect parents’ privacy and issued children who were adopted a supplemental certificate without identifying the biological parents.
Under the bills in the Legislature, the process is far easier. The adopted adult person could simply write or apply in person to the state registrar of vital statistics and ask. The noncertified copy would generally be provided if the adoptee was born in the Lone Star state, was issued a supplementary birth certificate and has valid proof of their identity.
Adoptees have many reasons for wanting an original copy of their birth certificate. One is that it can give them access to information about their health, but even more fundamentally, it’s a window into their background.