While Indiana and Missouri continue to fail, flail and founder on the Sea of Deform, the Hawai’i legislature took the first step yesterday to restore adoption records access with no restrictions to all Hawai’i-born adoptees. In a vote of 13-o-1 (absent) the House Judiciary Committee voted Do Pass on clean HB 2982. All testimony supported the bill with no opposition either submitted or addressed in person. The bill is sponsored by Hawaii adoptee Chris Lee (D-51). It now goes to the House Floor for a vote. A companion Senate bill may be introduced as early as next week.
Bastard Nation submitted testimony and BN Special Legislative Adviser Shea Grimm flew into Honolulu to give her personal testimony.
The Hawai’i legislature has a comprehensive, easy-to-navigate bill page so instead of posting our testimony here as we usually do, we’re posting a link to the bill page so you can follow its progression. Click on “Testimony” in the right column to download all testimony. If you just want to go straight to the testimony go here.
Here’s a snip, from each statement:
There is no state interest in keeping original birth certificates or other adoption records sealed from the adult adoptees to which they pertain. Nor does the state have a right or duty to mediate and oversee the personal relationships of adults. Those who claim a statutory right to parental anonymity through sealed records or though restricted access to them promote statutory privilege and state favoritism.
Hawaii’s current complicated “search and consent” laws do not reflect current adoption best practice and culture, and as we’ve noted above, the reality of technology and social media which has been eagerly embraced by adoptees and their families in search of information that is rightfully theirs, denied them by the state.
I am aware that the Committee has received written testimony that more thoroughly addresses the issue of the legal issues and implications of HB 2982. I only want to add, that birthparent anonymity is not something that was promised or could ever have been promised to birth parents, and that has only become exponentially more so for the DNA and search reasons I enumerated above. Laws change and the things that people were able to do or not do one year, might not be true the next year. Whether marriage equality or other laws that have evolved over time as our social mores and sense of justice has changed, the law must keep up with society. Times have changed. Adoption is, or shouldn’t be, secret or shameful. There is not, or shouldn’t be, a stigma associated with being adopted, or born out of wedlock, a birth parent, or an adoptive parent. Sealed records laws simply perpetuate these outmoded and harmful stereotypes and attitudes. It is my belief that adult adoptees have a right to the original record
Please drop a note of thanks to the following AYES:
repmcdermott@Capitol.hawaii.gov, repthielen@Capitol.hawaii.gov, repwoodson@Capitol.hawaii.gov, repmorikawa@Capitol.hawaii.gov, repkawakami@Capitol.hawaii.gov, rephashem@Capitol.hawaii.gov, repcreagan@Capitol.hawaii.gov, repbelatti@Capitol.hawaii.gov, repbrower@Capitol.hawaii.gov, reptakayama@Capitol.hawaii.gov, repnakashima@Capitol.hawaii.gov, reprhoads@Capitol.hawaii.gov
And a special note of thanks to Chris Lee (also a committee member). He’s one of us!