Original birth certificates were sealed to Hawai’i adoptees in 1945.
The were unsealed June 21, 2016
Track the new law- Bastard Nation Legislative page 2016
Privacy v Secrecy: The Open Adoption Records Movement in Hawai’iby Bobbi W Y Lum. University of Hawai’i Law Review: 15:483
Current Access Law in Hawai’i
This law gives adult adoptees (age 18) AND birth parents of adult adoptees unrestricted access to the entire, unredacted court file of the adoption, including a copy of the original birth certificate contained therein, upon request.
Please circulate to search and support groups, etc. re how to make a records request in Hawaii.
Yesterday I spoke to two family court clerks on the island where I live who I know. They had heard about the law, and in fact were already getting requests for records, but they weren’t prepared to answer any questions about it and asked me to call back today, which I did.
You can either go in person to the Family Court to submit your form and show ID or you can mail in the request. If you are sending the request in by mail, you will need to have it notarized. They are in the process of generating forms in light of the new law. In the meantime, you can either simply write up a request, or ask the Family Court if there is a form they want you to use. You will be notified when the records are ready for pickup or to be mailed, and you will be advised of copying costs, which will vary depending on the number of documents that are in the file.
As to what’s in the file, the answer is, it’s going to vary and we want to hear from you as to what you get. You’ll get everything that’s in there, unredacted. It should, at a minimum, contain the petition for adoption, original birth certificate, home study, and adoption decree.
If you need help finding addresses of the respective family courts or identifying where the correct family court likely is, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
……Shea Grimm, Special Advisor, Bastard Nation Legislative Committee
We are somewhat concerned about implementation of this law so it is imperative that we get reports back from Hawaii adoptees and birth parents as to their experiences, particularly if they encounter any difficulties. If you experience difficulties, please give us name and contact info (PM and phone number and email on request) so that we can get reports and move to address any problems.
While the law does not give adoptees access to their OBCs through vital stats, it goes one step further and gives them the entire court file. This should contain not only a copy of their OBC but will do so regardless of where they were born, which is a big plus as many Hawaii adoptees were born elsewhere, including other countries.
We do not know how uniform this process is going to be though – what documents are going to be contained within the file and whether the OBC will be a certified copy or not or if it will vary. We also don’t know how the courts are going to interpret the wording of the law – particularly as to “inspection” of the court file – and whether people will have problems getting copies as opposed to just viewing it.
We did not write the bill, it was written by a legislator and staff, so it’s not how we would have done it,
Please spread this information around in your search and other adoption groups the news of the Hawaii bill, now law.
A big thank you to Adoption Circle Hawai’i who worked diligently on this bill.
And thanks to Bastard Nationals and friends for making this happen.