Proposed Bill Will Help Adoptees Identify Biological Parents

Wednesday, March 14th 2012, 6:38 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

A new proposal, currently making its way through the state legislature, may make it easier for adult adoptees in Oklahoma to learn who their biological parents are.

The Bill passed unanimously in the House this week. If it becomes law, for the first time adoptees would be allowed open access to their original birth record.

Pat Marler just wanted to know who her biological mother was. She was adopted at birth, but after her adopted parents died she decided she wanted to meet her birth mother.  However, those records were sealed.

"It's my right, it's my own information.  It's nobody else's information so I should have that basic right," said Marler.  "Everybody has a right to identity."

That's in addition to valuable health history. For four years Pat tried to find a judge that would release her records.

"It was grueling.  My husband didn't want to live with me for those four years.  He said are you ever going to let this go?  And I said no, because it's my information. "    

Oklahoma Rep. Ben Sherrer says Oklahoma Law currently says adoptees have to prove to a judge why they want the records.

"That's probably been the biggest frustration to these adult adoptees," said Rep. Sherrer (D) Chouteau.  "They don't know what the good cause is going to be to allow them to get that original birth record."

So Sherrer introduced House Bill 2634.  It would open the adoption records of Oklahomans born before 1997.  A Biological mother can request she not be contacted.

Pat, finally found a judge who was sympathetic with her cause and released her records allowing her to finally meet her birth mother.

"She asked me what took so long.  I wanted to tell her you just don't have any idea!"

Now, Pat has turned her attention to getting HB 2634 passed so fellow Oklahomans can do the same. Pat and Rep. Sherrer both say they haven't heard from anyone who has opposed the measure. The bill now goes to the Senate for approval.