When people talk of birth certificates, usually they
speak in the singular when referring to one’s form of identification. In the
case of adoption
The genesis of sealed adoption records hearkens back to
reform efforts of the 1940s and was perpetuated by perceived benefits to all
parties. For birth parents, at least, a closed adoption record was seen as a
form of protection from the stigma of giving birth to a child out of wedlock.
By a “guilt by association” extension, a sealed adoption record has
since been construed as a method of shielding children from the same societal
condescension toward illegitimacy.
Closed adoption records, especially at the
time of their inception, were also seen as a means of protection for adoptive
parents. For one, the creation of new birth records helped those adopters in
their desire to convince children adopted young that they were in fact the
birth parents. Beyond this, the push for confidentiality of adoption record
information was seen as a way for adoptive parents to safeguard against birth parents
Depending on the State, adoptees may not always have the right to view
their birth records. The intent of some policymakers on adoption records,
though, is not to prevent adoptees from seeing their identifying information.
Even so, a number of states require a court order for adoptees to access a
sealed adoption record.