The newest trick pony spinning on the Indiana merry-go-round is HB 1029 sponsored by freshman Rep. Sharon Engle (R-Attica). The bill, if passed, according to the Lafayette Journal Courier, would allow the relatives of adoptees and pre-adoptive siblings access to birthparent medical histories. Current law permits adoptees birthparents, adoptive parents, relatives of an adoptive parent, state or country child and family services-related officials, adoption agencies, and courts to petition for the release of medical information. (I have no idea why a court would have to petition itself to get the records. Maybe it's an Indiana thing ,A similar bill was stuck in committee last session.
Here's the synopsis of the bill taken from the Indiana Leg page. Scroll down the bill page page and you'll see the entire bill. Notice that there is only a minimal change in current language.
Synopsis: Adoption history information. Adds a relative of an adoptee and a pre-adoptive sibling to the list of interested persons who may obtain medical history information and file a petition with an appropriate court to request the release of medical information, nonidentifying information, or identifying information. Requires that a petition requesting release of medical, nonidentifying, or identifying information must include the reasons why the release of information may be beneficial to an interested person. (Current law requires that the petition must include reasons why the release of information may be beneficial to the adoptee or birth parent.) Requires the court to appoint a confidential intermediary if certain requirements are met and the petitioner has shown an emergency medical need or good cause relating to the welfare of an interested person. (Current law requires the court to appoint a confidential intermediary if certain requirements are met and the petitioner has shown an emergency medical need or good cause relating to the welfare of an adoptee or birth parent.)
There's a nifty fiscal note attached:
Court Fee Revenue: A civil costs fee of $100 would be assessed when a civil case is filed, 70% of which would be deposited in the state General Fund if the case is filed in a court of record or 55% if the case is filed in a city or town court.
Additional fees may be collected at the discretion of the judge and depending upon the particular type of case.
IOW, it could cost over $130 to get a medical history, no doubt sparse, that's already on file in Crown Point, or Howard. or Hartford City, or Indianapolis, and presumably pretty available to the appropriate judge or magistrate.. Compare this cost with the fee of $6.65 I was charged for my entire adoption file in the Lucas County (Ohio) Probate Court a few years ago.
It also looks like a CI could be appointed to contact the first parents for an update.
Of course all this medical history will be transferred (as currently transferred) anonymously.
Rev. Zach Cooper, whose only claim to adoption experience seems to be his experience as the adoptive father of four and "natural" father of one, supports the bill. At least he thinks he does.
It's a phenomenal step forward, if I understand it," said Cooper, who lives in Attica.
Once concern, he said, could be over anonymity.
If they can maintain anonymity, I don't see any foul or harm to know that information," Cooper said.
Sorry Rev Zach!. This is not 1961 and this is not a phenomenal step forward. It's a pathetic step backward into the dark ages of adoption. A feelgood measure to maintain the archaic and secret bastard status quo and let the Indiana legislature off the hook for adoptee rights restoration.. But we gave you....
John Hurlock, of stage-four colon cancer. Adopted in 1949, Hurlock had no medical history. While terminally ill he searched for information on his birth parents, only to be slapped in the face by Indiana anti-adoptee secrecy laws. Det. Hurlock was mature and trustworthy enough to join the Marines and later serve on the Kokomo police, but not enough to know the names of his parents and history.. His wife Cathy continued the search after his death, but was unsuccessful. She wants her adult daughters to have their family medical history, and it looks like this bill is the only way they'll get it--if it even exists..Unless, of course, Cathy and her daughters could get their hands on Hurlock's OBC and complete their search themselves.
Wanting a medical history is understandable and reasonable, but we're talking adoption laws which are neither understandable nor reasonable. Det. Hurlock, his family, and all Indiana adoptees deserve better than this piece of politically reverential fluff that changes only a few words of the current law and keeps the state's bastards and their records shackled.Why should any of them have to beg for a medical history?. Why should their names and families and histories be confiscated sealed, and paternalistically locked up and away by the state to protect the perceived comfort zone of others who never even had a say-so in the matter?
Indiana: Just treat the adopted the same the not adopted and give them their OBCs. It's a simple, non-expensive solution to a great big problem. We're not going away, so the state might as well. Anything less than full access is an insult. We'll work out our own relationships and the state can go back to fiddling with taxes and highways.