One Minnesota woman has spent the past decade trying to track down her birth mother, with no plans on giving up. But the answers Kim Eckstein-Lee needs are on a document many of us take for granted, her original birth certificate.
According to current law, written adoptees, reunited or not, can only independently access their original birth certificates. Since the 45-year-old is an adoptee, her birth certificate is sealed by state law.
“It comes down to medical information, too,” she said.
With her adopted parents' blessing, Kim went public with her search.
“I'm prepared for anything, obviously the greatest thing that could happen is they would be alive and happy to see me,” she said. “They could be deceased but I would like to know that.”
Fox 9 first reported the story about her effort last May when she posted a photo over Facebook with the only original information she has: her birthdate and the fact that she was born at Fairview hospital in Minneapolis.
But it's her original birth certificate that could truly unlock the chance of a reunion. She is just one one of many who've pushed for state lawmakers to unseal original birth certificates.
“Just this past year, Montana, Ohio, Colorado and New Jersey all changed their laws to open records,” Jackie Fallon, whose on the Adoptee Rights Coalition board, said.
The Adoptee Rights Coalition will be pushing for the Minnesota adoptee access bill to be passed at next week's National Council of State Legislators Summit in Seattle.
Minnesota's adoptee access bill
-99.5% of MN-born adult adoptees would be able to receive their original birth certificates by request from Minnesota Department of Health Vital Records.
-The remaining .5% of adoptees who have an affidavit of non-disclosure attached to their birth certificate would have an appeal process through the court.
-Birthparents will continue to have the option of filing a non-disclosure. (Only 1 non-disclosure was filed during 2010-2014.)
-Birthparents will be able to state their preference for contact (“Yes, I would like contact”, “No, I do not want contact”, or “Yes I want contact, but through an intermediary.” This contact preference option has been added to many states that have recently passed access legislation and helps the adoptee know if reconnection is desired and includes a birthparent’s contact information.)
For more information on the bill go to http://mnadoptreform.org/
Current Minnesota statutes: Access to original birth record information