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House Committee Slows Adoption Records Bill Because Of Privacy Concerns

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If an adoptee from Indiana’s closed records era wants to find their birth parents, they must go through what’s called a confidential intermediary. 

Supporters of proposed legislation to open the records say that process is difficult, lengthy and costly. 

Marcie Keithley-Roth gave up her daughter for adoption in 1978.  She says making the records open doesn’t just help adoptees – it helps birth parents too.

“Our right to reconsider, the right to heal – not every mother will want it," she says.  "But they should have the opportunity to say so instead of being legally relegated to the shadows.”

The bill would give birth parents one year to sign a nondisclosure form that bars the state from sharing their information with their child. 

Pence administration official Lindsey Craig says the governor has some concerns.

“We believe that the state did make a promise to birth mothers – that it would protect their identity – and this bill kind of changes the rules in the middle of the game,” Craig says.

Craig says it will be difficult to contact birth parents and inform them of the change, especially in such a short time.  House committee members say they want to work with the administration on its concerns before advancing the bill. 

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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