Printer Friendly Version  Email A Friend  Add This  Increase Text Size  Decrease Text Size

Event for Adoptees and Birth Parents to Explain New Law

Posted: 06/06/2024

Author: Julie Anderson

< Back

For the first time in history, all Minnesota-born adopted persons will have the right to their original birth certificate. Beginning July 1, 2024, adoptees, 18 years of age and older, may apply directly to the Minnesota Department of Health for their document.

“It’s huge, absolutely huge,” said Greg Luce, an adoptee and attorney who worked to pass the legislation. “This means adoptees are treated as equal to everyone else. It’s a very emotional acknowledgement of who we are.”

An event to explain the details of the process will be held Saturday, June 15 at noon at the Douglas County Library. Luce, along with two women who fought tirelessly for the legislation, will lead the event.

One of those women is Penny Needham. She’s an adoptee whose parents lived in Alexandria for 25 years after they retired. Needham was 39 years old before she discovered her birth parents were also from Douglas County. She had to work through an adoption agency to access her information.  Needham says her birth parents were overjoyed to meet her. Turns out, she learned, not long after they placed her for adoption, they reunited and got married. Needham has four full siblings. All girls. She’s Godmother to one of her sister’s daughters.  

Her birthparents had been told, like so many were at the time, to stay quiet and move on with their lives. Needham is grateful legislators finally agreed to end the shame and the secrecy of adoption and allow access to original birth certificates.

“It’s a human right to have our own, accurate document,” Needham said. “It’s the first official document that labels you as a person.”

Needham worked with other determined men and women with the Minnesota Coalition for Adoption Reform. It’s one of several groups instrumental in the law’s passage. Concerned United Birthparents, or CUB, and Luce’s Adoptee Rights Law Center also championed the cause.

Needham and Luce strongly believe most birth parents want to know what happened to their child.  Minnesota data shows less than half a percent of birth parents in the state have filed forms asking that their child not contact them.

However, the new law contains a provision for those who do not want contact. Birth parents have had one year to file contact preference forms before the July 1 deadline for adoptees to obtain their original birth certificate. Those contact options are:

  • I would like to be contacted
  • I would prefer to be contacted only through an intermediary
  • I prefer not to be contacted at this time

When an adopted person applies for their document, the state will include a contact preference form filled out by a birth parent.

Pat Glisky, an Alexandria resident, and member of CUB, is a birth mother. She placed her son for adoption decades ago and says she was not told his original birth certificate would be sealed. She and her son have met in what she calls an overwhelming experience to finally see the see her baby, who is now a grown man. “Many people involved in the sealed adoptions are older now,” Glisky said. Access to their original birth certificate will be the missing piece of the puzzle.”


Be the first to leave a comment.

Leave your comment:
*Please note: Your comments need to be approved and will not display immediately after your submission.
CAPTCHA Validation