Dear Ms. Burt:
Thank you for your request for an adoptee access bill and for letting me know your views in regard to adoptee records. Having this information is appreciated and helpful to me. On behalf of your request, my staff researched this issue and contacted the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) for more information.
According to DSHS, currently there are two ways an adoptee can get a photo copy of their birth certificate: (1) have all identifying information - mother, father, county of birth, etc… or (2) petition the court of origin to release sealed file by court order. As you indicated, original birth records of an adoptee are sealed in Texas by law. It is my understanding that Texas laws were changed in 1973 to give children or birth parents the choice of a reunion and to protect the "privacy placement". Over the years, the compromise legislation has been the Registry.
During the 2005 Legislative Session, I supported HB 240, which passed, restoring the rights of adopted persons over the age of 18 who already know the name(s) of their birth parent(s) to have access to copies of their original Texas birth certificates. This Session, HB 525 has been filed by Rep. Goolsby granting all adopted persons access to non-certified copies of their original birth certificates. Rep. Goolsby, an adoptee himself, works closely with the Texas Coalition for Adoption Resources and Education in an effort to address adoptee interests in the Legislature. If you are interested in more information, you may contact the Coalition at 4920 Vega Court W. , Fort Worth , TX 76133-1332 or (817) 924-3785.
Be assured that I will certainly support HB 525 whenever it comes before the House floor for consideration and any other legislation important to an adoptee. Again, thank you for your input and for bringing this important issue to my attention. Please let me know whenever I may be of assistance to you.