Vermont legislature passed adoptee equal rights bill H.629 with approval from 179 of the House and Senate’s 180 members on Thursday afternoon. Vermont is now the eleventh state in the nation to give adopted people the unrestricted right to their own original birth certificates.
“This is a basic human right, to know how you are connected to the world, to know what blood pumps through your veins. It’s not trivial or incidental. It’s fundamental.” That’s what Vermont Adoptee Rights Working Group spokesperson Ellie Lane told Senator Dick Sears and the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 23 as the committee considered adoptee rights bill H.629 as passed by the House one week earlier on March 17.
Ellie was born and adopted in Vermont and the state holds all of her records including her original birth certificate, which she currently only has a crude, non-certified photocopy of—all that Vermont’s current statute allows adopted people to get, and only if their birthparents have consented to its release.
That’s all going to change on July 1, 2023, the day H.629 goes into effect.
“I am deeply proud of the work we have done together to revise H.629 into the bill that passed yesterday,” says Lane. “I am thrilled that all Vermont-born adoptees will have the fundamental civil right to obtain their own original birth certificates restored.”
Vermont was among the first 20 states to revoke an adopted person’s right to request and obtain a copy of their own unaltered, original birth certificate in 1946. H.629 as passed by Vermont’s state legislature yesterday restores that right to adopted people. If you’re adopted and were born in Vermont, you’ll be able to obtain a certified copy of your own OBC by making a request to the Department of Health just like any other Vermonter.
VARWG founding members Rebecca Dragon and Rebekah Henson shared their reactions on Twitter:
Thanks to Our Many Supporters and Advocates
So many people in and outside of Vermont were part of this overwhelming and historic success. In addition to the advocates on the ground, we’d especially like to thank:
- Adoptee Rights Law Center
- Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York
- Bastard Nation
- New York Adoptee Rights Coalition
- People for Ethical Adoption Reform (PEAR)
- Gregory Luce
- Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy
- Marley Greiner
- Annette O’Connell
- Representative Maxine Grad
- Representative Kenneth Goslant
- Representative Kate Webb
- Senator Dick Sears
- Michele Childs
- Amber Burke
…along with advocates across the nation who wrote to Vermont’s legislators in support of our efforts to make H.629 the true adoptee equal rights bill it is now.
This victory doesn’t just belong to the advocates who live in Vermont; it belongs to all of us and proves how strong the entire national community of adopted people can be when we join together in support of efforts like this.
Our Work Continues
H.629 will soon be on its way to Vermont Governor Phil Scott’s desk for signing, and the Coalition is looking ahead to what’s next.
In addition to supporting H.629’s implementation in Vermont over the next year, we’re also turning our focus towards Massachusetts and its pending legislation to remove the current statute’s unfair “donut hole” that denies any OBC rights to adopted people born between 1974 and 2008.
Learn more about efforts in Massachusetts and sign up to get involved.
No adoptee left behind.