Nearly two decades after Oregon became one of the first states to unseal adoptees' original birth certificates, the state has taken adoption records access to an unprecedented level.
Under a 2014 law, adult adoptees no longer need court orders to see court documents pertaining to their adoptions. All they need is personal identification.
Birth parents also can request adoption court records, although those whose children were taken into protective custody by the Department of Human Services must show good cause to a judge. And adoption agencies can now disclose documents in their possession that also are in court records.
"We opened up the adoption records to the greatest extent they've been open since 1957, when they sealed them ... and to the greatest extent that I'm aware of in the country," said Beaverton lawyer Robin Pope, a fellow in the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys who helped write the law.
The law puts the state "probably decades ahead of the rest of the country," said Claudia Corrigan D'Arcy, a national adoption-rights activist in New York who often cites Oregon when lobbying to unseal records elsewhere.
But so far, the law hasn't set off a rush to the courthouse, most likely because few people seem ...