Adopted people will have a right to their birth certificates for the first time if a new bill published this week is accepted by the Government.
The legislation was produced by Senator Averil Power (who was adopted as a baby from a mother and baby home ). It is co-sponsored by Senator Jillian Van Turnhout (former head of the Children’s Rights Alliance ) and Senator Fidelma Healy Eames (an adoptive mother ).
Under the bill adoptees will have a right to their birth cert, listing their original name and their parents’ names. Birth parents can request information about their adopted sons or daughters and adoptees and natural parents can choose whether they want to release their current contact details to each other.
Senator Healy Eames said as an adoptive parent she is supportive of adoptees having information about their natural parents and their birth identity after they reach 18 years of age.
However, she said she was anxious that this information would be provided in a way that is sensitive to the needs of the adopted person and the birth parents.
“I believe that this Bill, with its emphasis on supporting both parties, is the right approach. It will enable each adoptee and natural parent to proceed in a way that suits their own individual needs and sensitivities,” she concluded.
Senator Power stated that for too long adopted people have been robbed of their identities, denied basic information about themselves and their parents that others take for granted.
“Thousands of Irish adoptees don’t know their original names, who their parents are or even if there is a serious illness that runs in their family. Not knowing is a source of great pain and anxiety. Our bill is designed to change this. It also puts in place a system through which adoptees and natural parents can exchange contact details if they so wish.”
Referring to situations in which birth parents may not wish to meet their son or daughter Senator Van Turnhout said they may provide them with information such as the family’s medical history so the adoptee is aware of any serious inherited health risks.