Birth Certificates now Unlock Past for some Missouri Adoptees

Adoptees often have a difficult time tracing their true ancestry. Adoptees in Missouri born prior to 1941 now are able to access records that previously were not available to them. Younger adoptees are still locked out. However, that will change on January 2, 2018, when adoptees born after 1940 and who are at least 18 years old will be able to request their original birth certificates.

Until Monday, such documents had been under seal by state law. The birth certificates possibly held the names of birth mothers and fathers the adoptees had longed to know.

For years, the Missouri Adoptee Rights movement has been lobbying for more lenient laws on adoption privacy. On Sunday, members got their wish when a Missouri law took effect enabling adoptees born before Jan. 1, 1941, to obtain their original birth certificates.

One adoptee found his birth father’s last name was Ernst — the name written on his formula bottle the day he was adopted more than seven decades ago.

You can read the full story in an article by Nancy Cambria in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at

My thanks to newsletter reader Roger Barnes for telling me about this story.


It’s great that Missouri is doing this, but sad that the younger ones have to wait until 2018 to get their birth certificates. All states should make them available……NOW!!!!!! I can sympathize with the birth parents not wanting the child to know but more so with the children who have a right to know.


This is Fantastic News. Now when will Utah, the home of Genealogy, wake up and pass a similar law?


As I understand this, it only applies to living people to find their own birth certificates. Descendants of folks who have died are still denied access. But, it’s a step in the right direction.


I wonder if South Carolina will follow a similar path as Missouri?


Fantastic news! Now open Pandora’s box full and wide to Orphan Train Riders, and descendants! Let’s hope Catholic maternity homes and orphanages are participating. Today’s buzz word is “transparency” but New York Foundling has its records on high-security-alert, even the old ones>>>

With gay unions, unmarried couples living together, intentional inter-racial families, we no longer live in such a clandestine, judgmental society where unwed motherhood is a familial disgrace.


Does a sealed court document mean nothing anymore?

The BIRTH MOTHER chose LIFE. There’d be no adoption, open or closed, if the birth mother had chosen abortion. At the very least, there should be an attempt, by the court, to contact the birth mother before granting any access to anyone.


    Thanks for reminding us of the most significant person, Carolyn, the birth mother. Agree, if the mother is alive, she should be contacted and have the final word on the release of the child’s birth. After all, it was her confidential decision. None of us knows the circumstances of the child’s conception, which may have been more horrific than “young love.”


    About birth mother confidentiality…it is a myth. Missouri adoption statutes provide for adoption records to be open by court order and the adoptee’s original birth certificate is never sealed until the adoption is finalized which may take months or longer. There’s no guarantee the minor will be adopted. Birth mothers need to be informed of the facts before they surrender their child.


    Well, given that the children being granted this information are now a minimum of 75 years old, it seems unlikely that most of the biological parents would even be alive to object to the release of these records.
    As for the birth mothers being the “most significant person” in the issue of adoption, and in this specific adoption issue in particular, I would respectfully suggest that this kind of opinion is completely dismissive of the very real and prevalent issues that adopted children have had to face for generations, even as adults. While we may not be able to know the circumstances that led to every pregnancy or adoption, or the emotional toll either had on the mother (or father for that matter), we do see, over and over and over again, the psychological effects that closed and anonymous adoptions have had on children.


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