Sample Letter Petition To Unseal Adoption Record
My name is ________, (SSN _______), an adult adoptee. I am currently residing at __________________. I was born ________ on April 3rd 1938. When I was officially adopted on November 2, 1943, my name was legally changed to ________. Prior to my adoption, I was a foster child within the home of my soon to be adoptive parents, ______________. The knowledge I have of my biological parents is my mothers name was _______. She was born on September 20th 1902 in Massachusetts. I know nothing about my biological father. I have no knowledge of how long I resided with them within the ten months prior to being placed with my soon to be adoptive parents or if I was immediately placed into foster care. My official adoption occurred in the state of Minnesota, county of Hennepin, and district court fourth judicial district (please see attached). I am currently in my seventies and both biological parents are presumed deceased. I now ask the court to allow me to gain access to my records, giving me access to identifying information such as a birth certificate. The main good cause for this information is to assist me in finding out as much as possible about my genetic components. Schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive and anxiety disorder, and other diseases run in our family line. I feel as though itҒs my responsibility to obtain all medical and genetic information that can bring light to our blood line. Without the information in my adoption file about who my biological family was, I will be unable to locate such information. It is in the best interest of our family to know what health diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and such run in our family as well. Especially because if given this information of if we are predisposed to certain diseases, we can start taking specific preemptive steps. Another good cause for me being able to access my files is natural curiosity in my roots and heritage. This information is pertinent to identity formation for both my entire family and me. As an adult, I feel I have a right to any and all information about my relinquishment and adoption. To know ones life story and blood line is a basic human right and should be denied to no one. As stated by Judge Wade S. Weatherford, Jr., Seventh Judicial Circuit Court, SC, "Mankind is possessed of no greater urge than to try to understand the age-old question: ҒWho am I? ҒWhy am I?... Those emotions and anxieties that generate our thirst to know the past are not superficial and whimsical. They are real and they are Ғgood cause under the law of man and God." ғAnother good cause is that, to my knowledge, no affidavit has been filed by either of my biological parents requesting that such information specifically not be disclosed to me. Because I am an adult, the burden should shift to my biological parents or the state showing specifically why they do not want identifying information disclosed (See Mills v. Atlantic City Dept. of Vital Statistics, 148 N.J. Super.302, 318, 372 A.2d 646, 654 (1977).). STEVEN J. DRAHOZAL, Petition to Unseal, 2000. Keeping records is a relatively new concept. Disclosure, not secrecy, has been the historical norm when it comes to adoption. ӓAnother good cause for opening my record also exists in that denying me, an adoptee, and access to my original birth certificate when non-adopted persons have full access to their own original birth certificates abridges my right to equal protection. U.S. CONST.amend. XIV, 1,Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483, 74 S.Ct. 686 (1954),Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 96 S.Ct. 612 (1976),IOWA CONST.art. I, ǧ 6,State v.Ceaser, 585 N.W.2d 192 (Iowa 1998). STEVEN J. DRAHOZAL, Petition to Unseal, 2000. ԓAnother good cause is that courts in other jurisdictions have consistently held that biological parents do no not have a constitutional right not to have identifying information disclosed. Does 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 v. State, 164 Or. App. 543 (1999), Doe v.Sundquist, 106 F.3d 702, 704 (6th Cir. 1997),cert. denied, 522 U.S.810, 118 S. Ct. 51 (1997). Also the state does not have a right to withhold the information from me as well. Because there is no compelling state interest in keeping information from me, failure to open is unconstitutional. STEVEN J. DRAHOZAL, Petition to Unseal, 2000. ӓAnother good cause for opening the record exists in that denying me access to the record of my adoption abridges my right to free speech guaranteed by U.S. CONST.amend. I,IOWA CONST.art. I7, specifically the right to Ǔreceive, the right to readand freedom of inquiry.ŔGriswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 482, 85 S.Ct. 1678, 1689 (1965). Also implicit in freedom of speech is the right to form the selfӔ and choose what information one wishes to be exposed to for ones self. See Steven J. Heyman, Righting the Balance: An Inquiry Into the Foundations and Limits of Freedom of Expression, 78B.U. L. REV.1275, 1238(1998).Ҕ STEVEN J. DRAHOZAL, Petition to Unseal, 2000. Another good cause is that I have an extreme psychological curiosity about my biological family. Application of Anonymous, 399 N.Y.S.2d 857, 859 (1977, In re C.A.B., 384 A.2d 679 (D.C. 1978). This psychological curiosity coupled with the frustration of being unable to obtain identifying information has resulted in difficulty sleeping and concentrating. Opening the record would alleviate this.Ӕ STEVEN J. DRAHOZAL, Petition to Unseal, 2000. There are ten months in my life, from the time of birth to when I was placed in my adoptive parents home, that I have no knowledge of. I have no records or anything to reference about anything from that period of my life. That lack of accountability during that time period has plagued me my entire life. My birth parents would now be in their hundredҒs. So it is assumed they are both deceased. Therefore I would like access to my files not to contact them, but to simply know who my family was and what my lineage is. I have four children, eight grandchildren, and twelve great grand children all whose family line stops at me on my side. I believe I must know this information not only because it is my constitutional and fundamental right to know, but because my family and my health is depending on it and my extreme yearning to know has never ceased, not once in 73 years. Wherefore, I, _______, respectfully request that the Court allow access to any and all records pertaining to my adoption and birth.