Starting in July, a new law goes into effect allowing all adult Washington-born adoptees to get a copy of their original birth certificate without going through the courts. As an adoptive dad,  I'm not sure how I feel about this.

All five of my children have been adopted out of foster care. Some were old enough to remember being with their birth parents, some were not.  My two oldest daughters have both expressed an interest in finding out more about their birth parents. My wife and I have told them that we would be glad to help them in this endeavor, with a few conditions.

  • They have to be 18 years old, and they must have graduated from high school.
  • They have to be in a good place in their lives, meaning happy and stable.

This new law will allow them to obtain some information on their own. My oldest daughter would like to find out more about her biological parents for medical history reasons. The next oldest is going through what I am told is typical teenage behavior compounded by being adopted. You know, the "I know everything I need to know now, why should I listen to you?" kind of thing. Also the "My real parents wouldn't treat me like this" situation, meaning we make her do chores, do her schoolwork and act like a part of the family. Totally different reasons.

The only problem is that my wife and I both know what kind of backgrounds the children came from. In the case of the people who might want to take advantage of this new law, I can understand what they might be looking for. They might be older adults adopted as infants who have had a lifetime of questions they want answered.

As a dad, my first instinct is to protect my kids and keep them from any pain and suffering. My wife and I have had access to foster case files through the adoption process. It can be pretty heavy reading. We already know some of the answers.

When my children are adults, they might use this new law to find the answers to questions that they might have.

The only problem is that they probably won't like what they find.