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Abstract

Some estimates indicate that at least six million adoptees lived in the United States in 1997. "After factoring in birth parents and adoptive parents for each adoptee, the number of persons directly affected by the adoption process grows to over [twenty-four million] persons." States conducted many of these adoptions privately, particularly those that did not occur recently, so the parties remain anonymous to one another. Thus, an enormous number of Americans are now struggling in a system built on antiquated law that is not very useful, and in fact might be harmful. This Comment proposes a solution to this overlooked dilemma. First, Section II runs through a brief history of adoption record confidentiality to show that it was not always the policy to keep medical and other information from adult adoptees. Section III then discusses the current state of adoption records. Next, Sections IV and V analyze the key arguments for and against opening records, including how opening or not opening records impacts birth parents, adoptive parents, adoptees, and society as a whole. The sections give specific attention to the argument for quasi-confidentiality, to the extent of non-identifying medical records. In doing so, the Comment focuses on recent medical advancements and how they have affected adoptees. Section VI examines discussions surrounding the dilemma, as well as a limited number of suggestions to remedy the situation.1" To conclude, Section VII proposes a way to address the issue that keeps the best interest of the child at heart, while still preserving the privacy needs of the adoptive and birth parents.