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University of Baltimore Law

Family Law

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Surrender And Subordination: Birth Mothers And Adoption Law Reform, Elizabeth Samuels Jan 2013

Surrender And Subordination: Birth Mothers And Adoption Law Reform, Elizabeth Samuels

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For more than 30 years adoption law reform advocates have been seeking to restore for adult adoptees the right to access their original birth certificates, a right that was lost in all but two states between the late 1930s and 1990. The advocates have faced strong opposition and have succeeded only in recent years and only in eight states. Among the most vigorous advocates for access are “birth mothers” who surrendered their children during a time it was believed that adoption would relieve unmarried women of shame and restore them to a respectable life. The birth mother advocates say that ...


Adoption With Contact Law Awaits Governor's Signature, Elizabeth Samuels Apr 2005

Adoption With Contact Law Awaits Governor's Signature, Elizabeth Samuels

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No abstract provided.


The Strange History Of Adult Adoptee Access To Original Birth Records, Elizabeth Samuels Jan 2001

The Strange History Of Adult Adoptee Access To Original Birth Records, Elizabeth Samuels

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In the late 1940s and early 1950s, contemporary accounts reported that most states had sealed adoption court records completely but, typically, had sealed original birth certificates from all persons except adult adoptees. Through the 1950s influential experts recommended that original birth certificates remain available to adult adoptees, while birth and court records otherwise be closed to all persons except upon court order. In 1960 the laws in some 40 percent of the states still permitted adult adoptees to inspect them, but between 1960 and 1990 all but a handful of the rest of the states closed the birth records to ...