75ES3358 4x5 @ 72 ResCall it ancestry, genealogy, or family lineage; most of us have an innate need to know where or who we came from. For adult adoptees in the state of Missouri, the quest to learn our history just became a little easier. For many years, the only option for an adult adoptee searching for their biological family was a petition to the family court for a search, then seeking the permission of both the adoptive and biological parents before releasing identifying information to the adoptee. If one of the parents had died, the search came to a legal end.

Thanks to the efforts of many Missouri residents and the insight of our State Legislators and Governor Nixon, Senate Bill 351 has changed that process. An adult adoptee or their lineal descendants, if the adopted adult is deceased, may now initiate a search, and the death of a parent is no longer an obstacle.

In 2002, I had the honor and privilege of finding my biological parents, with the support and urging of my adoptive Mother and Father. The reunion was wonderful and allowed me to meet many additional family members including five half-sisters and three half-brothers, along with nieces, nephews and cousins. Under the previous law, if I had waited until this year to do my search, my adoptive father’s death this past January would have become a significant obstacle to my search.

I joined a group of adult adoptees this past Monday as we visited the Jackson County Family Court. Many of those attending have waited decades to learn of their origins, but were prevented by the death of a parent. Each one officially began the process of discovery and they are hopeful to finally learn the circumstances of their adoption. I pray for their success and wish them the best.

If you are an adult adoptee and are interested in searching for your biological roots, more opportunities are available to you now. If you have been searching but have not yet found your biological family, now may be the time to try again. I encourage you to continue your search. For more information about searching, go to the Jackson County Family Court website at http://www.family-court.org/adoption.htm.

Meanwhile, we will continue to strive for opening adoption records for adult adoptees in Missouri. Our goal is for every Missouri adoptee to be treated equally under the law and to have the opportunity to know firsthand the circumstances of their birth and adoption.