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Original Birth Records Now Available to Many R.I. Adult Adoptees

Providence, RI - Governor Lincoln D. Chafee today presented non-certified copies of original birth certificates to advocates who worked for the passage of legislation granting adoptees aged 25 and older access to their original birth records for the first time in Rhode Island's history. Today marked the first day of the legal right of all adult adoptees aged 25 and older to access these records, a measure that Governor Chafee signed into law in September, 2011.

"Today is an important day for hundreds of Rhode Islanders because it is the day when they can finally find out the truth about the start of their lives," Governor Chafee said. "No matter what they find out, adult adoptees now have access to the truth, and that is a very significant step."

The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) Office of Vital Records began fulfilling requests for original birth records today. More than 350 adult adoptees had pre-ordered their original birth certificates by mailing in their requests to the Office of Vital Records. Adopted individuals over the age of 25 may also now walk in to the Office of Vital Records and request their original birth records.

Birth certificates of adopted children, created at the time of adoption, typically include the names of the adoptive parents, as well as the adopted child's date, place and time of birth. Adult adoptees are now able to access their original birth records, which include the name, age, resident address and place of birth of their biological parents.

Also speaking at the event were Steven M. Costantino, Secretary of the Executive Office of Health & Human Services; Deputy Director of HEALTH Leonard Green; State Registrar Colleen Fontana; and Christine Lachapelle-Miller of Access RI, a group advocating access to original birth records for adult adoptees.

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