Arkansas adoptees get access to birth records

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas adoptees now have the opportunity to access their once-sealed birth files.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that adoptees age 21 and older were allowed to request their birth records starting Wednesday. Nearly two dozen petitions have already been filed.

A 2017 law gave the state Health Department a year to prepare more than 65,000 birth records. Some files dated back as far as 1914.

Birth parents had until Wednesday to file a redaction request in order to keep their identities secret. They were asked to submit forms stating if they preferred direct contact, intermediary contact or no contact at all. Parents were also given the option of providing social, cultural and medical histories.

Democratic Rep. Deborah Ferguson helped craft the legislation. She says only about 45 birth parents chose to remain anonymous.

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