Blog

Adopted Man Finds Family With Help From Colorado’s New Adoption Law.

Daniel Noffsinger - Sunday, February 08, 2015

Last year, a Colorado man was able to locate his family by taking advantage of a change in Colorado’s law governing access to adoption records. Matthew Abdulla is adopted and for the past 26 six years, he had been trying to locate his birth mother. As with many adoptees, Matthew wanted to find out where he came from and why his mom gave him up.

Unfortunately, Matthew had difficulty locating his birth mother because Colorado law sealed access to adoption records. Matthew tried non-traditional methods, such as social media, but he still had no luck finding his mother. It was not until a friend encouraged Matthew to look into a new Colorado law that Matthew had the ability to locate his birth mother.

Under Colorado Senate Bill 14-051, Matthew and other adoptees now have the ability to obtain access to their adoption records. Taking advantage of the new law, Matthew obtained his adoption records and connected with his birth family. Unfortunately, Matthew’s mother had passed away in 2012. Matthew, however, has been able to connect with his siblings and learned that his mother and siblings tried to locate him for years. Matthew’s birth family similarly could not locate him because of the inability to access adoption and birth records.

Colorado’s New Adoption Law

On 22 May 2014, Governor John Hickenlooper signed SB 14-051 into law. Under the new law, adult adoptees, their descendants, and adoptive family members can now obtain access to certain adoption records held by courts or state agencies. Adoption records available include adoptee's original birth certificate and amended birth certificate, the final decree of adoption, the final order of relinquishment, the order of termination of parental rights, and other non-identifying information (such as physical description, educational background, or occupational background of birth parents). SB 14-051 became effective on 1 July 2014.

In addition, the Colorado legislature passed a law affecting the rights of birth parents to records relating to relinquishment of parental rights. Because of HB-1042, for the first time in Colorado, birth and first parents now have the statutory right to access relinquishment documents they signed, as well as medical records related to the pregnancy and birth of their relinquished child, including the original birth certificate. HB-1042 became effective on 7 August 2014.

Rich Uhrlaub, coordinator for Adoptees in Search, The Colorado Triad Connection, spoke to 9NEWS in Denver for Matthew’s story and said that Colorado is only the second state to grant this type of access to birth parents. Uhrlaub believes Colorado’s new legislation is “very, very powerful healing thing for both adoptees and for birth parents to be recognized as equal citizens with equal rights to our origin.”

Contact a Colorado Springs Adoption Attorney

If you have any questions regarding Colorado’s new laws affecting adoptees and parents, a Colorado Springs adoption attorney can answer your questions. Noffsinger Law provides legal services in a variety of family law matters, including divorce, custody issues, adoptions, property disputes, and domestic violence. Contact Noffsinger Law for help with all your family law needs.