Recently adoption agencies have been called upon to implement a policy which calls for opening birth records and initiating genetic searches on behalf of adopted adults. This exploratory study of the impact of Minnesota's 1977 Open Birth Record Law involved (a) record analysis of 41 genetic searches initiated and completed by a public agency between June 1977 and December 1978 and (b) semi-structured interviews conducted with 10 randomly selected adoptees requesting a search. The study revealed adoptees in search of information about their past, and desirous of personal contact with their birth parents. The adoptee's decision had its origin well before the Open Birth Record Law; most were cautious about hurting their relationship with adoptive parents. Family oriented caseworkers at the public agency were relatively successful in the searches, but personal contacts were achieved for only 35% of the adoptees requesting it. The value of the Open Birth Record law is underscored.
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