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Adoptees Want Rights

February 23, 1998
By: Jennifer Sherberg
MDN Columbia Bureau

Cherie Morrow asked her adoptive parents about her past.

"Mom's crying, Dad's crying," she recalls, "It was horrible."

Morrow wants to search for her biological parents. A line in Missouri law is stopping her. Anyone born before August, 13, 1986, must get permission from their adoptive parents to start a search-- somthing Morrow does NOT think she should have to do.

The Jefferson City resident says, "I won't try that again."

The adoptee's parents wouldn't give her permission. Even though their home safe holds the information she wants.

Morrow is the reason this law could change. Her goal is to find out her family's medical history. She knows that her mother was in good health when she was put up for adoption.

She backs a bill sponsored by State Representative Pat Dougherty. The Saint Louis Democrat wants to allow adults to search without consent.

It is important to understand that this bill will NOT open up adoption records.

Dougherty's assistant, Kathy Armstrong says, "This is an adult right issue. No adult should have to ask or have a signature for permission to do anything." Thirty-three other states agree.

Morrow says, "It's ridiculous for a 35 or 36 year-old like me to have to ask my parents for permission to start a search for information about my biological parents. Any commmon criminal can find out more information about their genealogy than I can and I'm not a criminal."

Gloria Hockman is the communications director for the National Adoption Center. She says, "This information used to be shrouded in secrecy and records were sealed. It was assumed adoptive children would have no concern about their birth orgin. States are now beginning to take a look at this."

State Representative Gracia Backer doesn't think Missouri should be one of these states.

The Fulton Democrat says, "It's not that simple to say those are my rights as an adoptee child. Because I think you affect the people that love you and raise you and you are affecting the people that biologically born you."

Morrow hopes to persuade the opponents in the house. If she does, it will be a battle again in the senate... she will continue to fight.

Morrow says, "This is pitiful because an innocent child put up for adoption has no rights. It's a crying shame."