Thanks, News-Gazette: Objective Adoption Reporting

On the flip side of the media bias question, we have open-minded reporters like Joan Griffis of the (Champaign, Illinois) News-Gazette. In her genealogy column, Illinois Ancestors, she addresses the question of adoptees’ access to records. The article is not on the News-Gazette website, but you can find it on Mary Lynn Fuller’s Family And Friends site, along with some great resources for searching for lost family.

Ms. Griffis was also kind enough to mention this blog as a resource. I wrote the following in response to her column.

Dear Ms. Griffis,

Thank you for your recent column concerning adoptions in Illinois. I am the author of 73adoptee, one of the blogs Mary Lynn Fuller recommended. As an adult adoptee, I appreciate your calling attention to the lack of access to our genealogical origins.

I’d also like to thank you for mentioning our opposition to HB 4623, a bill we believe does a disservice to Illinois adoptees. As Ms. Fuller states, this bill turns adoptees into haves and have-nots based on when they were born. Further, solutions like the intermediary system reinforced by HB 4623 are ineffective and largely unaccountable. Because there is no such thing as a “standard” adoption, cases often fall through the cracks, and many people cannot afford the fees. I learned these things first-hand, as I have described on the 73adoptee blog.

As Ms. Fuller also mentioned, the notion of “privacy” is a myth, and there are existing anti-harassment laws to prevent unwanted contact. Why must adoptees justify their right to know, while the same question from anyone else is deemed a healthy interest in genealogy?

Instead of further compromise legislation, we urge Illinois lawmakers to restore the right, rescinded in 1945, of adult adoptees to access their original birth certificates without restriction. Only then will adoptees be on equal footing with other citizens of Illinois.

We appreciate your time and consideration of this topic.


Triona Guidry
Cary, Illinois
Midwest Coordinator, Green Ribbon Campaign For Open Records
Author of


  1. Triona, I think it is a great idea to be complementary to those who do give us good media attention like Joan Griffis did. Perhaps it will lead to others doing the same. The more often the public hears support of open records maybe the sooner the legislators will start listening instead of being persuaded by Sara Feigenholtz that records should remain closed in IL, except to allow a favored group of adoptees to have access to their OBC. It needs to be open records for all, nothing less is acceptable.