SECOND REGULAR SESSION
HOUSE BILL NO. 1237
95TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES DAVIS (Sponsor), ALLEN AND ROORDA (Co-sponsors).
3386L.01I D. ADAM CRUMBLISS, Chief Clerk
To repeal sections 193.125, 193.255, 453.120, and 453.121, RSMo, and to enact in lieu thereof four new sections relating to adoption records, with a penalty provision.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri, as follows:
Section A. Sections 193.125, 193.255, 453.120, and 453.121, RSMo, are repealed and four new sections enacted in lieu thereof, to be known as sections 193.125, 193.255, 453.120, and 453.121, to read as follows:
193.125. 1. This section shall be known and may be cited as the "Debbi Daniel Law".
2. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 3 of this section, for each adoption decreed by a court of competent jurisdiction in this state, the court shall require the preparation of a certificate of decree of adoption on a form as prescribed or approved by the state registrar. The certificate of decree of adoption shall include such facts as are necessary to locate and identify the certificate of birth of the person adopted, and shall provide information necessary to establish a new certificate of birth of the person adopted and shall identify the court and county of the adoption and be certified by the clerk of the court. The state registrar shall file the original certificate of birth with the certificate of decree of adoption and such file may be opened by the state registrar only upon receipt of a certified copy of an order as decreed by the court of adoption under subsection 3 of this section.
3. Upon receipt of a written application to the state registrar, any adopted person twenty-one years of age or older who is a Missouri-born resident of this state shall be issued a certified copy of his or her unaltered, original, and unamended certificate of birth in the custody of the state registrar, with procedures, filing fees, and waiting periods identical to those imposed upon nonadopted citizens of the state of Missouri. All copies issued under this subsection shall be stamped with the following: "NOT USABLE FOR IDENTIFICATION PURPOSES". Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as violating the provisions of section 453.121.
4. No new certificate of birth shall be established following an adoption by a stepparent if so requested by the adoptive parent or the adoptive stepparent of the child.
[4.] 5. Information necessary to prepare the report of adoption shall be furnished by each petitioner for adoption or the petitioner's attorney. The social welfare agency or any person having knowledge of the facts shall supply the court with such additional information as may be necessary to complete the report. The provision of such information shall be prerequisite to the issuance of a final decree in the matter by the court.
[5.] 6. Whenever an adoption decree is amended or annulled, the clerk of the court shall prepare a report thereof, which shall include such facts as are necessary to identify the original adoption report and the facts amended in the adoption decree as shall be necessary to properly amend the birth record.
[6.] 7. Not later than the fifteenth day of each calendar month or more frequently as directed by the state registrar the clerk of the court shall forward to the state registrar reports of decrees of adoption, annulment of adoption and amendments of decrees of adoption which were entered in the preceding month, together with such related reports as the state registrar shall require.
[7.] 8. When the state registrar shall receive a report of adoption, annulment of adoption, or amendment of a decree of adoption for a person born outside this state, he or she shall forward such report to the state registrar in the state of birth.
[8.] 9. In a case of adoption in this state of a person not born in any state, territory or possession of the United States or country not covered by interchange agreements, the state registrar shall upon receipt of the certificate of decree of adoption prepare a birth certificate in the name of the adopted person, as decreed by the court. The state registrar shall file the certificate of the decree of adoption, and such documents may be opened by the state registrar only by an order of court or written application to the state registrar by any adopted person twenty-one years of age or older as provided in subsection 3 of this section. The birth certificate prepared under this subsection shall have the same legal weight as evidence as a delayed or altered birth certificate as provided in section 193.235.
[9.] 10. The department, upon receipt of proof that a person has been adopted by a Missouri resident pursuant to laws of countries other than the United States, shall prepare a birth certificate in the name of the adopted person as decreed by the court of such country. If such proof contains the surname of either adoptive parent, the department of health and senior services shall prepare a birth certificate as requested by the adoptive parents. Any subsequent change of the name of the adopted person shall be made by a court of competent jurisdiction. The proof of adoption required by the department shall include a copy of the original birth certificate and adoption decree, an English translation of such birth certificate and adoption decree, and a copy of the approval of the immigration of the adopted person by the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the United States government which shows the child lawfully entered the United States. The authenticity of the translation of the birth certificate and adoption decree required by this subsection shall be sworn to by the translator in a notarized document. The state registrar shall file such documents received by the department relating to such adoption and such documents may be opened by the state registrar only by an order of a court or written application to the state registrar by any adopted person twenty-one years of age or older as provided in subsection 3 of this section. A birth certificate pursuant to this subsection shall be issued upon request of one of the adoptive parents of such adopted person or upon request of the adopted person if of legal age. The birth certificate prepared pursuant to the provisions of this subsection shall have the same legal weight as evidence as a delayed or altered birth certificate as provided in sections 193.005 to 193.325.
[10.] 11. If no certificate of birth is on file for the person under twelve years of age who has been adopted, a belated certificate of birth shall be filed with the state registrar as provided in sections 193.005 to 193.325 before a new birth record is to be established as result of adoption. A new certificate is to be established on the basis of the adoption under this section and shall be prepared on a certificate of live birth form.
[11.] 12. If no certificate of birth has been filed for a person twelve years of age or older who has been adopted, a new birth certificate is to be established under this section upon receipt of proof of adoption as required by the department. A new certificate shall be prepared in the name of the adopted person as decreed by the court, registering adopted parents' names. The new certificate shall be prepared on a delayed birth certificate form. The adoption decree is placed in a sealed file and shall not be subject to inspection except upon an order of the court.
193.255. 1. The state registrar and other custodians of vital records authorized by the state registrar to issue certified copies of vital records upon receipt of application shall issue a certified copy of any vital record in [his] the registrar's custody or a part thereof to any applicant having a direct and tangible interest in the vital record, including an adopted person twenty-one years of age or older as provided for in section 193.125. Each copy issued shall show the date of registration, and copies issued from records marked "Delayed" or "Amended" shall be similarly marked and show the effective date. The documentary evidence used to establish a delayed certificate shall be shown on all copies issued. All forms and procedures used in the issuance of certified copies of vital records in the state shall be provided or approved by the state registrar.
2. A certified copy of a vital record or any part thereof, issued in accordance with subsection 1 of this section, shall be considered for all purposes the same as the original and shall be prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein, provided that the evidentiary value of a certificate or record filed more than one year after the event, or a record which has been amended, shall be determined by the judicial or administrative body or official before whom the certificate is offered as evidence.
3. The federal agency responsible for national vital statistics may be furnished such copies or data from the system of vital statistics as it may require for national statistics, provided such federal agency share in the cost of collecting, processing, and transmitting such data, and provided further that such data shall not be used for other than statistical purposes by the federal agency unless so authorized by the state registrar.
4. Federal, state, local and other public or private agencies may, upon request, be furnished copies or data of any other vital statistics not obtainable under subsection 1 of this section for statistical or administrative purposes upon such terms or conditions as may be prescribed by regulation, provided that such copies or data shall not be used for purposes other than those for which they were requested unless so authorized by the state registrar.
5. The state registrar may, by agreement, transmit copies of records and other reports required by sections 193.005 to 193.325 to offices of vital statistics outside this state when such records or other reports relate to residents of those jurisdictions or persons born in those jurisdictions. This agreement shall require that the copies be used for statistical and administrative purposes only, and the agreement shall further provide for the retention and disposition of such copies. Copies received by the department from offices of vital statistics in other states shall be handled in the same manner as prescribed in this section.
6. No person shall prepare or issue any certificate which purports to be an original, certified copy, or copy of a vital record except as authorized herein or by regulations adopted hereunder.
7. Upon application from either parent, or if both parents are deceased, the sibling of the stillborn child, pursuant to subsection 7 of section 193.165, the state registrar or other custodians of vital records shall issue to such applicant a certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth. The certificate shall be based upon the information available from the spontaneous fetal death report filed pursuant to section 193.165. Any certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth issued shall conspicuously include, in no smaller than twelve-point type, the statement "This is not proof of a live birth.". No certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth shall be issued to any person other than a parent, or if both parents are deceased, the sibling of the stillborn child who files an application pursuant to section 193.165. The state registrar or other custodians of vital records are authorized to charge a minimal fee to such applicant to cover the actual costs of providing the certificate pursuant to this section.
8. Any parent, or if both parents are deceased, any sibling of the stillborn child may file an application for a certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth for a birth that resulted in stillbirth prior to August 28, 2004.
453.120. 1. The files and records of the court in adoption proceedings shall not be open to inspection or copy by any person or persons, except upon an order of the court expressly permitting the same issued in accordance with the provisions of section 453.121. The provisions of this section shall not apply to the provision of an original birth certificate of an adopted adult who is twenty-one years of age or older under section 193.125.
2. Any person who permits such inspection or copy [without an order of the court as provided in this section shall be] in violation of this section is guilty of a class C misdemeanor.
453.121. 1. As used in this section, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the following terms mean:
(1) "Adopted adult", any adopted person who is eighteen years of age or over;
(2) "Adopted child", any adopted person who is less than eighteen years of age;
(3) "Adult sibling", any brother or sister of the whole or half blood who is eighteen years of age or over;
(4) "Identifying information", information which includes the name, date of birth, place of birth and last known address of the biological parent;
(5) "Nonidentifying information", information concerning the physical description, nationality, religious background and medical history of the biological parent or sibling.
2. All papers, records, and information pertaining to an adoption whether part of any permanent record or file may be disclosed only in accordance with this section or, in the case of an original birth certificate, to an adopted adult who is twenty-one years of age or older.
3. Nonidentifying information, if known, concerning undisclosed biological parents or siblings shall be furnished by the child-placing agency or the juvenile court to the adoptive parents, legal guardians or adopted adult upon written request therefor.
4. An adopted adult may make a written request to the circuit court having original jurisdiction of such adoption to secure and disclose information identifying the adopted adult's biological parents. If the biological parents have consented to the release of identifying information under subsection  9 of this section, the court shall disclose such identifying information to the adopted adult. If the biological parents have not consented to the release of identifying information under subsection  9 of this section, the court shall, within ten days of receipt of the request, notify in writing the adoptive parents of such petitioner and the child-placing agency or juvenile court personnel having access to the information requested of the request by the adopted adult.
5. Within three months after receiving notice of the request of the adopted adult, the child-placing agency or juvenile court personnel shall notify the adoptive parents, if such adoptive parents are living and shall not make any attempt to notify the biological parents without prior written consent of such adoptive parents for adoptions instituted or completed prior to August 13, 1986, but may proceed if there is proof that the adoptive parents are deceased or incapacitated, as such term is defined in chapter 475, RSMo. If the adoptive parents are living but are unwilling to give such written consent, the child-placing agency or the juvenile court personnel shall make a written report to the court stating that they were unable to notify the biological parent. If the adoptive parents are deceased or give written consent, the child-placing agency or the juvenile court personnel shall make reasonable efforts to notify the biological parents of the request of the adopted adult. The child-placing agency or juvenile court personnel may charge actual costs to the adopted adult for the cost of making such search. All communications under this subsection are confidential. For purposes of this subsection, "notify" means a personal and confidential contact with the biological parent of the adopted adult, which initial contact shall not be made by mail and shall be made by an employee of the child-placing agency which processed the adoption, juvenile court personnel or some other licensed child-placing agency designated by the child-placing agency or juvenile court. Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the disclosure of communications privileged pursuant to section 491.060, RSMo. At the end of three months, the child-placing agency or juvenile court personnel shall file a report with the court stating [that each biological parent that was located was given] the following information:
(1) The nature of the identifying information to which the agency has access;
(2) The nature of any nonidentifying information requested;
(3) The date of the request of the adopted adult;
(4) The right of the biological parent to file an affidavit with the court stating that the identifying information should be disclosed;
(5) The effect of a failure of the biological parent to file an affidavit stating that the identifying information should be disclosed.
6. [If the child-placing agency or juvenile court personnel reports to the court that it has been unable to notify the biological parent within three months, the identifying information shall not be disclosed to the adopted adult. Additional requests for the same or substantially the same information may not be made to the court within one year from the end of the three-month period during which the attempted notification was made, unless good cause is shown and leave of court is granted.
7.] If, within three months, the child-placing agency or juvenile court personnel reports to the court that it has notified the biological parent pursuant to subsection 5 of this section, the court shall receive the identifying information from the child-placing agency. If an affidavit duly executed by a biological parent authorizing the release of information is filed with the court or fails to file an affidavit with the court, the court shall disclose the identifying information as to that biological parent to the adopted adult, provided that the other biological parent either:
(1) Is unknown;
(2) Is known but cannot be found and notified pursuant to section 5 of this act;
(3) Is deceased; or
(4) Has filed with the court an affidavit authorizing release of identifying information or fails to file an affidavit with the court. If the biological parent [fails or refuses to file] files an affidavit with the court [authorizing] refusing to authorize the release of identifying information, then the identifying information shall not be released to the adopted adult. No additional request for the same or substantially the same information may be made within three years of the time the biological parent fails or refuses to file an affidavit authorizing the release of identifying information.
[8.] 7. If the biological parent is deceased [but previously had filed an affidavit with the court stating that identifying information shall be disclosed], the information shall be forwarded to and released by the court to the adopted adult. [If the biological parent is deceased and, at any time prior to his death, the biological parent did not file an affidavit with the court stating that the identifying information shall be disclosed, the adopted adult may petition the court for an order releasing the identifying information. the court shall grant the petition upon a finding that disclosure of the information is necessary for health-related purposes.
9.] 8. Any adopted adult whose adoption was finalized in this state or whose biological parents had their parental rights terminated in this state may request the court to secure and disclose identifying information concerning an adult sibling [and upon a finding by the court that such information is necessary for urgent health-related purposes in the same manner as provided in this section]. Identifying information pertaining exclusively to the adult sibling, whether part of the permanent record of a file in the court or in an agency, shall be released [only upon consent of that adult sibling].
[10.] 9. The central office of the children's division within the department of social services shall maintain a registry by which biological parents, adult siblings, and adoptive adults may indicate their desire to be contacted by each other. The division may request such identification for the registry as a party may possess to assure positive identifications. At the time of registry, a biological parent or adult sibling may consent in writing to the release of identifying information to an adopted adult. If such a consent has not been executed and the division believes that a match has occurred on the registry between biological parents or adult siblings and an adopted adult, [an employee of] the division shall [make the confidential contact provided in] comply with the provisions of subsection 5 of this section [with the biological parents or adult siblings and with the adopted adult]. If the division believes that a match has occurred on the registry between one biological parent or adult sibling and an adopted adult, [an employee of] the division shall [make the confidential contact provided by] comply with the provisions of subsection 5 of this section [with the biological parent or adult sibling]. [The division shall then attempt to make such confidential contact with the other biological parent, and shall proceed thereafter to make such confidential contact with the adopted adult only if the division determines that the other biological parent meets one of the conditions specified in subsection 7 of this section. The biological parent, adult sibling, or adopted adult may refuse to go forward with any further contact between the parties when contacted by the division.
11.] 10. The provisions of this section, except as provided in subsection 5 of this section governing the release of identifying and nonidentifying adoptive information apply to adoptions completed before and after August 13, 1986.
11. Nothing in this section shall be construed as an assurance of anonymity to any biological parent or a requirement that no contact be made to a biological parent.