A conversation about what it means and what it looks like when an adopted person seeks a court order to get his or her own birth and adoption records.
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia currently require a court order for an adopted person to obtain his or her own original birth record—or any record. How is it done? Who has been successful and what difficulties did they encounter? What was the cost in time, emotion, and money? And what exactly did they get?
Sunday, March 21
1:00pm PDT 4:00pm EDT
Adoptees United talks with Rudy Owens and Courtney Humbaugh, two adoptees who successfully obtained court orders to release records in Michigan and Georgia. Owens represented himself, and later wrote a book in part about his experience. Humbaugh hired an attorney who, it turns out, has a remarkably successful track record in obtaining court orders for adoptees in Georgia.
In a discussion that promises to be as wide-ranging as informative, Gregory Luce will moderate an exploration of what we mean by “records,” including which records are easier or harder to get—whether birth records, court records, adoption agency records, or any others. He will also talk about his own five-year effort in the District of Columbia as well as court cases he handles today on behalf of Minnesota-born adopted people.
Questions will be taken from the audience throughout the talk, and links to available court forms in various states will also be provided during the online chat.
Join us for this Zoom-powered event on Sunday, March 21, at 1:00pm Pacific/4:00pm Eastern. Space is limited so register early.
Courtney Humbaugh was born on Christmas Day, 1978, in Augusta, Georgia, and adopted five months later to a family in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2014, she began her journey to discover her roots and her birth story. In 2020, she petitioned the court system in Georgia for her adoption records and was successfully given her information the same year.
Ms. Humbaugh has more than 20 years’ experience in public relations, media and marketing. She is a former television news reporter and marketing director for a major healthcare provider. Most recently, she has served the transportation industry with expertise in social media platforms, event planning, public speaking, media production and print design. Ms. Humbaugh holds a communication degree from Florida State University and resides in Florida.
Rudy Owens is a Detroit, Michigan native who grew up in metro St. Louis, Missouri, where he attended public schools through his high school graduation. As an adoptee, he single-handedly found his birth families in 1989 and has advocated for more than three decades for equal rights for all adoptees to access their birth records like most modern democracies allow for their adopted citizens. He is the author of You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are, a memoir that critically examines his life and the history of the U.S. adoption system through a public health lens. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon and works for the Oregon Health Authority’s Health Information Center, providing public affairs for the state’s COVID-19 response.