Knowing your medical history and where your parents are from are things you might take for granted – unless you are adopted.
But starting July 1, all adoptees born in Washington state will have expanded access to their birth records.
Democratic State Representative Tina Orwall of Des Moines sponsored the bill that changed that. Orwall said the day the Governor Jay Inslee signed her bill she decided to try and get her own birth records, but her birth state Florida is a closed-records state.
"I could not get any of my records directly," Orwall said. "My only option was to go through where I was adopted." She did manage to be reunited with her birth mother and the siblings she never knew she had.
When it comes down to why she worked to give more Washington adoptees access to their original birth records, Orwall said she wanted to make the process of getting the information easier.
"I believe it is fundamental information to know where you're from, what your ethnicity is, knowing your medical history," Orwall said. "And I think when you're adopted, it’s like a puzzle and you're missing a piece. And that doesn't go away as you get older, you still question it."
For more specific information about what the new adoption law changes for both birth parents and adoptees, head over to the Department of Health’s Adoption Law webpage.