The following went out by email to our supporters the day after the House Public Health Committee hearing on HB1386 on March 21. If you are not receiving our emails, sign up here.
We could not have asked for a better hearing before the House Public Health Committee this past Wednesday. Rep. Cody Harris, who is carrying HB1386, spoke forcefully and emotionally about the bill, introducing it to committee members and stating that:
Getting access to an original birth certificate is extremely difficult, and the rules guiding access to them are vague and open to broad interpretation by the presiding judge in each court. We’re a nation and a state built on the truth that all men are created equal by our Creator. Yet adopted Texans are treated differently than non adopted Texans. Family medical history and knowing one’s own race or ethnicity are examples of basic information that is withheld from adopted Texans. Still none of this addresses the why. Why should an adopted adult be granted access to their original birth certificate? It’s my belief that everyone of us—adopted or not—has an instinctive deep desire to know who we are, to know where we came from. It is a basic insatiable response to life. Who are we to deny that knowledge to an adult?Rep. Cody Harris, Presenting HB1386 before the House Public Health Committee on March 17, 2021
Five adoptees and advocates then testified in person, all in favor of HB1386, including myself and Marley Greiner, the executive chair of Bastard Nation, one of the core partners in TXARC. I told the committee a little of my own story but also centered this issue on a right, a deep and inherent right to have your own information, to know your own story, to possess your own record. Other testifiers, including from Support Texas Adoptee Rights, reinforced this issue as a right, and Rep. Harris closed, reminding the committee that he is an adoptive father. As he spoke, he informed the committee that his nine-year-old daughter was watching the hearing from home.
If you were unable to watch the hearing or participate, you can watch it here (start at 01:21:00). And while the hearing went extremely well, the committee must still discuss and vote on HB1386. We also have much to do to get it through the House and the Senate in the next few weeks. For that, we will be reaching out very soon with next steps.
Texas Adoptee & TXARC Spokesperson