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Adopted Children Should Be Able to View Adoption Records, Says New Survey by FindLaw


MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Nov. 25, 2003 – An overwhelming majority of Americans believe adopted children should be granted full access to their adoption records when they become adults, according to a new survey by the legal Web site FindLaw ( ).

President Bush has declared November as National Adoption Awareness Month. A new national survey conducted by FindLaw found eighty-four percent of Americans believe adopted children should be allowed to view their adoption records upon becoming adults. The survey used a representative sample of 1,000 adults nationwide. Only twelve percent said adopted children should not be granted full access to their adoption records.

By some estimates, six million Americans were adopted as children. Currently, adopted children in many states are only allowed to view partial or edited versions of their adoption records, which often omits information such as original birth name, name of birth parents and place of birth. Several states are currently considering legislation that would fully open adoption records.

"The survey results come as no surprise," said R. David Cousineau, President and CEO of Holt International Children's Services, a leading adoption agency. "We have placed more than 40,000 children with adoptive families. Our experience with three generations of adoptees has provided consistent evidence that adoptive families understand and believe in the necessity of adoptees to know their birth history. It is the fundamental right of all individuals to have access to information about themselves. For adoptees, that includes access to their own birth records with the same equity as other individuals are entitled."

Opponents of open records policies believe unrestricted access to birth information would violate the right to privacy of the birth parents, who made their adoption decisions based on what they believed was a guarantee of privacy.

Additional information on adoptions and other family law issues can be found on free legal information Web sites such as

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About FindLaw
FindLaw ( is the leading provider of online legal information and solutions for the legal community, businesses and individuals. The FindLaw Internet portal is the highest-trafficked legal Web site, according to leading independent Internet-traffic-monitoring services. The site provides comprehensive, plain-English legal information to businesses and individuals. These resources include West Legal Directory®, the Internet's largest directory of lawyers and legal professionals. FindLaw also offers comprehensive information, resources and services for law practice and legal career development, including free case law, an online career center, breaking legal news, newsletters, message boards, service directories, continuing legal education and legal search tools. In addition, FindLaw provides access to tools and services that help connect legal professionals with potential clients. FindLaw is a business with The Thomson Corporation (NYSE: TOC; TSX: TOC).

About The Thomson Corporation
The Thomson Corporation (, with 2002 revenues from continuing operations of $7.5 billion, is a global leader in providing integrated information solutions to business and professional customers. Thomson provides value-added information, software tools and applications to more than 20 million users in the fields of law, tax, accounting, financial services, higher education, reference information, corporate training and assessment, scientific research and healthcare. With operational headquarters in Stamford, Conn., Thomson has approximately 43,000 employees and provides services in approximately 130 countries. The Corporation's common shares are listed on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges (NYSE: TOC; TSX: TOC).