New state adoption law offers new hope for Kaneohe family
KANEOHE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A change in Hawaii law is giving adopted families a better chance in discovering their roots.
"I'm hoping her birth mother is alive and that I would be able to meet her," said Kaneohe resident Erin Castillo.
Castillo is referring to her late-sister, Marie. They were adopted from two separate families.
But Marie died years ago and her son, Chad, was left to grow up with questions about his blood line.
"When my nephew was younger, he asked me please auntie can you find my mother's family?" Castillo said.
In June 2016, that opportunity came when Governor David Ige passed ACT 80, easing restrictions on birth records.
"What it means is people have access to their own stories and they have access to the truth of their own lives," said Kristine Altwies, CEO and President of Hawaii International Child.
In the past, obtaining birth records required the consent of the birth parents.
That's no longer necessary under the new law.
The adoptee, the adoptive parents or the biological parents can now get those records on their own.
Castillo and her mother requested Marie's birth records in August.
They just received them on Saturday and the next step is to make contact.
"I really love my sister," said Castillo. "I would like to just look at her birth mother and say 'Hey you had a beautiful daughter' and just embrace her."
Chad is also anxious to know more about his grandmother. "That would be a way to connect with who my mother was,' he said.
But his emotions are mixed.
Making a cold call to a relative who may not know he exists is daunting.
"I wouldn't want to come out the woodwork and force myself upon them causing some sort of turmoil on their end," said Chad.
"Bad things can happen when people don't want to be contacted when they are living in hiding and they have to get discovered, of course, but in the end more often than not, people are grateful for a chance to unite," Altwies said.
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