Colorado adoption records, open at last, spell complex family reunion

From the Daily Camera (Boulder):  On an unseasonably warm day in January 2012, Shayne Madsen bought a bouquet of flowers and drove with a friend to an apartment in a northeast Denver retirement community.

They parked, and Madsen waited in the car.

Madsen, adopted as an infant in 1949, was on the verge of a breakthrough in the investigation of her own story.

She’d recently been awarded a packet of documents relating to her relinquishment, and, through social media and ancestry websites, found an address for a woman named Charlene Bates, whom Madsen believed was her biological aunt.

Madsen’s friend approached the apartment door and, sure enough, Bates, in her 80s and with declining health, appeared along with her daughter. The friend gave them the flowers and nervously explained the purpose of the surprise visit.

She told them Madsen had been adopted long ago by a Loveland couple and that she’d never been given any information about her biological family, its medical history or the circumstances surrounding her adoption. Madsen was hoping to connect with her biological mother.

Like hundreds of thousands of adoptees in the United States, Madsen, who now lives in Gunbarrel, was for decades denied access to any and all adoption records, including her own birth certificate.

But a 2009 ruling by the state Court of Appeals — one in a series of legislative changes over the past 15 years that allow open access to adoption records in Colorado — had granted Madsen her first clues.

Visit the Daily Camera for more.


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