By all accounts, Randy Perkins leads a successful life in New Orleans as an attorney.
He and his wife were married in 1994 and they have two children. And it was his children that ignited a curiosity about his own beginnings.
“I was born in Glen Rose in 1962 and was adopted within days of birth,” Perkins said. “I’ve always been mildly curious about my origins and I suppose that’s only natural.”
Perkins said he wondered what his birth parents were like, if he had any other siblings, or even if his parents were curious about him.
“My wife and I asked my mother on one occasion about the circumstances of my birth,” Perkins said. “She told us that my birthmother was the daughter of a prominent family elsewhere who got pregnant and was sent to Glen Rose during her pregnancy.”
At the time, that was enough explanation for him, but then he and his wife had children of their own.
“Both of my children have severe autism,” Perkins said.
Perkins stumbled onto an article in a hospital waiting room that said research has connected autism to a genetic disorder. He started thinking that if he could find his birth parents, he may be able to gain genetic information that would help his own children.
“I really need to locate my biological parents,” he said.
“I began searching about a year ago. I thought if I find anything, fine; if not, then I’ll quit. But what really surprised me was how upset I got when I was told ‘no’ at the state level and the federal level.”
Perkins has searched old newspapers and court records trying to find any information, but all of his records are sealed.
“I soon discovered that adoption records are sealed for 99 years by law,” Perkins said. “Adoptees cannot obtain their sealed court records or copies of their original birth certificates without a judicial order from the court that granted the adoption.”
He has also requested a copy of the relinquishment documents, but has not been able to find a record of them. The documents are filed by the birthparents when they relinquish their rights to a baby. Those documents are not supposed to be sealed and could potentially provide Perkins with the names of his parents.
“Without a name, information is even harder to find,” Perkins said.
He also said the county that granted his adoption has a reputation for not releasing information.
“I have requested non-identifying information from the Central Adoption Registry and the court that granted the adoption,” Perkins said. “But because mine was a private adoption, not arranged through an agency, there are no documents of the kind typically considered to be non-identifying information.”
So far, all Perkins has to go on is what he was told by his mother, but he is not sure how accurate that information is.
His parents had adopted a girl a few years before Perkins was born. At the time they lived in Texas, but moved a year or two after that. Perkins said whoever helped his parents adopt his sister, contacted his parents after they moved and asked if they would be interested in adopting a boy. He said the lawyer told his mother that the family was an affluent family, but the birthmother was too young to keep the baby.
Despite the difficulty he has faced in finding any information, Perkins remains hopeful that he will someday find his birthparents.
He has been keeping an eye on two pieces of legislation that were considered by the Texas legislature recently. The Texas House considered a bill that would provide adopted children with a non-certified copy of a birth certificate, unless one of the birth parents opposed it. The Senate bill would have provided a non-certified birth certificate only if the birth parents consent to disclose the information.
Perkins has also reached out to the Glen Rose community through the Internet.
“I’ve made use of MySpace and other social networking Web sites to locate residents of Glen Rose who have an online presence, and I have contacted a few of them,” Perkins said. “I’ve been surprised that people have responded and have tried to be helpful. No one recalls anything like the scenario my mother described, so it all remains a mystery. I am confident, however, that I will locate one or both of my birthparents. It’s only a matter of time before that happens.”