November 18, 2018

Archives for October 2013

What is the Arkansas Mutual Consent Voluntary Adoption Registry (MCVAR)?

adoption.arkansas.shanehenryandassociatesThis registry lets people who have been adopted or have given someone up for adoption submit certain information to a statewide database. The database helps connect adoptees with their birth parents or relatives. It also can provide information about one’s genetic, health and social history without identifying the birth relatives. In either case, both the adoptee and birth parents must have registered for the program to be helpful.

When you register, a registry coordinator will look to see if the people you want to find have registered. Your birth relatives must also have registered and consented to be identified to you for this to happen. You will be informed of the search outcome. Even if your relatives have not registered, your information will stay on file. Each time someone new registers, the files will be searched to see if there is a match. It may take years for the relatives you want to identify to register or they might never register. If there is a match, a registry coordinator will contact you.

Registration is voluntary, and the registry coordinator does not contact people to ask them to register. If you do not want to identify yourself but want information about the genetic, health and social history of an adoptee, you still must register. Upon receiving your registration, the registry coordinator will search adoption records for the adoptee’s background information. The information will not identify any birth relative or adopted relative of the adoptee. If one is available, you will get a comprehensive report. Any qualified person can remove his or her name from the registry at any time by filing a notarized affidavit with the registry.

Who is Qualified to Register?

To identify yourself to your birth relatives, you must be:

• An adult adoptee at least 18 years old.

• A birth parent of an adopted child.

• A birth grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin or sibling of an adoptee.

To get an adoptee’s genetic, health and social history, you must be:

• An adoptee who is at least 18 years old.

• A birth parent of an adopted child.

• The adoptive parents, or in the event of their death, the adopted child’s guardian.

• The legal guardian of any child of the adoptee.

• Any child-welfare agency having custody of the adoptee.

If the adoptee is dead, his or her children and widow or widower can also register to sign up for this information. So can the guardian of any child of the adoptee.

If you are not sure that your adoption was arranged by the state of Arkansas, you can still register. Also, you may contact other licensed adoption agencies about registration.

I am the Adoptee. What Do I Do?

Submit the following information in writing:

• A brief explanation of the type of information you want, such as background or biological information, medical or social history or attempt to locate a birth relative.

• Your adopted, i.e. your legal name.

• Do not use nicknames.

• Your date of birth.

• The legal names of your adopted parents.

• Your return mailing address.

• Any other information that might be helpful in finding what you are seeking, such as the name of the hospital, birth name, where your adopted parents lived, etc.

 I am a Birth Relative of the Adoptee. What Do I Do?

Submit the following in writing:

• A brief explanation of the type of information you are seeking and background information on the adoptive family or the birth child you are trying to find.

• The birth name given to the adoptee.

• The adoptee’s date of birth.

• The birth mom’s name at the time of birth.

• Your legal name.

• Your relationship to the adoptee.

• Your return mailing address.

• Any other helpful information, such as where the adopted parent lived, the hospital where the child was born, the city or town of birth, etc.

How Do I Register?

To identify yourself to your birth relatives, you must complete an Affidavit/ Registration form, attend a 1 hour counseling session and pay a $20 fee. If you live in Arkansas, the counseling must be provided by a DCFS adoption specialist. The registry coordinator will give you with a list of specialists. If you live elsewhere, counseling must be provided by a social worker employed by a licensed agency in your state.

Filings of any affidavits and sealed adoption records will be retained 99 years after the date of registration or finalization. To get a genetic, health and social history of an adoptee, you must complete the Affidavit/Registration form and pay a $5 fee. You can register for both services on one form and pay a $25 fee. Mail the completed, notarized affidavit form and the fee payment to:

Arkansas Department of Human Services

Division of Children and Family Services

Adoption Registry

P.O. Box 1437, Slot S565

Little Rock, AR 72203-1437

You may call the registry coordinator at (501) 682-8462 or toll free at 888-736-2820. Ask to speak to the adoption registry coordinator.

Arkansas Adoption: Advantages for Birth Mothers


An unplanned pregnancy may cut short a woman’s education, career and other goals, and you worry that raising a baby will do the same. To make things more complicated, you may not have the finances or a partner to help raise the child. Some women can’t imagine getting an abortion but also know they aren’t ready to be a parent yet.

There are many advantages of adoption for birth mothers. Adoption benefits birth mothers because it grants her a second chance at receiving an education, fulfilling other goals or raising other children, while ensuring her that her child will be raised in a home with a loving family who dream of being parents. For many birth mothers, knowing that their child is safe and happy is the biggest benefit of all.

A 1998 study reported that unwed mothers who chose adoption had more success later in life than women who chose to be single parents. Women who chose adoption:

  • Had higher educational aspirations.
  • Were more likely to finish school.
  • Were less likely to live in poverty and receive public assistance.
  • Were more likely to marry and less likely to divorce.
  • Were more likely to delay marriage and other children.
  • Were more likely to be employed a year after the baby was born.
  • Were less likely to be pregnant again out-of-wedlock.



Adoption in Arkansas: Closed vs Open

Once you decide on adoption, the type of adoption is one decision you will have to consider. The choice is all about your comfort and what you want. At Shane Henry & Associates, we are able to talk you through your options and help you make an informed decision.


Closed Adoptions

In a closed adoption , all identifying information remains confidential. For many generations, it was common to keep adoptions closed. But today,  adoptions commonly involve some contact between the birth parents and the adoptive family before and/or after the birth of the child.

Open Adoptions

Typically, the birth parents and the adoptive family speak prior to and even after the child is born. This could include phone calls and face-to-face visits.

Some adoptions of this nature are very open, with the adoptive family and birth parents exchanging contact information and agreeing to periodic visits as the child grows. It is also common in open adoptions for the adoptive family to mail pictures and letters to the birth parents.

Semi-Open Adoptions

Semi-open adoptions fall somewhere in between open and closed. The adoptive family and birth parents usually will know basic information about each other, such as first names or state of residence. Complete contact information is not shared.

Once the child has been placed with the adoptive family, the birth parents may still stay in contact with the family via letters and pictures. However, this correspondence is handled by a third party.