KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There's new hope for people adopted in Missouri who are waiting to get a copy of their birth certificate with their biological parents' names on it.
Some of them have been waiting for months to get their original birth certificate. But new statistics from the Missouri Vital Records Bureau show that the tide is turning.
Adoptees in Missouri have two birth certificates. The state keeps the birth certificate with the names of their biological parents, and a separate birth certificate is created with their adoptive parents' names.
The Missouri Adoptee Rights Law of 2016 gave people adopted in Missouri the right to have a copy of their original birth certificate with their biological parents' names.
41 Action News first reported on the growing frustration of adoptees in July. The Missouri Vital Records Bureau received more than 4,000 requests for original birth certificates from people adopted in Missouri, but the agency only had two employees trying to process those applications.
The backlog was frustrating for adoptees who needed the information on their original birth certificates, hoping it would lead them to their birth parents.
So far this year, the agency has received 3,198 applications. Megan Hopkins, communications director for the Vital Records Bureau, said that the agency has issued 2,151 original birth certificates and sent statements to 53 adoptees that no records were found.
Hopkins said that since May, the agency has hired four additional part-time staff to process applications. She said records stored in off-site locations are also being delivered faster.
“Employees are able to process records faster at this point. Dedicating staff to this process allows them to work on these relatively complex requests without interruption,” Hopkins said.
Danny Muchmore of Greenwood, Missouri, is an adoptee who received his original birth certificate two weeks ago after waiting for nine months.
Once he received the document, he jumped online and started searching. He found his biological mother and father and discovered that he has some siblings and half-siblings. After talking on the phone, Muchmore met his dad in person earlier this week at a local restaurant.
“When I walked into the restaurant, I mean, because we looked ... I mean the jukebox stopped. That's how I felt because we look so much alike, you know. I mean, there's no doubting this,” Muchmore said.
Muchmore and his father, Jim Stone, did take a DNA test. The results came back 99.999 percent positive that they are father and son.
Stone said they have the same interest in motorcycles and cars. They also both have a sense of humor.
“So Danny sent me a text that said, 'Guess what, you owe me 44 birthday presents,'” Stone said with a laugh.
The two are now quickly becoming friends.
“On top of everything it was just the warmth that they all portrayed. I mean, that made it so much better," Muchmore said.
Even though he had his own happy reunion, Muchmore is thinking about the hundreds of other people adopted in Missouri who are still waiting for their birth certificates.
“I'm sorry it's taking so long for everybody. I think it'll get worked out but I can only hope that it will work out this way," he said.
He said that he is wishing his fellow adoptees a happy ending once they finally find their true beginning.
People adopted in Missouri can visit the Missouri Vital Records Bureau website to get a copy of their original birth certificate.