She was in a home that was technically an orphanage that was connected with the denomination that we service. The home is no longer in existence (and she wasn't actually an orphan-her mother dropped her off for a few years while she got on her feet then picked her up-so she should be able to get what she needs given she knows/knew her birth mother). Anyway, some of their records were sent to us (newsletters, board minutes, financial statements) but they don't include any personal files. Actually even if they did, we would probably need a court order to release them due to privacy laws and such.
But there is a repetitive nature to her arguments (ie.I hear them a lot)... but once records are donated to an archive they become the property of the archive, a document is signed. The archive then stores, in hopefully air and humidity controlled state, those artifacts. An archivist is on staff to accession them, and an archivist is on staff to retrieve them. Most archives charge for that. We have members, and our archives are only open to our members. Of course anyone can join and thus get access. She didn't want to have to pay. (it is $36.50 yrly)
Many people call and tell us that the records are theirs and so they don't have to join or pay for photocopying, because they are their records. That is not how it works though.
And actually in this case, we just don't have the records.