In Florida, for instance, a bill was filed this year that adoptee rights advocates say is badly flawed because it makes access to original birth certificates dependent on birth parent involvement. If HB passes, adoptees will have to apply through the Florida Adoption Reunion Registry and connect with at least one birth parent before being allowed to apply for a copy of their original birth certificate. Currently, adult adoptees in the Sunshine State who want an original birth certificate must first be in reunion with a birth parent who consents to the release or obtain a court order.
If it is passed, beginning January 15, , adult adoptees will have the same level of access to their birth certificates that non-adopted individuals may take for granted. Even with more than 80 Assembly co-sponsors, and top adoptee rights groups like the American Adoption Congress , the National Center on Adoption and Permanency , and the North American Council on Adoptable Children supporting the measure, there has still been opposition.
He also started a grassroots petition to advance the New York bill. He attributes any lingering opposition to the legislation to fear, and suggests that while some adult adoptees may prefer not to request a copy of their original birth certificate or records, they should still have a right to access them if they ever changed their mind. He says no promise of anonymity could legally have been made because there was never a guarantee the child would actually be adopted. In those cases, the adoptee would always have access to their records, or that if a judge believes there is cause to do it, courts can unseal adoption records.
Luce, an adoptee, knows this process all too well. He successfully petitioned a court for his original birth certificate in Washington, DC, where he was born in and adopted at a week old. Luce says he already knows this information from his birth mother, with whom he had met before her death.
This difference in state laws can compound the frustrations experienced by adoptees who must work with multiple state agencies. Erica Babino, the former national legislative chair for the American Adoption Congress, was born 55 years ago in New York but was adopted in Texas. When she was 25, she tried to gain access to her original birth records, a process that lasted for 25 years. On one visit to New York, Babino sobbed while a social worker sat inches from her with a file that contained her birth records but did not permit her to see them.
She managed to find her birth family, but the records in New York remain inaccessible to her. For those who believe that the records should be sealed, protecting mothers, who may have not wanted their past revealed is often cited as the main reason. Advocates for women who have experienced traumatic, unwanted pregnancies, like author Kathleen Hoy Foley, say there are dangers in exposing these women unilaterally.
A small number of opponents, mainly Catholic groups , argue that some birth mothers may have opted for abortion rather than adoption if they thought their identities would be revealed. The American Adoption Congress says this has not been the case. In Texas, one state senator has successfully blocked open access laws repeatedly for other reasons. Dan Patrick. But today, the nearly year-old organization says it supports legislation that balances the needs of adult adoptees and their birth parents.
Being unable to access these records has often led adoptees to use social media and DNA testing services for answers. Carole Whitehead is 74 years old and works as a cancer registrar—a data information specialist for cancer patients in Plainview, New York. But in , with the help of a private investigator, she found Paul Dinberg, in Long Island.
He was living only five miles away from where she lived at the time. Not to leave the father out, the form asks dads the same question and gives them the same check-box options.
How to Find New York Birth Records
Until a change in the form was made, married gay and lesbian couples had to go to court to secure their names on birth certificates, a legal hurdle that blocked parental rights that most people took for granted. David Paterson allowed for the change in across the state everywhere but in New York City, which keeps its own vital statistics and sets its own rules for them.
Advocates encourage same-sex couples to adopt because doing so gives them extra legal protection. Read Next. This story has been shared 72, times.
Birth Certificates - Town of Cortlandt, NY
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View author archive email the author follow on twitter Get author RSS feed. His brith Day is January 5 Please help me find my other half if you could.
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