Sunday, March 7, 2010

New York Post article: new fight by adult adoptees

Please note the description of our bill in this article is not accurate. Our bill gives all adoptees at age 18 the right co a non certified copy of their original birth certificate and has a contact preference option for birth parents. A medical history update form is mailed to those birth parents who do not want contact. It is not mandatory for them to fill it out and return it but hopefully they will.

New fight by adult adoptees

Posted: March 7, 2010

All he knows about his mother is that she was a 19-year-old art student when she gave birth to him on New Year's Eve in 1966. Now, 43 years later, David Bandler is desperately trying to find the woman who gave him up for adoption because he's in a constant state of limbo over his murky origins.

"On a subconscious level, it's always sitting there -- you wonder, 'What's my backstory?' " Bandler said. But New York state keeps adoption records sealed, making it often impossible for children to find their birth parents.

Currently, adoptees must prove to a judge they have a psychological or medical condition that requires they learn the identity of their birth parents. Bandler's lawyer, Bert Hirsch, says he's filed a "steady trickle" of adoption lawsuits over the years, and they are generally unsuccessful because the state Court of Appeals tends to protect birth parents' privacy.

But Bandler is hopeful his search will be fruitful. His psychiatrist filed an affidavit stating that Bandler's life will be greatly improved by a reunion with his birth mother.

Joyce Bahr, whose heads a group that advocates to unseal records for adoptive children in New York state, says keeping them closed makes little sense now. She has a bill before the Legislature to allow adopted children to contact their birth parents at age 18 via an agency, and the parent has the option of meeting the child or not. "It's the only humane way," she said.