First published: Monday, November 29, 2010
Thousands of adults who were born and adopted in New York now live in other states. Some write to state legislators to ask them to open New York's sealed adoption records and may have received replies. However, some feel they have no representation in Albany and should not waste their time. Meanwhile, some adoption agencies indicate that most of the requests they receive from adoptees seeking to know the basic facts of their birth are from those living out of state.
The Bill of Adoptee Rights -- A2003, sponsored by Assemblyman David Weprin , and S1438, sponsored by Senator Velmanette Montgomery -- has gained support and activists continue to lobby.
New York's adoption policy is slow to catch up to accepted practice that advocates for openness and honesty. Its policy that no one should search, when search and reunion have been accepted for many years, is a "Father Knows Best" paternalistic policy. It is extremely unfair.
Many of the old beliefs about adoption have been disproved and social mores have changed. The shroud of secrecy surrounding adoption was a social more'. There were no confidentiality laws for birth parents, nor a right to privacy. Adoptees were not supposed to search because they would upset their adoptive families and find unpleasant truths about their birth families. When these outdated mores collapsed, thousands of adoptees and birth parents began searching for each other; thousands continue to do so every year.
Searching is now seen as a necessary step in adoptee/birthparent healing.
It is the old, discriminatory sealed records law that is in the wrong. November is National Adoption Month, and New York adoptees still have no right to the most fundamental information about themselves.
President Unsealed Initiative
New York City