Tuesday, February 1, 2011

N.Y. must open its adoption records

Letter to the Editor - Albany Times Union, Saturday January 29th

I write in support of A2003/S1438, the New York State Adoption Records Reform bills. I was adopted in 1960 in Rochester.

Because I am a white, middle-class male, it may be difficult to see me as a member of an oppressed minority group. Yet, that is exactly what New York adoptees are.

What other term can describe a group of citizens prevented by the state from knowing who they are and where they came from?

How is it possible that the state can maintain a veil of secrecy between a human being and the most basic information about himself?

How can one participate fully in the human condition when one is cut off by law from even knowing the identity of those who are responsible for one's life?

Of course, there was another group of people so denied. They were by law and custom expected to live without this vital, human knowledge. These were the slaves of the antebellum South. They were not viewed as men, rather as property. Are we adoptees human beings?

Let New York leave behind the barbaric practices of the past so well described by Ann Fessler, author of "The Girls Who Went Away."

Let New York treat all born there with full human dignity.

Let New York open its records as a step toward redressing the misery caused by its closed adoption system.

David Phelps

Fairfax, Va.