Lately there have been many articles in various news publications about pending legislation to open adoption records so that adoptees would have access to their birth records. This would allow adoptees to have a greater chance of obtaining medical information and reuniting with their birth parents.
The state of New York is no different. If the pending legislation is passed in New York, adoptees born in that state will soon have the same right to their birth records like any other U.S. citizen.
Do you ever wonder why records were sealed in the first place? I have and this article attempts to address that.
New York began sealing adoption records in the mid-1930s to protect adoptive parents from possible interference from biological parents. Contrary to popular assumption, however, there has never been a legal guarantee of secrecy offered to birth parents who have given up their children for adoption.
The article goes on to state that most adoption professionals now agree that open adoption and background information (including medical records) is beneficial to all involved.
For example, one of the first things a doctor needs to know is a patient’s medical and psychiatric history. Currently, that potentially life-saving information is obtainable only by court order and at considerable cost to the individual. Unfortunately, it is usually not sought because of those deterrents, to a patient’s serious disadvantage.
The article then goes on to state that allowing adoptees access to their records is one of the basic human rights and one that many people may take for granted.
Currently, this legislation is pending in the Senate and Assembly. If you live in New York and are in support of allowing adoptees to have access to their birth records, let them know! Contact your state senator to show your support of bill S235 and your assemblyman of bill A2277. You can find contact information for New York Senators here. You can find contact information for Assembly Members here.