Contact The Firm
Schedule Your Consultation
Call My Office Now : 716-800-2591
One Niagara Square Buffalo, NY 14202

Adoption reform bills introduced

Some of New York's adoption laws have not kept up with the times. Even though open adoption has contributed to child's biological parents' involvement, the state keeps birth certificates and adoption records secret. However, legislation was recently introduced which would automatically allow access to birth records for adoptees when they reach 18 years of age.

Adoption records have remained secret in New York since 1935. Governor Herbert Lehman, an adoptive father, signed a law that sealed adoptees' birth certificates. This was intended to protect the privacy of parents who, at that time, faced cultural shame for having children out of wedlock and who were unable to care for their child.

A state Department of Health registry matches adopted children with their birth parents. However, the parents and their children must agree to be contacted. New York law is outdated. DNA testing and other technological advances along with genealogical websites, social media and television programs allow children to find their birth parents.

It also has other problems. For example, a child may wish to contact biological parents for information about their medical history and whether they are at risk for certain diseases which can be passed on to their own children.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed another bill allowing access in 2017. He criticized its requirement that adoptees petition a judge for their birth certificate and asked lawmakers to draft a less burdensome process. Other opponents argued that changes would break a promise to mothers who gave up their children with the belief that the state would never reveal their identities.

These current bills would provide adoptees and their adoptive parents the automatic right to obtain a copy of the original birth certificate. They could also receive a notation with the facts governing the adoption. Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Oregon, Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island provide unlimited access to birth certificates to adoptees. Two years ago, New Jersey gave adopted children limited access to their original birth certificates.

This matter is not an easy one, no matter which side of it you are on. An attorney can help couples deal with adoption matters such as agency adoption and other issues that arise. Legal representation may help overcome obstacles and assure that rights are protected.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

How Can I Help?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Linda M. DiPasquale, Attorney at Law

Linda M. DiPasquale, Attorney at Law
1 Niagara Square
Buffalo, NY 14202

Phone: 716-800-2591
Fax: 716-854-0059
Buffalo Law Office Map