Adoptee Bill of Rights Gains Support

By Catherine Yang
Catherine Yang
Catherine Yang
March 6, 2011 Updated: March 6, 2011

NEW YORK—Assemblyman David Weprin proposed new legislation, the “Adoptee Bill of Rights,” at City Hall on Sunday. The bill would provide adults who were adopted as children with a legal right to access their original birth certificate. He was joined by supporters from the Unsealed Initiative.

Under the current New York law, an “adoptee” cannot access his or her original birth certificate without going to court—and even then the outcomes vary case by case.

“The passage of this bill is long overdue and will set up much needed parameters for biological parents and adoptees to gain access to vital information of importance,” Weprin said.

Adoptees will no longer need to hire expensive private investigators to gain access to information that is legally available to all other citizens, Weprin added.

Under the proposed bill, birth parents putting children up for adoption would be able to complete a contact preference form, with an option to either provide their contact information or not to disclose it. If the birth parents choose to protect their privacy, the adoptee would be able to request a non-certified copy of the original birth certificate.

The legislation would allow adoptees who are 18 years of age or older to gain access to information related to their religious and ethnic heritage and to their birth parents' medical history. They would also be able to obtain their birth parents' contact information, if disclosed.

Catherine Yang
Catherine Yang