Adoption transparency measure passes hurdle in NYS Senate

aprilgail

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 10, 2001
Adoptee Rights has passed the NYS Senate- now onto the Assembly! Hopefully NY will join other states in allowing adoptees the right to their own birth certificates that has so long been denied to them! “The right to know one’s identity is a human right that should not be incrementally bestowed or denied to any American".
 

ronandannette

I gave myself this tag and I "Like" myself too!
Joined
May 4, 2006
I couldn’t disagree more. As both an adoptee and a birth-parent, I speak for many of us from past generations who made decisions based on the records being sealed. Reasons for doing are extremely personal and not insignificant.

25 years ago we faced similar legislative changes here. I was an active part of a lobby that succeeded in having the proposed bill, which would have seen all adoption records thrown open, modified. We now have a voluntary registry that adults (over the age of 18) can opt into to have their information made public for the purposes of reunification. Those of us that still have reason to require privacy are protected.
 

easyas123

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 4, 2018
I am neither a adoptee or a birth-parent, and can only imagine being in either spot. That being said, I would presume that one factor in a person deciding to put a child up for adoption (which, to me seems incredibly selfless and brave to recognize the needs of a child long-term and make that difficult decision) - especially in years past, although now as well, would be the ability to remain anonymous and to to have maintained the expectation of privacy for the birth parent(s).
Obviously, folks have the option for open adoptions and the like, but I can't fathom why anyone should be forced to give up their expectation of privacy if they specifically decided not to make public their identity.
Things are different now with DNA test I suppose, and you can't control who in your biological family is taking the tests and making the results available. Still....
I don't think things should be made more difficult for folks to make and go thru with the difficult choice of having to place a child up for adoption, especially if they need or want to maintain a level of dignity and privacy.
Just my thoughts, for what it's worth.
 
  • Hikergirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2016
    I'm really torn on this. I know someone who was adopted and had to go through all kinds of craziness to find out who her birth parents were. On a personal level I always hoped she would be able to find out.
    I also understand the want for parents to keep records sealed.
    It seems like a win for adoptees for sure, but at the same time not so much for those parents who choose to take that route for their child and wanted to remain unknown, who were promised they would.
    If this only applies to new adoptions then will this effect the future, will less parents decide that adoption is choice for them when faced with a pregnancy?
    To be fair though I am unfamiliar with the proposed law so I do no know the details. I think what @ronandannette mentioned seems like the right way to do it.
     

    aprilgail

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2001
    I couldn’t disagree more. As both an adoptee and a birth-parent, I speak for many of us from past generations who made decisions based on the records being sealed. Reasons for doing are extremely personal and not insignificant.

    25 years ago we faced similar legislative changes here. I was an active part of a lobby that succeeded in having the proposed bill, which would have seen all adoption records thrown open, modified. We now have a voluntary registry that adults (over the age of 18) can opt into to have their information made public for the purposes of reunification. Those of us that still have reason to require privacy are protected.
    With DNA your privacy is no longer protected anyway. I have found mine and helped many others find theirs- we no longer have to feel like that "dirty little secret." You just can't give away a human being and expect them to never know or wonder where they came from. The day I no longer had to go to the Dr. and say "I don't know" to every family medical background question was a great day in my life.
     
  • easyas123

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 4, 2018
    .... we no longer have to feel like that "dirty little secret."
    I understand your point of view, and you are correct on your point of DNA. However, I think you cannot decide for others what is considered a "dirty little secret". I had a close relative, who was 18 at the time, and he & his girlfriend found themselves in a situation that involved a unplanned pregnancy. It wasn't a dirty little secret to them, or those in their immediate circle. Far from it, however other factors weighed in on the decision of adoption, and most importantly discretion and the ability to keep identity secret.
    I don't have the majority of my medical history, and my Dr.'s are able to treat me just fine, in part due to the amazing medical technologies we have these days.
    And birth parents can submit medical info and it can be included in a closed adoption.
     

    Hikergirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2016
    With DNA your privacy is no longer protected anyway. I have found mine and helped many others find theirs- we no longer have to feel like that "dirty little secret." You just can't give away a human being and expect them to never know or wonder where they came from. The day I no longer had to go to the Dr. and say "I don't know" to every family medical background question was a great day in my life.
    You found your DNA or your birth parents names?
    If it is the latter could you educate those of us who have no idea how that is possible just from DNA results?
    Do you receive names of those who share your DNA when you get your results and then are able to track down other blood relatives?
    I've seen stories where people have found relatives they didn't know, but I lack the understanding of how they did. If its too personal you don't need to answer.
     

    aprilgail

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2001
    You found your DNA or your birth parents names?
    If it is the latter could you educate those of us who have no idea how that is possible just from DNA results?
    Do you receive names of those who share your DNA when you get your results and then are able to track down other blood relatives?
    I've seen stories where people have found relatives they didn't know, but I lack the understanding of how they did. If its too personal you don't need to answer.
    I found my birth mom back in the 90's before DNA- 20 years of searching and I finally found her on my own and have had a relationship with her from then until when she passed a year ago- also have a relationship with 3 half siblings that I never knew I had until I found her. I found my birth fathers family through DNA- It is a matter of contacting every person that matches your DNA and hope one of them is compassionate enough to help you out! When you do DNA it lists the names of anyone related to you who has done DNA-you could luck out with a birth parent matching, or even a first cousin (which could be a first cousin or half sibling). I actually just found my birth fathers family through DNA (he passed away in 1999) last month- I am going to be meeting up with an aunt and cousins in a few weeks- so exciting! She talked to me for an hour on the phone telling me all about him and sending me pictures. When I met my birth moms family it was amazing to finally have someone that looked like me and had so many things in common with. I have a cooked small toe and hers was exactly the same!
     

    katie01

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 16, 2014
    As an adoptive parent, I fully support my child's rights and desires to find her birth parents if she so chooses (I would help in any way possible). So from the standpoint of the child I can see where this is a good thing to help them in that venture. But I can completely understand circumstances in which a birth parent might be opposed. I have heard of some horrific cases where rapists sued for custody of the resulting children born from rape, and made both the mother and the child's life a living hell. I do wonder if this new law could open up problems in this regard.
     
  • aprilgail

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2001
    But I can completely understand circumstances in which a birth parent might be opposed. I have heard of some horrific cases where rapists sued for custody of the resulting children born from rape, and made both the mother and the child's life a living hell. I do wonder if this new law could open up problems in this regard.
    It would be once the child became 18 they could get it themselves so by then there is no custody issues etc.
     

    Hikergirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2016
    I found my birth mom back in the 90's before DNA- 20 years of searching and I finally found her on my own and have had a relationship with her from then until when she passed a year ago- also have a relationship with 3 half siblings that I never knew I had until I found her. I found my birth fathers family through DNA- It is a matter of contacting every person that matches your DNA and hope one of them is compassionate enough to help you out! When you do DNA it lists the names of anyone related to you who has done DNA-you could luck out with a birth parent matching, or even a first cousin (which could be a first cousin or half sibling). I actually just found my birth fathers family through DNA (he passed away in 1999) last month- I am going to be meeting up with an aunt and cousins in a few weeks- so exciting! She talked to me for an hour on the phone telling me all about him and sending me pictures. When I met my birth moms family it was amazing to finally have someone that looked like me and had so many things in common with. I have a cooked small toe and hers was exactly the same!
    Thank you for answering. I had no idea that they actually gave a list of names. I guess that definitely makes it much easier to find your relatives.
    I think is wonderful that your experience has been positive, and that you were able to have a relationship with your birth mother and siblings and contact relatives on your birth father's side.
    I wish every adopted child's story could be the same but I imagine there is a lot of heartbreaking stories out there as well. I truly am torn on this issue, I feel people like you and my friend should know where and who they came from but I feel that there is a reason some birth parents want to remain unknown.
    I didn't realize that with the DNA tests you got actual names so that does change things I guess, there really isn't a guarantee of privacy and remaining unknown in this day and age.
    Good luck to you in finding more about your birth father and thanks again for educating me on the process of those DNA tests.
     

    gwynne

    Happily planning our next adventure
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2012
    I understand your point of view, and you are correct on your point of DNA. However, I think you cannot decide for others what is considered a "dirty little secret". I had a close relative, who was 18 at the time, and he & his girlfriend found themselves in a situation that involved a unplanned pregnancy. It wasn't a dirty little secret to them, or those in their immediate circle. Far from it, however other factors weighed in on the decision of adoption, and most importantly discretion and the ability to keep identity secret.
    I don't have the majority of my medical history, and my Dr.'s are able to treat me just fine, in part due to the amazing medical technologies we have these days.
    And birth parents can submit medical info and it can be included in a closed adoption.
    I totally agree with this. While it's nice to have medical history, lots of us have limited (or very limited) history.
    I've had to answer "I don't know" more than a few times. I don't give it a second thought. My provider and I move on from there making decisions.
     
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    Wendy31

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2005
    I support an adopted child's right to try & find his/her birth parents.

    However, I also support birth parents' right to privacy. Giving a child up for adoption is not easy, & I'm sure there are many different reasons as to why a birth parent would want and/or need privacy & to remain anonymous.

    The birth parent chose adoption.

    And, for the birth parent who decided on a closed, sealed adoption, had the birth parent realized that, in 18 years, records would be released, the birth parent might not have chosen adoption & would have decided to go another route - and there, perhaps, wouldn't be an adoptee to look for birth parents or wonder about medical records.

    So, while I sympathize w/ the adoptees & their desire to know - because I'm sure most of us would feel the same at some point... wanting a connection, wanting our medical history, etc., I also sympathize w/ the birth parents who made the adoption choice. It's hard from both sides. But I don't think we need to make it more difficult for birth parents & make it so a birth parent is less likely to choose adoption.

    And, @aprilgail, I'm so glad your story & quest to find your birth family had a good outcome!

    I know 2 sisters who were adopted by the same adoptive parents but in 2 separate, different, closed adoptions. The older sister wanted to find her birth family, & she eventually was able to find her birth mother & birth mother's family. It's been about 20 or so years since she found them, & they are still in contact - the daughter & her family visit her birth family during the holidays every year.

    After going back & forth w/ the decision for many years, the younger sister decided she also wanted to find her birth parents. It took her much longer, &, when she did find a relative of her birth mother, she did not receive a warm welcome at all; it was basically a "no thank you" kinda phone call. And, today, she has no contact at all w/ her birth mother's family. I'm not sure she ever found or made contact w/ her birth mother.
     
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    Moliphino

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 29, 2016
    I didn't realize that with the DNA tests you got actual names so that does change things I guess, there really isn't a guarantee of privacy and remaining unknown in this day and age.
    On 23andMe, at least, you can opt in or out of sharing DNA results and you don't need to show your full name if you do (some of mine only show initials). You can then message the connections to see if you can find out more. If you opt out of sharing you won't show up in any DNA relatives' connections at all. 23andMe gives a % DNA shared, so you get an idea of how close the relationship is and start connecting dots from there.
     

    Cannot_Wait_4Disney

    Ok all you A cattle, get in ...
    Joined
    May 18, 2005
    Those that gave a child for adoption with the expectation of sealed records which was perfectly legal at the time should not now have them unsealed. If states wish to make a law that they can't be sealed, it should only apply to any adoptions going forward and not to those that occurred when it was perfectly legal to seal them.
     

    aprilgail

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2001
    And, @aprilgail, I'm so glad your story & quest to find your birth family had a good outcome!

    I know 2 sisters who were adopted by the same adoptive parents but in 2 separate, different, closed adoptions. The older sister wanted to find her birth family, & she eventually was able to find her birth mother & birth mother's family. It's been about 20 or so years since she found them, & they are still in contact - the daughter & her family visit her birth family during the holidays every year.

    After going back & forth w/ the decision for many years, the younger sister decided she also wanted to find her birth parents. It took her much longer, &, when she did find a relative of her birth mother, she did not receive a warm welcome at all; it was basically a "no thank you" kinda phone call. And, today, she has no contact at all w/ her birth mother's family. I'm not sure she ever found or made contact w/ her birth mother.
    [/QUOTE]

    I would have been ok with a "no thank you"- at least it would have been a closure for me. I started looking as a teen and finally managed to find her when I was about 34- it was a long search with lots of highs and lows and all I wanted was some type of closure.
     

    DisneyDebbie

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 1, 2007
    Being an adoptee, I have so much to say on this subject. First, I did the DNA testing and discovered my parents/relatives on both sides. My paternal side has been welcoming and it has been life changing for me. The sense of fulfillment is indescribable to discover the similarities I share with relatives. I’m pretty sure any human being would love to know where their eyes, hair, toes, love of music, passion for animaIs, etc... comes from. I do have an ongoing relationship with my birth father, sisters, aunts, uncles... but I would’ve also been ok with meeting them and being on my way.

    My birth mother is not willing to accept my presence (it is her prerogative) and it saddens me. However, the issue is hers and I’m accepting that. I can only assume she has so much shame and fear that it’s debilitating her judgement. If she would only have a conversation with me, she could understand I’m not out to ruin her life/reputation. For myself, it has been a life long dream to look into the eyes of the woman who gave me life.

    Lastly, my wish for the future is more open mindedness and acceptance of all life circumstances. In my experience the older generations are the ones holding onto fear and stigmas. They think we’re needy, after money, possessions, etc... Why is it their rights/wishes are more important than an adoptees? I’m hopeful as my generation ages, we’ll have more compassion and empathy.

    And also these adoptee rights/opening of information shouldn’t be made until adulthood
     


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