Sunday, May 18, 2008

NEW YORK: Letter from Cheryl Horning--Adoptees Should be Able to Get Birth Certificates, May 18, 2008

May 18, 2008

Letter: Adoptees Should be Able to Get Birth Certificates
Cheryl Horning

As a citizen of New Yorks state, I can serve in the armed forces, vote, drive, own property, get married and raise my own children, but I can not get my own birth certificate. The current law in New York state, which was enacted 73 years ago, denies adult adoptees this basic human right that every other citizen takes for granted.

Because of this archaic and discriminatory law, adult adoptees are legally denied their medical and psychiatric histories, as well as their identities and heritage. They are unable to pass on this information to their children and grandchildren who then also suffer from this lack of knowledge.

In states where adoption records and birth certificates are open, the data show that the vast majority of biological mothers want to know their adult children. And in cases where birth parents did not want contact, there were no instances of stalking. Adult adoptees are adults and they are not looking for new "mommies or daddies."

The proposed adoptee rights legislation strikes a balance between an adoptee's right to know and the confidentiality concerns some may have regarding the biological parents. To learn more about this issue, go to and

Please contact your state senator urging support of bill S235 and your assemblyman of bill A2277.



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