People Speak
Before becoming president of our organization, Joyce Bahr served as Regional Director for the American Adoption Congress, and founded and then facilitated the Manhattan Birth Parents Support Group for 12 years. While volunteering for the AAC, she organized protests to show support for the Adoptees Political Action Committee, which introduced open records legislation in 1993 and lobbied Albany legislators. She became president in 2005 when our legislation was moved out of Judiciary Committee, where the Chair of the Committee Helene Weinstein tabled it without any discussion for 13 years. Assemblymember David Koon had just taken over as bill sponsor from Assemblymember Scott Stringer and, with the help of his Chief of Staff John Joyce, accomplished the tremendous feat of moving our legislation to Health Committee chaired by supporter Assemblymember Richard Gottfried. Joyce announced she would bring a stronger lobby presence to Albany, which meant more trips to Albany, thousands of letters and a statewide organization. She has objected to the amending of our legislation down to anything less than a bill of rights and has appealed to bill sponsor David Weprin, who has tried very hard to get our bill of rights to the floor for a vote. She was reunited with her son in 1985 by a feminist social worker and she knows very well the Women's Movement is supposed to support other women, which they have not done in New York. That goes for adopted women as well as natural/birth mothers in their quest for the truth. She knows confidentiality was a myth or social more, it was never promised to unwed mothers and adoptees, and birth parents are entitled to rights.

In the 1970s social attitudes towards sex and social mores changed. Attitudes towards secrecy and lies in adoption began to change as adult adoptees went public with their desire to have the legal right to know their identity. Single motherhood became accepted and birth/natural fathers not only became acknowledged as fathers but were given legal rights.

With England giving rights in 1975 to both adult adoptees and birth/natural parents, the U.S. began organizing to change laws which were determined to be unfair, outdated and discriminatory. Kansas and Alaska never sealed birth certificates for adult adoptees and, by the 1990s, advocates for change saw several states enacting new laws giving adult adoptees full rights or limited access.

Unlike other countries where social workers showed concern and compassion for adoptees seeking reunification with birth parents, in the U.S. adult adoptees were vilified as mentally ill, misfits and degenerates. Over time the vilification began to subside but for New York adoptees it would not, because two birth/natural mothers living upstate were convicted for breaking into files in the 1990s. Once again, adoptees were seen as bad by some legislators in leadership and birth/natural parents were just as bad.

Over the years and a stronger lobby since 2005, advocates saw more adoption agencies, organizations and studies come out in support of the Bill of Adoptee Rights. The Catholic Church in New York dropped its opposition in 2004. In 2012 a collaboration of child welfare organizations, adoption agencies and Unsealed Initiative lobbied Albany, which included a talk by Adam Pertman — who at that time was Director of the Donaldson Adoption Institute, the foremost think tank on Adoption Issues. Professor Elizabeth Samuels, researcher from the Baltimore School of Law joined UI's lobby team. Despite these efforts and an assembly health committee hearing where only a few spoke in opposition to our legislation, our powerful opponent in the assembly, Assemblymember Helene Weinstein, added to the list of typical negative stereotypes: adoptees as blackmailers. She lobbied the new Speaker Carl Heastie against us, and he did not bring the Bill of Adoptee Rights to the floor as he did his bills with high numbers of sponsors. It took a tremendous amount of work over the years to lobby and see so many names of legislators on A2901/S2490A.

The 1938 sealed birth certificate law reads: After the making of an order of adoption the birth parent of an adopted child shall be relieved of all parental duties toward and all responsibilities for and shall have no rights over such adopted child or to his property by descent or succession. The law does not say birth parents are promised confidentiality, nor is it implied as our opponents want us to believe. Birth parents terminated parental rights and the surrender paper they signed is proof they were not given or promised confidentiality at the time of the surrender.

The amending of the Bill of Adoptee Rights to give judges continued authority over adoptees is not only thinking from the 1960s or an earlier time like the Victorian Era but, like the sealing of birth certificates, is a failed experiment with no research to back it up. In these times of civil and human rights, why should judges play God with the lives of emancipated adults who don't need protection from each other — tax-paying adults who have a proven track record of behaving with maturity and respect when making contact with birth relatives. This truth was noted in the 2007 report For the Records by the Donaldson Adoption Institute. Research from England, Australia and here in the U.S. confirms what many advocates have known for years. Some may wonder why this research and support hasn't moved the Bill of Adoptee Rights to the floor for a vote in Albany. We do not doubt, it's corruption stopping us.

In the quest for the truth we has come to learn that forced or coerced adoption upon unwed mothers was a scheme against naive women who had no legal representation, options, support or information and were easily manipulated back in the days. Also, that some adoption workers and professionals were duped into believing they were giving unwed mothers confidentiality, when in fact they were not. There was a shroud of secrecy surrounding adoption, but many unwed mothers never heard the word confidentiality from agency workers who usually told them to go home and forget about it. Confidentiality was a myth or social more from the past that should not stand in the way of enactment of new laws for the rights of both adoptees and birth parents.

The Promise of Adoption, Not a Promise of Confidentiality by Joyce Bahr

Claims Unsealing Birth Certificates for Adult Adoptees will increase numbers of abortions are Unsubstantiated by Joyce Bahr

Carole L. Whitehead, Legislative Liaison for Unsealed Initiative and wife/mother/grandmother. Adoption reform activist, graduated college at the age of 44 with a career as a paralegal and now a certified tumor registrar. Has openly worked for open records by meeting with legislators, appearing on TV, radio, and has had published many letters to the editor. Took part in first March on Washington, D.C. Ran workshops at triad adoption conferences as well as led a support group for birthparents on Long Island for many years. At the age of 18, was sent to an unwed mothers' home on Staten Island. Searched for and has been reunited with her son since 1985. Went to his wedding along with her husband and her other children. He has been to theirs. Helped to reunite many mothers and their surrendered children.


What is a birthmother? There are so many misconceptions and variables whenever that word "birthmother" is uttered or spewed forth and with such disdain that the word can actually cause someone to gag. The word connotes fear, as in the fear of the unknown. Ask any adoptee about their unknown birthmother and see the reaction on their faces, a reaction of the unknown ghostly woman/girl/child who gave birth to them and then tossed them away with the trash. The adoptive parents fear the birthmother as well. See them cringe when their adopted children raise the issue of their birthmothers. The birthmother is the person who had to keep the secret so that no one would ever know about her hidden hideous past as society demanded.

Who invented the words birthmother/birthfather/birthparent and why? It was coined more than 25 years ago by those powers that wanted to disassociate these soon to be childless mothers from the children they had to surrender. It is really a derogatory term after all. The term denied respect to us and lowered our self-esteem to the point where it no longer existed. We were promised that we would forget our so-called "unwanted" children that were tossed out with the trash. In keeping with that frame of mind, Gov. Pataki signed into law on August 6, 2002 replacing the phrase "natural parent" with "birth parent" in each respective section of the domestic relations law, the social services law, the insurance law and the surrogate's court procedure act. This was kicking around the Assembly since 1995 at the urgency of adoptive parents who felt stigmatized by the use of "natural parent" and their feeling that they were then "unnatural". The justification behind that is that the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws specifically states in its Uniform Adoption Act that it does not refer to a child's parents at birth as the "natural" parents because to do so might imply that it is "unnatural" to be an adoptive parent(s). Again, the fact that we were the natural parents is no longer considered acceptable. We should only be looked upon as the birth parents so that adoptive parents can believe in the fallacy that after birth, we are rendered moot. In reality, the adoptive parents can now be referred to as the "A" parents and the natural parents as the "B" parents delegating themselves alphabetically as the primary instead of secondary parent.

Gov. Pataki stated that the bill does not, and is not intended to, affect in any way the legal rights and responsibilities of children or parents. Indeed, both sponsors (Sen. Balboni (7th S. D.) and Rep. Towns, (54th A. D.) have assured him that under no circumstances should the alteration of language envisioned in the bill be construed as intending to either strengthen or diminish the position or standing of any parent or child relative to any other person in any past, current or future dispute before the courts.

Carole Whitehead, Guest Blogger at Adoption Under One Roof: Birth Mothers Punished Before and Continue to Bear the Brunt of NYS Legislators

Susan Moyer, Adoptee: Author of The Lonely Child: The Journey Of Search To Find My Biological Family, Speaker, Adoptee's Rights Advocate

There is a common thread that runs through all adoptees. Our stories may vary but what we have in common is the need and want to know who we are and where we came from. Everyone should have the right to know that information. After finally being told the truth at age sixteen that I was adopted and my long felt suspicions were justified, I ventured into the unknown to find the answers to all my unanswered questions: Who were my biological parents? Did I have siblings? Why was I put up for adoption?

It took me well over thirty years to put the pieces of my own personal puzzle together, to find the answers to my many questions. It was a hard, lonely, frustrating and arduous journey into the unknown. But in the end, it was worth it. I tell other adoptees that I work with never to give up. I have had the honor to meet so many people touched by adoption from adoptees to birth mothers to mothers of adopted children and listening to their personal stories has been reaffirming to the deep routed connection we all have.

When DNA tests became available it opened up a whole new world for people searching. But, it does not replace nor is the reason for original birth certificates to remain sealed. I am proud to have worked with people like Joyce Bahr who worked so diligently for so many years in getting a bill passed in New York State allowing adoptees to get their Original Birth Certificates.

On June 3rd, 2019 the New York State Senate passed the Adoptee Rights Bil. Next we needed the State Assembly to pass it before it would go to the Governor to sign into law. On June 20th, 2019 we received late word that the bill was going to be voted on in the Assembly. Without a heads up and not being able to get to Albany in time to witness the proceedings saddened me. But I was able to watch it live from my home. I was glued to the computer screen watching.When the count was announced with Aye's 126 No's two I immediately burst out crying. It was one of the most emotional days of my life. Finally, after so many years the archaic law would no longer be. I would now be able to prove who I am. We adoptees, would finally have the same equal right as non-adoptees. In November the Governor signed the historical Bill into law and starting on January 15th, 2021 adoptees over the age of eighteen were able to apply for their OBCs. I drove to Albany and applied for mine in person.

Every State should pass a bill like New York State and open the birth records. As of August 2021 in New York State there have been nearly 13,000 applications. That speaks volumes.

Diane Gray, Adoptee: author of Faith, Hope and Perseverance.

Her debut book is about her 50 year journey to finding her biological family. After an intense search to find her family, Diane decided to write her story in hopes to inspire other adoptees in their search for their biological family.

64 YEARS AND ONE DAY. I will never forget November 15, 2019. What a glorious day that was not only for myself but for the thousands upon thousands of adoptees born in New York State. It was the day that then Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law bill S3419, the Adoptees Bill of Rights. This law allows adoptees the right to be able to obtain their original birth certificates.

I was just about finished writing my book Faith, Hope and Perseverance, which is my story about finding my biological family after 50 years of searching when I received word about the signing of the bill. My target date to finish the book was December 31st. I was thrilled to hear the news. Immediately,I called my editor and told her the news. We decided that I would apply for my original birth certificate on January 15, 2020 and include the findings in the book. This would be an integral part of the book.

On January 15, 2020 I went online just like thousands of other adoptees and filled out the form to obtain my original birth certificate. I anxiously waited for what seemed like forever to get my documents. At this point, I had already met my biological father and 3 siblings so I had a lot of information surrounding my birth. But I knew that having my original birth certificate was not only my right but would be another piece of my life's puzzle.

On March 6th, 2020 right before our country shut down because of Covid, there was a knock on my door. It was UPS with a letter for me. I knew the instant I saw the package in the driver's hand exactly what it was. I started to cry. I'm sure the driver thought I was crazy so I explained to him what it was. He was happy that he was the one bringing me news.

I sat down and opened the envelope. Tears of joy were streaming down my cheeks and my heart was racing. I read the document slowly. Here it is, my life's missing puzzle piece and I am holding it in my hands for the first time. I learned three things thatI did not know. First, my biological father was not listed on the birth certificate. This is not uncommon because the biological mother does not need to list the father if she chooses not to. If the biological father is listed, that means he would have rights to the child. The second thing I learned was my original name. But the one thing I learned that really amazed me was the final date of adoption. I had just received my original birth certificate exactly 64 years and 1 day after my final date of adoption.

Having these documents has not onlyfilled a void in my life but has made me feel whole. Most people say "it's just a piece of paper" but to anyone who is adopted it means the world to finally know who we are and why we are here. It is our human right.

Diane is a writer, a speaker, serves on the Board of the Coastal Pregnancy Center in Washington, NC, an Ambassador for The Children's Home Society of North Carolina, adoption advocate and lobbyist. Diane has been a guest on numerous television and radio shows to talk about a subject she is very passionate about: adoption. She has two sons and three grandchildren. Diane and her husband Mark live down on the river in Blounts Creek, North Carolina. Email:

Hope A. Catricala, adult adoptee, former President and Founder of the Adoptees Political Action Coalition, also former President of the Northeastern NY Lupus Foundation of America Chapter, and former President of NYSAR

First I would like to welcome you as a viewer, and I know that if you are concerned about adult adoptees gaining equal access under the laws of New York State to their original birth certificate, you will find this site of great interest.

I have been fighting for the rights of adoption triad members for some 12 years now. I strongly believe that the antiquated laws of New York State need to see change, and I feel that the legislation currently in both the NYS Assembly and Senate is just the change that our legislators should establish.

I know from a very personal level, what it means to every adoptee to be sealed away from updated medical information. I know the feelings that come from having physicians scratch their heads and then put that ever so big x across your family history. I know the outcome of not being permitted to have a connection with birth parents or relatives to acquire medical information and to end up disabled because of these facts. I also know the outcome of searching for a connection to both birth parents and having it come to an end at a grave site.

I feel very strongly that NY State legislators must be held accountable for the injustice of the current sealed records laws, established in 1935. The time has come for NY to establish legislation which would allow adoptees to be equal citizens under the laws of this state, and not treated as second-class citizens.

I would ask that if you are interested in equal rights, if you believe the scales of justice should be level for all citizens, if you believe in what NYSAR is lobbying for, then become a member of our group, support our efforts when we lobby our legislators or hold a vigil in Albany. I would ask you to stand up and be counted in the effort to fight for openness, honesty and integrity in Adoption. Call, write, fax and/or email the legislators today telling them you want adoption reform in NY State, you want them to support and pass legislation A 6238a and S 2631a for the good of all NY citizens concerned about adoption and its process.

Sharon C. Wemple, reunited adoptee and birth mother, former NYSAR President

I was not promised confidentiality when I surrendered in 1968. Many birth mothers say that confidentiality was either not mentioned at the time of surrender or that it was verbally imposed on them. In the Tennessee and Oregon court cases our opposition, the National Council for Adoption, was unable to produce any written promises of confidentiality from its member agencies. Birth mothers do not feel that confidentiality should be used as a reason to keep records sealed. Actually many birth mothers have been working diligently for adoptee rights and would like to see records eventually open for birth parents. Also in recent years birth fathers have come out working for open records. Birth mothers look to New Zealand, the first country to give birth parents rights in 1985, and the first country to give women the right to vote. In October 2002, England gave searching birth parents the right to the records of an adoptee 18 years or older.

Joe Soll, adoptee, author of Adoption Healing ...A Path to Recovery, psychotherapist and director of Adoption Crossroads

Adoption records need to be opened so that all those separated by adoption have the opportunity to contact each other. There is no promise of confidentiality in the sealed records statutes of NY State. The law states that the records may be opened by a judge in the court of jurisdiction of adoption for good cause. Good cause is not defined, therefore there is no promise of anonymity. This is the very reason the records were opened in Oregon and Tennessee in the last few years.

To deny someone the knowledge of how they came into this world is a violation of their most basic civil, constitutional and human rights. It is cruel and unusual punishment that must be stopped.

I invite you to visit my web site for referral to over 475 adoption search and support sites:

We have an on-line chat room. We are there every evening after 11:30 pm Eastern. Why not stop in and join us? You might find it helpful. Click here to go to our chat:

Lastly, I have written a book that I think will be helpful to all those whose lives have been touched by adoption:

Father Tom Brosnan, reunited adoptee, activist and spokesperson for the Adoption Reform Movement

Secrecy and Scandal: for Catholic bishops -- more than alliterative intercourse

The scandal in the Catholic Church is about sex but it's also about abuse of power on the part of bishops who, for fear of scandal, kept secret from unwitting parishioners the fact that priests reassigned to their parishes were accused and, more often than not, guilty of sexually abusing children. The bishops' pitiful posture in relation to the crisis is mirrored in the secrecy they employ in other matters as well, especially those concerning adopted adults.

Catholic adoptees who request their original baptismal certificates are issued instead so-called amended certificates stating, with Episcopal approbation, the following lies: that we adopted were born to our adoptive parents; that we were baptized by them at a time after our actual baptism (implying falsely that we were baptized twice); and, in the case of many, the name given us at baptism changed to match the adoptive name on our amended birth certificates (symbolically negating the whole point of baptism - to name the child before God).

When we ask to see the original baptismal we are told that it is forbidden - by order of the local bishop. We shall not see the names in which we were baptized; or the names of those who gave us birth; or the place in which we were baptized. Because, the bishops say, confidentiality promised birthmothers must be protected (even when it wasn't promised - even when they don't want it). Ironically, the position that a mother should have a right to privacy - even from her own child, is forthrightly condemned by the bishops in their opposition to Roe v. Wade.

Hypocritical? For certain. But hypocrisy is but a symptom of a much more metastasized sickness - a long and heavy addiction to secrecy. "The very soul of bureaucracy," Simone Weil once called it, "the root of all oppression."

In re Estate of Tilliski, Appellate Court Fourth District ---June 1944, 323 ILL. App. 490

"It seems to us that the conclusion is irresistible that an adopted child, in a legal sense, is both the child of its adopting parent and its natural parent. We reach this result not only because overwhelming weight of authority in the United States points in that direction, but to hold otherwise would be extremely unjust and unnatural."

Dr. Judy Kelly, PhD, LMHC, OPAC
Reunited birthmother, Post-Adoption Trauma & Reunion Counselor and Facilitator of the Manhattan Birthparents Support Group


The closed adoption system attempts to permanently sever the adoptee from his/her roots of origin -- obliterating the adoptee's genetic identity. By sealing the adoptee's birth records, the State denies the adoptee access to his/her genetic, cultural, religious, medical and historical origins. The adoptee's legal identity is altered without his/her consent.

The adoptive self consists of both a biological self and an adoptive self. It is only when both aspects of the adoptee are integrated that the adoptee can perceive his/herself as whole and complete. Instead, however, the closed adoption system forces a psychic split to occur by purging all evidence of the adoptee's biological history -- creating an experience of disconnection from oneself and one's heritage.

We must reinterpret closed adoption and sealed records in light of current scientific findings. Scientists now believe that we are not born into this world a blank slate -- that in addition to environmental influence, there is a genetic inherited component involved in nearly every trait and behavior. We now know that there is a complex communication system in place between the mother and fetus. And the infant and mother's psyche is believed to be undifferentiated for the first few weeks of life. A vital multi-sensory connection is established between mother and child both in the womb and after. Disruption of this connection creates the experience of disequilibrium, loss, incompletion. We now understand that traumatic memory is stored in the body at the cellular level. Adoptees experience their early history at the cellular level. Yet, sealed records invalidate this experience and thwart the journey of the adoptive self toward self-discovery and authenticity. The adoptee's initial trauma of separation from the mother is compounded by the denial of access to his/her birth identity.

As a reunited birthmother and counselor, I am privy to the trauma experienced by both mother and child as a consequence of sealed records. My own healing journey was initiated when I made the decision to find my son. This healing was accelerated as I researched the long-term effects of relinquishment on birthmothers for my Master's thesis ( and discovered the impact of secrecy and sealed records on the lives of those touched by adoption. I firmly believe that sealed records are a blatant and inhumane violation of the adoptee's civil rights. The fight for open records is an attempt to return to the adoptee his/her birthright: THE RIGHT TO ONE'S OWN BIRTH RECORDS!

Dale Hamberger, reunited birth mother, served as Secretary of Manhattan Birthparents Support Group for many years, worked for the AAC and New York Statewide Adoption Reform

Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Records

The American society must care about rights of the adopted person. We must care enough to give adoptees the respect they deserve and pass open records legislation immediately.

The past has already been changed with thousands of adoptees and birth parents searching since the 1970's. To know one's roots and birth famiy is a natural curiosity.

Think about it. If you want to find something that is important to your life and belongs to you. Why should you have to spend years searching? Why should you have to pay a searcher large sums of money?

Trisha Foley, CSW

As the daughter of a woman who was adopted, I often wondered about my relatives. My mother was an only child in her adopted family, but we knew she had at least two sisters - her adopted mother had known this. My mother never had a real desire to search when she was young since her adopted parents were wonderful to her, but she too often wondered about her birth family. As I got older I started to wonder not only about what my birth relatives would be like, but I realized how important it was for us to have their medical history for our own health.

Following the death of my mothers adopted parents and her husband (my father) my mother expressed a real strong desire to search for her birth family. I helped her in that search and it was a long, hard process. We were able to do most of it ourselves but after reaching some dead ends we finally had to hire a professional to help us search. We finally did find my mothers birth family and it was so rewarding for everyone involved. Today we have wonderful relationships with them and we have also learned some very important medical information regarding our family history.

Shelly Lester, reunited adoptee (Shelly worked for many years volunteering/helping others find when she herself could not)

Bernice passed away on November 15 , 2002 just three days before she would have been 95 years old. I was reunited with my birthmother in February of 1997, four years after I learned I was adopted with my twin brother. We were raised together.

I found out we were adopted at my son's wedding where a family friend told me that his aunt did not know my parents (deceased at the time) when they adopted Billy and I. This started the search.

I learned that records were sealed for the good of the child. I was a 46 year old child that needed protection. I got my "entitlement" which was non identifying information, which for the most part was accurate except for the Housewife part which lead me to view hundreds of marriage certificates uselessly.

I found basically with the on line phone books - my mother was listed and after writing 1400 letters and four years later, writing more - she finally wrote to me. I have zillions of cousins and they love me! I am saddened by what I have missed because of sealed records and heartened by all the years ahead of me with my birth family. Now to find Daddy! Picture but no name!

If the good of the child is what is considered sacred then the child should have the information that the child needs to find without going through the emotional torment, the expense and heart break of fruitless searches. I found by luck - met great people - like Joyce Bahr - and the process has made me stronger. But open records would have given me more time with my birth mother and birth family. Open records should have been my constititional right. I did not sign any contract when I was adopted, now both my adoptive parents and birth mother are dead - so who is it protecting?

It took me six months to get up the nerve to attend an ALMA (Adoptees Liberty Movement Association) meeting. Many times I would get off the subway at Lexington Avenue and walk past St. Peter's church. Finally I got up the nerve to attend a meeting - cried the entire time and finally bonded with the search assistants. Vinny Graham, the head search assistant, met me at the library at least twice a week where I went through the census, birth indexes, marriage indexes, etc. He did spreadsheets for me, reviewed notes with me. I became a search assistant myself before I found my birth mother and ALMA became one of the most important parts of my life.

I met Joyce Bahr when I contacted the AAC (American Adoption Congress) and we became friends. She was always there for me emotionally and encouraged me to continue to pursue my search despite set backs and some heart breaks.

I miss my search buddies since the ALMA meetings stopped and after I found my birth family my energies were toward reunions and searching for my father. Although Open Records would have made it easier for me, I would never trade the friends I have made during the search!

Ellen Durant, reunited birth mother, activist and lobbyist, former NYSAR legislative liaison, former AAC state representative

The rights of all U.S. citizens must be protected. New York State must pass legislation to open the previously sealed birth records of adult adoptees. The State must no longer continue to impose these unconstitutional actions.

I am a birthmother who searched for and was reunited with her daughter in 1976. Although it has been proven over and over that the majority of birthmothers greatly suffer their loss, want to know who their children are and do not want confidentiality, I speak not for myself and other birthmothers, but for my daughter and all other adult adoptees who are denied their rights to their own birth records . . . those people, who as adults, have to live by a contract they had no opportunity to consider.

I was given no choice at the time -- having to do what my parents told me. While neither did I want nor was I promised confidentiality, I realize that -- though under duress and ignorance -- I signed the agreement of surrender. My infant daughter did not. Yet, she, as all adoptees are unconstitutionally forced to live by a contract and rules that they never had a say in. A contract that affects their entire lives and may often even put them in jeopardy.

Alex Haley wrote, "In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know who we are and where we come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is a vacuum, emptiness and a mostly disquieting loneliness."

6 million plus adoptees make up approximately 12% of our population. For this population, sealed records create a health hazard. They are people without a genetic history; people without medical records; people without knowledge of their roots.

The system of closed adoption records is archaic and discriminatory. In 1987, a task force of the Child Welfare League of America advocated for open records. Yet, our state, the State of New York, continues to impose sealed records upon adult adoptees, denying them of their civil and human rights.

Is it not time to support truth, honesty and openness in adoption? Is it not time to release all those within the adoption circle of imposed perpetual slavery, denying them information about themselves and their children?

Indeed, it is!

Adoptees are the last minority in this country to be denied by law their full civil and human rights.

After over 11 years of our stifled proposed New York Sate legislation, let's at last make this a reality in 2003.

Margaret Walczer, birth mother and member of Manhattan Birthparents Support Group, hoping to find

Closed Records: A Heartbreaker

My son was born July 4, 1968, in Palm Beach County, Florida. Six months later in Atlanta, Georgia I surrendered him for adoption and I want very much to find him. I do remember that his adoptive mother is Hispanic.

I don't have any other identifying information. I do have hope and cannot imagine not ever knowing my son. State legislatures must change these old laws from the 1930's. These unfair laws just add to our pain.

Fred Baruch, birth father, midtown Income Tax Accountant (phone 212-757-3803) attended Manhattan Birthparents Support Group meetings, hoping to find daughter

Records Must Be Open

I'm looking for my daughter born in Manhattan in October 1963. I remember that her mother was Swedish, that her mother was staying at the Inwood House on 15th Street, and that Spence Chapin could have been the agency that handled the adoption. Although I'm not 100% certain that she was given up, there is a good possibility that she was and I want to find her.

It seems that the closed record law would have been changed long before now. These laws from the 1930's are out of touch with the times. They don't make sense in today's world.

Gerald A. Regan, Astoria-based writer and editor, notes that he is still adopted 49 years after his birth, even after joyously finding his Irish-American mother alive and well

Gerry produces "The Wild Geese Today -- The Epic History and Heritage of the Irish" Email:

About Closed Records

Those of us who were adopted in New York and who are now old enough to vote are not permitted, by law, access to our true birth-certificates. (In fact, now that I think about it, why are our adoptive parents' names on our state-issued BIRTH certificates anyway?) The so-called "amended" birth certificates issued to adopted individuals, which list only our ADOPTIVE parents, are literally unreal. We don't want the state abetting the unhealthy fantasies of those who are encouraged to imagine that birth parents, with the stroke of a pen, become irrelevant. The current laws sealing these records are abetting a fraud, and a very costly one at that, one that daily imperils the emotional and physical well-being of millions of people. We need legislation providing us access to our birth records to restore integrity to our lives and the lives of millions of adopted New Yorkers, and those who love them.

Bill Aronis, 79 year old adoptee from Kingston, New York, fighting to change the outdated and discriminatory law that seals records in New York









LINDA ZOBLOTSKY (Writer/Performer)
Linda Zoblotsky has toured the U. S. in THE SOUND OF MUSIC as Sister Sophia and THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, as Madame Giry. She enjoyed playing Miss Lynch in GREASE! with Frankie Avalon. Linda has played Mama Rose in GYPSY, Fanny Brice in FUNNY GIRL and Agnes in I DO! I DO! Featured vocals: Prentice Hall's HEARTWORKS and Collier Macmillan's GUESSWORKS, 2 recordings created and written by Howard Beckerman, providing the music and lyrics for LINDA ZOBLOTSKY IS LUVCHILD!

Right now the adoption community has great interest in the passing of the New York State Bill A6238, The Bill of Adoptee Rights. This legislation would give adopted adults absolute right to access to their original birth certificates and other identifying information. Another adoption triad group, adopted adults, birthparents and adoptive families are working to open birth records in Maryland. Adopted adults can now obtain their original birth certificate in NH.

I have written a play about my search for my Birthmother called LINDA ZOBLOTSKY IS LUVCHILD
[see Plays/Films page]. This entertaining, musical and educational one-woman play explores the feelings of an adopted woman, as she is looking for her Birthmother and her identity.

I am hoping to perform LUVCHILD for The Boston Social Forum, Gender Studies Programs, Schools of Social Work, Philosophy and Education in colleges and universities and the NY State Senate and Assembly. People learn and understand why adopted people want to connect to their families in this one-hour humorous and thoughtful performance piece. Adopted people, who choose to search for their parents, are following that Eastern star to their roots.

I was 40 when I finally found my Birthparents. They are both 62 years young and thrilled that I found them. It has been 18 months since we first met over the telephone. They live in California. We have traveled back and forth to catch up on 40 years. My Mother lives in Berkeley and my Father lives in L.A. They stayed friends and they worked together to find me.

I didn't like to talk about my search or my adoption, when I was searching. People would often ask me why I was looking for my Mother who gave me up. I couldn't answer that question because I didn't like being reminded that my Mother had to relinquish me. I won't give up on writing about how cruel sealed birth records are to the people, who are lost in adoption, who are searching. We are lost in adoption because the people of our government and society need to understand that sealed birth records keep natural families apart. I didn't even know my ethnic background or my parent's names. I could watch people researching their background and genealogy in the public library. Even though I've had reunion, the law denies me access to my vital statistics, my original birth records - the truth, my truth.


More Statements to Come!

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