Spence-Chapin Supports the NY State Bill of Adoptee Rights

We are proud to join  New York Statewide Adoption Reform’s Unsealed Initiative in supporting the passage of New York State’s Bill of Adoptee Rights (A909 in the Assembly and S2490-A in the Senate) which allows adoptees born in the State of New York to access certain records when they reach the age of 18, including their birth certificates and medical history if availableAdoption Files

We at Spence-Chapin believe that it is a fundamental right of adoptees to know their original identities as well as the identities of their birth parents. Spence-Chapin has a long history of supporting both birth mother and adoptee rights and knows that the sealed records policies of the past are inappropriate in the current adoption landscape.  The current restrictions that New York State law places on adoptees’ information are heartbreaking for adoptees and birth parents.

Spence-Chapin works with the adoption triad each day offering post adoption services: adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents, all who are in support of passing this bill. Regardless of the laws governing adoption records in New York State in the past we need to move forward and understand how important it is to adjust to the needs and rights of the adoption triad in present times. We have the opportunity to change the lives of these New Yorkers and we therefore urge the passage of The Bill of Adoptee Rights immediately.

That’s why Spence-Chapin is testifying this Friday, January 31, 2014 on the hearing on Bill of Adoptee Rights and that is why we have signed a petition to The New York State House, The New York State Senate, and Governor Andrew Cuomo.   Will you support this petition? Click here to sign.

You  can call us at 646-539-2167 to learn more about Spence-Chapin’s Personal Adoption History support.


Update: Watch our testimony

Report Urges All States to Give Adoptees Access to their Original Birth Certificates

The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute has just released a major new report recommending that every state enact legislation restoring the right of all adult adoptees to access their own original birth certificates (OBCs).

The new Policy Brief, “For the Records II: An Examination of the History and Impact of Adult Adoptee Access to Original Birth Certificates,” is based on a years-long examination of relevant judicial and legislative documents; of decades of research and other scholarly writing; and of the concrete experiences of states and countries that have either changed their laws to provide these documents or never sealed them at all.

The Institute’s report suggests that, while a growing number of states have restored OBC access to adopted people once they reach the age of majority, efforts to accelerate the trend have been impeded by misunderstandings about the history of this controversial issue, misconceptions about the parties involved (especially birthmothers), and mistaken concerns about the impact of changing the status quo – e.g., legislators often assume that negative consequences will occur but, in fact, they do not.

“Effective policies and best practices serve everyone’s interests better when they are based on accurate information,” said Adam Pertman, the Adoption Institute’s Executive Director.  “We hope this new report will help to reshape the debate over a very important and controversial question, and that the result will be that all adopted people can achieve equal treatment with their non-adopted peers.”

Among the findings in the 46-page Policy Brief are:
Barring adopted adult from access to their OBSc wrongly denies them a right enjoyed by all others in our country, and is not in their best interest for personal and medical reasons.
Alternatives such as mutual consent registries are ineffective and do not meet adoptees’ needs.
The vast majority of birthmothers don’t want to be anonymous to the children they relinquished.

The recommendations in the Institute’s new Policy Brief include:
Every “closed” state should unseal OBCs for all adult adoptees, retroactively and prospectively.
States that already provide limited OBC access should revise laws to include all adult adoptees.
No professional should promise women anonymity from the children they place for adoption.

The “For the Records II” report is available for download from www.adoptioninstitute.org.