Background Search Guidelines for New York State Adoptees

Beginning the search for information on birth parents and background information is a serious, emotional decision. We encourage anyone who thinks they want to start this journey, or those who already have, to talk to a Spence-Chapin counselor. Our staff can help you prepare for the information and feelings you may find on your search.

While adoption records remain sealed by law in NY State, an adoptee who was born and adopted in NYS and is 18 years old or over, the birth parent of that adoptee, or the biological sibling of that adoptee can register with the New York State Adoption Information Registry to obtain the following information:

  • Non-identifying information
  • Identifying information if both parties have registered – If adoptees , their birth parents and /or birth siblings have registered with NYSAIR and give consent NYS will share their current names and addresses. If only one parent signed the surrender agreement, then registration by the other parents is not needed for the exchange of identifying information between the adoptee and the registered birth parent.
  • Medical Information – Birth parents can give medical and psychological information to the registry any time after the adoption. The information will be shared with the adoptee at any time that he or she registers.

Unfortunately under current NYS law an adoption agency such as Spence- Chapin cannot construct its own registry.

However adults who are adopted often contact the agency looking for information about their history. State law permits the agency to provide adult adoptees with all of the non-identifying information available in the case record. Spence-Chapin provides a profile that may include information about the birth family and the making of the adoption plan.

Birth Parents also contact the agency to update their medical and other details, and to inquire about additional information.

In addition to providing a narrative of non-identifying information, Spence-Chapin’s social workers assist adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents with short-term counseling related to search and reunion.

Spence-Chapin also provides similar information for those whose adoptions were facilitated by Louise Wise Services and Talbot Perkins Children’s Services.