- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 11, 2015

New York lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill to give adult adoptees their original birth documents.

Assemblyman David Weprin said the “long overdue legislation” would allow adoptees, aged 18 and older, to request a non-certified copy of his or her
birth certificate and/or medical history, if available, from the state Department of Health.

Currently, adoptees may only obtain original birth certificates through a
cumbersome judicial process or by hiring an often expensive private
investigator, said Mr. Weprin.

“Ethnic and religious heritage, medical history, and the
ability to make contact with one’s birth parents should not only be
available to adoptees who can afford a private investigator, but to
all adult adoptees,” said Mr. Weprin.

A dozen N.Y. adoptee rights advocates stood with lawmakers Tuesday when the adoptee “bill of rights” was filed.

“I have every confidence that this vital legislation will restore my right to see my own birth record,” said Cathi Swett, a leader of New York State Adoptee Equality.

While some states, such as New Jersey and Ohio, have recently revised their laws to give adult adoptees easier access to their original birth documents, many states still require adoptees to go to courts — and win court permission — to unseal their records.

Adoptees normally have a birth certificate that has been amended to contain data about themselves and their adoptive parents.

Original birth records typically contain the name of the birth mother and sometimes the birth father.

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