NEW YORK STATE (WSYR-TV) — A new law, that went into effect on Wednesday, ended 84 years of secrecy surrounding adoptions in New York state.
Adoptees that are 18-years-old, or older, and were born in New York state can submit their requests for their original birth certificates online through the State Department of Health.
The new law has been designed to help adoptees investigate their family history. It also gets rids of old restrictions that required adoptees to seek a court order to access their original birth records.
Those rules were intended to protect the privacy of parents who relinquished their children. But, attitudes have shifted about the rights of adoptees.
“It’s a basic human right to know where you come from and, therefore, we believe it’s a basic civil right to have unrestricted access to a document that establishes you as a citizen of your state and of your nation,” said Tim Monti-Wohlpart with the American Adoption Congress.
Monti-Wohlpart also said that the right has been impeded since 1936 in New York state and many other states.
“That’s your original birth certificate and we found out in a lot of states, including New York, that right had been impeded since 1936, so it became very important to realize this day, it’s a very big day,” said Monti-Wohlpart.
New York state has become the tenth state to allow adopted adults unrestricted access to their original birth certificate.