Proposed Bills in New York State: Take Action!

Numerous individuals and organizations touched by adoption are concerned about bills that could be voted on this week!

unnamed (1)Our friends at The Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York have undertaken an e-mail campaign to alert people and organizations to some important adoption-related legal developments in Albany. See below:

Contact Your State Reps: “Bad” Bill About Adult Adoptee Access to Original Birth Certificates Scheduled For Vote This Week. The Voice of Adoptive Parents, Foster Parents and Professionals Needs to be heard!

We learned late last week that New York State Senate Bill S5964B and the companion Assembly Bill S2901C are scheduled for votes, likely this week. The 2016 legislative session ends on June 16th.

These bills, titled “An Act to amend the domestic relations law and the public health law, in relation to adoptee rights,” were introduced into the Senate and Assembly late in last year’s session. They replaced the much more straightforward “Bill of Adoptee Rights” bills that was then awaiting a vote.

The Coalition does not support these replacement bills. We are concerned that Senate and Assembly sponsors have received bad advice about what adoptive parents, in particular, do support. They need to hear from adoptive parents and others to combat this.

Why are we against this bill?

  1. The bill is written for a different era — one in which secrecy and shame were the key aspects of adoption.
  2. The bill require notice to the birth parent and, if the birth parent cannot be found, give little for courts to approve the release of an adult adoptee’s original birth certificate.
  3. The bill requires notice to the adult adoptee’s adoptive parents and requires that the court consider their welfare before authorizing the release of the original birth certificate.

While this last provision is perhaps the most controversial for the Coalition, we know that the majority of adoptive parents understand how important it is for their adult child to understand their heritage. Searching should be a family discussion, not a court decision.

This bill is scheduled for a vote this week. Please call or e-mail.

Finding your state senator and assemblyperson is easy: To find your state senator:
To find your assemblyperson:

AFFCNY intends to be part of a Coalition, working with others including New York Adoption Equality, to work for the re-introduction of the Bill of Adoptee Rights in the 2017 legislative session. To do this, we need to ensure that S5964B and A2901C before our representatives this week are defeated.