Last Thursday Was a Big Day!

Some days are bigger than other days. I’m sure you would agree. Recently we flew to Atlanta to visit our son and his family. On Monday, our youngest grandchild had her 18-month check-up—no shots this time!

Last Thursday, June 20th, was a big day–it was the day after I posted Adoption Laws. And the New York State Assembly passed Bill A5494! Now, all we need is Governor Cuomo’s signature and come January 15, 2020, New York State adult adoptees will be able to request a copy of their Original Birth Certificate. They will pay the regular fee for a vital record, such a marriage certificate. Governor Cuomo is expected to sign the bill into law! Now that New York will be unrestricted, adoption advocates are hopeful that other states will follow New York and update their adoption laws. Thank you to everyone who worked tirelessly for decades for the rights of adult adoptees. For details on the New York State bill, check out this site: https://adopteerightslaw.com/update-a5494/?fbclid=IwAR2iopWIV8yBbTgoB_n2KOMa_kYX7p-9Mq7KbllL0Bw4RPzkadP9PU4HL3I

June 20th also marked the beginning of the Summer Solstice. Depending on your time zone, it shifts from June 20th to June 22nd. For us in the Eastern Time Zone, the longest day of sunlight was Friday, June 21st. I hope your summer is off to a great start. I love the view from my desk—an array of beautiful trees and shrubs and lawns and a lovely breeze. The temperature is barely reaching 80. I’m a cool weather gal, so this is perfect. Ha! Yes, Atlanta was too hot!

Lastly, on June 20th, my publishing company sent back my memoir for final editing. Could this be the homestretch? I’m hoping for a summer publishing date. The photo below is on the cover. My grandfather, an amateur photographer, caught me in a quiet moment, launching my new sailboat. About a year ago, I asked my daughter if she liked the idea of putting this photo on the cover. She thought it was perfect because it shows a new adventure, much like my writing a memoir is a new adventure even after all these years. Happy Summer, everyone!

Launching My New Sailboat

PS A dear friend asked about my dad’s handmade furniture. We do have the cherrywood corner cabinet and I promised a photo:

Dad’s Cherrywood Corner Cabinet 1979

Adoption Laws

Adult adoptees in nine states have unrestricted access to their own original birth certificates (OBC). Kansas, for example, has always had unrestricted access–adoptees who want their OBC need only to follow the regular procedures for obtaining a state vital record. In 1995, British Columbia, Canada became the first province to unseal adoption records. Family members can obtain the identifying information of a family member they have lost to adoption; adoptees can obtain a copy of their original birth registration. Today, most states and provinces are updating their laws to allow adult adoptees and natural parents access to birth records.

I live in New York State. Sadly, “New York law denies adult adoptees access to their own original birth certificates, except by court order. Based on how judges have handled adoptee requests to unseal records, New York may be one of the most restrictive states in the U.S. on the issue of access to an original birth certificate.” https://adopteerightslaw.com/new-york-obc 

Well, my friends, today may be the day! New York State Assembly Bill A5494 has passed in the State Senate and we await results from the State Assembly.  This bill establishes the right of adoptees to receive a certified copy of their birth certificate upon reaching the age of 18.

“The legislation restores important civil rights to adult adoptees such as their right to access information that non-adopted persons have a legal right to obtain.” “Access to your personal information – who you are and where you come from – is a human right,” said Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, Assembly Health Committee Chair. “New Yorkers need their own medical histories in order to make better health care choices. And connecting adoptees and birth parents works; in the overwhelming majority of cases, these reunions are cherished by both parties.  https://www.qgazette.com/articles/weprin-and-adoptee-advocates-push-for-vote-on-adoptee-rights-bill 

Restricted and unrestricted, sealed and unsealed, closed and open! If only it was as easy as an on/off switch for adoptee rights. I was adopted in Quebec, Canada and I live in New York State. For almost 40 years I have repeatedly applied for information, searched with and without the internet, and defended my search to friends. How different my life would have been if I’d been born in British Columbia or Kansas! This is no small deal–it is life-changing. I pray for the New York State Assembly to pass Bill A5494 for New York adoptees today and in the future.

Over the years, I have explained my search for my birthparents using different analogies–I never wanted to cause sadness or pain to anyone. Adoptees are known to worry about hurting others’ feelings or causing family conflict. My favorite reassuring analogy is that of a candelabra. After one candle is used to light another and another, it glows as brightly. When I learned the identity of my birthmother, my love for my mom and dad was as strong as ever. Finding a new love or friend does not diminish our love for the most precious people in our lives.

Candle Light!