From my oldest memory I always knew that I was adopted and never hid that fact. I grew up Brooklyn, graduated from Bernard M Baruch College, got married, and had two children. I was never very interested in finding out more about my adoption, but my wife and children asked me from time to time. Then about 5 years ago I was going through some old papers and came across the legal adoption papers as filed with the court. That triggered my search. The agency I was adopted through was Louise Wise, which no longer exists, and I was referred to Spence-Chapin. I contacted Spence-Chapin and after filling out the necessary paperwork I was contacted by one of their social workers. Needless to say, I was extremely anxious to get the info. She gave me much information that I had never known and I found it very interesting. But when pressed for additional information I was told that she could not reveal anything more as she was bound by law. I told her that was archaic and ridiculous considering the current state of adoption. She agreed and told me that was it. Subsequently I tried to coordinate the information that she had given me with the US Census for 1940, but that became a huge project. I have shared my current journey with my family – wife, daughters, and 7 grandchildren. They are all interested in finding out about this part of my life… their lives.
As suggested by Spence-Chapin, I sent an email to the New York State senate, asking them to oppose Bill A2901a that prevents adoptees from receiving their original birth certificates:
Dear Senator, I have also written to you via the senate general email.
The essence of my email is that I am asking that this proposed law be changed to the original. As presented currently A2901A will forever close the Door on my search for complete information on my adoption.
I am 74 years old and recently (5+ years ago) came upon my formal legal adoption papers while going through my mother's papers.
This triggered my search and with the help of Spence-Chapin learned as much about my family history as was permitted under the current law. I was hoping that before long that the law would be changed so that I could complete the search, not only for myself but for my wife, daughters, and seven grandchildren.
I do not understand the logic behind this amendment. Having a Judge decide with all of the pre-conditions is a sure way of preventing many people who are in search of information.
I have never written about any piece of legislation till now.
If I could make one statement to the Legislator it would be, "walk in my shoes as well as let the sunlight in."
Paul Pruzan (Birth Name: David Cohen, born August 29, 1940)