New York

Adoption

Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information
Citation: Pub. Health Law §§ 4138-c; 4138-d

The following persons may receive information:

  • The adopted person who is age 18 or older
  • The birth parents
  • A birth sibling who is age 18 or older

Access to Nonidentifying Information
Citation: Pub. Health Law §§ 4138-c; 4138-d

The Department of Health shall operate an adoption information registry for the exchange of nonidentifying information between the persons listed above. Nonidentifying information shall include only the following information, if known, about the adopted person, birth parents, and birth siblings:

  • The age of the parents in years at the time of the child’s birth
  • The heritage of the parents, including nationality, ethnic background, race, and religion
  • Education completed by the parents at the time of the child’s birth
  • General physical appearance of the parents at the time of the child’s birth, including height, weight, color of hair, eyes, skin, and other information of similar nature
  • The occupation of the parents
  • The health history of the parents
  • The talents, hobbies, and special interests of the parents
  • The facts and circumstances relating to the adoption
  • The existence of any known birth siblings

Upon acceptance of a registration, the department shall search registry records to determine whether the adopted person’s adoption occurred within the State. If the adoption did occur within the State, the department shall request nonidentifying information from court records. If the department determines that the adoption did not occur within the State, it shall notify the registrant that no record exists of the adoption occurring within the State.

If an agency was involved in the adoption, nonidentifying information may be accessed by registering the mutual consent voluntary adoption registry maintained by the agency.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information
Citation: Pub. Health Law §§ 4138-c; 4138-d

The department shall operate an adoption information registry for the exchange of information among the persons listed above. Any person whose registration was accepted may withdraw the registration prior to the release of any identifying information.

Upon acceptance of a registration, the department shall search the registry files to determine whether the person sought is registered. If there is a match, the department shall notify the court to request the person’s final consent to the release of identifying information.

Upon receipt of a final consent by the adopted person, birth parent, and/or birth sibling, the department shall, unless the adopted person or birth sibling has elected otherwise, release identifying information to all the registrants. Such identifying information shall be limited to the names and addresses of the registrants and shall not include any other information contained in the adoption or birth records.

A mutual consent voluntary adoption registry may be maintained by each agency involved in an adoption. Persons eligible to receive identifying information may work through the agency involved in the adoption. The agency shall accept and maintain the registrations of an adopted person, the birth parents, or a birth sibling. If the agency determines that the agency was involved in the adoption, it shall transmit the registration to the adoption information registry operated by the department and release nonidentifying information.

An adoption medical information subregistry shall be part of the registry. Access to all identifying records and information in the subregistry shall be subject to the same restrictions as the adoption information registry. The department shall establish procedures by which a birth parent may provide medical information to the subregistry, and by which an adopted person age 18 or older, or the adoptive parents of an adopted person who is under age 18, may access the medical information.

Access to Original Birth Certificate
Citation: Pub. Health Law § 4138

The original birth certificate is available only upon order of the court.

Where the Information Can Be Located

New York State Department of Health, Adoption Registry

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Collection of Family Information About Adopted Persons and Their Birth Families

Agency or Person Preparing the Report
Citation: Dom. Rel. Law § 112
The adoptive parents or parent and the adoptee, if age 18 or older, must present the required information to the judge.

Contents of Report About the Adopted Person
Citation: Dom. Rel. Law § 112
The petition must include:

  • The first name, date, and place of birth of the adoptive child as nearly as the same can be ascertained
  • The religious faith of the adoptive child and his or her parents as nearly as the same can be ascertained
  • The manner in which the adoptive parents obtained the adoptive child
  • Whether the child was placed or brought into the State of New York from out of State for the purpose of adoption
  • Whether the placement was subject to the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children, and if so, whether the provisions of the compact were complied with
  • The period of time during which the adoptive child has resided with the adoptive parents
  • Whether the adoptive child had been previously adopted

Contents of Report About the Birth Family
Citation: Dom. Rel. Law § 112
The petition must include:

  • The heritage of the parents, including nationality, ethnic background, and race
  • Education, including the number of years of school completed by the parents at the time of the adoptive child’s birth
  • General physical appearance of the parents at the time of the adoptive child’s birth, including height, weight, and color of hair, eyes, and skin
  • Occupation of the parents at the time of the adoptive child’s birth
  • Health and medical histories of the parents at the time of the adoptive child’s birth, including:
    • All available information setting forth conditions or diseases believed to be hereditary
    • Any drugs or medication taken during the pregnancy by the child’s mother
  • Any other information that may be a factor influencing the child’s present or future health
  • Talents, hobbies, and special interests of the parents

The petition shall also include the names and current addresses of the birth parents, if known.

When the Report Is Made
Citation: Dom. Rel. Law § 112
The required information must be included in the adoption petition.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

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Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Children

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Dom. Rel. Law § 117
After the making of an order of adoption, the birth parents of the adoptive child shall be relieved of all parental duties toward and of all responsibilities for and shall have no rights over such adoptive child or to his or her property by descent or succession. The right of an adopted child to inheritance and succession from and through his or her birth parents shall terminate upon the order of adoption.When a birth or adoptive parent, having lawful custody of a child, marries or remarries and consents that the stepparent may adopt the child, such consent shall not relieve the parent so consenting of any parental duty toward the child, nor shall consent or the order of adoption affect the rights of the consenting spouse and the adoptive child to inherit from and through each other and the birth and adopted kindred of the consenting spouse.

Notwithstanding the above, and as to estates of persons dying after August 31, 1987, if the decedent is the adoptive child’s birth grandparent or is a descendant of such grandparent, and an adoptive parent is married to the child’s birth parent, is the child’s birth grandparent, or is descended from such grandparent, then the rights of an adoptive child to inheritance and succession from and through either birth parent shall not terminate upon the making of the order of adoption. However, an adoptive child who is related to the decedent both by birth relationship and by adoption shall be entitled to inherit only under the birth relationship unless the decedent also is the adoptive parent, in which case the adoptive child shall then be entitled to inherit pursuant to the adoptive relationship only.

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Dom. Rel. Law § 117
The adoptive parent(s) and the adopted child shall sustain toward each other the legal relation of parent and child and shall have all the rights and be subject to all the duties of that relation, including the rights of inheritance from and through each other.

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will
Citation: Est. Pow. & Trst. Law § 2-1.3
Unless the creator of a will expresses a contrary intention, a disposition of property to persons described in any instrument as the issue, children, descendants, heirs, heirs-at-law, next-of-kin, distributees (or by any term of like import) of the creator or of another, includes adopted children and their issue in their adoptive relationship. The rights of adopted children and their issue to receive a disposition under wills and lifetime instruments as a member of such class of persons based upon their birth relationship shall be governed by the provisions of § 117(2) of the domestic relations law.

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State Recognition of Intercountry Adoptions Finalized Abroad

Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption
Citation: Dom. Rel. Law § 115-a(8)

Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, when a child is placed with a couple or individual in New York State for the purpose of adoption, and the adoption has previously been finalized in the country of birth outside the United States, the couple or person may petition the court in their county of residence in New York State for the readoption of the child in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, providing for adoptions originally commenced in this State.In any proceeding for readoption, proof of finalization of an adoption outside the United States shall be prima facie evidence of the consent of those parties required to give consent to an adoption.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate
Citation: Pub. Health Law § 4138-b

A certificate of birth shall be prepared whenever proper proof is submitted to the commissioner that a person, who is under age 18 and born outside of the United States, has been validly adopted by residents of this State pursuant to a judgment, order, or decree of adoption issued by a court of competent jurisdiction in this State, another State, or a foreign country.

A completed request shall include:

  • Proof that the adoptive parent was a resident of this State at the time of adoption
  • A copy of the adoption documents of the jurisdiction or country where the adoption took place
  • A certified translation of the foreign adoption documents
  • Evidence of the date and place of the child’s birth
  • Evidence of IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa status or a successor immigrant visa status

The new birth certificate shall include the child’s name, sex, date of birth, time of birth, place of birth, mother’s maiden name, and father’s name.


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