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Genealogy: Foundlings, orphans and modern day adoptions

Unsealed Initiatives

Unsealing Birth Certificates

Since 1993 political action groups have been lobbying in Albany to unseal original birth certificates. For more information and updates, visit the Unsealed Initiatives link. 

Unsealed Initiatives.

" Adoptees are being held to a contract they never agreed to, nor can they outgrow or escape from it. As social beliefs have changed and current research bears out, denying adoptees their fundamental human right to understand their biological connections retains the Victorian Era system of keeping adoptees second-class citizens. It is Unsealed Initiative's stand that adoptees deserve their original birth certificates without redaction and that all members of the adoption triad be given the opportunity to heal from the mistakes of the past. "

Types of adoptions

CLOSED ADOPTIONS - Historically adoptions were closed and the information sealed. An amended birth certificate was issued which listed adopted parents as birth parents. An amended birth certificate may also change the original date of birth to further conceal the adoption from the child.

In the 1970s there was a movement to make these records open to both child and birth parent. Besides the need to know family health history, times had change and people were more tolerant of single parents. OPEN ADOPTIONS are becoming more common.

COMMON LAW ADOPTIONS - when a child is raised by other members of the family, but not legally adopted. Families may alter information to cover up a family secret.

INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION -  Adopting children from outside the country such as Russia or China.


EMBRYO ADOPTION - Governed by property law, this involves transplanting a fertilized embryo into a host.

Foundlings, orphans and modern day adoptions

The NY Foundling Home kept a cradle in the vestibule for families to leave unwanted babies.

Helpful Links

Subject Guide

Vivian Shen's picture
Vivian Shen
Contact:
Walsh Library, Rose Hill Campus
Special Collections, 4th floor

shen@fordham.edu
718.817.3561

Additional Reading