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United States Adoption Resources #general


s_wiener@...
 

Dear Fellow Genners,

I have searched the info files and the Discussion
Group Archives and cannot find any pertinent
information re: adoption. I turn to you for advise
and some suggestions regarding Interstate Adoption in
the US, an area with which I am totally unfamiliar.

Last night, my friend's husband revealed that his
father, b. 1915 d. 1980, had been adopted shortly
after birth. The grandparents, residing in NYC
[possibly Queens] could not afford this [2nd] child.
There was an alleged older brother. This [2nd] child
was adopted by a family in West Virginia. Bubemises
imply that they were relatives. He grew up in West
Virginia, never seeing his natural family again.

The natural father was a Kohan, thus making the
adopted child a Kohan and my friend's husband one as
well. The adoption was never really spoken about,
other than to transmit the knowledge of Kohan status.
Evidently, the adopting family was not Kohanim.

Upon the death of my friend's husband's mother, he
found his father's birth certificate among family
papers. Somehow this NYC birth certificate shows the
natural parents names, which were very common Jewish
names. My friend's husband believes that he must have
cousins, children of his father's brother, with whom
he would like to establish contact.

I have suggested that he carefully review the birth
certificate. Then using the 1920 and 1930 US Census,
the 1925 NY Census as well as NYC directories, he
should try to locate the birth family. At the same
time, he should look in the 1920 and 1930 US Census in
West Virginia to see what was recorded about his
father. The results of these searches will then
determine what might be done next.

Here are my questions:

Where does one go to find information about interstate
adoptions? [I "googled" and looked at sites for about
1 hour, but nothing really fit the needs of this
situation.]

Could this have been an official adoption? Or just a
"shift the child in the family" event? In 1915 could
children just appear in various locations without any
documented explanation of their origins?

In 1980 could an individual obtain his original,
unaltered birth certificate if he were adopted?

Weren't birth certificates altered to show the adopted
parents as the "real" parents?

If all parties are deceased, are the records still
sealed? I recognize that the descendents of the
sibling[s] of this child might be shocked to learn of
his existence. On the other hand, they might be
looking for him, themselves.

TIA for your guidance and a Happy New Year!
Shellie Wiener
San Francisco, CA

not applicable to this posting but-
seaching for family from: Vatra Dornei, Wiznitz,
Putila, Kolomyya, Jablonów, Pechenezhin, Buchach,
Sanok, Tyrawa Woloska, Rachnita, Zawadka, Krzywcza,
Kutno, Pinsk, Lyubashevo


Barbara Niederhoff <iamthewind@...>
 

Last night, my friend's husband revealed that his
father, b. 1915 d. 1980, had been adopted shortly
after birth. The grandparents, residing in NYC
[possibly Queens] could not afford this [2nd] child.
There was an alleged older brother. This [2nd] child
was adopted by a family in West Virginia.
[...]
Weren't birth certificates altered to show the adopted
parents as the "real" parents?
Not in 1915. Most birth certificates and adoption records in the US
remained unsealed and unchanged until the 1930s and 1940s. New York and
West Virginia did not seal records until that time.

Somehow this NYC birth certificate shows the natural
parents names, which were very common Jewish names.
I think the biggest hurdle will be these common names. But he does have
them, and I would echo your own advice to continue the research as any
other genealogist would. City directories and censuses are excellent
starting points and easily available through public archives and LDS
Family History Centers. I'd be especially interested in the 1915 NY
State Census, because both parents and the alleged older brother ought to
be listed.

In addition, adoption records (if there were any) *should* be available,
since they would not have been sealed and should not have been affected
by subsequent laws. But I have no expertise on where to look for them;
perhaps someone else can help with that. If found, the birth parents'
1915 address *may* be there, which could be helpful if census & other
sources show more than one couple with the same names.

If all parties are deceased, are the records still
sealed?
This doesn't apply to your friend's husband, since the 1915 records
shouldn't have been sealed in the first place. However, for people whose
records were indeed sealed, death has no effect on availability. I am
not aware of any state in which sealed adoption records would
automatically be unsealed if proof of the parties' deaths were provided.
In theory, it's possible that a court order could be obtained.

Barbara Niederhoff
Centennial CO


Mimi Katz <GeveretKatz@...>
 

In addition, adoption records (if there were any) *should* be available,
since they would not have been sealed and should not have been affected
by subsequent laws.
In Illinois, I believe that ALL records pertaining to an adoption, including
the original birth certificate, were sealed when the law went into affect,
whether the records were >from 1915 or 1950. Each state handled its records
differently. Rather than all of our speculation, you would probably get the
correct information by calling the county clerk's office where the birth
occurred.

Mimi Katz, Chicago