ALBANY — Larry Dell of Brooklyn was rummaging through some old boxes of papers and clothes after his mother died when his daughter, Amanda, came across a document that said her father was born Louis Roth, and that he was adopted.
That was 11 years ago. Dell, now 70, still knows little about his birth parents and the four siblings he had, except for the bits and pieces he’s gathered over the internet and through advocates for adopted kids seeking their birth families.
“I was shocked when I was found out I was adopted, but stunned when I found out I couldn’t get any information,” Dell, now of Easton, Pennsylvania, said in an interview. “It’s like getting hit in the head twice.”
A bill making its way through the State Legislature would change that. It would give anyone who was adopted the right to obtain their original birth certificate once they turn 18. Obtaining an original birth certificate is routine for people who aren't adopted and their families. But adopted kids end up with a different document that provides little information about their past and none about their birth family.
“Adult adoptees deserve access to their own vital records just like any other individual,” the bill’s Senate co-sponsor, Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn), said. “They deserve the right to seek answers about their health, their family history and their heritage.”
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