When Adoption Attorneys Lie to Clients and Opposed Laws to Protect Their Lies

“Birthmother Confidentiality”

 The Awful Judges at the New York State Adoptee Rights Hearing; New Insight from Old Lies

“Birthmother Confidentiality”Lorraine Dusky has a great overall report of the Hearing of Friday and she is, as always, spot on, so rather than beat a dead horse, I’m going in a different direction.

Now, I have long believed that we see opposition to unsealing an adopted person’s original birth certificate from many of the adoption agencies and other professionals because they want to cover their tracks.  More specially, the common adoption mythology of “your mother wanted you to have a better life so she choose adoption”  would be challenged should greater number of adult adoptees find the truthful stories of their mother’s surrenders. Of course, the easiest way for those true stories to be told would be if the adoptees could more easily search for their birthmothers and hear what happened. Lock up the records, lock up the truth and keep the status quo. The only story that remains is the version offered by the adoption industry.

I don’t even think that the adoption professionals fear the adoptees or birthmothers finding out that they lied, as our purpose and usefulness for the adoption industry is done. We can still be easily dismissed and are in general, not feared as most of the world is easy to dismiss us as well. However, if adoptive parents found out that they were lied to, then they might call out the agency practices and give the mythology a bad name. THAT would hurt the adoption industry an must be avoided to keep the paying customers coming. You know what makes profit driven industries quiver? The idea or a possibility of a lawsuit.

I heard this concept expanded on and added to at the hearing on Friday , January 31, 2014, in Manhattan.

What I Learned from Adoptee Rights  Opposition this Time

The opposing testimony given by the members of the legal professional the Adoptee Rights hearing was quite strong. They were really very adamant in their strong belief in the “promises of birthmother confidentiality”. Like almost in a freaked out way, they insisted that this “confidentiality” existed.

The first speaker was Suffolk County Surrogate’s Court judge, John M. Czygier Jr., who argued against unsealing the birth certificates as he, Himself,  had promised many birthmother’s confidentiality during his practice. The transcripts / audio video achieve is /are not available yet or I would have in a good quote or two, but he said it again and again.

Hon. Peter Kelly, Surrogate County, Executive Chair, NYS Surrogates Association also testified along the same. After making some whining about how his feeling were “hurt” because there were advised “late” about the hearing, he also stated that HE personally promised mothers considering adoption or birthmothers immediately post relinquishment that he would guarantee their privacy.

Now, both of these judges were under oath to tell the TRUTH and being that they are judges, we can assume they understand the oath, so we’ll just take this as true; THEY VERBALLY gave promises of confidentiality to birthmothers in adoption proceedings.  Now hold that thought.

Nothing in the Legal Library Produced the HAS WRITTEN Promises of Birthmother Privacy

So aside from the fact that the OBC is sealed AFTER the adoption is finalized NOT immediately upon the relinquishment and that mothers do NOT WANT to be protected from the children they surrender to adoption AND historical evidence documents that less than 1% of mothers decline contact….

It has long been said that IF there WERE true promises of confidentially in ANY written documentation, that the opposition would have had it gold plated and be making those written promises into flags and T-shirts. The reason why this has not happened is because THERE WERE NO DOCUMENTED PROMISES OF BIRTHMOTHER CONFIDENTIALITY in ADOPTION!

And yes, the further truth of this is clearly documented in Elizabeth J. Samuels’ paper,  Surrender and Subordination: Birth Mothers and Adoption Law,. The actual legal documents have zero, zilch, NADA references to ANY promises made TO birthmothers, but that promises were forced UPON birthmothers to NEVER EVER EVER contact their relinquished children.

Repeat; there is NOTHING legally binding that gives a mother a promise NOR makes searching either way illegal in any of the adoption codes.

 Verbal Promises verse Legal Possibilities?

Also during his testimony, judge, John M. Czygier Jr., spoke of how we do not need a new bill such as A909 to become law in NYS because there ALREADY are “provisions” where an adoptee could get their medical information. You know, like it’s not a big deal and always works; but Ok for argument sake,  let’s go there:

Adopted people may petition the Court to have access to the sealed adoption records for the following reasons: to obtain medical information or for good cause other than to obtain medical information (i.e. to establish that the adopted person is a Native American Child, subject to the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978).

To petition the Court to gain access to the sealed adoption file on medical grounds, you must attach to the petition a medical certification from a physician licensed to practice medicine in the State of New York addressing a serious physical or mental illness. Such certification needs to identify the information required to address said illness.

If such request to open a sealed file is granted, the Court will appoint a non-interested party (an attorney) to review the file.

If an adopted person never received their amended birth certificate, they can then petition the Court to have the record unsealed in order that the necessary information can be obtained and then submitted to Vital Records. Court personnel will review the file, not the petitioner.

And yes, it seems that Adoption Form 27-B (Adoption–Notice of Petition for  Access to Sealed Adoption Records) (9/2006) is the “simple” form that he referred to  and can found here: Adoption Proceeding Forms.

Now the availability of this particular method of “unsealing” the adoption records was questioned by Assemblyman Joseph Borelli (R, Staten Island) who just happened to be adopted. Again, lacking video or transcripts, we have just my memory to go with, but I took note of this exchange:

Mr. Borelli: So when you were practicing adoptions this method of getting information was available?

Mr. Czygier: Yes, it’s always been there.

Mr. Borelli: Even when you promised mothers that there was confidentiality, it was a possibility that the records could be unsealed?

Mr. Czygier: Yes.

And something in there  about how no one ever does or something, however the point that Assemblyman  Borelli was making was not lost on me especially since it was questioned in this matter several times.

OK so let’s regroup;

There ALWAYS was a way for an adoptee to open up the sealed adoption records even IF ONLY by court order, then when Peter Kelly and John M. Czygier Jr., gave those VERBAL promises of confidentially to birthmothers while practicing adoption law in new York State, they LIED.

Now mind you they both testified UNDER OATH that they promised MANY birthmothers for YEARS that the adoption proceedings would be confidential, so they lied MANY times. Habitual liars? Serial liars? Or just that’s how they practiced law? They, both members of the NYS Bar association, told their clients something that was not possible and was ALWAYS untrue. There was ALWAYS a POSSIBILTY that the adoption files could be opened again, yet it seems according to them that they did not inform the clients of such a possibility.

Do Lawyers Strongly Opposed A909 as it Makes THEM Vulnerable?

I cannot help but to question WHY both of these Judges, when practicing law, made a choice to tell their clients something that they knew to be untrue? Could it be that they had a vested interest in seeing these relinquishments and adoptions to go forward? Can this be the real reason why they SO STRONGLY oppose the passing of A909 a bill that will make their words said to many birthmothers be KNOWN as lies? Can it be that these men of “law” support the continued discrimination of adult adopted citizens for the simple purpose that they need to cover their own malpractice? Could be that they imagine birthmothers coming to THEM personally and saying ” YOU told me that it was a secret” and  pressing lawsuits against THE LAWYERS for damages?

Yes, this is my major takeaway from the New York State Adoptee Right hearing.

It’s not just the overall adoption industry that fears the truth begin know, but it is the attorneys who are PERSONALLY responsible for LYING to the very clients they are sworn to protect. [cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]They fear the passing of A909 because they need to cover their own incompetent, lying asses.[/cryout-pullquote]

The ONLY thing I can say to these people who were, I assume,  just so  concerned about their profits that they needed to lie and now desire to perpetuate a mass injustice to protect themselves; stop worrying. The truth will actually be on your side. The facts stand for themselves. Even if those birthmothers that you PERSONALLY PROMISED get found, the chances are that they will be too relieved to know that their grown children are Ok.  Even you stupid lawyers, in all your self importance, will be just a minor party to their sad past and not worth their time now.

Yes, you are a lying sack of shit, but no one really cares about you anymore as LONG AS YOU SHUT UP!. It’s not about you.  Now go away and give the Adopted in NY their OBC’s.

Oh and the third attorney that spoke: Aaron Britvan, Esq., Chairperson of the Adoption Committee, Family Law Section NYS Bar Association? Yeah, I really had no idea what the hell he was talking about or if he even understood what the bill was about. My What NOT to do # 5: don’t read your testimony Especially if you suck? He SUCKED!

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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine, Adopt-a-tude.com, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

1 Comment on "When Adoption Attorneys Lie to Clients and Opposed Laws to Protect Their Lies"

  1. So many holes in the arguments to keep the status quo:

    1. Non-adopted can get preventative medical care, where adopted must settle for protective post event/disease care, i.e. treated differently.

    2. An adoptee born in NY does not necessarily live in NY so requiring the petition be from a NY doctor adds the burden of undue stress, time (which may be of the essence), and cost upon an adoptee.

    3. Lawyers/judges of all people clearly understand that Laws change, and to my understanding, and only in probate law – is the law at the time of the signing of the will – the law that governs the probate. In other types of cases, I believe it is the current law from which opinions are formed.

    4. The adoption petition signed by my parents (adoptive) that stated they had read, understood, and agreed with it – had my mothers first name, second initial, surname, and if memory serves, it even included her city of residence. Even though it was a different state, I doubt you couldn’t find similar examples if you looked at the NY micro-fiche of the sealed adoption files. Confidentiality for the mother was not a factor then, so it shouldn’t be today.

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