How to get your pre-adoption NY birth certificate, starting this week –

Syracuse, N.Y. Starting Wednesday, people who were born in New York and then adopted will be able to request their original birth certificate that lists the names of their parents.

The law, championed by Assemblywoman Pam Hunter, D-Syracuse, allows people 18 and older to receive a copy of their pre-adoption birth certificate. She is an adoptee who doesnt know the identities of her birth parents.

Hunter estimated that hundreds of people have contacted her office since the legislation was discussed last year.

The option to discover the identities of birth parents is a relief to some people, she said. I think thats a relief for many people.

Hunter said Monday she hasnt decided whether to seek out her own parents identities. I dont know, she said. Many people have asked me about that. Its not something I ever thought of as a possibility" before the legislation passed.

I could decide to do it next year, she said. The option is there, its not going away.

The law applies to any adoptee who was born in New York, no matter where they were adopted or live now, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomos office.

There are two main ways for most to obtain their birth certificates: either through the states Department of Health or through a company called The fastest way is through, according to the governors office. The fee is $45.

This link on the states Department of Health will go live on Wednesday.

Cuomo signed the legislation into law in November. Heres how the application process works, according to the governors office:

Who can get a pre-adoption certificate?

Whats the fastest way to get the certificate?


How else can I get it?

Mail applications to New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Records, PAC Unit PO Box 2602, Albany, NY 12220-2602. Or you can drop off the application in person at 800 N. Pearl St., Menands, New York 12204.

All certificates will be issued via regular mail; no certificates will be issued in person or via email.

But wont my local registrar have a copy?

Maybe. Your local registrar --the local office that has oversight over birth certificates -- is authorized to issue a pre-adoption certificate, if available. (In Onondaga County, thats the Office of Vital Statistics.) However, local registrars may not have access to the complete, sealed file containing your pre-adoption birth certificate. Instead, applicants are encouraged to apply through the state.

What identification is required to get the certificate?

Valid photo identification, and if available, a photocopy of your current birth certificate. Refer to the instructions on the Adoptee Application for Copy of Pre-Adoption Birth Certificate (on the states website) for additional information on the types of identification accepted.

What is the fee for a pre-adoption birth certificate?

The fee is $45 per each copy requested.

What will I get?

The pre-adoption certificate and any additional information in the sealed file pertaining to the adoption.

How long will it take to process my request?

The state expects a high volume of applications starting on Wednesday. For now, officials are estimating the wait time could be four to six weeks.

What if I am already registered in the Adoption Information Registry?

You must still fill out a request for a pre-adoption certificate. The Adoption Information Registry is a mutual consent registry for adoptees, birth parents and biological siblings to obtain information pertaining to the adoption or facilitate a reunion between registered parties. The Adoption Information Registry does not issue pre-adoption certificates.

What if Im a direct line descendant of the adopted person?

If the adoptee is deceased, a child, grandchild or great-grandchild can request a copy of the adoptees pre-adoption birth certificate. Currently, the online application process is not available for direct line descendant applications. Instead, Direct Line Descendants may apply only via a paper application or in person (see the addresses above).

To apply, direct line descendants applications must include:

A valid photo identification, a photocopy of the adoptees death certificate, documentation showing Direct Line Descent from the adoptee (birth certificates or death certificates showing parents, grandparents, great grandparents names as needed). Also, if available, a copy of the adoptees birth certificate at the time of death.

Can a birth parent request a copy of a pre-adoption birth certificate?

No. The law entitles only adoptees, direct line descendants or lawful representatives of the adoptee to obtain a copy of the pre-adoption certificate.

What about people born in New York City?

Adoptees born within New York City should contact the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for information on how to obtain pre-adoption birth certificates from within their jurisdiction, according to the governors office.

Are you an adoptee searching for your birth parents? Are you planning to apply for your birth certificate? Please share your story with us. And let us know if you run into any problems with the application process. Contact Teri Weaver at or at 315-470-2274.

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How to get your pre-adoption NY birth certificate, starting this week -

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