I am looking to find information on my deceased grandmother's adoption.

The story is that she was adopted from a New York orphanage in the 20's or so I am guessing since she was born in 1925.

She was adopted by a family whose name I know and all involved are deceased.

Where should I start and how much information should I expect to be available?

  • 1
    For now I've removed the name of your grandmother and the surname of the family who adopted her because she was born less than 100 years ago. If you can include a link to some record of her death like a an obituary, death notice, funeral notice, cemetery record, etc then those details can be restored.
    – PolyGeo
    Feb 8, 2019 at 20:12

1 Answer 1


Okay, so there's good news and there's bad news.

The bad news first:

At the moment (February 2019) all New York State adoptees' Original Birth Certificates (OBC's), and usually their adoption paperwork as well, are sealed. Totally sealed. Doesn't matter if the adoptees are dead, doesn't matter if they're alive and they already know all the info on the original paperwork and they have already reunited with their biological parents. The paternalistic and restrictive law remains on the books. They are denied their own records.

And now for the good news:

Luckily, attitudes towards adoptee rights are changing across the country, and New York is no exception. There's a new bill that was just introduced in the New York State Legislature, with many co-sponsors and solid bipartisan support, that would allow any New York adult adoptee to regain access to their paperwork! Check out the New York Adoptee Rights Coalition (NYARC) for details about the bill, and sign up for their e-mail newsletter for updates: http://nyadopteerights.org/

The bill also includes provisions for direct-line descendants of deceased adoptees to gain their OBC's: children, grandchildren, etc.

So if this bill passes this session, you should be able to get a copy of your grandmother's paperwork from the state on January 15, 2020.

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