Open birth records and adoption

Coalition Opinion Piece in the Daily News

Coalition Happenings, Here at the Coalition

New York’s Daily News “Voice of the People” published an op-ed piece authored by Pat O’Brien and Sarah Gerstenzang, our interim executive director and board president.

Open birth records and adoption

Brooklyn: Hurrah for your support for open birth records (“Children’s best interests,” editorial, Aug. 19)!

But regarding your statements about preserving family bonds, you have got it all wrong. Research on open adoption doesn’t include families where there was such significant abuse and/or neglect that the parental rights were terminated. All foster families who are adopting already meet the definition of open adoption (following years of visits with biological families) which is shared information. These kids know who their biological family is. So let’s leave the law as it is with the parents who are raising these children deciding what is safe and appropriate with regard to ongoing contact.

Furthermore, a judge may decide that it is in a child’s best interest at 8 to have contact with a biological parent, but what about when that child is 15? Should that adoptive family have to pay to go back to court because the now teenager is not interested in visiting? Or because a biological parent has begun using heroin again? Please don’t infantilize the parents that we are asking to take legal and financial responsibility for the most vulnerable children in our state by second guessing their capacity to decide what is in the best interests of their children every day. Pat O’Brien and Sarah Gerstenzang, interim executive director and board president, Adoptive and Foster Family of NY

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