Thursday, February 22, 2007

More on the New York Unsealed Initiative

I have spent the day printing letters and envelopes to the members of the New York State Assembly in support of the NY Unsealed Initiative. In the February 15th below, you can find a link to where you can sign the petition. You can also go to the NY State Assembly page on the web at and find a listing of the assembly members along with their addresses. Please write to as many of them as you can; I am writing to them all. It is likely that this Initiative will make it through the Codes Committee and a vote of all assembly members will be called. I have sent the following letter to Assembly Member Helene Weinstein who is opposed to the Initiative.

Peace to you and those you love,
Aunt Patty

February 23, 2007

Assembly Member Helene Weinstein
LOB 831
Albany, NY 12248

Dear Assembly Member Weinstein,

As a woman who is active in both searching for and helping to reunite families, I wish to encourage you to support the NY Unsealed Initiative.

It is unbelievable to me that adoptees remain children in the eyes of the law and the courts. Most of them grow to become of legal age, they can serve our country in the armed forces, they can vote, they can own property, they can drive. They marry, have children and grandchildren and yet, they cannot know of their lineage or of those who gave them life. Medical information which would be invaluable to them and their descendants cannot be obtained. Jumping through dozens of legal hoops, almost always results in a slam into the proverbial brick wall. Brick walls of this nature represent injustice and separate families today just at they once did in Berlin.

It's as though this group of adults is owned by the courts and the legal system due to legislation that was enacted 70 years ago. It is clearly a denial of basic civil liberties when adoptees, having reached legal age, having discarded their training pants and the training wheels on their bicycles long ago are denied information about their beginnings and their medical background that rightfully should belong to all of us.

As a genealogist and owner of a well-known genealogy website (Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild, est. 1998 – which is visited thousands of times each day, I know well the efforts one puts into finding their roots and understand well the reasons why it is important for them to do so. Just as researchers struggle to connect to deceased ancestors who made the trip across the Atlantic hundreds of years ago to find freedom and a better life, today’s adoptees and birth parents struggle to connect to their unknown living ancestors. Immigrants came by the hundreds of thousands, many in hopes of reuniting with their families. Adoptees and birth families as well, are denied that basic civil liberty today.

We are a great country; we recognize the value of freedom and the liberties of each individual and to that end, our presence is noted in many countries around the world. Adoptees and birth families alike, have served this country to preserve that right not only at home but aboard; they serve willingly and yet are denied the very basic and individual civil rights they defend.

This must change and I encourage you and the great state of New York to work to that end and to set an example other states may follow. Constitutionally, we are guaranteed equality. At one time, women and slaves were excluded from constitutional guarantees; now adoptees and birth families are excluded.

When my mother died in 1998, she passed the torch of family historian to me. I will never forget her words. She said, “It is difficult to know where you are going if you do not know where you came from.” Simple enough words from a woman, who was born in New York State, raised her family there and lived there all her life. I encourage you to take her words to heart.

Respectfully yours,
Patricia McCormack
Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild

Member of:
The MacFarlane Clan of Rome, NY (and Scotland)
The McCormack Clan of Brooklyn, NY (and Scotland)

I may live in Colorado but I am a proud New Yorker; my heritage includes: