New York becomes 10th state to allow adoptees access to birth certificates

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New York became the 10th state to allow adoptees over the age of 18 to access their birth certificates on Jan. 15.

Tim Monti-Wohlpart says he has been fighting for the right to his birth certificate for decades.

"I made my application and now, like everyone else, I'm waiting for it, waiting for it in the mail," said Monti-Wohlpart.

With supporters, including legislators in Albany, a 1930s law was overturned. The law withheld birth certificates from adoptees, citing a past perception of a stigma of illegitimacy.

Assemblywoman and fellow adoptee, Pamela Hunter, was one of those fighting for the change. She says applicants can learn vital health information.

In New York City, the Department of Health asks adoptees to mail their requests with a $15 check or money order to the Office of Vital Records.

For those born outside of the five boroughs, but within the state, the New York State DOH accepts applications online, by mail, or in person, for a $45 fee. Those born outside of New York State, but whose adoptions were finalized anywhere in New York, may make an application to New York City or State as appropriate to the location of their adoption. 

Monti-Wohlpart says this is a small price that provides a lot of answers.

"I was one of the lucky ones. I can tell you without that information... it was hiring detectives, spending thousands of dollars," said Tim Monti-Wohlpart.

He says every adult adoptee in New York has the right to know and the right to choose.

"It's going to be very exciting," said Monti-Wohlpart.

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