WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - In just a few days, people born in New York state who were adopted will be able to find out who their birth parents are.
On Wednesday, January 15, a state law will kick in that allows adoptees 18 years or older to request their pre-adoption birth certificate. In other words, find out who their birth parents are.
But Watertown City Clerk Ann Saunders says you won't be able to find that information in the city.
"The state is actually requesting that the adoptee's actually request it from the state level," she said.
That means if someone would like to apply for a pre-adoption certificate, they wouldn’t come to city hall. Instead you can apply online at vitalchek.com through the state Department of Health and answer some questions.
But if you have some questions of your own, your local clerks are prepared to help.
"The local municipalities though and local registrars are being educated so that we can guide individuals in this process. We can give them information and have forms available for them as well," said Saunders.
Governor Cuomo pushed through the historic change in the adoption law because he says every person has the right to know where they come from.
Birth mother to an adopted child Bridget Gordinier from Hammond agrees.
"I am overjoyed. This for me was always about civil and human rights. Why didn't my daughter have the same rights I had. Why couldn't she walk into Ogdensburg City Hall and say I'd like a copy of my birth certificate," she said.
Direct-line descendants, such as a child or grandchild, will also be able to request a pre-adoption birth certificate. Birth parents cannot.
The state also says the requests will take about 4 to 6 weeks to fulfill through mail, and a $45 fee will apply.