Adoptees looking for their original NYS Birth Certificate:
In January of 2019 New York State law changed to allow adoptees to access their original birth certificate. This document is valuable to adoptees interested in researching their family history because it will provide the adoptee's birth name and the name of the birth mother and possibly the birth father (if reported). The Birth Certificate is ONLY available from New York State. Please click the link below to be redirected to the New York State Department of Vital Statistics to learn how to order an original adoptee birth certificate. Please note that only the adoptee or a direct descendent of the adoptee is eligible to apply, and those details are provided on the site.
Adoptees looking for their adoption records:
Adoption Records in NYS continue to be sealed by state law. The only way to access adoption records is via the New York State Adoption Registry, which serves as a clearinghouse. Please click the link below to read about what non-identifying information is potentially available to you. You may download and complete the Adoption Registry forms, have them notarized, and return them to the NYS Adoption Registry (not Catholic Charities). The Registry will confirm the agency involved in your adoption and will send a letter authorizing the agency to research your records and release to you a report of non-identifying information. This report will include any available information in the record pertaining to birth parent age, physical characteristics, level of education, employment (if applicable), hobbies and interests, and medical history. It is important to recognize that information in the record is largely self-reported by the birth parent, and is often very limited, especially for older records.
Adoptees looking for their birth family:
The NYS Adoption Registry is able to connect adoptees, birth parents, and birth siblings under certain circumstances. When registering with the Registry, each party may choose to give consent to release contact information to birth family members. If two or more parties register and offer their consent, the Adoption Registry will disclose contact information directly to family members.
Catholic Charities of Buffalo is prohibited by law from disclosing this information under any circumstances.
Many people have reported that they have been able to locate birth family members using a DNA service such as Ancestry.com or 23andme. Catholic Charities does not endorse either service, however, offers this information as a potential tool for your search. There are also individuals and companies willing to search on your behalf, however, you should always be wary of disclosing personal information.
For Family Members of Adoptees:
If you are a direct descendent of the adoptee, then you may be eligible with proper documentation to obtain the adoptee's original NYS birth certificate. Please refer to that site for details.
If you would like to make health information available to your biological child who was adopted, you may do so by writing to the NYS Adoption Registry. Please go to that site for details. Catholic Charities is unable to add additional information to closed case files.
If you are a family member of an adoptee you are not eligible to request adoption records from the NYS Adoption Registry. Please go to that site for details.