Surrogate Edward McCarty III
Adopted adult Alice L.L.T. sought to unseal her adoption file to ascertain if her birth mother was Jewish, which would be determinative if Alice’s religion was under Jewish law. The court noted adoption records were sealed under Domestic Relations Law §114 to protect and ensure confidentiality. It stated that while it was unusual for adoption records to be unsealed for non-medical reasons, exceptions are rare, but occur occasionally. Yet, the court concluded that the facts presented herein did not contain sufficient information on which it might order unsealing Alice’s adoption records on the basis of good cause, or to dispense with the due notice requirements of DRL §114(2). Further, it also noted Alice was furnished with non-identifying information from her adoption records in 1998, stating the information currently sought was specifically included under the definition of non-identifying information, which may be provided to her under Public Health Law §4138-c(3)(e). Therefore, the court stated that according to the adoption records on file with the court, Alice’s birth mother’s religious affiliation was Protestant, not Jewish.