Help Adoptees Find Our Families

Andrea told me she remembered when her mother came home from the hospital and told her that Baby Ira died. I was baby Ira and I didn’t die. I was put up for adoption.

 Almost everybody knows where they come from and who they look like. This is not true for adoptees. We spend our lives wondering who we look like, who our birth parents were, and why they gave us up? We don’t even get to know what hospital we were born in. In most places, adoptees are denied access to their original birth certificates. These are not just pieces of paper – they open doors to a sense of identity, history and legacy.

In 1937, adoptions records in Washington, D.C. were sealed to "protect the interests of children.” In practice, however, the Courts opted to protect the abstract concept of confidentiality made at the time of relinquishment. How can it be in anyone’s interest not to know who they truly are?

In 2014, I petitioned the Court to unseal my records and give me my original birth certificate. After the lower Court said no, I appealed to the D.C. Court of Appeals – the equivalent of our State Supreme Court. The Court of Appeals now is considering changing the Court’s practice after 78 years. All indications suggest that the Court will reinterpret its practice to favor adult adoptees in accordance with the law. If it rules in my favor, a clear path to accessing records will be established for thousands of people. But there is more work to do: more lawyering, helping others, and getting the word out.

This GoFundMe campaign will finance three things:

1.     Legal Fees to finish the case;

2.     Templates and Guidance for adult adoptees seeking their records; and

3.     Publicity to spread the word.

Last year at the age of 50, after the Court of Appeals agreed to hear my case, an investigator amazingly found the identities of my birth families. My birth mother and father were deceased, but I have met their children. These are the first people I’ve ever met who I’m genetically related to. They have shared stories and photos of our mother and father, and have received me warmly. And when Andrea, my new sister, told me I was named, everything inside shifted and I came to understand that I was never forgotten.

I was lucky. Thousands of others still don’t know their origins and have no legal recourse. I continued with my case in hopes that it would change the status quo for everyone. A decision is expected by year’s end, and I will update this page as events unfold. This is an important cause and I would be most grateful for your contribution.

Donations

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  • Gregory Luce 
    • $24 
    • 53 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 53 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 57 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $30 
    • 57 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 58 mos
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Organizer

Danny Berler 
Organizer
Washington, DC
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