Author Topic: Adoption Papers in New Zealand in the late 1940's.  (Read 3260 times)

Offline Jean Price

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Adoption Papers in New Zealand in the late 1940's.
« on: Monday 09 January 23 22:03 GMT (UK) »
A cousin has just been granted her adoption papers - after years of being told that they don't exist, and that she will learn nothing from them.
Officialdom was wrong.
There is quite a sheaf of papers, and she now knows the name pf her father.
However there is a lot of detail, which of course is new to her, and she would love to know what it says.
But officialdom has not yet finished with her.
1. She has access to the papers while sitting in a public room filled with people making all sorts of queries. This does not make it easy to concentrate on getting all the details.
2. She is not allowed a pen or pencil - hence having to try and memorize.
3. She is not allowed a camera so she can have her own hard copy.
4. They will not copy the pages for her, even though she has said she will pay. 

What would you do? After 70 plus years she wants to know the lot.

Both sets of parents, both natural and adoptive are deceased, so no one is being upset.

We would be very grateful for any tips to get around this obstacle.

Thank you
Jean Price
Fawcett, Down; Gibson, Ayrshire and Tasmania; James, Cornwall and Victoria Aus; Cox, Northamptonshire, Thomas, Gloucestershire; Albury, Berkshire,

Offline spades

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Re: Adoption Papers in New Zealand in the late 1940's.
« Reply #1 on: Monday 09 January 23 22:13 GMT (UK) »
Hi Jean,

If this in New Zealand then she has a right to a copy of any information that relates to her, and I strongly recommend that she seek advice from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner in the first instance, or engage a lawyer.

https://www.privacy.org.nz/

Regards,

Spades
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Offline wivenhoe

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Re: Adoption Papers in New Zealand in the late 1940's.
« Reply #2 on: Monday 09 January 23 22:18 GMT (UK) »

"after years of being told that they don't exist"   How was access finally given?

Do you know if the  limitations you have listed are.....archives policy?.......identified in legislation?

I might have thought that there would be a requirement to sign something to record informed consent........about the copy/photo limitation.

It sounds unreasonable for your friend to not be able to have a copy of the documents, or need to continue her efforts to this end.

Maybe write to the ...what?...archives?......and ask what access you have, and specifically about using a camera, getting copies etc.

It is interesting to see what officialdom is prepared to put in writing, with resulting accountability.




Offline Lucy2

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Offline minniehaha

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Re: Adoption Papers in New Zealand in the late 1940's.
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 10 January 23 02:28 GMT (UK) »
As an aside, the name of the solicitor who acted in the adoption may be shown in that sheaf of papers. The law firm he was part of may still exist. If not, the New Zealand Law Society should know which firm took over the file and adoption papers that with luck could be held in storage.


https://www.lawsociety.org.nz

Minniehaha.
HAMMOND, Cainham/Caynham, Shropshire, U.K. Otago-NZ.
GALBRAITH, Ireland, Dunedin, Otago-NZ., Kensington-London, U.K.
GRANT, Sct., Dunedin, Otago-NZ., Vancouver, Canada.
GLASS, Aberdeenshire, Otago-NZ.
CAIRNEY/CARNEY/KEARNEY/Ireland, Airdrie, Scotland, Otago-NZ.
O'BRIEN Mary Ann, Limerick, Otago-NZ.
NICOL(L) James, Scotland, Otago-NZ.
SCOTT Thomas, Shetland, Otago-NZ.
MCHARDY/MCHARDIE Euphemia, Scotland, Otago-NZ.

Offline Fresh Fields

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Re: Adoption Papers in New Zealand in the late 1940's.
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday 10 January 23 03:49 GMT (UK) »
Hello Jean.

I find your statements very confusing.

I would want to know who the holders of the papers she was granted some access to were / are. State, Charitable institution, Christian Social Services, Private etc.

Then seek advice re the governing legislation of the period of adoption, and subsequent legislation covering the held material. Much has changed over the years, re the holding of such material, and who may gain access, and under what conditions. Including the ability to have a support person when accessing the material.

My interpretation is that your cousin has found some papers re her adoption, which she has been granted a "limited" viewing of.  Not “granted her papers”.

For a number of years, I was involved in an adoption support group, and worked through the system, of that time, re adoptions. Plus experienced changes re the introduction of the Family Court etc which encouraged more "open adoptions".

Adoption files can contain more than just the basic formal questions placed upon the parties involved. Those questions can include a personal preference sheet, nominating a faith based upbringing, rural based upbringing, music background, sport, academic etc.  These can hint at the aspirations of the birth mother.

They can also contain personal correspondence sent to the agency involved, for handing over, for the benefit of the other party. Photos, gifts, etc. Such material may have contained a request that the material be made available at a milestone etc. Christening, 1st, 5th [going to school] birthday etc.

Some adopting families were receptive to receiving such material, others were not. Hence it still being held on file.

Alan.
Early Settlers & Heritage. Family History.

Offline Fresh Fields

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Re: Adoption Papers in New Zealand in the late 1940's.
« Reply #6 on: Tuesday 10 January 23 04:08 GMT (UK) »
PS

Re the period once the Family Court processed formal adoptions. There will be two sets of Court applications requiring approval. The interim application re assigning a child to the care of approved prospective adoptive parents, and the formal signing off on the adoption some six months, or greater, thereafter.

This interim period left the child in limbo land when it came to inheritance, so I know of couples who were also adding codicils to their wills covering that period until the Court approved the adoption registration, of the adoptive parents. 

Alan.

PS  In general these comments do not pertain to Maori children of the period. In Civil terms they still tended to be less formal, between known parties.
Early Settlers & Heritage. Family History.

Offline TwiggyTree

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Re: Adoption Papers in New Zealand in the late 1940's.
« Reply #7 on: Tuesday 10 January 23 04:21 GMT (UK) »
Sorry, not wanting to hi-jack the thread, but Lucy2, Fresh Fields or anyone, can you detail more about WHO is allowed to obtain adoption records please?

I had applied to the court to examine an adoption record, and it was located, but due to it being less than 100 years since birth at that time, not approved.  It is now 100 years since, but the 2 people I was supporting/applying on behalf of have since passed.

Would I still be allowed to apply?  Does it need to be a direct descendant?  Or after the death of the adoptee, are the files 'lost' / 'sealed forever'?

Happy to take this discussion to Private Messages so as to keep it on topic for Jean.

Thank you.
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Offline Fresh Fields

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Re: Adoption Papers in New Zealand in the late 1940's.
« Reply #8 on: Tuesday 10 January 23 04:37 GMT (UK) »
Sorry from my experience.

Short answer is there is no simple answer.  First you have to know the agency holding the record, and then what the current legislation is binding the record holder.

Say it is a Court held record, as could be the case Jean is referring to. I would be approcahing the Chief Judge of that court, BUT once papers are asigned over to the likes of the National Archives, many layers of approval may be required. Depending on the assigning deed, and the current charter of the holding archive. Privacy laws of recent years, considerably limit what was once of public record.

Alan.
Early Settlers & Heritage. Family History.