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Step One

Taking the first baby steps toward the possibility of a reunion with my birth mother, I fill out a New York State Department of Health Adoptee Registration Form (MCVAR). MCVAR stands for Mutual Consert Voluntary Adoption Registries, and the New York Foundling Hospital keeps one such registry. The form will be copied, presumably, and sent on to the State Registry, which coordinates all the others in New York State. I have all the information requested - except for the date of adoption. I've got a petition, and two investigator's reports, but no order of the court. Who knows how much that will screw things up.

Both of the reports were submitted by Marugerite Duffy, "known in religion as Sister Mary Madeline," then the treasurer of the hospital. One of them includes the following statements:

That on the 29th day of January, 1948, the mother of said child delivered said child to the New York Foundling Hospital.

That the mother of said infant who had sole custody of said infant signed a Surrender thereof at The New York Foundling Hospital on the 15th day of March, 1948, recorded in the New York County Clerk's office in Surrenders, page 467.

What does this mean? Did my mother keep me by her side for the three weeks between my birth, on 6 January, and the end of the month? If so, where? Surely not at a maternity home - could that have been permitted?

I'll have the form in the mail on Monday.


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OK, 6 Jan, 29 Jan and 15 Mar 1948 those seem to be the three dates involved and although I'm intrigued as well by the twenty three days in January what about the span of six weeks from delivery to the Foundling Hospital and the signature on the Surrender? Am I reading this correctly? How does that work, leave the baby and come back six weeks later to sign the formal surrender, perhaps to make sure of the intention?

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