Gavin came to Jamestown with high hopes. He had planned to spend a weekend in the area, not to visit the lake or see Chautauqua, but to find his biological parents. When he made his way to WCA Hospital, the place where he was born, and asked to see the documents filed at his birth, he was told those files were sealed and he could not access them. After days of pleading with the hospital, Gavin and his adoptive mother returned home, empty-handed.
"The story is pretty simple," said Gavin. "I've known since I was 7 or 8 that I was adopted. My parents were very forthcoming with that information. When I became 16 or 17, we did a lot of traveling around the world and it made me curious about where I was originally from. At that time, my mother had called (a contact in Jamestown) for (information on Gavin's birth) and was told that such information was kept until I was 21. At age 21 I had kind of put it in the back of my mind because I figured if (WCA) had that information they would hold on to it until I was ready to find out.
"However, I've begun to wonder about it again and I'm finding that information is not as available as it was before," Gavin continued. "I guess I'm just curious about who I am and where I came from ... just who they are or what they're like or if I have brothers or sisters. I don't want anything from them and I don't care why I was given up, because I had great, loving parents. I don't care about why, I just want some closure on a few things."
A young Gavin rides a rocking horse.
Prior to coming to Jamestown to try his luck in person with the hospital, Gavin says he's spent weeks worth of time over the phone with anyone who might have a direction for him.
"I've spent more time on the phone than off of it, it seems like," said Gavin. "I've been in contact with the hospital, the surrogates' office, the doctor who delivered me and the lawyer who was present at my adoption - every single road was a dead end."
Unfortunately for Gavin, the law firm that employed his lawyer at the time of adoption has since folded and all of its records have been destroyed. The surrogate's office has stated they may have records, however Gavin would need documentation stating it was medically pertinent that he know who his biological parents are. Finally, WCA Hospital simply told Gavin that his files were sealed and could only be unsealed in the case of a medical emergency.
Unsure of where to turn, Gavin approached The Post-Journal for help.
After discussing the issue with those close to him, Gavin's family suggested that perhaps an article in the newspaper would catch the eye of someone who possibly knew Gavin's biological parents in 1985 when he was born.
"Jamestown is a small town," said a friend of Gavin, who wished to remain unnamed. "The surrounding towns are small, too. There aren't that many babies born in a day at WCA - maybe two or three. This was on a particular day in August in 1985, so there are kids here in town whose parents would have been the same age or a little bit older than his birth parents who knew her - who knew she was pregnant. Maybe she was in high school or maybe it was just after high school. Either way someone here must know her. Perhaps if they saw an article (on Gavin), it would help spark their memory."
Gavin's family decided the best thing they could do right now to try to find his biological parents was to send a message out to the community and hope for someone to remember.
Gavin was born on Aug. 23, 1985, at WCA Hospital. He was 17 inches long and weighed 6 pounds, 7 ounces at his birth. Because Gavin was adopted at a very young age, his adoptive parents decided to give him a name of their choosing and there is a possibility that the name given to him by his biological parents was Jason. His current surname is irrelevant, as he took on the surname of his adoptive parents and he has asked that it remain void from this article.
At the time of his adoption, his biological parents had a change of heart and decided to keep Gavin. However, after a week passed, they decided that giving Gavin up for adoption was the right thing to do and follow through. It has been asked this information is included, because someone may recall a friend who decided to give their son up for adoption, retracted the offer, then returned to it.
WHY RECORDS ARE SEALED
Though it has caused Gavin and his family much frustration, the organizations that potentially have Gavin's birth records are bound by law to keep them sealed. A representative from WCA Hospital has sent The Post-Journal information on state laws regarding adoption records.
New York state law states that the following persons may receive access to non-identifying information:
The adoptee who is age 18 or older
The birth parents
A birth sibling who is age 18 or older
The adoptive parents of an adoptee who is age 18 or younger
The law states that the department shall operate an adoption information registry for the exchange of non-identifying information between the persons listed above. Non-identifying information shall include only the following information, if known, about the adoptee, birth parents and birth siblings:
The age of the parents in years at the time of the child's birth
The heritage of the parents, including nationality, ethnic background, race and religion
Education completed by the parents at the time of the child's birth
General physical appearance of the parents at the time of the child's birth, including height, weight, color of hair, eyes, skin and other information of similar nature
The occupation of the parents
The health history o the parents
The talents, hobbies and special interests of the parents
The facts and circumstances relating to the adoption
The existence of any known birth siblings
Gavin and his family have taken the steps listed by state law, yet the results have not satisfied him and his family. His simple request is to meet one or both of his biological parents to simply know who they are and what they are like and nothing more. Gavin has asked that his personal information does not come in contact with the public eye. For this reason, if you know, are, or think you may know Gavin's biological parents and wish to help him in his journey, it is asked that you please send all information to email@example.com. The Post-Journal will send along all information to Gavin, where he will have the final decision to pursue that information to his desired end.