The work of the New York Adoptee Rights Coalition involves New York and national organizations. That work, however, is always defined and led by New York adoptees and their committed allies. Here are the primary leaders who are doing the day-to-day work of meeting with legislators, determining strategy, and advocating for unconditional access to original birth certificates in New York.
Annette O’Connell is a New York born adoptee, in reunion since 2015. She has been active in the adoptee rights community since 2014. She was a former administrator of New York State Adoptee Equality, where she helped organize events in Albany to lobby for the unrestricted rights of adult adoptees to access their original birth certificates. For the past three years, she has been a New York State liaison for Bastard Nation, the largest national adoptee rights advocacy organization in the country. She is an administrator of several Facebook adoption search groups, including one with Barbara Fuller, and volunteers her time as a search angel, helping to reunite biological families through the use of DNA and non-identifying information.
She is a hockey mom who holds a B.S. in Elementary and Special Education. She resides in Orange County, New York, with her husband, son, and dog Buster.
Barbara Flaherty Fuller was born in Brooklyn, New York. She grew up in Garden City, New York, where her family still resides. She attended Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead and Mount Saint Vincent College in the Bronx. She has been active in the search community since the mid-1990’s, and became active in adoptee rights in 2015. She has been in reunion with aunts and uncles and her extended family members since 2015. She volunteered for a short period of time with New York State Adoptee Equality, working on the Simple Piece of Paper Campaign. She is actively working to pursue adoptee rights reform in her current state of West Virginia, where she is also on the ballot for the Republican Executive Committee for Jefferson County. She also serves as the president of her homeowners’ association. She volunteers her free time photographing sports for her children’s schools and as a search angel, helping to reunite other adoptees thru the use of DNA and non-identifying information. She, Annette, and four other women co-administer a search and support group on Facebook. She is currently a member of Bastard Nation and the American Adoption Congress.
When not participating in the above activities she spends time with her husband (RET-USAF), four children, and more pets than she would like to admit.
Tim Monti-Wohlpart is a New York born adoptee, in reunion since 1998. He is also the National Legislative Chair for the American Adoption Congress as well as AAC’s New York state representative. In 2002 and 2003, he served as Vice President and Legislative Liaison for New York Statewide Adoption Reform, lobbying for unrestricted original birth certificate access for all adult adoptees. In 2015, he began a grass-roots effort to restore the unrestricted access bill after it was changed in June 2015. His public petition, supporting that effort, has been provided to key legislators and Governor Cuomo. Tim joined the AAC Legislative Council in 2016 and serves on AAC’s board of directors.
Tim holds a B.S. in marketing and a Master of Education. He lives and works in Brooklyn.
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy is the Director of Outreach and Advocacy for the Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York. A birth mother since 1987, she has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. After becoming active in AdoptionLand, she initiated a search for her son who was in a traditional closed adoption. She later found and contacted Max directly through MySpace in 2005, long before Facebook became the adoption search tool of choice. After almost two years of contact, they met for the first time in March 2007. All four of her children were reunited later the same year and continue to enjoy a very successful and healing reunion.
Since 2005, Claudia has written extensively about her own experiences and feelings as well as publishing the voices of others on her website, Musings of the Lame. Her writings on adoption issues have been published in The New York Times, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather and Montel Williams and has presented at various adoption conferences and appeared in radio and print interviews over the years.
Extremely passionate about restoring the rights of adult adoptees to their original birth certificates, she has served on the board of directors of the Adoptee Rights Coalition, has helped organize national Adoptee Rights Demonstrations (2009 to 2013) as well as educated legislators on the the rights of adoptees at the National Conferences of State Legislatures held across the county. Claudia has been going to Albany on behalf of adoptee rights legislation since 2006. She was one of the original founders of New York Adoptee Equality and has assisted in the promotion and outreach of many other state’s efforts. She would very much like to see equal access for adoptees restored in the entire nation during her lifetime.
She resides in Kingston with her husband, children, and many cats.