STATE OF FLORIDA
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES
1317 Winewood Blvd.
Tallahassee FL 23299-0700
November 3, 1998
The Honorable Robert P. Cates, Circuit Judge
Eighth Judicial Circuit
Alachua County Courthouse
201 East University Avenue, Room 408
Gainesville, Florida 32601
RE: Adoption of Michael Edward Chalek, DOB January 25, 1952
Case Number 6815-C
Dear Judge Cates:
On yesterday, November 2, 1998, I received a telephone call from Mr. Michael Chalek. He stated to me that he had been before the Court and had explained his adoption situation and his need to have identifying information about his birth family released to him. He told me that the court would be asking the department to review his closed adoption record and make a recommendation to the Court.
This letter is to advise you that the Florida Department of Children and Families does have Mr. Chalek's sealed adoption record here in our office on microfilm. We provided Mr. Chalek with the non-identifying information on his birth family from the closed record in August of 1995.
I have reviewed the sealed adoption record and it is my recommendation that the adoption record be unsealed and the identity of the birth mother be revealed to Mr. Chalek, based on the following information obtained from the sealed record.
In the record his birth mother stated that she had not wanted to release her child for adoption. However, she stated that she did not have the financial means to care for her baby. Additionally, she was separated from her husband, who was not the baby's birth father. The birth mother did not feel that her family would be accepting of her and her child who was conceived outside of the bonds of her marriage. According to the record, Mr. Chalek's birth mother did question the Worker closely about the possibility of having the child returned to her even after the adoption petition had been filed. In the end, she decided that adoption placement was the best plan for her child.
The record states that Mr. Chalek's birth mother entered the hospital in Jacksonville under an assumed name at the instruction of the woman who helped her to make arrangements for the adoption placement. To further complicate matters, the birth mother used her assumed name to sign her Consent for the adoption and the original birth certificate also carries the assumed name. From the information in the record, it appears that no steps were ever taken to clear this deception up even after it was apparent that the adoption had been approved by the Florida Department of Public Welfare, and eventually finalized in the Alachua County Circuit Court. Therefore, even if Mr. Chalek is able to secure a copy of the original birth certificate, that document will carry the assumed name of the birth mother and not her real name.
According to the information in the record that I hold, a Mrs. Fielding apparently acted as an Intermediary in making adoption placements during the late forties and early fifties. I have seen her name in a number of the records that I have reviewed over the years. It is my opinion that Mrs. Fielding did whatever she could to assure that the identity of the birth mother would not ever be known either to the adoptive parents or to the adopted person when they become an adult.
It is my belief that if Mr. Chalek is ever to have a chance of finding and meeting his birth mother, that we must do what we can to assist him at this time. If the information in the sealed adoption record is correct, his birth mother was born in 1929, and she is now 69 years old. If Mr. Chalek's birth mother is still alive, I believe that she should have the opportunity to know him.
I hope that this letter is satisfactory and is what you need to assist you in your consideration of this matter. If you feel that I may be of any further assistance to you in this matter, please do not hesitate to call me at (850) 488-8000, extension 103.
Josette P. Marquess, MSW
Coordinator, Florida Adoption Reunion Registry
Florida Department of Children and Families