New Jersey Adoption Reform: A Circus of Assumptions

Marissa Babin/Flickr.com

Governor Chris Christie

Keeping up with all the news on state adoption legislation can be difficult, as things change faster than you can say, “found.”  The latest state with on again/off again legislation debate is New Jersey.

Blogger Susan P. of the Family Rights blog, brought to my attention Governor Chris Christie’s fumble on what could have been truly monumental legislation. The proposed open records law in NJ (as originally drafted) would have free adoptees from years of forced secrecy and gut-wrenching searches.

Adoption Reform is on the  move in NJ, and it seems that Christie and other legislators are twisting what should be a straight-forward, open records law, into a political nightmare. Fears of increased abortion rates, and the overzealous assumption that all birth mothers want secrecy,  has turned  NJ Adoption Reform  into a three-ring circus of church, state, and stupidity!

According to a blog titled, ‘Christie’s ‘compromise’ on Adoptees’ birthright bill unfair’ at NJ.com, Christie “conditionally vetoed the Adoptees’ Birthright Bill (A1406) in June 2011,  suggesting that legislators write in  a loophole for birthmothers to opt-out of the release of original birth certificates to adult adoptees.  From what I understand, this would come in the form of a one-year grace period before adoptees can act on the open records law. This would allow birth mothers a year to deny access.

Susan of the Family Rights Blog recently wrote, “Other states have successfully passed “clean” bills (Oregon, Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island), and it sickens me that some adoptees will be hurt by a concession to the fears of some legislators.”

I wholeheartedly agree! Adoptees deserve the same rights as every American. The availability of our original birth certificates should not open for debate.  Chris Christie has his original, unaltered birth certificate, and every person born in NJ deserves the same.

Adoptees did not sign away any rights. Therefore, access to records should be allowed without clauses of birth parent protection, or interference from the same “Christian” organizations that  forced many of the adoptions to begin with.  In response to criticism of his actions, Christie said, “Adoptees want it all.”

You got that right Christie!  We want all the same rights that you take for granted.

Keep the Faith NJ adoptees. Your truth is coming!

Vicki-lynn

UPDATE: Please note the comments section for a better understanding of Christie’s actions.  Turns out that while the circus continues, I had a few performance details askew!

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12 thoughts on “New Jersey Adoption Reform: A Circus of Assumptions

  1. The original bill provided for a disclosure veto as you described. It was not a clean bill.

    Christie vetoed that bill and proposed a confidential intermediary system instead.

    What many people do not realize is that original birth certificates are sealed even in step parent adoptions which are nearly half of all adoptions. This whole “birthparent privacy” thing is a new idea. Amending birth certificates and sealing the originals was never about “protecting” the natural parents and all about not letting the general public know the child was adopted. In many cases the adoptee was never told and the birth certificate didn’t offer any clues.

  2. SO , I WAS BORN IN JERSEY , IS THEIR A PROCESS I CAN START TO GET MY RECORDS YET OR NOT? IT SSO CONFUSING. I WOULD LOVE TO FIND MY BIRTH PARENTS, MY HERITAGE , MY MEDICAL INFO, FOR MY CHILDS FUTURE. i WAS BORN IN 1967 IN NEW JERSEY AND ADOPTED SHORTLEY AFTER.

    THANKS
    jEFF

    • Hello Jeff:

      First of all, I hope that you and your family in NJ are well! The first step you should take is to contact the agency that placed you. You will need to request a ‘letter of non-identifying information” from them. I have a post on the blog with an example. Do you know the agency? Let me know, and I will see what I can do to help guide you. No law changes yet for NJ. Will also keep you informed as I hear more about this.

      Blessings, Vicki-lynn

        • Uh oh… also please check my post on changing of adoption info. Catholic Charities seems to have been one of the worst. Therefore, some of your non-id may be false. Hoping that is not the case. Let me know once you get the non id, and I will help as much as I can. Vicki-lynn

      • Jeff, The first step is to ask all adoptive relatives about your adoption. You don’t have to say you are searching, just say your curious what they recall about your adoption. Someone should recall who placed you. Of course, if they are alive, you should go to your adoptive parents first. Not easy, but you deserve to know. Write down everything your adoptive family members recall.

        If you still do not have an agency/lawyer name, dig around any family papers you can get your hands on…in the attic, safe deposit box, the family bible. Next, call the largest library system in the city/area where you were born, and ask if they have any ‘birth register or birth listing reference books” for the county. The NY City Public library had these giant books listed by burrough. If these exist in your library system, you can either hire a researcher to look at your date of birth, or do it yourself. Take note of all boys born on your birthday is your birth city, one of them will be you. I found my real birthname this way.

        If these books don’t exist for your area, I would write to each and every adoption agency in the area where you were born. Tell them your adoptive name and birthdate, and that you need to confirm that you were placed by their agency, and that you would like to formally request a letter of non-identifying information, once you have confirmed that they are indeed the agency that placed you. A list of NJ agencies is here- http://www.myadoptionagencies.com/adoption-search/new_jersey_adoption_agencies.html. You can narrow the list of contacts you need to make, by calling each agency to find out if they were in business at the time of your birth. While you are on the phone, ask them if they can tell you whether or not you were placed through them. They will help you with the process.

        Once you find the placement agency, let me know, and I will try to help with the next steps.
        Blessings for a quick find!
        Vicki-lynn

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