Adoption activists finally have a reason to celebrate. After 34 years of publicly sharing their deepest feelings and most painful experiences,Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill that will enable them to obtain their original birth records starting in 2017.
A leader of Catholic and anti-abortion rights, Christie was against the bill because he claimed it would harm mothers who gave up their babies for adoption and wanted to remain anonymous. However he said that the “extremely persistent” yet “respectful advocates for the bill would refuse to give up and continuously asked him to consider the human rights of the adoptee.
I often was uncomfortable with discussing this publicly because I had to identify my sister as adopted. You see, in our family, once she joined us 4th of July weekend in 1973, she was my sister, not my adopted sister,” Christie told a group of adoption rights advocates who gathered outside the Statehouse for the bill signing ceremony. “And for people who. . .referred to her as my adopted sister, we would always stop them short. She’s our sister.”
The new law will require birth mothers to complete a form identifying medical conditions they and other family members had suffered, informing adoptees to what kinds of illnesses and problems they may someday face.
He said the compromise made with the bill’s prime sponsors — including Sens. Diane Allen (R-Burlington) and Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex) — hit the right balance “by preserving privacy options for birth parents by allowing them to select a preference for contact — either through direct contact, contact through a confidential intermediary, or access to medical records only with continued privacy.”
Adoptees won’t be able to apply to the state health department for their birth certificates until Jan. 1, 2017 under the new law. This time gives the law’s opponents and proponents an ample amount of time to educate birth parents about their privacy rights and submit a yet-to-be-designed contact preference form to the state stating their wishes.
Adopted people now have the opportunity to know all of the things that someone from a traditional birth family possess, which is not only the knowledge about their medical history but who they are and what their ethnicity is.
For more information read on at http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/05/christie_signs_law_releasing_adoptees_birth_certificates_in_2017.html