Adoption Rights Bill Moving Closer To Becoming Law In N.J.

Adoptees May Soon Get Answers; Catholics Fret Abortion Spike

SECAUCUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — It’s a big step forward for a historic and controversial adoption bill. Lawmakers approved a plan Tuesday to unseal birth records for adoptees in New Jersey.

But some critics said it could encourage abortion, reports CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

“Every time my kids did something for school, they’d ask me what nationality are we. I’d have to say, I don’t know. It was a good experience growing up with the parents that I had, but I still think it’s owed to me to know where I came from,” adoptee Patti Spiegel said.

Like many who were adopted Spiegel is anxious to learn about her biological parents.

“I would say it’s a burning curiosity,” she said.

And it might be satisfied by the Adoption Rights bill just passed by the New Jersey Legislature, which would allow adults who went through so-called “closed adoptions” to see their birth certificates, learn the names of their parents and begin tracing their family medical histories.

“So if somebody has a family history of glaucoma they know what to check for and that could be very good for them,” said Assemblyman Vincent Prieto, D-Hudson County.

Opposition to the bill came mostly from New Jersey’s Catholic bishops and right-to-life groups, who feared the loss of anonymity would sway some pregnant women against adoption.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark spokesman Jim Goodness said Catholic charities arranged thousands of adoptions, promising anonymity.

“There are women and men who have been involved in the adoption process for generations who are now having their privacy taken away from them,” Goodness said.

The bill provides a mechanism for biological parents to have their names blanked out, as long as they provide cultural and medical history details.

Spiegel said she hopes Gov. Chris Christie signs the bill. He said it’s under review.

“I hope Gov. Christie really takes pity on us. We’ve been waiting so long for this. We’re so close, never been this close before,” Spiegel said.

She said she wants to answer questions from granddaughter Brooke she couldn’t answer for her own children.

Christie has 45 days to decide whether to sign the measure. In New York, lawmakers are debating a similar bill.

Do you think this is a good idea? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Tony Aiello
  • Jen

    My family is the family that adopted me. I am in my 40’s, I would like to know my medical history, my heritage, do I have any siblings? If my birth family does not want a relationship, I accept that. But there should be no reason why I can’t find out these things to bring closure to my life.
    Please sign the Bill, Gov. Christie


    Governor Christie, PLEASE sign this bill. You ARE doing the correct thing to all adoptee’s. I have been looking for over 45 years. with the help of a Great Investigator and little info we found my birth mother in 2 weeks. My birth father passed away a few years prior, if I had only done this sooner. I went from an only child with a great life to getting ready to meet most of the 6 siblings..WOW.. Now my daughter and grand daughter have there history why would anyone deny another person such great fulfillment?
    ONE Question though, word has it I am a twin,( think mom’s holding back a few things) would I be able to find this out? /and How. Born Newark New Jersey 1955.

  • AJLoM

    As a Adoptee Born Anthony James LoMonaco 06/22/66 in Patterson NJ a Itailian kid raised by Good Proud Irish People. It eats you up in side as to who you really are. You can be raised by the best people but you allways feel like you are on the out side looking in, they all look a like and have heritage.
    I’ve been married for 26 years with 2 daughters.
    My wifes family can trace their history all the way back to King Edward the 3rd so my kids have 1/2 a family history.
    All these people have health history as well. On my side I know I’m Itailian on my birth Mothers side but nothing else.
    We always wondered what kind of health suprises awaited us with our children and now I am at the age where I could drop dead tomorrow by some unknown family health trait that we don’t know about.
    This is all stuff most red blooded tax paying Americans and people around the world take for granted
    But Adoptees are not allowed to have this personal knowlege that is eveyone elses right.
    I just would really like to know more.
    Govenor Christie, PLEASE Sign this bill !!!

  • NJAdoptee

    As an adoptee who is currently in search of her birthparents, what hurts is ignorant and judgmental comments by someone who a. never had children and b. who isn’t adopted. if you’re not, you can never know the potential nagging curiosity about where you came from, even if you were brought up by the most loving and caring adoptive parent’s. it’s only natural to want to know where you came from, who you look like, or have questions answered. i love my parent’s and am not looking to replace them. remember, having a child from your womb does not a mother make, and adopting a child not of your womb, does not make you any less of a mother. it’s a shame you’re not more supportive of your husband. sounds like he wants to have some sort of relationship with this woman and knows your disapproval or fear of her being after your money. if she is, then shame on her, but if she’s merely searching for some clues about her history, then shame on you. sounds more like you’re the one who is destroying your marriage. hope all that money of yours, which by the way you can’t take with you when you’re gone, is worth it.

  • jimm58

    “Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark spokesman Jim Goodness said Catholic charities arranged thousands of adoptions, promising anonymity.”

    The Archdiocese knew all along that anonymity could not be assured without the child being adopted. It’s refreshing to see an official spokesperson admit that the Archdiocese knowingly lied to thousands of women but I fail to see why anyone should honor these lies at the expense of anyone’s rights.

  • Cathy

    My husband and I have been married almost 40 hears but never had children, . Last year the baby he and his girlfried from 45 years ago that they gave up to adoption through Catholic Charties found him on Facebook because she was able to give some story to a nun at the hospital she knew she was born in because her adoptive parents told her years ago. She has destroyed our relationship. My husband never thought of himself as a “dad” only a sperm donor. Why after all these years would you need to find a birth mother or father? What a way to hurt her adoptive parents and now her birth people. I have no need to see this person and my husband has seen her three times in the last year. At least that he what he says. You see I can never trust him again. So so sad after all these years. We did iamend our will to include her name so that she cannot claim any of our money. God help all of those birth people who thought they were protected under the law years ago. She hurt her birth people and their spouces as well as her parents who took care of her all these years. PS I think she is now looking for money since she mentioned her adoptive parents lost lots of money in the stock market in the last few years.
    I understand everyone has “rights” just be aware of the consequences. He didn’t want the baby then and he doesn’t want the 50 year old now. Some adoptees are going to get hurt after they are rejected again.

    • jimm58

      My heart goes out to your husband in his time of need and spousal abandonment. How self-centered of you to assume your husband wants nothing to do with his daughter just because you don’t. How cruel of you to do anything to discourage a relationship between the two. You say you can no longer trust your husband because he saw his daughter three times in the past year? Your insecurity is eclipsed only by the obvious hatred you have for this relative stranger who wants to know where she came from.

      You will be relieved to know that his daughter has no legal right to any of the cash, baubles, bangles and beads you so cherish. However, you should be afraid that your behavior will expose you for what you are. I understand why your husband chose not to have children with you, I only wonder why he stays.

      • Lisa Marie

        Lisa Marie,
        It is people like you who make judgemental comments expecting birth parents and others to react the way you want them too that will cause more birth parents to opt out. As you want others to be sympathetic to how you feel you should be sympathetic towards other. Not everyone feels as you do. Three members of adoption and birth parents in my family wait son’s new girlfriend’s father is adopted (62 years old) and not one has a need to have contact. To each their own people handle things differently.

      • jimm58

        I assume your comment is to me, Lisa Marie. Please allow me to expound a bit.

        My point is that the daughter is HIS daughter, not hers. He alone should make any decision regarding contact and the original poster should support her husband’s wishes whatever they may be. It really is not her call to make and she is overstepping the bounds of a good spouse. If the daughter were a dangerous person, she might have a point but that does not sound like the case here.

        It is telling that she questions his honesty. It is telling that he might, in fact, want to hide his relationship with his daughter from his wife. It is telling that he does not seem to want to end this relationship, from what the original post says.

        It is very true that some first parents and adoptees have no interest in searching or reunion. The orignal post makes it sound like this is not one of those cases.

    • Adoptee

      I am sorry to hear that your husband’s birth daughter finding him was such a traumatic event for you; however, this isn’t how it always is. I wonder how her finding him “destroyed” your relationship and why you fell you can never trust him again. You seem to feel a great deal of animosity toward this individual and toward the fact that your husband might have seen her several times. It seems like you are very concerned about her trying to get something from you monetarily. I can see why you wouldn’t want her to come around solely for that reason, but have you ever thought that there were other reasons for her to seek out her parents?
      You ask “Why after all these years would you need to find a birth mother or father?” Everyone has their own motivations for this and they are not all to see if they can get money. Adoptees often have many unanswered questions about their birth families, medical histories, etc, since none of this information is provided to us. Many of us were adopted many years ago when the thought of unwed mothers or young mothers wasn’t as widely accepted. Many of these mothers might have been pressured by family to put babies up for adoption and there have been many stories of these parents wanting to be able to reunite with the children they put up for adoption.
      Adoptees seeking out their birth parents doesn’t always hurt the adoptive parents either. Most adoptive parents are aware of the fact that adoptees may have several unanswered questions and might seek to find out the answers. Many of these adoptive parents are in support of this. I also believe that most adoptees go into possible reunifications knowing that there is the possibility that the birth family might not want the same type of relationship.
      I think your statement about “he didn’t want the baby then and he doesn’t want the 50 year old now” is very harsh and uncaring. I think you need to examine why you are so threatened about this possible relationship and why you would want to speak out and prevent adoptees from having the rights that all other individuals have- the right to know where they came from, the right to know their medical history, and the right to get some questions answered. Not all adoptees are seeking out answers for monetary gain and I don’t believe that all birth parents want nothing to do with the children they put up for adoption.

      • Sue

        I agree…..obviously she doesn’t know what it’s like to be go through life never to know the answers to many questions….wondering on your birthday if they are thinking about you like you are thinking about them…..also in the legal court papers all inheritance is void,so many adopted people aren;t looking for a handout….how demeaning !!!!

  • henrietta

    what if you are the victim of date rape & feel that this was in the best interest — never identified father & never told the true story to family ?

    • jimm58

      As adult citizens, the parent and adoptee would be free to privately decide on the level of contact, if any. they desire. Unwanted contact can be prevented using laws already on the books.
      This law proposes giving adult adoptees the option of obtaining a copy of their original birth certificate, something very different from fostering relationships. Many adoptees do not wish to search, or have successfully searched without the certificate. Often, both the adoptive and biological parents are agreeable to the adopted adult obtaining a copy of their original birth certificate, yet the law doesn’t allow for it.
      It’s time for New Jersey to begin treating adult citizens who were adopted just as they treat other adult citizens. Not affording thejm equal treatment under the law (not “special” treatment, just “equal” treatment) is the very definition of discrimination.

  • NewIllinoisAdoptionLaw

    Important Changes are also taking place in Illinois Adoption Laws!

  • laurel

    The bill is punitive to birth parents who what to protect privacy. Opt out is a joke. Slipped to make it sound like birht mothers who want to maintain privacy will be able to. She will be forced to fill out medical information first every 10 years then every 5. Miss it due to illness birth certificates are open. When she dies birth certificates will be opened. She has to tell family or she will be leaving a mess for them to deal with when they get a surprise knock at the door.
    Those I know that are birth mothers would have an abortion now if they knew birth certifictes would be unsealed years later.
    Mary I agree with you. Want to unite it should be those who want to unite leave the rest alone. We had to create safe haven laws because mother’s so desperate dumped babies in dumpsters, left outside at church doors and in the trash in bathrooms. Woman should have a choice closed or open adoption or abortion.
    Veto the bill Gov. Christie create a fair bill.

    • Adoptee

      I wonder about if/how you are affected by adoption in order to offer the opinion that you do. I do not believe the bill is punitive to birth parents and do not feel as though the opt out is a joke. Is it really that difficult for a birth parent to fill out a form regarding their medical information? I don’t know if you have ever had to go to the doctor and not be able to report anything in regards to family history. Not knowing this history leaves adoptees at an extreme disadvantage in terms of getting effective and timely medical care. I would like to know the research or proof you have in regards to abortions escalating if this bill is passed.
      In terms of wanting to “unite those who want to be united,” that is pretty much impossible in many cases since many birth parents would not know how to contact children they put up for adoption several years ago due to the closed records. Even if they wanted to be reunited at this time, they would have no idea of where or how to start looking. This bill would assist those birth parents who wanted to attempt to be reunited as well as helping the adoptees who have this same desire.

    • Kevin H

      Better yet, be responsible for your actions without punishing the children who did not ask to be part of some secret. I have every right to know where I came from, regardless of your comfortable hiding place.

  • Dave Alden

    I was told I was adopted the day before my wedding day . I have no access to medical history and I have three children who as a result now have only half the information they would otherwise have had. This should be a national law – a bill signed by the president emancipating we that are adopted from restrictions of overt secrecy, and at a minimum allowing us our own biological medical history. Is it right to protect a lie…even to the point that it denies the rights of those lied to – this seems in direct contrast with christian theology. I am surprised that any christian organization would oppose this.


    Contact the Office of Governor Christie and encourage him to sign this bill.

  • Jo Anne Swanson

    The rights sought by New Jersey adoptees are not NEW rights. They are rights that were theirs for decades, but stripped from them during the era when adoption laws sought to create the “as if born to” illusion by replacing factual information on birth certificates with adoptive parents’ names and addresses. Some even changed the child’s date and place of birth. Telling the child he/she was adopted was optional for parents, and many chose to keep the secret. States perpetuated the family secrets by sealing adoption files. None of this had anything whatsoever to do with “confidentiality” for the mothers. In fact, mothers’ names were commonly divulged to the adoptive parents on their copies of the adoption decrees, which countless adoptees discovered among their parents’ important papers after their deaths – or even before.

    Pay a visit to this website to learn what rights adoptees once enjoyed and now seek to have restored to them.

    It includes the following:
    “It is very important that the child’s original birth certificates be identified so that his complete birth record will be available to him when needed.”

    “The right to inspect or to secure a certified copy of the original birth certificate of an adopted child should be restricted to the registrant, if of legal age; or upon court order.”

  • Jennie Seymour

    jennie Seymour – If the Governor signs the Bill, it will be like the Emancipation-
    Proclamation of Adoption – equal civil rights for scores of New Jersey adoptees.
    at last after decades of fighting to unseal birth recordsJ

  • Alison Larkin

    When I was pregnant with my son my doctor asked me if there was anything he should know about my birth mother’s pregnancy. Even though our reunion hadn’t been an easy one, because I had been lucky enough to find her I was able to pick up the phone and ask her. She told me about a form of jaemophilia that had developed in her after she gave birth to me – so it was not in the medical history my adoptive parents received. The doctor turned pale and later told me that if he had not had that information neither myself or my son would have made it. I believe that the needs of a child – who becomes an adult – should always be put first. As the vast majority of birth mothers want contact and those who don’t can say no thanks, the arguments against this seem spurious in the extreme. Who are the opposing comments really coming from? I know several right to life people who believe that adopted people should have the right to their own birth certificates – because they believe that the rights of the child who becomes an adult must always be protected! I know many Catholics who feel the same – stats show that in the states where records are open abortion rates have actually dropped! I say look carefully at the people opposing this bill. And follow the money. In my novel, The English American, published by Simon and Schuster, which is on its way to becoming a major motion picture, the journey of my adopted heroine to find her birth parents brings her closer to adoptive parents while answering key questions about her own identity. The novel is autobiographical and covers adoptee rights in detail – for more info go to Governor Christie has the opportunity to finally right the wrong that has been done to New Jersey adoptees for decades. I hope and pray he does it.

  • Mirah Riben

    This is not just about “”curiosity” or even medical history, though those are important.

    But what it is really about is restoring the civil rights of adoptees – to make them EQUAL to all other citizens in regard to access their OWN original birth certificates.

    The abortion issue is a big smoke screen

    If access laws truly lead to an increase in abortion rates, why do states which have passed legislation in the past 10 years report significantly reduced rates of adoption when compared with the national trend of 9% reduction between 2000 and 2005? During that time, the rate of reduction in Alabama was 16% and the rate of reduction in Oregon was 25%. Both of those states implemented unrestricted access laws in 2000.

  • Michael Gaskin

    Governor christie should sign this Bill and give adoptees the Rights that other U.S Citizens take for granted. The Right to know your biological parents shouldn’t be a matter of discussion because most adoptees are deprived of knowing not only their medical background, but their ethnicity, race, and creed. How would a person feel if he/she knew they were of Native American origin, but couldn’t practice or participate in it’s culture because they lack the knowledge of what tribe they derive from? The medical issue should also be of great encouragement in regards to this subject, also because if their exists a history of cancer, hemophilia, or alcoholism, it should be made known to the adult adoptees so that they may take precautionary measures… The list goes on. Help the adoptees find out who they TRULY are, and sign the Bill Gov. Christie… PLEASE!!!

    • Gail

      ” How would a person feel if he/she knew they were of Native American origin, but couldn’t practice or participate in it’s culture because they lack the knowledge of what tribe they derive from? ” I can tell you through my own adoption experience that discovering that my Birth Mother was “full-blood Native American” has made a world of difference in my life and the lives of my children and grandchildren. EVERY Adoptee is entitled to his/her Original Birth Certificate and ALL of the information contained therein. For those of us, born in one State and then, adopted in a different State are left in a quandry … Now, I shall have to wait until the “other” state changes their law regarding the release of Original Birth Certificates to ALL Adoptees. It is CRITICAL that this Bill be signed by Governor Christy. It is absolutely ludicrous that one man or a group of people should have the right to decide whether or not Adoptees are entitled to EQUALITY. Bottom line is simply and purely equality.

  • Barbara

    Mary need not worry. The bill now before Governor Christie for consideration strikes a balance between the rights of the child to information that all other US citizens have and the consideration of privacy for birthmothers. All a birthmother need do is provide some cultural background information and medical details and her name will be blacked out on the Original Birth Certificate issued to the adoptee. Reason should prevail. It is time for this compromise to go forward.

    • Carole H Johnston

      You just do not get it. We adoptees donot have our Cival Rights

  • Peter Franklin

    If you don’t know the history (secret adoption was a form of domestic abuse) or the research (95% of birth parents welcome contact) you are aiding a sinister coverup. Ask yourself why are priests and adoption brokers hiding behind the skirts of birth mothers?

  • Nancy Nicholson

    I am a practising Catholic who was adopted in 1955. I searched too late and my mother and brother had already passed away. I do not know who my birthfather was and I wonder about this every day. I researched a variety of Catholic sources and found conflicting info so I went to The Catechism of the Catholic Church Part III Life in Christ p. 631 under The Gift of a Child regarding the subject of artificial insemination or surrogacy “ These techniques…infringe the child’s right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses’ right to become a father and a mother only through each other” that would seem paradoxical to the quote down on the page encouraging sterile couples to adopt “they can give expression to their generosity by adopting abandoned children or performing demanding services for others. However, nothing is said about secrecy. There were adoptions in the bible including the story of the birth of Moses but nothing was meant to be an eternal secret. We are revealed the truth through the Bible story.

    It also says that the child has “the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception”.

    Several times at my church, groups who protect and nurture unwed mothers come to church with the pregnant women and newborn babies and the mothers are not vilified but honored for their choice. Kathy DiFiore of Seven Sources Shelter was the sponsor- I asked her if she promoted closed or open adoption and she said “whatever the mother wants, we don’t force anything on them, most of them keep their babies”.

    Please feel free to use this information which is my research on a paper I am writing entitled The Adoptee and the Virgin Birth…A Paradox. The thesis is that as adoptees who have never seen their biological parents, praying to invisible Fathers and Mothers is not so strange!

    Nancy Nicholson

  • Adam Pertman

    Anyone concerned about a rise in abortions as a result of this legislation can put their fears to rest. Both research and experience unambiguously show that this simply doesn’t happen. Here’s a link to the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute’s latest report on he subject:

  • Jean

    I am an adult adoptee and I hope the Gov. signs this bill. It’s awful growing up and not knowing anything about yourself. Not knowing your roots, nationality or medical history. We have a right to this information just like anyone else. It’s time for the discrimination against adoptees to stop. Unless you are an adoptee you have no idea how awful it feels to not know anything about yourself.

    As Birth Mothers have said, they were never promised anonimity. If Catholic Charities led them to believe that, then that’s a shame, but the papers they signed never said that. In NYC you can go right to the library and look up your birth name. Not too anonymous is it.

    I am very angry that Catholic Charities is opposing this. There is absolutely no proof that this will lead to an increase in abortions. It didn’t in the other states where adoptions were opened. It’s because of things like this why I no longer go to a Catholic church.

  • J. West

    As a 64 year old adoptee I have spent many years wondering who I am. What nationality am I? Most importantly what is my family medical history? I doubt very much that my biological mother is alive. I do know that she never told my biological father that she was pregnant. I have no intention of disrupting anyone’s life, but there are medical issues that I have a right to know. Am I at risk for contracting cancer or any other disease that is carried through heredity? The medical profession has said time and again that knowing your family medical history is an essential factor in guarding your health.

    Take a close look at the opponents for this bill passed by the NJ legislature. The Catholic Church and the opposing lawyers are the people who are making money on adoptions today. Using bogus scare tactics that include a rise in abortions is their last ditch effort to keep the profitable business that they are in. They do not care about protecting the privacy rights of the birth parents. Their stand is a self serving one and should be seen for exactly what it is. It is the denial of the rights of the child. Someone needs to stand up for the rights of the child.

    Governor Christie, I am asking you to stand up for the rights of the adopted children from the age of day one to 101. They are the ones that need you to support and sign this bill.

  • Virginia

    I am an adoptee. Giving birth does not make you a parent. Raising and loving a child, providing for them, being there for them makes you a parent and part of a family. My adopted parents will always be my family. I have no need to contact my “birth parents” but I would like this bill to pass. I would like to know where I was born, what time, weight and height, all the small things plus my medical history. For whatever reason I was put up for adoption and lucky enough to find a good family. Not a perfect one, divorce, etc. But one where I was loved. Let the “birth parents’ keep their identities secret but release all the rest.

  • Karen Brown Belanger

    Many MANY adoptees did not get good families and instead have been abused, neglected, and rejected especially when biological children enter the family. Adoption is not the cure all for unplanned pregnancies. This is about rights NOT reunions. There are already laws in place for those that do not want contact with others. States with open adoption records have lower rates of abortion. Don’t penalize adoptees for being adopted. Basing a child’s life upon falsified information and lies is NOT a good, solid, healthy foundation. Bring truth and honesty into adoption!

  • Mary

    Excuse me, adoptees, how about the privacy rights for the mother? I see that you demand the right to intrude on your birth parents without the consent of the birth parent, disrupting their lives…and then disappear again because you have the right to refuse further contact. Well I am sorry but that is very selfish. Be should be grateful that you were placed for adoption and not just aborted and be satisfied with the parents that you have. Moreover, don’t you think that at the very least, if adoptees disrupt the birth parent, that they should stay in contact? Further, there is no guarantee that their birth parents will give them any information at all, or does the government plan on ordering birth parents to disclose.

    Of course, there is a solution to this…rather than aborting their babies, birth mothers should flock to cities that have “baby abandonment” laws. Just drop the healthy infant off at a fire station or hospital when it is healthy and under 3 days old and there will be no records for any adoptee to ever overturn…end of problem! I am sure that adoptees will think that this is barbaric…but it is equally barbaric for them to barge into their birth parents’ lives just to obtain health information and then simply vanish, leaving birth parents to try and piece their lives again.

    • Neil

      After reading your numerous angry postings, it is obvious that you believe that adopted adults should have no rights. You sound like a guilt-ridden bitter woman who gave birth to a child and hoped it would never “disrupt” your perfect life. Let me tell you something…The day that child was born was the day the child should have the rights to know who they are.

      Unfortunately, there are consequences to all of our desicions in life! Pregnancies, adoptions, abortions, & disease are all part of the roulette wheel when someone decided they are old enough to have sex. Guess what, the child was the only innocent player to the game called life & the least we can do is give them a sense of who they are. Just like everyone else. We owe our children more information then we fill out at the ASPCA to drop off a pet….However, don’t worry, I feel very confidant that no one would want to find you at the end of their indivual search for their story! Who knows, just like your ideal- Maybe someday we can also drop off bitter people at the Fire station or hospital when they no longer have compassion for their fellow man….

    • Jean

      Oh so sorry if someone might intrude on your life. Did you ever think about how the adoptee is affected their WHOLE life because they don’t know anything about themselves? How would you like it if you didn’t know your nationality, or what diseases run in your family so that you can be proactive? I don’t think you would. You think it’s “barbaric” to “barge” into their parent’s lives to obtain health information. Maybe we should all just drop dead of diseases that would have been prevented if we had known they run in our families. I’m sure you would be happy about that.

      When I found my own birth mother, I contacted her and hoped for the best. I wasn’t planning to “Intrude” on her life. If she didn’t want to bother with me I would accept that and asked that she please just give me some basic information about myself, which she did. I was lucky because she decided that she wanted me back in her life and we are all very happy.


      The point of this bill is that adoptees can access crucial information such as medical records and other important background information. If you had read the article thoroughly you would have noticed that if the birth parent(s) desire, their names can be blacked out on the adoptees original birth certificate. They birth parent’s life would not be “disrupted” in any way, and the adoptee would be able to live their life like any other child. An adoptee should not be penalized because they were adopted. If you don’t want to see your birth child, that is YOUR right. However, the ADOPTEE has a basic right to understand their background. Knowing your family’s medical history can save lives, it isn’t fair to keep the adoptee in the dark.

    • Ryan


      That’s hogwash. First, you obviously have no idea how difficult it is to go through life with no clue as to where you came from or the details of your origin. And, if a woman and man are willing to lay down enjoy the fruits of creating a life then they should take responsibility for that life. That responsibility may manifest itself in putting the child up for adoption, which is honorable, but that child also needs to be provided the history of his/her own origin. What kind of mother/father wouldn’t want to know of the whereabouts and well-being of the life they created? An adoptee under the current law is robbed/deprived of his/her heritage through absolutely no fault of his/her own. Is that fair?? As for your portrayal of an adoptee as some wreckless, selfish being that would set out to turn his birthparents world(s) upside-down and then ride off into the sunset, it makes it abundantly clear that have no clue as to the common disposition of adoptees which is that of a soleful yearning to be close to there biologic mother and father. Hurting them and, certainly, abandoning them is the absolute last thing that an adoptee would set out to do. Your position is one propoganda spewing to obviously hide/conceil a secret close to you. Your overreaction exposes your vulnerability. Open your heart, sit down with an adoptee and watch the tears of their heart roll down their face. And then tell me they’re the ones out to hurt someone.

  • Jill

    As a birth parent I was NEVER promised confidentiality. I WELCOME the chance to have adoptees know their true roots.

    As an adoptee it is too late for me to know my birth parents – but at least I’ve gotten to know my siblings and their children. My children know their cousins.

    Abortion is NOT going to change because of this bill. MOST adoptions today are open. The birthmother is known to the child in most cases today. Either a pregnant woman will have an abortion or she won’t. This bill will not alter what someone wants or believes.

    I don’t love my adoptive parents any less because I’ve gotten to know my birth family – it just means there is more family to love.

  • Lorraine Dusky

    I am a first mother and am thrilled that this bill finally passed and people adopted as adults will be able to learn their histories, their true identities, and be able to fully answer the question the rest of us take for granted: Who am I?

    It is worth nothing that abortion rates do not go up when these archaic laws are repealed, though opponents of the bill know this, they persist in putting forth this lie.

    Birth parents do not deserve the protection of the state to stay anonymous from their own children. It puts the state in the position of “protecting” a group of people by stripping the rights of another who did no wrong. Their only crime was to be adopted.
    I found my daughter when she was 15, with the blessing of her adoptive parents, and for all of us, it was not a moment too soon.
    Lorraine from

  • Gail

    Unrestricted open records for adult adoptees is the norm in most of the rest of the free world. Adoptees should have a right to access the records of their birth in the same manner as any other citizen of this nation. Why do we have to continue living with the unknown simply because we were adopted and are governed by antiquated laws that desperately need to be changed? The future is blind without sight of the past. Everyone needs to know where they came from, their origins, their history, their racial and ethnic background, who their mothers and fathers are, and of paramount importance, potentially life-saving medical information. Denying this information is not only an injustice and a denial of a basic human right, but it is immoral and unconscionable. Times and attitudes have changed. We all have a moral obligation to look at historical judgments and correct them if they were made in violation of personal rights.

  • chvj

    There should be a system in place to allow the adoptee to ask the biological parents if they want to be contacted. Surprise visits can ruin the family(s) the bio parents created when their children/spouse/parents do not know they had a child they placed for adoption. Yes, the adopted child should have access to their birth parents’ medical and social information.

  • RichieT

    A person has the right to know their natural families medical history.
    The Catholic Church, does not have the right to deny a person from knowing who their birth parents are. It should to be up to the parents if they want to meet their own children. but they shouldn’t be stopped from doing it.

    • Mary

      Excuse me but these mothers were promised confidentiality when they gave their babies up for adoption; otherwise they may have chosen other options. I have no problem making a new law that says from this day forward, adoption records can be unsealed by either party (so bio-parents have the equal right to intrude on the lives of their progeny), but it isn’t fair to make such a law retroactive!

      • Jean

        Birth mothers were NOT promised confidentiality. That was not in the papers that were signed. In NY you can simply go to the main library and look up your birth name. Records were sealed to appease the adoptive parents so they would adopt and not be afraid that the birth parents were going to come knocking on the door and interfere with how they were raising their children. That is what the birth mothers signed, that they wouldn’t interfere with their children’s lives. Also records are NOT sealed when the child is given up, only when it is adopted, for the reason I stated above. If the child is not adopted, the records are not sealed.

      • jimm58

        Jean points out the strict argument against the fallacy of “birthparent confidentiality:” a relinquished child’s birth certificate is NEVER sealed in New Jersey or any other state – they retain it for life, with the biological parents’ names unredacted or altered in any way, the same as any other person. Unless they are successfully adopted. Since no one can absolutely guarantee that any relinquished child will be adopted, no one can guarantee that the birth certificate will be sealed and an ammended one issued, thereby creating the “confidentiality” promised by unscrupulous adoption workers.

        The public has a reasonable right to expect adoption workers to be aware of adoption law in their state. Therefore, we can expect any promises of confidentiality made were known to be lies by those making them.

  • PJ

    I can understand what hell so many adoptees go through. My husband was born to a single woman how refused to pass any information regarding his bio dad to him. He died a very unhappy man, still wanting to know who his dad was/is. Our son, now would like that very same information as he feels there’s 1/4 of him that remains unknown. On the other hand, I can understand the bio-mom not wanted the information to be released, and a child appearing at the front door, perhaps destroying her present life. It’s a very sticky issue, and I feel for both sides. There must be a middle ground

  • gertrude murrells

    IT WOULD BE NICE IF SOME OF THOSE ADOPTED WOULD SAY THANK TO THE FAMILY THAT1) loved them, 2) families that stayed up at night when they were scared 3) put coins under the pillow when teeth feel out 4) took them to the park, zoo, trips, school, and…..oh yeah I guess maybe Jolie and Madonna are right, lets go overseas, forget the ones here, no thanks

    • KPags

      Can’t an adoptee have love for their family through adoption and a desire for their birth information? Why are these two things mutually exclusive for the adoptee? Many people have an interest in searching through their ancestry. The adoptees need for this information is no different,

      We must all remember that the birth and adoptive families do not supplant one another; rather, they extend one another. Each has meaning and importance in the life of the adopted person. It is not for the government to tell adopted persons that they cannot access the same information about themselves that all other persons take for granted.

      I urge NJ Governor Christie to sign this bill and I hope NY has the same success with their bill

    • Roberta

      Why so insecure about your place as a parent? If you’ve done your job with love, you wouldn’t have to feel so threatened. You will always be “Mom” to your child, adopted or not.

    • Laura Stevens

      As an adoptive parent, I don’t understand your argument Gertrude. My children do love me, just as any child would love a parent who did all of the nurturing things you mentioned. However, does that mean that they shouldn’t have the basic right to know who they are? I don’t see the basic right of having one’s own birth certificate as conflicting with the love of a parent – adopted or not. And by the way, no thanks for me are needed: the pleasure was all mine.

  • giltrose

    Because of the oregon bill, I was able to get my own birth certificate, I used it to locate my birth family, and after much soul searching and preparation I contacted them. It did so much for me personally, emotionally, mentally, and even though I have chosen not to continue a relationship, I am so glad I was able to do this.

    • SJ

      The cool thing is that YOU got to decide your choices.

    • Mary

      How lovely of you…you dug up your birth parents and after disrupting their lives, YOU CHOSE not to keep up the contact. This was all about YOUR needs and no one else’s. I believe that they call that SELFISH and SELF-CENTERED.


        giltrose never said whether or not it was a mutual decision Mary, between both giltrose and his/her birth parents parents. You are assuming she/he decided to break off contact. When you don’t know a person life story, it’s rude to judge. It is obvious to me that you gave up a child at some point in your life. I can understand your point of view, but this bill gives birth parents a chance to not be contacted, as long as they fill out pertinent background information for the child being adopted. Your arguments only covers one side of a story, and everyone’s story is slightly different. Many birth PARENTS choose not to continue contact after meeting the child, not the other way around. Also, many birth parents contact the child, not the other way around. It is much more traumatizing for a child to be introduced to another parent or set of parents when they have been raised by a complete different person. When you are young it’s hard to understand what is happening. Try and understand what it is like from an adoptees point of view. You are obviously very biased, and it’s not very nice to make general assumptions on all these people’s comments simply from your own experience.

      • Ryan

        Oh I see Mary – So it’s Ok to lay down and make a baby and then live a lie the rest of your life and never be held accountable or at least recognized for the child you created. This privacy law provides state sanctioned legal means to perpetuate a lie. Boy, wouldn’t it just be great if every time we made a “mistake” in life we could all just hit the “reset” button and start our lives over. giltrose had every right to look her birthparents up, meet them and then decide to not continue the relationship. Afterall, they left an innocent child in the dark for decades without any reservation. At least they’re grown adults. And, frankly, they may have been releaved that she didn’t want to pursue a longterm relationship.

  • Cyndie

    Gov. Christie, please sign this bill!! The archaic ways in which things have been handled has caused more heartache, trauma, & even death than you can fathom. As adoptees, we should have the right to know who we are, what our heritage is, & our medical history. We should also have the opportunity to locate our birth parents to see if they’d like contact. Odds are they will.
    I spent 20 years searching for my birth mother, only to have her located 2 years too late. She’d already passed away, as had my sisters. I was completely robbed of the opportunity to meet them. I did learn from her husband, brother, & sister that she wanted to find me, but didn’t know how or where to begin. This should not have been the case. We should’ve been reunited many years before she passed away.
    Incidentally, I can tell officials in the state where I was adopted EVERY item of info on my OBC, but I’m still denied access to it, & both my birth parents are deceased.

  • Priscilla Sharp

    Data from states where access exists reveals that if access has had any effect on adoptions and abortions, it was to increase adoptions and decrease abortions.
    Since adult adoptees in Oregon and Alabama obtained access to their original birth certificates in 2000, abortions have declined much faster in those states than in the nation as a whole. Between then and 2003 (the last year for which national data are available) resident abortions declined 10% in Oregon and 13% in Alabama, but only 2% in the nation as a whole. In other words, after adoptees gained access in those states, abortions declined five times as fast as in the country as a whole.
    Workers at pro-life centers such as Birthright report that young women today will only choose adoption if they are assured of updates or contact with the adoptive family. Gretchen Traylor, Birthright counselor in Minnesota, says, “When adoption is under consideration, the young woman’s overriding concern is that she will be unable to contact her child later in life, and that the child will not be able to find her as well. Pregnant women tell me that if such contact is NOT available, they would rather abort.”
    In a national survey of 1,900 women having abortions, not one woman cited the inability to choose a confidential adoption as a factor in her decision to have the abortion. “Reasons for Terminating an Unwanted Pregnancy,” Guttmacher Institute, 2003.

  • Judith

    This is the last civil rights movement in the United States. As adoptees, we are liberated by knowing where we came from, who we are, and what that first family is like. Catholic Charities is wrong, as they have been from the beginning, turning adoption into a profitable business for the church. We’re not a commodity, and this bill will ensure that children who are adopted have the same information that all other children have. We deserve that.

  • Joyce Bahr

    Yes, the right to know is a basic human right. Kansas and Alaska did the right thing by never sealing the birth certificates. birth certificates don’t need to be sealed and all that are sealed in U.S. states must be unsealed for adoptees 18 years of age and older. Time for adoptees to be emancipated.

  • Carrie

    Please sign this bill Gov. Christie. I am an adoptee and I am in my 40’s. I have been trying for years to find my birthmother. The agency from where I was adopted( Catholic Charities) wanted to charge me a few thousand dollars for my original birth certificate, which is an outrage and they have the nerve to call themselves Catholic Charities!!!!!! This should be my right to know where I came from!!! I understand the birthparents will have a right to erase there names but atleast I will know my background…..

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