Adoptees in New Jersey are elated. After more than 30 years of fighting for the right to see a copy of their original birth certificate, the Adoptees’ Birthright Bill (S-873/A-1259) is awaiting Gov. Chris Christie’s signature. The bill passed both houses of the Legislature on Feb. 27.
Adoptees are cautiously hopeful. They’ve been down this road before. Christie conditionally vetoed a similar bill in 2011, claiming that “birth parents’ privacy” was his concern.
Adoptees were stunned. The bill so heavily favored birth parents’ privacy, we wondered if the governor had even read it. The bill allowed our birth parents to put a note in our adoption file, saying that they didn’t want to be contacted. It also gave our birth parents the option to use a “confidential intermediary” (C.I.) to help facilitate a reunion with us, should they desire one.
And here is where adoptees and Christie strongly disagree. Our bill gives our birth parents the option to use a C.I. Christie’s bill forces adoptees to hire a C.I. If the C.I. can’t find our birth parents within a year, only then will our original birth certificate be released to us.
What right does Christie have to force a confidential intermediary — a stranger —between an adult adoptee and his or her birth mother? We can handle our own affairs.
And maybe that’s the crux of the problem with the way the government treats adoptees. It’s been making decisions for us since before we were even born. And it continues to make decisions for us, even though we are perfectly capable of making decisions for ourselves.
Our birth certificate belongs to us — not to our birth mothers and certainly not to Christie. And like every other citizen in the country, we’re entitled to have it.
Adoptees are the victims of a system designed to protect everyone in the adoption triangle except them. Christie should sign the Adoptees’ Birthright Bill without delay.
Long Branch, NJ