Since 1980, we have been advocating for New Jersey-born and/or adopted persons to have the right to receive a copy of their original birth certificate upon request. A bill passed in both houses of the New Jersey Legislature in February 2014. It was amended by the governor and signed into law on May 27, 2014. It will take effect on January 1, 2017.
Why is it important for adopted persons to have their original birth certificate?
- Adoptees are barred access to their medical history.
- Adoptees have a civil right to know personal information about themselves, the same rights as non-adopted individuals.
- Adoptees are excluded from knowing their heritage and ethnic origins.
Many large organizations supported the bill.
• Child Welfare League of America
• American Academy of Pediatrics
• North American Council of Adoptable Children
• American Adoption Congress
• Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute
• …and many more!
Before the law change.
The original law concerning adoption records in New Jersey was passed in 1940 enforced the following:
• Children born out-of-wedlock had “illegitimate” stamped on their birth certificates.
• Social workers and lawmakers believed that members of the triad needed protection not only from the prying eyes of the public, but from one another.
• Secrecy and denial were accepted as the norm.
• The awareness of the theory of nature vs. nurture was in its infancy, and genetic research was almost nonexistent.