New Jersey Opened its Adoption Records Last Year. Here’s What Happened.

The New Jersey Birthright Act has changed many lives over the past 365 days.

Meghan Rivard February 21, 2018
article image

Adoption laws are regulated by each state, which means laws and regulations vary state to state. One important regulation is concerns adoption documents: What information can be released, and to whom?

In New Jersey an important act was passed last year that enables adoptees to obtain key information. The New Jersey Birthright Act allows adoption birth records to be open, and adult adoptees are now allowed to request their original birth certificates.

This is a major step in allowing many who were adopted to obtain information about their heritage and birth. A local news article stated that thousands have requested their original birth certificates; however, there are 300,000 birth records still waiting to be retrieved.

A person can gain a lot of information from their original birth certificate. At a minimum, they can learn the place and time of their birth and the mother’s nationality. But, also they can often learn their biological mother’s full name and biological father’s name, if included on the birth certificate.

One of the thousands that requested an original birth certificate was Bob MacNish. At age 22, he was told that he was adopted by his dying father. He spent the next 50 years searching, but only recently was he able to meet his 95-year-old biological mother and biological sister because of the New Jersey Birthright Act.

Another person benefiting from the Act is Theresa Carroll.  She wanted to find out about any medical concerns in her biological family that could be responsible for her chronic pain.

While it is positive that many people are able to gain and learn additional information, it is also important to remember that new reunions  and new communications with biological family may not always be positive. Reunion may come with many emotions, positive and negative, and it may be a long road to build a relationship. However, Kimberly, an adoptee and social worker stated, “All persons deserve to know the truth of their origins. This is restoration of human rights.”

author image

Meghan Rivard

Meghan is an adoptive mother and a big advocate of adoption and foster care. She resides in Indiana with her husband, their one-year-old daughter who is the center of their lives, and their dog Max. She has a Bachelor's and Master’s Degree in Social Work. Meghan stays at home with her daughter but is so happy she found this outlet to share her personal adoption story and educate about adoption!

Want to contact an adoption professional?

Love this? Want more?

Claim Your FREE Adoption Summit Ticket!

The #1 adoption website is hosting the largest, FREE virtual adoption summit. Come listen to 50+ adoption experts share their knowledge and insights.

Members of the adoption community are invited to watch the virtual summit for FREE on September 23-27, 2019, or for a small fee, you can purchase an All-Access Pass to get access to the summit videos for 12 months along with a variety of other benefits.

Get Your Free Ticket