Time After Time: A Monumental Step In Adoption History

Well, fellow New Jersey adoptees, the time is around the corner.

Rebecca Tillou December 22, 2016
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I have decided to check out the hit TV show “This Is Us,” an amazing show about family, adoption, births, biological parents, and adoptive parents. I was sitting at my kitchen table, cross-legged, my feet falling asleep, engrossed in the third episode. Kate, one of the main characters, has this amazing singing voice. A guy she is dating takes her to a nursing home to sing. Her song was Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper.

At this moment, I put the show in one screen, and pulled up a word document to write this article. As I listened to the song, I realized the words in the song are a perfect sentiment for New Jersey adoptees. “I will be waiting, time after time.”

Well, fellow New Jersey adoptees, the time is around the corner. In January 2017, New Jersey adoptees will get the chance to receive their original birth certificates. The law was signed in 2014, and Governor Chris Christie gave birth moms three years to redact their names from the original birth certificates if they wanted to remain “ghosts.”

As of December 5, 2016, “166 birth parents have filed a request to hide their name and identifying information, 77 have requested direct contact, and six have requested to be contacted through an intermediary, such as an adoption agency…”

Also as of December 5th, 476 adoptees have applied for their original birth certificates, according to the New Jersey Health Department.

This news is huge. This law has passed Governor Chris Christie’s desk for years, and he has never signed or compromised on the bill. Now, Governor Christie has a sister who is adopted. When I first found that out, I was so angry. My initial thoughts were, “His sister is adopted! Doesn’t he know how important it is to us to find our roots? Doesn’t she want to search?”

Then, I thought about the situation, and I realized, my situation is NOT EVERY adoptee’s. Maybe his sister doesn’t want to know anything. Maybe it isn’t important to her. After I thought about that being a possible scenario, my anger subsided, but my curiosity for my own roots still burned within me.

When the Governor first signed the law, I was angry…again. I was angry because he had to have the final word. He would let us have our original certificates, after a three-year waiting period to give birth mothers time to redact their names from the certificates! My thought process was that of many adoptees. It was also selfish, I will admit to that.

After a few days, or maybe a few weeks…hell a couple months went by and then I took a step back from the “compromised bill.” I realized that it was such a huge step! Many certificates would hopefully be released, and biological families would be reunited. Did we adoptees have to wait? Yes, we did. So did the birth moms who wanted to be known, who wanted to meet their child or children. It wasn’t just adoptees who were waiting impatiently to see their reflection looking back at them. So, in January 2017, many New Jersey adoptees will finally have a key that will unlock a door that has been shut and locked for too long.

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Rebecca Tillou

Rebecca was adopted as an infant. She found her birth family in May of 2013 and continues to keep in touch with them. Sadly, her birth mother passed away in 1999. She and her husband live in New York and are the parents of two beautiful little boys, Dominic and Nicolas. They also have a German Shepherd mix named Chester. She was recently diagnosed with FASD at 34 years of age. She is currently working with nofas.org and thearg.org to get the word out that there is hope, and that you are never too old to better yourself.

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