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ADOPTION LEGISLATION OPENS DOOR FOR CONTACT WITH BIOLOGICAL FAMILY

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Gov. Chris Christie announced Monday he would support a law enabling adoptees to obtain their birth certificates. A previous court decision had sealed adoption records since 1940.The governor however, has requested that the law not take effect until 2017, allowing parents time to decide whether they wanted to be found.60s.s views had changed, and that New Jersey needed to catch up. Once signed into law, New Jersey will be the 12th state to provide access to birth certificates in addition to Alabama, Alaska, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island and Tennessee.

The compromise legislation allows birth parents to submit a form to the state Health Department saying whether they want direct contact, contact through an intermediary, or no contact and their name redacted. Birth parents who surrendered a child before Aug. 1, 2015, would have until Dec. 31, 2016, to submit the form.

For adoptions finalized after Aug. 1, 2015, birth certificates would be available in their entirety, and birth parents would be able to submit a form indicating their preference. Under the legislation, a birth parent who requests no contact will be encouraged to provide the Health Department with updated family information every 10 years until age 40, and once every five years after that. In addition, the state will notify the adoptee when information is added.

Adoptees over age 18, their children, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, or adoptive parents or guardians would be able to request a copy of the original birth certificate, the birth parents’ preference on how or whether to be contacted, and other pertinent family information.

 

 

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