New adoption law in NJ — Why not everyone is celebrating
In 2014, Gov. Chris Christie, after mounting pressure from various groups, signed into law a bill that would effectively make all adoptions here in New Jersey open ones. The law took effect on New Year's Day.
Many groups fought the law for many years, including the ACLU, The New Jersey Catholic conference, and the New Jersey Bar Association. There was celebration on the part of those people who have been given up for adoption at birth and had sought the true identity of their birth parents for many years to no avail. And I understand that.
I can't even imagine growing up having absolutely no idea where I came from. I was one of the lucky ones. As a result of having grown up with the parents who conceived, gave birth to me and raised me, I never had to suffer through these mysteries. So I sympathize with those who did. I've also has friends and extended family who have spent years in fruitless searches for their birth parents who in many cases have either passed away or simply did not want to be found.
However, I also see the other side, and this is the quandary: How can we tell someone who went through the most difficult decision of her life presumably at a very young age that now she has to be an open book, whether she wants to or not. Luckily, people who had given up their children and wanted to remain "unfound" had the opportunity before the law took effect on Jan. 1 to have their names redacted from the records, and many of them did.
I can see both sides of this issue.
It's very sad to be someone who doesn't know his true identity, and perhaps not even his medical background. On the other hand, it's sad to me that what seems like the right decision at the time, that allows you to give up a child for whatever reason, move on with your life and somehow distance yourself (however difficult and painful that may be) may come back to haunt you in the future.
Let's face it: Many times these reunions are warm and wonderful. Other times, not so much. But if the point of giving up a child at birth is to start over, this law makes that just a little more difficult, and sometimes, brings the pain back all over again.
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