yesterday's post for whole story.
According to an update of the reunion fiasco at NJ.com, Ryba, with financial help from Catholic Charities, petitioned the court in Mercer County to allow Catholic Charities to contact the other six boys adopted through the organization at that time in hopes of finding Ryba's real son. Petition denied.
But the story adds new details about the person being looked for: That the child-now-adult would have been born at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden in November, adopted through the now-closed St. Elizabeth's Home in Yardville, operated through the auspices of Catholic Charities, sometimes after that, probably in December, January or February of 1976. So that's what we know now about the son Ryba is looking for. This means that someone who was really born on November 25, 1975 almost assuredly has a different birth date on his amended birth certificate.
In the previous post we noted that nothing was said of the birth mother's involvement, or why she was not a part of the story, even though her name was released. From someone who posted a comment to our previous post, we learn that Bloete had not been interested, or was not ready, to meet his mother. Ouch! But maybe if we can find the real son of Kathleen Butler, he will want to know his first mother.
All of this confusion and emotional turmoil for all the parties involved is so damned unnecessary: if the birth records were not sealed by law, Ryba, Bloete, Butler--all could find resolution and their suffering and grief could be alleviated. Bloete now wonders who his real parents are. Butler and Ryba are left with nothing.
It is my understanding that Catholic Charities is on the fence trying to decide if they should support the proposed open-records legislation in New Jersey that Pam Hasegawa and Judy Foster along with many others have been working on for decades. We seemingly get close to open records in the state, but are rebuffed year after year. Currently the bill is stalled the in Assembly Human Services Committee, despite approval by the Senate in a 31-7 vote and the support of 50+ (of the 80) Assembly members. It's the committee chair who is sitting on the bill.
So close but yet so far. We can hope that this case and the light it has shown on the inhumanity of injustice of sealed records will push Catholic Charities to our side of the fence, the side of rightness and charity.
As Lisa Thiabult, a spokeswoman for Catholic Charities told reporter Matt Fair: "Our mission is to relieve human suffering. If there was anything we could do to solve this mystery and to bring healing and closure to these people we would do it. We share their frustrations and I can appreciate the incredible suffering that has caused all of them."
Francis Dolan, director of New Jersey Catholic Charities added: "Unfortunately, circumstances are such that the adoption laws of the state and regulations that flow them them really prevent us from doing much more than what we've already done in terms of helping Ron and Phil find the information of their life stories."
Well, you two how about supporting open-records legislation? Would not that be the right thing to do? The, ahem, Christian response to this mess?
Dolan said that they facilitate between 10 and 15 reunions a year with a "90 percent" success rate. That number must indicate the 90 percent rate of willingness of the first/birth parents to meet their offspring, since, as this case demonstrates, Catholic Charities is not helping birth parents locate their children. Which leads me to wonder: how is the NJ law written that it allows the agencies to contact birth parents if their children request it, but not the other way around?
Anyone with a New Jersey connection who wants to help push the legislation over the top to success (either a current NJ resident, or a member of the adoption constellation who relinquished, or was born or adopted as a child in New Jersey) should contact the American Adoption Congress's NJ's State Representative, Judy Foster, at firstname.lastname@example.org. New Jersey needs you!
And anyone who knows a male, adopted through New Jersey Catholic Charities in the winter of 1975-76, please pass on this information. A father and a mother are waiting.