' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: CHRISTIE Vetoes Adoptee Rights in New Jersey and other legislative news

Saturday, June 25, 2011

CHRISTIE Vetoes Adoptee Rights in New Jersey and other legislative news

Deflated. That's how I felt when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's threw out the adoptee-rights bill (some 30 years in the making) with a massive, unconscionable, cave-to-the-closet statement on Thursday:
"The decision of any biological parent to seek adoptive parents for a child is an enormously complicated choice. The emotional struggle preceding any adoption is unlike any other step facing a parent, with ramifications for the mother, father and child that will endure throughout their lives."
You got that right, Guv. First, Christie says look, we understand that it's hard to give your child away, and that this is going to affect all of you for the rest of his lives. Women come here to First Mother Forum a few years after it hits them just how awful it feels to "celebrate" another birthday and not know where their children are. They are bereft. They weep and mentally moan. They spill their grief. They want to know their children. Christie then goes on:
"And for many birth parents, the protections of anonymity are a significant can be a significant consideration when choosing adoption."
So maybe if we let you take away that child's identity for the rest of his life it might be easier for you to get on with your life. Nice. In other words, we really don't care about what the kid wants, we are going to continue to make it possible for you to screw him for the rest of his life, just like Catholic Charities, New Jersey's adoption lawyers, the anti-abortion evangelicals, and the misguided American Civil Liberties Union of NJ, want, as they are all unconsciously committed to trampling the rights of the adopted, not only at birth but into the dark night of perpetuity. The law that sealed the records did not give you this "protection," but we have now decided that you want to be so protected, and so...we bighearted folks are going to let you stay in the closet and not have to tell even your nearest and dearest, from whom you have kept this secret. We wouldn't want you to be embarrassed that you have been lying by omission all these years.

The Adoption Triangle
As for the adoptees need for self-identity that comes from a full and complete understanding of self-knowledge? Screw them. That's basically what his statement says; that's what the ACLU and adoption lawyers have been saying all along because...who are they serving? Adoptive parents. 

The misguided and misinformed head of the NJ ACLU, Deborah Jacobs, says she is protecting the rights of closeted birth mothers. But how, we ask, can you do this in good conscience when to do so you must trample the rights of another group? How did the rights of anonymous-seeking birth parents become paramount over the rights of the children? Call us crazy, but we think that she has an ulterior motive in mind--either she knows a closeted first mother, or she...is going to be an adoptive parent herself in the not-so-distant future and assumes that there must be a woman who doesn't want to interfere with the raising if any child she adopts....Given her logic, she would be on the side of slave owners who depended on slaves to keep their cotton plantations running, rather than the slaves...yes, that's where her logic takes us. Christie continues:
"Yet I also strongly empathize the adopted child, and adoptive parents who may long to know the identity of the birth parents."
How It Feels to Be Adopted
Excuse me? You empathize with the adopted child? Guv, excuse me, but the adopted child...is you know what? Grown up. An adult. Just like you. Yes, that person remains a "child" of their parents all their lives, but legally once they turn eighteen, they are adults in the eyes of the law, able to go to war, vote, drive, marry, divorce, give up their own children, have an abortion, carry a concealed weapon, be sentenced to death in a court of law. They can do all the above and yet you are proposing a set of restrictions that keeps them forever unequal? They can do all the above yet they cannot know their real identities, identities that only come from knowing who one's real parents are?

So what did Christie, in his battle against Information Equality for all propose? A intermediary system...to "balance the needs of adoptees seeking the identity of the biological parents with the expectations of birth parents who may wish for their identities to remain private."Ah yes, all adoptees will be denied their original birth certificates to please the immoral throng who want to stay anonymous from their own children. I simply cannot have any sympathy for these women, no matter how long or how deep they have buried their secret, how shocked their current loved ones and other children will be with the news of the long lost child. In terms of strict information, the needs the adopted, who never asked to be born, who never were asked if they wanted to be adopted, who never were asked if they wanted their records sealed for all time--the needs of the adopted are paramount.

In the statement, Christie also refers to bill as passed by both house of the New Jersey legislature as one that might have "the chilling effect on adoptions." Right. We the women have to keep selling our children down the River Styx--oh, I mean, the River of Endless Anonymity. But as the research has shown, this does not happen in states with open access to original birth certificates. Kansas, a state that has never had sealed records, has the county's fifth highest adoption rate. Alaska, which also never sealed birth certificates, has the nation’s highest adoption rate, and until recently one of the lowest abortion rates.

Jessica Lost: A Story of Birth, Adoption & The Meaning of Motherhood
Christie proposes an intermediary system at the adoption agencies to locate birth parents, who could agree or not to the disclosure of their names and whereabouts. If they did not agree to disclose their identities, they are asked for updated medical information, but that is such a hollow request for does it mean that their medical records--can be released while their identities are kept secret? Are closeted mothers  going to let their children know where their medical records are? Christie's proposed bill would also ask relinquishing mothers to make known their wishes (to be known or be hide) at the time of relinquishment, subject to change at anytime.

Pam Hasegawa
I know these all sounds perfectly reasonable to the uninformed, but once again it amounts to treating adoptees as second class citizens who are to be denied their full and real identities because of the whim of others: their mothers. It's sick, it's wrong, it perpetuates the myth of adoptees as children forever. Our friend and tireless advocate for adoptee rights, Pam Hasegawa, one of the founders of the New Jersey Coalition for Adoption Reform and Education, points out how humiliating this provision is: “To require that an adoptee hire a confidential intermediary infantalizes adoptees into perpetuity. We are never given equal status as adults as long as we have to go through a third person to ask our birth parents for our original birth certificates. It’s my birth certificate.”

It was a bad week all around on the adoptee rights front elsewhere. In New York, my home state, where we had high hopes that our clean bill (without a birth parent veto, instead a contact preference) would make it to the legislative floor for a vote, nasty amendments were tacked on at the last minute, and in the end, it died in committee as the session ended with the brouhaha over gay marriage, which did pass. While we are happy that New York joined the list of states where my nephew and other gay folks can legally marry, we hope that in the not too distant future adoptees will be able to enjoy Information Equality.

The one spot of good news came from Rhode Island where the Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that gives adoptees at age 25 the right to access their original birth certificates. It now goes back to the House where similar bills to give adoptees their OBCs at age 18 or 21 had passed in previous years.

Why age 25, which is frankly a slap in the face to all adoptees? It was a compromise after Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin wanted to raise the age to 30 so adoptees wouldn't ask for their birth certificates out of spite.  Goodwin's sister has two adopted children. “I think 18 is too young,” said Goodwin, a Democrat from Providence. “It’s a tender age. I want them to be able to find their records in an appropriate and meaningful kind of way, not because they want to get back at their adoptive parents.”  Eighteen and twenty-one a tender age? Tell that to the judge.

We at First Mother had been encouraging everyone to leave their comments objecting to this noxious age requirement at the projo.com site* about this absurdity and we hope that in some small way we made a difference. You can go to war at the tender age of 18 but apparently it's too explosive an age to find out who you really are. We cannot extend good feelings towards Goodwin; in our mind, she is such a Badloser.

As if Information Equality was about getting back at one's adoptive parents.--lorraine
*Link is to the current story from Rhode Island.


  1. Well I totally agree with Pam's comment about the NJ Bill. Also, since adoptees are required to hire a CI, I assume there is a charge for this. And of course those children raised by their bio-parents will not have to pay this extra fee to obtain their OBCs. Maybe there should be a special tax levied against those who opposed the clean bill to offset the cost. Or maybe Gov Christie's fortune should be used to pay for it or the fortunes of any of the other wealthy pro-adoption New Jersey residents.

    My state has one of those CI programs, too and I decided to give it a big F U. Luckily, I had identifying information and had already decided that there was not one person on the planet earth who was going to tell me that I couldn't know my OWN MOTHER. We had parted in a city some 800 miles from where I was but at times I was so incensed I swear I would have walked every step of the way.

  2. I sent Governor Christie a letter, although I'm sure it will fall on deaf ears. I felt like I was punched in the gut at this. The only ironic thing is that my maternal source's husband has been pimping this awful "Quigley" legislation -- she's the same person who (on amazon.com) agrees with my maternal source that I'm a predator... But, it's ironic because in Gov's distorting the bill -- EVERY mother would HAVE to be contacted. I guess separation of CHURCH and STATE is an out-of-date notion...

    This is what I said to Christie...

    1. How about the adoptee who already know their information and don’t want to add more money to the $6 billion adoption industry by having to pay, again, for their personal information?

    2. How about the Adpotee Lite that were adopted by their stepparent? Why should they have to pay the adoption agency to get their OBC? Why does their MOTHER have to decide whether they are “allowed” to have it?

    3. How about the Adult Adoptee that does NOT want their birthmother contacted. They don’t want anything to do with her – don’t they still deserve their original paperwork?

    I’m 46 years old, why does my mother have to approve anything? I pay my taxes, raise my family and it’s not her business that I get my birth certificate. I don’t want my birthmother knowing ANYTHING about me, yet I still want my OBC and I don’t want her contacted for it. I took it as a personal affront that you would take the word of Quigley, Foley and my mentally ill birthmother as fact and support them. I’m deeply saddened.

  3. Lorraine, It's funny you mentioned the slave/slave owner example in your post.

    I'm no lawyer but I'm wondering if anyone has considered suing individual State governments on behalf of adoptees by citing Jim Crowe. I.e., keeping adoptees from their OBC's is a type of "separate but equal" scenario wherein one entire group of citizens is denied their basic civil rights in detriment to the whims of another.

    I do know that gay rights organizations are considering using Loving v. Virginia, which challenged Jim Crowe Mandates at the Supreme Court level. Given that gay Americans are citing Jim Crowe as being discriminatory due not to race but to sexual orientation, does that not set precedent to us the laws which challenged Jim Crowe in the fight for Open Records?

    Or has someone already done so and lost? Just curious.

  4. Lorraine wrote: " I simply cannot have any sympathy for these women, no matter how long or how deep they have buried their secret, how shocked their current loved ones and other children will be with the news of the long lost child"

    Sorry I'm posting twice, Lorraine, this is just so important! I totally agree with what you say here. I have no sympathy either for a woman who keeps such a secret from the very people she loves most. How can a person sit across the table from her spouse and her children for years and never utter a peep about her relinquished child(ren)? How can she do that and call herself loving? I just don't see it.

  5. Christie should not even be able to make any decision on adoption. He has a conflict of interest in that matter. Having an adopted "sister" he is just protecting his parents
    who adopted.
    Politicians need to be scrutinized and watched they are all
    in it for the money and care nothing for this country or it's people.
    One day we as Americans are going to say ENOUGH and it's coming sooner than these people think stand up America and WE will be heard soon.

  6. Finally - someone said it - Christie is biased because of his own family situation... I wonder how his sister really feels.... I would despise a spineless, ignorant, entitled, coward like that. If he is protecting his parents, guess what, they are adults and so is the sister. They don't need his frakken protection.

  7. wouldn't it have been great if his sister had been an advocate? Dream on, I guess...

  8. @Lorraine - yes, it would have changed the outcome altogether.... but most political families are all glory - no balls. LOL!

  9. I made the decision to locate my adopted son's family three years ago (he is 12 now). I figured-the more time that went by-the more difficult it would be to locate them if my son desired to do so in the future. As per the report I had received and reviewed with NJ-DYFS-years ago prior to the adoption-I knew my son's original surname, his birth Mother's first name and his two sibling's names. I did a google search and was very lucky-I found them on the first try. We continue to be in contact with his maternal aunt and grandmother and he has met them and we visit on occasion. He now knows some family history,and his ethnic backround and he feels very proud of this. I was able to find out critical family medical/info./ history which I provided to his pediatrician. My sisters and I are in the process of reclaiming Italian citizenship to pass on to our children-My son has asked me if I could obtain his (ethnic) citizenship-He would need his original birth certificate-linking him by blood to his birth mother-inorder to reclaim his. I met his birth mother. She has schizophrenia and is not in a condition to make decisions about things with any clarity of mind. She believes (wants to believe) that her son is with family-
    Politicians make decisions because they are politically expedient-not because it is morally right-I wonder what Governor Christie's (adopted)sister's take is on this- topic?

  10. What happened in NJ was "deflating" as Lo said, but not unexpected. The only surprise for me came the week before when I learned that Christie had a third option other then veto outright or sign, the one he took, conditional veto, where he rewrote the bill to the Council of Bishops specifications. Look at how pleased the Bishops and the odious Marie Tasie of NJ Right To Life are with his "compromise bill".

    Christie never had any other intention but to veto and gut the bill. This was known when he was elected, as there was a failed push to get the bill through before former governor Corzine who would have signed it was gone. It should not have been a shock that Christie did just what he always intended to do, and it was no secret.

    Christie was particularly cruel to the naive and hopeful in drawing out his veto until the last possible minute rather than doing it when the bill came off the floor. It was all an act, with the Catholic Bishops and their allies pulling the strings.

    It had nothing to do with his sister, his personal feelings, nor could all those heartfelt letters and stories have changed his mind. I had opted out of personally supporting the NJCARE bill when it was compromised several years ago, but did nothing against it either, our of respect for the good people like Pam who worked for so many years here. It is sad that those compromises were never enough, and that Christie jerked people around the way he did. Politics as usual.

    No doubt the Bishops will give him an award. After all, he was loyal and "only following orders" as they say. The man is a fat ugly dickhead who only cares about his millionaire buddies, including the Bishops who are sitting on a great deal of money and corruption. Remember the pedophile coverups?

    This is only one more vile act by a man who busts unions, demonizes teachers,closes libraries, cuts healthcare for women and the poor, and gives his rich pals every break. No surprise here, just sorrow.

  11. Maryanne and all:
    I suspected that Compassionless Christie was going to do this and wait until the last moment to do it, so there would be less time for us and the press to make noise.

    What is sickening is that while the former governor, Corzine, was ready to sign the bill, you had a guy in charge of the Assembly who wouldn't let it pass (what was his name?); then once NJ got a governor that was probably against it, the Assembly passes it, with the compromising veto attached. And then we get this.

    Nothing will change in NJ until Christie is gone. Besides the Catholic Charities people remembering ONLY the scared birth mothers of years ago, they are also protecting priests who fathered children...or are the fathers' names not on most of the OBCs...? That has been the rule in NJ, right? However, there would be some reunions and the mothers would tell who the fathers were...so... it is not unlikely that some very high muckymuck priests are afraid of being outed as a biological fathers.

    You can read Christie's whole statement at his website.

    When are adoptees going to have Information Equality?

  12. I fear NJ will be stuck with this legacy long after Christie is gone. Once something like this gets into law, legislators do not want to revisit it. They feel they dealt "fairly" with the adoption issue, and it is done.

    This works to our favor in states where clean bills have been passed and signed, as that then becomes the status quo to leave as is, but in states with this sort of messed up legislation, it is more difficult to fix bad laws than to pass clean bills in places where such laws were never passed to begin with. No bad adoptee access legislation has ever been revisited and fixed to be real civil rights legislation. Why should NJ be different?

  13. Oh, too bad, you said "...no nasty remarks...," so I'll just say Christie is disgusting; and so is Goodwin. Who do these people think they are treating us like their children!? If these haughty individuals want to subjugate their own kids, fine! Leave other people's children alone!

    Lorraine, I understand you are doing an interview/article on open adoption with the media and you've asked for links, or something? How about giving a shout-out to http://caleighbrookswatchingthewatchers.com We're trying to educate, too! We get readers and commenters from all over the world! Thank you in advance!

  14. caliegh--in a mad dash to leave the house--will you do it for me?>

  15. Hey Lorraine, thanks for the quick response! I don't know how to enable javascript and cookies to link to blogger. Are you going to mention blogs in your next interview with the media?

  16. What I'm trying to say, Lorraine, is I would like to share the blogcast, http://caleighbrookswatchingthewatchers.com in your press interview this week. You mentioned it on Facebook. Thanks!

  17. I read in the newspaper (way out here in California) that Govenor Christie was accused to using tax-payer dollars to fly him by helicopter to his son's ball games. Why hasn't he been thrown out of office for this?

    Governor Christie is a coward and is using his position to screw over bastards and non-bastards alike. He needs to go.


  18. Closed adoption records legislations are not limited to the U.S.A and Canada, but are present also in some countries in Europe. For example, Ireland and Estonia do have a classic closed records system where identifying information like original B.C:s are released only by court order for "good reason".

    The situation in my home country, Finland, is most peculiar. In 2009 they passed a law which allows the release of identifying information to adoptees 18 years or older, younger ones facing limitations like consent from adoptive parents (biological parents asked NOTHING). Even though this seems to be a "classical clean bill" under American eyes, it nevertheless is a regressive step,
    while before this was passed, even minor adoptees were allowed access to their original birth records and identifying information of their biological parents!

    There is also a worrying trend and lobbying in Finland to close sperm donor records in future donations. Current law allows donor-conceived people to obtain donor information after turning 18. Accurace donor records are however guaranteed only from 2006 on.

  19. for Mara:

    My infamous governor reimbursed the state for his helicopter taxi. The powers that be tried to downplay the incident, saying the helicopters needed to be used anyway for routine training/maintenance. Uh huh. He hasn't been "thrown out of ofice" because we (the constituents) have become complacent, it's business as usual for us little people. Despite what national media are reporting about his popularity, I can tell you he has few fans here in the Garden State, especially among women, government employees, educators, and now, the majority of adoption triad members. His poll ratings stand at about 44% favorable right now. Hopefully, the people will speak loudly at the next gubernatorial election.

  20. Never underestimate the power of the Catholic Church to protect their business. They didn’t care one iota about me in 1971 while they exploited me left, right and center, and they don’t care about me now. Hypocrites.

  21. Jeanine -- they don't even care about all the priests that sexually abused children. Out of thousands of cases, I think I heard of one that was prosecuted. What other organization could get away with that? They don't give a crap, never did.

    I got turned off to the church when I was pretty young - I remember them publishing in the bulletin how much each family contributed. Even as a child, I remember thinking how awful that was. My adad and stepmother had 8 kids to support and the church is embarrassing them because they didn't give enough?

    When I think of the Church, I think of creepy priests and nasty nuns -- that's it. My adad was so insistent I practice Catholicism because it was the one thing he knew about my first mother -- that she wanted me raised Catholic. Adad tried and tried to get me to be a good Catholic. Worked well for my asis - she still goes to church. ME? Nada, not at all.

  22. Can anyone tell us what happens now in NJ? I heard there are not enough votes to override the veto. Must it go back to the legislature or can Christie just sign it? Is there any way to still kill it?

  23. Christie's memo is a suggestion that goes back to the Senate for passage next session.

    Basically, he is saying: this BS is what I will sign. Adoptees ain't in enough pain, gotta save those closeted birth mothers. For now, as long as he is governor, Deborah Jacobs and the ACLU of NJ, Catholic Charoties and the anti-Abortion crowd, all of whom do not know how to read statistics win.


    And thanks, since you ask, I will add this to the post.

  24. I think it's a real crime to be listening to Catholic Biships that when it comes to Adoption, all parties involved are living a lie they created in the form of adoption birth records and supported lies for birth parents, forced adoptees to live a lie and covered over lies to protect them selves for years and now calling on the goverment not to force them to uncover all these lies
    And I thought this was a church of God do you think he would force any one to live their entire life as a lie, as I have

  25. I tire of this political game, while the adoptee's relatives are dying due to age, so information is lost daily. I am one of the adoptees and would like background information re medical and background/ ethnicity -not to find someone to be my "family", as I have one- the people that raised me. I am educated and am not in need of a CI, nor do I think it appropriate to force someone to use one. What a pathetic system this is to work with.The blogger who suggested suing the state, may have something- read it if you have not yet.

  26. I suffered as a birth mother.
    I was raped. All medical info. was provided when I was a child that gave birth to the child. I signed for the baby to have a better life.
    If my name is exposed. I will sue somebody.I hope they are decent citizens and not on Meth. Sealed should remain. There are many hook up web sites if someone is looking for you or you are looking for them.
    I trusted the legal system at 14. Abortion was not an option. I have sealed records rights.

  27. It is very unfortunate that you were victim of a horrible violent crime and also lost your child to adoption subsequently.

    But according to even current U.S. laws, you have never had so called "sealed records rights" and do not have today. It is highly possible that a copy of your child's original birth certificate has already been given to the adoptive parents, thus even they may know who you are. The records weren't anyway sealed before the court confirmed the adoption, which must have been later than signing the consent. Authorities may look at the original birth records in many states, if such information is necessary for issuing driver's licences or passports.

    You do however have a fundamental right of not being harassed by your child given to adoption, by adoptive parents or by anyone else who may obtain information of your relationship.

  28. I'm 64 years old and am still denied information as to the identity of my birth parents. The government has been messing with me since I was born. They want our taxes but we are not allowed the most basic knowledge about ourselves. I was born in NJ and adopted in NY, both states are tight as a drum. I gave up years ago, it's too exhausting and makes me very angry.

  29. Oh so frustrating--but it is possible we may get legislation in NY this year. Please check the permanent page on NY at the top of the blog, under the masthead.

    But your records are probably in...NJ? Or both states?

    sucks, sucks, sucks. You are a grown woman and the state controls your life. Because of an old law and a bunch of jerks who won't repeal it.



COMMENTS ARE MODERATED. Our blog, our decision whether to publish.

We cannot edit or change the comment in any way. Entire comment published is in full as written. If you wish to change a comment afterward, you must rewrite the entire comment.

We DO NOT post comments that consist of nothing more than a link and the admonition to go there.