Adoption has long been one of the hardest cases for genealogists to research and assignments for private investigators to handle successfully — but in New Jersey, all that may have changed. Thanks to a new law passed by Governor Chris Christie, adopted children will have an easier time getting information about their biological parents, as well as a more intricate knowledge of their ancestry, according to NJ.com.
Though this issue has been part of an ongoing political conversation for over three decades, the passing of the bill took a hard-earned bipartisan compromise. According to CBS, Governor Christie, who has an adopted sister himself, was instrumental in brokering a deal between the two sides of the political divide.
What the Bill Means
The standard procedure for adopted children in New Jersey used to involve the storage of the original birth certificate in a sealed file, while a second, amended certificate was made with the names of the adoptive parents for them to keep.
But starting in 2017, the new law will permit adult adopted children to request a non-certified copy of their original birth record. Though they will not be able to use the original certificate for legal identification, it comes as a boom to genealogical research.
Adoptees and parents of adoptees have been pressuring the government to take such a measure since 1980. They’ve long argued that adopted children must have access to their biological parents’ information for health reasons, as well as reasonable interest in family genealogy, and feel that such a measure would help alleviate the guilt of parents who gave up their kids.
“Democracy is not a piece of cake, it’s a lot of work,” Pam Hasegawa of the New Jersey Coalition for Adoption Reform and Education told CBS. “It gives us an opportunity to know who we were and when we were born. It’s our proof of where we sit on the human continuum.”
For Hasegawa and company, prior research has had to come in fits and starts, with adoptees often getting close to discovering their biological parents, but never sealing the deal.
With such a hotly debated issue at hand, it took someone with a direct connection to it to move things forward. In reference to his adopted sister Dawn, Governor Christie noted, “She was my sister. Not my adopted sister.” Christie knows well that adoption does not merely involve the bureaucratic signing of papers. It is a complex process that involves human lives.
There are over 127,000 children adopted in the United States every year, and chances are, almost all of them will become curious about where they came from as they get older. Unfortunately, excessive red tape and a number of legal limitations has made adoption information perhaps the hardest of all legal documentation to obtain. However, thanks to Christie and company, New Jersey has forged the way for other states to follow in dealing with this emotional subject.
Traditionally, private investigators have struggled to meet the desires of adopted children or their biological parents. In working with limited resources and facing the additional hurdle of the inevitable lapse of time, many of these cases go disappointingly unresolved. Our experienced staff of private investigators are aware of these challenges, and are the best in their field at overcoming them.
This is especially exciting news for us here at Integrated. For clients based in New Jersey, our PIs will soon be able to sift through entire, new categories of information, ensuring that the research process will lead to more satisfying results. Even so, adoptees or biological parents outside of the Garden State need not give up hope entirely.
Members of the Integrated Security team all have a great deal of experience dealing with the different jurisdictions found in states all around the country, and hold themselves to a high standard in all of their investigations.