More than 1,200 adults adopted as children have filed applications to obtain their birth records under a law that took effect in New Jersey at the beginning of the year.
Two of them received their birth certificates at a event at the Statehouse in Trenton Monday marking the change in policy that had limited access to the sealed records.
East Islip, New York, resident Theresa Carroll said her parents told her 45 years ago that she was adopted, and she hopes that finally getting information about her birth parents could help link her to other family members.
“I could not have children, and I tried everything in the past to have children,” she said. “That’s a strong reason why I really would love to know if I have any siblings, or nieces, or nephews or anything out there because I have nobody now. Hopefully I will have somebody.”
Sparta resident Gary Brozowski, who has known he was adopted since he was in the second grade, said Monday it was emotional to finally get his birth certificate.
“I think the most important thing now that I’m 51 is the medical information. When I was younger, I never really thought about the medical part of it except when asked the questions, what do you know about your birth parents, are they still alive, are there any diseases?” he said. “I didn’t know anything, so I just put I don’t know.”
About 500 birth parents who didn’t want to be identified had their information redacted by the Dec. 31 deadline. They can reverse that decision at any time.
Sen. Diane Allen, R-Burlington, pushed for the new law because she said adoptees were being treated as second-class citizens when they were denied information about their birth parents.
“What the government did to adoptees is atrocious, and I am so thankful that we finally have finally changed that, that everybody is now the same level,” she said. “No other civil right infractions would have been allowed to stand for so long.”