On May 27, 2014, Governor Chris Christie signed into law legislation that will allow adoptees in New Jersey access to their birth certificates beginning January 1, 2017 (Adoption records have been sealed since 1940).

From now through December 31, 2016, birth parents will have the opportunity to notify the State Department of Health as to whether they would prefer (1) full contact with their child, (2) contact only through an intermediary, or (3) have their names redacted from the birth certificate so there could be no contact.

If the birth parents choose to have their names redacted, they are still required to provide their family medical history, although all personal identifying information will be removed. This information is to be provided every 10 years until age 40 and once every 5 years, thereafter.

For adoptions finalized after August 1, 2015, birth certificates will be available to adoptees, but birth parents will complete a form indicating their preference regarding contact/no contact.

The purpose of this new law is to allow adoptees to not only meet their birth parents and possible siblings, but to give them information about their biological family’s medical history.