Dear Members of the Assembly,
Last session, you passed legislation that would make adoption more transparent and restore the rights of adult adoptees to access their birth certificates. The vast majority of you supported this attempt to make adoption more inclusive, pro-family and never shameful. For that, I thank you.
Unfortunately, we met with the usual demise. A lawmaker or leader, this time the governor, is willing to side with the Catholic Bishops. Without presenting motives, I ask you to wonder why these inconsistencies exist: Why do Catholic Charities agencies support adoptee access, but not the Bishops? Why do the Bishops feel sperm and egg donor children deserve knowledge of their heritage, but not adult adoptees? Why has the Church in England, Ireland and Australia apologized to birth mothers for unethical adoption practices, but the New Jersey Bishops deny its existence?
Other players weigh in to the debate, but make no mistake: the adoption community knows what we are up against. Should the Bishops reach out to you, please ask them to mail in the research that says secrecy in adoption is healthy.
I have my birth certificate: knowledge of heritage, my family health history and the same rights as you. I was adopted in England, a free adoptee, who only fights for my fellow adoptees.
My dad went with me to England to find my roots, a brave and loving experience that brought us closer together. My mom, an angel on earth, was unable to have her “own” children because she was sterilized by order of her father after a teenage pregnancy. A forced secret adoption ensued. No perceived consequence of openness in adoption will ever compare to this atrocity.
I will continue to wake every morning with my picture by bedside and wonder what I can do today to make adoption safer for women and children. Thanks again for your support, and if you are new to the legislature I look forward to meeting you and providing you with the conclusive research that supports transparency in adoption and equal access to birth certificates.
Peter W. Franklin, RPh