NEW JERSEY – Adoptees may apply for their birth certificates and potentially learn more about their family’s demographic, medical and social/cultural histories, as part of the second phase of implementing New Jersey’s new adoption law.
The Department of Health has made forms available, and applications are now being accepted. Records will start being released January 1, 2017. The FAQs, application and instructions can be found on the Department’s website at http://www.state.nj.us/health/vital/adoption/.
“The availability of these forms marks another step toward lifting the seal on thousands of records and allowing adoptees to learn more about their family makeup while maintaining the rights of biological parents who wish to remain anonymous,” Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett said.
Those who may request copies of birth certificates are adult adoptees; direct descendants, siblings or spouses of adopted persons; adoptive parents, legal guardians or other legal representatives of adopted persons; or state or federal government agencies for official purposes.
Applicants will receive uncertified copies of birth certificates on file with the Department's Office of Vital Statistics and Registry. Copies are for informational purposes only and cannot be used for legal proof of identity or citizenship, or as a substitute for an official birth certificate.
In August 2015, the Department began implementing the adoption law signed by Governor Chris Christie which enables adult adoptees to access their birth records without first obtaining a court order. Under the new law, a birth parent is permitted to redact his or her personal identifying information from their biological child’s original birth certificate if the adoption was finalized before August 1, 2015.
Birth parents who choose to have their identifying information redacted must submit this request by December 31, 2016, but may rescind redaction requests at any time. These forms are available on the Department’s website at http://www.state.nj.us/health/vital/record.shtml.