An interesting article from the Philadelphia Daily News caught my attention the other day. It seems that a New Jersey woman is suing the state for 1 million dollars in damages because a division of New Jersey's Department of Children and Families helped the child she placed for adoption, locate her. The Atlantic City woman reports that she was the victim of rape 30 years ago and chose to place her infant daughter for adoption.
How She Found Out
The woman was contacted by letter by the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) in August 2008. The letter asked her to confirm her identity and whether she was interested in pursing with an adoption reunion as there was an adopted adult seeking contact. The birth mother felt that the letter was an intrusion enough and decided not to answer. Four months later the adoptee made a personal visit to the birth mother's home. The adoptee also contacted one of the birth mother's other daughters. Her other children did not know about the rape or adoptive placement.
The Legal Side of It
New Jersey adoption law states that adoption records are sealed unless court ordered to be unsealed. Two of the defendants listed in the lawsuit are listed as contacts for the adoption registry operated by the DYFS.
The worst part of this whole mess is that it destroys the concept of open adoption records and an adoptee's right to information.
It will perpetuate the idea that adoption is not feasible in a world were records are open. Kansas is an open records state and guess what? Adoption still occurs here! This story is unfortunately not the first unhappy adoption reunion I've hear about.
I have many questions for the adult adoptee. Why did she continue to harass a birth mother that did not want contact?
What could have been done differently here? I wonder what preparation this adult adoptee had done before entering an adoption reunion. It is clear that this birth mother was not ready for an adoption reunion.