What We’re Reading: Search and Birth Records

In our last post, we shared an article about the reunion that followed one adopted person’s search for his birthmom. Many people wonder what prompts an adopted person to search for his birth family. For an adopted person, search is about identity. Questions most adopted people have are “Who am I,” “Who do I look like,” and “Why was I adopted?” Search can help answers these questions.

On January 1, 2017, the New Jersey Adoptees Birthright Act took effect. Under this law, adopted people can request their original birth certificates. This is a big step for adopted people interested in searching for their birth families. In order to address concerns about confidentiality, the law gave birth parents two years to request that their names be removed from a birth certificate. Only 558 birth parents requested their names be redacted.

Since the law has taken effect a little over one year ago, over 4,000 adopted people have gotten their original birth certificates. Below is a powerful article that follows three adopted people who searched for their birth families.


In the U.S., nine states give adopted adults unrestricted access to their birth records.  Eleven states have some form of restrictions, including New Jersey.  Currently, Louisiana is one of 22 states to keep adopted people’s birth records sealed.