Redaction: The State will remove your name from the formerly classified documents before release to protect still confidential material (your name).
Governor Christie has authorized the unsealing of confidential adoption records. The State legislators have set aside funding for a media blitz to enforce your cooperation with this action.
We urge you to prepare yourself for this and look at the reality of what that means to a woman in hiding.
Know that the State will be contacting you within the next year or so as a result of this legislative action. Seriously consider revealing your secret to your loved ones or at least a loved and trusted person who can offer support and comfort. Facing this ordeal by yourself is going to be profoundly stressful. This is not an ordeal you need or should endure alone.
Revealing your secret yourself will allow you to take control of your story.
Because of this legislative action, you (a biological source) will be compelled to decide on the options offered to you.
The first option is to make yourself available for direct contact with the adoptee.
The second option is to use an intermediary to conduct contact with the adoptee. If you decide on this option, please ensure that the intermediary you select always acts on your behalf. The intermediary should be instructed to never offer any personal information without first consulting with you. If the intermediary attempts to convince you to provide information you do not feel comfortable divulging, get another intermediary immediately.
In the third option, the State will require a biological source (you) to either provide your medical and family history or they will expose your name publicly. They (the State – the same entity that promised you sealed confidential adoption records) promise to redact you name if you submit to their coercive demand to disclose your private, personal medical and family information. They also want you to update this information every 5 to 10 years.
Here’s the challenge. Kathleen was “found” despite sealed records. There is no valid reason to believe that the State can or will protect you even if you comply with their demands and your name is actually redacted from the record.
Having been in law enforcement and investigative work for over 40 years, I know that privacy is an illusion. This self-deception does not serve your best interest. It is not my intention to alarm you, but my experience, both professional and personal, has given me the understanding that if someone is intent on finding you, they will. Predators don’t just go away. You must take steps to protect yourself from unwanted contact.
There are current laws that may help protect you should an unwanted individual, demanding contact, show up at your door or harass you with unwanted correspondence. Unfortunately, you must forfeit your anonymity to take advantage of these laws.
With today’s technological advances, anonymity is almost impossible to maintain. Supplying the State with any information you don’t want them to have is absolutely no guarantee of anonymity. Please understand this.
I offer the following suggestions for you to consider:
Contact the State personally or through a competent attorney. Inform the State that you will not provide any information without a court order. Request that they place in your official record your desire to NOT BE CONTACTED by the State, the Adoptee or anyone representing either. Additionally, request that the official record reflect that any contact will be considered Harassment. Indicate that you will take legal action should anyone violate your stated request for NO CONTACT.
By taking a proactive approach to the unsealing of your confidential records, you stake claim to your personal boundaries and assert your personal power.
A competent attorney (one versed in how the system of government works) should be able to find viable civil action against an unwanted individual who pursues, stalks and /or harasses you. Not all attorneys are created equal. Shop around for the best one to protect you.
Here are some (not all) criminal laws that will give you some protection:
2C:12-10. Stalking designated a crime;
b. A person is guilty of stalking, a crime of the fourth degree, if he purposefully or knowingly engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his safety or the safety of a third person or suffer other emotional distress.
2C:13-5 Criminal coercion
A person is guilty of criminal coercion if, with purpose unlawfully to restrict another's freedom of action to engage or refrain from engaging in conduct, he threatens to:
(7) Perform any other act which would not in itself substantially benefit the actor but which is calculated to substantially harm another person with respect to his health, safety, business, calling, career, financial condition, reputation or personal relationships.
2C:33-4 Harassment: if, with purpose to harass another
Makes, or causes to be made, a communication or communications anonymously or at extremely inconvenient hours, or in offensively coarse language, or any other manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm.
2C:25-19 "Domestic violence"
You currently do not have protection under this act because the legislature failed to include you since there was never cohabitation with the adoptee. This was brought to the attention of several legislators' that I personally spoke with prior to them opening the records.
Perhaps a competent attorney could figure a way to get you the protection this act provides since the State indicates in the act a concern for the elderly by stating:
The Legislature further finds and declares that violence against the elderly and disabled, including criminal neglect of the elderly and disabled under section 1 of P.L.1989, c.23 (C.2C:24-8), must be recognized and addressed on an equal basis as violence against spouses and children in order to fulfill our responsibility as a society to protect those who are less able to protect themselves.
The Legislature further finds and declares that even though many of the existing criminal statutes are applicable to acts of domestic violence, previous societal attitudes concerning domestic violence have affected the response of our law enforcement and judicial systems, resulting in these acts receiving different treatment from similar crimes when they occur in a domestic context. The Legislature finds that battered adults presently experience substantial difficulty in gaining access to protection from the judicial system, particularly due to that system's inability to generate a prompt response in an emergency situation.