Adoption, Law & Ethics, News & Media

Reunited after 40 years: our family’s amazing adoption reunion

“Deception may give us what we want for the present, but it will always take it away in the end.” –Rachel Hawthorne

On November 30, 1976 a baby girl was born. Four days later, she was handed to a married couple who hoped to adopt her.

For the next forty years, the young couple had no idea where their daughter was, if she was safe, healthy or even alive. Over the years, they searched for her, but were unable to find her.

For the same forty years–and only a few miles apart–the baby girl was raised to believe she was the biological child of the couple who adopted her. Until 2017, when an unexpected result on an Ancestry DNA test shattered their web of lies.

Michelle 4 days old

Michelle Riess at four days old – December 1976

Continue reading

Adoption, Law & Ethics

Searching for adoptees & birth mothers from southern NJ (born 1975-1977)

Edward KentWe are searching for at least two adoptees who were born in southern New Jersey from approximately 1975-1977. These individuals, who would now be in their 40’s, were adopted through the firm Kent, Grayer & Rosenberg in Willingboro, NJ (Burlington County.) Specifically, through Edward Kent, an attorney from this firm.

We are also searching for women who placed a newborn for adoption during this same time period through this firm. The birth mothers were likely from Camden County, Burlington County, or possibly other neighboring counties. At least one of the birth mothers was living in Burlington Township, New Jersey at the time. All of the adoptions were privately arranged through this firm. Continue reading

Adoption, Law & Ethics, News & Media

Newspaper articles about Michelle’s 1976 adoption

If you would like to read some of the newspaper articles regarding the case against the attorney that illegally arranged the adoption, you can view them HERE. In some of the articles, Michelle is the adopted child referred to as the December 4, 1976 “incident.”

Many of these articles include statements taken from Kent’s court testimony that contradict Hollie’s experiences, including his heavy involvement after Michelle’s birth. They also contradict information given to Michelle in 2017 by her adoptive father. We will make a separate post about these inconsistencies at a later date. Continue reading

Law & Ethics, News & Media

‘Adoption lawyer’s’ term suspended (1981)

Original Publication: Courier-Post
Original Publication Date: October 17, 1981

N O T E : Much of the information taken from Kent’s testimony completely contradicts Hollie’s experiences and even some of the details that were provided to Michelle by her adoptive father in 2017. We will be writing about these inconsistencies at a later date.

By RENEE WINKLER
Of the Courier-Post

CAMDEN – A Willingboro attorney, convicted in July of illegally acting as an intermediary in three adoptions, yesterday was given a suspended jail term and placed on probation for one year.

Continue reading

Law & Ethics

State v. Kent | NJ Super. App. Div. (1980)

173 N.J. Super. 215 (1980)

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT, v. EDWARD KENT, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division.
Argued March 10, 1980.
Decided July 1, 1980. [1]
*218 Before Judges SEIDMAN, MICHELS and DEVINE.
William C. Levine, Assistant Prosecutor, argued the cause for appellant (John B. Mariano, Camden County Prosecutor, attorney). Continue reading

Law & Ethics, News & Media

Appeal of lawyer is rejected (Nov. 1978)

Original Publication: Courier-Post
Original Publication Date: November 18, 1978

N O T E : Much of the information taken from Kent’s testimony completely contradicts Hollie’s experiences and even some of the details that were provided to Michelle by her adoptive father in 2017. We will be writing about these inconsistencies at a later date.

By RENEE WINKLER
Courier-Post Staff

A Superior Court judge in Camden has denied an appeal by a Burlington County attorney who had been turned down for Camden County’s pre-trial intervention program. Continue reading

Law & Ethics, News & Media

Divorce lawyer convicted for adoption assistance (June 1981)

Original Publication: Courier-Post
Original Publication Date: June 25, 1981

N O T E : Much of the information taken from Kent’s testimony completely contradicts Hollie’s experiences and even some of the details that were provided to Michelle by her adoptive father in 2017. We will be writing about these inconsistencies at a later date.

CAMDEN – Edward Kent, a Willingboro attorney who specializes in divorce cases, was convicted yesterday of illegally acting as an intermediary in the adoption of three newborn children. Continue reading

Law & Ethics, News & Media

Lawyer indicted on adoptions (April 1978)

Original Publication: The New York Times
Original Publication Date: April 15, 1978

CAMDEN, N.J., April 14 (UPI) – A lawyer with offices in Marlton, N.J., and Willingboro, N.J., has been indicted for allegedly arranging the illegal adoption of babies. The indictment of the lawyer, Edward Kent, 52 years old, was announced today by Prosecutor Thomas Shusted of Camden County. The eight count indictment accuses Mr. Kent of acting as a middleman between the natural mothers and the adoptive parents, which is against state law.

Continue reading

Adoption, Law & Ethics

Could you be [secretly] adopted? Red flags that could point to adoption

by Michelle Lyn Riess

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”

In September 2017, at age 40, I accidentally discovered that I am adopted after getting a DNA match on Ancestry.com to one of my three full biological sisters (you can read that story here.)  I know it’s difficult to understand how someone could be 40 years old and not know they are adopted, or more specifically, never told they are adopted. Unfortunately, I am living proof that it absolutely can happen to anyone at any point in their adult life (thankfully, it is rare!) 

22448439_10212555934787650_6511212600465895871_n

The moment I met my parents & three sisters for the first time in 2017

Today, with so many people taking DNA tests to trace their family’s history (ex. Ancestry.com, 23andme.com) more people might unexpectedly find themselves in similar situations. Could you be the next late discovery adoptee?
Continue reading

Law & Ethics, News & Media

Lawyer accused in 3 adoptions (April 1978)

Original Publication: The Philadelphia Inquirer
Original Publication Date: April 15, 1978

N O T E : Much of the information taken from Kent’s testimony completely contradicts Hollie’s experiences and even some of the details that were provided to Michelle by her adoptive father in 2017. We will be writing about these inconsistencies at a later date.

By Francis M. Lordan
Inquirer Staff Writer

A Burlington County lawyer has been indicted on charges that in 1977 he illegally assisted in the adoption of three children in Camden County, Thomas J. Shusted, Camden County prosecutor, said yesterday.

Continue reading

Law & Ethics, News & Media

Memory fails witness in adoption case (June 1981)

Original Publication: Courier-Post
Original Publication Date: June 5, 1981

N O T E : Much of the information taken from Kent’s testimony completely contradicts Hollie’s experiences and even some of the details that were provided to Michelle by her adoptive father in 2017. This article is particularly disturbing because this biological mother was clearly being influenced in some way to lie or to withhold information about Kent’s involvement in her child’s adoption (read this article about Kent offering to pay her for lying to investigators.) We will be writing about these issues and inconsistencies at a later date.

CAMDEN — A woman who was to have been the state’s chief witness against a Willingboro lawyer charged with acting as an illegal intermediary in a series of adoptions was able to recall only sketchy information about the case yesterday.

When first called by Deputy Attorney General Nancy Singer, the woman said she couldn’t remember anything about her pregnancy in 1977, her meeting with attorney Edward Kent or the couple who adopted her baby.

Continue reading

Law & Ethics, News & Media

Lawyer indicted as a middleman for adoptions (April 1978)

Original Publication: Courier-Post
Original Publication Date: April 14, 1978

N O T E : Much of the information taken from Kent’s testimony completely contradicts Hollie’s experiences and even some of the details that were provided to Michelle by her adoptive father in 2017. We will be writing about these inconsistencies at a later date.

By RENEE WINKLER
Courier-Post Staff

A Burlington County lawyer who specializes in matrimonial matters was indicted Thursday by a Camden County grand jury for illegally acting as an intermediary in the adoption of three children.

Edward Kent, 52, who has a law office in Willingboro, also was charged with obstruction of justice in the eight-count indictment. None of the children or the couples who wanted to adopt them is named in the indictment, although it specifies that their identities are known to the grand jury. Continue reading

Law & Ethics

High Tribunal Raps Attorney for Conduct (1963)

Original publication: Courier-Post
Original publication date: January 22, 1963

“His conduct is dishonorable and brings the profession into disrepute.” -a NJ Supreme Court Justice referring to attorney Edward Kent

TRENTON (UPI) – The State Supreme Court Monday reprimanded lawyer Edward Kent of Levittown [Willingboro] for bypassing a Pennsylvania lawyer and dealing directly with his client.

The Pennsylvania lawyer, James P. Geoghegan, complained to the Burlington County Ethics Committee that Kent had sought to arrange settlement of an auto accident through direct dealings with Geoghegan’s client.

He said this violated the professional ethics.  Continue reading