I just got back from a very unusual birthday celebration at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York: US President Millard Fillmore was born this day 210 years ago. I attended a memorial service at his gravesite to honor him.
There was a wreath presented by the current US President’s Representative, and other government officials, as well as dignitaries from educational institutions that owe their beginnings to Millard Fillmore. Since Millard Fillmore was a Unitarian, the minister of the Buffalo Unitarian Universalist Church gives the invocation prayer. Today’s service was not as cold as in other years. There was no bitter wind or snow falling. TAPS was played by a lone trumpeter and a military flag guard opened and closed the ceremony.
The first year I attended was 21 years ago. I brought my toddler daughter. A TV camera took her picture as she played in the snow. Then, the TV reporter asked the guests why they were there. The usual important people gave their usual official comments on this President’s contributions to end slavery and start hospitals and the University of Buffalo just 13 years after the British burned the village of Buffalo to the ground in 1813. In 1989, I was trying to duck the reporter, but he caught me and asked me why I was there. I said, “I share Millard Fillmore’s birthday and I was born in the hospital named after him. I am also a member of the church he belonged to. I came here to honor a man who became the 13th President of the United States”. The reporter thanked me.
I went home and watched the News at dinner time. Less than 5 minutes later, the phone rang.
“Hello, Joan. You pig! What the hell are you doing, talking to a News Reporter and plastering your face on TV?! You are an ego-maniac and have no business showing off!”
That call came in from an adoptive cousin. She and her sisters and their mother have hated me for “OPENLY declaring you have two fathers” since 1974.
This is the kind of stuff that makes me want to die. Because THEY out number me, they have the power. I am alone. Can I not celebrate my birthday in the way I choose? Who are THEY to judge me? What harm have I done to THEM? THEY do not approve of my reunion with my father — a man THEY have never met — a man THEY hate because, according to THEM, he gave me away so he does not qualify to be honored by me as my father. BUT HE IS MY FATHER. Without him, I would not be alive.
So much for family values – so much for adoptive family values. The adoptee only has value if she honors and obeys the adoptive family’s rules and ignores from whence she came.
My MOTHER gave birth to me today 54 years ago in Millard Fillmore Hospital in Buffalo, New York. Her name, and that of my FATHER, is on my hospital records, my hospital birth certificate, and my true birth certificate. But the State of New York seized that birth certificate in January of 1957 and by March of 1957, the State of New York BASTARDIZED my legitimate birth by issuing a falsified, certified as true, Certificate of Live Birth with a raised State seal and a stamped signature of a City of Buffalo Registrar of Vital Statistics. This fraudulent piece of paper is my legal birth certificate. It desecrates the honor of the woman who gave her life so that I may live.
Thank you, New York State, for dis-honoring my birthday.
I will fight till my dying breathe to avenge the violation of my MOTHER’s honor as the woman who nurtured me in her body and then died so that I may live. I will fight to my dying breath to win back my birthright and re-build after the destruction by State-sanctioned vandalism of my true birth certificate — the official documentation of my actual birth.
HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER, so says a Catholic Commandment.
Where is the honor befitting my father and mother of conception and birth?
A Catholic nun in my Junior High School used to say, “Look ashamed!” when she caught some unruly student misbehaving.
I say to all who violate adoptees’ sacred bonds of birth: Shame on all of you who mock adoptees and our natural parents!
Thanks for a wonderful life, you lousy relatives. I am ashamed to have been adopted into YOUR clan. Family values, indeed. The values you proliferate certainly are not Christian values of love. Only a few of you are worthy of my love.
I take away valuable lessons from President Millard Fillmore. He had the tenacity, strength and the personal integrity to stand for honor and justice, to stave off the American Civil War for a few more years, and to stand up to end slavery.
There is a quiet civil war going on right now: the US and State governments are imprisoning all adoptees by seizing our birthrights and birth certificates by forcing us to live lies every time we are forced to present fraudulent birth certificates as the real documentation of our births. Stop the vandalsim of adoptees’ true birth certifcates.