Truth, Honesty, and the American Way

When I wrote my letter to the South Dakota Senators (see previous post) asking them to vote yes to the Bill allowing access to adoptees for a noncertified copy of their original birth certificates, I couldn’t help but notice the following:

When a new certificate of birth is established pursuant to §§ 34-25-15 to 34-25-16.2, inclusive, the original certificate of birth together with the adoption information or other evidence upon which a new certificate is made shall be sealed, filed, and may be opened only upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction, or by the secretary of health for purposes of properly administering the vital registration system or for purposes of complying with section 2 of this Act.

 Pay attention. The existing law states:

When a new certificate of birth is established

That means, as I have stated in a previous Post, that all adoptees suffer the re-writing of their birth certificates as an automatic procedure as part of the process of finalizing the adoption. THIS PRACTICE MUST STOP!

I have been saying this since 1974 when I was 18 years old and was contacted by siblings I never knew existed. Three days after that shock, my adoptive mother dumped my birth certificates and adoption papers on the kitchen table in front of me. When I looked at my Birth Registration in my birthname and the birth certificate made with my adopted name, I was shocked into realizing that the FACTS OF MY BIRTH had been changed. This does not make logical sense. Why is this even legal? This is why I wrote my Idea For Change on the website: “Make falsifying birth certificates of adoptees illegal”. See the Widgets at the left side bar…

Normal people – non-adopted people – and probably many adoptees themselves, do not understand the basic principles here. If we keep asking for ACCESS and ACCESS to UNCERTIFIED copies of our UNALTERED Original Birth Certificates, that is all we may get. THAT is fine, if you want to look at a copy of your birth certificate.

But why should we allow for the continuation of falsifying new adoptees’ birth certificates? Stop the cycle of re-written histories. Stop the fraudulent abusive attack on human infants and children who have no legal representatives to stand in their defense to say NO to “when a new certificate of birth is established…”.

The above referenced South Dakota Bill being voted upon today would give South Dakota adoptees the following:

Upon receipt of the written application and proof of identification, the department shall issue to the applicant a noncertified copy of the unaltered original certificate of birth.

Yes, by what we know of as “a clean bill”, this Bill will give adoptees exactly what is stated above. That is a victory, should this pass, for South Dakota adoptees: access to a noncertified copy of their unaltered original birth certificate. That would be a huge accomplishment, more than what the majority of states do not do for adoptees who want their original birth certificates.

For those purposes, this is a Clean Bill.

But it isn’t really a true clean bill. Two obstacles are still in our way: the assembly line manufacturing of millions more falsified birth certificates each time an infant or child is adopted, thus continuing the cycle of lies. This gives years of possibilities for adoptive parents to continue to lie to their adoptees when they are children and to continue to do so when they are adults. This needs to stop.

The OTHER obstacle is that adoptees who achieve access to noncertified copies of their birth certificates are still being discriminated against because receiving a noncertified copy IS still discrimination. Stop this charade.

The Netherlands gives us a perfect example of how to register the births and adoptions of all their adoptees: 1 birth certificate and 1 adoption certificate. That ensures the total security of the BIRTH CERTIFCATE of the adoptee; as in: a person is born only once — That is a fact of life. And, once a child is adopted, there is an adoption certificate with all the facts of the adoption stated clearly. The adoption facts and the birth facts are clearly defined. No adoptive parent in Holland gets away with the luxury and the falsehoods of having in their possession a “new” birth certificate that implies that they GAVE BIRTH TO A CHILD THAT THEY ACTUALLY ADOPTED.

These documents are open to the three parties: the adoptee, the natural parents and the adoptive parents. There is no chance that the adoptee will use their CERTIFIED birth certificate in fraud (by posing as another person) because both the birth certificate and the adoption certificate are needed for proof of identification and citizenship.

What is so difficult in America that our feeble-minded society cannot accept the true facts of life and the true facts of adoption?

Even lawyers in this country cannot wrap their brains around what I just wrote. Listen, it is simple: stop thinking like backward thinking Americans and start thinking like progressive people and get the job done right. Stop lying to adoptees. Stop fraudulently falsifying our birth certificates because THAT action is morally wrong and needs to be illegal. Stop patronizing adoptees by patting us on the head as if we are still little children, “Here Suzie, here’s your NONCERTIFIED ORIGINAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE, now go away.”

We are American citizens who deserve the right to ONE BIRTH CERTIFICATE and ONLY ONE BIRTH CERTIFICATE, and if we are adopted, WE DESERVE TRUTHFUL DOCUMENTATION of our ADOPTIONS, not a NEW BIRTH CERTIFICATE that is FRAUDULENT.

I’ve been saying the same thing for 36 years. I said it when I was 18 and I am saying it now at age 54. Stop this nonsense of altering our facts of life. No other class of people is discriminated against like this. No class of people is set apart — segregated — from the rest of a free society in the same way adoptees are.

These laws were written at a time when being born illegitimate was shameful. More unmarried couples are co-habiting now and are having children together without the legal binds of marriage. Single women who are lesbians are having children via anonymous sperm donation. (That signifies yet another injustice not covered in this blog post). More single men who are gay are having children via an egg donor or a surrogate mother. (These kids also do not have true birth certificates because it is easier to leave off the name of the missing genetic parent, but again, that is the subject for another discussion).

But all adoptees are not illegitimate. And for the ones who are, they still have one mother and one father who created them and those are the facts of life. If adoptive parents don’t like that, too bad. YOU were lucky enough to be raised by the parents who gave you life, so don’t be smug by withholding the truth to your adoptees. Only when adoptive parents realize that they are part of the problem by not standing up to the government and saying “No, do not issue a falsified birth certificate, issue an adoption certificate instead”.

I am a half orphan born to married parents. Yet, my birth certificate was seized by my government and sealed from me. A new birth certificate was then issued, as if I were born illegitimately and must be segregated apart from the rest of society. Both of those indignations must be addressed by a repressed society that still abuses adoptees.

What does CNN News anchor Anderson Cooper say when he opens his show? He says, “Keeping them honest”.

I’d like to see the entire United States kept honest by changing adoption and birth certificate law to represent the true facts in an open, honest government, federally mandated, not state-run, because adoptees are denied federal civil rights by the current system.

Joan M Wheeler

author of: Forbidden Family: A Half Orphan’s Account of Her Adoption, Reunion and Social Activism, Trafford Publishing, Nov 2009.

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