The Real Issue in Two Fathers on a Birth Certificate: The Adoptee

I’m not going to get into a huge discussion on gays rights as that is not the focus of this website.

If two people are committed to each other and love each other, then they should be allowed to marry and adopt if that is their choice. Having said that, I must also say, because there are serious problems with the American system, adoption is not the best choice for the child. Guardianship, and not adoption, should take precedence for the child’s welfare, not the parents who “want” a child. Fiddling around with reproductive technologies, surrogate mothers, donated eggs and sperm, all confuse just whose egg and sperm and womb created the child. In the case of many parents who had a part in giving a child life, all of those parents names belong on a birth certificate. Adoptive parents names belong on an adoption certificate. Period.

In my blog post two nights ago on the article “5th Circuit Appeal: Court Upholds Child’s right to Both Fathers on Birth Certificate, a commenter had this to say following their article:

 Melanie Nathan

Posted on February 22, 2010 at 12:43 pm

The truth is that all adoptive parents get to go on an amended birth certificate and same should apply straight or gay

Well, that may all be well and good, IF that is your goal is. Having the same rights to nullify the personhood of an innocent child for the benefit of raising the legal equality standards for an oppressed group (gay men and lesbians), is just wrong. It is the wrong goal. The goals gays and lesbians want is to be able to adopt, not to be told they cannot adopt. In that process of fighting to win the equal right to adopt, gay and lesbian pre-adoptive parents lose sight of the most important person in this equation: the adoptee.

Another commenter at the above linked article had this to say:


Posted on February 22, 2010 at 9:22 am

Accurate birth certificate?

An accurate birth certificate should state who actually gave birth to the child. The child became a second class citizen the minute his original birth certificate was replaced by the first falsified document.

This is not a gay rights issue. This is an adoptee rights issue. Falsifying birth certificates in the name of adoption is legalized identity theft. This child should be entitled to his true identity just as non-adopted citizens are.

Winning the right to adopt as two single men in a committed relationship is not a victory for gay rights, it is a stunning defeat for human rights, and a devastating defeat for adoptees and our natural parents. We, in the adoption reform movement, have been fighting since 1953 for the right to access our sealed birth certificates and sealed adoption records. In my opinion, we have been terribly short-sighted in our focus. We should also be fighting to PREVENT the sealing and falsification of more birth certificates by demanding an end to sealed birth certificates and the automatic falsification of a “new” birth certificate for every child who is adopted, whether the adopting parents are gay, lesbian, or straight.

I have written about this extensively on this blog, and in my book by the same name as this website. (UPDATE December 2013: second edition of my book, Forbidden Family, will be published in 2014.)

I must be writing to the blind and talking to deaf ears and trying to reason with irrational people. How hard is it to accept the facts of life? One mother and one father get together and one sperm meets one egg and there you have a baby! Throw in a surrogate mother and an egg donor and you have one genetic mother, one rented womb mother, and one sperm donor father. Is that explained clearly enough? Now, class, whose names belong on a factual Certificate of Live Birth? That’s right: the father whose sperm fertilized the mother’s egg and the mother who subsequently gave birth! That’s three parents! The fourth parent who wants to adopt must be named on an adoption certificate because no adoptive parent physically creates an adopted son or daughter. You cannot fabricate the facts of life.

Isn’t that a simple that concept?

But we have been doing just that and that is why the gay community sees this as a victory for their right to adopt.

Who the parents are gets muddied when a new set of parents come along and wants to take over parenting that child. This is why GUARDIANSHIP is much safer for the child: because in Guardianship, the child does not have a replacement set of parents. In Guardianship, the child’s rights to one mother and one father are protected. In Guardianship, the parent-figures have the legal role of care-taker, but they are not taking the place of the child’s true parents. Adoption makes the child’s true parents disappear. Adoption creates a new Certificate of Live Birth for the child and changes the child’s name to suit the purposes of the mother and father who adopt the child. But in the case of two lesbians or two gay men, the two parents who take on the social parenting role want the right to put their names on a new Certificate of Live Birth for the child. That is revisonist history.

The right to adopt should not be confused with the right to be a couple and take on a parenting role.  Adoption, as is practiced in this country, is a biased and unequal legal system with the adopting parents (gay or straight) having the upper hand. Gays and lesbians gaining the legal right to adopt is just one more step in the process of taking away a child’s right to the full truth of who created that child: one mother and one father gave that child life.

I get so tired of explaining this that I actually get tongue-tied.

So I’ll leave that alone for now.

Another commenter on the above article made this correction:

Daryl Royal

Posted on February 23, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Without taking anything away from the rest of the discussion, this decision is NOT from the U.S. Supreme Court, but is instead from the Fifth Circuit, which is a federal appeals court one step below the Supreme Court. It is only binding precedent for courts in that circuit, which include some or all of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

I stand corrected. So this is not a US Supreme Court ruling. None the less, this is certainly much more attention and “victory” than adoptee-rights legislation has received.

The adoption reform movement needs to stand up and take notice. Oppose such rulings as this! For what appears to be a victory for one oppressed group (the Gay Community) is actually a huge setback for the Adoption-Rights community.

Please, people, wake up! Each and every one of us has one mother and one father, and adoptees have another set of parents who should be named on a Certificate of Adoption, not a fraudulent birth certificate. Stand up and fight for what is right and just!

The United Nations, through UNICEF, has the goal of all children around the world to the right to a Universal Birth Registation and Birth Certificate.

I say we need to EXPAND that idea to include a UNIVERSAL Adoption Certificate. State the facts plane and simple. Put the truth right out there and stop playing with adoptees’ lives.

I still say that a full United States Constitutional Amendment should be made to overturn the Model  State Adoption Act AND this stupid, stupid case involving brain dead numbnuts gay men who can’t see the obvious crime they have just committed against the very child they claim they love so much. If they loved that boy, they would respect WHO he is and WHO his real parents are and not lie on a birth certificate! They would also insist on an accurate Certificate of Adoption to tell the absolute truth of who is the adoptive parent. The birth certificate should tell the truth of who are the biological, life-giving parents.

Gays and lesbians, go back into the corner. You can come back out only when you can recognize and honor the facts of life for another human being.

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

UPDATE: December 2013: second edition of my book, Forbidden Family, will be published in 2014.