I had to fill out yet another government form today:
“I am the individual to whom the information/record applies or that person’s parent (if a minor) or legal guardian. I know that if I make any misrepresentation which I know is false to obtain information from Social Security records, I could be punished by a fine, imprisonment or both.”
Each time an adoptee fills out a form that requires “name, date and place of birth” that adoptee is either knowingly or unknowingly lying. Adoptees are forced to lie by the very nature and status of our known and unknown identities. All adoptees have a legal identity that is different from their identity at birth. And, officially, our adoptions are not acknowledged as part of our identity.
I rush through the data, seething inside:
Name: Joan Mary Wheeler
Date of Birth: 1-7-1956
That is my legal identity. But I was not born with that name. In fact, Joan Wheeler did not legally exist until one year and one month AFTER my date of birth. Joan Wheeler was adopted not born. To be accurate and truthful: I was born to a mother who is not my legal mother and no paperwork exists — legally — to prove my birth. So I am forced to lie whenever I write my name and date of birth. To be accurate I should write the following on all forms:
Name: Doris M Sippel
Date of Birth: 1-7-1956
Date of Finalization of Adoption: 1-14-1957
Date of legal name change: 1-14-1957
Date of sealing and falsification of birth record: somewhere between 1-14-1957 and March 1957.
Date adoptive parents received new, amended and falsified birth record for Doris Sippel/Joan Wheeler: March 1957
So, when I see these words on government forms: “I know that if I make any misrepresentation which I know is false… I could be punished by a fine, imprisonment or both”, I take that as a threat to me by my government. Each and every time I am forced to write my name and date of birth, I know I have to write the accepted version of truth for simplicity’s sake. I am, however, forced to live lies perpetrated by my city, state and federal governments.
The ones guilty of fraud and perjury (misrepresentation of material facts; false statements of facts) are: the Surrogate Court Judge who signed my Final Order of Adoption; The Registrar of Vital Statistics of Buffalo, New York; New York State Department of Health; and the US Federal Government for lack of clarity and standardization of birth and adoption records.
The United States of America needs a federal mandate to correct these inconsistencies for all domestic and foreign-born adoptees.
Join in the fight to change our laws by clicking on these links: Equal Access for Adult Adoptees: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/equal_access_for_adult_adoptees (a Petition to the President of the United States and the US House of Representatives); Letter to President Obama at Family Preservation: http://familypreservation.blogspot.com/2010/01/call-for-signatures.html; Adoptees: Fight for the right to your own identity in Illinois! http://www.change.org/petitions/view/adoptees_fight_for_the_right_to_your_own_identity_in_illinois; Restore Adult Adoptee Access to Original Birth Certificates http://www.change.org/petitions/view/restore_adult_adoptee_access_to_original_birth_certificates.
~ ~ ~ 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.