My Baby Bracelet Found Again


My adoptive mother died a few months ago. I have been slowly going through her belongings. Deciding what to keep and what to give away is a very difficult task.

I had already generally gone through a box of my mother’s old jewelry and set it aside for the “give away” pile. But a relative who was with me took a second look. She found a small plastic bag with a string of beads. She pulled it out and said, “This looks like a baby bracelet.”

I immediately swung around as my relative placed the beaded bracelet in my hands. I recognized the initials and last name as that of my natural mother. The beads were pink; this was my baby bracelet worn in the hospital after my birth.

How could I have missed this when going through the box the first time?

More importantly, why was this the first time I had seen this bracelet? My adoptive mother kept it in her jewelry box since bringing me home on April 22, 1956, four months after my birth. My natural father had given her this bracelet, along with my clothes and birth certificate and baptismal certificate. Why did my adoptive mother keep this bracelet all these years? She surely could have given it to me during the course of my reunion with my natural family from 1974 onward. But I discovered it and reclaimed it a few months after her death.

This is yet another reminder that for all I know about my birth and my adoption I shall never really know my life. I was a baby born to a dying mother; I was dying at birth. The conditions and events that surrounded the people who took care of me, especially my natural father, were tense. My future hung in the balance until my mother died. Nearly a month later, my father handed me to another couple to raise as their daughter. I grew up the only child of this couple. My former life ceased to exist.

I hold this bracelet now as a mere portion of my life before adoption. Those six weeks I lay in an incubator, clinging to life: this is what this bracelet symbolizes for me. It’s not my name on the bracelet, it’s my mother’s name, for I am my mother’s daughter and this is the way the hospital knew I belonged to her. My birth and those first few weeks of my life were not happy moments.

As I clear through the belongings of one mother recently deceased, I am reminded of another mother who died long ago. Her death changed the course of my life.

My baby bracelet brought me, not a moment of happiness, but a day of mourning a lifetime of loss.

Real birther issue is still unresolved


Real birther issue is still unresolved

Joan Wheeler, born Doris Sippel, lives in Buffalo and thinks adoptees should have access to their birth records.

Published: June 10, 2011, 12:00 AM

President Obama recently released a copy of his long-form original birth certificate to prove that he was born in the United States. If he had been adopted, he would not be able to produce his original birth certificate for the public or even for his own viewing. By law, he would be able to obtain only an amended birth certificate.

Does this mean that adoptees are prohibited from becoming president?

I am an adoptee and I have two conflicting birth certificates.

As in all adoptions, the judge who presided over my adoption ordered my original birth certificate sealed and replaced with an amended one. The registrar of vital records switched most of my birth facts onto a new document, but the amended certificate does not contain the attending physician’s signature attesting that he

witnessed the birth. And it does not prove who my biological mother and father were.

In the aftermath of 9/11, to obtain a passport or an enhanced driver’s license, one must present documentation of birth filed within five days of birth. Many adoptees’ amended certificates were issued a year or more after birth; delayed birth certificates are not acceptable proof of birth. And amended certificates don’t prove who actually gave birth to the individual named. Adoptees cannot obtain documentation of birth and adoption because these records are sealed.

Birth records for adoptees have been sealed and altered since the 1930s to hide illegitimacy for mother and infant, and to protect adoptive parents. The adoptee rights movement began in the 1950s to change these laws. Two states never sealed records; six states have varying degrees of open records. New York has been a closed-record state since 1935.

I, like many adoptees, want unrestricted access to my original birth certificate. Adoptees are the only group of people denied access to their own birth record. This is a matter of civil rights, social inequality, personal dignity and genealogical knowledge. Non-adoptees can obtain their birth record, but adoptees cannot get theirs.

Opponents to open records claim mothers’ identities must be kept secret because they were promised confidentiality. Mothers who have lost children to adoption say that secrecy was imposed upon them. Additionally, the stigma of illegitimacy doesn’t hold true for full or half orphans (like myself) or step-parent adoptees. Adoptees say that stigma in adoption is unwarranted.

So, how did I get my short-and long-form original birth certificate if the records were sealed?

My widowed father, at the time he relinquished me, gave my birth certificates to my adoptive parents. When I turned 18, they, in turn, gave the documents to me.

Despite this, I am still legally prevented from obtaining my original birth certificate.

All amended birth certificates state the adoptee’s new name, replace the parents by birth with the names of the new parents and include most facts of the birth. A registrar of vital statistics certifies the facts are true. They are not, since no adoptee is born to the parents named on the amended certificate.

New York State adoptees are supporting passage of Senate Bill 1438 and Assembly Bill 2003, which would give adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates. This is half of the solution. For true adoptee equality, falsified amended birth certificates should be replaced with honest adoption certificates.

Lawsuit Claims Birth Certificate of Schwarzenegger’s Love Child Was Falsified

The ex-husband of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s lover plans to sue claiming that “the birth certificate of the couple’s love child was falsified.” Details can be found here.

I’m not sure if Rogelio Baena stands a chance in his lawsuit against Arnold Schwarzenegger. While I agree with his outrage and the fact that his name is on the boy’s birth certificate as the father, it is pretty much a universal law that any child born within a marriage is considered the child of both wife and husband. The reason this is so is to protect the wife and child from the rage of the husband should he find out he is not the father and to give the child a name and inheritance rights.

But if Rogelio Baena is successful in his lawsuit against Arnold Schwarzenegger, he may well establish a president: “Rogelio Baena’s name appears on the birth certificate as the boy’s father, and attorneys have told him that if Schwarzenegger and Mildred Baena knew this was not true, they engaged in conspiracy to falsify a public document — a serious crime in California.”

Not only could this be a president-setting case for husbands of women who have children via affairs, but this could also be of benefit to millions of adoptees whose birth certificates are routinely falsified upon the finalization of adoption. According to Rogelio Baena’s attorneys, conspiracy to falsify a public document is a serious crime in California. I suspect it is a serious crime in all of the United States.

As those of us in the adoption reform movement have been saying for many years, why are our birth certificates amended — falsified — by our local Registrars of Vital Statistics? Why is this not a crime? Why can’t adoptees sue? We know our birth certificates were falsified because the parents named on our legal birth certificates did not sire nor give birth to us. Our legal parents became our parents by legal adoption, not biology and birth. When will the truth of our births be fully recognized?

I wonder if Rogelio Baena will win his lawsuit over the falsification of his son’s birth certificate. Perhaps he will be granted the removal of his name and the rightful father’s name will be placed on the boy’s birth certificate.

It is a shame that the 13 year old boy whose birth certificate is in question must go through this public humiliation. That, however, is another story.