I’m sorry Ohio – Your adoptees are not granted full civil equal rights to non-adopted people

Here is an article on good news for Ohio adoptees:

New Law Allows Adoptees to Request Once-Sealed Birth Records

The article begins:

Their applications completed and notarized and the $20 fee paid, Ellaztre Barnett and more than 300 other adoptees left the Ohio Department of Health Vital Statistics Office and went home to await the mail.

And this

Now, adults adopted between 1964 and 1996 — the group that had been barred from obtaining their records — can request their files. Such records usually contain the adoptee’s original birth certificate.

Adults whose adoptions were finalized in Ohio before 1964 already had access. Those adopted on or after Sept. 18, 1996, can receive their files unless their birthparent asks to be excluded.

And this

“Nobody should have to beg or grovel to find out who they are,” she said. “This was like a pseudo witness-protection program.”

I should be happy for my fellow adoptees in Ohio, but I am not.

Perhaps it is because the last quote above really says it all. Adoptees are in a type of witness-protection program. However, we did not step forward, as adults, to witness in court and place ourselves in danger. We did not, therefore, need the government’s help to protect us from harm.

No. Instead, we were born and then adopted. No matter what the circumstances of our conceptions and births, we were stripped of our true identities by the process of adoption. We were given new identities, new birth certificates, and new families.

As a result, our actual birth certificates were sealed. We were issued new birth certificates which are our operable birth certificates now.

We cannot go back. Ever. Unless we have our sealed birth certificates returned to us in full certified fashion.

Even when these bitter-sweet happy adoptees in Ohio receive their sealed birth certificates in the mail, they will not have won the battle. Oh, they will have an uncertified copy of their record of birth, but they will still be bound by the second half of the law that changed their identity upon adoption. Their amended birth certificates are still their operable birth certificates. Their identities are still changed. And their sealed birth certificates are still sealed.

Why did I say that? Because they will be issued UNCERTIFIED copies of their sealed birth certificates, that’s why. That means that the government just releases a mere photo copy and not an officially certified birth certificate. To do so would mean that an adoptee would have two official certified birth certificates, and that, some say, would give adoptees the opportunity to commit fraud.

Commit fraud? By taking back our sealed identities?

The whole concept of identity theft of millions of infants and children for the sole purpose of being adopted makes my blood boil.

I realize that my comrades in Ohio are jumping for joy right now.

I am not jumping for joy. They will get a piece of paper that will give them information that they never had before. But that uncertified piece of paper is not an official recognition that the birth actually took place. These adoptees have won nothing but the right to own a piece of paper that has information written on it.

These adoptees still are not free to claim the name printed on their sealed birth certificate. They still are legally bound to the name on their  operable birth certificate – the amended birth certificate made after they were adopted.

If that is all they want, fine.

But I want more. I want a certified copy of my sealed birth certificate. The government took it away from me for no reason other than I was adopted at my age of one year and one week old. My birth certificate was changed three months later.

I want to know from these Ohio adoptees: what will your uncertified birth certificates look like? What words will be stamped across the front – “Not for Official Use” or ” For Genealogical Purpose Only” or “Pre-Adoption Birth Certificate” as is the case in other states that have passed adoptee-access laws.

How will you feel when you are confronted by those words on your birth certificate?

Is Ohio’s release of uncertified sealed birth certificates to adoptees a step in the right direction?

I am not so sure. While once I thought this would be a victory (and I happily supported other states in their push to pass access laws) I know the truth is that we will not have our full civil rights returned to us. That will only happen when adoptees are granted access to our full, certified, birth certificate that was sealed from us upon the finalization of our adoptions.

I’m sorry Ohio. Your adoptees are not granted full civil equal rights to non-adopted people.




AdoptionLand: From Orphans to Activists

Congratulations, Daniel Ibn Zayd,on your inclusion in AdoptionLand: From Orphans to Activists. The editor, Michael Allen Potter, asked me to contribute. I didn’t. I was immersed in another project at the time. And I thought I should leave space for other adoptees to give their voices. I said that to Cryptic Omega recently. She thanked me. She now has a place in this intense and much-needed anthology. I am glad to see names of people I know, comrades in this journey of self-discovery, of frustration and determined social and legislative efforts to change the forces that made us who we are today. Congratulations all who contributed! Congratulations on the book re-launch today! https://www.facebook.com/events/1582385132006583

Daniel Drennan ElAwar

I am privileged and honored to be included in this anthology of adoptee voices from around the globe. Quoting from the book’s web site:

For the first time in adoption history, families of adoption-loss from all over the world unite, each sharing a unique perspective. The anthology’s contributors are emerging, educated, and established writers, promoting the right to original family.

Our anthology condenses the topic of adoption–a global movement of children–into a revealing look that identifies and acknowledges a crisis specific to orphans who have been torn and isolated from our first families.

Families separated-by-adoption face unique concerns, rarely recognized by the mainstream. Some of the issues we face include forced and coerced relinquishment, child trafficking, reassigned identities, falsified birth records, inaccessibility to one’s family lineage, lack of citizenship, void of cultural connection, belittling of the trauma caused by adoption, resistance toward reunions with family, denial against justice.

All humans—including…

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