In these last few days days of writing to and calling New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to Veto the current bills up for his signature (regressive Mother-May-I Bills A5036B/S4845A), I feel myself wanting to talk to my mother. But I can’t. She died three months after my birth 61 years ago.
I keep wondering what she would think and feel about being erased as my mother, wiped off of my official birth certificate. I feel sad for her, even though she really does not know what happened after her death.
But I was told that she loved me, she loved all of her 5 children. She was only 30 years old. I can’t imagine her sadness at knowing she was dying after giving birth.
How would she feel to know that New York State decided she was not my mother? Didn’t she give up enough? Her life did not matter?
How would she feel to know that I miss her? That I want her as my mother on my true birth certificate?
I fight for New York State to reinstate my real birth certificate, not just for my civil rights, but for her, my mother. She gave her life so I could live. Her body was filled with cancer, yet she continued to live so I could be born. And New York State removed her name from my birth certificate and replaced her name with that of another woman. And the amended birth certificate after my adoption even claims this new woman gave birth to me in the hospital where my real birth took place. Hospital records will show who really gave birth to me.
And please, spare me any arguments that I did not love my adoptive mother. That was a very complicated relationship, and only three people know what my childhood was like: me, my adoptive father and my adoptive mother. No one else knows. And no one else knows what was said between us in the years, months, days, hours before her death in 2011. My adoptive mother, for all of her faults, and for all of the hurt she cause me, toward the end of her life, she always spoke of my natural mother as “Your mother”. She spoke those words with a soft reverence.
Does New York State have respect for the dead? No. New York State owes my real mother respect and dignity. Right the wrongs. Identify my real mother. Release my real birth certificate. Reinstate my mother AS my mother, certify her AS my mother for all eternity on a document that will be available for me, for my children, and for my grandchildren. As it stands right now, my descendants will only be allowed to retrieve my amended birth certificate issued upon my adoption.
But no, that’s not correct now, either. Since I reclaimed my name last year, my amended birth certificate was voided because it has the wrong name on it. To complete the process, I am supposed to apply for a new amended birth certificate in Albany to update my “new” name so that the Vital Statistics Office will issue a corrected birth certificate. But that would mean that I, Doris Michol Sippel, would then be born, on paper, to Doloris and Edward Wheeler, who actually adopted me and changed my name to Joan Mary Wheeler in 1957.
The HELL I am going to request such a stupid document from New York State!
I already told the sweet man at the Supreme Court help desk that I would not do it. I am using my raised-seal, certified, medical record of live birth that was issued within five days of my birth AS MY IDENTIFICATION even though New York State does not recognize it as “legal” because it was revoked and sealed after my adoption. If I do not request a “new” amended birth certificate, I will continue to use my very old, pre-revoked and pre-sealed birth certificate. But if it is lost, stolen, or worn out, I do not have the legal right to obtain a replacement certified copy. My adoption overrides my real birth.
Even if New York State Health Department, Division of Vital Statistics does not officially validate the facts of my birth, I owe it to my mother and my father to fight for truth. Social Security changed the names of my parents in my official record when I presented my real birth certificate to them last year. Now I will continue to fight Vital Statistics to release the seal, to validate my real birth and annul any trace of the false facts put forth by the legal transaction of adoption.
Mom, I do it for you, too.
And for Dad.
You would want me to, wouldn’t you, Mom?