My Response to “The twilight of closed adoptions” published by The Boston Globe

S.I. Rosenbaum wrote this sort-of good article titled, “The Twilight of Closed Adoptions.”

I say, “sort-of” because of the “birth” terms used repeatedly. When will reporters stop insulting families in this way? My father sired me, he did not birth me, therefore, he is not my “Birth father.” Stop it. Just stop it.

The research is good, interviews good, content and intent, all good. Go read it for yourself. If you feel compelled to subscribe, please do, because that is the only way you  will be able to comment. I cannot afford to subscribe, so I will comment on this article here.

“…states refused to open birth records even when petitioned by adoptees who were searching for relatives because they needed organ donors. Only recently have states begun to reverse course; Massachusetts still doesn’t give all adoptees access to birth records.

But by now, it almost doesn’t matter.”

Ah, but it does matter.

Yes, adoptees and our natural blood kin are being reunited through DNA and social media, but adoptees’ birth certificates are revoked, sealed, and replaced by false-fact birth certificates meant to simulate our real births. Except that they don’t carry real facts. In some states, even birth dates and places can be falsified.

Think about it. My current amended birth certificate states that I, Joan Wheeler, was born to D and E Wheeler. Nope. Not true. I was not born as Joan Wheeler, nor was I born to the parents named. In reality, I became Joan Wheeler one year and one week after my birth when the final court order of adoption changed my name and finalized my adoption. Three months later, New York State revoked and sealed my birth certificate, the one that is the medical record of my birth, the one that names me as Doris Michol Sippel, the daughter of G and L Sippel. Upon my adoption, New York State issued a new, amended birth certificate in the name of Joan Wheeler. Sixty years later, I legally changed my name back to my name of birth, but my legal birth certificate remains in the name of Joan, and the adoptive parents of Joan. But no where in that birth certificate is the word “adoption.”

That does not sit well with me.

To some who are eager to reunite with blood kin, fine, if reunion is all you want, then by all means, seek out social media, order your DNA kit, spit in the tube, and get your DNA. I understand your needs and wants.

I also understand the push for legislative access to sealed birth certificate because that will give adoptees knowledge of who they were born as and to whom they were born.

But for those of us who are purists, we must fight to our dying breaths to end this oppressive system that annuls our birth certificates as if our births didn’t happen, seals these documents, and then replaces them with fabricated lies.

These amended birth certificates are the condition of adoption – today and decades past – that legally severs adoptees from our blood kin forever. We are, whether born bastards or not, legitimized through legal adoption by a married mother and father. The laws were written at a time in history in when babies who were born without a legal father were considered to be born illegally – illegitimately. What better way to hide that shame by creating a new identity for such an unfortunate child?

Trouble is, children who were born within a marriage were also adopted when one or both parents died. Or when grandparents adopted their grandchildren. Or when step parents adopted their step children. And older children were adopted out of foster care.

All adopted people suffer the same identity theft perpetrated by the State – and by adoptive parents.

The State then pretends that this horrendous secret must be kept from us. Our birth certificates continue to be revoked and sealed; no matter if we have been in reunion for decades, no matter if our natural parents (Please STOP using that disgusting word “birth” mother and father) give written permission to release the sealed birth record, no matter if all natural and adoptive parents are dead.

What’s worse, States will continue to do this to every new adoptee today and tomorrow, too. It doesn’t matter if we all get our DNA tested, if we all find close or distant relatives via DNA matching, or if we search on social media, or if we search in State registries or global registries. Annulling, sealing, and replacing our birth certificates with false-fact pretend birth certificates will continue to be the default of all adoptions – closed and open – unless we change the laws.

Adoptees of color were not born to their white adoptive parents, yet their legal birth certificates state that they were. Adoptees who were born in Korea or China or Africa are issued birth certificates that state false facts that they were born to white American parents in their country of origin.

Many white adoptees can “pass” as if they were born to their white adoptive parents because the race or ethnicity is not that far off. Sure, an adoptee with dark hair and eyes won’t fit in very well with blonde, blue eyed adoptive parents, but white is white. Adoptees can “pass” as their adoptive parents children.

But “passing” is not what we should be forced to do. We should not be forced to pretend  to be someone we were not born to be.

Non-adopted people have rights to their factual birth certificates. Adopted people do not have those same rights. Our identities were changed for the sake of being adopted.

Legislation to provide access to our revoked and sealed birth certificates will only achieve access – and hopefully without compromising parental controls, permissions, and redactions. Access legislation will not stop the problem.

The problem is the law that continues to revoke, annul, cancel, rescind, invalidate and vacate the medical record of live birth. The law then seals the medical record of live birth, then refers to it as the Original Birth Certificate, and then replaces it with a piece of fiction created upon the finalization of adoption. Adoption is the process of legally appointing strangers as guardians who are assigned the title of “parents” by adoption.

Legislation must repeal, rescind, annul or replace the old laws from Victorian days with new laws that will achieve full equality of adoptees to that of non-adopted people: the right to one birth certificate, the right to name of birth, the right to parents of birth, and the right to extended family. Even when parental rights are involuntarily terminated, even when natural parents voluntarily sign surrender papers giving up their parental rights, the child has rights of identity. Adoption destroys those rights.

If three siblings are in foster care, parental rights terminated, and two siblings are adopted into separate adoptive families, the third child retains her name and birth certificate when she ages out of foster care. Meanwhile, her two siblings are required by law to be stripped of their identity rights when the State revokes and seals and replaces their birth certificates by adoption.

This legal game of pretend must end.

My Take on Texas woman who sexually abused adopted daughter, forced her to be surrogate gets 33 years in prison

I’ll let the title and opening paragraphs of this story give you your first impressions:

Texas woman who sexually abused adopted daughter, forced her to be surrogate gets 33 years in prison

Laura Castillo, 33, left, was sentenced to 33 years in prison for forcing her adopted daughter to carry husband Eusebio Castillo’s children. Eusebio is awaiting trial in Bexar County. (Bexar County Jail)

A Texas woman arrested with her husband for subjecting their adopted daughter to more than decade of sexual and emotional abuse has been sentenced to 33 years behind bars.

And this

Alvarado, now 28, told police the couple had been abusing her since she 9 years old. Around that time, she’d been taken away form her alcoholic mother to live with her relatives on an Army base in Hawaii. The Castillos would go on to legally adopt her.

In an interview with San Antonio-Express News, Alvarado recalled how Eusebio would climb into her bed and molest her in the middle of the night. When she turned 13, he started to rape her, she said.

Castillo initially dismissed the girl’s abuse allegations and would go to participate in forced threesomes with Alvarado and her husband, the victim recalled. The ongoing assaults resulted in three children, all of who were raised to believe Alvarado was their older sister, not their mother.

 

You can read the full article for the other details.

Now for what’s missing.

How were the births handled? Did Abigail Alvarado go in to the hospital alone to give birth? Did she name the father? Did she insist that the father is unknown? Was the young mother threatened by her adopters, Laura and Eusebio Castillo, to tell lies to the doctors as she gave birth, and on the children’s birth certificates?

The birth certificates of these three children should state the truth, if not naming the father, then the mother – the real birthing mother. If those children continued to believe the story that the older woman was their mother, by the time they become young adults and their birth certificates become known to them, they would discover the truth of who is their real mother.

And then there is DNA and medical necessity.

Then there is the age factor. Laura Castillo is 33 years old. Her adopted niece is now 28. That’s a close age range for someone so young to adopt a 9 year old child. That would have made Laura Castillo 15 years old when she and her older husband, Eusebio, adopted the niece of one of them. Which one is the biological aunt or uncle – Laura or Eusebio? How old is Eusebio?

But back to DNA. This case proves my idea that DNA testing of an infant at birth should become mandatory law – not mere hospital policy – but State and Federal law. If mandatory DNA testing is done on every infant born, then the identities of the mother, and father, will be confirmed.

But hold on. As I wrote this blog post earlier this morning, a friend in adoption reform called me about something else. I brought this situation to her attention. She told me that pharmaceutical companies own the DNA people willing give to online companies to trace DNA to provide information on from where a person’s ancestors originated, and to provide connections to close genetic relatives.

I did not know that our private DNA is not our own. I did not know that Big Pharma claims they own the DNA of individuals.

While I’m trying to settle that shock, I’d like to know the rest of this story.

Is the mother still the mother of her children, or did the State remove these children into foster care?

Are the victims (Abigail Alvarado and her three children) of these two master-minds of depravity (Laura and Eusebio Castillo) provided with therapy free of charge? Are the therapists competent?

The young mother, Abigail Alvarado, certainly needs help to cope, but her three children do as well. They will have to deal with this for the rest of their lives.

This will affect future generations, too – medically, socially, psychologically, emotionally and perhaps financially.

Another thought: Gotta love the role religion played in this. How ignorant people must be to believe such ridiculous crap as the dribble coming from the mouths of two people who started a church in their back yard? Who would believe that the first-born child is a healer? And who would be stupid enough to donate thousands of dollars to this church who uses a child in this way?

The family moved to Texas in 2001 before settling in San Antonio, where they established the St. Peregrine Chapel behind their home. They solicited thousands in donations from those who believed Alvarado’s first-born was a healer. … They duped dozens of people into believing the little girl was a “Miracle Child” with the power to cure cancer.

Obviously not much education, or common sense, in this community at all.

Is this entire situation the result of uneducated people, and/or the result of mental illness?

To me, this tragic situation is more evidence that adoption distorts people’s already twisted minds. If their niece at age 9 needed a home to be safe from her alcoholic mother, then there should have been safeguards to allow only temporary legal custodial guardianship. This would also include visitation with and knowledge of her mother.

It is unclear from the scant details if 28 year old Abigail Alvarado’s mother was able to become sober from alcohol and if she is in contact with her now adult daughter and her three grandchildren.

The whole thing is a sham from the start.

On that note, I’m wondering about the now-28 year old adopted daughter’s real birth certificate. Her name appears to not have been changed upon adoption. This is unusual. Was her birth certificate confiscated and revoked, sealed, and then replaced to name her adopters as if they actually conceived and birthed her? This is what happens, by law, in adoption. Did the adopters allow her to keep her own name while the State carried out the law to replace her birth certificate with a false one? That is what happens in adoption. The new, amended – falsified – birth certificate is proof that these court-appointed guardians are assigned as legal parents. But you wouldn’t know they were legally signed because the falsified birth certificate names them as parents by birth.

What does this lie do to the minds of people who adopt – especially ones with already twisted minds? These lies on a false-fact amended birth certificate perpetuates the belief that someone else’s daughter magically became their own child. The adopted niece not only has a false identity as the biological daughter of her adopters, this was an in-family adoption, so this means that her three children also have false identities as well. This is  because their mother’s identity was officially falsified. If she were allowed to keep her full original name (and that seems to be the case), her parents’ names are falsified on the amended birth certificate issued after adoption. Therefore, the father of the children is factually Eusebio Castillo, but legally he is their grandfather. And, depending on who is the blood relative (Laura or Eusebio, the aunt or uncle by blood, one of the pair is the biological aunt or biological uncle of the adopted daughter/niece. This makes one of them the biological great aunt and uncle of the three young children.

If you are having trouble following this, so am I. If I somehow have managed to incorrectly map-out the relationships, will someone from my readership correct me?

I think you can see my point. Adoption distorted this family’s perception as to who is who in their rightful place on the family tree. A therapist will need to help them diagram this out on paper.

Problems started in this extended family long before this adoption and before its twisted forced rape and surrogacy occurred. Treatment for alcoholism in the 28 year old’s mother, temporary separation of mother and child may or may not have been warranted (not enough information here), but certainly, family reunification should have been the first priority.

The second priority should have been to prevent compounding the problem by allowing this adoption.

Then, if legal custodial guardianship was, in fact, needed, then safeguards should have been put into place to protect the now-28 year old niece from further harm. Did anyone conduct a home study on these two adopters before finalizing this adoption?

There is no remedy here. Prison time will only remedy the crimes. The victims will be addressing these issues imposed upon them for the rest of their lives.

The situation provides more evidence that Adoption Must Be Prevented.

Re-Posting: Progress and Goals for “CLEAN” NY Adoption Reform. Preparing For 2019 – 2020

While I remain disappointed and discouraged that our Adoptees’ Rights Bill did not pass this legislative session (which ended June 20), progress has been made.

I don’t know the specifics as to why there was another hold up; I have my concerns as to why. I think it has to do with the opinions of others who scream “mothers’ rights to be left alone” and abortion, and making this out to be search and reunion orientated.

None of that applies. This bill is about ADOPTEES’ RIGHTS TO OUR REVOKED AND SEALED BIRTH CERTIFICATES AND NOTHING ELSE.

Here is an update that continues at the links provided:

Progress and Goals for “CLEAN” NY Adoption Reform. Preparing For 2019 – 2020.

Tim Monti-Wohlpart
Brooklyn, NY
Jun 24, 2018 — Friends of “CLEAN” adoption reform,

Our cause— “CLEAN” NY adoption reform—gained immense ground, with your help, during the 2017 – 2018 legislative session! Albany hears you and we are not being ignored. While the legislature adjourned this week without passage of our bill, dialogue is slated to continue soon. So, we are already preparing for the 2019 – 2020 session (starting in January 2019). Giving up is not part of the equation. We remain humbled and grateful for your support and polite outreach to all key officials.

DIALOGUE WITH GOVERNOR CUOMO STAFF:
It’s tough knowing that A9959-B / S7631-B is not headed to Governor Cuomo, so he can enshrine long overdue adoptee equality—this time. But vital dialogue has progressed and is slated to continue, even this summer, and well in advance of the start of the 2019 – 2020 legislative session.

On Tuesday two of our partners, Annette and Barbara, from the New York Adoptee Rights Coalition (NYARC) reported, as requested, to Governor Cuomo’s office for discussion. With thanks to April, on Wednesday, Tim contributed to a call with a senior staffer who has assumed direct involvement on adoption reform. Her work, linked to the Department of Health following our March workgroup meeting, will be key in further consideration our appeal! Because of you, “clean” adoption reform has gained gradually rising consideration at the highest levels of New York government.

THIS CONTINUES HERE.

Re-Blogging: Don’t Keep Adopted People in the Dark – New York Times

Re-bloging from the New York Times…

Tim Monti-Wohlpart could see the differences between him and his adoptive family from an early age. He had olive skin and black hair; they were fair. But he wasn’t compelled to seek more information about his background until medical issues in his mid-twenties galvanized him to learn more about his birth family.

Because he was adopted in New York State in 1971, he had no legal right to such information.

It would take Mr. Monti-Wohlpart two years and several thousand dollars in private investigators’ fees in the late 1990s to find his birth mother and father, and learn more about his history. For years since then, Mr. Monti-Wohlpart, a Brooklyn teacher and co-founder of the New York Adoptee Rights Coalition, has been working to allow adopted New Yorkers access to nearly 650,000 original birth certificates. “I believe it’s a fundamental human right to know where you came from,” Mr. Monti-Wohlpart said.

To continue reading, go to…

ReBlogging Lorraine Dusky: Human rights going down again in New York

Reblogging this from Lorraine Dusky:

Human rights going down again in New York; Sometimes anger is justified and this is one of those times!!!

I am so f&^cking angry and upset. This is not a regular blog post but instead I want to tell you why I am so angry, Dear Reader.

Again it appears the 2018 legislative session will end in New York, and again we are getting shot down in New York–unless Joe Lentol, chair of the Codes Committee in the Assembly, is struck by thunder and enlightenment, unless the what’s-in-it-for-me governor of New York, Cuomo, sees a political advantage in our bill over the next few days, our bill to end the tyranny of sealing original birth records of some people will again die.

It is a clean bill–no hide-behind-the-skirts of women in the closet bill; no, the bill, (A9959-B; and S-7631-B)) would give adopted people over 18 the right to their own birth certificates. That’s all it would do. It wouldn’t bomb anybody, cause panic in the streets, destroy the environment, cost an appreciable amount or anything at all,  but no, once again some people will lose out of the full freedoms that the rest of us know because we are: not adopted. 

 

To see the rest of this post go here.

NYS Assembly: Please PASS A9959B The Adoptees’ Rights Bill. Please DO NOT PASS 6959 The Surrogacy Contract Bill

June 15, 2018

Dear Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie and Brenda, and members of the Assembly:

Please advance A9959B, the Adoptee Rights Bill, to the full Assembly for a vote.

Please VOTE TO PASS A9959B as it will restore to all New York adoptees the unrestricted right to obtain their own original birth certificates upon request. I support access, without modification and without the necessity of a court order, to the original medical record of live birth as recorded within five days of every adopted person’s actual birth.

I have been an activist for the birth rights of adoptees since I was found in 1974 by full blood siblings I never knew I had. I also support the conception and birth rights of donor-conceived people. For over 30 years, I have written articles against sperm donation, egg donation, surrogacy, and embryo transfers because of the obvious violations against the human and civil rights of the children produced via anonymous Assisted Reproductive Technologies. I addressed the President’s Council on Bioethics in 2004 in Washington D.C. when I presented a short, three-minute paper defending the rights of all people to the truth of their conceptions and births.

It has come to my attention that the Assembly Health Committee recently held a hearing on Surrogacy. Assembly Bill 6959 on Surrogacy Contracts would abolish Governor Cuomo’s ban on commercial surrogacy in New York and put intended parents on birth records based not on genetic and biological facts, but based on intentions and contracts.

While the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (renamed Adoption and ART) supports adoptee access to our revoked and sealed original birth certificates, they are now proposing a future where intended (contractual) parents will be named on the birth certificate instead of the actual genetic and birthing parents. This means that birth certificates for people born of Assisted Reproductive Technologies, or born to surrogate mothers who signed pre-birth contracts, will not have an original birth record to access because the State’s only record of their birth will be based on agreements the person whose birth is recorded was not party to.

Adoptees, including myself, along with donor-conceived and surrogate-born people, stand for truth and honesty in recording the conception and birth of every human being. Every person has the fundamental human right – and should have the civil right – to have an accurate medical record of live birth that can be verified by medical records and DNA to prove parentage. I urge you to VOTE NO on Assembly Bill 6959.

Sometime in the near future, over and above the reach of the current Adoptee Rights Bill – A9959B, the 1936 law that revokes and seals adoptees’ medical record of live birth, and then issues replacement birth certificates upon adoption, must be abolished. Amended birth certificates serve no purpose. These false-fact birth certificates exist only to prove that the adopters have been assigned as legal parents. Legal parents are not parents by birth; therefore, their names should not be listed on a new birth certificate created after adoption. The law’s intended purpose was to legitimize illegitimate bastards via adoption, but hiding illegitimacy is no longer needed in today’s society. Birth and adoption are two very distinct events: a birth is a medical event in which a new human being enters the world, and an adoption is a legal transaction.

Is there any socially assigned shame applied to today’s myriad of ways a child can be created via Assisted Reproductive Technologies? All people created via donated sperm, donated eggs, and incubated in a surrogate mother’s rented uterus are conceived and birthed outside of marriage, yet the stigma and shame of an illegitimate birth is not assigned to people conceived and born this way. Why is that? Is it the sex act itself – the sexual union of not-married parents – that defines the product of such a union as an illegitimate bastard? When one examines the sexuality of producing a vial of sperm anonymously, or harvesting eggs from an anonymous donor, or implanting a frozen embryo created in a petri dish into the uterus of a surrogate mother, no one assigns shame to any of these acts. Yet, people conceived and birth via contracted arrangements are, indeed, conceived and birthed outside of marriage. Why is there a different standard applied to children born to a woman who is not married and to children born via Assisted Reproductive Technologies?

New York State holds adoptees to the strict definition of illegitimacy – despite the fact that many adoptees were born to married parents: children adopted by step parents, children who were orphaned by the death of one or both parents, children who were adopted by their grandparents or other relatives, and children removed from abusive or neglectful parents. In every case, each adoptee, whether born a bastard or not, is held to the existing law that removes the certification of the adoptee’s medical record of live birth and replaces it with a false-fact birth certificate. THIS law should be abolished!

All people deserve one, and only one, true and accurate birth certificate. Revoking, sealing, and replacing birth certificates of adopted people, and issuing false-fact birth certificates stating the names of the contractual intended parents and not the egg donor mother, the sperm donor father, and the surrogate mother, is inhumane, immoral, and unethical.

My mother died of cancer when I was three months old. She was a married mother of five children. I was not born a bastard, yet the law that existed in the year of my birth (1956) is the same law that continues to revoke, cancel, annul, rescind, seal, and replace all adoptees’ birth certificates since 1936. Since the law was written to hide the stigma of an illegitimate birth, this law should not apply to me.

But it did, and it does.

The 1936 law targeting adopted people still holds my accurate medical record of live birth as hostage from me, a person born the fifth child to married parents.

Why? Why is my birth any different from yours?

I urge you to VOTE TO PASS Bill A9959B that will give access to all New York adoptees’ revoked and sealed birth certificates.

Creating false-fact birth certificates upon the legal contract of adoption is almost the same as creating false-fact birth certificates based upon a signed contract of intended parents of reproductive technologies. I urge you to re-consider what facts belong on a birth certificate and what false-facts do not belong on a birth certificate.

Please PASS A9959B – the Adoptees’ Rights Bill.                            Please DO NOT PASS AB06959 – the Surrogacy Contract Bill.

Thank you,

Doris Michol Sippel

www.forbiddenfamily.com

author of

Forbidden Family: An Adopted Woman’s Struggle for Identity

Amazon, available in Kindle and Print

Helpful articles:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/why-all-us-states-should-_b_8858162

Why All U.S. States Should Allow Adoptees Access to Their Authentic Birth Certificates, 2/22/2015 09:21 am ET, Updated Dec 06, 2017, by Mirah Riben

https://forbiddenfamily.com/2018/02/02/my-revoked-and-sealed-birth-certificate-and-its-replacement-issued-after-adoption-proof-that-new-york-state-vital-statistics-department-uses-false-facts-on-official-birth-records/

My Revoked and Sealed Birth Certificate and its Replacement Issued After Adoption – Proof that New York State Vital Statistics Department Uses False Facts on Official Birth Records, February 3, 2018, by Doris Sippel (legally re-claimed birth name)

https://forbiddenfamily.com/2018/02/02/arguments-against-punitive-and-compromising-adoptee-rights-legislation-using-cited-resources-and-my-sealed-and-falsified-birth-certificates-as-examples-to-legislators-to-write-equitable-legislation/

Arguments Against Punitive and Compromising Adoptee Rights Legislation Using Cited Resources and My Sealed and Falsified Birth Certificates as Examples to Legislators to Write Equitable Legislation, February 2, 2018; originally published March 24, 2017, by Doris Sippel (legally re-claimed birth name)

http://buffalonews.com/2017/07/14/another-voice-cuomo-must-veto-flawed-adoptee-bill/

Another Voice: Cuomo must veto flawed adoptee bill, July 14, 2017, by Doris Sippel (legally re-claimed birth name)

http://dissidentvoice.org/2016/12/global-call-to-stop-the-propagation-of-adoptions-altered-birth-certificates/

Global Call to Stop the Propagation of Adoption’s Altered Birth Certificates, December 18th, 2016, by Doris Sippel (legally re-claimed birth name)

http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/10/no-one-should-place-false-facts-on-birth-certificates/

No One Should Place False Facts on Birth Certificates, October 20th, 2015, by Joan Wheeler (former adoptive name)

http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/08/end-identity-theft-caused-by-adoption/

End Identity Theft Caused by Adoption, August 22nd, 2015, by Joan Wheeler (former adoptive name)

Letter to NY State Assemblywoman Paulin: Reject SB00017A/AB06959 on Surrogacy Contracts

Dear Assemblywoman Paulin,

 

We, the undersigned leaders and activists in the movement for gender, racial, and economic justice, respectfully urge you to withdraw your support of SB00017A/AB06959, which would legalize reproductive surrogacy contracts and the reproductive surrogacy industry in New York State. Our opposition to this bill emerges from our deep concern of the legalization of surrogacy contracts. We believe that the surrogacy industry in our state will harm the physical and psychological health of the most marginalized women in our State—women in conditions of poverty who disproportionately have histories of abuse and discrimination, including on the basis of gender and race—and will incentivize and unleash a ruthless industry to profit from their exploitation.

Many of the undersigned have a long, productive history of partnering with you to protect the basic human rights of women and girls in New York State and holds you in high esteem. While we know you to be a passionate advocate for the rights of women and girls and feel certain that your sponsorship of the bill to legalize surrogacy in New York State is well intended, we believe that you may not have at your fingertips comprehensive information about the magnitude of harm that this bill, if enacted into law, would inflict on the most economically vulnerable women in our state. We are convinced that if passed, this bill will legitimize the reproductive trafficking of women in New York State, open the door wide to the mass exploitation of women in consumer-driven contract pregnancies in our State, and ultimately render New York State a global destination for reproductive tourism.

Reproductive surrogacy creates risks to the physical health and well-being of women. In New York’s 2018 Report on the Status of Women and Girls, a key platform is reducing maternal mortality and improving women’s health. Legalizing and legitimizing reproductive surrogacy undermines these crucially important goals. A recent report on 124 surrogate mothers, showed that surrogate pregnancies and births “had significantly higher obstetrical complications, including gestational diabetes, hypertension, use of amniocentesis, placenta previa, antibiotic requirement during labor, and cesarean section.” These statistics translate into more high-risk pregnancies and longer hospitalization stays for both surrogate mothers and the infants born, who face higher rates of preterm birth and low birth weights.

The relationship between the surrogate mother who frequently is in a situation of economic need and the intended surrogate parents, who typically are people with considerable economic means, is premised on gross inequality. Although the proposed New York legislation on gestational contracts provides protections against certain onerous and invasive terms that have been imposed on women in surrogate contracts, such as restrictions on diet, submitting to testing, and proscriptions on sexual relations, this legislation cannot guarantee that such restrictions will not be used against the woman used as a surrogate since the intended parent(s) is allowed to purchase her medical insurance policy and pay for her legal assistance.

Surrogacy contracts institutionalize the commodification of women’s bodies. Even the language of surrogate and gestational mothers signals this commodification of women, pregnancy and reproduction. The so-called surrogate becomes an instrument of others’ desire for biological children. In the case of gestational surrogacy, pregnancy also becomes a commodity that can be bought by those who have means and sold by those who are disadvantaged economically.

Rather than a relationship between mother and fetus, pregnancy is treated as a product or a commercial service to be purchased. In the rarefied world of surrogacy contracts, pregnancy that under usual conditions is a relationship of the biological mother to the fetus, becomes stripped of any developing connection between the biological mother and the child-to-be-born. In fact, this normal relationship is frowned upon as interfering with the rights of the contracting parent (s) because the gestational mother is required to hand over the child born at birth. The chief function of women used as surrogates is to produce a child for the contracting parents and NOT develop any relationship with the intended child. She is encouraged to tell herself that she is not the mother of this developing child and is essentially treated as a breeder for others. Women’s wombs become mere environments for others’ reproductive choices.

In almost every country of the world, persons cannot legally sell their organs. It is recognized that selling organs, even with regulatory provisions, can create a burgeoning market and invite unscrupulous brokers whose goal is financial gain and taking advantage of those whose bodies are used. The poorest, the most disadvantaged, are the ones who usually come forward.

Some individuals believe that it is possible to create a legal market in live organs that would institutionalize safeguards against exploitation. As with those who argue against the legality of organ selling arrangements, we would argue that however surrogate contracts are regulated, surrogate arrangements can never be ethical because they will always target and harm the most vulnerable women. Why is it primarily the most disadvantaged women who participate in these contracts? We would further argue that the system can never be adequately regulated to prevent exploitation of the vulnerable because financial motivation and profit margin drive the decisions of the surrogate brokerage agencies.

The European Parliament “condemns the practice of surrogacy, which undermines the human dignity of the woman since her body and its reproductive functions are used as a commodity; considers that the practice of gestational surrogacy which involves reproductive exploitation and use of the human body for financial or other gain, in particular in the case of vulnerable women in developing countries, shall be prohibited and treated as a matter of urgency in human rights instruments.”

The new European Union policy framework to combat violence against women calls upon all member nations to “acknowledge the serious problem of surrogacy, which constitutes an exploitation of the female body and her reproductive organs.” It also emphasizes “that women and children are subject to the same forms of exploitation, that both can be regarded as commodities on the international reproductive market, and that these new reproductive arrangements, such as surrogacy, augment the trafficking of women and children.”

Women’s wombs are big business. Laws, regulations, and contracts overwhelmingly protect those with money, not those who need money.

As a lifelong and committed champion of women’s rights and equality, Assemblywoman Paulin, please withdraw your support of SB00017A/AB06959.

Sincerely,

PLEASE CLICK ON THIS LINK TO SEE THE ONLINE FORM AND FILL OUT THE REQUIRED IDENTIFICATION TO SIGN THIS LETTER

My Email to Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie and to the New York Assembly

June 13, 2018

Dear Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie and New York Assembly Members:

Please assure that A9959B, the Adoptee Rights Bill currently in the Codes Committee, advances to the full Assembly for a vote.

A9959B will restore to all New York adoptees the unrestricted right to obtain their own original birth certificates upon request. This is personal for me and I ask for your leadership on this important issue.

I would like to present to you my story, which is very different from the usual illegitimate bastard adoptee wanting a copy of their sealed original birth certificate to know the names of their mother and father, date and time of birth, and location of birth. You probably have already heard that mothers were never promised confidentiality, that opening records will not increase abortion rates, and that adoptees deserve to be equal to non-adoptees in access to our sealed birth certificates.

I was not born a bastard, yet the law that existed in the year of my birth (1956) is the same law that revokes, cancels, annuls, rescinds, and seals all adoptees’ birth certificates since 1936. The birth certificates of all New York State adopted persons are replaced with a false-fact birth certificate issued after adoption. Since the law was written to hide the stigma of an illegitimate birth by creating a new identity for the adoptee who is then considered to be legally reborn – legitimized – through adoption to a married woman and her husband, this law should not apply to me.

I was born the 5th child to married parents in 1956. Our mother had cancer while pregnant with me and died when I was three months old. My father received no supports to keep his family together. He followed his parish priest’s suggestion that “the baby needs two parents.” I hold no anger toward my father for giving me away.

What I am opposed to is the fact that I was born legitimately – I had a name, I had a home, I had a family – and my government took all of that away from me. We know now that family preservation, kinship care, or custodial guardianship are better alternatives to adoption. I was not a blank slate on which a new identity could be legally stamped. All 5 children conceived and born to the same mother and father have birth certificates that link us as family, including me. I am the only one who was relinquished and adopted out. After my adoption, my birth certificate was revoked and sealed and replaced by a false-fact birth certificate. My four older, full blood siblings have the legal right to obtain their birth certificates, I do not, yet we were conceived and born to the same parents.

This has nothing to do with the love and affection my adopters had for me or me to them. This has everything to do with moral and ethical right action. New York State wronged me.

In 1974, when I was 18 years old and still in high school, 4 older siblings I did not know I had found me. They initiated our reunion. I was shocked that my adopters knew but chose not to tell me. The reunion had its difficulties (no need to discuss that here – a dysfunctional reunion points to my broken natural family as well as to the dishonesty of my adoptive family). I have no contact with my older siblings. One died. The other 3 are still abusive to me. I do not want them in my life, yet they harass me through social media, even though I blocked them.

A few days into the beginning of my reunion (1974), my adoptive mother angrily threw all of my personal papers at me: amended birth certificate, original birth certificate, baptismal certificate, falsified baptismal certificate, hospital birth certificate, and final order of adoption. This was the first time I had seen any of these papers. This left me devastated. Not only was my adoptive mother fearful that I’d leave her, but I realized that my government stole my identity.

All 4 of my parents are now deceased.

I have owned my certified original birth certificate since 1974.

In 2016, I legally changed my name back to my full name of birth. Together with the name change court order and my certified original birth certificate, I changed my name and parents’ names with social security, the DMV, and all other government entities that require updating my name with the same social security number.

BUT I DO NOT HAVE THE LEGAL RIGHT TO USE MY STILL SEALED ORIGINAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE.

I used it anyway.

My operable birth certificate in Albany is in my adoptive name of Joan Mary Wheeler with my adoptive parents falsely named as my parents of birth. Not only is that document a legal lie, it does not match all of my other current and corrected forms of ID, including my passport.

Do you understand NOW what adoption does to adoptees?

Not all adoptees were born illegitimate bastards. Many children of divorced and remarried parents are adopted by their step-parent. Children who are orphaned by the death of one or both parents are adopted. Some children are adopted by their grandparents, or an aunt, or an uncle, or an older sibling. These non-bastards are targeted by the outdated birth certificate law that binds all adoptees into one category. Even those adoptees who are the products of unmarried parents or of rape do not deserve separate treatment concerning the verifiable facts of conception and birth.

This has absolutely NOTHING to do with the misperceived natural parents’ rights to confidentiality. All parents who sign relinquishment papers give up all parental rights. To then turn around decades later to give legal authority to parents who gave up their parental rights the right to redact their names or to prevent all adoptees access to their sealed birth certificates is an absurd notion. That is why Governor Cuomo vetoed that “Mother-May-I” bill in December of 2017.

Adoptees’ civil and human rights to access the truth of our births are rights that the Adoptees’ Rights Bill A9959B will allow. I am asking you to take the stance that you will vote to pass this bill for the advancement of adoptees’ rights to know the truth of our births.

I realize that the passage of Bill A9959B will not revoke adoptees’ amended birth certificates. That is exactly what I demand of my amended birth certificate. I am legally now Doris Michol Sippel (and should have been since birth), yet my legal birth certificate is in my adoptive name of Joan Mary Wheeler.

I will go back to the judge who signed my court order of name change to ask him to unseal and reinstate my original birth certificate to its intended purpose – because the passage of the Adoptees’ Rights Bill A9959B will provide adoptees certified copies of their original birth certificates but it will not allow adoptees to use it as identification.

That will be the next step that New York State will take. There will come a day when all adoptees are respected for who we are at birth and no amended birth certificate will be issued upon adoption. Instead, a truthful adoption certificate will replace the issuance of a falsified birth certificate because no one deserves the stigma of illegitimacy – especially people like me who were born legitimately but labeled as bastards because we were adopted.

Please PASS A9959B.

Thank you,

Doris Michol Sippel

www.forbiddenfamily.com

author of                                                                                                     Forbidden Family: An Adopted Woman’s Struggle for Identity

Amazon, available in Kindle and Print

NJ Governor Murphy wants to put INTENDED parents on OBC and not have a biology based record

Posting an email request from New York State Adoptee Equality:

In New Jersey, S482/A1704: on Governor Murphy‘s desk S482 provides that the intended parents in a pre-birth contract go on the original birth certificate.

No records are kept of the source of egg or sperm. No genetic connection and no homestudy is required for custody: custody is determined by who paid under the contract.

We have postcards – they can be ordered at the link below to transfer design to your own account and order from there. Please order cards and encourage your friends, family and contacts to complete and mail them in. If you want a few cards send an email to NewJerseyAgainstS482@gmail.com with your USPS mailing address.

Link to Read S482/A1704 Bill to put INTENDED PARENTS on OBC – – child custody by contract NOT best interst of the child

EVERYONE needs to contact Governor Phil Murphy encouraging him not to sign this into legislation. This bill will abrogates the rights of those born under contracts between adults who never meet each other or met in lawyers offices.

Mario Cuomo’s Commission called Surrogacy indistinguishable from Baby Selling.

The practice is contrary to what adoptee rights stands for.

Following is a link to the postcard design.  Postcards have the pre-addressed backside: 

POSTCARD S482/A1704 anonymizes infants for surrogacy market – PLEASE VETO

Why and How to Ask NJ Governor Murphy to Veto S482

New Jersey’s “gestational carrier bill” a/k/a “rent-a-womb,” twice vetoed by Governor Christie, has again passed both houses.

What is the law now? What will this bill do?

Right now, under the “In Re Baby M” decision, surrogacy contracts are not enforced by NJ courts. Surrogacy contracts still happen: they are governed by NJ Adoption Law. The expenses of surrogate mothers are paid, which can be as much as $60,000, and they have three days to sign the surrender.

The biological facts go on the original birth record. “Intended Parent(s)” must file for NJ adoption, have a home study. When their petition for adoption is granted, a new “birth certificate” is issued listing the intended parent(s) as having given birth to the child (with or without a womb). The original birth record is sealed. Under a law that took effect on January 1, 2017, as an adult the person whose birth was recorded has the right to that original birth record.

If this new law is signed, NJ will no longer make biology-based birth records for newborns conceived to be raised by others. The “Intended Parent(s),” those who sign the contract for the baby, will be on the original birth record — without NJ residency, without a home study, without a biological connection to the child.

Currently in New Jersey, every woman has the choice to abort or continue a pregnancy. No woman has to ask anyone for permission: not her husband, not her parents, not the baby’s father. It is her choice.

If signed, as Deputy Speaker Valerie Huttle confirmed in the Assembly Hearing, the “carrier” does not have that choice. Whether to abort or continue the pregnancy belongs to the “intended parent(s),” the contract signers.

One attorney testified in support of the bill: she said multiple pregnancies requiring “reduction” or risk to the mother would be rare because NJ doctors transfer only one embryo, or two if they know to a medical certainty the multiple pregnancy can be sustained. But that limitation is not in the Bill. There are no limits to the number of embryos that may be transferred. Note well that the reported industry norm is to transfer two or three embryos.

Proponents say the bill gives New Jersey’s infertile couples the right to have their own biological children. But the Bill does not require the contract signers to use their own genetic material: eggs and sperm are for sale.

Proponents say most who will use surrogates are New Jersey residents who will provide stable loving homes to children. But the Bill does not require residency, and there are no required inquires (like with adoption) to ensure the “Intended Parent(s)” intend to or are able to provide a loving home.

Governor Christie vetoed this bill twice, it has not been modified.

Ask Governor Murphy to Veto S482.

by mail
Office of the Governor
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625

via Twitter
@GovMurphy https://twitter.com/GovMurphy

by phone
609-292-6000 (operators do not take your personal information)

by fax
609-292-3454