My Take on “Runs in the Family”

It is a tragedy that a mother felt helpless when she was pregnant and 16 years old. It is a tragedy that she made the decision not to tell the father of her child that he was the child’s father. It is a tragedy that their son grew up without either one of his natural parents.

It is important to know that there should never be a need to separate a baby from his parents. A mother and her baby should never be separated. Not even when the mother is 16 years old. And the father should always be told he is a father.

When adoption separation does happen, the mother, father, and son live life without one another; until one of them begins a search and discovers the others.

What follows is a well-balanced reunion story. This adoption, and this reunion, was handled in the best possible way.

But keep in mind, the point is: the goal is to never be separated in the first place.

But since adoption separation happened, everyone involved here had the sincerity, the maturity, and the humanity to handle this reunion with grace and love.

In July, a huge family reunion in Youngstown brought McCullough, Briggs, Smith and Comer together for the first time. All of McCullough’s parents in one place, reflecting on nurture versus nature, what is inherited versus what is taught and the many different forms of parenthood. It was both the culmination of a journey and the start of something new for the families that the journey had introduced. A man found his parents, a mother found her child, and a father discovered a son he never knew he was missing. There is no jealousy, no resentment and no regret. There is just gratitude for the winding paths that brought them all together.

You can read the whole story at this link.

 

 

 

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.

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)

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

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

Doris Michol Sippel

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I’ve taken out references to legislation to give readers a look at my documents without complicated legal discussion. If you want to read about that, please see my documents presented with legal arguments against compromise legislation here.

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Comparing My Factually Accurate Medical Record of Live Birth with My Falsified Birth Certificate

Using my own factual birth certificate and falsified birth certificate as a comparison, I will prove the difference between a medical record of live birth and a falsified birth certificate issued after court-ordered adoption.

Parents’ names on all documents redacted by author.

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Hospital Birth Certificate

It is signed by the attending physician and the hospital administrator

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Birth Registration

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A registered number is typed in at the upper right hand corner of both the short form birth registration and the long form medical record of live birth. The registrar of vital statistics signs both the birth registration and the medical record of live birth. The attending physician does not sign the short form birth registration, only the medical record of live birth – the long form birth certificate.

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Birth Registration

also called a Short Form Birth Certificate

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Medical Record of Live Birth

also called a Long Form Birth Certificate

SIGNATURE OF ATTENDANT: “I hereby certify that I attended the birth of this child who was born alive on the date stated above at 12:55am”.

The hand-written number above-left of the registered number indicates that this is the 766th certificate issued that year to date.

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The 3-page Decree and Order of Adoption names my father and adopters, and orders my name change.

The 3-page Decree and Order of Adoption names my adopters and my father, and sets in motion my legal name change. Both parties knew each other, met in court several times, and had exchanged addresses and phone numbers. My adoptive father was a distant cousin to my newly-deceased mother. This was an in-family private adoption. The records were closed as if we were strangers.

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Similarities and Differences Between the Actual (Original) Birth Certificate and the Falsified (Amended) Birth Certificate

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When a child is adopted, a similar, but different, birth certificate form is used for the amended birth certificate. It appears the same in every way, except for a few details.

The registered number follows the child to adoption and appears in the upper right hand corner of the amended birth certificate (my short form does not have the registered number).

Some medical information is included, such as birth date, time, place, single or twin or triplet birth, and name of hospital.

The birth weight, gestation in weeks of pregnancy, tests and medications given to the “mother” and newborn are not included because this woman did not give birth, nor was this re-named child actually born. This child was created upon the finalization of adoption, but that fact is not indicated anywhere on this document.

Some States allow adopters to change the city, state, and birth date as well.

There is no line for the attending physician’s signature because this “birth” never took place.

When the State Director of Vital Statistics in the State capital creates a birth certificate by swapping in the information from the final court order of adoption, she or he then signs it, and affixes the State’s raised seal, certifying false facts as true.

The State Director of Vital Statistics is authorized to lie.

If anyone else gives false information on a government form, that is perjury.

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Amended – Falsified – Birth Registration

This is the amended “birth” registration issued in my adopted name.

The Certificate Number indicates that this is the 2760th certificate issued that year to date. This “birth” registration and the following “birth” certificate were created and issued on March 4, 1957 – fifteen months after Doris’ actual birth. The “file dates” are the dates that Doris’s, not Joan’s, birth certificate and birth registration were filed locally and in the state capital, yet this “birth” registration states “registered certificate of said person”. The SAID PERSON named on THIS “birth” registration was not born on January 7, 1956 – Joan was created on the date of the signing of the Final Order of Adoption on January 14, 1956 and Joan’s “birth” certificate was issued on March 4, 1957.

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The following document is 

Joan Mary Wheeler’s 

Amended – Falsified – “Birth” Certificate

No attending physician’s signature, only the signature of the State’s registrar at bottom. This mother did not conceive, nor give birth to Joan. There are no hospital records of this “birth” because it did not happen. This father did not sire Joan. The only document that documents this truth is the court order of adoption. Joan was not born; she was created when legally adopted on January 14, 1957. This birth certificate was issued 15 months after Doris’s real birth, yet it claims that Joan was born on Doris’s birth date and at the exact same time in the same hospital and that this was a single birth.

THIS IS LEGAL FICTION.

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Baptismal Certificate

I was baptized at my dying mother’s hospital bedside on March 4, 1956. She died on March 28, 1956.

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Falsified Baptismal Certificate

Joan Wheeler’s baptism never happened. Joan did not exist on the date of the baptism listed on her certificate.

Note that the Sponsors remain the same on both documents. They are Doris’s Aunt and Uncle.

Who directs priests to swap false facts for the truth after a child has been baptized? The Pope? Local bishops? Is this an individual priest’s decision?

Since the priest who falsified my 2nd baptismal certificate followed church doctrine by not baptizing me a 2nd time, why was he allowed to alter the facts?

Yes, I wrote to the Pope, twice:  on April 28 and May 20, 2008.  The first response was a form letter. The Pope did not respond to my second letter.

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END

 

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

With Governor Cuomo’s veto (that’s a good thing) of the very bad New York State Bills on December 29, 2017, this article has served its original purpose. It is no longer The Sticky Post. It has now been moved in line with chronological posts.

This post has been re-named; the former title was “Presenting My Sealed Birth Certificate and Falsified One as Evidence of New York State Fraud – Revoking, Sealing and Falsifying Adoptees’ Birth Certificates is Unconstitutional”.

Please read this with the intention of learning about why laws were changed to restrict and remove identity civil rights of adoptees. This is a guide to develop legislation that will restore to all adoptees our lost civil rights.

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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

This was originally published on March 24, 2017.

Forty-three years ago today, on March 24 of 1974, I met my father for the first time in my life of 18 years. On that day, my father gave photographs to me of my deceased mother, her death certificate, and her obituary from the newspaper with the names of her five children – I was her youngest.

I had a name when I was born. I had a birth certificate and a baptismal certificate. But then, adoption happened. I became someone else.

There is nothing I want more than for my government to tell the truth. I demand the restoration of my true birth certificate – the one that certifies my birth as it happened on January 7, 1956. I demand that my parents be reinstated as my parents by the very government that annulled my medical record of live birth. This demand extends to all New York State and all American adoptees who have been victimized by archaic laws that stole  our natural-born identities.

  • Doris Michol Sippel

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Summary

This paper was originally written in response to the “Adoptee Bill of Rights” A02901C and S05964B and the amendments made to these identical bills in 2015.

There is quite a bit of discrepancy between information given out by the two existing adoptee-rights organizations in New York State. Unsealed Initiative posted a note on their website that the Assembly Bill A5036 [1] has been “introduced without change from last year’s amended bill…same as Senate Bill S4845 [2] sponsored by [Andrew J.] Lanza.” Assemblyman David Weprin introduced A5036 on February 6, 2017.

NY Adoptee Equality announced on Monday March 13, 2017, that a new bill was introduced by New York State Senator Tony Avella, Senate Bill S5169. [3] Then, Assembly Bill A06821 [4] was introduced by Assemblyman David Weprin on March 21, 2017. Both bills are identical and would require “the commissioner of the department of health to issue non-certified copies of the original long form birth certificates to adoptees who request such copy within forty-five days after the receipt of such request.” These bills would also allow the descendants of the adoptee to apply.

Aside from the fact that the two existing adoptee-rights organizations disseminate different information, adoptees and the general public are not well-informed about these legislative actions. This should be announced to the public through the news media. But it is assumed that the rights of adoptees are not important enough to be news worthy.

The old “Adoptee Bill of Rights” with new numbers A5036 and S4845 must be killed outright. This article will explain why.

The new Senate Bill S5169 and Assembly Bill A06821 address the rights of adoptees without including any parental controls and they provide for the descendants of the adoptee to apply. These two provisions should be applauded. But these bills are now being publicized as “clean bills” by NY Adoptee Equality. As good as the new bills are, S5169 and A06821 do not go far enough because these bills call for the release of information-only uncertified birth certificates. If information is all you want, then that is all you might get. And don’t forget, the opposition has fought against adoptee-access to sealed records for over 20 years. They might tack on parental permission amendments, just as they did in 2015.

I stand by my statements and proof in this article that no bill is “a clean bill” unless it completely restores adoptees’ full identity rights to certified copies of our accurate birth certificates. Here is why:

Revoking, sealing and then falsifying adoptees’ birth certificates is integral to the adoption process by federal guidelines established in 1930. New York State began revoking, sealing and falsifying birth certificates of adoptees in 1935. This law should be repealed, along with all tentacles of law connected with it in vital statistics, public health, domestic relations, and adoption. These laws should be replaced by reality-based documentation of live birth as applied to all other American citizens who are not adopted. This would immediately restore to New York State adopted citizens full identity rights to our certified medical record of live birth, annulling falsified birth certificates, reestablishing adoptees full equality under the law to non-adopted citizens – a right we had prior to 1935.

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Under a 1930 Federal Model Law, New York State Began Revoking, Sealing and then Replacing Birth Certificates of Adoptees in 1935

In June 2016, at the age of 60, I legally reclaimed my name that should have been mine since birth. New York State changed my name when I was 15 months old in compliance with a 1935 State law that revokes, seals, and replaces birth certificates of adopted people.[5] But I still do not have the legal right to unseal and obtain a certified copy of my accurate birth certificate.

Prior to 1930, American adoptees had the civil right to their accurate birth certificate, just like everyone else. Since 1930, all States began to modify laws when a National Conference of State Registrars of Vital Statistics proposed a model law requiring that adoptees’ birth certificates be replaced with amended birth certificates that combine information from court-ordered adoption with some facts of birth.[6] Masquerading as live-birth certificates, these documents were, and still are, issued by every State’s Health Department, Office of Vital Statics, even though parents’ names were swapped and the child’s name was changed.  Mimicking documentation of a biological birth assured that the actual parents were erased, adoptees would never know the truth, and adopters could conceal the adoption.

 

National Adoptees’ Rights Groups Began in the 1950s; New York State’s Activists Work on “Adoptee Bill of Rights” for Over 20 Years

Adopted people have tried to change public opinion since the mid-1950s and lobbied for access to sealed records since the mid-1970s, with little progress. Many thought it would be impossible to put an end to revoking, sealing, and replacing birth certificates, so access was all they fought for. I never gave up the fight that one day adoptees would not be mandated into false identities.

In my home State of New York, two decades of work between activists and supportive legislators produced the “Adoptee Bill of Rights” that would release certified copies of adoptees’ sealed birth certificates. Activists know that a minority of mothers-of-adoption-loss are so traumatized that they cannot face their grown offspring. This is why a contact preference form – a legal contract that would be enforceable – was included into the original New York State bill to protect parents from interference if they do not want contact. At the same time, these parents would have no right to interfere with adoptees’ right to obtain a copy of their sealed birth certificate.

 

The June 2015 Legislative Amendments and How They Would Effect Adoptees

Exactly 24 hours before the vote in June 2015, legislators decided that was not enough. They added identical amendments to the Assembly and Senate bills with disclosure and contact vetoes to protect the supposed rights to confidentiality of mothers-in-hiding.[7]

Adoptee activists nicknamed these conditional amendments to what were adoptee-rights bills as “Mother-May-I?” bills. If passed, adopted people aged 18-to-100 will be required to obtain written permission from our unknown parents-of-adoption-loss, and adopters, before a certified copy of our sealed birth certificates will be released to each adopted petitioner. State Supreme Court-appointed confidential intermediaries will arrange supervised meetings at the court only if parents agree to meet their now-adult adopted-out daughter or son. If our parents wish to remain anonymous, they will have the right to redact their names from the released document. If parents do not respond, then an un-redacted birth certificate will be issued. If the State Supreme Court judge determines that the release of the sealed birth certificate will be “detrimental to the welfare” of the parents or the adopters, then an informational summary will be released to the adoptee. It is unclear what will happen if both parents are deceased. Some States require that adoptees provide a death certificate to prove that their unknown parents have died.

 

Why Activists Protest These Amendments

New York State’s mothers-of-adoption-loss who are activists protested by providing proof in the form of actual signed surrender documents that carried no such promised confidentiality in print. To which I will add that signed relinquishment removes all parental rights but does not erase parents’ names from their child’s birth certificate. Assigning parental power where none exists invalidates the right of children to become autonomous adults at the age of majority. No parent has legal authority over an adult offspring, nor has the right to redact their name from their child’s birth certificate. Mothers-in-hiding claim they should be granted rights that they never had.

After relinquishment, adoption agencies and attorneys are under no obligation to tell parents whether or not their child was adopted, or lived in ten different foster homes, or died at age four. Many surrendered children live with other relatives, legal guardians, or in foster care until they age-out of the system. These children keep their birth certificates, even if they were removed from abusive parents whose rights were involuntarily terminated.

Whether parental rights were terminated by a court, signed under duress, or voluntarily relinquished, the outcome is the same. Surrendering a child does not revoke, seal, nor replace a child’s birth certificate with a new one. The only legal process that results in a person’s total loss of identity of birth is court-ordered adoption.

These points are lost on mothers-of-adoption-loss who are in hiding. They do not want their names revealed to their now-grown offspring or their secret shame exposed to others. Even people who support these mothers, including some legislators, are not aware of these details.

Some raped mothers or victims of incest want confidentiality, but again, signed relinquishment removes all parental rights and does not guarantee confidentiality or anonymity. The pain of rape and incest should not force us as adoptees to lose our identity. The place to take emotional pain is therapy, not discriminatory legislation. Mothers-in-hiding need to accept that a medical record of live birth records the facts of birth of a new human being whether conceived within a marriage, by teenage love, an affair with a married man, a priest, a well-known public figure, a known or unknown rapist, a brother, father or uncle incest perpetrator. Perhaps these mothers are more afraid of repercussions when the father’s name is exposed than they are of meeting their own daughter or son. Maybe the fathers of some adoptees don’t want to be known so they fight adoptee-access legislation.

The belief that adoptees should be forever banned from knowing the truth for fear of “ruining” our mothers’ lives by revealing their terrible secrets assigns the stigma of bastardy to all adoptees. Those who were born illegitimately should not be punished for how they were conceived. But not all adoptees were born bastards. Many children were, and are, removed from married parents due to abuse or neglect and then adopted, sometimes more than once with each adoption creating a new birth certificate. Other children are kidnapped from their families, trafficked, and sold into black market adoption rings. Sibling groups are often split apart by adoption when one or both parents died, leaving the children half or full orphans; this happened in my family when our mother died three months after my birth. Many poor families are forced to give up the last child born to survive. Numerous children today are adopted by step parents, grandparents, or other family members so it is ludicrous to re-name these children, revoke and seal their birth records, create new birth certificates for them, and then impose “Mother-May-I?” legislation on them as adults.

Foundlings may be the only children who need a legal family construct. Infants who are found on doorsteps, in dumpsters, or left in baby drop boxes typically do not have a birth certificate. They are issued a foundling certificate which approximates the date of birth and the baby is named by the person who finds the child. Once adopted, foundlings, too, are re-named by their adopters and are issued a falsified birth certificate instead of an adoption certificate. In the past, it was nearly impossible to locate the mothers of foundlings. Today, we go after putative fathers for child support using DNA, so mothers who abandon their infants could be found through DNA and hospital records.

Criminals who are imprisoned for life never lose their civil right to their birth certificates. Felons who were executed had the right to die as themselves. Adopted people, however, are stripped of a civil right for life, and death, because of one reason only: adoption.

Adopted people are treated as and made to feel like criminals for even asking about our roots. Staff at vital statistics offices glare at us, and then sneer that we have no right to our sealed birth certificates, as if our documents contain top secret information that would destroy the world if revealed. Adoption agencies often tell us our records were burned in a fire. Society demands that we feel “grateful” for having been adopted. We are told we were “better off” and should not “open Pandora’s Box”. This stigma has been passed down through the generations that adoptees should never know the truth.

There is no reason we should live with this stigma today.

Intertwining and complex laws govern vital statistics, public health, domestic relations and adoption. These laws require all individuals who are adopted (including those in socially-open, in-family, intercountry, and adult adoptions) to lose our medical records of live birth when reassigned a new birth certificate, complete with a new legal family construct, as if our lives prior to adoption never existed. Our children carry our false names as will our death certificates.

It is still considered legal throughout the United States to revoke and seal a person’s birth certificate and then create a completely new one. Only Kansas and Alaska do not seal adoptees’ birth certificates, but continue to revoke and replace them. Why is adoption reason enough to remove adoptees’ right to our birth certificates, our names, our parents, our siblings, our medical and genetic information, and our genealogy? Intercountry adoptees lose nationality, culture, and language as well.

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Comparing My Factually Accurate Medical Record of Live Birth with My Falsified Birth Certificate

Using my own factual birth certificate and falsified birth certificate as a comparison, I will prove the difference between a medical record of live birth and a falsified birth certificate issued after court-ordered adoption.

The first document is my hospital birth certificate signed by the attending physician and the hospital administrator.

Parents’ names on all documents redacted by author.

 

The medical record of live birth is signed by the attending physician and the local registrar of vital statistics. A registered number is typed in at the upper right hand corner of both the short form birth registration and the long form medical record of live birth.

 

This is my Birth Registration, also called a Short Form Birth Certificate.

CertificateOfBirthregistration-DMS ParentsNamesRedacted Resized Web 6x5

This is my Medical Record of Live Birth, also called a Long Form Birth Certificate.

SIGNATURE OF ATTENDANT: “I hereby certify that I attended the birth of this child who was born alive on the date stated above at 12:55am”.

The hand-written number above-left of the registered number indicates that this is the 766th certificate issued that year to date.

CertificateOfBirth-DMS-RESIZED Web InvertedBW 1 ParentsNamesRedacted

The 3-page Decree and Order of Adoption names my adopters and my father, and sets in motion my legal name change. Both parties knew each other, met in court several times, and had exchanged addresses and phone numbers. My adoptive father was a distant cousin to my newly-deceased mother. This was an in-family private adoption. The records were closed as if we were strangers.

DecreeAndOrderAdoption 1957-1-14 pg1 RESIZED FOR WEB names redacted

Decree and Order pg3- (F) highlights RESIZED WEB

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Similarities and Differences Between the Actual (Original) Birth Certificate and the Falsified (Amended) Birth Certificate

 

When a child is adopted, a similar, but different, birth certificate form is used for the amended birth certificate. It appears the same in every way, except for a few details.

The registered number follows the child to adoption and appears in the upper right hand corner of the amended birth certificate (my short form does not have the registered number).

Some medical information is included, such as birth date, time, place, single or twin or triplet birth, and name of hospital.

The birth weight, gestation in weeks of pregnancy, tests and medications given to the “mother” and newborn are not included because this woman did not give birth, nor was this re-named child actually born. This child was created upon the finalization of adoption, but that fact is not indicated anywhere on this document.

Some States allow adopters to change the city, state, and birth date as well.

There is no line for the attending physician’s signature because this “birth” never took place.

When the State Director of Vital Statistics in the State capital creates a birth certificate by swapping in the information from the final court order of adoption, she or he then signs it, and affixes the State’s raised seal, certifying false facts as true.

The State Director of Vital Statistics is authorized to lie.

If anyone else gives false information on a government form, that is perjury.

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This is the amended “birth” registration issued in my adopted name.

The Certificate Number indicates that this is the 2760th certificate issued that year to date. This “birth” registration and the following “birth” certificate were created and issued on March 4, 1957 – fifteen months after Doris’ actual birth. The “file dates” are the dates that Doris’s, not Joan’s, birth certificate and birth registration were filed locally and in t he state capital, yet this “birth” registration states “registered certificate of said person”. The SAID PERSON named on THIS “birth” registration was not born on January 7, 1956 – Joan was created on the date of the signing of the Final Order of Adoption on January 14, 1956 and Joan’s “birth” certificate was issued on March 4, 1957.

ThisIsToCertify JMW BirthRegistration GREY Redacted

The following document is Joan Mary Wheeler’s Amended – Falsified – “Birth” Certificate.

No attending physician’s signature, only the signature of the state’s registrar at bottom. This mother did not conceive, nor give birth to Joan. There are no hospital records of this “birth” because it did not happen. This father did not sire Joan. The only document that documents this truth is the court order of adoption. Joan was not born; she was created when legally adopted on January 14, 1957. This birth certificate was issued 15 months after Doris’ real birth, yet it claims that Joan was born on Doris’s birth date and at the exact same time in the same hospital and that this was a single birth. THIS IS LEGAL FICTION.

CertificateOfBirth JMW long form ParentsRedacted RESIZED Web 6x6 (B)

 

This, of course, creates lies on religious documents as well. Joan Wheeler’s baptism never happened. Joan did not exist on the date of the baptism listed on her certificate. Note that the Sponsors remain the same on both documents. They are Doris’s Aunt and Uncle.

CertificateOfBirthAndBaptismDMS NamesRedacted RESIZED WEB

CertificateOfBirthAndBaptism JMW NamesRedacted RESIZED WEB

 

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New York State’s Amended “Adoptee Bill of Rights” is Eerily Similar to Compromise Laws in Seven States that Produced Devastating Results

New York State’s amended “Adoptee Bill of Rights” have been given new numbers for the 2017-2018 session, A5036 and S4845. These are conditional adoptee access bills favoring the supposed rights of mothers to confidentiality.

I will continue here by highlighting what happened in other states when conditional adoptee access laws were passed. [4] We do not need nor want the same thing to happen in New York.

Illinois’s conditional access law left about 50 adoptees completely locked out from their sealed records. Adoptee Triona Guidry wrote about her experiences being born in Illinois and adopted in Ohio (where her adoption records are kept), under the control of a confidential intermediary, a contact veto, and forever banned from ever obtaining a copy of her forever-sealed birth certificate. Her blog posts provide valuable insight into the pitfalls of compromise legislation.

In her post, “Case Closed! Another Adoptee becomes A Confidential Intermediary Statistic,” (May 19, 2008)  http://www.73adoptee.com/2008/05/case-closed-another-adoptee-becomes-a-confidential-intermediary-statistic/ Triona Guidry tells of her lengthy involvement with the Illinois Confidential Intermediary program, from the years 2000 to 2008. At first, her application was rejected even though she was born in Illinois, “because the program ‘does not have a procedure’ for out-of-state adoptees.” She exhausted her own resources, hired a lawyer, and worked with the program “to prepare a procedure for out-of-state adoptees”. Once again, an adoptee had to educate state employees, and other so-called professionals, on how policy and procedures effect adoptees. The one-size-fits-all approach does not work. Once her application was accepted, Triona had to pay “a registration fee and separate fees for each search” (one for the CI to contact her mother and one for the CI to contact her father).

Triona Guidry writes of many discrepancies in the Illinois Confidential Intermediary program, including pointing out that CI program “deliberately discourages participants and contacted relatives from signing up with the state registry” presumably to “ensure a steady supply of paying clients. The state registry is free … the CI program costs hundreds of dollars.” CI programs refuse “to disclose the search steps taken on participants’ behalf” leaving adoptees wondering if they received what they paid for. Contact Intermediary programs refuse “to disclose their standard written policies and procedures.” Triona’s CI accidentally disclosed her identifying information to her mother and then refused to “provide official written notification of said disclosure,” providing no official accountability violating the adoptee’s privacy. Finally, Triona tells us that CI programs “charge[s] to re-open cases, with no way for participants to know what has or has not been done on their behalf.”

Triona closes her blog post with these words,

“This is sheer insanity. People say adoptees have more psychological issues than non-adoptees. If we do, maybe they’re imposed on us by situations like this! … This started as a simple request for my records. Twelve years later, the adoption industry has turned me into a vocal advocate for adoptee rights. It’s ironic that if the records weren’t sealed, there wouldn’t be people like me publicly questioning the adoption industry’s more dubious practices.”

In “Leaving Adoptees Behind: My Experience At The Illinois HB 5428 Hearing,” (April 15, 2010) http://www.73adoptee.com/2010/04/leaving-adoptees-behind-my-experience-at-the-illinois-hb-5428-hearing/ Triona Guidry writes,

“Senator Wilhelmi started off by expounding on all the “good” Sara Feigenholtz has done for adoptee rights and what an honor it’s been to work with her. Everyone sees her as a “champion” of adoptee rights, except those of us left behind by her compromises. Then he turned it over to Feigenholtz who talked about “wearing her heart on her sleeve” and “begging for human rights.” She whined about being called a “traitor to the Adoption Reform Movement” but felt that she was striking a balance by honoring the voice of the majority. Small consolation to those in the minority.”

“For those of you reading, if you don’t already know: I am in that minority. My birth mother has filed the denial of contact. So hearing that it’s okay for people like me to be left out so others can have access does not sit well with me. And I speak as someone who used to believe that intermediaries were the answer, that compromise was necessary and fair, until I got screwed by the process and realized that it’s really all about politics, influence, and making money off adoption records access. All of this became even more clear to me as I sat and listened to the committee meeting.”

When I met Sara Feigenholtz at the American Adoption Congress’s international conference in Cleveland, Ohio in 2013, she was more concerned about speaking of her role in achieving “success” in contributing to the effort to pass a compromise bill into law than she was in acknowledging that such compromises have had detrimental and lifelong effects on certain adoptees who are denied their rights. When our elected politicians use their positions to gloat about their own accomplishes, even when those accomplishments are clearly biased and limited in scope, I am left fearing the same thing will happen in New York State. Legislators must completely understand the ramifications of the bills they support. Listening and watching the live-stream of New York State’s hearings, however, it is painfully obvious that many legislators have little to no comprehension of the issues at hand. Compromise legislation is not a “step in the right direction” to provide adoptees our rights, yet, many legislators parrot these words in their voting support for a harmful bill.

In his February 7, 2017 blog post, “The Missing Asterisks of Adoptee Rights,” http://gregoryluce.com/blog/missing-asterisks-adoptee-rights/ adoptee Gregory D. Luce tells us that Indiana’s conditional access law was signed in 2016 with some adoptee access allowed in 2018, but many adoptees born within a specific time frame will not receive their birth certificate or information at all. Missouri’s Adoptee Rights Act, which took effect in August of 2016, presents similar problems. New Jersey’s limited access law went into effect in January 2017, leaving behind 550 adoptees who are permanently closed out of their sealed records.

State laws are now being passed that favor protection of parental confidentiality over adoptee rights. This approach is sweeping the country, even though an additional seven States provide unrestricted access (no parental controls) to information-only sealed birth certificates.

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Imagine if YOUR Birth was Deemed Invalid by Your Government

As in the handful of other States that have released uncertified sealed birth certificates without the state raised seal and current registrar’s signature, New York State’s certified documents will be released with a statement stamped across the front such as “VOID” or “Not For Official Use” or “For Genealogical Purposes Only” or “Pre-Adoption Birth Certificate”. At the end of the legislative session in 2016, an assistant at the office of the bill’s sponsor, New York State Assemblyman, David Weprin, admitted that there had been no decision on what words would appear on New York State-released sealed birth certificates. Don’t let his answer fool you; even though the “Adoptee Bill of Rights” stated “certified birth certificates” will be released, no citizen can hold two certified birth certificates at the same time. Authorities believe that would give adoptees the chance to commit fraud with a second identity.

Second Identity? That “second identity” was given to us at birth, but stolen by our government.

Adoptee Rudy Owens writes of his feelings upon seeing a word stamped three times across the front of his released-but-still-sealed birth certificate in his blog post, “Getting what has always been mine–my original birth certificate.” (July 29, 2016)

https://rudyowensblog.com/2016/07/29/birthcertificatevictory/

He writes,

“On July 18, 2016, the sheet of paper, with a legal stamp from the state registrar, finally arrived in my mailbox. Vital Records at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services made sure to remind me that I am a bastard by placing in large capital letters “SEALED” three times on the copy of my original birth certificate–an act not required by state law. I was stunned looking at the copy of my original birth certificate. The state had given me a final insult by writing three times in big bold letters, “SEALED,” as a reminder I was still a bastard and not a normal person. But underneath that insulting bureaucratic graffiti that purportedly protected the well-being of the state and its residents were all the facts I already had known for three decades. The only new information I found on the document was the full name of the attending physician, who helped to safely bring me into this world one spring day in Detroit, Michigan, many years ago.”

Rudy Owens also addresses the denial of his civil rights,

“… All my life, I was classified by law as being undeserving of this record, unlike all-non-adopted state residents, simply because I was relinquished as an infant to become an adoptee. The only reason—and I repeat only reason—I now have possession of what is and always has been mine is because I never once recognized the legal or moral authority of the state’s so-called vital records professionals to deny me equal treatment and equal status by law.”

If New York State were to ever issue my accurate birth certificate to me with any words stamped over the front to invalidate the document itself, I would be horrified. Yet, this is exactly what would happen if the old “Adoptee Bill of Rights” A5036 and S4845 or the new Senate Bill S5169 and Assembly Bill A06821 were to be passed into law.

It is bad enough that I was born in America – The Land of the Free – where my home state decided that my birth was not worthy to be officially certified so it revoked my birth certificate, essentially annulling my birth, and replaced the document with a fabrication. But to issue a non-certified copy and stamp words on the front to be sure adoptees do not use the document as identification, is yet another insult.

Most adoptees are not as lucky as I was to have had a certified copy of their now-revoked-and-sealed birth certificate preserved over the years. Thank goodness my father, in his grief, gave my papers to my adopters when he gave me to them in 1956 after my mother died. I have owned a certified copy of my accurate birth certificate since 1974 when my adoptive mother gave my documents to me. What I’ve wanted ever since is for my government to reinstate the validity of my birth.

Imagine if YOUR birth was deemed invalid by your government; that your name is not your name, that your parents are not your parents and that replacements have not only been assigned, but certified as true.

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Segregating Bastards from Non-Bastards, Adoptees from Non-Adoptees, by Laws Written Only for this Segment of the Population is Systemic Discrimination

State laws followed a federal guideline in 1930 as a legal internment against a certain population based solely upon the condition of being born bastards. That was a time in history when it was thought that concealing illegitimacy was the best course of action to avoid stigma by creating new identities, legitimizing the illegitimate. But it was an illusion. Those laws now continue to use that supposed stigma against us, even when many adoptees were not born as bastards. Segregating bastards from non-bastards, adoptees from non-adoptees, by laws written only for this segment of the population is discrimination. Drastic measures were taken from 1930 onward to conceal bastardy. Now drastic measures must be taken to put an end to systemic discrimination against adoptees.

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Access to Our Sealed Documents Does Not Solve the Real Problem Because Our Falsified Birth Certificates Will Still Remain Viably Operable as Required by Existing Law

Equal treatment and equal status under the law is more than receiving a copy of a still-sealed document with a government stamp across the front. Mere access to our sealed documents does not solve the real problem because our falsified birth certificates will still be the only ones that remain viably operable as required by existing law. All access laws are conditional, even the ones with no parental controls.

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Access-Only Bills Do Not Go Far Enough; Repeal and Replace the 1935 Law that Revokes, Seals and Replaces Birth Certificates of Adoptees

There must be no compromise with mothers who think this is about reunion. Searching and reunification are part of the equation for some, yes, but the underlying issue is the blatant disregard for our birthrights.

As I stated in the summary, the “Adoptee Bill of Rights” A5036 and S4845 must be killed. And, as good as the new bills S5169 and A06821 are, they do not go far enough. These bills call for the release of information-only uncertified birth certificates. If information is all you want, then that is all you might get. And don’t forget, the opposition has fought against adoptee-access to sealed records for over 20 years. They might tack on parental permission amendments to these supposedly “clean” bills too.

It is time to wipe the slate clean. Stop the production assembly-line of revoking, sealing and replacing birth certificates of all New York State adopted people and restore to all adoptees our full identity rights to certified copies of our accurate birth certificates.

During the Assembly Floor Debate on June 18, 2015, adoptee and former Assemblyman (who is now Council Member in Staten Island) Mr. Joseph Borrelli stated on page 18 of the transcript [9], “I should own my birth certificate and frankly not be given a fraudulent government document…” He touched on the main issue, but did not expand upon it.

The 1935 New York State law that revoked, sealed and replaced adoptees’ birth certificates should be repealed, along with all tentacles of law connected with it in vital statistics, public health, domestic relations, and adoption. These laws should be replaced by reality-based documentation of live birth as applied to all other American citizens who are not adopted.

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“Adoptee Identity Rights Restoration” Needs to be Written into New York State Law as well as United States Constitutional Law

An estimated seven to ten million adopted American citizens demand full rights restoration to our certified medical record of live birth so we can reclaim ourselves as we were born to be and use our accurate birth certificates as identification just as non-adopted people do. We will not settle for compromised rights with hand-holding to mothers-in-hiding as if all adoptees are bastards to be hidden away for pretty-please restricted access to a summary, redacted, or an uncertified copy of our “pre-adoption birth certificate”. Adoptees’ birth certificates should never be revoked, sealed, nor replaced. Adopters (straight or gay) should not be given the upper hand to call the shots as to whose names appear on the birth certificate as mother and father, or mother and mother, or father and father. Adoptees are autonomous beings, not possessions. We should not lose our birth certificate, nor be assigned a new name and new parents, in exchange for a home, if we truly need one. Today’s adoptions “build families” rather than provide homes for children in need.

The changes I am proposing would provide for several situations. Adoptees who are not interested do not have to file. Those who choose to obtain an information-only uncertified copy of their medical record of live birth while keeping their adopted name and falsified birth certificate could do so, or they could also request to annul their amended birth certificate and replace it with an adoption certificate. Many adoptees, however, want to reclaim their name of birth, just as I have done. Thousands of adoptees across the United States and the world have already done so via court order, but we still do not have the civil right to unseal our birth certificates to obtain a certified copy and use it as identification. This is why adoptees are not equal under the law to non-adopted people.

In the legal process of reclaiming my name, I spoke with an attorney who cautioned me against obtaining the legal right to completely unseal and certify my medical record of live birth. He said that action would invalidate my amended birth certificate and annul my adoption, which he thought was a bad idea. Defending the decisions made by adults at the time, the attorney claimed that their decisions should stay as originally intended. He missed the point that adoptees’ medical record of live birth should stay as originally intended.

Adoptees are ignored in the adoption transaction. State laws violate the constitutional rights of every single adopted person in the United States. What further proof is needed to see that revoking, sealing and then falsifying adoptees’ birth certificates is integral to the adoption process? The legal structure of adoption requires the obliteration of the adoptee’s identity and family when a new one is created. Would adopters adopt if they were required by law to respect a child for who she is and who her parents are, that they have no right to re-name a child or to replace parents’ names on a government falsified replacement birth certificate?

Moving forward, let 2017 be the last year of secrets and lies. From now on, reality-based documentation of live birth will provide all citizens their identity rights. Take away revoked, sealed, and falsified birth certificates from adoption and the resulting legal process is custodial guardianship. Guardianship preserves a person’s right to name of birth, the medically-factual live-birth certificate, and family of birth, even when parental rights are terminated.

“Adoptee Identity Rights Restoration” needs to be written into New York State law as well as United States constitutional law. Let America lead the way for adoptee freedom worldwide.

Endnotes

  1. “An act to amend the domestic relations law and the public health law, in relation to adoptee rights,” New York Assembly Bill A5036 (2017)https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2017/a5036/amendment/original                                                                            Text of Bill A5036 in PDF http://legislation.nysenate.gov/pdf/bills/2017/A5036
  1. “An act to amend the domestic relations law and the public health law, in relation to adoptee rights,” New York State Senate Bill S4845 (2017) https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2017/s4845/amendment/original                                                    Text of Bill in PDF http://legislation.nysenate.gov/pdf/bills/2017/S4845
  1. “An Act to amend the public health law, in relation to issuing non-certified copies of original long form birth certificates to adoptees,” New York State Senate Bill S05169A (2017) http://nyassembly.gov/leg/?default_fld=&leg_video=&bn=S05169&term=2017&Summary=Y&Actions=Y&Memo=Y&Text=Y
  1. “Relates to requiring the commissioner of the department of health to issue non-certified copies of the original long form birth certificates to adoptees who request such copy within forty-five days after receipt of such request,” New York State Assembly Bill A06821 (2017) http://nyassembly.gov/leg/?default_fld=&leg_video=&bn=A06821&term=2017&Summary=Y&Actions=Y&Memo=Y&Text=Y
  1. “An act to amend the public health law, the public welfare law, the judiciary law, the domestic relations law, the inferior criminal courts act of New York City, and the Greater New York charter, in relation to records of birth,” Chapter 854, 1779-1790, Laws of New York, Vols. 1-2 1779 (1936).
  2. “1930: Birth Records of Illegitimates and of Adopted Children,” Sheldon L. Howard, Illinois State Registrar of Vital Statistics, and Henry B. Hemenway, Medical Assistant Registrar, Vital Statistics Division, Illinois Department of Public Health, Springfield, Illinois, read before the Vital Statistics Section of the American Public Health Association (1930-10-30) originally published in The American Journal Public Health Nations Health (1931-6-21) (6): 641–647. https://forbiddenfamily.com/1930-birth-records-of-illegitimates-and-of-adopted-children/                                       And, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1556353/
  1. “An act to amend the domestic relations law and the public health law, in relation to adoptee rights,” New York State Assembly Bill A02901C, Bill Summary and Text, (2015) http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?default_fld=&bn=A02901&term=2015&Summary=Y&Actions=Y&Votes=Y&Memo=Y&Text=Y
  1. Adoptee Access Laws, State Legislation, American Adoption Congress, (2016) http://www.americanadoptioncongress.org/state.php
  1. Joseph Borrelli, quoted from transcript of New York State Assembly Floor Debate and Vote, Bill A2901a, An act to amend the domestic relations law and the public health law, (June 18, 2015) page 18 http://www.unsealedinitiative.org/assets/images/A2901a_061815.pdf

What’s so hard about that?

I just spoke with an agent at New York State Governor Cuomo’s office. She took my opposition to A5036B. She said that the Governor has been receiving many phone calls and letters asking him to veto A5036B.

Then, I said that I sent in at least one letter with photo copies of my sealed birth certificate and my adopted birth certificate, and my hospital birth certificate and my two baptismal certificates. I told her that whether or not Governor Cuomo vetoes or passes A5036, or promotes supposedly clean bills S5169 and A06821 (which do not have provisions for parental permissions), either way, the real problem is still not being addressed.

I could tell that this woman was not really familiar with what happens to adoptees’ birth certificates upon adoption. I could hear her gasp when I told her that I have been staring at my real birth certificate since 1974. The one that was issued upon my birth. I told her that New York State annulled that birth certificate and replaced it with a false-fact birth certificate when I was 15 months old.

I heard her gasp at that point. The light bulb went off in her mind. She understood!

I said that no piece of legislation will totally restore adoptees’ civil rights to our true birth certificates until we repeal the 1935 law that annuls and re-writes our birth certificates.

Then I asked her, “How is this even legal?”

I heard her let out an exasperated sigh.

I said, “It should not be legal to annul anyone’s birth certificate and replace it with a false-fact birth certificate issued upon adoption. All other bills address mere ACCESS to the sealed record, but do not stop the problem at its source.”

At this point, the woman said she found notation of my written letter. She said she’d write my points in a note to Governor Cuomo for me.

I thanked her.

All I want is my civil rights restored to obtain, without conditions, and use as official identification, my still-sealed birth certificate THAT SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN ANNULLED IN THE FIRST PLACE.

What’s so hard about that?