Identity Theft & Reassignment: Civil Rights Violations by Adoption

• Prior to 1930, all Americans had the right to one factual birth certificate
• Since then, upon adoption, state laws require the issuance of a falsified birth certificate which replaces the actual one (even in open adoption)
• False facts of birth, with a new name and new parents (implying they sired, conceived, and gave birth) are certified as true on a birth certificate issued by the state Health Department, Director of Vital Statistics, after finalization of adoption
• The actual birth certificate is then revoked and sealed permanently (Kansas and Alaska do revoke, but do not seal, these records)
• Adopted people are legally forbidden to obtain a certified copy of their sealed birth certificate
• Some states allow the release of uncertified “information only” birth certificates via new access laws, or by court order
• Reunions are not illegal
• Post 9/11: If the filing date on the falsified birth certificate is more than one year from the birth date, the US government will not issue a passport to that adopted person

What You Can Do
Contact state, federal legislators, and The President. Tell them to change state & federal laws to guarantee civil rights to:
• Retroactively, unconditionally, with no redactions, unseal and certify the actual birth certificates of American adopted people, restoring civil rights to own their actual birth certificates, with the option to null & void the falsified one
• Repeal existing state laws from the 1930s that both falsify new birth certificates, then revoke and seal forever the factual birth certificates of all adopted people
• Require reality-based open documentation of birth and adoption as the two separate and distinct events that they are: a birth and an adoption, requiring certified certificates for both
• Require adoption to maintain child’s name at birth and parents of birth; name legal guardians not adoptive “parents”
• Remove government tax incentives for the multi-billion dollar adoption industry
• Fund family preservation and guardianship
• Require factual birth certificates for donor-conceived people naming all donors and surrogate mother

The goal is to eliminate adoption altogether, trading that legal process with guardianship. Why? Because guardianship respects the child’s worth and dignity by not changing the name to suit the legal guardians’ wishes, the birth certificate is not falsified nor sealed, the child’s parents are not legally replaced by strangers, and the child has visitation rights to parents and siblings.

Letter Writing Campaign to The White House During the First Week of National Adoption Month November 2014

The following is shared at the request of my dear friend and long-time adoption activist, Sandy Musser, Director of Adoption ALARM Network.


Powers of the President.
The piece below called “No Congressional Approval Needed” is from an article titled A President’s Legislative Powers.

Enacting the ADOPTEES RESTORATION ACT would restore ORIGINAL BIRTH CERTIFICATES to all ADOPTED ADULTS in America in one fell swoop!

There is no doubt that this would be President Obama’s GREATEST LEGACY (comparable to LINCOLN freeing the slaves) since millions and millions of ADOPTED ADULTS would have their true identities, their medical histories, their cultures, and and their ancestries restored.

As we begin our letter campaign to the White House during the first week of November, we need to emphasize the extreme importance and need for this to be accomplished. Send copies of your letters to media outlets and let them know that you’re available for an interview.

No Congressional Approval Needed

There are two ways that presidents can enact initiatives without congressional approval. Presidents may issue a proclamation, often ceremonial in nature, such as naming a day in honor of someone or something that has contributed to American society.

A president may also issue an EXECUTIVE ORDER which has the full effect of law and is directed to federal agencies that are charged with carrying out the order. Examples include Franklin D. Roosevelt’s executive order for the internment of Japanese-Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Harry Truman’s integration of the armed forces and Dwight Eisenhower’s order to integrate the nation’s schools.

My Response to Jayne Jacova Feld’s article on New Jersey’s Fight to Unseal Adoptees’ Birth Records

This undated article by Jayne Jacova Feld appeared in my email inbox on October 31, 2014: Opening Up – Bringing the fight to unseal adoption records to life.

This is my response:

Typically, this article confuses reunion with civil rights. The civil right to one’s sealed birth certificate is not the same as reunion or contact. A person who wishes no contact has a right to be left alone. A person who wishes to unseal their sealed birth record still must ask a court for permission, or abide by restrictive laws that allow release of uncertified sealed birth certificates under specific restrictions.

Closed adoptions are indeed performed today as many adoptive parents request no contact at any time with the natural parents of their adoptee.

Open adoptions do not mean open records.

Adoptees are not only illegitimates born to not-married parents. We are legitimates born within a marriage, half orphans, full orphans, adopted by step parents, and older children adopted out of foster care. To lump all of us under the umbrella of persons born to “unwed” mothers is to keep the stereotypes alive.

Except for Kansas and Alaska, every single adoptee in America suffers the injustice of their actual birth certificate automatically sealed at the finalization of adoption. Even in Kansas and Alaska, every single adoptee in America is automatically issued a new, amended, birth certificate indicating, falsely, that the new parents gave birth to the child named. Many adoptees’ actual birthdates are changed, as well as birthplace, and most adoptees’ names at birth are changed to reflect new identities picked by adoptive parents.

In the few states that have passed laws “allowing” adoptees “access” to their sealed birth records, these adoptees are not given certified copies of their actual birth certificates. They are given uncertified copies which are stamped on the front with one of the following in big bold letters: “VOID”, “Not For Official Use”, “For Genealogical Use Only”. While many adoptees jump for joy over the fact that they are able to unseal their previously sealed actual birth certificates, their elation over seeing their birth certificates for the first time in their lives should be tempered with the realization that their legal birth certificate (the one that was falsified at the time of finalization of adoption) overrides the uncertified birth certificate that they now have in their hands.

There is a big difference between a mere knowing the truth of your origins (by “winning” the right to an uncertified birth certificate that was previously sealed) and actually reversing the oppressive laws that instituted sealing and falsifying adoptees’ birth certificates around the USA beginning in 1930, state by state.

Many adoptees, like me, advocate for the total restoration of our civil rights. We want our actual birth certificates to be reinstated and certified by our government. And we want our falsified birth certificates to be rescinded. Some of us want adoption certificates to replace them, others want to rescind their adoptions altogether.
As for the Catholics who want control: I was conceived within a marriage, yet your one-sided attack on “unwed” mothers devalues my birth, and that of adoptees who aren’t in your narrow focus of being born bastards.

As for “birth” parents who want to redact their names from birth certificates: your name, whether you want it there or not, was recorded within five days of birth on a government document recording the fact that you gave birth. When you signed relinquishment papers in the courtroom, you lost all rights to the person you gave up for adoption. You did not retain the right to dictate to that person 50 or more years after birth. All persons over the age of 21 are of legal age and are not bound by parental authority.

Lastly, the first advocacy group was not Adoptees Liberty Movement Association, as stated in this article (Opening Up – Bringing the fight to unseal adoption records to life), but rather Orphan Voyage, founded in 1953 by adoptee and social worker Jean Paton.

I was very fortunate to have known Jean Paton. She was a delightful lady with a quiet sense of reserve. She deserves recognition as the one person who started the adoptees’ rights movement in America. Others followed and we now have a very extensive network of activists and organizations. Readers may be interested in reading about her life in a hardcover book written by historian E. Wayne Carp: Jean Paton and the Struggle to Reform American Adoption (January 2014).





Betsy Norris, Adam Pertman, Jodi Hodges, and Carol Sanger Interviewed by NPR Radio on Ohio’s New Adoptees’ Birth Certificate Access Law

Congrats are in order to Betsy Norris of Adoption Network Cleveland for her role in advocating for Ohio’s Adoptee Birth Certificate Access Law, which was signed into law last week. NPR radio had a 17 minute special report on air in the morning of Christmas Eve. You can listen to the Interview here, as well as read the article. “Guest host Celeste Headlee takes on the topic with law professor Carol Sanger, birth mother Jodi Hodges, and advocates Adam Pertman and Betsie Norris.” This interview is a good one to listen to to hear the most current debate on adoptees’ access bills/laws. I came across this interview  by accident. I was driving along on Christmas  Eve while listening to NPR when two people I’ve known for many years were interviewed: Betsy Norris and Adam Pertman. What a thrill to hear my friends and colleagues on National Public Radio! Great job on the interview. Great job on the victory for Adoptees’ Rights.

The Real Birther Issue

President Obama recently released a copy of his Long Form Original Birth Certificate to prove that he was born in the United States. However, if he had been born and adopted in the United States, he would not be able to produce his Original Birth Certificate for the public or even for his own viewing.  By law, he would only be able to produce an Amended Birth Certificate. 

An Amended Birth Certificate is issued at the finalization of a person’s adoption.  This “birth certificate” replaces a person’s birth name with a new name and his/her natural parents’ names/information with his adoptive parents’ names/information.  Once an Amended Birth Certificate is issued, a person is prevented by law from viewing/possessing their truthful documentation of birth.  His/her Original Birth Certificate is sealed forever.

It is discriminatory to seal an adopted person’s birth certificate and replace it with a falsified one.

“We’re not going to be able to do it if we just make stuff up and pretend that facts are not facts.” – President Barack Obama, 3/27/2011.

I have two birth certificates. I was born with one name, issued a birth certificate, and one year and one week later, my adoption was finalized. The Surrogate Court judge who presided over my adoption set in motion the legal process for my true birth certificate to be sealed and an amended birth record to be issued. The Registrar of Vital Records carried out the task of switching my birth facts onto a document which is similar, but not equal to, the form used to create non-adoptees’ original birth certificates. The law is different for all adoptees.

Before I use my own documents as examples, I must explain that while I am not legally allowed to obtain my own Long Form Original Birth Certificate because I am an adoptee in a closed record state (New York), I do have both my short and long form Original Birth Certificate, as well as my short and long form Amended Birth Certificate. Why? How?

Because at the time I was placed in my pre-adoptive parents’ care, my father who relinquished me gave my birth certificates and baptismal certificate to my pre-adoptive parents. My adoptive parents gave all of my documents, including the Final Order of Adoption, to me when I turned eighteen just after my reunion with my natural family.

As previously stated, I am still legally prevented from obtaining my Original Birth Certificate. That is a legal battle I have been fighting with other adoptees since the mid-1970s.

What do my two long form birth certificates state? The forms are similar, but different. Both have a raised seal and are signed by the Registrar.

My Original Birth Certificate states: name, date, time, city, weight, length of pregnancy, hospital, parents, single birth and not a twin or triplet, and attending physician signature. This question was asked: “How many other children are now living?” Answer: four.

My Amended Birth Certificate states my new name, and replaces my parents by birth with the names of my new parents, and includes most facts of my birth. Though the document states this mother gave birth in this hospital, no hospital records would be found for this mother. Deleted are: length of pregnancy, how many other children were living, and the attending physician’s signature.

Records are sealed and amended even in open adoptions. It is time to allow adoptees access to their true birth certificates. It is also time to replace fraudulently falsified Amended Birth Certificates with honest Adoption Certificates. Change the law.

For more information: (NYS adoptees),

Chicago Tribune’s Article “Open to Interpretation” and My Response

The Chicago Tribune published this article on birth certificate access and reunions:

Open to interpretation

Despite new laws granting access to birth records, many adoptees struggle in search of their past

While people are catching on that it is descriminatory to keep adoptees’ birth certificates sealed, many are missing the point that illegitimacy may have been the cause of the sealed and falsified laws, but there is much more going on.

Because I have been lumped into the category of being illegitimate when I am not, I resent the stigma placed upon me. I resent the stigma placed on my fellow adoptees because this is an out-dated stigma. All humans have value, no matter what the circumstances at birth and childhood.

Here is my posted response to the above article:

The stigma of illegitimacy does not apply to all adoptees. There are adoptees who were adopted by their step parents, adoptees who were taken from married parents and put into foster care and fast tracked into adoption, there are adoptees who were half or full orphaned by the death of one or both parents. In all of the above cases, none of these adoptees were from illegitimate births.

To hold all adoptees in the legal prison of sealed and falsified birth certificates based solely upon the social stigma of illegitimacy is truly discrimination against the class of people known as adoptees. Clearly, it is not the condition of illegitimate birth that makes the government seal and then falsify a new birth certificate for each adoptee, it is the condition of being adopted that sets the series of events into motion that automatically seizes an infant’s or older child’s birth certificate, seals it, and replaces it with a falsified document that states that two biologically unrelated people (to the child) created said child and gave birth to said child.

To stop the discrimination, we must end the process of automatically sealing and falsifying birth certificates of adoptees. Retain the birth certificate as an operable document and then issue an adoption certificate: that is how it is done in more progressive countries, such as The Netherlands.

~ ~ ~ Joan M Wheeler, BA, BSW, born Doris M Sippel, author of Forbidden Family: A Half Orphan’s Account of Her Adoption, Reunion and Social Activism, Trafford Publishing, Nov 2009.

Two Important Discussions on Adoptees Civil Liberties and Debate with ACLU-NJ

Sorry, the two comments I quoted in the previous post were not made by Deborah Jacobs, executive director of ACLU of New Jersey, they were made by a prickly commentator. I was so disgusted and personally offended by the comments, I misread the names.

This is the letter written by Deborah Jacobs, executive director of the ACLU of New Jersey. Pay a visit and leave your comments. As soon as I recover and can take a breathe, I’ll be heading over there, again. This has been going on for days…

ACLU critic ends up praising the organization

and don’t forget to check back with Peter Franklin’s Letter and discussio over at the following link, about the same topic:

Where are adoptees’ civil liberties?


The blatant disreguard of adoptees’ civil rights based on mythology is pathetic…