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

Re-bloging from the New York Times…

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

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

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

To continue reading, go to…

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

Reblogging this from Lorraine Dusky:

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

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

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

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

 

To see the rest of this post go here.

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

June 15, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But it did, and it does.

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

Why? Why is my birth any different from yours?

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

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

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

Thank you,

Doris Michol Sippel

www.forbiddenfamily.com

author of

Forbidden Family: An Adopted Woman’s Struggle for Identity

Amazon, available in Kindle and Print

Helpful articles:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Assemblywoman Paulin,

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

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

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

June 13, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All 4 of my parents are now deceased.

I have owned my certified original birth certificate since 1974.

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

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

I used it anyway.

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

Do you understand NOW what adoption does to adoptees?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please PASS A9959B.

Thank you,

Doris Michol Sippel

www.forbiddenfamily.com

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

Amazon, available in Kindle and Print

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

Posting an email request from New York State Adoptee Equality:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The practice is contrary to what adoptee rights stands for.

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

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

Why and How to Ask NJ Governor Murphy to Veto S482

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ask Governor Murphy to Veto S482.

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

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

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

by fax
609-292-3454

 

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 process that revoked and sealed my birth certificate was signed into law in 1936 by New York State Governor Lehman. It also helped to perpetuate social taboos that adoptees should not know their origins.

My natural father and adopters met in person and in court several times. My natural mother was a distant cousin to my adoptive father’s two older half-brothers (they had a different mother who was my blood relative). Extended family in both of these families socialized, and traded stories and photographs of me during my childhood, but did not inform my father (or the court) of this contact. According to the court, this was a closed adoption – no contact between parties. My father stayed away from me and from my adopters as he was told to do by the court. This was an in-family private adoption. Nothing should have been secret and closed.

 

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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

NYS Governor Cuomo Vetoed Discriminatory Adoptees’ Bill!

Here is the Change.org Petition update from Tim Monti-Wohlpart (Brooklyn, NY):

BREAKING! NY Governor Cuomo Hears Us and VETOES Adoptee Discrimination Bill!

The Petition update begins:
Dec 30, 2017 — Friends of “CLEAN” adoption reform,

On this cold night in New York, adoptee rights are just getting warmed up! The regressive, expensive and unacceptable bill, A5036-B / S4845-B, has been vetoed by Governor Cuomo! Your urgent calls and letters to him have been heard! Now, Governor Cuomo says he supports “greater access to birth records” and he has called for a workgroup to help chart a path forward!

We send a huge thanks to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on this historic night! We also thank his senior staff for meeting with us in July and accepting our petition and supporting materials!

The Petition Update continues here….
3,587 people have signed the Petition. Keep it going! Victory to free New York State Adopted Citizens will soon be here! But we have plenty of work to do.
To see a copy of Gov Cuomo’s Letter of Veto, click here.