Here is a link to my latest article published by The Buffalo News:
Another Voice: Cuomo must veto flawed adoptee bill
Don’t forget to add your own comment about adoptee rights, via Facebook app, on The News’ website.
Here is a link to my latest article published by The Buffalo News:
Don’t forget to add your own comment about adoptee rights, via Facebook app, on The News’ website.
This is my response to the efforts of Tim Monti-Wohlpart and company, Friends of “CLEAN” adoption reform, dated Jul 9, 2017.
I am pleased with the petition update and the sound arguments presented in this petition (which you can read here).
I stand by my fellow adoptees in promoting the veto of New York State’s Mother-May-I bills and the advance of the “clean” bills.
However, as my following letter to Governor Cuomo indicates, I do not think that the alternative Adoptee Rights Bills S5169-A / A6821-A are completely “clean” bills.
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Dear Governor Cuomo,
While I applaud, support and defend this effort by “Friends of “CLEAN” adoption reform”, I disagree with it in part. Here is why:
Tim Monti-Wohlpart of Brooklyn, New York and “Friends of “Clean” adoption reform” promote the alternative bills S5169-A / A6821-A as “Clean” reform that “will allow all adult adoptees to gain unrestricted access to their original birth certificates.”
While it is true that the bills that have passed the Senate and Assembly and await your signature (A5036-B / S4845-B) will indeed, if passed into law, further erode adoptees’ civil rights by giving rights to parents who either willingly signed surrender papers that removed their parental rights or their rights were terminated, it is NOT true that moving forward the alternate bills S5169-A / A6821-A will be “clean reform” that “will allow all adult adoptees to gain unrestricted access to their original birth certificates.”
I must be very clear. Unrestrictive access-bills, while significantly better than restrictive access bills and laws, really do not restore any civil rights to adoptees at all. The only right that will be granted is the right to obtain an uncertified copy of the sealed birth certificate. That released document will be issued with some sort of stamped declaration on the front, such as “For Genealogical Purposes Only”, or “VOID Not For Official Use”, or “Pre-Adoption Birth Certificate”, or some other statement which will prevent the adopted person from ever using the document as identification. All amended birth certificates issued to adoptees upon adoption will still remain as the operable birth certificate. That means that the identity theft perpetrated upon adoptees at the signing of the finalization of adoption will still be in effect.
In order for all identity civil rights to be 100% restored to all New York State adopted people, the 1935 law that binds us now must be repealed and replaced with reality-based documentation of birth for all New York State citizens. Non-adopted and adopted alike must have equal rights protecting the civil right to own and use as identification their own medical record of live birth.
No access bill will accomplish this.
If the 1935 law would be repealed and replaced by reality-based documentation of live birth, then, prospectively, no adopter (straight or gay or lesbian) would have the right to overwrite the medical record of live birth with an amended birth certificate that swaps out the name of the child at birth, swaps out the names of the parents of conception and birth, and replaces these names with the new name of the child and the names of the strangers who adopt the child.
The system of recording “births” for adoptees is based upon lies. This must end with the solid conviction that every single human being has the inalienable – absolute – right to the truth of their own birth and to be who they were named at birth.
Reality-based documentation of birth would also mean that, retroactively, all New York State adopted citizens would have the right to obtain a certified copy of their now-sealed medical record of live birth, annul their current birth certificate that was created upon their adoption, change their name back to their name of birth, or, choose to receive an uncertified copy of their medical record of live birth (birth certificate) with words stamped across it indicating that the document is not to be used as identification, and that the amended birth certificate issued upon adoption would remain as the adopted person’s legal identity.
Because adoption changes verifiable reality on paper, we must face facts. Non-adopted people are issued a medical record of live birth which is the record of the facts of their birth. Adoptees are issued this document, too. It is only upon adoption that the medical record of live birth is revoked, and sealed, and a new, amended, birth certificate issued with the new adoption facts replacing the realities of birth. The only statements of truth that remain on the falsified birth certificate are the Registered Number assigned to the child at birth, the birth date (maybe, adopters in some states are allowed to change the birth date), perhaps the hospital in which the birth took place, and the town or city of birth (in some states the adopters are allowed to change this as well).
If mere access is all you want, then, by all means, promote only the “clean” bills S5169-A / A6821-A that “will allow all adult adoptees to gain unrestricted access to their original birth certificates.”
What does “Unrestricted access” mean? It means that the adopted person has the right to obtain an uncertified copy of their now-revoked and now-sealed medical record of live birth without begging permission from the very parents who signed away their parental rights, or to be subjected to the decisions of a judge.
Unrestricted access does not make adoptees completely equal to non-adopted American citizens.
In order for all adoptees to be completely equal to non-adopted people, our birth certificates must be restored to their original intent: to be the official record of our births. We must be free to obtain and use this document without interference from adopters, parents who relinquished their rights, and state governments that would remove our rights to the truth of our births.
These have been my views since March of 1974 when I first laid eyes on my two different birth certificates. I KNEW at age 18 that this theft of my identity was morally, ethically, and legally wrong. I will fight till my dying breath for the return of my birth rights and that of all adoptees in New York State, in America, and the world – because adoptees’ true identities have been legally erased.
Governor Cuomo, yes, please veto and reject A5036-B / S4845-B. Please support and advance S5169-A / A6821-A, the New York Bill of Adoptee Rights. Please continue to advance the partially clean alternative bills as they promote the civil right of adoptees to act on our own behalf as competent adults. But please know and understand the gravity of the present system of identity theft that is built into New York State adoption since 1935. True equality cannot happen without proper examination of the history behind the present system, the consequences of the present system, and the proper action from our lawmakers.
Governor Cuomo, I was born January 7, 1956 and adopted as Joan Mary Wheeler January 14, 1957. I legally reclaimed my name of birth June 13, 2016, but my medical record of live birth is still locked up by New York State.
I lost my mother at my age of three months due to her early death. I lost my entire family due to adoption. I lost my identity due to adoption. Haven’t I lost enough?
Governor Cuomo, I hope you realize what all adoptees lost because of adoption. Please establish a committee to begin to dismantle the 1935 law that forever strips all New York adoptees of our birthrights.
Please restore adoptees’ civil rights to be who we were born to be.
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.
Doris Michol Sippel
New York adoptee born, adopted, reunited, and currently living in Buffalo, New York
A video from Gregory Luce of Adoptee Rights Law about the New York State bad adoptee bill which really is a mother-may-I bill.
“Rise with us to demand a veto of A5036B and to assure equal rights for all adoptees.”
Even though this was written for April Fools Day 2015, this is still an excellent blog from Elle Cuardaigh.
Back in 1974, when I answered a phone call from a woman I did not know, I was a high school senior. I was 18 years old. This woman said she was my sister.
I knew I was adopted, but I was never allowed to speak of my feelings or my questions. I buried it all deep inside. So when this woman said she was my sister, I knew immediately that she really was my sister.
And at the same time, I knew that all I had lived for those 18 years of my life, was not real. I felt like a fool. How many people knew? Why was I the last to know? I wasn’t the person I thought I was.
Imagine being a high school student with final exams and the prom and picking out a college and making life-altering decisions, well, I went through the motions of all of that, but I was in deep, psychological trauma.
My parents KNEW and chose not to tell me! How could I trust them again? And then there were the rest of my relatives who all knew…
So, for me, I am not the total unsuspecting person who finds out late in life that she or he is adopted. I knew that I was adopted. I knew there were unknowns about me that were somehow going to be revealed. But that did not soften the blow as to how I felt that day in 1974, and for years later, and even now.
The shock of finding out the truth, and not from the adoptive parents who ought to have had the guts and maturity to tell me themselves, is something that I never recovered from, Betrayal, lies, fear, mistrust, radical acceptance… yes, this is being A Late Discovery Adoptee.
Imagine everything you thought you knew to be true was a lie. Imagine the parents you loved (or hated, or both) had deceived you your entire life, either with outright untruths, or lies of omission. And not about some small thing that can be compartmentalized, but something that permeates everything: Your origin.
This is what some adoptees must deal with. They find out when they’re a teen, or going into the service, or parents themselves, or at the funeral of their mother or father, that their identities have been based upon a lie. And let me stop you right there if you are objecting to your computer screen. Systematic lying, even with silence, is still lying. No matter how “noble” the reasons for doing it, it is still wrong. It is a betrayal that many can never recover from.
The lengths people will go to to “protect” the adoptee from…
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So good to read what all wannna-be-adopters and adopters should comprehend. But they never will.
One that you forgot, Elle Cuardaigh, is “Gotcha.” As in “Gotcha Day.”
Many years before that term became popular by adopters, my adoptive mother used to say,”Well, that happened years before we got you.” She was referring to family events that were important for me to learn because I became part of the larger family and I should know the family history. Which I did learn because I was the innocent child growing up the only child of parents who were old enough to be my grandparents when they adopted me. It was their history being imparted to me. It was their memories, their culture, their happiness, their wants and dreams. And there I was, soaking it all in. I had no choice. It felt real enough to me because I did not know my own history. I was the captive audience.
Even as a very young child, I recoiled when I heard my adoptive mother say those words, “when we got you…”. I knew I was adopted, but did not know the details of the mother and father and anyone else I lost, but I felt that loss. It was like a punch in the gut to hear those words. My life, my history, began when they got me.
Yeah, so this newer, modern version that has morphed into “Gotcha Day” is a slur upon the only way adopters know how to tell their version of events that took place that led up to the main event of how each and every one of us came to be adopted.
Oddly, my adoptive mother was not aware that this term developed in the early 1980s and is now full blown, nor was she aware that the special day could have been celebrated as it is today. In that regard, I’m happy that the day I arrived in their care, or the day I was legally adopted, has never been set aside as a special celebration. My birthdays were hard enough as I always wondered who birthed me.
If you find yourself somehow involved in adoption, you will need to learn a new language: Pro-Adoption Language. These same words in the rest of society have completely different meanings. It is very important to know the correct terms, or people get their feelings hurt and the Culture of Adoption suffers.
Adoption: The act of legally severing ties to biological parents and replacing them with strangers who become the Real Parents.
Abortion: 1) Terminating what would have been the perfect child that the Adoptive Parent always wanted. 2) The thing all Adopted Children have been saved from.
*Adopted Child: Baby who was placed in the Wrong Tummy and was saved from Abortion by the Real Parents.
Adoptee: Newer, discouraged term for an Adopted Child.
Adopted Adult: ….what?
Birthmother or Birth Mother: A lesser mother, inferior to an Adoptive or Real Mother.
Birth Father: The man who gave birth to the…
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Thank you for writing this.
James 1:27 “…. to look after the orphans and widows in their distress …”
Yeah. I never held it against my 31 year old father for making the hard decision to relinquish me into adoption less than one month after my 30 year old mother died. He was a devout Catholic and followed the advice of his parish priest.
It is the PRIEST who I fault. He said to my father at my mother’s funeral, “The baby needs two parents.” Sure, if you look only at the constant care of an infant, but wouldn’t it have been so much more loving, so much more caring and helpful if the PRIEST had offered help in the form of suggesting that volunteers from the church come in and help to care for me and my older siblings? How about donations of food, clothes, diapers, money? My grandparents were sick. Other family members had babies of their own. My father was stretched to the limit. He gave away his 5th child because a PRIEST put the idea in his head.
Oh, and, minutes after the priest spoke, a woman came up to my father and said, “I know someone who will take your baby.”
Her brother became my adoptive father.
Nice going, lady. Swoop down on a grieving husband and father. Take the baby off his hands, free up one more child that he didn’t need to feed so that you could pride yourself on procuring someone else’s baby for your brother. Nice going, Aunt Gertie, mighty Christian of you. May you rot in hell along with that priest.
This is not to say I didn’t love my adoptive parents, this is to say that my adoption was arranged by Catholics who were anything but Christian. I remain, and always will be, a “good without god” atheist; how I became adopted is just one of many reasons that I am no longer “a believer.”
I’ve heard these phrases often:
“We always felt called to adopt.”
“We never felt compelled to have our own children, so we chose to adopt.”
“Adoption was laid on our hearts.”
“We prayed about it and decided we would adopt.”
“We prayed for this child.”
“Adoption was God’s plan for our family.” etc. etc. etc.
Each of these comments prompt me to ask this question: If you knew you were called to adopt your children, if this was your prayer, then is it remotely possible that you misunderstood what the Lord was saying? And if you misunderstood, then how is it so many are misunderstanding what He is trying to say?
I am asking.
I know so many women that have struggled with the pain of infertility, even so, is it possible that maybe, just maybe, the desire of your heart is louder than the voice of the Lord? See…
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In these last few days days of writing to and calling New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to Veto the current bills up for his signature (regressive Mother-May-I Bills A5036B/S4845A), I feel myself wanting to talk to my mother. But I can’t. She died three months after my birth 61 years ago.
I keep wondering what she would think and feel about being erased as my mother, wiped off of my official birth certificate. I feel sad for her, even though she really does not know what happened after her death.
But I was told that she loved me, she loved all of her 5 children. She was only 30 years old. I can’t imagine her sadness at knowing she was dying after giving birth.
How would she feel to know that New York State decided she was not my mother? Didn’t she give up enough? Her life did not matter?
How would she feel to know that I miss her? That I want her as my mother on my true birth certificate?
I fight for New York State to reinstate my real birth certificate, not just for my civil rights, but for her, my mother. She gave her life so I could live. Her body was filled with cancer, yet she continued to live so I could be born. And New York State removed her name from my birth certificate and replaced her name with that of another woman. And the amended birth certificate after my adoption even claims this new woman gave birth to me in the hospital where my real birth took place. Hospital records will show who really gave birth to me.
And please, spare me any arguments that I did not love my adoptive mother. That was a very complicated relationship, and only three people know what my childhood was like: me, my adoptive father and my adoptive mother. No one else knows. And no one else knows what was said between us in the years, months, days, hours before her death in 2011. My adoptive mother, for all of her faults, and for all of the hurt she cause me, toward the end of her life, she always spoke of my natural mother as “Your mother”. She spoke those words with a soft reverence.
Does New York State have respect for the dead? No. New York State owes my real mother respect and dignity. Right the wrongs. Identify my real mother. Release my real birth certificate. Reinstate my mother AS my mother, certify her AS my mother for all eternity on a document that will be available for me, for my children, and for my grandchildren. As it stands right now, my descendants will only be allowed to retrieve my amended birth certificate issued upon my adoption.
But no, that’s not correct now, either. Since I reclaimed my name last year, my amended birth certificate was voided because it has the wrong name on it. To complete the process, I am supposed to apply for a new amended birth certificate in Albany to update my “new” name so that the Vital Statistics Office will issue a corrected birth certificate. But that would mean that I, Doris Michol Sippel, would then be born, on paper, to Doloris and Edward Wheeler, who actually adopted me and changed my name to Joan Mary Wheeler in 1957.
The HELL I am going to request such a stupid document from New York State!
I already told the sweet man at the Supreme Court help desk that I would not do it. I am using my raised-seal, certified, medical record of live birth that was issued within five days of my birth AS MY IDENTIFICATION even though New York State does not recognize it as “legal” because it was revoked and sealed after my adoption. If I do not request a “new” amended birth certificate, I will continue to use my very old, pre-revoked and pre-sealed birth certificate. But if it is lost, stolen, or worn out, I do not have the legal right to obtain a replacement certified copy. My adoption overrides my real birth.
Even if New York State Health Department, Division of Vital Statistics does not officially validate the facts of my birth, I owe it to my mother and my father to fight for truth. Social Security changed the names of my parents in my official record when I presented my real birth certificate to them last year. Now I will continue to fight Vital Statistics to release the seal, to validate my real birth and annul any trace of the false facts put forth by the legal transaction of adoption.
Mom, I do it for you, too.
And for Dad.
You would want me to, wouldn’t you, Mom?
The bad bill passed the New York State Senate just minutes before Midnight, June 21 to June 22.
The next step, the Governor’s office.
In New York State, adoptees now are mourning. We must fight the bureaucracy. Tell the Governor not to sign this into law.
Beyond that, where is that civil rights attorney I’ve been looking for?
Give me back my real birth certificate.
Give all adoptees our real birth certificates and stop playing games.
Class Action Lawsuit – Where is that attorney?
I live in these Districts:
Assembly District 140
Senate District 60
Monday June 19, 2017
Subject: VOTE NO on A5036-B and S4845-B & ADVANCE A6821-A and S5169-A
Dear New York State Legislators:
To those legislators who have contacted me to say that you will Vote NO to A5036-B, or at least take into consideration why you should vote NO, thank you. I appreciate your time to understand the issues at hand.
For those legislators who are still undecided, I am asking you again, with further explanation, to VOTE NO on A5036-B and S4845-B.
It seems to me that there might be a consensus to move toward pushing this bill forward into law because other states have passed similar confidential intermediary and redactive bills into law, favoring the unproven myth that mothers were promised confidentially.
I urge you to consider that each state in the United States passed laws in the 1930s to revoke and seal birth certificates of every child who was adopted to hide the stigma of being born an illegitimate bastard. The false birth certificate changed the legal status of the child; adoption by a legally married mother and father legally legitimized the bastard.
In today’s society, we know that not all adoptees were born bastards, and those who were, do not deserve the stigma.
We also know that children are removed from married parents and then adopted. Children of divorced parents are adopted by their step parents. Some children are adopted by their grandparents, or aunts and uncles, or older siblings. We know that full and half orphans, born of married parents, are also adopted. In each and every case, all children who are adopted are robbed of their natural born identities. New birth certificates are created for them. THIS is the main problem which is not being addressed by New York State legislators.
Why on Earth do you think that this kind of deception is morally, ethically, humanely, and civilly correct?
New York State has been creating new birth certificates for all adopted people since 1935. It is time THIS problem is stopped!
The two bills currently up in New York State – A5036-B and S4845-B (the “unclean” bills to be voted NO) and the “clean” bills A6821-A and S5169-A (that simply state that adoptees should be granted access to their now-sealed Original Birth Certificate) do not go far enough.
Many adopted people want mere access to their now-sealed original birth certificate because they are desperate for information about themselves. I understand this. Many adoptees want this “clean” bill to advance. For the sake of getting rid of the bad bills A5036-B and S4845-B, yes, I agree that voting into law a bill that further erodes adoptee rights would be bad for New York State adopted persons.
But, neither the old and badly amended Bill of Adoptee Rights (A5036-B and S4845-B), nor the new New York Bill of Adoptee Rights (A6821-A and S5169-A) are not “clean”.
The amended bills A5036-B and S4845-B are more concerned over mothers’ perceived right to confidentiality and treat adoptees as bastards in the nasty sense of the word – we are still seen as low life.
The new New York Bill of Adoptee Rights (A6821-A and S5169-A) is “clean” as far as unrestricted, equal access to original birth certificates for adult adoptees goes. That means, giving adoptees the respect due us as autonomous adults capable of rational thought to make our own decisions to see the truth of our births without parental permission or a judge’s decision.
But as for the total restoration of civil and human rights to our actual medical record of live birth is concerned, neither the old bill nor the new Bill of Adoptee Rights are “clean.”
Why do I say that?
Because neither bill will totally restore adoptees’ lost civil rights to our one and only medical record of live birth. Neither bill will stop the revocation and sealing of adoptees’ medical record of live birth, nor will stop the production of falsified birth certificates for adoptees.
Voting YES to the new New York Bill of Adoptee Rights (A6821-A and S5169-A) is a far better choice for Adoptees Civil Rights, but having access to a copy of the medical record of live birth while still maintaining the legality of the falsified birth certificate does not make adoptees equal to non-adopted people.
The only way adoptees will be truly equal to non-adopted people is to completely restore our civil rights to obtain a certified copy of our medical record of live birth and to be able to legally use it as identification, just as it was intended. Our legally-fictionalized identities are not who we were born to be. Adoptees should have the right to obtain a certified copy of our now-sealed birth record to replace our legally fictionalized “birth” certificate if we so choose.
And, for all new adoptees, legislators must enact a law that will stop revoking and sealing the birth certificates and stop the production of falsified birth certificates upon adoption.
THAT is the crux of the problem. The answer is full civil rights restoration to adoptees to use our medical record of live birth as identification, just as non-adopted people use theirs.
Give adoptees who seek their sealed records the choice to reclaim their name of birth or to maintain their adopted name. Give adoptees the choice to receive a certified copy of their now-sealed birth certificate to replace the falsified one that adoption made for them or to keep their adopted birth certificate. But for all new adoptees, make it mandatory that the adoptee’s medical record of live birth stay as it was intended to be the record of that person’s physical birth.
This is the true inequality. ACCESS to the truth of our births isn’t the ONLY inequality. The fact that our state government invalidated our births and replaced facts with legal fiction is the full inequality. Legally fictionalized birth certificates are not true medical facts and should not be passed off as vital statistics issued by the Health Department’s Vital Statistics Office.
Non-adopted people not only have the civil right to unrestricted access to their medical record of live birth (no parental permission or judge’s permission required), but they know that their birth certificates were not tampered with by the Director of Vital Statistics in Albany.
There is not one single reason why adoptees should be robbed of our birthrights upon adoption. Not one single reason.
It isn’t signed relinquishment that robbed of us our names and birth certificates. It isn’t perceived mothers’ confidentiality that robbed us of our identities. It is the 1935 New York State law that revoked and sealed our medical record of live birth so that our adopters could have the luxury of seeing their names as parents on a new birth certificate claiming that they gave birth, when, in fact, they didn’t. And it is the State’s idea to eradicate the identity of the natural parents to protect the adoptive family from interference that also robbed adoptees of our natural born identities.
Adopted people the world over are standing up and saying NO to this discrimination. We demand our natural-born identities returned to us. Adoption re-wrote the facts of our births, rewrote our names and our parentage. We want our vital statics returned to us. The truths of our births are not to be obliterated by our government.
Who among you will stand up for the truth?
Who among you will work with me to write new legislation to give each and every adopted person in New York State (and the whole of the United States) equal access and equal identity civil rights as those who are not adopted?
To all New York State Legislators: You have your birth certificate.
Now I demand the civil right to mine. And my fellow adoptees demand the complete restoration to theirs as well.
As I have stated in my previous emails, if YOUR birth certificate was removed and annulled of its official certification, and if YOUR birth was invalidated by the State of New York, if YOUR identity was erased and replaced by a new one, you might be just as outraged as adoptees are today.
It would be an education for you to see all of my birth certificates: my hospital birth certificate, my short form birth registration, my long form medical record of live birth, my short form amended birth certificate issued upon adoption, my long form birth certificate issued upon adoption. To see all of my birth certificates, follow this link to my article published on my website: https://forbiddenfamily.com/2017/03/24/presenting-my-sealed-birth-certificate-and-falsified-one-as-evidence-of-new-york-state-fraud-revoking-sealing-and-falsifying-adoptees-birth-certificates-is-unconstitutional/ Presenting My Sealed Birth Certificate and Falsified One as Evidence of New York State Fraud – Revoking, Sealing and Falsifying Adoptees’ Birth Certificates is Unconstitutional
Once you see the evidence I present, you may change your mind to VOTE NO on A5036B and S04845B.
If you vote YES to the new New York Bill of Adoptee Rights (A6821-A and S5169-A), then know that there is much more work to be done. You must also devise ways to overturn the 1935 law that revokes and seals, and then falsifies birth certificates of adopted people to completely restore civil rights to identity for all adopted people.
Doris Michol Sippel
Born January 7, 1956.
Adopted as Joan Mary Wheeler on January 14, 1957.
Legally reclaimed name of birth on June 13, 2017.