Birthday Vandalism, President Millard Fillmore, and Adoptees

I just got back from a very unusual birthday celebration at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York: US President Millard Fillmore was born this day 210 years ago. I attended a memorial service at his gravesite to honor him.

There was a wreath presented by the current US President’s Representative, and other government officials, as well as dignitaries from educational institutions that owe their beginnings to Millard Fillmore. Since Millard Fillmore was a Unitarian, the minister of the Buffalo Unitarian Universalist Church gives the invocation prayer. Today’s service was not as cold as in other years. There was no bitter wind or snow falling. TAPS was played by a lone trumpeter and a military flag guard opened and closed the ceremony.

The first year I attended was 21 years ago. I brought my toddler daughter. A TV camera took her picture as she played in the snow. Then, the TV reporter asked the guests why they were there. The usual important people gave their usual official comments on this President’s contributions to end slavery and start hospitals and the University of Buffalo just 13 years after the British burned the village of Buffalo to the ground in 1813. In 1989, I was trying to duck the reporter, but he caught me and asked me why I was there. I said, “I share Millard Fillmore’s birthday and I was born in the hospital named after him. I am also a member of the church he belonged to. I came here to honor a man who became the 13th President of the United States”. The reporter thanked me.

I went home and watched the News at dinner time. Less than 5 minutes later, the phone rang.

“Hello, Joan. You pig! What the hell are you doing, talking to a News Reporter and plastering your face on TV?! You are an ego-maniac and have no business showing off!”

That call came in from an adoptive cousin. She and her sisters and their mother have hated me for “OPENLY declaring you have two fathers” since 1974.

This is the kind of stuff that makes me want to die. Because THEY out number me, they have the power. I am alone. Can I not celebrate my birthday in the way I choose? Who are THEY to judge me? What harm have I done to THEM? THEY do not approve of my reunion with my father — a man THEY have never met — a man THEY hate because, according to THEM, he gave me away so he does not qualify to be honored by me as my father. BUT HE IS MY FATHER. Without him, I would not be alive.

So much for family values – so much for adoptive family values. The adoptee only has value if she honors and obeys the adoptive family’s rules and ignores from whence she came.

My MOTHER gave birth to me today 54 years ago in Millard Fillmore Hospital in Buffalo, New York. Her name, and that of my FATHER, is on my hospital records, my hospital birth certificate, and my true birth certificate. But the State of New York seized that birth certificate in January of 1957 and by March of 1957, the State of New York BASTARDIZED my legitimate birth by issuing a falsified, certified as true, Certificate of Live Birth with a raised State seal and a stamped signature of a City of Buffalo Registrar of Vital Statistics. This fraudulent piece of paper is my legal birth certificate. It desecrates the honor of the woman who gave her life so that I may live.

Thank you, New York State, for dis-honoring my birthday.

I will fight till my dying breathe to avenge the violation of my MOTHER’s honor as the woman who nurtured me in her body and then died so that I may live. I will fight to my dying breath to win back my birthright and re-build after the destruction by State-sanctioned vandalism of my true birth certificate — the official documentation of my actual birth.

HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER, so says a Catholic Commandment.

Where is the honor befitting my father and mother of conception and birth?

A Catholic nun in my Junior High School used to say, “Look ashamed!” when she caught some unruly student misbehaving.

I say to all who violate adoptees’ sacred bonds of birth: Shame on all of you who mock adoptees and our natural parents!

Thanks for a wonderful life, you lousy relatives. I am ashamed to have been adopted into YOUR clan. Family values, indeed. The values you proliferate certainly are not Christian values of love. Only a few of you are worthy of my love.

I take away valuable lessons from President Millard Fillmore. He had the tenacity, strength and the personal integrity to stand for honor and justice, to stave off the American Civil War for a few more years, and to stand up to end slavery.

There is a quiet civil war going on right now: the US and State governments are imprisoning all adoptees by seizing our birthrights and birth certificates by forcing us to live lies every time we are forced to present fraudulent birth certificates as the real documentation of our births. Stop the vandalsim of adoptees’ true birth certifcates.

Poll Started by Mara – Should Kids Given Up for Adoption Have Their Rights Defended in Court?

WOW! Best Birthday Present EVER! Thanks, Mara!

First, take the poll:

Should Kids Given Up For Adoption Have Their Rights Defended in Court? (CASA)

Then, leave a comment.

I was the first to do so on my BIRTHDAY, thanks to Mara!

Here’s my answer: YES!!!

And my Comments, spelling mistakes and all:

If my rights had been defended in court by an independant attorney who was looking out for my true “best interest of the child”, my adoption might have been handled diffeerently. One solution to my pre-adoptive parents’ petition to adopt me could have been to totally negate their petition on the grounds that it would be illegal and immoral to remove an infant from an existing sibling group and change her name and her identity to conform to what the adoptive parents want for “their” adopted child. Another solution could have been was to modify the petition to adopt by restricting the pre-adoptive parents to Legal Guardians. That would have kept my legal and my birth name one and the same (thereby preserving my Birth Certificate), and at the same time, given my Guardians the joy of raising a child with the knowledge of and visitation with that child’s one remaining parent (mother died) and visitation with her older siblings. The third option — which is what actually happened — to sever the ties completely with the father and siblings of the adoptee and raise the child 100% as the “only child” of the adopting parents which completely cut off my ties to my natural father, wiped out my chance for a timely and appropriate grieving of my MOTHER’s death, and wiped out any relationship that could have developed with my full blood siblings. It is a crime what happened to me! NO CHILD SHOULD BE PERMENTENTLY SEPARATED BY ADOPTION. This is cruel and is child abuse!!!! I blame the adoptive parents and the adotpive family for lying, manipulating the system and lying to the relinquishing natural father who was vulnerable at age 31 because he was grieiving the loss of his 30 year old wife who was the mother of five children.

Oh, yes, another solution would have been to compelety restore my father AS my father, restore my siblings AS my siblings, negate 100% the Petition to Adopt by my pre-adotpive parents and provide emotional and financial support for this FAMILY to stay together.

Still another solution would have been to give me back to my father, but, since my pre-adoptive parents had taken care of me for 10 months prior to the Final Court Date securing my closed and sealed adoption, that would have been cruel to them. This last option would have validated those legal guardians’ rights to have contact with the child they had grown to love.

These situations happen all the time. Played out quite well in extended family within my adoptive family: my adoptive parents took care of a number of sinling groups who did not have a father (he ran off). But, my adoptive parents (years before I was born and adopted) had respect for the remaining parent, knew their own boundaries and limitations as Parent Figures, and loved the children anyway.

Love is best when it is honest and respectful. Closed and sealed adoption destroys family relationships for generations.

Children who are Relinquised for adoption and who are being Petioned to be be Adopted, SHOULD have legal cousel to prertect their best interests.

Had my legal rights been protected from the very beginning, I would have had a happier life.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak.

Joan M Wheeler of http://forbiddenfamily.com .

………

Now, all you good little adoptees, go raise some hell on this fabulous poll started by MARA!!!!

Dear Mr. President at Congress dot org

My letter to President Barak Obama on the website Congress.org:

Letters To Leaders

All messages are published with permission of the sender. The general topic of this message is Children/Families:

Subject: Adoptees’ Civil Rights to their true birth certificates

To:
President Barack Obama

December 5, 2009

Mr. President,

It is of vital importance that you pass Federal Legislation restoring the legal right for adoptees to not only have access to their true birth certificates, but it is also imperative that you immediately halt the state-by-state assault on illegitimate bastards, half and full orphans, and step children adopted by their step-parents and children born within a marriage to be “legitimized” by adoption. The process of adoption strips a child of her/his name at birth, parents of conception and birth, strips them of their relationships with these parents, and forbids any contact with siblings left behind.

I urge you to immediately pass Federal Legislation that would erase the automatic issuance of “new” and “amended” and false and fraudulent Certificates of Live Birth to adoptees at the finalization of their adoptions.

Adoptees do not have the full civil right to access and obtain a certified copy of their true birth certificates. Meanwhile, the Certificate of Live Birth that is issued upon adoption falsely states that the parents named on the document are the parents by birth, which is a blatant lie. Such a document is a fraudulent birth certificate, yet this is what adoptees have to pass off as their birth certificates.

Much better is the way it is done in The Netherlands:
1 birth certificate + 1 adoption certificate = adoption truth

I am 53 years old and cannot obtain my true birth certificate, even though I already have it (because my natural father gave it to my adoptive parents at my relinquishment.

Visit my website: http://forbiddenfamily.com.

Sincerely,

Joan M Wheeler,
born as,
Doris M Sippel

author of: Forbidden Family:
A Half Orphan’s Account of Her Adoption, Reunion

Guest Post – ONE LIE = MANY GENERATIONS LOST

This post is written by Lori Carangelo founder of Americans For Open Records, and submitted by me, legitimatebastard, via email:

Another thing the general public as well as pro-adoption folks don’t consider is that neither relinquishing Parents nor Adopters have a say wih regard to falsifying and sealing the Adoptee'[s birth recoird — It’s the law, even in stepparent adoptions.  And it’s not only the immediate “Triad” of Adoptee-Parent-Adopter who are adversely affected by the Adoptee’s falsified records.  It’s also the Triad’s future children and their children who inherit the burden as well.
 
I found my son two decades ago, after an 18-year search hindered by falsified sealed “adoption-birth” records.  Two decades later,  now that they are of legal age and can make their own decisions, I found his two daughters, my granddaughters, who were also lost to adoption (stepparent adoptions with falsified, sealed records).  One of them who I had helped raise in her first year, could not possibly have remembered me nor know that I loved her.  I had no say in her parents’ decisions and only my son’s Adopter was permitted to be part of her life as “her grandmother,” just as only his Adopter was allowed to be his “Mother.”  This granddaughter was evidently conditioned from an early age to be angry and distrustful of not only her father (my son) but also his “birth” family, and so she rejected my attenpt to know and befriend her.
 
My other granddaughter, however, who has the same father (my son), different mother, and who I had never seen, has told me she was searching for her father before I found her and that she is interested to know about the family and “what she missed”…an expression of a natural need to know.  Is it that my two granddaughters have different genes and personalities?  Or that they have different resiliences to adoption’s lies, half-truths and false assumptions?  Or that they were raised in different environments with different histories?  I’ve had only a first contact with her at this writing, so cannot yet answer these questions, but anticipate we’ll both have lots of questons…and answers that adoption would otherwise withhold, distort, or fabricate.  
 
Books such as Joan Wheeler’s “Forbidden Family” are written to help break the cycle of adoption’s mistakes not only for themselves but also for future generations.
 
Lori Carangelo, Founder ( http://LoriCarangelo.com)
Americans For Open Records ( http://AmFOR.net )

Falsified Birth and Baptismal Certificates Revisted

It amazes me that people really do not understand this issue. Adoptees do not falsify their own documents. Adoptive parents do no falsify the documents. Natural parents do not falsify documents.

When a baby or a child is relinquished to adoption, that infant or older child maintains her/his birth certificate (and religious baptismal certificate) from birth. That is the child’s legal identity. That birth certificate names the parents who are responsible for creating that infant whose birth is recorded on the birth certificate: “Certificate of Live Birth”.

Only when an  infant or older child has undergone the legal process of adoption, a six month or longer process, at the moment the Judge and the adopting parents sign the Final Order of Adoption, only then is the legal process set in motion to change the legal identity of that infant. This legal process takes from  about 1 month to 3 months for the Judge’s Order to arrive in the hands of the Registrar of Vital Statistics. Then, the Registrar takes the information that the Judge sends over, and puts the new name of the child and the names of the adopting parents and the birth information onto a form that closely resembles the actual birth certificate. But this “new” birth certificate is not the exact same form. It is, however, a legal form. It is a legalized method of lying. It is a legal “Certificate of Live Birth”.

All adoptees have a legally falsified “Certificate of Live Birth” that states they were born to parents who did not create them biologically. The mother named on this “Certificate of Live Birth” did not give birth to that named child!

This is fraud perpetrated b y the government.

Fraud perpetrated by any Church (does not have to be Catholic, but in my case, is) to issue a certified religious document stating that an adopted child was baptised in the adoptive name is jiust that: fraud. If, on the other hand, a child is baptised AFTER an adoption, then that baptism is correctly done and correctly documented.

In my case, the Catholic Church falsifed my baptismal certificate to indicate that I was baptised in my adoptive name, which I was not. You will have to buy my book to see all of these documents clearly printed in black and white. 

Adoptees are not guilty of fraud. The State and Federal Governments are guilty of fraud. It is time to put an end to adoption fraud.

Yes They are Using BirthMothers to Keep Adoptees’ Birth Records Sealed

Lori A at her blog, DNA Diaries, has an excellent post about how slowly she realized the issues surrounding adoptees’ fight to obtain a certified copy of their own true birth certificates.

In her post, Slowly Coming Around to a New Way of Thinking (Dec 16, 2009), Lori states “U.S. courts have ruled that there are no such things as ‘adoptee rights’. No rights exist in law or can be upheld in court. Let that soak in for a minute. No matter how old you get as an adoptee, there are still certain rights that do not and will not pertain to you, because of a decision that was made for you. You are disallowed certain rights that pertain to the non adopted, but there are no other rights that pertain to you under the law.”

And then, Lori states, “Then it slowly, over days, begins to sink in. When adoption started it was to hide the sins of an unwed mother and the embarrassment of infertile couples. As time goes on, it becomes more about privacy for the parents raising the adopted child. Now, it’s about my right to privacy as a damaged first parent. … Now I get it. They are using ME, my status to promote ‘their’ agenda.”

Yes, that’s right. Lori. They, The NCFA, and the ACLU, and the Catholic agenda, are all working against us to protect the rights of the unwed mother to remain in hiding. That not only is an inaccurate assessment of single mothers who lost their newborns to adoption, but it is a gross injustice to all adoptees. For we are punished for the “sins” of our parents, yet, many of us were born to married parents! I was. And then my mother died, making me a half orphan. A half orphan has rights. But then I was adopted and adoption overrode my first birth rights.

This cycle needs to stop.

Thank you, Lori, for your post.

Response to NCFA’s “Mutual Consent: Balancing the Birthparent’s Right to Privacy with the Adopted Person’s Desire to Know” – Re-Post

This is another Re-Post from my former blog. This article was originally posted on Sunday 2-22-09 in response to the article by Marc Zappala of the NCFA – National Council For Adoption, https://www.adoptioncouncil.org/resources/documents/NCFAAdoptionAdvocateVolumeNo10.pdf

This is so important to beat-down the opposition, considering adoptive parents who are not in the know fall back on the rape-issue as an important tool/weapon/excuse/reason to keep their adoptees (and the rest of us adoptees who are not products of rape) from accessing their/our true birth certificates.

Happy Reading!

HalfOprhan56 – December 16, 2009

…. …. ….

Sunday 2-22-09

My Response to the NCFA’s recent publication:

“Mutual Consent:
Balancing the Birthparent’s Right to Privacy
with the Adopted Persons’ Desire to Know”

by Marc Zappala
National Council For Adoption
https://www.adoptioncouncil.org/resources/documents/NCFAAdoptionAdvocateVolumeNo10.pdf

Dear NCFA: One Size Does Not Fit All

Your organization does not speak for me, an adoptee reunited for 35 years. Nor do you speak for my adoptive parents, and you certainly do not speak for my natural parents. Your basic premise of protecting “the birthmother in hiding” has absolutely no applicable usefulness to my adoption whatsoever.

In your recent publication named above, you have not included the full spectrum of adoptees’ and natural parents’ experiences. Instead, you choose to focus on one small group of distraught birthmothers whom you claim need protection from being identified. Natural parents and adoptees come from many different family circumstances, so it is unwise to base all of your conclusions on just one aspect of adoption. By focusing on fear and intimidation, you are perpetuating the shame and guilt of pregnancy without marriage resulting in an illegitimately born infant. Flaunting terrified mothers-in-hiding whose infants were conceived of rape or incest shows your lack of concern for these mothers.

I find it interesting that you use a vulnerable group of childless mothers to achieve your goals. These women were so traumatized that they can’t face the horror of what was done to them, and what they had to sacrifice. Instead of seeking appropriate psychotherapy for coping with rape, incest, and unimaginable grief, their understandable rage is misdirected. They are under your direction. This small segment of birthmothers is held in high esteem by the NCFA (and religious Christian fanatics who claim to have superior morality). You use them as weapons against their own offspring! Worse yet, you use them as the galvanizing force to prevent all 6 or 7 million adoptees from achieving access to our true birth certificates. This is a grave injustice.

By being receptive to learning about the true-life situations of millions of adoptees and their natural families, your organization can foster healing and understanding. Not all adoptees are products of rape, incest, or not-married teenage mothers. Every adoptee has a natural father, too, but you don’t talk about fatherhood. Are you purposefully hiding the identities of fathers who impregnated unmarried mothers and ran away? You don’t take into account children who are adopted by stepparents, nor do you address the issues of older children adopted out of foster care. You certainly haven’t given any consideration to half or full orphans. Nor do you address relative adoption, in which, for example, grandparents adopt their daughter’s or son’s child. Each one of these situations has a variety of social openness.

No matter how open an adoption is, the adoptee’s birth certificate is always sealed and a falsified birth certificate is issued in its place. There is not one sentence or even one phrase in your recent publication that addresses the ethical, moral and legal complications of lying, committing fraud, and willfully withholding information to that adoptee who supposedly is loved by the adoptive parents. The only aspect of adoption you seem to caress with any passion is the perceived moral indignation of an exposed mother in hiding!

I’m just one adoptee, but you can learn a great deal from me, and others, if you open your minds and hearts. I’m a half-orphan, not an illegitimate. My mother died, so there is no fearful birthmother to “protect”. There are no secrets and there is no shame in my conception and birth. I’ve pointed this fact out in at least two private letters to the NCFA. You have chosen to ignore them with no response.

If you, the NCFA, can wave huge red flags with the token few birthmothers who refuse to get the proper counseling to cope with their specific needs, and then claim that they will dominate and take control over all adoptees’ civil and ethical rights, then I am going to raise holly hell about being a half-orphan! Orphans are a minority group within the larger adoptee population. No hiding birthmother for me! My natural mother is dead so she does not need your protection!

My natural father does not need you protection, either. He was never verbally promised confidentiality or privacy, nor was a written contract of such presented to him to sign. Instead, my 31-year-old father was verbally told to stay away from my adoptive parents. (My adopting parents, however, were not told to stay away from him! They needed protection from the possibility that he would interfere into their lives, yet, my natural father he did not get the assurance that they would not interfere in his life. They did, but for that story you will have to wait for the publication of my memoir.) The verbal promise my father made to the court to stay away from my adoptive parents and from me, was backed up by written court papers, signed by my natural father and my adopting parents. The Court Judge told my natural father that he could seek me out again, and establish a relationship with me, after my 18th birthday.

Yes, you read that right! Relinquishing mothers have been told that they will NEVER see their adopted-out children again!

Since my mother cannot speak for herself, I’ll speak for her. How does my mother feel looking through the Spirit World at her now adult children, knowing that her youngest was legally cast out of the family? How does she feel that no one, not even the Catholic Church, helped her husband keep the family together after her death? How does she, MY MOTHER, feel that HER RIGHT to be named as the mother of birth was taken from her? How does she feel about some other woman named on a record of false birth as the woman who gave birth to her child? I would guess that my mother is very sad, hurt, and confused. Common sense tells us that a person can be physically born only once, and yet, some other woman is now named on my only legal birth certificate as my mother by birth! That is a disgrace and a dishonor to the mother who actually carried me intimately inside her and then gave birth to me!

NCFA, you don’t seem to be concerned about the natural mothers (and fathers) who lose their rights to be named on a certified birth certificate for the child they gave birth to. Snarky people quip, “She gave up her parental rights!” No, my mother did not give up her rights at all. She died…of cancer… when I was three months old. My birth certificate was registered in the local Vital Statistics Office within five days after my birth. Yet, that certificate was stolen from me, and from my deceased mother, and from my distraught father, when New York State sealed my true birth certificate and issued a fake one!

My four full-blood siblings, who are also half-orphans, can get their birth certificates — but I cannot get mine. (No – this is not an invitation for them to jump on the bandwagon. I do not want them in my life. As has been previously stated, they are presently an unwelcome interference in my life and are certainly not wanted within the adoption reform community. Read my book to find out why.) The only difference between us is that I lost my legal right to be a part of that family. I lost the right to my birth certificate because adoption legally wiped out my identity and family.

Luckily for me, my natural father had my birth certificate, my baptismal certificate, and my hospital birth certificate. He gave these papers to my adoptive parents, who gave these papers to me after my siblings found me and exposed the secret my adoptive parents never wanted me to know. So I know what is behind the seal in the Vital Statistics Office in Buffalo City Hall, but I am still legally banned from ever asking for it and receiving it at the window.

For me, access to my birth certificate, and reunion with my natural family, is much more than finding the names of the people who created me. To see documented proof that I was born grounds me and connects me to the family I lost. And yes, identity formation of an adoptee certainly does include knowledge of the natural family from which the adoptee originated. To be denied this may seem trivial to some people, but when you don’t have the right to your birthrights, when you don’t have the needed validation of your physical self, there is a deep, psychic aching, a longing for connection.

This is widely published adoption psychology. But it appears the NCFA has not read anything written by Annette Baran, Reuben Pannor, Arthur Sorosky, Ken Watson, Miriam Reitz, Nancy Newton Verrier, David Brodzinsky, Ron Nydam, Betty Jean Lifton, Sandy Musser, Mirah Riben, Lorraine Dusky and Joyce Maguire Pavao. It also appears that you have little knowledge of H. David Kirk’s books, nor have you read The Handbook of Adoption: Implications for Researchers, Practitioners, and Families, by Rafael A Javier, Amanda L Baden, Frank A Biafora and Alina Camacho-Gingerich. Shall I dare mention Adam Pertman’s book? The way you, NCFA, slammed his organization and the careful research that went into The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute’s publication, For the Records: Restoring a Legal Right for Adult Adoptees, tells me you won’t even look at Mr. Pertman’s book, Adoption Nation.

Anything that criticizes your sanctimonious view of adoption should automatically be discredited by your organization and the pack of hateful natural mothers you carry with you. However, the short list of valuable authors listed above (there are many more)ought to be read by all people who are separated by, and connected by, adoption. The NCFA’s lack of knowledge in the life-cycle of adoptees, natural parents and adoptive parents and extended family on both sides, is frightening.

Adoptees have the psychological task of integrating their two identities. They have to come to terms with whatever transpired that was severe enough that they lost their first family. All adoptees have two sets of real parents, whether or not you want to admit that fact, it is fact! When you pit natural parents against their adopted-out daughters and sons, or arm adoptive parents with scare tactics, or treat adoptees as perpetual children, you are creating hostility between people who are intimately joined together by the adoptee in the middle! The emotional burden of sorting out the whys, the hows, the what ifs, the physical differences and awkwardness of being raised by a family that does not resemble the adoptee, grief and mourning the lost family, and so much more, all falls on the shoulders of the adoptee. Natural mothers suffer in ways most people can’t imagine, and yet, your organization promotes hate, fear, disgust.

Here’s a little background about me. I’m an adoptee from New York State who was found in 1974 by siblings I never knew. You, NCFA, can interpret that as a violation of my right to privacy, or, you can see that my four full-blood siblings wanted their baby sister so they found me. Yes, of course there are privacy issues of my adoptive parents who were never consulted. Also, my siblings did not consult with our father before they contacted me. Remember, this was 1974. No one really knew how to proceed.

I joined the Adoption Reform Movement within that first year of reunion.

In the very early 1980s, when the New York State Adoption Registry was just a bill, our local adoptees’ support group began a letter campaign against it. By 1983, I became the leader of the local support group. Many members wanted more emotional support, while others wanted to continue to fight against the Mutual Consent Registry. I wrote to then-Senator Anthony Masiello frequently, and he wrote back. Through this personal approach, I was able to get one man to understand deeper issues of adoption. Then I got married, had children, so my activism tapered off. When the Registry Bill became law, I wrote to the Editor of our local newspaper voicing my objections. A scanned copy of that published editorial is printed above.

In addition to what’s stated in that editorial, in my letters to Senator Masiello, I wrote that the Registry would not be of any use to me. My mother was deceased and could not give her consent to the release of any information, non-identifying or identifying. Even though I had had a reunion and knew all there was to know for 9 years before the bill became law, I did have an 11 year old half brother who lived with my natural father and his mother, my step mother. Because of this, I would have to wait until he reached age 21 before I could apply to the Registry. But I knew my blood-kin. There was nothing to hide! The Mutual Consent Registry simply was not at all helpful to me in any way.

I also pointed out to Senator Masiello that the required written parental permission would have to be obtained from both of my adoptive parents, and my natural father, and all three would have to pay their fees and file to the Registry. I was outraged that, at age 28, I had to ask my parents’ permission to gain information on myself, and my adoption, from the New York State Reunion Registry. Even if I had obtained written parental permission from three parents, the fact that my natural mother was dead and could not provide her written consent, her death would prevent me from being granted any information, even after paying the adoptees’ higher fees than the parents’ fees.

When I had my second child, I could not keep up the fight against this ridiculous law. A few years went by. I learned that a political action group in another city was successful in taking parental permission out of the Registry law. Finally! Validation that in every aspect of life, when a person reaches the age of majority, that person is free from parental control and does not need written parental permission to do anything!

I never filed with the New York State Reunion Registry. Instead, I petitioned Surrogate’s Court to unseal my adoption records. It was a long, drawn out procedure, but successful. The Judge gave me photocopies of most of my sealed adoption papers because I had proven that I had known my natural father and my siblings for over twelve years. But I still did not gain access to my sealed birth certificate.

The Surrogate Court Judge who presided over my adoption in 1957 knew that my mother died and that her death notice was public record, yet he proceeded with my adoption as if it were completely closed. On the day of finalization, the judge ordered my birth certificate in the Vital Statistics Office in Buffalo City Hall to be sealed from me and anyone else. He then ordered a new birth certificate to be made in my adoptive name with my adoptive parents named as parents by birth. Then, he sealed my adoption papers in Erie County Hall in downtown Buffalo, New York.

My four older siblings can get certified copies of their birth certificates; I cannot get mine. The only difference is that I am adopted and they are not. This is pure discrimination — not based upon circumstances of an illegitimate birth, not based upon implied “privacy and confidentiality protection” for my deceased natural mother to keep me from learning her identity, not based upon implied “privacy and confidentiality protection” for my natural father to keep me from learning his identity — but based solely upon my status as an adoptee.

I do not have the same equal rights to a certified copy of my true birth certificate issued within five days after my birth as my siblings do to theirs, or as anyone else has to their birth certificate. Instead, I have a New York State certified copy of a record of false birth. This record of false birth (officially titled Certificate of Birth, and Certificate of Live Birth) fraudulently states that I was born to parents who actually adopted me.

To correct this legalized fraud, I demand immediate access to, and a certified copy of, my true Certificate of Birth (both the short form and the long form), and the immediate revocation of my phony birth certificate. In its place, I demand a truthful adoption certificate, with complete facts of adoption, including the naming of my parents by adoption, certified as true by New York State.

For all the conspiracy theorists who warn that giving adoptees a certified copy of their true birth certificate would give adoptees freedom to commit fraud because they then would have two forms of ID in two different names, I need to remind you that I had been given my original birth certificate by my adoptive mother just a few days after being newly reunited with my siblings. I was 18 years old at the time. I am 53 years old now. I have never presented my certified original birth certificate to do anything illegal. I know my name was changed legally, and I know right from wrong.

To the larger issue, I say: change the law. Make it mandatory on a Federal level that adoptees need both the true Certificate of Birth and the Certificate of Adoption to prove identity and citizenship. This is how it is done in more progressive countries, such as The Netherlands. Dutch adoptive parents fully accept the truth. Dutch adoptees have full knowledge of their birth and adoption, and they have both: their certificate of birth and their certificate of adoption. That is an equitable, honest, and moral method of recording adoptees’ births and adoptions. Change the law and social attitudes will change.

Women were jailed and beaten to gain the right to vote in 1920. Blacks rioted in the 1950s and 1960s to gain civil rights equality with Whites. The Adoption Reform began in 1953, but we have yet to see full equality for American adoptees to gain back their civil rights to their own birth certificates and an accurate adoption certificate.

Yet, adoptees had rights to an unsealed and unaltered birth certificate before 1930. What happened in 1930? Three men decided they would protect adoptees from the stigma of illegitimacy by creating a new birth certificate for adoptees. This is documented history. For more information on this, see page 53 of historian E. Wayne Carp’s book, Family Matters: Secrecy and Disclosure in the History of Adoption. See also Elizabeth J. Samuels’ book, The Idea of Adoption: An Inquiry into the History of Adult Adoptee Access to Birth Records. See also Janine M. Baer’s book, Growing in the Dark: Adoption Secrecy and its Consequences.

Yours Truly,

Joan Mary Wheeler,
born as
Doris Michol Sippel

Adoption Gone Bad – Not Reunion

I do wish people would understand this about my adoption: it is not my reunion that “went bad” because there is much more to reunion than just a few relationships. My sisters are unto themselves, yet I had a reunion with multple people and still do. Reunion and adoption is about telling the truth to the adoptee. For the complete story, as it unfolded, read my book!

The real issue in my adoption is this: my natural father relinquished me under duress. He did not know he gave me to an adoptive family that made up their own rules about contact, what would be allowed to the older generations and other certain select relatives, and not to the father who relinquished his daughter to them, nor to his daughter, the adoptee, herself. My father’s rights were violated by adoptive relatives who deemed themselves to have control over my adoption and my life.

Meanwhile, my father was not aware that meddling relatives from his deceased wife’s family would spread filty lies about him killing his wife and that he “could not stand the sight of me” that’s why he “got rid of me”. THAT was the content of hate mail sent to me for decades from anonymous letters whom I suspect are members of my extended adoptive family who listened to these lies and beleived them.

My natural father was told by the court to stay away from me during the 18 years of my childhood. He did. He did not want me to be confused. But the inference of meddling extended family cause plenty of rumors and hate. I was hunted down like an animal (by adopted realtives) because I dared to accept my father back into my life in 1974. And I dared to  write articles in the paper defending adoptees’ right to know the truth. Hunted down, tracked down, by adoptive relatives who did not like the fact that I was in reunion with a father that they hated, but I was not ever supposed to know him or like him or love him. Nor was I supposed to know any of my blood relatives, but certain members of my adoptive family deemed themselves worthy of socializing with  my blood kin, while keeping me away from my own blood kin.

Why? Because the myth of adoption says that the adoptee must never be told the truth, or must never know the parents who gave them life.

That is what happened in my life: My adoptive relatives broke the adoption contract signed between my natural father and my adoptive parents. My father relinquished me to their care, firmly believing that I would be protected from a confusing life. It is not his fault that other relatives prevented him form knowing what was really going on for 18 years to his daughter that they were keeping a close eye on. Keep the father away from his daughter. Keep the adoptee away from her father and her siblings, but we will watch the adoptee and take notes on her as she grows into an adult.

Family secrets. Violation of a confidential and private adoption court proceeding between two sets of parents over the relinquishment and adoption of an unsuspecting adoptee.

Reunion  gone bad? Adoption not right from the start. Whose privacy violated? Mime. And my father’s privacy.

My reunion is still going on folks…I still have relationships with other relatives. The adoptee is in the middle and suffers because of the prejudice against adoptees in the larger society.

Rebuttle from Yesterday’s ABC Article

This post, too, will be quick. No time for editing. This is written in response to this article: 

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/MindMoodNews/adoptees-cite-discrimination-landmark-study-push-open-birth/story?id=9138141

I agreed to be interviewed, but I DID NOT say I would have preferred to be in foster care!!! The foster care and guardianship topics came up in my interview when the reporter asked me, “You’re not anti adoption, are you?”

I said, “Yes, of course, I am!”

The reporter said, “Well, what would you like to see done differently?”

I said, “Preserving the natural family is the first step. If a child cannot be raised by her parents, then kinship care,, and after that option, then guardianship.” I DID NOT SAY THAT I WOULD HAVE PREFERRED TO BE RAISED IN FOSTER CARE!

That kind of twisting my words has resulted in, again, more misunderstanding abaout adoption.

Of course I enjoyed my childhood. I was raised by doting, loving parents who gave me everything a child could want: a secure home, tucks in bed at night, good meals, snuggles and cuddles as a young chid, a good education, family get-togethers with extended family at other homes and at parks, and emotional closeness. I loved my parents while I grew up and they loved me.

But that love was destroyed when I got that phone call from a sister I never knew. It was at that moment at age 18, and a high school senior, that I realized a rush of information and acceptance. The two most trusted people in the world to a child are her parents. And mine lied to me. Not only did they lie, but they willfully prevented me from knowing my siblings during the time when it is most crucial for a child to have siblings: childhood.

The reporter made me out to be some kind of uncaring nutcase. I resent that characterization.

Foster care would not have been my preferred choice to the childhood  that I did have. However, finding out at age 18 that I actually had full blood siblings, devastated me.

Here is what I wrote in the onnline comments to that article. I acnnot stay to read comments waitiing for psoting, or to answer email. I need to go back to  hospital for my dying adoptive mother. Mixed feelings? Yes. How would you feel if your parents lied to you and prevented you from growing up with your siblings?

My reprints from online comments:

Part 1

The responses to this story reflect the ignorance of adoption that still exist. It is appalling what people perceive adoption to be.

 I will be posting a series of posts (due to space limitations) to correct mistakes in the bad reporting and mischaracterization of my adoption and reunion. First, it is not the reunion that went bad, it was my entire adoption that was wrong. Reunion, itself, is not a bad thing, and in miss-representing what I said to the reporter gives the wrong impression. Reunions are a good thing, if handled appropriately. Adoptions can be a good experience, if handled appropriately.

 I was an 18 year old high school senior, raised a socially isolated only child by parents who chose to keep secrets from me. They knew I had siblings within 5 miles of our home, and they chose to prevent me from access to them. Meanwhile, members of my adoptive father’s family and members of my deceased natural mother’s family socialized with each other, passing around rumors about my natural father and secret stories of me growing up. I was unaware of this and so was my father. This was social engineering and certainly not the proper way to handle a “relative adoption”. I was treated as an outcast by most of my adoptive family after my reunion – good enough to be in the family while my adoption is secret, but toss me out after I reunite with my father and finally grieve the death of my mother. I did not create resentment – adoption myths and taboos did.

 Part 2

When my older full blood siblings found me, it was a shock. Of course it would be: to learn that the most trusted people to a child lied, on purpose, and treated me as a possession. My siblings and I and our father had as good a reunion as could be, considering I was at everyone’s mercy for they told me their versions of the truth and assumed that I should get on with life quickly.

That does not happen. The shock of being found, the shock of lies, and the growing turmoil of both families putting me down because I chose to become an adoption reform activist, resulted in life-long psychological trauma. Do not twist my words around to make it seem that I had a “Bad Reunion.” THAT is mischaracterization of what I told this reporter.

It is the total accumulation of misinformed relatives, societal myths, and definite discrimination against adoptees in general that made my life difficult. How can one person defend herself against an adoptive family network of rumors and disgust, a split natural family (one side believing that my father was responsible for my mother’s death from cancer, and my father not knowing the full extent of the involvement of other people in the adoption of his child. There was total lack of concern for him as my relinquishing father, total lack of concern for the five children at the death of our mother.

  Part 3

The only thing that mattered was that I, the adoptee, had a so-called better life to be away from wretchedness of the father and siblings left behind. I paid for the “sin” of accepting my father back into my life by having hate mail sent to me and hate phone calls from anonymous adoptive relatives who took it out on me that I even dared to have a reunion with a man they hated. THAT is what was wrong in my adoption and reunion—distortion of beliefs surrounding adoption. I DID NOT say to this reporter that I wished I was raised in foster care or was under guardianship. THAT is a twist of what I actually said.   

If my adoptive parents were truthful to me while I was growing up, if the judge had realized that there were four other children involved and made it a part of this adoption to have ongoing sibling and father visitation, and if there were no hateful rumors spread for 53 years, then there would have been a cooperation in visitation for the sibling group, I would have known that my mother died and where she was buried. Better yet, my family should never have been separated by adoption in the first place. Family preservation should have prevailed, but no, adoption was seen as the only solution.

 Part 4

I said that, adoption as a social practice should be replaced by family preservation. IF a child cannot be raised by her family, then guardianship should replace adoption because adoption creates a new identity for the child and destroys the natural family connections. Adoption itself causes distortions in peoples’ attitudes.

This reporter misrepresented what I told her. And she chose to ignore the very real birth certificates I sent her. All adoptees’ birth certificates are seized by the government and a new, falsified, birth certificate is issued claiming the parents of adoption actually gave birth. The reporter was shocked when I told her this, “They don’t still do that, do they?” she asked me. “Yes, they do!” I responded. I sent her copies of all of my fraudulent birth and baptismal certificates, and true birth certificates. But she chose to ignore my message.

This is why I have written a book — because reporters are too casual with information given to them. I have told my story to numerous reporters since 1975, and it is always the same. They report a twisted version of what I actually said.

  Part 5

This adoptee has faced a variety of discriminations:  1st in my relinquishment that could have been prevented, then my adoption that was full of lies from the very beginning, and the lies told behind me as I was growing in a social circle similar to The Truman Show. Do not place the burden on a “bad reunion” upon me. Remember this: an 18 year old faced with psychological shock of this magnitude does not emotionally heal well, nor do the adoptive parents who lied for 18 years and defended their right to lie by screaming and yelling and blaming the adoptee, nor do the siblings of that adoptee, and, the relinquishing father who was talked into giving up his newborn at the funeral of his dead wife.

Adoption itself is wrong. Morally, ethically, humanly, wrong. Adoption is a no-win situation.

This reporter was more interested in getting a decent photo to put my face in her story to prove the bad side of reunions, without printing the evidence I gave her to expose the worst discrimination of all: sealed and falsified birth certificates that all adoptees suffer. Creating new and fraudulent birth certificates for each adoptee, and forcing us to beg for our truthful birth certificates, is the biggest discrimination in adoption today.

Joan Mary Wheeler, born as, Doris Michol Sippel

November 23, 2009

From this Morning’s Email – NCFA

This post will be written on the fly. I’ve been in the hospital with my dying mother till 2:30 AM, came home, slept for a few hours, and just got a call to go back for her transport.

So many of my adoptee/mothers of adoption loss friends wrote about yesterday’s ABC article, thank you! I’ll get back with you all later today.

But this had to be posted. Now I know why I’ve been seeing mysterious IP addresses from Alexandria, Virginia, that’s because the National Council For Adoption had been reading my website!!! Welcome, NCFA! Maybe you guys can learn something by reading what adoption has done to me. While you are at it, stop by the Links Section to view some more adoptee/motehrs of adoption loss blogs. There are some great blogs by donor-conceived women and men, too. Oh,, yes, Adopted Jane, I will add your blog, too! I am so sorry to have left you out. I may have left others out of my lists,, too, as the frantic effort to keep blogs and websites up has been difficult. (My former blogs were shut down by people who want me to be quiet).

So, enjoy this lovely little nugget of wisdom from the NCFA. I joined thier email list about a year ago. Glad they continue to send me their enlightening emails, such as this:

Celebrate National Adoption Month Part 4Tuesday, November 24, 2009 10:15 AM

From:

“National Council For Adoption” <ncfa@adoptioncouncil.org>

 
 
   
   
 
Donate today to help keep adoption strong!
 
 
 
You can contact NCFA by mail, phone, fax, and e-mail:National Council For Adoption

225 N. Washington Street Alexandria, VA 22314

703-299-6633 (Phone)

703-299-6004 (fax)

http://www.adoptioncouncil.org

ncfa@adoptioncouncil.org
To unsubscribe/change profile: click here.
To subscribe: click here.

 Oh Darn! The photo of the little girl on a slide did not come through, must be copyrighted. So this is what was writen for that photo’s caption:

“To those who help build families through adoption, we say … “Thank You.” Because every child deserves a loving, permanent family.” “Donate today to help keep adoption strong!”

Where were the donations of emergency financial help to feep my family together when our mother died and our father was told by a Catholic priest, “The baby needs two parents,” and a kind Christian woman came up to my father at his dead wife’s funeral and said, “I know a husband and wife will who take your baby”?

Yes, donate today to keep the attorneys and adoption agencies filled with money that could otherwise be used to keep struggling families — which include a single motehr and her pregnancy — together.

Family values indeed.