RePost: Graying Adoptees Still Searching for Their Identities

The following is a great article to dispel myths surrounding adoptees’ and natural parents’ access to birth records, however, the focus centers around illegitimacy. My birth records were sealed and falsified and I am not illegitimate. The laws do not even apply to me, yet, I am bound by them because I am adopted. This is why I chose to post this entry under the screen name of “legitimatebastard”. The law treats me as if I were a bastard. I resent being placed in this predicament by outdated laws that do not apply to adoptees today.

Read the article and then contribute to the discussion at the link:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/MindMoodNews/adult-adoptees-fight-access-original-birth-certificates/story?id=11230246&page=1

 Graying Adoptees Still Searching for Their Identities

Only 9 States Allow Adult Adoptees to Find Original Birth Certificates, But Changes Being Pushed

55 comments

By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES

July 27, 2010

 

Carol Cook of Blairstown, N.J., grew up thinking she was a WASP with Native American blood, a splash of ethnicity that pleased her because she had majored in anthropology in college.

But at 33, the executive secretary and mother of two inadvertently discovered a secret her entire family had held from her: Cook was adopted, born in a Catholic hospital and was likely Italian.

“I suspect the [secret] evolved and it became more impossible to tell me,” she said. “I had good parents. But suddenly I was not the person I thought. I was a totally different nationality. I was floored.”

Now she is 68 and a grandmother, but Cook’s struggle to find her identity is never-ending. In New Jersey — and in all but nine states — it’s against the law to for her to get her original birth certificate.

Today, most adoptions are open, but for a generation of graying Americans like Cook, the doors to their identities are irrevocably closed shut.

Now, in growing numbers, adult adoptees are trying to overturn legislation that sealed up records, but in most states they are fighting an uphill battle.

New Jersey is the latest battleground over laws that were originally intended to protect the birth child and her mother from moral shame, but many say are now antiquated and cruel.

Since 1980, efforts to unseal birth records in New Jersey have failed, but an open adoption records bill that recently passed a Senate committee will go before the state Assembly this fall.

Birth parents would have 12 months to request that their names not be made public or to state how they would want to be contacted by a birth child.

Lawmakers in at least 11 states are now considering the issue and in the last decade seven states have expanded access, according to the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, an organization dedicated to education and research.

Today, birth records are broadly available to adult adoptees in Tennessee, Alabama, Delaware, New Hampshire, Maine, Oregon and Illinois, as well as Kansas and Alaska, where they were never sealed.

Just this month, the institute issued a report recommending every state enact legislation restore rights to adult adoptees.

“How a human being comes into a family should not dictate what rights they have,” said Executive Director Adam Pertman. “There has to be a level playing field.”

Adoptees also need access to medical records, according to Pertman, noting that the surgeon general says that knowing family history, “is the most important thing for health.”

The 46-page policy brief also contends that the vast majority of birth mothers do not want to be anonymous to the children they relinquished.

“The single biggest factor that helps women heal and deal with loss and the grief they feel when placing a child up for adoption is knowing the child is OK,” said Pertman.

In New Hampshire, where birth certificates were unsealed in 2005, out of 24,000 records only 12 birth mothers stipulated that they wanted no contact with their birth children, according to research.

“Knowing who you are and where you come from, it turns out, is not just a matter of fulfilling curiosity, it’s something that helps human beings develop more fully psychologically to understand and feel better about themselves,” he said.

As for Cook, she said she doesn’t feel “connected.”

“I have friends who are really into genealogy and when they start talking about it, I shut down,” she said. “I don’t want to be rude, but it’s upsetting.”

In 1975, an older half-sister who knew Cook was adopted told an aunt, who shocked her with the news.

“I asked me mother if it was true and she said, ‘yes,'” according to Cook. “I was standing in the kitchen and literally slid down the wall. Everything just went out from under me.”

Her mother told her she was born at Columbus Hospital in the Italian section of Newark, N.J., nothing else. The hospital has since closed and Catholic Charities told her they have no records.

For a time, Cook attended some advocacy groups and even called the records office to see if she could get her birth certificate.

“I got this nasty person who said, ‘Why do you even want to know it, like I was some kind of horrible person. I really just couldn’t face it.”

When Cook goes to the doctor’s office and forms ask for her health history, she writes “not applicable.”

Cook’s granddaughter was diagnosed with celiac disease and she has wondered if the genetic disorder came from her side of the family. “Whether it has any bearing, I don’t know,” she said.

Religious Groups Oppose Access to Original Birth Certificates

The New Jersey bill faces opposition from New Jersey Right to Life, the Catholic Church, the New Jersey Bar Association, the National Council for Adoption and even the ACLU, who defend the privacy rights of birth parents.

 

For 30 years, Pam Hasegawa of Morristown, N.J., has been fighting to change a 70-year-old law in New…

For 30 years, Pam Hasegawa of Morristown, N.J., has been fighting to change a 70-year-old law in New Jersey that denies adoptees their original birth certificates. A grandmother and adoptee, Hasegawa still doesn’t have access to her birth certificate, but believes her mother may have been Scandinavian.

(Courtesy Pam Hasegawa)

“Birth parents who place children for adoption should have the right to keep their identities private, both prospectively and retroactively,” is the stance of the New Jersey Coalition to Defend Privacy in Adoption.

“It almost makes us sound like terrorists who are going to creep into people’s lives and destroy them,” said Cook.

Pam Hasegawa, an adoptee and grandmother who has led the 30-year fight in New Jersey with the New Jersey Coalition for Adoption Reform & Education, said their argument is “full of holes.”

Today, with open adoptions the norm, “most birth mothers choose to meet with the family and to know each other’s names, and if they can, get the birth certificate or a copy of it before it’s finalized to give to the adoptive parents,” she said.

Historically, birth records were closed to protect children from the stigma of being born “out of wedlock” and having “illegitimate” stamped on their birth certificates.

It also was designed to protect the adoptive family from intervention or, as older adoption contracts state, “molestation” by a birth mother.

Hasegawa always knew she was adopted, but later learned more detail about her birth mother’s identity through letters written to an adoptive aunt. Her birth parents had married in Paris, but after her father was killed, her mother had to return to the United States and, without help, reluctantly gave up her daughter.

Hasegawa said birth mothers were never promised anonymity. They were forced to sign papers that relinquished their babies, giving up all rights to knowing their fate — if they were later sick, died or even if they were ever adopted.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, most states had sealed adoption court records completely but, typically allowed adult adoptees to obtain their original birth certificates, according to adoption researcher Elizabeth Samuels, a law professor at the University of Baltimore.

“In the 1950s when adoption was more popular, they wanted to hide the shame of the illegitimate family and the adoptive family didn’t want interference in creating the perfect family,” she said. “The adoptive birth certificate should reflect the new person.”

In 1960, the laws in 40 percent of the states still permitted adult adoptees to inspect them, but between then and 1990, all but a handful of the rest of the states closed the birth records to adult adoptees.

When mores changed, a generation of adoptees began searching for their birth parents, and adoptive parents felt threatened that their children wouldn’t love them, according to Samuels.

The focus of protection shifted away from the birth mother and her child to the rights of adoptive families. Efforts to keep records closed were led by adoption agencies, attorneys general and legislators, but not by the birth mothers themselves.

Today’s adoptive parents are more apt to fight for the “rights of the child and their origin,” said Samuels. And birth mothers are speaking out.

In 1979, Mary Lou Cullen gave up a son in a closed adoption when she was just 19, never telling a soul, not even her husband or later three children. She was contacted by her birth son Nathan, who is now 30, by letter eight years ago.

“He said, ‘If you don’t want any communication, that’s fine, but if you do, this is how you can get a hold of me.’ I never even second guessed or had a moment of hesitation, knowing I was going to contact him,” said the Marshfield, Massachusetts, mother of three more children. “But I had a whole lot of people to tell.”

Birth Mother Supports Reform

The reunion and revealing her secret was “stressful,” said Cullen, who is now president of Concerned United Birthparents. But after working it out, birth mother and birth son have become close.

 

Jean Sacconaghi Strauss, a documentary filmmaker and adoptee, chronicles finding her birth mother…

Jean Sacconaghi Strauss, a documentary filmmaker and adoptee, chronicles finding her birth mother Lee Iacarella Beno, then reuniting Beno with her own birth mother Mary Brown Milosey. The three generations of women, all adoptees, reunited more than three decades after Strauss was born and have since become good friends.

(Courtesy Jean Sacconaghi Strauss)

Even though both Nathan’s adoptive parents and birth parents supported the reunion, he can still not access his birth certificate in Ohio, where he was born.

“Once Nathan met me and my family, he said he felt like it completed him,” said Cullen, now 50. “For me, it was very difficult for a number of years, but it’s my truth and I don’t need to deny it anymore or hide it or cover it up. I can live my honest truth.”

“On top of that, I got to meet my first born, who I never thought I would see again,” she said. “I had no idea what had happened to him. And I was able to deal with the grief that I had never dealt with before.”

But Jean Strauss, a filmmaker who for 30 years has has chronicled the lives of adult adoptees in books and documentaries, admits, “It’s not all about reunions.”

Her film on adult adoptees searching for their identities, “For the Life of Me,” premiered at the Cleveland International Film Festival in March.

“Owning your own information is a very powerful thing,” said the now mother of two. “You are a human being and this belongs to you.”

Born Cecelia Ann Porter in California in 1955, where records are still sealed, Strauss hired a private investigator to find her birth mother after her beloved adoptive mother died in 1988.

“I was terrified I might hurt her,” said Strauss, who described her adoptive mother as “my best friend.”

When they reunited, Strauss was 33 and her birth mother Lee Beno was 54. Six years later, they located Beno’s 80-year-old birth mother, Mary Miklosey, who had grown up in an orphanage where she had been sent when her own mother died.

“The two of them hadn’t seen each other in 60 years,” said Strauss, who told the story in her short film, “The Triumvirate.”

“It’s given me a tremendous sense of freedom,” Miklosey said in the film. “I can say, this is my daughter and my granddaughter and look at the world and say I have a family.”

Strauss also learned she had seven brothers and sisters and for the first time found others who “biologically related to me.” Tragically, a younger brother died of lymphoma, a new relationship she lamented was cut short because of the secrecy of adoption.

“I can’t tell you how it changed me to find out the information,” she said. “I felt so empowered by it and it’s what drives me to help other people to have the truth.”

The “stigma of illegitimacy” that sealed up records has disappeared, notes Strauss, but the world is “much different now.”

Across the border from Kansas in Missouri, an adult adoptee must have the the adoptive parents’ permission.

“Can you imagine being 40 or 50 years old and having to get permission?” she asked. “You have to prove your adoptive parents are dead. If you jump through those hoops and contact the birth parents, they have to give permission. If you are 50, the odds are pretty high that your birth mother is dead.”

In the most restrictive states adult adoptees must pay court and lawyer fees to show cause why their birth certificates should be released.

“It’s a capricious process where some judges say, ‘sure’ and others say, ‘no way, even if your life is threatened,” according to Pertman of the Donaldson Institute.

“People in all 50 states every day are finding their birth parents through the Internet, Facebook and private detectives,” said Pertman. “So what’s the argument and if you don’t believe they are evil people, why not just give them to them.”

As for Carol Cook, she still longs to know who she is — so much so, that she has recently ordered a DNA kit to at least find clues to her genetic roots. Though even if the law passes and she can get her birth certificate, Cook said her parents are likely dead.

“Everyone knew I was adopted except me,” said Cook. “I think that has affected me in some ways. I find it difficult to trust people, It’s not overt. I just can’t get real close to people…I couldn’t let the rest of my life fall apart but it would be nice to know if I can find something out.”

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

 

 

Vital Statistics of Adoptees are Government-Imposed Misrepresentation of Material Facts of Birth and Official Denial of Adoption

I had to fill out yet another government form today:

“I am the individual to whom the information/record applies or that person’s parent (if a minor) or legal guardian. I know that if I make any misrepresentation which I know is false to obtain information from Social Security records, I could be punished by a fine, imprisonment or both.”

Each time an adoptee fills out a form that requires “name, date and place of birth” that adoptee is either knowingly or unknowingly lying. Adoptees are forced to lie by the very nature and status of our known and unknown identities. All adoptees have a legal identity that is different from their identity at birth. And, officially, our adoptions are not acknowledged as part of our identity.

I rush through the data, seething inside:

Name: Joan Mary Wheeler

Date of Birth: 1-7-1956

That is my legal identity. But I was not born with that name. In fact, Joan Wheeler did not legally exist until one year and one month AFTER my date of birth. Joan Wheeler was adopted not born. To be accurate and truthful: I was born to a mother who is not my legal mother and no paperwork exists — legally — to prove my birth. So I am forced to lie whenever I write my name and date of birth. To be accurate I should write the following on all forms:

Name: Doris M Sippel

Date of Birth: 1-7-1956

Date of Finalization of Adoption: 1-14-1957

Date of legal name change: 1-14-1957

Date of sealing and falsification of birth record: somewhere between 1-14-1957 and March 1957.

Date adoptive parents received new, amended and falsified birth record for Doris Sippel/Joan Wheeler: March 1957

So, when I see these words on government forms: “I know that if I make any misrepresentation which I know is false… I could be punished by a fine, imprisonment or both”, I take that as a threat to me by my government. Each and every time I am forced to write my name and date of birth, I know I have to write the accepted version of truth for simplicity’s sake. I am, however, forced to live lies perpetrated by my city, state and federal governments.

The ones guilty of fraud and perjury (misrepresentation of material facts; false statements of facts) are: the Surrogate Court Judge who signed my Final Order of Adoption; The Registrar of Vital Statistics of Buffalo, New York; New York State Department of Health; and the US Federal Government for lack of clarity and standardization of birth and adoption records.

The United States of America needs a federal mandate to correct these inconsistencies for all domestic and foreign-born adoptees.

Join in the fight to change our laws by clicking on these links: Equal Access for Adult Adoptees: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/equal_access_for_adult_adoptees (a Petition to the President of the United States and the US House of Representatives);  Letter to President Obama at Family Preservation: http://familypreservation.blogspot.com/2010/01/call-for-signatures.html; Adoptees: Fight for the right to your own identity in Illinois! http://www.change.org/petitions/view/adoptees_fight_for_the_right_to_your_own_identity_in_illinois; Restore Adult Adoptee Access to Original Birth Certificates http://www.change.org/petitions/view/restore_adult_adoptee_access_to_original_birth_certificates.

 

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

For Pennsylvania Adoptees: House Bill 1978 is an Unrestrictive Bill That Would Allow Copies of OBC to Adoptees

THIS MESSAGE MAY BE FORWARDED FREELY.

HB 1978 pending in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is an unrestricted bill that would allow adopted adults born in Pennsylvania to obtain a copy of their original birth certificate.

If you have an adoption connection to Pennsylvania or are a resident of Pennsylvania – and you support this legislation – please send your name, address and email to choard@comcast.net so that you can be added to our database.  As the bill progresses, we will keep you updated.

Carolyn Hoard

West Grove, PA

www.americanadoptioncongress.org

~ ~ ~ posted by legitimatebastard for Carolyn Hoard of the American Adoption Congress.

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

Congrats to Mara for Publication of “Sealed Away” Article Highlighting The Census’ Discrimination Against Adoptees

Mara’s tenacity paid off.

I’m glad to re-print her published letter in the Times-Standard (serving Eureka and California’s North Coast) here. It is a testimony as to the generational effects of adoption’s sealed and falsified birth certificates for adoptees. Coincidentally, Mara’s article  was published previously here as “Guest Post: Census Rant”.

http://www.times-standard.com/letters/ci_14754681

Sealed away

Letters to the Editor

Posted: 03/25/2010 02:10:17 AM PDT

Recently, I found the 2010 Census form hanging on my door. As I began filling it out, I came across a dilemma. The U.S. government wants to know if my children are adopted or not and it wants to know what our races are. Being adopted myself, I had to put “Other” and “Don’t Know Adopted” for my race and “Other” and “Don’t Know” for my kids’ races.

Can you imagine not knowing your ethnicity, your race? Now imagine walking into a vital records office and asking the clerk for your original birth certificate only to be told “No, you can’t have it, it’s sealed.”

How about being presented with a “family history form” to fill out at every single doctor’s office visit and having to put “N/A Adopted” where life saving information should be?

Imagine being asked what your nationality is and having to respond with “I don’t know.”

It is time that the archaic practice of sealing and altering birth certificates of adopted persons stops.

Adoption is a $5 billion, unregulated industry that profits from the sale and redistribution of children. It turns children into chattel who are re-labeled and sold as “blank slates.”

Genealogy, a modern-day fascination, cannot be enjoyed by adopted persons with sealed identities. Family trees are exclusive to the non-adopted persons in our society.

If adoption is truly to return to what is best for a child, then the rights of children to their biological identities should NEVER be violated. Every single judge that finalizes an adoption and orders a child’s birth certificate to be sealed should be ashamed of him/herself.

I challenge all Times-Standard readers: Ask the adopted persons that you know if their original birth certificates are sealed.

Mara Rigge

Trinidad

~ ~ ~ posted for Mara by “halforphan56” Joan M Wheeler

Vote Today For Adoptees’ Civil Rights to their Original Birth Certificates, Even if You are Living in a Foreign Country

 

This Idea for Change in America: Return Adult Adoptees the right to their Original Birth Certificates, is now down to 13th place. We need to be in the Top 10 for this Idea to be presented to President Obama and his administration. We have until Friday March 12th at 5pm to vote.

Click the link below to VOTE YES and to read the discussion comments.
http://www.change.org/ideas/view/return_adult_adoptees_the_right_to_their_original_birth_certificates
Even if you live in a foreign country, please vote for American adoptees to have the right to receive a Certified copy of their Original Birth Certificate! I know my readership is worldwide, so come on folks! All it takes is a personal conviction that adoptees deserve the same civil rights as non-adopted people do! Vote today! Many countries worldwide have what we need in America!

Thank You!

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

Access to Adoptees’ Birth Certificates is Not Enough to Break the Cycle

There’s an incredible discussion about Cully Ray’s and Mara Rigge’s Idea for Change in America at the change.org website:

http://www.change.org/ideas/view/return_adult_adoptees_the_right_to_their_original_birth_certificates

Go there to vote in favor of true Open Records for Adoptees. Read the comments and add your own!

 

My last comment there was this:

If you doubt just how deeply Christian thought is entrenched in adoption, a close look at the Missionaries from Idaho in Haiti, is in order. Just a few adoptees’ blogs will indicate the destruction done by Christian adoptors of orphans:  

http://www.babylovechild.org/2010/03/02/laura-silsbys-pipedreams-of-a-future-in-the-child-containment-industry/

http://bastardette.blogspot.com/2010/03/waitng-for-god-silsby-still-waiting.html

http://bastardette.blogspot.com/2010/03/more-trouble-for-laura-silsby-dumped-by.html

Keep this in mind: the law behind the present system of documenting births and adoptions for adoptees in America was begun in 1930 under the guise of “protecting” illegitimate children from learning embarrassing facts about how they came to be, therefore, the justification for making “new” birth certificates for adoptees was the idea of lifting them up from the status of a less-valued birth to that of being adopted “anew”. 

I must be the only ORPHAN to speak out because I have yet to hear any other HALF OR FULL ORPHAN born of married parents to oppose being held in this category. Please understand, I do not say this as a weapon against my fellow adoptees who are of unmarried parents. 

This is a degrading system of recording births and adoption based purely upon the moral judgment of the Registrars who wrote this law in 1930. I do not like being categorized into something I am not. My fellow adoptees shouldn’t be in this socially-constructed trap, either. We have been humiliated by these horrendous society judgments far too long. Lift us up and into a free society. Give us back our dignity and civil rights to our real birth certificates.

And for god’s sake, stop religious fanatics from adopting children. To missionaries like Laura Silsby, children are adoptable only because they (the missionaries and other religious fanatic adoptors) think that they are doing “god’s work”. The end result (not going into all the other issues in adoption here) is that all orphans (half and full, and even the ones who are not orphans at all) will suffer the same fate as their illegitimate counterparts in adoption: their birth certificates will be sealed and a new falsified one will be issued.

Asking for Access to our sealed Original Birth Certificates, alone, is not enough to break the cycle and change public view of adoptees. We must break this cycle and promote an end to the humiliating process of incorrectly documenting adoptees’ births and adoptions by sealed and falsified birth certificates. Demand an Adoption Certificate to replace Falsified Birth Certificates.

 

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

“Return Adult Adoptees the right to their Original Birth Certificates” is Currently in 5th Place of the Top 10 Ideas for Change in America

Keep your votes coming in! By clicking on this link: http://www.change.org/ideas/view/return_adult_adoptees_the_right_to_their_original_birth_certificates

your vote will help secure civil rights of American adoptees to the truth of our births! Be sure to read all the comments and add your own. Now is the time to be heard!

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

Vote for Idea For Change in America: Return Adult Adoptees the Right to Their Original Birth Certificates

Hey, folks! Keep up the good work! Vote for Cully Ray’s Idea by clicking on the link below or at the left:

Idea for Change in America: Return Adult Adoptees the right to their Original Birth Certificates
http://www.change.org/ideas/view/return_adult_adoptees_the_right_to_their_original_birth_certificates_2

———————————————-
Update:  We are now in 2nd place and the first round has been extended to February 25th.

posted by Cully Ray
———————————————-

Click the link below to view this discussion.
http://www.change.org/ideas/view/return_adult_adoptees_the_right_to_their_original_birth_certificates_2
~~~

Joan M Wheeler

author of Forbidden Family: A Half Orphan’s Account of Her Adoption, Reunion and Social Activism, Trafford Publishing, Nov 2009.

Truth, Honesty, and the American Way

When I wrote my letter to the South Dakota Senators (see previous post) asking them to vote yes to the Bill allowing access to adoptees for a noncertified copy of their original birth certificates, I couldn’t help but notice the following:

When a new certificate of birth is established pursuant to §§ 34-25-15 to 34-25-16.2, inclusive, the original certificate of birth together with the adoption information or other evidence upon which a new certificate is made shall be sealed, filed, and may be opened only upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction, or by the secretary of health for purposes of properly administering the vital registration system or for purposes of complying with section 2 of this Act.

 Pay attention. The existing law states:

When a new certificate of birth is established

That means, as I have stated in a previous Post, that all adoptees suffer the re-writing of their birth certificates as an automatic procedure as part of the process of finalizing the adoption. THIS PRACTICE MUST STOP!

I have been saying this since 1974 when I was 18 years old and was contacted by siblings I never knew existed. Three days after that shock, my adoptive mother dumped my birth certificates and adoption papers on the kitchen table in front of me. When I looked at my Birth Registration in my birthname and the birth certificate made with my adopted name, I was shocked into realizing that the FACTS OF MY BIRTH had been changed. This does not make logical sense. Why is this even legal? This is why I wrote my Idea For Change on the Change.gov website: “Make falsifying birth certificates of adoptees illegal”. See the Widgets at the left side bar…

Normal people – non-adopted people – and probably many adoptees themselves, do not understand the basic principles here. If we keep asking for ACCESS and ACCESS to UNCERTIFIED copies of our UNALTERED Original Birth Certificates, that is all we may get. THAT is fine, if you want to look at a copy of your birth certificate.

But why should we allow for the continuation of falsifying new adoptees’ birth certificates? Stop the cycle of re-written histories. Stop the fraudulent abusive attack on human infants and children who have no legal representatives to stand in their defense to say NO to “when a new certificate of birth is established…”.

The above referenced South Dakota Bill being voted upon today would give South Dakota adoptees the following:

Upon receipt of the written application and proof of identification, the department shall issue to the applicant a noncertified copy of the unaltered original certificate of birth.

Yes, by what we know of as “a clean bill”, this Bill will give adoptees exactly what is stated above. That is a victory, should this pass, for South Dakota adoptees: access to a noncertified copy of their unaltered original birth certificate. That would be a huge accomplishment, more than what the majority of states do not do for adoptees who want their original birth certificates.

For those purposes, this is a Clean Bill.

But it isn’t really a true clean bill. Two obstacles are still in our way: the assembly line manufacturing of millions more falsified birth certificates each time an infant or child is adopted, thus continuing the cycle of lies. This gives years of possibilities for adoptive parents to continue to lie to their adoptees when they are children and to continue to do so when they are adults. This needs to stop.

The OTHER obstacle is that adoptees who achieve access to noncertified copies of their birth certificates are still being discriminated against because receiving a noncertified copy IS still discrimination. Stop this charade.

The Netherlands gives us a perfect example of how to register the births and adoptions of all their adoptees: 1 birth certificate and 1 adoption certificate. That ensures the total security of the BIRTH CERTIFCATE of the adoptee; as in: a person is born only once — That is a fact of life. And, once a child is adopted, there is an adoption certificate with all the facts of the adoption stated clearly. The adoption facts and the birth facts are clearly defined. No adoptive parent in Holland gets away with the luxury and the falsehoods of having in their possession a “new” birth certificate that implies that they GAVE BIRTH TO A CHILD THAT THEY ACTUALLY ADOPTED.

These documents are open to the three parties: the adoptee, the natural parents and the adoptive parents. There is no chance that the adoptee will use their CERTIFIED birth certificate in fraud (by posing as another person) because both the birth certificate and the adoption certificate are needed for proof of identification and citizenship.

What is so difficult in America that our feeble-minded society cannot accept the true facts of life and the true facts of adoption?

Even lawyers in this country cannot wrap their brains around what I just wrote. Listen, it is simple: stop thinking like backward thinking Americans and start thinking like progressive people and get the job done right. Stop lying to adoptees. Stop fraudulently falsifying our birth certificates because THAT action is morally wrong and needs to be illegal. Stop patronizing adoptees by patting us on the head as if we are still little children, “Here Suzie, here’s your NONCERTIFIED ORIGINAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE, now go away.”

We are American citizens who deserve the right to ONE BIRTH CERTIFICATE and ONLY ONE BIRTH CERTIFICATE, and if we are adopted, WE DESERVE TRUTHFUL DOCUMENTATION of our ADOPTIONS, not a NEW BIRTH CERTIFICATE that is FRAUDULENT.

I’ve been saying the same thing for 36 years. I said it when I was 18 and I am saying it now at age 54. Stop this nonsense of altering our facts of life. No other class of people is discriminated against like this. No class of people is set apart — segregated — from the rest of a free society in the same way adoptees are.

These laws were written at a time when being born illegitimate was shameful. More unmarried couples are co-habiting now and are having children together without the legal binds of marriage. Single women who are lesbians are having children via anonymous sperm donation. (That signifies yet another injustice not covered in this blog post). More single men who are gay are having children via an egg donor or a surrogate mother. (These kids also do not have true birth certificates because it is easier to leave off the name of the missing genetic parent, but again, that is the subject for another discussion).

But all adoptees are not illegitimate. And for the ones who are, they still have one mother and one father who created them and those are the facts of life. If adoptive parents don’t like that, too bad. YOU were lucky enough to be raised by the parents who gave you life, so don’t be smug by withholding the truth to your adoptees. Only when adoptive parents realize that they are part of the problem by not standing up to the government and saying “No, do not issue a falsified birth certificate, issue an adoption certificate instead”.

I am a half orphan born to married parents. Yet, my birth certificate was seized by my government and sealed from me. A new birth certificate was then issued, as if I were born illegitimately and must be segregated apart from the rest of society. Both of those indignations must be addressed by a repressed society that still abuses adoptees.

What does CNN News anchor Anderson Cooper say when he opens his show? He says, “Keeping them honest”.

I’d like to see the entire United States kept honest by changing adoption and birth certificate law to represent the true facts in an open, honest government, federally mandated, not state-run, because adoptees are denied federal civil rights by the current system.

Joan M Wheeler

author of: Forbidden Family: A Half Orphan’s Account of Her Adoption, Reunion and Social Activism, Trafford Publishing, Nov 2009.

If you have any comments on this post, please send an email, with your full  name and reason for contact, to: joan@forbiddenfamily.com.

ACTION ALERT! Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization

SOUTH DAKOTA –SB 152 – Unconditional Access to OBC’s   – Vote Yes

 

SB 152, a 100% unconditional open records bill, will be voted upon on the floor of the South Dakota Senate on Tuesday, February 16th.

 

Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization, urges everyone to write to the Senators of South Dakota immediately and ask them to vote YES on SB 152, which will give all adoptees equal rights.  SB 152 will allow any adoptee 18 years or older to obtain a copy of that person’s original birth certificate upon written application, with no conditions or restrictions.

 

SB 152 is sponsored by Senators Adelstein, Jerstad, and Merchant and Representatives Lederman, Feinstein, Lust, McLaughlin, and Sly

 

The bill was heard first by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The only change made in committee was omitting a contact preference form in the bill. It was felt that this form was not necessary to the bill. The Senate committee passed the bill with a vote of 4 to 2.

 

Help make 2010 the year South Dakota goes over the top! Please bombard the senators with your letters of rousing support!. You can read the bill at:

 

http://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/2010/Bill.aspx?File=SB152SHE.htm

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

 

South Dakota has made it very easy for everyone to write.

 

 http://legis.state.sd.us/email/LegislatorEmail.aspx?MemberID=30s:

 

Go here to get started:  Start out with first Senator on the list.  Put SB 152 in your email subject line. Write your letter or attach it, click Send, and then in the Drop Down Box, choose next Senator in line and click Send, etc…  It’s like an easy cut-&-paste arrangement. All you need is one letter.

 

PLEASE FORWARD FREELY.

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NOTE: Even though the above link “Start” does not work (blocked from their site), go to the link above, or here:

http://legis.state.sd.us/email/LegislatorEmail.aspx?MemberID=30s: and create your letter. The drop-down list is easy to follow to click and send your email letter. I just did it and sent my letter to all the Senators on the list. Took about 20 minutes. Do it. Do it NOW.

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Here’s the bill:

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY, 2010  

 

823R0481  

SENATE HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES ENGROSSED    NO.  SB 152 –  2/10/2010  

 

Introduced by:    Senators Adelstein, Jerstad, and Merchant and Representatives Lederman, Feinstein, Lust, McLaughlin, and Sly

 

 

        FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to provide procedures by which adopted persons may obtain their original birth certificates.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:
    Section 1. That § 34-25-16.4 be amended to read as follows:
    34-25-16.4. When a new certificate of birth is established pursuant to §§ 34-25-15 to 34-25-16.2, inclusive, the original certificate of birth together with the adoption information or other evidence upon which a new certificate is made shall be sealed, filed, and may be opened only upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction, or by the secretary of health for purposes of properly administering the vital registration system or for purposes of complying with section 2 of this Act.
    Section 2. That chapter 34-25 be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:

    Any adopted person who is at least eighteen years of age and who was born in this state, such adopted person’s attorney, or if such adopted person is deceased, any descendant of such

adopted person may obtain a copy of that person’s original certificate of birth from the Department of Health by filing a written application with, and providing appropriate proof of identification to, the department. Upon receipt of the written application and proof of identification, the department shall issue to the applicant a noncertified copy of the unaltered original certificate of birth. The department may charge the same fee as provided pursuant to § 34-25-52. The Department of Health may promulgate rules, pursuant to chapter 1-26, for the administration of this section.