Trick question if you are adopted…

08 Mar


So the other day I went to get some stuff accomplished that I had put off till the very last-minute (I’m great at procrastination), I rushed in, grabbed the form, and sat down at the cubicle and started filling it in.

First Question: Current surname – I quickly wrote it down.

Second Question: Former surname –  I couldn’t decide if they wanted my surname from 1st marriage, or my adopted surname, so I asked and was told it was for if I had been married before.  I quickly wrote it down.

Third Question: Surname at birth – I stopped and thought – do they want the surname on my original birth certificate? or my surname on my amended birth certificate after my adoption? My mind is telling me they must want the surname on the amended birth certificate, that is my family surname on every other legal document and the only name I ever used, so I wrote that down. The problem is that even though I knew it was the right answer, based on how it was worded – surname at birth – it felt weird writing that down because mom and dad didn’t know I even existed when I was born. I know in the past they always asked for your parents names and that made it easier. I guess that is why it hit me the way it did, and why I was stymied by how the question was worded.  How on earth are adoptees who were adopted after they are infants and know their surname at birth supposed to answer that, especially if the birth certificate that confirms it, is sealed away and there is an amended version?

One more example of why “was adopted” doesn’t work. I will always be adopted – I will always be reminded I am adopted in so many different ways, especially it seems, when I least expect it.


Posted by on March 8, 2013 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , ,

12 responses to “Trick question if you are adopted…

  1. butterfly923

    March 8, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    You are so right. It never really goes away.


    • TAO

      March 9, 2013 at 1:11 pm

      Butterfly – welcome. It does seem no matter how many decades pass it is always just under the surface in everyday life.


  2. Beth

    March 9, 2013 at 1:32 am

    Whether you want it to or not, it really isn’t a past tense thing!
    I’ve had to take lie detector tests for jobs before. Some of the questions involved my names and parent information. They asked standard questions to get your normal responses to the truth, so if you were not being truthful with other questions the response would show differently. I remember one was: What was your name at birth?, so I answered with what is on my current BC. Knowing I was lying. What is your mother’s name… Fathers name… I did not mention being adopted. Each test the taker was puzzled at the results. I wasn’t lying about anything. I was pregnant during one of them and he blamed the weird results on that LOL


    • TAO

      March 9, 2013 at 1:08 pm

      Awe Beth – you always have the funniest stories, I can just imagine you pregnant and having a lie detector test and the man chalking it up to female hormones.


  3. sundayk

    March 9, 2013 at 4:03 am

    The other day I was looking for someone in the database and I couldn’t find her by her last name. Being that she was a woman I quickly ask have you ever had another last name? She stopped, she looked confused and of course it hit me and I knew, right as she was saying, “well I was adopted, That isn’t what you mean is it?” No, not really I had meant did she have a maiden name. Was is she or had she ever been married? Doh!


    • TAO

      March 9, 2013 at 1:10 pm

      Sunday – hope you are doing well. I would have gone to the adopted status too before I went to the married/maiden name. It’s always there lurking…


  4. Valentine Logar

    March 9, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    If you had never seen your original Birth Certificate would this be a question? When I was born in the 50’s all adoptions were sealed. All original BC’s were sealed when adoptions were finalized. It was up to the adoptive parents whether a child was ever told they were adopted. Your name was the name you grew up with, not the name on a piece of paper you were never supposed to see or even know about.

    My original name?

    Baby Girl and my first mothers family name. My first father isn’t even mentioned though he actually tried to stop the adoption.

    The honest truth? My name is the name of the man who raised me, provided for me, educated me. I would not insult his contributions to my life by rejecting his name. This is despite the fact I have met both my first parents, love them and have relationships with them (my father has passed since meeting him 30 years ago).


    • TAO

      March 9, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      Val – I don’t know if that would have been a question if my original birth certificate was still sealed to be honest (mine was sealed too until the courts unsealed it for good cause). I do think I would have been startled by the way the question was posed. Before I wrote the post, I pulled other forms I have filled out over the years, and they always ask if you are married and for your parents names to get your family surname listed. But this time it was your “surname at birth” – and mom and dad weren’t even looking to adopt at the time I was born – they were asked a couple of months later if they would adopt me – so my story is different, and the question stymied me. Perhaps it wouldn’t have if my OBC was still sealed, although I always knew my surname – all of us kids did because that info was given to mom and dad. Who knows but it felt weird – not because I don’t claim mom and dad’s surname – but the “at birth” aspect.

      What I do know though is for kids adopted from foster care at 6, 7, 8, and older that actively used their original surname before they were adopted – what reaction are they going to have to that form when they come to it – their amended says they were born with their current surname, but they used a different surname for the first part of their life. There was no option to note if you were adopted, or had a name change, or even a space to write in a notation.


      • TAO

        March 9, 2013 at 6:12 pm

        to be clearer – if it had asked for surname on birth certificate that wouldn’t have made me even stop and think – and – it would also work for older child adoptees as well.


        • Valentine Logar

          March 9, 2013 at 10:01 pm

          I suspect this will continue to be a conundrum. Older children adopted and with a name change will have to make a decision how they answer this question. I do think it becomes a choice. A legal name change through adoption means the original name no longer exists, legally.


        • Beth

          March 11, 2013 at 5:45 pm

          I didn’t know my original name at the time of those tests. And now that I do, it’s still the same feeling when asked for “surname at birth” As always, I will give the name on my current BC, but there is a pause due to me thinking – oh, that was not really my surname at birth. In the lie detector case if I were to be truly truthful I should have said I was adopted, born with a different name. But I omitted the truth. Having to answer yes or no questions to that kind of question, without giving extra comments, can cause that pause for me.
          I agree that pause would not be there if I was asked for “surname on birth certificate”. Doh, maybe… I might have to ask, which one?


  5. shannon2818

    March 11, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    That definitely is a trick question – how confusing.



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