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How did you feel…

16 Sep

I’m trying something new.  New is scary for me, but, it’s something I’ve thought of doing for a while on many different topics.  I decided to start with adoptee rights which means that there are two different questions for adoptees, and a third question for other voices.  Hopefully, hearing feelings of others may convince people to change their mind and support upcoming legislation.

1.  When you are denied the right to your factual original birth certificate, how does it make you feel?

2.  For those who’ve finally gained the right to the original birth certificate, tell me how it felt when you held your original birth certificate in your hands. 

3.  Other voices in adoption, how does it makes you feel knowing your child either has the right to their original birth certificate upon request, just like non-adopted do, or doesn’t have the same right.

You can describe your feelings in a single sentence, or longer, whatever is needed to convey the feelings you feel/felt.

I’ve copied/edited what I wrote before in another post about receiving my original birth certificate, and like usual, I’m wordy.

More than four decades after I was born – the day I got my original birth certificate in the mail is a day I will never forget.  I came in from the mail box, sat down on the couch and carefully opened the manilla envelope.

I gently pulled out the single piece of paper and instantly had a flash of anger that someone had dared to fold this precious document, in half, a document that had been denied me, my entire life.

I checked my name:  (Baby Girl) XXXXXXX and was crushed – I was not named, at least not officially.

I checked my date of birth: Relief flooded over me – my date was right.

My mothers name and address listed clear as day  – it was so very surreal to see it listed on my birth certificate, and all the details matched the court papers I had recently received.

I was a single birth: Kind of mixed feelings about that, on one hand, relief that I did not have a twin out there, somewhere, but on the other had I had always secretly wished I did.

It did not list my time of birth.

I now know how much I weighed at birth, and how many weeks my mother carried me.

I just stared in wonder at my original birth certificate, bemused.

I framed my original birth certificate, it now hangs on a wall in my home..

If you are a regular commenter and don’t want to your feelings linked to you, if you change the user name, you will go to moderation.

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34 Comments

Posted by on September 16, 2015 in Adoption

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

34 responses to “How did you feel…

  1. Lara/Trace

    September 16, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    I can answer #1. If you don’t mind Tao, I’m going to write a long response on my lara blog and link to yours. You made me think! Let me know if this is OK?

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  2. NextInLine

    September 16, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    As an adoptee from the restrictive state of Missouri, I have no access to my OBC. How does that make me feel? Marginalized and made to be less than. I have also experienced second rejection, of course through an intermediary since i apparently have no right to contact my birth mother on my own, much less know who she is. And my birth father was not listed. Typical Baby Scoop Era nonsense. I think overall it makes me angry and disenfranchised.. I so appreciate this blog and your writing, and hearing all the other voices of adoptees today who are experiencing similar feelings. If nothing else, it is validating and reassuring that I am not alone in these thoughts and feelings about being adopted. And that indeed is something. To keep the adoptee conversation going is vital, and you and the other bloggers who maintain the integrity of this are the linchpins of this ongoing process. A roundabout way of a heartfelt thank you.

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    • TAO

      September 16, 2015 at 4:01 pm

      Thank you NextInLine. Missouri is certainly right up there, if not the worst state for adoptee rights. And the pathetic change they did make was appalling.

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  3. FutureAdopter

    September 16, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    I read your blog often but never comment. I fall in category 3 (foster parent). It drives me UP. THE. WALL that my son won’t have access to his original birth certificate. This revisionist history doesn’t benefit anyone. After reading your blog and talking to some other adoptive parents, I did get a copy of his birth certificate so I have something. Honestly I’m still not satisfied. What I have looks to be a copy of a copy of a copy so its blurry (but legible). I’m requesting a copy from Vital Records to see if I can get something a little clearer (I know its nitpicky but it won’t hurt to try). Like you, I also noted that none of his birth stats were listed (weight, length, time, etc) so I’ve actually sent a request directly to the hospital to see if I can get the stats at a minimum. Again, the overachiever in me also asked if they happened to have any newborn pics (some hospitals save them) or hand/footprints. Honestly, I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t at least try to get this information for him. Its his information and he should have it the same way I do. Having his original birth certificate won’t change anything about his history but it will let him know that someone cared enough to get it and that he didn’t just ‘appear’ in my life with no regard to his life prior to meeting me. Hopefully, that gives him some sense of comfort when he needs it.

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    • TAO

      September 16, 2015 at 7:43 pm

      You made my day…and everyone is welcome to talk here… 🙂 When you have time, check the adoptee rights group in your state and see if you can send a letter to a legislator in support. Thank you…

      Liked by 1 person

       
  4. pj

    September 16, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    Received my OBC more than five decades after I was born. Opened the envelope as I walked up the driveway and yes,it felt “surreal” and almost like I couldn’t breathe…then some disappointment as my birth mother’s name was very common and no listing of my birth father.
    InterestIngly, I discovered on Mother’s Day that year that my birth state had recently allowed access to OBC’s and received the copy on my b-day.

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    • TAO

      September 16, 2015 at 8:50 pm

      Thanks PJ – what an amazing birthday present, your birth certificate.

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  5. yan

    September 16, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    https://legallyfictionalreality.wordpress.com/2015/09/16/legal-documentation/

    There’s mine.

    I live in a fully open state, but I was born in a state that was closed until it partially opened within the last decade. This inconsistent application of access to government vital records on me is ridiculous and unfair.

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    • TAO

      September 16, 2015 at 9:47 pm

      I agree yan…

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    • TAO

      September 16, 2015 at 9:50 pm

      Love your post and hope others go read it…

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  6. eagoodlife

    September 17, 2015 at 12:01 am

    In the years before adoptees had their rights here in SA it seemed unjust and just wrong and afterwards it felt as if at last as if we had achieved something we had a right to. Of course there are gaps in information, burned records, lost papers and vetoes for some. There are some things that can only be achieved by meeting your mother – birth weight, time of birth, name of father for my generation. There is so little information on my BC that it is obviously the BC of an adoptee. I feel I still haven’t taken it all in decades later and after reunion.

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    • TAO

      September 21, 2015 at 9:13 pm

      So true Von

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  7. Heather

    September 17, 2015 at 8:03 am

    I made sure to order a copy of my son’s OBC before he was adopted & it is his when he wants it. No one I asked during the process would tell me what his BC would say after he was adopted. I assume it has been changed.

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    • TAO

      September 21, 2015 at 9:13 pm

      I would assume so as well Heather…

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  8. cb

    September 17, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    1. When you are denied the right to your factual original birth certificate, how does it make you feel?

    I am fortunate that having been born in NZ (and growing up in Australia), I was able to get my original OBC in 1987. It does make me angry on behalf of my fellow adoptees in the US who are being deprived of that same right. Adoptees in NZ and most of Australia have had access to their OBCs for decades (although Queensland has only allowed access fairly recently) and it is really a non-issue. The laws could still be improved but I think people have seen that adoptees who want their OBCs are just normal people.

    2. For those who’ve finally gained the right to the original birth certificate, tell me how it felt when you held your original birth certificate in your hands.

    It was nice to just have some answers to my questions. I had her name, her age and where she was born. That combined with the non-ID made me feel more like I had come from somebody somewhere.

    I have moved a lot through my life so in fact, I misplaced the OBC a few times and thus have applied for it three times. It was a fairly easily process in that I just had to fill out a form, get a justice of the peace or a person from an approved occupation to sign it (I work in a medical centre so that was easy) and then send of a money order for $25. I know that makes me sound careless but I did always remember EXACTLY what was on the OBC and in the non-ID info. I did make sure I had a hard copy of them both though before making contact so that I could show my relatives. I think it is criminal what so many adoptees do have to go through to get any info at all, i.e. paying hundreds of dollars to agencies and CIs etc without any guarantee that they will get much info at all.

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    • TAO

      September 21, 2015 at 9:16 pm

      “I had come from somebody somewhere” – so true. As to paying for someone (a stranger) to look at your records, someone else to make contact and based on their biases make or break the possibility of contact – just seems to me like a big old slap in the face…we are adults, our parents are adults, we all have to live with our choices – good or bad…it is what it is…you can’t change the past.

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  9. cb

    September 17, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    “then some disappointment as my birth mother’s name was very common and no listing of my birth father.”

    I remember feeling a bit disappointment about the commonality of my bmother’s surname. At the time, I went to the phone book that was most local to the area where she was born and there were so many people with that surname, I decided it was like looking for a needle in the haystack. The funny thing is that in fact, everyone with that surname in the book would have been related in some way to my bfamily because my convict ancestor (and his brother) had settled in the area in the mid 1800s and the bfamily had not really moved from their until about 1970s or so.

    My bfather wasn’t listed either but that was what was done back then.

    I was given a name, “Helen” but I still don’t know to this day who named me. The non-ID info said it was either my bmother or the nurses. Apparently the agency’s practice was to get their nurses to name the babies and each naming day had a certain letter. The OBC itself doesn’t give much guidance either way. On the one hand, it states my birthplace as being the actual hospital which makes me think that that might be something a nurse mright have put. On the other hand, my bmother’s birth place is listed as the actual place she was born rather than the town where she grew up (they were small sister towns) and that place is not listed on some of the forms she had to fill out (I got a copy of a couple of the originals). It is possible that there are other forms where she did have to list her birthplace and they got it from there.

    I am lucky that her birthplace and her middle name were listed on the OBC because in the end, it made her easy to find (sadly my very first google of her name in about 2005 found a cemetery record) and other provided information confirmed that I had the right person. She could quite easily have just used her first and last name and said she was from NSW only and it would have been quite hard to find her.

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  10. pj

    September 18, 2015 at 12:27 am

    Thanks for sharing,CB. After the initial disappointment, I kept searching,searching,searching…my birth mother was deceased but found her son /my 1/2 brother who she had confided in…he told me the name of my birth father , also deceased, but I found the family. I guess my message is, and yes, I know, easy for me me to say to those of you who live In those non- access states…but never give up….

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    • cb

      September 18, 2015 at 1:37 am

      I think I gave up too easy back when I got my OBC – I decided I’d leave it up to my bmother to make contact if she so desired so I could avoid having to deal with any possible rejection (not realising she was already gone). I could easily have gotten the appropriate NZ government department to do the search (which would have been free) but don’t think I was emotionally ready. I remember reading an article recently that was written in the 1970s that said that many bmothers both looked forward to and dreaded the day their child would make contact and that is a similar to the feeling that I would had towards the possibility of my bmother making contact, i.e. the fear of the great unknown.

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  11. beth62

    September 18, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Question one is for me. I have a barely legible OBC, but I did not obtain it “legally” and still cannot obtain it legally, so ?#2 is not for me. I’m Mom to several that were not adopted. If adoption did not change the BC we likely would have used adoption. I could not do it to them, and we are all very happy without it.

    As for question # 1, I am having a very hard time answering it without cussing worse than any sailor could ever dream of.

    How does it make me feel to not be worthy enough to be given my mother’s or father’s name that may be on my OBC?

    Makes me feel like I want to bash some asswipes fucking face in with a big fucking hammer, and not stop until they are nothing but a puddle of shitty worthlessness.

    Yeah, maybe I will try again later.

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    • beth62

      September 18, 2015 at 3:48 pm

      Sorry TAO.
      And I promise won’t try to try again later!
      No need.

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      • TAO

        September 21, 2015 at 9:17 pm

        Beth – I’m shocked I tell you – shocked that little old you knows those words – tee hee… 🙂

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        • beth62

          September 24, 2015 at 2:47 pm

          I’ve been engulfed in that raging fire lately. The language is the least of it. I had calmed it to a smolder and thought (like a dumbass) that it would stay that way. I’ve found everything, more than enough. I’ve made great peace with it. It’s shocking and very disappointing to feel this blaze again.
          Several things have stirred the coals and blown in the flames and its spreading faster than i can stomp it out. It’s frightening. I don’t want it to burn the ones I love.

          It’s time for it to burn those paid individuals that built and started this fire, regardless of any good intentions they may have had in mind. Fuck them and theirs, they don’t get to hide from the secrets either. Turn about is fair play.
          It’s all fair in war, this is war.

          It’s become time for it to singe their descendent’s instead of mine.

          I owe them nothing, I will not keep their truly ugly family secrets hidden for them any longer. Their descendants will publically know what they truly did in their lives. Their actions will be memorialized for all to see. I wonder if they will be proud then.

          Fuck The Wall

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  12. Paige Adams Strickland

    September 19, 2015 at 5:55 am

    Before I knew I had the legal right to my papework, I felt out of control, as if I were being helicoptered like a watchful parent does with a small child. I didn’t want to be infantized my whole life.

    When I did finally receive my OBC, I felt like I had the power of the Unverse in my hand. The OBC was filled out in handwriting, not typed, and the penmanship was neat and precise. I felt as though someone might be looking over my shoulder as I read the information. It was unreal at 1st, but it was mine! I had to find a new “real”.

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    • TAO

      September 21, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      A handwritten OBC – wow, that’s amazing, mine’s typed…

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  13. TAO

    September 19, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Thanks everyone…

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  14. Robyn C

    September 22, 2015 at 5:18 am

    3. Other voices in adoption, how does it makes you feel knowing your child either has the right to their original birth certificate upon request, just like non-adopted do, or doesn’t have the same right.

    I have both of my children’s original birth certificates. Our first lawyer just sent me my son’s. I didn’t know then how important it is to have, but I am very grateful for it now. I had to beg our second lawyer to send me my daughter’s, but I’m very glad that I did, as her state has closed/sealed records forever, apparently.

    That said, I think both of my children *should* be able to get their OBCs, just like anyone else. I hate that they don’t have the same rights as people who joined their legal family through biology/genetics. It shouldn’t be a big deal that someone in a black robe decides. That piece of paper belongs to my son or daughter.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • anenomekym

      September 23, 2015 at 2:30 am

      Robyn C, it’s great that you were able to get them for your children. I hope that they’re someplace safe and that a few copies have been made in case they get lost.

      I’m sure you’re aware that it’s still unfortunate that other adoptees from at least one of those sealed states can’t get theirs or if your children ever lose their copies, they won’t be able to simply get it from Vital Records upon request.

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