Now I am going to get you in trouble...So, how do you feel about adoptees having their original birth certificates sealed and receiving an "amended" version.
Within the adoption triad this is a very hot topic. However, I've got no problem addressing how I feel about things.
First, I guess I should give a brief overview of our adoption history. Cherub 2 came to our family via adoption through the foster care system. In a way though, it was more like a domestic infant adoption. There was no history of abuse or neglect. Instead, TT's first family made an adoption plan. Originally they had planned on taking advantage of Iowa's Safe Haven Law. They were going to simply leave their son at a hospital and walk away. (Not that there is anything simple about making a decision like this!!!) After giving birth in the hospital though (because after laboring at home TT's first mom decided to go to the hospital because of the pain), they were approached by a social worker. It was explained to them that if they formally relinquished their rights, it would go faster and smoother for the baby. And since they ultimately wanted what was best for their son, this is the route that was chosen.
We were a licensed foster family and we got the call that fateful afternoon. Of course I said, "yes!!!" immediately. I was in shock. I was surprised. I was thrilled beyond belief.
Then we went about the process of fostering with adoption as the goal. The whole process took FOREVER. I think for the most part it was because our lawyer drug things out. Never did the first family not sign anything (at least that is what we were told). But it took a year before we were able to stand in front of a judge and make things official. On October 12, 2005 I had the joy of making TT a permanent legal member of my family.
TT's first family never wanted an open adoption. I was young and naive so I didn't push for one. I accepted things as they were presented to me and just loved on my son with all I had. I was grateful we had been given some medical paperwork. I really didn't give much thought to the fact that we didn't have a birth certificate yet. I was told one would be sent to us in the mail.
When it arrived I was surprised. It listed me and my husband as the mother and father. Honestly, I thought maybe I had filled out something wrong. I was a little creeped out by things. It didn't seem right to me. Being totally truthful though, I filed the paperwork away and took solace in the fact that I did know TT's first parents' names. I even had their social security numbers. I figured that if TT ever wanted to find his first family, I would have the necessary paperwork. At the time we were in the process of moving out of state and I didn't give a lot of thought to the birth certificate again for quite awhile.
As TT grew older I immersed myself in the blogosphere. I read books about adoption. I tried to learn as much as I could. I wanted more than anything to handle this topic of adoption well as an adoptive mother. I wanted to educate others about adoption. I wanted to be respectful of my son's story and help him always understand it.
That's when I learned about the whole birth certificate and how it is amended (or falsified) for adoptees. I learned what a disservice this does to adoptees and how many problems it can cause.
Again, I'll be honest...I'm not out pounding on doors trying to change policy myself. I'm not an activist in this realm. I haven't done a lot of research about what I actually can do to change things. But falsifying a birth certificate denies adoptees many things. Yes, it "protects" the privacy of their first family. But it denies the adoptee so much. Some adoptees don't even know the name of the hospital they were born in. (Yes, some states actually change the location of birth to match the adoptive family's location.) Many adoptees have difficulties using their "amended birth certificate" as a legal form of ID. Many have been denied a passport!
Like I said, I'm personally not out there actively trying to change policy. However, this past week I was made aware of a petition that is being circulated. Signing a petition is an easy thing to do. I'm asking my readers to check this out. Read the comments submitted by others that have signed. Read about the real stories of adoptees being denied something that you and I most likely take for granted. Yes, some adoptees want their original birth certificate so they can locate their first families. I think they deserve this right. Others want their OBC so they can get a passport and be allowed to travel abroad. Others just want to know the truth of their beginnings. Please read. And please sign.