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  #16  
Old 09-10-2012, 12:25 PM
tacosalad tacosalad is offline
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It does happen automatically and the original is sealed - make sure to get a copy of the original prior to finalization so that you have it for your son/daughter later in life. As an adoptive parent, there's not much else you can do.

I am all for open records and think it's ridiculous that original birth certificates are sealed. I also think amended birth certificates are necessary in our society since they aren't actually used as documentation of birth in most circumstances. You can get your name or gender changed on your birth certificate (with proper legal/medical documentation), so adoption isn't the only time birth certificates are amended and the current version doesn't reflect what was accurate at birth. The fact is that we need birth certificates to have the current relevant information if we use them for ID, proof of citizenship, proof of parentage, etc. Since birth certificates aren't just a historical record and there are mechanisms in place to amend them to reflect current information, amending them in the instance of an adoption makes perfect sense to me. It's not actually saying that the mother or father are genetically related to the child (ours just says "mother's name" and "father's name) or that the mother gave birth - it's just stating that those are the parents. In the case of name and gender changes, the original is maintained and still accessible to the individual - this should be the case for adoption as well. If we're going to have multiple uses for birth certificates, it seems like having 2 versions (original and amended) is the only way to give people both a historical document and a current identification document. Life is just easier when you have access to a birth certificate that reflects your current identity so you don't have to constantly show additional documentation (adoption decree, legal documentation of name or gender change, etc). It's also everyone's right to have access to their own historically accurate birth certificate.
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  #17  
Old 09-10-2012, 01:44 PM
Dickons Dickons is offline
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I think the concept of amending the birth certificate has to change.

Not just because I have seen an increase in the number of Late Discovery Adoptees coming to this forum and that is solely because the birth certificate is amended...and at least they could list something like (more info available on this record at Vital Records - very discrete but you could then note there was more to it).

But because there are also two mom parents, two dad parents, and in California they are looking at 3 parents on the Birth certificates. Tell me that anyone viewing a two mom, two dad, 3 parent birth certificate won't know that at least one if not more are not genetic parents. Not going to fool anyone...

So far past the time of secrecy and all that stuff.

Before anyone mucked with the birth certificates at adoption, birth certificates listed legitimate / illegitmate AND anyone could go down to the court house and view your records (including your birth certificate) - that's how they checked you out. Both of those reasons are no longer valid because they changed the rules.

In the first half of the last century (before Georgia Tann got them sealed) when a child was adopted I don't know they changed the birth certificate at all. Over time they started to - each state different times and the birth certificate started to be amended - then magically the X in the Box switched from illegitmate to legitimate, changing of the name at adoption was an evolution during this time from no surname change, to original/new surname hyphenated, to new surname altogether.

Then Georgia got them sealed not only from the Public but also from the Adoptee...

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  #18  
Old 09-10-2012, 01:59 PM
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OakShannon OakShannon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickons
But because there are also two mom parents, two dad parents, and in California they are looking at 3 parents on the Birth certificates. Tell me that anyone viewing a two mom, two dad, 3 parent birth certificate won't know that at least one if not more are not genetic parents. Not going to fool anyone...

Yes. On my son's birth certificate, my partner is listed as his "father" - and she has a very feminine name. Anyone who looks carefully at that is going to know something's up!

The ironic thing is that the SW chose to list her as the "father" because DJ was going to take her last name. But if they had reversed the order, it wouldn't have looked odd at all because I have a unisex first name and a masculine middle name. When they told us how we were going to be placed on the ABC, I wished that they had thought of that or asked us first!

Anything that promotes secrecy - especially from the adopted person - is unhealthy. On the other hand, documents that prevent the adopted person from retaining their privacy if they wish to is also not ideal.

Last edited by OakShannon : 09-10-2012 at 02:01 PM.
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  #19  
Old 09-10-2012, 02:03 PM
Dickons Dickons is offline
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I agree Oak about the privacy thing - but computers are amazing things and simply changing what to print and what to call the certificate would be pretty darn easy...

The states could say that either B/C or Legal Identity form are acceptable ID and then when someone orders it give the default Legal Identity certificate like they now do with Certificate of Live Birth...

Then if you wanted your complete birth certificate you could order that which would show all info...

D
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  #20  
Old 09-10-2012, 02:06 PM
usisarah usisarah is offline
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If the use of a birth certificate for ID purposes went away, there'd be no reason to falsify the document. Change what's usable for ID and you make it a lot easier to make states stop falsifying birth certificates.
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  #21  
Old 09-10-2012, 02:10 PM
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OakShannon OakShannon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usisarah
If the use of a birth certificate for ID purposes went away, there'd be no reason to falsify the document. Change what's usable for ID and you make it a lot easier to make states stop falsifying birth certificates.

Absolutely. And as Dickons pointed out, it would be very easy to create a document for ID purposes that is separate from the BC. It would be great if that would happen. But I think outside of the world of adoption, most people have never considered why it might be important. Most people I know are shocked at the idea that adoptees can't access their own birth certificate in most states - and have probably never given any thought to what an adoptee's birth certificate looks like or the way it's changed.
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  #22  
Old 09-10-2012, 02:22 PM
Dickons Dickons is offline
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OakShannon - I do think it is coming. The Real ID Act of 2005 (I think that is the date) combined with if California changes to a 3 parent. Other states are looking at Surrogacy laws, IVF laws etc. Eventually the lightbulb will have to go on in a legislators head that the BC will not be the ideal tool to use to prove identity...

D
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  #23  
Old 09-10-2012, 04:09 PM
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belleinblue1978 belleinblue1978 is offline
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Personally I think EVERYONE just needs to be issued a "parentage" certificate separate from a birth certificate. Honestly, it does make me mad that my ABC is a lie, it is, my mom didn't give birth to me. My son's ABC is a lie, D didn't give birth to him. I like having an ABC because I don't want it to look different from anyone elses bc I don't want to answer questions. That doesn't mean that I like that it is a lie.

I think the simplest way to handle it would be to do a birth certificate for everyone and a parentage certificate for everyone. If there is no adoption it is simple, both are produced at the same time. If their is an adoption the parentage certificate is produced when the adoption is finalized. That way everyone has the same thing and there is no more secrecy.
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5/30/2012 Kiddo turns 8. Hard to believe he is so grown up! I talked to him on the phone for the first time on his birthday.
2/1/2013 Take over as Executive Director of the shelter in my community. It is so nice to work in town again.
5/28/2013 I go to a ball game for Kiddo and we celebrate his birthday. Almost 9!
2/8/2014 POLAR PLUNGE! Kiddo and my folks are there. It was -2F outside and 45F in the water.
3/26/2014 Bowl my first 500 series in mixed league.
5/30/2014 Kiddo turns 10! Going to a baseball game in a few weeks.


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  #24  
Old 09-10-2012, 04:13 PM
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belleinblue1978 belleinblue1978 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tacosalad
It does happen automatically and the original is sealed - make sure to get a copy of the original prior to finalization so that you have it for your son/daughter later in life. As an adoptive parent, there's not much else you can do.

I am all for open records and think it's ridiculous that original birth certificates are sealed. I also think amended birth certificates are necessary in our society since they aren't actually used as documentation of birth in most circumstances. You can get your name or gender changed on your birth certificate (with proper legal/medical documentation), so adoption isn't the only time birth certificates are amended and the current version doesn't reflect what was accurate at birth. The fact is that we need birth certificates to have the current relevant information if we use them for ID, proof of citizenship, proof of parentage, etc. Since birth certificates aren't just a historical record and there are mechanisms in place to amend them to reflect current information, amending them in the instance of an adoption makes perfect sense to me. It's not actually saying that the mother or father are genetically related to the child (ours just says "mother's name" and "father's name) or that the mother gave birth - it's just stating that those are the parents. In the case of name and gender changes, the original is maintained and still accessible to the individual - this should be the case for adoption as well. If we're going to have multiple uses for birth certificates, it seems like having 2 versions (original and amended) is the only way to give people both a historical document and a current identification document. Life is just easier when you have access to a birth certificate that reflects your current identity so you don't have to constantly show additional documentation (adoption decree, legal documentation of name or gender change, etc). It's also everyone's right to have access to their own historically accurate birth certificate.

Tacosalad,

My ABC is a lie because it says certificate of live birth, which to me is saying that my amom gave birth to me. She didn't, straight up, she didn't. I love her to death, she is my mom, but she isn't my first mom. Respectfully, unless you have lived the frustration that comes with that, it is easy to say you shouldn't get so upset about it, because really, it isn't that bad and really there are other reasons there can be an ABC. Sure there are, but gender change, a person does that to their own bc and name change, probably they do that on their own as well, and even if they change their name, their parentage doesn't change. This isn't just about history, this is about so much more than that.
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First mom to the amazing Kiddo and adopted adult


5/30/2012 Kiddo turns 8. Hard to believe he is so grown up! I talked to him on the phone for the first time on his birthday.
2/1/2013 Take over as Executive Director of the shelter in my community. It is so nice to work in town again.
5/28/2013 I go to a ball game for Kiddo and we celebrate his birthday. Almost 9!
2/8/2014 POLAR PLUNGE! Kiddo and my folks are there. It was -2F outside and 45F in the water.
3/26/2014 Bowl my first 500 series in mixed league.
5/30/2014 Kiddo turns 10! Going to a baseball game in a few weeks.


LISTEN and SILENT have the same letters.
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  #25  
Old 09-10-2012, 04:22 PM
Dickons Dickons is offline
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Belle - also the fact that the doctor would never testify under oath that he delivered you like it says on your birth certificate - he delivered someone else...

Kind regards,
Dickons
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  #26  
Old 09-10-2012, 04:32 PM
tacosalad tacosalad is offline
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I didn't intend to minimize the pain that amending birth certificates cause adoptees or suggest that they shouldn't be upset by it. My only intention was to show there is already an established procedure for allowing an original and an amended birth certificate to exist simultaneously and both be available to the individual. You are absolutely right that my example differs in a very significant way because it is initiated by the individual and not done by the courts without their consent. I agree with the other posters that the ideal situation is to get away from birth certificates being used as identification, but was trying to come up with a solution that could work more immediately. I apologize that I didn't articulate that well and didn't acknowledge the unique and troublesome ways that amending birth certificates in adoption circumstances attempts to erase the first parents (which was clearly the historical motivation behind it).
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  #27  
Old 09-10-2012, 04:48 PM
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JustPeachy JustPeachy is offline
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Falsified birth certificates are a huge, huge hot-button issue for me. I understand that many aparents or adoptees might prefer a document that doesn't advertise a child's adoptive status, however I wish, then that there could be some sort of separate parenting certificate for all, rather than a fraudulant document stating that the aparents gave birth to their children.

I would abhor having some kind of legal document saying I raised my child when, in fact, I did not, and I can certainly understand the OP's concerns about having a legal document that perpetuates a lie. However, I also "get" that this is the system as it is and is not the fault of the aparents. I still feel strongly, however, that the falsified birth certificates (I refuse to call them "amended") need to go the way of the dodo.
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  #28  
Old 09-10-2012, 10:23 PM
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rredhead rredhead is offline
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I swear that when I read what tacosalad wrote, I thought I wrote it. It's almost exactly what I think and what I've argued in the past.

There are A LOT more reasons than adoption for a birth certificate to be changed. What exactly qualifies someone to be on the birth certificate? Giving birth? Because then a father shouldn't be listed at all. What about surrogates who are using another woman's eggs? Does biology determine who's on the birth certificate? What about women who give birth using donated embryos? Just off the top of my head, you've got all of these situations to cover:

- The biological father was not put on the birth certificate for some reason. (A famous example is Sean Astin.)
- The biological father is not the man married to the mother; the mother is married to someone else, and that person is the legal father.
- The intended mother gives birth using an embryo donated by another couple.
- The intended mother gives birth using her eggs and donated sperm.
- A surrogate gives birth using eggs and sperm from the intended parents.
- A surrogate gives birth using her eggs, but sperm from the intended father.
- A surrogate gives birth using someone else's eggs and sperm (not the intended parents, but not hers either).

I don't think we should be sealing original birth certificates. However, I don't have a problem with amended ones. My bc is amended because I changed my name when I was 17. I wasn't born "Robyn" but my bc says I was. I don't think of it as a lie. I think of it as a correction. It reflects who I am.

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Child #1: Is that your mother?
Child #2: Yes.
Child #1: Why is she white and you are black?
Child #2: Because I am adopted, and black people have more melanin than white people do.
Child #1: Oh, let's go on the high bars.
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  #29  
Old 09-10-2012, 10:30 PM
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RobinKay RobinKay is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usisarah
Yup. It's crazy. And there's really no reason the laws can't be changed. I think there's probably not really that much awareness that this is the process, outside of the adoption world. I would prefer a system where everyone has a birth certificate that's accurate and also a legal guardian certificate that reflects who the legal guardians/parents are. People that are not adopted would have a birth certificate and guardianship/parentage certificate that have the same names. In my little fantasy world, it would be the guardianship/parentage certificate that would be required for proof of identity, not the birth certificate. And there'd be an endless supply of Reese Cups in my fridge. A girl can dream.

Great. Now I need to go the store and get Reeses Cups--I can't get the idea out of my mind!!!
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  #30  
Old 09-10-2012, 10:45 PM
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RavenSong RavenSong is offline
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As I was catching up with all the new posts on this thread tonight, it dawned on me (thanks, Dickons!) that Edna Gladney wasn't the one who lobbied for amended birth certificates for babies who had been placed for adoption. What she lobbied for was the removal of the word 'illegitimate" on ALL birth certificates issued by the state of Texas. Dickons is right about Georgia Tann -- she was the one who first lobbied for original birth certificates to be completely sealed away forever from not only the public's eyes, but also from all adoptees. And Tann's reasons for this were not based on altruism...it enabled her to carry on her theft of babies for years and years.

Edna Gladney was a remarkable woman. I'm not fond of how her agency eventually went the way that the professional social workers wanted when they changed the focus of the original maternity homes. But Gladney herself was a very compassionate woman who helped "women in trouble" find ways to keep and raise their babies. She never took infant adoption lightly and would do her best to help out struggling moms and dads before placing their kiddos for adoption.
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