Open Adoption and Open Records

Jackson has two birth certificates. The first one lists his birthmother and birthfather as his parents. It has his birthmother’s last name added to his name. The second one lists Max and me as his parents. It has our last name added to his name.

Neither one is false. I know there are people who will disagree with me, but that’s another post.

I am lucky to have the first one. The lawyer just sent it to me, unasked. I didn’t know it then, but, in most states, when an adoptee’s birth certificate is amended to list his legal, adoptive parents, the first, original one, is sealed. He can no longer get a copy of it. Ever.

I think this is wrong. The adoptees who have blogs that I follow think this is wrong. Some of the adoptive parents I’ve encountered think this is wrong. But some adoptive parents and others who aren’t in the adoption community seem to think that nothing is wrong. They don’t see why the adoptee needs the original birth certificate (OBC). Some adoptive parents have said that, because they’re in open adoptions, their children don’t need their OBCs.

On a practical level, that is completely untrue. Adoptees have reported that they are having a difficult time getting passports issued because their birth certificates were issued so long after their births.

But there’s a lot more to the issue than that. Adopted people are being treated differently than non-adopted people. A birth certificate belongs to the person who was born. Unless that person was adopted. That’s a problem for me, and it should be for anyone who dislikes discrimination.

Tao wrote a concise post that explains why people should care about open records for adoptees. Read it. OK?

(For the record, Cassie will have two birth certificates. I have the first one, only because I lied to the lawyer and told him I needed it to get her health insurance. I still haven’t received her amended birth certificate.) 

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7 thoughts on “Open Adoption and Open Records

  1. I am so glad you have both. I tried like hell to get Cadet’s OBC, but I couldn’t. I completely agree that the adoptee needs to have access to these records.

  2. I had already read a lot about the fight to get the OBC, so when we first met our kids’ workers I just asked for them (I didn’t lie but I don’t remember what I said I needed them for). They handed them over and I had them in my possession before the kids were even officially placed! I’m so glad that was a battle I’ll never have to fight, and when the time comes I’ll be able to hand it over to each of my kids. So glad you got your kids’!

  3. We received baby girls because I asked and asked and asked. I’m glad I did because it has her full birth name on it which gives me the proper spelling as well as it has her birthfathers last name as her birth last name. I had been told it had her birthmothers last name.

    I don’t know what baby girl will think of it but I felt like it was my job to give her access. PA is a state that the record is sealed.

    Another thing that is sealed that shouldn’t be is the hospital records from birth. We are still following baby girl as a result of medical issues at birth. It would be helpful to have access to the records from her birth and month in the hospital but because its under her birth mothers admission we are not allowed access to this information. Guess its not her right to know her full medical history.

    • The MO lawyer got us all of S and Jackson’s hospital paperwork from birth. All we got of Cassie’s were 2 pages, 1 barely legible, about her 24 hour stay in the hospital.

      I think it’s horrible that you can’t get her medical records. That doesn’t make any sense at all.

  4. Pingback: Why I Don’t Support Adoption Certificates | The Chittister Family

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