I’m still recovering from the chaos of Christmas at my house. I am alone in the house now, so, as soon as I have a cup of coffee (decaf!) or twelve, I will tackle the cleaning up. I don’t fuss about mess on Christmas – I just enjoy my family and let the boxes and dishes fall where they may. My dishwasher decided to give up the ghost on Christmas Eve, so I’m back to washing by hand, which I hate more than anything. I may try to call a repairman today – maybe if I explain that it’s an emergency??
I’ll try to post a holiday picture or two, as soon as I get Hallie to explain how to get pictures off my phone again.
In the meantime, a couple of questions have been asked in my comment section, and I think other people are wondering, too, so, I’m going to take a moment to answer.
The law that has changed the access to my birth certificate works this way: Currently, in my state, if you were adopted after August 9, 1953, generally you do not have the legal right to your original birth certificate (OBC). There are some adoptees who have always had access to their OBC (those adopted through the foster care system, international adoptees, and others). Also, if you were adopted in a county where the Judge of Probate was amenable, you may have been able to get your adoption records opened, which would include your original birth certificate. I didn’t fall into this category. The new law essentially gives EVERY adult the right to a copy of his/her original birth certificate, whether adopted or not.
As part of this law, birth parents have the opportunity to submit a Contact Preference Form, indicating whether or not they would like to be contacted by the child, now an adult, that they surrendered for adoption. If they submit a ‘do not contact me’ form, they are asked to complete an extensive medical history form, so that the adoptee may have this vital information.
This law will only give me a copy of my original birth certificate with the name of my birth mother, and if I’m lucky, my birth father (fathers were not required to be listed back in those days). It will not tell me where she is, or if she’s alive. It will not help me track her down. It won’t tell me if I have siblings. It will, however, reveal my original surname.
The concept of privacy for the birth parents is a very complicated one, and I won’t pretend I have it all figured out. Read my post about me insisting that I’m not a stalker, and you’ll learn a bit more about what I’m expecting to do with the information. In the end, there are a few things that I have come to believe:
- I have a right to know my original last name, for a bunch of good reasons, including preventing marriage to related persons (hey – this is a small state!)
- Parents do not inherently have the right to protection from their children, including those given up for adoption.
- I have a right to as much medical history as I can possibly get, and this information could possibly save my life, or the lives of my children.
- My birth certificate belongs to me. Not to my parents. ME.
- I’m an adult, and can be trusted with this information. Nobody knows better than I do how adoption affects people. The emotions I have had to deal with make me especially sensitive to how it might affect my birth parents.
- Nothing dire has come to pass in the states that have already passed this law; or in the states that never sealed the records in the first place.
I’m going to have to work the rest of it out as I go along. All I know is that ONE WEEK FROM TODAY, I’ll have the piece of paper in my hand. What happens after that is anybody’s guess. Hope you'll be around to help me figure it out!