A tale of two dads.... why birth certificates make me laugh!
I think the world has finally gone mad in terms of crazy-ass lawsuits and the sad joke birth certificates have become for the adopted person. According to a recent article written by the Associated Press, a federal judge has allowed a same-sex male couple to have both their names listed on their adopted child's birth certificate. [I don't know if this case is funny or sad... right now I'm finding it all disturbingly amusing and darkly humorous.]
According to the article, this two-dad fact will help give the adopted child a secure sense of identity.... not to mention health benefits from the partner's employer. In fact, the bread-winner of the young family, (let's call him "dad # 2") states:
"As an adopted child myself, I understand the need a child has to feel like he or she belongs," Smith wrote. "I remember as a child wanting to see my own birth certificate and to see my parents listed because it gave me a sense of belonging, a sense of identity and a sense of dignity."
Adar also said the family often travels, and — because J. is black and they are white — an airline worker once stopped them, thinking that they were kidnapping the child. "Every time we fly we fear this could happen again," he wrote.
J. was born about eight weeks prematurely in Shreveport, in late 2005. He spent his first month in the hospital, and weighed 5 pounds when his mother gave him to Adar and Smith that December, according to Adar's statement.
Their adoption was made final on April 27, 2006, their lawsuit states. [From: "Judge: 2 adoptive dads belong on birth certificate", Janet McConnaughey", Associated Press, Dec 27, 2008, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/27/AR2008122700711.html ]
Sorry, as an adoptee with tons of adoption issues, I'm not buying the idea that having two-same sex parents listed on an adopted child's birth certificate would answer the age-old question: who are my (real) parents? In fact, when it came time for me to search for my original BC, I learned it was altered so the only names on it would be the names of my AP's. So much for finding my true identity and any other family members that may have been created by my original mother and father.
Why are judges allowing AP's to alter a child's BC in the first place? Does that really help an adopted child keep a sense of family identity... or is the adopted child not supposed to not know the names/identities of his biologic mother and father?
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my objections to GLBT adoption
I may sound like a bigot, but I have serious issues with GLBT adoption. It's not that I have any religious or moral objections to the sexual orientation of concenting adults, and if it weren't for adoption I would have no objections to gay marriage. Since adoption plays a role, I find myself a lot less liberal than I usually am. Unfortunately for gays and lesbians, nature doesn't allow procreation for same sex couples and with that practicle biological constraint comes my main objection against GLBT adoption. I won't go into the question whether gay or lesbian couples can be good parents. Like so many people, some probably will and some probably won't. Even identity issues for children growing up with gays and lesbians will show a great variability. So my main objection to GLBT adoption stems from the added demand on the adoption market. Especially for male homosexuals there simply is no other solution to get children than through adoption, foster care or surrogacy. Unlike the film Junior suggests, science has not made it possible for men to carry children and it's unlikely it will become common practice soon. Until that day (and we can have an entirely different discussion whether the scenario of men carrying children is such a good idea), male homosexual couples wanting to have children will have to resort to a woman to do the work for them. With that comes extra pressure on the adoption market we better do without. Looking at coercive adoption practices and child trafficking, it's plain there already is too much demand, so adding more demand to the market is going to make things only worse.
but this is what makes same-sex adoption so funny to me:
Religious-traditionalists like to believe "the married couple" makes the best parents for a child... as if married parents don't divorce or become abusive towards their children.
Now we are to believe same-sex relationships are immune to the same break-ups and break-downs that happen in hetero-relationships. [Yea, ok... just because a same-sex couple can't "divorce" (because they can't legally marry,) does this mean homosexual couples can't cheat, or find a new "mommy" or "daddy" for the child kept by the legally named parent? Goodness... could you imagine how many BC's would have to change every time a "new parent" enters a child's life???]
So here's MY issue with adoption, in general -- when and where is child safety within the child-placement industry going to become a universal priority, and when will an adult's "right to become a parent" (through adoption) be pushed aside as being the b.s. it really is? When will adults be more concerned about the living conditions found in children's homes, orphanages, and foster care, and less concerned about the won title of "parent"?
Do most people believe it's every man and woman's right to have a child, and if so, does adoption make "the impossible dream" for some couples a nightmare reality for those still picking-up the pieces their broken family?
Consider the following statements, and guess who's rights are most protected in cases that involve adoption:
So here's the fun twist on "fairness" in adoption: A first-parent can have their rights terminated, (for a variety of reasons...), but an adoptive parent can't lose his/her rights unless that person seeks a legal divorce from the child (aka, "dissolution"). [Who cares if the adopted child is abused or abandoned by members of the new forever-family, and who cares if the adopted child is not happy with the new living arrangement -- most want to insist adoption is best for the child, regardless of the child's personal perception and experience.]
Meanwhile, like their hetero-counter parts, many same-sex adopters are seeking children from other countries (or through surrogates) simply because they want a very young child (baby) with no disabilities. [One can only imagine how this demand for young healthy babies is going to manifest itself in foreign countries with lots of new and "growing" orphanages.]
Call me a cynic, but I don't believe same-sex adoptions are going to make adoption the most altruistic option we can give children put in "care". In fact, creating a bigger buyer-market for children truly sickens me.
Forever Families Through Adoption Joyfully Make Their First Baby
That may be the case in future, but until now the only country where the gay community can adopt children from is ...... the UNITED STATES.
Joy and Michael Goldstein, the founders of Forever Families Through Adoption, Inc. (FFTA), a newly authorized New York and Connecticut not-for-profit adoption placement agency, are pleased to announce the successful placements of their first two infants. FFTA is a New York and Connecticut-authorized, not-for-profit, adoption placement agency founded on the belief that every child has the right to grow up in a loving, nurturing, secure and forever home. Joy Goldstein is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who counsels birth and adoptive parents and frequently lectures on adoption topics. Michael is an attorney and social worker and assists clients with adoptions both domestically and internationally. After more than 25 years and over 2,500 successful placements, the Goldstein’s founded FFTA in July of 2007.
"Joy and I have dedicated our lives to helping birth parents, adoptive parents and, of course, children,"
Why do they mention "children" last?
Okay...I can't get the type any smaller. Sorry.
I am very familiar with this because of the seven BC that I helped to change. But I do not believe the original parents, especially from foreign countries understand that the birth certificate will be changed. I think they believe that some day their children will come looking for them; at least a lot of them think this way. That's why there are thousands on the Holt register who are waiting for their children to find them when they don't realize the information is usually gone. There are some who find each other but most grown adoptees don't even know about this registry because it takes the adoptive parents to tell them; Holt does not contact each adopted child when they become 21 years old and tell them. I have original BC from these countries, but even the countries falsify the information. In Guatemala, in the court of records, it states my husband's and my name as the original birth parents of my second son...
What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy
Open Records is a huge issue in America, as anyone from Bastard Nation could explain. My issue has been, "What good is an open record, if the information on it is false?"
Imagine being an adult adoptee, wanting to find genetic/health histories or sibling information, what good is a falsified birth certificate, and how is it going to help you when you're trying to obtain certain specific identifying information? Would you be able to pay for genetic testing and accept that your birth facts and family history mean absolutely nothing? Would you be able to hire a private detective to find the information for you? Would you be willing to open a Pandora's box that might lead you to more and more upsetting truths? [Did you know many adoptees are given different birth-dates and birth years on their "amended birth certificates", too?]
I could never understand why APs would want their names listed as an adopted child's birth-parents -- in my mind it proves how little the adoption industry understands the future needs of the child. (Worse still, why would a child's original name have to be changed, too?) It's my guess lots of AP's want the adoptee to see the Aparents as being the one and only family that counts and matters.... names proving who is what.
Oddly enough, it wasn't until I became a parent myself that my own birth certificate became a huge source of personal problems. I guess people involved in adoption don't think how a birth certificate matters later-on in a person's life.
I could never understand why APs would want their names listed as an adopted child's birth-parents -- in my mind it proves how little the adoption industry understands the future needs of the child.
I don't care to be listed as my children's "birth" father, personally. An adoption decree or amended "birth" certificate would be fine with me, so long as the amended certificate is legally sufficient for passports, social security, driver's licenses, proof of citizenship. etc. - and establishes the parental relationship until children are legally emancipated.
Original birth certificates should be available to emancipated adoptees, no exceptions.
(Worse still, why would a child's original name have to be changed, too?)
Barring exceptional circumstances, I think first and middle names should remain unchanged especially if the child is adopted at an older age. Surnames can be a different matter.
My son's original birth certificate (OBC) lists a father who tested negative when the state later attempted to re-establish paternity. Two other men were subsequently tested for paternity - both negative.
Pre-DNA testing, it is estimated that almost 40% of family lineage has been corrupted somewhere within the past three generations. Hopefully, with the advent of DNA this should become a thing of the past.
Perhaps you can explain to me what my son lost by assuming his adoptive family surname instead of the surname of the man on his OBC who was not his biological father.
It's my guess lots of AP's want the adoptee to see the Aparents as being the one and only family that counts and matters.... names proving who is what.
I'm really not surprised that would be your guess. Yes, that would be us evil adoptive parents serving our "as if" delusions again. It really must have been painful for my wife to give birth to a 41 inch - 50 pound boy.
Here's a twist. It would me my guess that many of those who would categorically deny an adopted child their adoptive family surname want the adoptive family relegated to some lesser legal status as parents, as if the biological family is the one and only family that counts and matters... names proving who is what.
In the quite common cases of divorce and remarriage, is it your contention that children must keep their original surname even when all parties consent? Or this this just an adoption thing?
Oddly enough, it wasn't until I became a parent mysel f that my own birth certificate became a huge source of personal problems. I guess people involved in adoption don't think how a birth certificate matters later-on in a person's life.
You should have your orignal birth certificate. My children will have theirs.
A culture of dishonesty
Perhaps adoption through state-foster-care is very different than foreign adoption done through an orphanage. Perhaps your adopted children have no reason to fear any lies have been told about their family history, as it was presented, to the judge who made their adoption final.
However, in the world where black-market (illegal) adoptions still take place, please remember, all sorts of people are getting paid to change facts and names so a child can be sold to a person willing to pay the legal fees.
Want to know how such practices affect a child?
Learn what happens to the foreign adoptee not legally adopted by his/her adoptive parents. [Deportation]
Learn what happens to the parents who mourn their missing/abducted child found with another name, in another country. [Child trafficking]
These are the situations judges are allowing to happen each and every day because birth facts are being "ammended" by morally questionable people, and the demand for adoption is so great.
As much as I am able to learn from you and as much as I can appreciate your perspective, please understand not all adoption-stories are the same.
all adoption-stories are the same?
Perhaps adoption through state-foster-care is very different than foreign adoption done through an orphanage.
No perhaps about it - I'm sure they're different in many ways.
I was not aware this thread was exclusively about international adoption. I also was not aware that your objections to amended birth certificates and surname changes were exclusive and limited to international adoption? Otherwise, why would you lead with your opening statement?
My comments were limited to the identity issues brought forth in your post regarding original and amended birth certificates. The commonly accepted legal procedure of issuing an amended birth certificate is fairly universal and transcends domestic infant, international, and domestic older child adoptions.
As much as I am able to learn from you and as much as I can appreciate your perspective, please understand not all adoption-stories are the same.
What thinking person in their right mind would believe that all adoption-stories are the same?
Yea, you'd think...
Yet, surprisingly, there are so many people who refuse to acknowledge there is a filthy, corrupt, dark-side to adoption practices. Go figure.
Call me a cynic, but I don't
That's not cynical at all, but the logic behind it is flawed.
End ALL adoptions, surrogacies, int'l adoptions based on the same objections you have to same-sex ones, because none are altruistic.
But restriction based on orientation is discrimination, period.
Unfortunately for gays and
Heterosexual PAPs who cannot "procreate" for whatever biological reason don't have this logic thrown at them. In fact, it's a mark in their favor.
So you should be opposed to adoptions for ALL non-procreative PAPs, forget the other reasons to oppose adoption.
Not sure what is meant by "identity issues" here, but if you are suggesting sexual identity, please consider that we queers were FMTP ALL raised by heterosexuals. So our parents sexual "identites" are/were irrelevant.
Again, flawed logic (plus, you just said your main objection is because s-s couples cannot procreate due to "nature". Neither could my aparents, neither can a lot of aparents.)
The parallel is when people claim that the queers shouldn't be able to marry because well! What happens when they get divorced! The legal system would crumble under the weight.
So, yes when it comes to GLBT adoption, this is a bigoted, illogical post.
Can't these adoptive parents
Can't these adoptive parents just show their recepit given by the adoption agency as their final proof of purchase?
Why do birth parents have to be removed on a birth certificate, too?
Guilty as charged
Why are judges allowing AP's to alter a child's BC in the first place?
Judges do not "allow" adoptive parents to alter an OBC in the first place. Flawed as it may be, it's simply part of the current legal adoption process. It's not as if adoptive parents petition the judge to amend the OBC, as your carefully worded question implies.
I no more "allowed" a judge to amend my child's OBC than I "allowed" the state to put my picture on my driver's license.
I suppose I could have stood up in our adoption hearing and demanded that our children's OBC remain unamended, or that our children should never assume their adoptive family surname. Guilty as charged.
it all depends, actually you can keep the birth record with the birth parents listed (some kids actually have none listed)... then there becomes problems with abusive parents who have been TPRd on....
we actually did in all 3 cases complete another paper unrelated to the adoption record (had to send the adoption record with the request)
you also don't have to change the child's name either...
but you'd have to carry around all the records and show them to everything. and get a copy of the TPRd court record and then some ninny, especially within the school system would go looking up the b-parents...
I have actually had a lot of students being raised by relatives that just had custody of them (for years and years)...
so, that is interesting...
in open adoptions that is a good question... when kids are basically being hidden from b-parents another issue..
they are marked as ammended birth records though now, in most states...
Earlier I could not put into words what you so easily did ( in regards to the dangers of changing an adoptee's name):
IF my first-mother tried to look for me, I imagine she would have used the name she gave me when I was born. However, because both of my names (first and middle) were changed, (because my AP's did not like them), more than likely she would not be able to find my name on an adoptee registry.
I did not learn my first original name until I was in my 30's.
Words cannot begin to express the sort of identity-crisis that caused.
Words cannot begin to express
Words cannot begin to express the sort of identity-crisis that caused.
I'm very sorry your adoptive parents weren't open and honest about your original name. Did your adoptive parents withhold other information regarding your biological parents? Or was their agency primarily to blame for keeping the secrets surrounding your adoption? Either way, it totally sucks.
Every adult adoptee should have access to their adoption files. The state has no business concealing identity information from the adopted adult. I don't care about biological parents who want to remain unfound or who were once promised anonymity. I don't care about insecure adoptive parents who might get their widdle feelings hurt.
The director of our agency taught our 3 month adoptive parenting class. After she gave birth to three children, over the years she adopted 10 more older children from the foster care system. In her "spare" time, she searched and facilitated reunions at no charge for adoptees who wished to find their first parents. During all this controlled choas, she somehow managed to score a PhD in Childhood Development from the University of Penn.
She made it quite clear how she felt about open records and reunions. The first night she told our class that if we weren't open and supportive of our children one day reuniting with their biological parents, we should stop wasting her time and find another agency.
Newbie to adoption at the time, I found it odd considering most of her children suffered abuse and/or neglect at the hands of their biological parents. I thought her stance on open records and reunion would best be advisable for adopted infants who suffered no abuse and/or neglect. I was wrong.
She was the one who insisted we demand full disclosure from placing state agencies. She was the one who showed us how to read through the blackout in the files in search of identifying information. She was the one who encouraged us to do our own independent research into our children's histories whenever possible. She was the one who coached us to gather information before the trail went cold. She was the one who insisted we share the information with our children at age appropriate levels.
I only wish there were more agency directors like Dr. Barb. I'd bet if she headed the agency from which you were placed, Kerry, you would not only have the information you're seeking, but a ready, willing, and experienced reunion facilitator.
I really hope some day you will find your family and the answers you've been searching for. I am sorry for your loss.
"Full disclosure" and "Open honesty"
I strongly believe every adoptee needs to know why adoption was chosen by the parents... not just the AP's but the first-parents as well. We need our own sense of understanding and closure that other adults cannot give us. (We need to see it - that "other option" - ourselves.) Only we know our own adoption experience, and I think that needs to be honored and respected. Unfortunately, that honor and respect is not always given, especially if the AP's feel insecure about their relationship with their adopted child, and/or the first-parents don't want to be found. [Yes, lucky for us adoptees, there are many of those types of parents, too!]
You asked: "Did your adoptive parents withhold other information regarding your biological parents? Or was their agency primarily to blame for keeping the secrets surrounding your adoption? "
One blamed the other for "secret/incorrect information". I was told many untrue things by my Amother; she claimed everything she knew came from the adoption agency she used. Yet when it came to basic facts, like my original name, she refused to tell me something that was documented truth. [Keep in mind, I learned very early-on how she would cope with stressful situations. Her working model was: "Ignore it, it will go away". The older I got, the less I could trust her words or reactions to questions that needed answers.] When I went to read my non-identifying info, I was told all that information was given to my AP's. For hours I cried in a stranger's office because all that I knew was untrue.
I left that office thinking, "No adoptee should have to go through that!"
So here's the reason behind my anger when it comes to altered names and amended BC's: Had my Amother not been infertile... had she been capable of getting pregnant "one more time", would she still have wanted to adopt a child, and if so, would she have kept all the birth information as it was, and not as she wanted it to be? [These are rhetorical questions, because I believe these are things only she can answer, some day.] All I know is this: I was not adopted for me, I was adopted for her... I fulfilled her need to have a second child (preferably a daughter), and no matter how it looked on paper, the life-story she gave me hurt in many deep and profoundly stupid ways.
The shrew (not even using a capital letter) had more on her plate than just filling her Christmas List of: Baby, girl. Her need for a complete "set" included much more. I see her need to control every aspect of that "gift" request as a need to protect herself even from a tiny baby. Think about it:
What harm or good would come from keeping all the facts straight (before they disappeared) for later need? In that, you could find who and what the shrew is all about.
I doubt that she or your AF, or your brother could have passed a psychological evaluation at the time of placement; and there is another thought: what shape was your AB in at the time of placement? These three , and all that has transpired, represent the typical dysfunctional family that has too much money and a great need for control.
WHO else have they harmed in this world beside you? There MUST be someone else who has been their victim! If you could find that person; the other one who KNOWS the effects of their evil... IF that person exists... you would have an avenue of peace to pursue.
I OFTEN wish for ONE MORE PERSON who knows what I know of my parents abuse of me! But my sister is dead. She was born: spastic quadriplegic, mentally retarded and I never "knew" her. There was no one but me. I was isolated and tortured all my childhood; destined to be alone. I begged God to give me a brother or another sister so SOMEONE would know the pain of living with "them" other than me. Did I wish harm to another person? NO! Just someone to call my own who could testify to the fact that I lived in a house of horrors. There is no one else on this earth that knows the truth... except my 97 year old dad, who is taking it to his grave; just like my mother did.
Teddy is so alone...
What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy
It's taken me awhile to respond to this comment because I don't want people to think all I care about is my own story, and my own situation, and how that personal perspective has made me see the adoption-experience. I also don't want to minimize your own experience as a child who was forced to live with abusive parents, so please understand my thoughts, feelings, and expressed opinions are not limited to my own life-experience; when I post, I try to include things other adoptees ("trapped in bad families") have shared with me.
You see, I learned long ago, I am not the only "victim" left with no one to go to for more answers. I have found strange comfort in knowing I am not alone in a story that includes abuse after adoption and
alteredamended birth records. Over the years I have had an incredible number of adoptees tell me their stories, in private. Each story included a "special request" madedemanded by a member of their adoptive family.... people who passed (and paid for) the stamp of a judge's approval. (Believe me, my story is far from being "the worst".) I have also learned the sickness that exists in some adoptive homes is so unbelievable, it's left me speechless so many many times....( and here I used to think I've seen and heard it all). So as horrific as many first-parents can be to a child, I find it worse knowing the same type of horrific things are taking place in foster/adoptive homes, and they too are going unreported and "unwittnessed". [What's the point in being fostered or adopted, if you're still going to be abused?]
So here's a single thought I'd like others to consider: how many "undocumented" cases of child abuse could have been prevented, had those children not been adopted by people with serious psychological issues and problems.... people who were able to by-pass certain questions/requirements or afford to pay "a little extra" for "a special favor". That's not to suggest all PAP's do this, but I do believe desperate people are willing to do desperate things, and lots of times those desperate things require a lot lies, half-truths and/or a lot of hush-and-rush-money.
To say adoption laws (and their requested requirements) are flawed and confusing, is a huge understatement. It seems at each step of the process there are problems and issues not being addressed or followed, and I don't see how that benefits children OR parents (adoptive, or not). [See the latest article I posted, just to see how government-altered records can affect a parent and a child: "Judge orders probe into Franco-era missing children" ]
The point I'd like to make is very simple -- changing certain facts on certain papers is not as benign as it all seems, especially when that legal document determines with whom and where it's safe for a child to live.
That all being the basis of my own opinion and why I think child safety neither starts nor ends with an amended BC, I'd like to re-post a comment someone made in another thread, as it relates to the interest put into fostered/adopted children:
Exactly... Who is responsible for keeping tabs on the children whose names and parent's names have been legally changed? Adoption agencies? Social / Family Services? Government employees?
Does anyone care?