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Operation "Miracle on 34th Street"
a/k/a/ Adoptees' Rights

These areYour Opinions from
Adoptees' Rights to Their Original Birth Certificates

Did you know it is illegal for adoptees to obtain their
original birth certificates in most states?

(Editor's Note: I have put ALL comments in here, even those that don't directly answer that question, because it is your opinion, and in an effort to be fair to all I will post them. But please keep in mind that just because an adoptee has their original birth certificate, it does not *guarantee* that the birth parent will be found, nor does the lack of having it *guarantee* the birth parent they won't be found. The real issue is who owns that ORIGINAL birth certificate?)

I am an adopted child I lived with My birth mother and step-father I found out at age 16 that I was adopted only by accident I began My search for my birth father that was in 1969 my mother wouldnt give me any info on him she was very bitter about the divorce (I was born on their 1st anniversary) as I grew up and she had other children I no longer existed, nor do my children or grandchildren, in 1987 I finally found my dad 3 months after he died, I
was crushed, I then decided to speak to my step-mother, she told me that many times she would find him sitting up at night with the phone book open to mymoms name to call me he never stopped worring or caring about me . When she gave me some pictures of him I instantly recognized him but wasnt sure where I saw him before (I was 6 mo old when they split up) That is when I tried toget a copy of my origional birth certificate Minnesota said the only way I  could get it is to have my mom sign a document the way she signed my birth
cert. and they would send it to her. Well she flat out refused I am now 45  and I do have my birth name back but only by divorcing and the court gave it back to me.
I am very blessed though my new husband knew how much it meant to me so he took my name when we got married. So I just want to say that it is important to really know who you are and where you came from regardless of the past and I will continue to fight for my right to have my birth certificate at least I now have a true identity.
Thank You
Colleen Lee Myhre

I am the adoptive mother of two children and I firmly believe they should have access to their original birth records. We were able to purchase our children's original certificates before the adoption was filed with the help of their birth mother. We realize that most people cannot do this. Our children's records are filed in a safe deposit box and they may have them when they ask. All adopted persons should have that option once they are
Michelle Gershon

It was so refreshing to read your thoughts on adoptees rights. I am a 38 year old adoptee. In the past month, I began a search for my roots. I began with the intent of satisfying the haunting feelings that I have lived with since childhood.
Please let me say that I grew up on a most loving and wonderful Christian home. I have indeed been blessed throughout my life. I have had the longing for many, many years however to know the facts about my biological history, as well as the circumstances surrounding my adoption.
I had some info to begin with. I approached my mom about beginning a search. She lovingly supports me, and filled in some of the blanks for me.  I have met a wonderful friend on the internet that had spent many hours physically helping me search.
As of today, we found out that it is quite likely that my DOB was altered, and maybe even my place of birth. My amended birth certificate cannot even be found. My name cannot be located, and my birth certificate number is not on file on the state birth index.
Now what began as a biological search (as when this begun, I hadn't decided that I was ready for reunion), has turned upside down. It looks as though my entire life has been a lie. It might seem trivial to a non adopted person. But who can honestly say that after 38 years you discover that you have never known you actual date of birth, actual place of birth that you wouldn't be enraged! I am furious at this possibility.
I am no longer a child, or an infant. I am an adult. I do not need nor do I want the State's protection. Yes, I still want my biological information. Yes, I still want answers. I still hunger for the relief that I have longed for for so many years. But NOW, I insist on the truth.
It is my human right to have the knowledge of when I was born, where I was born. It is vital to me, to everyone else. I DESERVE to know. I wouldn't hurt anyone with any information that I might get. I am adopted. I am not a home-wrecking heartless person. The fact that I may never get any information about my birth family now is highly likely. But I am entitled
to know my birthday!!!!! To know my birthplace!!!!!
I'm at the point now where I need a compassionate friend in the system. I am helpless. I am alone. I have my family, and my internet angel, but I mean I feel as though my country and my state have betrayed me as a person, as a citizen.
As you can tell, I have difficulty expressing myself. This is an emotional
issue. But it is a human issue. 
Thank you for the opportunity to express my views. All most adoptees want
is the option. The right of choice. Our lives as adults are our own. We
are all entitled to heritage, to know ourselves.
Thank you,
Toni Stovall

Laws should be changed immediately to allow all persons to get their own (real) birth certificates. I feel that no one has the right to alter another person's birth certificate, or to have another person's birth certificate altered. Everyone has the right to know their heritage. Protection of the parents should not even be considered.
Bobby Evans

Adoptee's rights or lack thereof....
My father was adopted and my daughter-in-law was adopted.... Her three children will really have a hard time knowing their heritage, medical history, etc... It is WRONG - WRONG - WRONG to deprive them of this information. I hope that the law will be changed so that families can be reunited when this is the right thing and so that innocent decendants don't suffer for our ignorance.
Katherine L. Brown

I definitely know what you are talking about with our medical history. I am a 45 year old grandmother that desperately needs to find my birth mother for my grandson Parker who is very ill and for myself. I have started having seizures and the doctor thinks it is from something during my birth. I have had ALL the tests and they are normal. I have gone so far as to call that stupid 1-800-us-search. I gave them all the information that I had which
is my birth mothers name( Carol D. Myers), date of her birth (12/17/38) and where she was born( New York City). And all I got back (has as we say down south) hogwash. Please if you can direct me where to go with this information to find her please email me back. I really need to find her ASAP. I forgot to tell you I was born in Mobile, Alabama at the Alan Long
Memorial Home. And I was adopted by Horace & Zelma Fink from Anniston, Alabama on 10/02/53. My date of birth is 07/28/53 and I was named Rosemary Madonna by the nuns at the home. But I go by Gina. That is another long family story for another time.
Thank you in advance for you help.
Gina Barnett

As an adoptee, it has taken me 45 years to realize - ADOPTEES, WE ARE A MINORITY!!! We are the ONE MINORITY where gender, race, color, and creed are irrelevant! The ONLY ones who have the legitiate right to choose and to search is the one person that adoption is centered around - the adoptee. The birth certificate belongs not to the government, adoptive parent, or birth parent, but to the person in which it describes. With so many other groups of minorities getting their rights, I just dont know why we don't all band together as adoptees - UNITED - and go to Washington DC, as do the other minorities, and demand our rights! Unification is the KEY. (We are not organized). After all, isn't that what America is supposed to be about?  "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness?" Sometimes, joining together is the only way these things can be acomplished. That birth certificate does no one any good except for the person whose name is on the document . It is that person who must present the document at all ages - even social security, where I have heard some adoptees have a terrible time getting their BC's past Social Security. Adoptees, it is NOW time for us to stand up, and be recognized as Adult individuals.
Those of us who are 21 and over have a DUTY, honor-bound, for the younger minors who will have to face the same things we have been fighting for decades - to erase the stigma of adoption, and stop allowing the government to treat us as if we are still babies. Birthchildren have not been told what they can and cannot do with their lives. Therefore, adoptees should be accorded the same rights. The right to search is out of hand, and it's time to take our lives, and OUR choices back. It is not we who must prove to others the reason why we choose to search or not; it is they who must prove to us why we cannot.
Kim Kelley
Barling, Arkansas
God bless & have a great day!!!

Adoptee's opinion
Under our legal and social services system, although they claim to have the best interests of the children at heart, those children are often treated with the same respect as any other "property." We are "deeded over" from one set of parents to another. It's that simple. Birthparents give up possession and adoptive parents take possession. The law claims our due process rights have not been violated, but that's not true.
The sealing of records, which was begun to shield adoptees from the "shame" of illegitimacy has been institutionalized to protect birthparents. While I recognize that relinquishing a child was in most cases very painful for the birthparents, and in many cases may have been accomplished only under duress, at least there was lip service paid to their wishes. Adoptees who want to find out about their birthparents often must get permission from those same birthparents to contact them. In other words, they get the opportunity to reject their child twice!
Arizona has a confidential intermediary system. Interestingly, however, while the adoptive parents can retain an intermediary to conduct a search once the adoptee has reached 18, the adoptee herself must wait until she is 21! In other words, she can legally vote, drive a potentially lethal weapon (also known as a car), smoke herself to death, get married and have children of her own, all before she can legally obtain information about her
birthparents! Please, tell me the rationale behind that!
All adoption records, both court and social service, should be open to
search by adoptees and birthparents alike.
Mary Popovich
Phoenix, Arizona

I was adopted in Florida in 1959 as a newborn. I finally found my birthmother in 1990 on my own. However, I still cannot get any information about my birthfather. I think it is highly unfair that I cannot even have access to files that might lead to health information concerning my children and me. I don't want to cause ANYBODY any problems. I don't even think my birthfather is aware that I exist and I wouldn't do anything to hurt him or his
family. I just feel I am entitled to the right to know who he is.
Bridgette Williams

I am a birth parent who has just started my search. there are not very many people who know I have a daughter I gave up 33 years ago, I have often wondered what I would do or say if she ever contacted me , since starting my search I have read so many adoptees pleas and some are heart breaking trying to find who they are and who they look like , I can not
imagine that feeling of not knowing where I came from and who I look like, and to know medical history is so very important. It is hard for me to comprehend as an adult that if I try to get my daughters birth certificate I will be unable to do so ,and with her being 33 yrs old she will not be able to get it, I can not understand the reasoning around this, if she uses it to try to find me or her father and we don't want any contact , I think as an adult we should have that right to tell her, the government shouldn't be speaking for us. When we as birthmothers sign adoption papers usually we are young and unmarried, we haven't really lived yet and believe me a lot of pressure was put on us back then to do "THE RIGHT THING". I havn't written to anyone or really put an effort into my search yet, I have only been signing at most of the adoption and reunion sites on line, thinking if my daughter is looking for me she would be on line also.. But after reading some of the stories from adoptees about not knowing they were adopted , or their birth dates have been changed, I have decided to put more effort into it and try to get some information from the state she was born. All tho I have heard and read that North Caroline is one of the hardest states
to get information from, I have been checking up on the state on line and read a week or so ago that they may be starting a mutual consent registery there , and if I understood it right it will begin in July of this year. I do hope my daughter has been told she was adopted and
decides to sign a consent form because come July I will be sending for a form to fill out so she will know I am here and ready to meet her under any conditions she may want. I'm sorry this is so long , but the government has absolutley no right to tell my daughter that I do not want to be contacted so she can't have the most important document that
is souly hers"HER BIRTH CERTIFICATE" Thank You for your
time to read this and I hope all your effort will help.

My name is Jeannie Miller. I am a TX born and adopted. I have a genetic disorder that will one day probably leave me in a wheel chair. I am unable to get proper treatment because Texas law says I can't have my Birth family's names or even know their whereabouts. I do know that my Birth mom had 2 other children, so I am denied even my siblings' names.

I feel my civil rights have been stepped on in a big way.  Any other non-adoptee can call Mom or Aunt Joe and get updated medical information. I would or could if I was just allowed to know their names!!

Personal contact wouldn't even be needed. I could research death cetificates to find a wealth of information. Like "What killed Grandpa or How did Uncle Jeff die" was is heart problems, stroke, or just old age. I can't even find that out without a name.

My children have suffered from this lack of info too. In 1986 I gave bith to a child with numerous medical problems. This poor baby had to endure so many unnecessary medical tests just because I didn't have any medical history. My 2 oldest children will have no idea if their children will have the same problems as myself and this child. My oldest son has already decided he won't have any children because of this. The doctors have refused to give him a vasectomy due to his young age, 21, but I am sure he will have it done none the less when he finds a doctor to do it.

Don't these politicians see what misery they have heaped upon my children and me. There are thousands of us out there faced with this problem. When will they wake up or are they so scared that that little indiscretion they had in college will come out of the closet and ruin their careers?

Wake Up America. We are being lied to, we are having our rights stripped from us one at a time. Even the family of slaves have a better chance of finding their roots then we do.

Jeannie Miller
Born in FT Worth TX 5/31/58 in Volunteers of America Maturnity Home
to alias "Mona" DOB 2/24/30 from Oklahoma

I am so happy to hear that I am not the only person angry with this procedure.
I was adopted when I was 10 years old by my stepfather--with my father's consent.
Now, I can't get a copy of my birth certificate, it doesn't matter that I have an old copy of the ORIGINAL and I would just like a copy of the amended certificate stating my stepfather's name...In fact the state of California insists that I wasn't even born there! I have the name of the hospital, the time, and so on but according to the state I don't
exist. I tried contacting the city I was adopted in and they told me that I need to get a court order for any release of paperwork.... And I only wanted to resume my maiden name after my divorce. Heaven forbid I actually NEEDED it.
Thanks for letting me vent.
Lisa Marie McLeod? McCoy? Kirk?

Thanks for getting back to me. I should have told you, too, that with my first daughter my parents were certainly ashamed that I was unmarried and pregnant. I was 18 and fully intended to keep my baby but they sent me to an unwed mother's home out of state. I kept my daughter, who is now 37, but in the four or five months that I was there, only one other
girl kept her baby. I know from talking to many of these gals that they are looking for these kids today. Times have changed and open adoptions seem to be the norm.

I was a rebel and ahead of my time. Do you know that because I was an unwed mother, I couldn't even get a Civil Service job with the federal government? One lady finally told me that maybe when she was 18 months old or so.... They wouldn't DARE do that now! I was honest and put down "single, one child" on my job applications. I worked for one week at
Conoco Oil until the background investigation was completed and I was fired--an illegitimate child was the reason. I put it down on the application! Then I got lucky and was honest again but the boss changed my application from "single" to "divorced" and told me never to tell anyone. I didn't and until I got married, continued to put down
"divorced" on job applications.

If you believe my information will help adoptees on how "not to approach biological parents" go ahead and use parts of my letter with my e-mail address if you like. Times have changed and adoptees need to know that times are not the same as they were 40, 50, 60 years ago.
Thanks for listening!

I believe the system after age 18 should divuldge all info. To the GOVERNMENT: you sure are hurting alot of us reaching place inside us that can only be hurt by some one
who is close to us.What gives you the right to know us so well and keep so much of yourself in the closet? Kiowa, hurt in Missouri, back to you, the angel who has helped so many
Dennis Key

My Rights
I feel that adopted children have no rights at all. We are given away to a hopefully loving family but will never really know who we are. We are forced to live with the fact that someone gave us away when we were children. We have to remember that fact everyday. We are not told why. While the birth mother has all of the answers. Her life made easy
because at least she knows why she gave you away.  Being adopted not only do I not know my family's medical history but my son will not know his medical history on his mother side. Everytime I go for a medical checkup or I take my son for a checkup I am unable to give
the doctors the information necessary for a healthy life. I just keep hoping that there is not something there in the medical history that I need to know early on.
Also since my Birth mother has all of the rights. I may never know my father or even if he knows of my existence.
My feeling is that if someone gives up their child at some point that child is going to want to know why. That child will also one day be an adult and need their medical history.
How can the government tell us we don't have the right to those answers?
I am not angry that I was given away for adoption but I feel I have the right to know why I was given away and what my family's medical history is.
Doreen Gray-Jones

I am very much in favor of opening adoptees records. I am a 47 year old adult female who is beginning to have medical problems and yet I cannot access the records that would help my doctor. I don't know if any of my four children will have problems. My daughter (21) and I both had the EXACT SAME gyn problem and the doctors really needed to know about mother, aunts, etc., and we had to say "oh well, I'm adopted" It is a god given right to know this information and yet we are told by the state of California that I do not deserve this information. I don't need a name or an address if the birth parents don't want to give it. I want the state to require updating medical information for adoptees every 5 years by
the birth parents for LIFE. No questions asked. Just information. Who am I? Who are my children? We will never know and that saddens me.

Dear Linda,
How Can I begin to thank you for what you've given us? You will surely be blessed.
I thought it would be easier than it has been to find my son when I felt the time was right but that was a fairy tale. I went to Kentucky to the library to look up his birth record and it was as though he was never born(Even now to think of it it is so heart wrenching and I have to remind myself to hold on). He was not on the micro-fiche and he was not in the books (the books were in such a mess-the ones left) because so many pages are missing. What will it take before we realize that everything we do comes out, the destruction on those books is unforgiveable and will not stop the inevitable.
I've never tried to hide my situation and it is for that reason I'm for the records being opened. How can the powers that be have that much power over so many lives and it
be so totally wrong? We have our original B-certicates and take them for granted. We know who we are. I can understand it if the child is under age but to have to go to such extremes to get it once an adult makes no sense to me. I've stayed away from this issue as long as I have my son and now I can keep quiet no longer. Please somehow, somebody, please hear us and let the records be more accessible to those who want the access. Don't put us in the same category as those who still need the cloak.  I live in Columbus, Ohio in Franklin Co. I'm here to say I'll help in any way I can, tell me what can I do?
Lynn F. Gibson

Not long ago in the state of Oregon, we voted in the right to have to our original birth certificate opened upon majority. I now understand why so many people no longer care whether they vote or not. Because of a handful of people, it has been blocked and a judge will decide whether it is constitutional or not.
Until 1957, adoptees in this state had the right to their original birth certificates. The change came as a misguided effort to protect the adoptee, NOT THE BIRTHPARENTS. The original 4 (and now 7) birthparents who are contesting it are saying that the ruling in 1957 was to protect birthparents and that they were promised confidentiality. Most birthparents that you talk to will tell you that they were never told any such thing. Those people and the few on this comment board who are against it because they don't want
to be found, make me both angry and sad.
I was fortunate to find my birthmother right after my 47th birthday, the end of August 1997. I remember the first time I heard her voice on the telephone...I knew right away who it was without being told, because I KNEW HER VOICE. We had always lived in the same state and were able to spend a great deal of time together. If we weren't together, we spent time on the phone. We both thought we had a lifetime but she was killed 8 weeks after I
found her. I can't tell you what a great gift it was to know her and what a void I feel now that she was gone. I feel fortunate that the girl who gave birth to me and gave me up for adoption, grew into a wonderful caring woman who loved me and wanted to have me in her life.
The connection was important for many reasons. That missing link was filled that we adoptees feel. The medical information that I now know about has been very important to have, my granddaughter's pediatrician needed medical background because of a problem that came up when she was an infant. I also now know that many of the females in the family end up with breast cancer late in life.
This issue is so very important, please don't listen to those who are giving incorrect information. Reunions may not be the right thing or work out for everyone, but the connection at least is needed. I believe that we have the right to our original birth certificate and that by the age of 21, we have the sensitivity and understanding to do what is best for all concerned.
Thanks for hearing me out,
Linda Walker

I read your letters about original birth certificates and I agree, adoptees have a right to them. However, in our case, we have legal birth certificates with false information on them, so it is of no help to us.
If you know of any other Cole babies, please let them know that we now have our own registry located at:
Thank you.
Robert & Melanie Haviland

Adoptees have no rights as to their birthcertificates. They have the only birthcertificate they need. The one the courts gave them when their bparent decided to let someone else be their parent. You all have no right to go in and destroy someone else's life. Find your
birthparents and then tell them oh I just wanted to know if I looked like you or what you were like. You think you have the right to destroy the life of your bparents and then say, oh but leave me alone I have parents I have family, and then the birthparent gets to go thru the same hell all over again of losing their child for a second time. Only now they know who you are and where you are and you, the adoptee, has the right to say to yourself I wanted medical history, or I wanted to know my roots. Your roots are what your "real parents" have given you. What your adopted parents have provided you, because us bparents were so selfish as to give you away like you were garbage. If you want medical history so bad, then change the laws so that when babies are adopted they need to have more information available to the "aparents" And leave us birthmothers alone instead of putting us thru hell again. We haven't lived thru enough by giving you up once.

Editor's Note - Sheila recieved many comments from you all, and she has changed her opinion because of your correspondence with her.  She asked that I leave the above, but include the following:

"I have gotten several message's from people who have read my message on your page. Most have been from non-adoptees, but have friends that are adopted. I don't think I addressed myself properly here. I need to remind myself that the subject here is "the right to your original birth certificate." Okay, I will agree everyone has the right to their
original birth certificate. I think it should be relinguished with no problems, to the adopted child at age 21. This will give the adult adoptee a chance to see their birth parents name, and to be reassured that that they have the correct date of birth and place of birth.
However, they should not be allowed to use it to find their bparents. By law, the birthparents should have some rights also. People that write to me have not done the research I have done in the past year and a half. Only the adoptees side seems to be important here. Well bparents also have rights. I have been on several e-mail lists with
bmothers, Most who are searching, some who have found, and others who do
not wish to be found.  I have also been on email list for adoptees and seen what they have to say. All of them are looking. But, they want to look and find on their own terms. They, are not looking deep enough into themselves, as to what they want. So the subect here is does everyone have a right to their birth certificates. Yes....does this give them the right to look for bparents with out counseling or thought...NO. NO. Yes, I was united
with my bson over a year ago.  That is why I have studied this subject so much. He is a wonderful man with a beautiful family. "

First of all I am an adult adoptee.
My wife's parents operate a Grade A dary farm in Wisconsin. What bearing does that fact have on my being an adult adoptee? It will become all to clear shortly... I was born, and relinquished for adoption in 1955 in Wisconsin and adopted in 1957 also in Wisconsin.
Under present Wisconsin State Laws, I am forbidden from possessing my "impounded" birth certificate without getting a court ordered release.
Now to establish the relivance of my in-laws being dary farmers... My father-in-law is allowed to know more about his DAIRY CATTLE than I am allowed to know about myself!! Any people who own registered dogs and/or cats are also allowed to know more about their PETS than I am allowed to know about myself.
There is something very seriously wrong with any system that places human beings below their pets and below their cattle!!
Michael Kirst

I am writing to you as birth mother. I have two girls that I gave up at birth for adoption. I was able to chose the families they went to and am very proud and comfortable with my
decision. However, my oldest child is going to turn 16 this October. The time is drawing near that she may want (if she has knoweldge of her adoptive status) to contact me. This is a very exciting and precarious time for me. I read your article and could  not agree more. Even if my daughter choses not to contact me, I would hope that she would have the ways and means to discover some of who she is and where she came from. I can not
fathom why this has to be some deep, dark, terrible secret. I am not a monster. Neither is her birth father. Neither is this child. I feel that by keeping her true history a secret, it only condems the individual to a life of unanswered questions, haunting them and making them feel that there is some awful reason as to why they can not obtain this information. It is every individual's decision and right to this information. If they chose to receive this information, so be it. Who on this earth has the right to say no?
I commend you on your quest and pray for all parties involved that this ridiculous, ugly method will come to an end.
God bless you.
Diane Brown

My name is Dawn Gibson Almeida, I am 25 years old I have been searching for my biological family for about 10 years now. I go through ups and downs ( emotionaly) I actually had a Florida state official tell me as far as the State was concerned I had no rights and to just give up things would never change.  It is really hard for me now that I have two
children of my own, one day they will want to know about themselves and I won't be able to tell them because someone took it upon themself to forbid me from knowing who i really am.  I am not mad at my birth family but I do think that just out the fact that they made me they owe it to me to answer my questions.  I didn't ask to be put up for adoption it was
not my mistake, so why do I have to suffer for their privacy?   That is how I see it.   No matter what their life is now I'm sure it would be a relief to know how I turned out, and to know that they have two beautiful grandchildren who will sadly not know who they are.  I believe that the adoptee is the one who should decide when they turn of age if they want
info on themselves, I know at times it is hard to deal with the emptiness I have inside and no one can fill that hole but my "real" family.
Dawn Almeida
792 Cecelia Ave S.E.
Palm Bay, FL  32909

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