Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 13 - You & Adoptee Rights

You & Adoptee Rights. Do you have access to your OBC? If you do, have you gotten yours yet? What did that mean to you? If you haven't, what's stopping you? If you don't have access, how does that directly affect you (if at all)?
I don’t have my original birth certificate (OBC) and I’ve never really had any desire to get it (and I’m not ever sure if I can or not). I don’t know if it’s because my birth certificate doesn’t list parents on it; it’s just an oversized credit card like laminated piece of paper that lists my (adoptive) name, my date of birth and the date my birth was registered. That was one thing that I always thought was a bit hinky as a kid. The registration date is a full year after my date of birth. What I didn’t understand as a kid was that that was the date that this birth certificate, with my adoptive name, was issued, after my adoption was finalized.

I know that having their OBC is a big deal for a lot of adoptees, but it’s not for me. Nor is it for any of the other adoptees that I know in real life. Maybe that’s a Canadian/American difference? I don’t really know. I don’t see my birth certificate as a lie, or a cover up. It is simply a matter of record of who I am. I am not Colleen Wilson, though that was my name for the first 6 weeks of my life.

I don’t often have to use my birth certificate for ID anymore, but if I did, I would not want it to somehow indicate on there that I had been adopted, something that I’ve seen some adoptees advocate for. Sharing whether or not I was adopted is something that I should have the choice to do, and not be something that was communicated every time I signed up for swimming lessons as a kid. I also don’t think that I would want/be able to use my original birth certificate, with my original name, as it is no longer valid.

Birth certificates are certainly an area of adoption that can be complicated, but I don’t think people should tie their identity into a government issued piece of paper.
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