Aahh freak out! Le Freak, c'est Chic

I'm freaking out tonight, reading adoption related blogs.

Bam! A poem that has the blogger declaring "Although the papers are gone, he knows that the name they documented is important, that it's the one thing that's truly his.
It's no different for my kids, or for any adopted person. What, for the love of God, is so hard to understand about that?"

For the love of anything, it IS different for me. My name, not the one my biological mother gave me at birth, is the name that's truly mine. I've had huge regrets ever since changing my maiden name upon marrying. My married names have never felt like they were truly mine, in my head I always thought of myself as my maiden name. I wish I'd thought to give my son my maiden name as his middle name. Maybe it's because I know my birth given name, a name given to me by a stranger, a piece of information that's allowed me to search for my biological family. Or maybe, just maybe, it's because I am not that name on my adoption paper. I am the name my self grew up being, the name with which I became the person I am. MY NAME IS MY NAME.

Bam! You can't discuss shit parenting with us because YOU'RE NOT ADOPTED! We don't care if you have a brother who's adopted. We don't care if you worry about sharing DNA with crappy parents. We don't care if it happened to you too because you're not adopted so you don't get it and we don't care!

Well you know what? Shitty adoptive parents have bio kids too and they deserve just as much consideration, as much empathy, as much advocacy as adopted kids! Being biological to brutal parents doesn't make anything better, and it could make it worse. Shame on adopted people for not allowing themselves, or each other, to acknowledge this.

Bam! Too bad some adopted people can't go on the info cruise because you need a passport. WHAT?!?! COME ON!! I've read this before, and I'm assuming this is a U.S. thing, that adopted people can't obtain passports because they don't have original birth certificates. Really? REALLY?!? I can't believe it. That cannot be true. If it were true, why in the hell is this not plastered everywhere??? Extra! Extra! U.S. citizens cannot get passports because they are legally adopted! And the U.S. sits in judgement of other countries and how they treat their citizens?

Bam! A blog post about first parents discussing their child's adoptive parent's ability to provide financially. A post about how it makes the adoptee feel bad for the first parents to point out the adoptive parents are better because they have more money. A blog post that doesn't question this behavior of the first parent, that doesn't explore the lack of culpability of first parents and THEIR ability to make the adoptee feel guilty, to feel bad for having more materially. No matter the circumstance, all parents should resist the temptation to rationalize the adoption in an attempt to make themselves feel better whether it be by pointing out the adopted person was better off financially or by claiming to be victimized by adoption agencies or adoptive parents. No matter the parentage, no matter the situation, it's got NOTHING to do with the adoptee as a person.


I have to admit there's been one recent dialogue that's given me a few "whoa" moments. Whoa at the courage of some to speak up in spite of potential internet bullying and slander. I can't say for sure if these brave souls knew just what they may be getting themselves into but they found out quickly and they still spoke up. I almost typed they found out and still weren't afraid but I don't know that to be true. Perhaps, like myself, they were afraid, but spoke up in spite of it.

Cheers to those brave souls who speak up even when they're intimidated or worried about repercussion. To those that speak not to provoke reaction or controversy, but in the face of it.


  1. I kid you not, being adopted does prevent adoptees from getting passports in the U.S. And driver's licenses, and jobs. Depending on the laws and policies in an individual state, adoptees may be discriminated against when seeking employment or a driver's license because they cannot show factual birth documentation.

    Because of the Western Travel Initiatives of 2001, adoptees whose ABCs were issued after a certain time frame of the OBC are not considered a valid form of ID. To solve this, some Vital Services offices are going and re-amending the amended certificates to change the date issued to fit within the time frame (yes, more lies). My grandmother, a private domestic infant adoptee from the 30's, does not have a birth certificate of any kind. Her state Senator obtained a passport for her.

    You're right, it is a huge, huge, huge issue. But when we go to address it, the answer is always "but what if your mother doesn't want to know you?" (yup, you ask them for a passport and the "logical" answer they think they can give you is that you'll harass your mother--go figure).

    I had four names by the time I was 21 lol. My birth name, my foster alias (complete with a fake first AND last name), my adopted name, and my married name. I like my birth name. If it had been kept, I wouldn't mind. I like my adopted name too. It is what it is. I consider all four names to be mine.

    Many of these issues are so frustrating aren't they?

  2. Hey Campbell, thanks for commenting after me on the other site so I could find you (and for jumping a bit to my defense). You're my hero of the weekend, so I will of course be following in the future. :)

  3. I have experienced a lot of rude comments from talking about adoption from my side of things. It's what basically just made me not talk. I have been trying to break the silence by talking more. Lately, I find it easier because I do know things about my daughter because I have contact.
    I am glad that my daughter is carrying her name at birth except the last name of course.Thanks for sharing.

  4. "being adopted does prevent adoptees from getting passports in the U.S. And driver's licenses, and jobs. Depending on the laws and policies in an individual state, adoptees may be discriminated against when seeking employment or a driver's license because they cannot show factual birth documentation."

    Prevent them from EVER getting a passport? EVER getting a diver's or a particular job?

    Or they were hassled about whatever document they were using to prove their birth or citizenry? Not that hassled is ok, because it's not fair to be hassled just because you're adopted but people get hassled for other reasons too when it comes to ID, hassles not of their own making.

    Anyway, if it is as you portray it, it's nuts.

    I think it wasn't that uncommon for grandparents and great-grandparents, adopted or not, to not have a birth certificate. I'm pretty sure one of my great grandfathers never really knew for sure exactly how old he was.

    Glad your grandma got her passport, that's what state senators are for!

  5. Campbell,

    There are many of us adoptees whose adoption was finalized after the 1 year that fall into this grey area. Otherwise you have to provide the court documents of your name changed - sorry they are sealed. See the delimma? Here are the requirements and note they do specify if you were adopted but only for those under the age of 18.
    Passport requirements - proof of US citizenship
    You can prove your US citizenship with one of the following:
    •Original Birth Certificate (if born in the United States);
    •or Old (undamaged) passport;
    •or Original Certificate of Citizenship or FS-240, DS-1350 ( if born outside the US );
    •or Original Certificate of Naturalization issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Office.
    Note: A certified birth certificate has a registrar's raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal, registrar's signature, and the date the certificate was filed with the registrar's office, which must be within 1 year of your birth.

    A Delayed Birth Certificate filed more than one year after your birth may be acceptable if it:
    •Listed the documentation used to create it and
    •Signed by the attending physician or midwife, or, lists an affidavit signed by the parents, or shows early public records.
    If you changed your legal name by way of marriage or otherwise you will need to provide evidence of the name change: a certified copy of either
    - A marriage certificate, or
    - A name change court decree.

    If you do not have a previous U.S. passport or a certified birth certificate, you will need:

    1.Letter of "No Record" issued by the State with your name, date of birth, which years were searched for a birth record and that there is no birth certificate on file for you and
    2.As many of the following as possible:

    •baptismal certificate
    •hospital birth certificate
    •census record
    •early school record
    •family bible record
    •doctor's record of post-natal care
    Note: These documents must be early public records showing the date and place of birth, preferably created within the first five years of your life. You may also submit an Affidavit of Birth, form DS-10, from an older blood relative (i.e. parent, aunt, uncle, sibling) who has personal knowledge of your birth. It must be notarized or have the seal and signature of the acceptance agent.

    If you were born abroad and do not have a Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certificate of Birth on file, you will need:
    1.If you claim citizenship through birth abroad to one U.S. citizen parent:
    ◦Issued by the State with your name, date of birth, which years were searched for a birth record and that there is no birth certificate on file for you.
    ◦Foreign birth certificate;
    ◦Proof of citizenship of your U.S. citizen parent;
    ◦An affidavit of your U.S. citizen parent showing all periods and places of residence or physical presence in the United States and abroad before your birth.
    2.If you claim citizenship through birth abroad to both U.S. citizen parents:
    ◦Your foreign birth certificate;
    ◦Parent's marriage certificate;
    ◦Proof of citizenship of your U.S. parents and an affidavit of your U.S. citizen parents showing all periods and places of residence of physical presence in the United States and abroad before your birth.

    Requirements for a proof of US citizenship for adopted children:

    1.At least one parent of the child is a U.S. citizen, either by birth or naturalization.
    2.The child is under the age of 18.
    3.The child must be residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent after having been lawfully admitted into this country as an immigrant for lawful permanent residence.
    4.If the child has been adopted, the adoption must be final.

  6. Speaking as someone whose DD actually experienced her original name being used in many situations for more than 10 years (and retains it on the Chinese passport), I can testify that her attachment to all her names is complex and hard to read. It is NOT the case of, "that is the original and only me" and "you, you cow, I hate this new name you gave me, which you had no right to do." There are probably about a dozen conversations we've had about different aspects of all her names, not one. In any case, to get technical about it, her Chinese name is not her birth name. Should she discover it (the original) one day, no doubt it will be of great significance to her. But it is not an all or nothing thing.

  7. Also, Amanda and others here are correct. US adoptees have been blogging about their experiences with acquiring certain documents for years now--the ABC is a genuine hindrance at times. Check out this article from 73adoptee who, I believe, also experienced lots of trouble on this front.

  8. "you, you cow" lol'd at this. It is complex Jess and finding out my name given at birth was significant, absolutely. It was an eerie moment, as it was during recent contact with my biological mother where she commented that it was odd to write the name I have now. I'd never thought of her thinking of me as any name prior to that.

    Thanks Sandy, for all that info. Am I to understand you're unable to obtain passport because you fall into this gray area?

  9. @ O Solo actually I did read that post when I was trying to find out if Canadians couldn't get passports because of being adopted.

    What I'm wondering about is if it's a hindrance or a pain in the butt or if they in fact cannot get passports.

    If it's that it's trouble to get them, that's not fair for sure. It sucks. But it's different than not being able to obtain one at all because of being adopted.

    Just had trouble getting my husband's passport because his birth certificate was all shredded at the spot where a necessary number is located. It was totally annoying and we had to make extra trips and pay more money but he did get it.

    Me getting my passport on the other hand was smooth sailing.

  10. Campbell,

    No, I got my US passport well before 9/11 when I immigrated to Canada. Before then there really wasn't an issue to my knowledge.

  11. Campbell, I know it seems unbelievable that some US adoptees cannot get passports or other government documents. But is *is* true, as Sandy and Amanda have said. There are many people among my friends who have suffered from this.

    We are silenced and hassled. As you said, being hassled isn't okay, but that other people are hassled for other reasons. I don't get your line of reasoning. We should shut up because other people are hassled for other reasons? Are you trying to say that this is a small problem related to others' problems? While you are frustrated by many things other adoptees say, it is unfair to dismiss them just because you haven't been in their shoes. You ask others to be supportive of your stance. Please extend the same courtesy.

    I was adopted by a father with an influential position within the US government. When I was a child, I *had* to have a passport when my family lived abroad. I am sure that it was easier for me to get one because my father could personally grease the wheels. I don't go around saying, "Well, it was no problem for me to get a passport. Why are you whining?" I recognize that I was privileged, that others aren't, and that it's my job to speak out for them and change the situation that exists.

    Some people *do* get their passports eventually, but it takes a long fight. Some people *don't* get them. Those that lack time and resources and information to fight back. I don't know if you've seen how incredibly strange amended birth certificates look. They are half-empty and look cobbled together.

    As for names: I agree that different names mean different things to people. I never liked my maiden name all that much. It's not a particularly beautiful name. I did give it to my sons as their middle name when they were born so that they would feel a tie to my afamily, the only family I'd ever known (I wasn't in reunion at that time). It also meant something important to my adad, and I adore him. I don't like my husband's name all that much, either, but I wanted to have the name last name as my husband and kids. I know, very retro. That said, when I spoke to my fmom about a month ago for the first time (and am unlikely to speak to her again anytime soon), I regretted not asking her if she'd named me. I doubt that she did, but if she did, I want to know. It's part of my identity. It's who I was for those 10 weeks before my aparents brought me home. That means something to *me*, although it might not make sense to anyone else.

  12. Thanks for commenting ms.marginalia.

    I didn't say anything remotely like anyone should shut up, quite the opposite, and I'm not sure who you're quoting when you say "Well, it was no problem for me to get a passport. Why are you whining?" Certainly not me.

    I saw an anonymous poster say on a different blog adopted people couldn't attend a conference on a adoption because they can't get passports. If this is fact it's disgusting, and it's hard for me to wrap my head around how nothing can be done about it.

    I try and imagine it happening to me or someone else here in Canada and what I'd/we'd do about it. I picture it taking seconds for news media to jump all over it and it being addressed by government in fairly short order.

    I get the impression you're offended by me talking about the issue and I'm guessing it's because I see a difference between not being able to get a passport at all and it being difficult to get one.

  13. I am a little offended, but I am trying, politely, to figure out how you're thinking. To engage in dialogue.

    It seems that you're saying that it's not okay if things are impossible, but if it's difficult, well, lots of people have difficulties. That people should get over themselves and buck up if it's difficult. I was simply pointing out that some people don't have the means or knowledge to do that. you said, "people get hassled for other reasons too when it comes to ID, hassles not of their own making." As in the case of your husband, who was tenacious and got his passport in the end. But his certificate was shredded (a mechanical, physical problem) as opposed to his not having the official document all. It's apples and oranges, and the comparison is disingenuous.

    My aparents are visiting, and I was talking about your post with them this morning. They weren't aware of the birth certificate issue. They said the same thing that you did: "Why isn't there more outrage?"

    The problem is that it's stuffed down. When people talk about adoptees getting their OBCs, the argument gets mired down in adoptees vs. first families who were supposedly promised privacy. The ACLU won't speak up for adoptees because they support (at least most chapters do) the first families. All of this is intimately tied up in the adoption industry. The NCFA has tons of money and resources to pour into protecting their interests. The true issue--that adoptees are denied a civil right given to every other citizen in the US--is obfuscated because it would break down the adoption system and its profits. Many politicians in the US are adoptive parents, or bring out the "but I know someone who's adopted who doesn't give a fig about their OBC or their first families." It's not about reunion, it's not about searching, it's about having access to a document that everyone else has by right.

    In your original post, you did say that you couldn't believe this happens. It truly is unbelievable. But I felt you were dismissing it simply because it doesn't fall into what you experienced of adoption, in another country. That's not compassionate.

    I agree with you that there are adoptees with all different kinds of experiences. You have asked others to believe you when you say that you're really okay and that you have no adoption issues. I do. It's great you're happy. I would pass on the elixir of adoption acceptance you've said want to bottle and share, but I get that you want to help others. In that light, please believe those that struggle with things you can't understand because they seem ridiculous to you.

  14. It's not my intent to make anyone feel like I'm dismissing anything I haven't experienced.

    What I've said is I can't understand how denying passports to citizens can go on in a country like the US and the only one who's used the word ridiculous in this dialogue is you.

    I like to discuss things but I don't like having my contribution to the discussion misquoted and/or twisted.

    The part of this post dedicated to passports is intended to be critical but not of the people who can't obtain one.

  15. You made such a big deal of the passport thing, using capital letters and question marks and lots of emphasis. You said you didn't believe it. You said it can't be true. See above. I am not misquoting you. Other commenters told you how it is true. Ridiculous was my word choice, indeed. I own it. I didn't see what you wrote as empathetic, especially comparing what some US adoptees go through to your husband's situation. You said that you imagined if it happened in Canada, the media would be all over it. Perhaps yes, perhaps no. Adoption is a messy thing. The fact is that US adoptees *do* have this ridiculousness, and it is ridiculous, added onto everything else.

    I really am trying to understand where you're coming from and explain why I feel hurt by what I hear as your dismissive tone, and politely so.

  16. I used emphasis such as caps and question marks because I think it's a big deal to be denied a passport because a person is adopted. I say it's unbelievable because it is. I didn't say I don't believe Amanda or Sandy or O Solo Mama. I believe what they, and you, are saying. I'm not even going to go over the change in your use of the word ridiculous. I didn't compare my husbands passport experience to what some adoptees go through but relayed an experience of hassle to get a passport.

    You're right though about my empathy level. I would have more empathy for someone who could not get a passport than someone who had trouble getting one. I would have more empathy for an adopted person who had trouble getting a passport because of being adopted than I would for my husband having trouble getting one because his birth certificate was old and frayed. I would have much empathy for an adopted person who, for whatever reason, couldn't get a passport because they didn't have the means to fight for it. If I knew someone in this situation, I'd help them get it.

    I honestly do appreciate your dedication to discussing this politely with me.

  17. I posted a comment on the GIMH cruise entry about not being able to get a passport....because I cannot get a passport at this time.

    It seems you are just so lucky in every aspect of your life, Cambpell. Even when I was 17 years old and went to get my driver's license, it was a hassle. I had to go back three different times. My fake birth certificate has too many odd dates on it, and it causes officials to inspect it, call their supervisors to inspect it, then call "headquarters" about it. In 1982, this was a hassle, but I eventually got it because my a Mom came with me. She had to show them my childhood doctor's records and my baptismal certificate and also throw a hissy fit to say that my amended birth certificate was indeed, "REAL".

    This is post 9/11. Mommy cannot get you a passport because she says so, and a baptismal record doesn't mean squat. But, even as a 44 year old woman, I had to have her call my agency to get a copy of my adoption decree. Will I ever get my passport? Probably. Like many other adoptees, I am discriminated against by different state governments/agencies due to these practices which were set up as a courtesy to adopters. We should not have to go through these hoops and pay extra money or have to wait ridiculous amounts of time obtaining things that non-adoptees obtain.

    If your hubby had a problem just because his was ripped, then why can you not believe adoptees who say they cannot obtain theirs? I have 4 different dates on my fake/amended bc because I had 2 different states involved in my adoption. I am still at the Mercy of Catholic Charities and my state because of my adoption. BAM!

    You should know by now that this will not be "plastered everywhere". Adoption = money. WE, the adoptees, do NOT matter. But maybe didn't even know that many adoptees have major issues with their fake/amended birth certificates.


  18. It is not just outright refusal that is discriminatory--it is treating the ABC as insufficient documentation when that is what adoptees are stuck with. THAT is discriminatory.

  19. Whether denied completely or just hassled, we are still treated differently than everyone else, and that sucks.

    The adoptees who were denied employement--there is no recourse. Many adoptees are hassled getting their passports or DL's but eventually succeed. Although, I have a few friends who have not yet succeeded. Will they ever get a passport or DL? Who knows.

    When states began recording and issuing vital statistics and documents varied from state to state. My state began in 1898 and began sealing the originals of adoptees in the 1930's. My grandmother was born in a time period where she ought to have had a birth certificate...and I am sure she truly, somewhere, does. The powers that be have always told her it does not exist. My natural grandmother, who was also a legally adopted adoptee from the same time period, has both her OBC and ABC and always has. Go figure.

    Not every state senator is as willing to help a citizen as my adoptive grandmother was helped. Not ever person has the connections to get such help.

  20. "I would have much empathy for an adopted person who, for whatever reason, couldn't get a passport because they didn't have the means to fight for it. If I knew someone in this situation, I'd help them get it."

    Then help US adoptees fight for our OBCs! You *can* help. It isn't going to do much to help people out on an individual level, but we can advocate on a political level.

  21. "It isn't going to do much to help people out on an individual level, but we can advocate on a political level."

    I'm sure you don't mean this how it comes across.

  22. ""Whether denied completely or just hassled, we are still treated differently than everyone else, and that sucks."

    It really does Amanda.

  23. Linda, does it have to do with the COC or is it because of the weird dates on the BC, etc. Let me talk to my brother about this. He works in the state department and I might be able to get some answers from him.


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