One Little Word That Makes Doors Slam for Searching Adoptees Most of the US population isn't aware that adopted people are denied access to their original birth certificates. They're sealed by law "for our good." Oftentimes, hospital birth records are denied also. No wonder many of my fellow adoptee friends and I wonder if we weren't born. Maybe we're aliens here? Maybe the stork dropped us into our adoptive homes?
The majority of adopted people have birth certificates, but not the real kind. We have the privilege of having amended birth certificates. What does this mean? It means that the original is filed away seemingly forever and a clean sheet of paper is used, putting only the child's new name and the adoptive parent's names. Just wipe the slate clean and don't ever talk, let alone search for birth family.
Nearly 20 years ago, I began my search for my birth records. Profoundly inexperienced, I went to the County Clerk's office. Surely they would be as eager as I to find my birth parents! After all, aren't laws supposed to help and protect us?
Walking through the darkened corridors of the Clinton County Courthouse in St. Johns, Michigan, I realized that all the answers about my missing background lay within the very confines of this old building. Just think--the information shrouded in secrecy for decades was about to be revealed.Perhaps then, when I knew the circumstances of my birth and birth parents, I wouldn't feel different and adopted anymore!
Smiling eagerly, I announced to the clerk that I was adopted and wanted to find my birth family. As her face turned rock hard, I learned my first lesson.Never, never, never tell anyone that you're an adopted person.
What is this non-identifying information she was peddling? Just that! Enough information to infuriate and frustrate anyone. I learned where my birth parents lived and what their occupations were. Big deal.
If the county clerk wouldn't help, surely hospital personnel where I was born would be more compassionate. After all, don't they help people recover from illness and wounds?
Entering the office of hospital records, a woman pulled back the glass window. Forcing a smile, I told her with voice quivering that I was looking for my birth records. This time, I didn't say the "A" word--that one little word that slams doors in adopted people's faces. I learned that lesson well with the county clerk.
The hospital records manager asked me to be seated in the waiting room. All alone, I could hear and feel my heart beating. Then, the same woman who graciously greeted me came out of the office, bent down, looked me straight in the eyes, put her tapping hand on my knee and said, "Now dearie, do we have an adoptee here?"
Jumping to my feet, I walked quickly to the exit. In the disappointment of the moment, I had no idea that twenty years would pass until those hospital birth records were released. The day of release was yesterday--May 13, 2010.
Causes Sherrie Eldridge Supports
Adoption, pro-life, conservativism