Are You My Mother?

It seems like every day on social media, more and more people are advertising to find their birth families.

Portrait of two playful young girls asking for apologize or permission for something

Beyond the question of why they feel they must do so lies a much more fundamental question: why are they denied this knowledge?

For every child born, an original birth certificate (OBC) is issued, with the child’s birth date, time, place, and parents’ names. If that child is adopted, the birth certificate is amended to reflect the adoptive parents’ names and the child’s new name, if this is changed. It is the amended birth certificate (ABC) that the adoptee uses throughout their life. The OBC and other adoption records are sealed by the court, and are unavailable to the adoptee… ever.

The 14th Amendment provides that all laws be applied equally to all persons, without discrimination. However, adoptees are being denied access to their own original birth certificates, while non-adopted citizens have direct legal access to their OBCs. Are adoptees and their parents part of some suspect class of people who need a separate set of laws that apply only to them? Certainly not, and denying an adoptee access to a vital record that is freely accessible to every other citizen is a violation of rights that should clearly not be tolerated.

Smiling family

By denying adoptees access to their own personal records, they are forced to resort to begging on social media or avail themselves of DNA services that connect blood relatives who register with their companies, potentially risking the privacy of their blood relatives. “Giving adoptees access to their own vital birth certificates is the fair and equitable thing to do in a nation that prides itself on upholding human and civil rights, and it is also the safer, kinder and more private way to protect birth parents allowing what are personal and family matters to remain private. Maintaining sealed adoption records does not protect mothers and fathers of birth but rather puts them in far more jeopardy of public exposure.

It is time for all states to get on-board and restore these rights that have been denied for too long. Adoption is intended to provide children a “better” life and is purported to be “the same as if” being born into one’s family. Let’s make that a bit more true by ending discriminatory laws that treat adopted persons differently from everyone else.”

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