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Adopted Adults Using Certified Original Birth Certificates

A few of my adopted friends legally changed their names to what they were prior to adoption.  You don’t need to tell the judge why your changing your name and so adoption was never discussed.  But more than just the name change it was important to them to go back to being who they were completely prior to adoption and so they began using the certified original birth certificates that were kept by their parents or family members and given to them once they reunited. 

They now use their real birth certificates on those rare occassions when one needs to be presented, like to get married or when you start a new job or in order to get a passport.  They have also been able to obtain the birth marriage and death certificates of their relatives which they could not do before because they could not prove their relationship.

Doing this has not altered the fact that they are adopted.  The adoption decree has their real name on it and the names of their parents and the names of the people that adopted them.  The decree, shown in conjunction with the birth certificate would be sufficient if they ever needed to prove that they were adopted into that family, so it is not necessary that the people who adopted them be named on an altered birth certificate.

In many states adopted people have fought hard for access to their birth certificates and some states have partially agreed by giving them access to uncertified copies that they can’t use for identification purposes.  Having an uncertified copy they cannot use is not equal to having one birth certificate and one medically accurate identity.  Its not like adoption turns them into new people; they are not reborn to the people who adopted them.  Its not possible to recycle human beings.  The best thing that could happen is that no amended certificates would ever be issued on adopted people.  If an amended certificate has been issued they should be able to get and use their original and void the amended one because they already have an adoption decree if they need to prove that they are adopted. 

While amending the birth certificate should not be an option for people who adopt, it is in fact only an option and not a mandatory requirement of adoption in most states.  For those of you who have not adopted yet it would be great if you would opt not to amend the birth certificate.  The person you adopt will be so grateful that they still have their rights intact.  Telling the person you adopt the truth that they are adopted but then lying to them and everyone else about it by getting named on their birth certificate is a horrible thing to do to them and it’s better to just be honest with everyone from the start. 

The law does not contemplate the reality that there are often certified originals of adopted people’s birth certificates kept by their family members which are given to them at reunion.  The law has not contemplated the reality that some adopted people simply stop living as an adopted person with an amended certificate when they have the opportunity.  They can’t annul their adoptions, they are still in effect and going back to their real identity has nothing at all to do with how they feel toward the people who adopted them.  In fact the friends I know who did this love the people that adopted them so much that they can’t bear let them experience the truth, which is, ironic considering that must have been how the people who adopted them felt.


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