My husband’s brother recently passed. When he went back to his hometown for the services, he was able to reconnect with family, friends, sights and sounds of his hometown. He was able to visit his father’s grave site for the first time. It was a poignant and moving time for him. His older sister gave him an envelope filled with some of his old papers. Among them was his original birth certificate. Seeing it made me cry because I will never ever be allowed to see or touch my own.
Its funny what triggers that sadness. A little piece of paper that so many people take for granted. The one piece of paper that solely belongs to you. It is all about you and nobody but you.
My husband’s birth certificate has all kinds of information : his time of birth, place, hospital, the attendant, his father’s occupation, and where he worked, how many other children his mother had….. Just amazing. I stared at it for what seemed like hours.
And then I looked at his next piece of memorabilia: his Certificate of Birth Registration. That is what I have. It’s not the same thing. One outlines all the details of one’s entrance into this world and this other just “certif[ies] that a birth certificate has been filed for….. ” It lists your name, the day you were born and the names of both your parents. That is it. Not the same thing at all.
And most adoptees can attest to this. Having one and not the other is a clear impediment to a lot of things. Identification, passports, jobs, travel visas, etc….
This is why I fight against the current adoption laws today. Not because I am against adoption. Let me say it one more time: done ethically and with regard to the child, adoption is a beautiful thing. However, we are not second class citizens. We deserve equal protection under the law. This is why I fight for the children who have no voice right now and have no idea the challenges they are about to face.
Until we are heard, I will fight for every child’s right to have their Original Birth Certificate. To have the one piece of paper in the world that belongs to no one else.