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Friday, January 25, 2013
The State Stole My Birthright
I woke up this morning thinking about how the state stole my birthright and I felt indignant.
This is not anything new, for those of you who know that I participate in Adoptee Rights; but I have, as of late, been thinking about it in a new way.
The state of Illinois, with all its wisdom and power, hid from me for 40 years of my life, my God-given human right to know my mother’s name. And the state of Illinois got away with this injustice by using faulty laws that violated my due process rights. What is due process? A right that every United States citizen has. Let’s look at some definitions:
"No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, property or of any right granted him by statute, unless matter involved first shall have been adjudicated against him upon trial conducted according to established rules regulating judicial proceedings, and it forbids condemnation without a hearing, Pettit v. Penn., La.App., 180 So.2d 66, 69." Black’s Law Dictionary, 6th Edition, page 500.
"The essential elements of due process of law are notice, an opportunity to be heard, and the right to defend in an orderly proceeding." Fiehe v. R.E. Householder Co., 125 So. 2, 7 (Fla. 1929).
"To dispense with notice before taking property is likened to obtaining judgement without the defendant having ever been summoned." Mayor of Baltimore vs. Scharf, 54 Md. 499, 519 (1880).
"An orderly proceeding wherein a person is served with notice, actual or constructive, and has an opportunity to be heard and to enforce and protect his rights before a court having power to hear and determine the case. Kazubowski v. Kazubowski, 45 Ill.2d 405, 259, N.E.2d 282, 290." Black’s Law Dictionary, 6th Edition, page 500.* (www.criminalgovernment.com)
So I return to my original premise that the State (of Illinois) stole my birth right. I was an infant when my adoption occurred. I had no attorney of my own protecting my due process rights.
The state of Illinois, up until 2011, withheld all adopted citizens’ original birth certificates from them, with the exception of those very few adoptees who had a "match" in Illinois' useless adoption registry.
A U.S. citizen in this country who cannot get the legal document of their own birth? Seems preposterous but absolutely true for the majority of adopted citizens in this country.
It is even more ridiculous when you factor in the post-911 problems of some adoptees’ not being able to obtain driver’s licenses and passports.
In Illinois, an adoptee within the Circle of Trust pushed a bill to open Illinois adoptees’ original birth certificates and even though the majority received those unsealed original birth certificates, a minority still cannot access theirs. So now, the minority adoptees are stuck with a terrible situation. Why?
It’s called a Disclosure Veto and this is where the state gives a minority of birth mothers the power to deny an adopted citizen their right to an accurate copy of his/her birth certificate. So now we have gone from the State violating the adoptee’s rights to allowing another U.S. citizen to violate an adoptee’s rights. And we call that progress?
As somebody who was born in the state of Illinois in the 1960s, I was deprived of an opportunity to be heard and protect my rights before a Court (my adopted parents’ rights were protected though).
My God-given right to know my family name, to know where I was born, to enjoy relationships with members of my birth family, to know which diseases run in my family and to know when my mother began menstruating and went into menopause or if she had breast cancer, to see somebody who looks like me, to know what strengths and talents run in my family, to be able to build an accurate family tree in fourth grade, to know my ethnicity, and to hear my birth narrative that didn’t start with
"And we picked you up at the adoption agency . . ."
All were stripped from me, a U.S. citizen.
My pursuit of happiness was sidelined while others’ happiness was put first (my original mother’s and my adopted parents’). The adults in my adoption case had their legal rights protected but mine were not considered important.
I acknowledge that my right to be a legal member of my new family was itself a protection by law; however, this protection came at a cost of violating my other rights as a human being and a U.S. citizen.
And the cycle continues.
My daughter, who is 8 years old, was adopted in the State of Ohio.
Her birth certificate – her most important first piece of paper that tells her something about who she is and where she came from- is being held under lock and key at the Vital Statistics of the State of Ohio.
She may be able to lay eyes upon it when she turns a certain age that Ohio deems appropriate. But Ohio adoptees born between 1964 and 1996 cannot join my daughter in that right to obtain her original birth certificate.
What the state of Ohio didn’t consider when creating their faulty laws is that now-adult adopted citizens who were deprived of life and liberty would never allow their own child to experience the same thing.
I have a copy of my daughter’s original birth certificate sitting right next to me that does not include a legal fiction that I birthed her. I have her amended birth certificate also sitting right next to me that shows I birthed her (it’s amazing how documents can change biology!).
Lucky for my daughter, I ordered her birth certificate before her adoption was final. I urge any adoptive parent who can, do the same. Or better yet, DEMAND from your attorney that you receive a copy before it’s sealed.
As an adopted U.S. citizen who is raising another adopted U.S. citizen, I will fight for my daughter’s civil, legal and human rights and those of other adopted citizens.
Because as a U.S. Citizen, I find it abhorrent and unacceptable that the majority of states in this country continue, each day, with each new adoption, to steal somebody else’s birth right.