Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Adoptees & the "Birther" movement

I wrote this letter to the editor in reply to an Op/Ed piece in the Chicago Tribune about the "birthers" movement. They"birthers" are the kooks who think President Obama cannot be president because he doesn’t have a “proper birth certificate.”

Don’t worry, all you vigilant “birthers.” I can assure you that President Obama’s credentials are as good as gold. Here’s why. He has a United States of America passport.

We adoptees are intimately acquainted with getting a passport. Our original birth certificates were ordered impounded and sealed in perpetuity on the day our adoption was finalized. So we don’t have the ordinary means of proving our birth when applying for a passport.

I guarantee one and all that if President Obama did not have an acceptable, genuine, 100% authentic original birth certificate – any ordinary worker at any passport office in our country (including Hawaii) would have caught up with him years ago. The feds just don’t give out passports to anyone who asks. You do it their way, or you stay home.

I am an adoptee and a survivor of “Sorry! Bad Birth Certificate – No Passport for You” experience, and let me tell you, it’s not a pretty story.

I was denied a passport in 1993 because the old Certificate of Birth that had been handed down to me by my adoptive parents wasn’t sufficient. It didn’t say where I was born.

So I set out on a 2-week odyssey to somehow adequately prove my place of birth. The feds gave me choices. First choice was to produce an Adoption Decree, which ironically, is one of the documents that is impounded and sealed forever upon adoption. That left me with three other choices and these were only to get a black-cover, temporary, 1-year passport. In order to get this, I would have to produce a family bible, school records, or I could produce someone who had witnessed my birth. Being adopted, these choices were not really swell options for me.

With 3 days to go, the state of Illinois came to my rescue. They did whatever it is they do that enabled them to issue me an Amended Birth Certificate. This is a document for adoptees. It’s a mish-mosh of information mostly attesting that I am the biological child of my adoptive parents. But it was my golden ticket for a passport. I was born in Chicago, Illinois, says my Amended Birth Certificate. And that was good enough for the passport office.

So President Obama, just renew your passport every 10 years and you’ll be fine. And birthers, why don’t you just give up already and go away!

Thursday, August 06, 2009


When’s the last time you heard…?

“Adoptee groups must never publically criticize the actions of another adoptee organization – it is bad for the total adoption reform movement.”

“Adoptees must stick together.”

“If we don’t support each other, no one else will.”

“You mustn’t poke your nose into a state in which you don’t live because you don’t understand what is right and wrong, good or bad, for that particular state.”

How tired I am of hearing these excuses whenever I publically disagree with a bill or a position or an event held by another adoptee or adoptee group. I am just like any citizen of the United States. I can exercise my freedom of speech and speak out for or against any piece of legislation, in any state, for any reason. I’ve been told that this is name-calling, ignorance, sabotage. But it’s not – it’s debate, dissent, disagreement.

Adoptees don’t belong to one huge fraternity. We have not taken an oath of allegiance to each other. We have never sworn to uphold the “party line.” We are individuals who happen to have been adopted.

Being an adoptee does not define me. Being a citizen with the courage and conviction to speak my mind does.

Three cheers for America, where I can criticize government, write about elected officials, and shout my opinions from the rooftop.