Last night, as we discussed the editing on my debut novel Waving Backwards, my adoptive mother (an avid reader of this blog) asked me a question that made me consider the way non-adoptees view the quest of reunited adoptees for access to their OBCs (Original Birth Certificates).
Mom asked, “If they already know their birth families, why is it important for adoptees to get their original birth certificates?”
My immediate response was, “Because it belongs to them. It is a document that every other American has access to, and adoptees are denied access because of decisions that were completely out of their control.”
Pondering this further, I added, “Equality, Mom. We adoptees want the same rights as every other American. We want the paper that officiates our arrival on this earth. It may be a simple piece of paper, but for me it a document that makes my existence more solid. It connects me to the lineage that I fought so hard to discover. It is also a document of healing. It does not heal the wounds of separation, but acts as a band-aid covering at least one gaping crevice of my identity.”
As a believer in birth certificate and adoption record access for all adoptees at the age of eighteen, I continued, “We also want any rights that might be tied to our birth certificates.” In my case, my birth mom is Canadian and as her daughter, I would be granted dual citizenship if I had the birth certificate that proved my lineage.
As a reunited adoptee, my original birth certificate is the first page of my life.
On the promotional page for the adoption search documentary A Simple Piece of Paper filmmaker Jean Strauss quotes adoptee Darryl McDaniels of the musical group RUN DMC as saying, “No one starts a book from chapter one, But adoptees’ live their lives from chapter two. All we want is to know the beginning of our own story.” (View McDaniels adoption story on Fuse)
Explaining the significance of my OBC to a non-adoptee is difficult. It is easy to describe hunger to revelers at a feast, but few will feel the gut-wrenching pain of lack that adoptees feel everyday.
In an effort to obtain equal OBC access, the New York State Adoptee Equal Access Group has started a photo challenge. They ask that you post/tweet/blog/share a photo of yourself (or someone famous) holding a sign that reads- #SimplePieceOfPaper and include the url NYAdoptionEquality.org.
If, like me, you are a New York adoptee, this is a great way to help increase the visibility of our cause. Please post your pic on my FB community page-Adoptees who have found their biological families.
Blessings for equal access,
Waving Backwards, a Savannah novel (SYP Publishing)
Imagine not knowing who you are,
until you find yourself in a statue 800-miles from home.
COMING TO Amazon/Kindle/Nook and a BOOKSTORE NEAR YOU JULY 2015