The birth certificate that is issued to an adoptee is the only legal document that is allowed to lie. It is a fraudulent document in that its purpose is to deceive. The birth certificate removes from history the real mother and father and records the names of two biological strangers as the parents. It pretends that it was they who are responsible for the birth of the child. It is a legal fiction. The real mother and father are thus rendered invisible. And is possibly why the legal scholar, Robert Ludbrook, stated to the Law Reform Commission in 1994, that an adoption certificate was akin to a property deed, in that it reflected a transference of ownership rather than a person’s true heritage.
A birth certificate is a powerful symbol of a person’s identity. Every human being has an inherent need to know from where they came. Knowing who we are is an inherent right that everyone has except adopted persons. They do not have what we take for granted: knowing our forebears. This knowing gives us a sense of security, connectedness and belonging – it gives us a truthful reflection of our place in the world.
Recommendation 13 of the Senate Inquiry into former forced adoption polices and practices states:
all jurisdictions adopt integrated birth certificates, that these be issued to eligible people upon request, and that they be legal proof of identity of equal status to other birth certificates, and
jurisdictions investigate harmonisation of births, deaths and marriages register access and the facilitation of a single national access point to those registers
All jurisdictions adopt a process for allowing the names of fathers to be added to original birth certificates of children who were subsequently adopted and for whom fathers’ identities were not originally recorded; and
Provided that any prescribed conditions are met, the process be administrative and not require an order of a court
Nearly all mothers provided the name of the father and all his family history. I provided my stolen daughter’s father’s name, his parents and siblings. I gave his work history, his likes and dislikes, his mother and father’s employment histories. Yet his name was omitted from my daughter’s birth certificate. Why? Because keeping the father’s name off the birth certificate made it easier for the social worker in cases where a father might challenge the adoption order. Such as a father who was living with the mother or had been providing for her care during the pregnancy. Additionally inserting the father’s name on the birth certificate gives voice to an alternative narrative to the one given by adoption agents. It revealed the child had a father who cared enough to be named on the birth record. This is highly symbolic and makes a lie of the stories social workers’ spun to assuage the guilt of would be adopters – such as the father left the mother penniless – or the baby was the result of a brief affair or a one night stand – hence the baby was unwanted.
Please sign the petition
which now also includes calling on the legislature to undo past legislation that shrouded the theft of our children in lies and hid their true identity. This past unjust and unfair legislation has an affect on our present. Not just in denying adoptees their right to know their true history, but in cases where mothers find their infant has died before they ever got a chance to meet and when they apply for a death certificate they are denied that as well. Being legally wiped out of existence via the original birth certificate has a flow on effect down the generations. One of the posts on this site was of an adoptee who cannot access details of his father because they were never included on his birth certificate and his mother sadly passed away before they met. The grandchildren will never know their grandmother and are now denied any opportunity to meet their grandfather. The authorities have the details but will not release them. The law was not followed then, but unfortunately for this adoptee is being stringently adhered to now.