Last month, we got a surprise in the mail.
Dylan's amended birth certificate arrived. It was a surprise because we received it just three months and three days after his adoption was finalized. Since our state government is in such a mess right now, we'd been warned that it might take more than three times that long.
I must say, it was very nice for something in this adoption process to go more quickly and smoothly than anticipated.
As we have after passing through several of the small and large hurdles of our journey, M. and I did a little happy dance around our living room. (We did it quiety, though, since Dylan was napping.)
Other than astonished and relieved, how did receiving this important document make me feel? Kind of strange. Actually, kind of sad.
Next to the line that says "mother," my name is neatly typed. Next to the line that says "father," M.'s name is neatly typed. There is no trace of Dylan's first parents on the document. They've disappeared, been erased.
It would take only the very assute observer to recognize something atypical: that the date of birth and the date the certificate was issued are almost exactly a year apart. Otherwise, it just looks like I gave birth to our son (at a county hospital in some strange city, I might add).
In California, original birth certificates are sealed and can only be opened with a court order. This makes me sad.
It makes me sad because it seems to somehow dimish the link that Dylan has to his birth mother.
It makes me sad that, because so many states have birth certificates that lie by omission, it is such a challenge for birth parents and adoptees who want to find each other to be reunited.
It makes me sad because it is (so far, at least) the most blatant evidence we've personally encountered that there is still a stigma associated with adoption. I keep thinking, "Can't our state come up with a better, more truthful form that provides for all of an adoptee's parents, birth and legal?" But then I assume it's the way it is because there are lots of people who don't want their association with adoption known, for whatever reason. How sad.
Having "identifying information" without having to rely on a court order is another reason why I'm grateful for open adoption. Of course, despite what his new birth certificate says, Dylan will grow up knowing all that we know about his birth parents.