Dealing with the government can be so very frustrating. It feels like they drop the ball or make you jump through a million hoops to get what you need or want. And it seems completely futile when what you want would literally require an act of congress to get… like an adoptee in a restricted state who wants their birth certificate.
But then sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes the government makes a mistake and it works in your favor. Sometimes it is so serendipitous that it feels surreal. Sometimes was today.
Anyone who has known me more than a minute knows how badly I have longed to have my original birth certificate; the one that actually contains the facts of my birth instead of the facts of my adoption. This obsession began when I found out that I was actually named at birth by my birthmom and became even stronger once I saw my name listed in the Virginia birth index. But upon my adoption, my original birth certificate was sealed away, never to be available to me. Or so I thought…
Just about 3 years ago, even though I had already found both my biological parents, I still decided to contact the Georgia Adoption Registry and request my non-identifying information. Georgia, being the state I was adopted in, would be the state where my adoption records were held. But Georgia is a restricted state, so that means that I can not access my own records because they have been sealed. Now, a stranger at the Georgia Adoption Registry can pull them and see all of it, but not me. (So infuriating!!!) They go through your file and write up a summary for you without giving any ages or other information that would allow you to search for you birth family. You can pay them a fee to search for you, of course. (Adoption always seems to be about the money. It is a business, after all.) However, one thing I did learn in talking to them and requesting my information was that my birth certificate was not in my adoption file. They said this wasn’t totally uncommon in private adoption, but it set my mind to wondering, “If my original birth certificate is not in my file, where is it? Does it actually exist? Could it possibly still be held in Virginia? Does VA realize I was adopted and have it sealed there or maybe, just maybe, they don’t!?! Maybe if I could send in for it like any other person, they wouldn’t even know and they would just send it to me?” BUT…. there was one little problem… I could not request a birth certificate for “myself” since my name wouldn’t match, but another family member could!
Last summer when I met my grandmother for the first time, I asked her if she might be able to help me out. I wanted to see if it was possible for us to get my birth certificate and she agreed to help. Since she still lives in the state I was born, I thought maybe that would even help in some way. I figured it was probably not very likely that we could get it, but I couldn’t help but at least give it a try. I was very thankful she was willing to assist me.
In walks serendipity. Somehow, someway… somebody 40 years made a glorious mistake. THEY NEVER SEALED MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE!!!!!! It was sent to my grandmother and I now have a copy of it. With my actual true facts of birth. It is surreal. I am real. I was born. I really exist.