Birth certificates and adoptees

Birth certificates and adoptees have been on my mind lately, especially involving the most basic and "boring" issues for teens and adults – obtaining a driver’s license.

One of the calls I received at work was from the parent of an international adoptee. This parent’s child was being denied a driver’s license because their original birth certificate was from another country and the local DMV would not recognize it. They required a U.S. birth certificate. Because the adoptive parents had finalized the adoption in the other country, they did not have a U.S. state amended birth certificate. The only option for this family was for them to go to court and re-adopt their 16-year old child in our state so they could get their state amended birth certificate.

Then today, I saw this story about a domestic adoptee who was denied a driver’s license because they could not provide an original birth certificate at their DMV.

Seriously, this is ridiculous.

Adoptive parents, if you want to be an ally to adult adoptees – two things you can advocate for
– access to original birth certificate and open records
– get the laws in your states to acknowledge and recognize amended birth certificates for adoptees (my state, Minnesota, does recognize adoption decrees but doesn’t state amended birth certificates)

Driver’s licenses and passports (I had trouble getting one because of a typo on my naturalization papers) should not be such an obstacle for adoptees.

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.