Diary of an Adoptive Mom #19


Diary Mom
Focus on Adoption magazine

In the nineteenth of our series, our mom of three kids--Emily and her new siblings, Grant and Lynn--wonders why so much information about her childrens’ past is still unavailable, and why she’s listed as Mom on their birth certificates.

The other day I started to think about all my kids’ personal information being completely sealed and stored in some undisclosed location in Victoria. I just don’t understand why we can never access it again. 

Of course, I get all the issues around privacy and confidentiality, but if I am the parent, why the heck can’t I have this information?

And why was that last meeting with the social worker my final opportunity to ask questions about my children’s past? It’s ridiculous. I don’t know what I don’t know, so how can I know what I need to ask?

These kids are my kids. Legally, and in every way possible. Okay, well maybe not by birth, but that’s just a technicality. So, since they are my kids, why can’t I have all the information about what happened to them before they joined our family? Why is the name of their pediatrician before they came to me some big secret, as is their birth mother’s full name? 

Imagine, someone within the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) has the labourious job of going through each child’s stack of paper and masking any personal information before the paperwork is given to the adoptive parents. 

I mean, come on! How difficult is it to hold the paper up to the light and read the information that I’m not supposed to have! And, of course, some things get missed, and then I don’t even have to resort to those techniques. 

My point, and I do have one, is why can’t I have this information to begin with? The foster parents gave us the kids’ BC Medical Cards and their health passports with their birth names on them.

Okay, okay. I know I shouldn’t have any personal information on their birthmom, although I would love to, and I respect that she is entitled to her privacy. But, years from now, (or when we’re in the lineup at Safeway) and the kids start asking questions about their birthmom, I would love to have something—anything at all, that will help them understand why they were adopted.

And here’s another thought I had at 2:30 this morning—why do my kids’ birth certificates say that I am their mother and my husband is their father? I have never given birth. And my husband hasn’t fathered any children either. It seems to be acceptable for the provincial government to provide documentation to perpetuate the myth that adopting a child is the same as giving birth to a child. News flash—it isn’t. 

My kids each have a birthmom and a birthdad who need to be acknowledged. Most adoptive parents are very open with their children about how they joined their families, so why can we not have birth certificates that reflect that? The children can be provided with business card size certificates that show where they were born and when and, as they reach the age of 19, they can be issued a full certificate that states their birth mother’s and birth father’s names.

And another thought that just occurred to me: Emily’s birth certificate shows I gave birth to her in January, and Lynn’s birth certificate will show that six months later I gave birth to her. Is it just me, or is that really weird?

Want to read more? Subscribe to Focus on Adoption magazine!