Tag Archives: Adoptee Rights

State of Michigan releases my birth certificate it never had a legal right to hold

That's me holding up my original birth certificate, that shows I was a person who born in Detroit with a different name and past than the one I lived after I was adopted. This document is no longer a state secret, despite Michigan's efforts to keep it sealed in some storage area, and especially never in the hands of the human being who owns that document by birthright.

That’s me holding up my original birth certificate, that shows I was a person who born in Detroit with a different name and past than the one I lived after I was adopted. This document is no longer a state secret, despite Michigan’s efforts to keep it sealed in some storage area, and especially never in the hands of the human being who owns that document by birthright.

After decades being denied equal treament by Michigan’s “public health” officials, I finally prevailed in my test of wills with the state’s over-zealous adoption bureaucrats to secure my original birth certificate from the state of my birth. I received my copy of my original birth certificate–the document that was mine by birthright–on July 18, 2016. See my update on my adoption records request summary page.

In typical Michigan fashion and without any legal mandate, the secrecy mongers at the state marked it “SEALED” three times, just to remind me I was a lowly bastard, and not “legitimate” like all non-adoptees who are treated as persons with greater rights. Yes, dear reader, welcome to the world of adoption discrimination and paternalism, Michigan style. However, by publishing my certificate here, I am now taking away the state’s illegal and immoral assertion that my record of birth is a secret document and never meant to be touched, seen, smelled, or owned by me.

Getting my document ultimately required a court order. That was an entirely avoidable process had the state chosen to demonstrate compassion and leadership, and treat me with dignity instead of as a second-class citizen who had to be defeated at great cost. The state always had the ability to exercise discretion in its management of its duties and in accordance with law, but chose to double down on secrecy and oppose a bastard–yes, I am a bastard–who dared question the state’s power and legitimacy.

This 27-year-long effort ultimately occurred because of the state’s out-of-date and discriminatory approach toward adoptees and in managing adoption records. You can see a video of my request on my adoption web resource page. I have published a “key facts” page to summarize the issue. (See below for a detailed record of my requests and the state’s denials and replies, as well as my state Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] request.) My court order, sent to the state on July 1, 2016, finally compelled reluctant “public health” officials to release my original birth certificate. The state always had the abilitiy to release my original identity document, but they chose to deny it to me as far back as 1989. I also published a long-form essay on this journey and why this matters to anyone who cares about public health, fairness, and equality.

 

Posted in Human Rights, Uncategorized Also tagged , , , , , |

State of Michigan issued court order to release my original birth certificate

Adoption Discrmination TweetOn July 1, I received a court order from the Michigan 3rd Circuit Court that compells Michigan to release my birth certificate after refusing to release it, repeatedly, over nearly the last three decades. The state could have always released my original birth record, and in fact had consent documents signed by my birth mother to do that as far back as 1989. Instead of demonstrating leadership and prudent judgment, state records managers dug in, promoting ongoing discrimination against all adoptees on the basis of their status at birth as illegitimate and adopted children. This remains one of the least reported forms of state-sanctioned discrimination in the United State, which the media continue to ignore. One likely reason is historic and deeply archetypal attitudes to bastards a–a group that has historically experienced more than double the levels of infant mortality and death than children deemed “legitimate.”

Not surprisingly, Vital Records just called me at home on July 8, 2016, expressing confusion about the court order and what record it was asking for. Let us be clear, the court order is crystal clear that my original birth record, with my original birth name of Scott Douglas Owens, was ordered released by the court. And this was made abundantly clear in my cover letter and supporting documents, including a clear instruction in a court document telling the state to release a copy of the sealed record. Supposedly Vital Records wasn’t clear which of my birth records, for my two names (original birth name of Scott Douglas Owens and Martin Rudolf Brueggemann, my former legal name for which I have an “amended birth certificate”), the court said should be released. It may be a final delaying tactic, given the MDHHS’ actions to deny me my original identity document.

So, will they honor the court order, or will they try a delay or legal evasion? I of course let the court know this development too immediately after the call from the Vital Records staffer. I will be updating my web page and the court of the state’s actions, tactics, and communications until the court order is fulfilled.

Posted in Human Rights Also tagged , , |