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This 27-year-long effort ultimately occurred because of the state’s out-of-date and discriminatory approach toward adoptees and in managing adoption records.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.