So why does the primary legal document of my life say that she did?
In the summer of 1966, my adoptive mother was still unable to conceive a child, though she later had an operation that made it possible for her to do so, resulting in the birth of my brother. On the day of my birth, according to a hand-written note now in my possession, my adoptive parents were visiting my adoptive grandparents, unaware that they were soon to become parents.
And yet there are their names on my official birth certificate.
I remember being confused when I learned about this as a child. My mother's explanation was that this was simply "the way things were" in adoption. For a long time I accepted that explanation and the situation. I accepted it until relatively recently, in fact.
But I don't accept it any more.
A birth certificate should be just that: a document that accurately records the circumstances of a person's birth.
I have four parents. They are all "real." I will never say that one set of parents is more real than the other. But I do consider one of my two birth certificates to be "real," and it's the one that was sealed when my adoption became finalized approximately a year after my birth. I was never supposed to lay eyes on it, but because I was fortunate enough to have been born in the state of Maine I have been able to obtain a copy of it. I didn't need access to my original birth certificate for reunion purposes, but I sent for the copy anyway. Why? Because it is my birth certificate. Because it is the one that isn't a lie.
I support open records for all adoptees. No exceptions. Adoptees are the only U.S. citizens who are denied (in most states) access to their own birth records. When one class of people is denied something that is a basic right for others, that's discrimination.
Ultimately, I would like to see the end of the practice of issuing revised birth certificates upon adoption. Currently, this bizarre and outdated practice happens in lots of situations in which it seems downright silly. The step-parent adoption of my older daughter by my husband is one example. We all know who her biological father is. What purpose is served by a birth certificate that denies his paternity? But even in other circumstances, can anything really justify the legal rewriting of an individual's personal history? In what other circumstance in our society do we knowingly issue false documents and pretend they are real?
A birth certificate is one things; an adoption decree is a separate, later document. I see no reason why former should be affected by the latter.