Help me, Ms. Feverfew

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

So…I have a confession to make.

You know how I just registered with the Utah Mutual Consent registry so you can access your original birth certificate when you turn 21?

Well, I actually have one copy of it already. I keep feeling like I should send it to you – it is yours, after all. I know you can get a copy of it in a year or so, but I feel like I am doing something wrong by keeping this one. Am I? It’s one of the only tangible things I have that proves you existed at some point in my life, that you and I are connected. So is it wrong for me to want to hang on so tightly to this piece of paper?

And what happens if I send it to you? I don’t have your mailing address at school and so I would have to send it to your parents and…well…there isn’t a good history there of them giving you things I have sent. So do I send it to your parent’s address, risking it getting lost in the holiday shuffle? Or do I tell you about it when I send you a Christmas message via Facebook and ask for an address to which to send it? Or would that seem like a ploy to get you to contact me? Do I just tell you I have it, if you ever want it?  Or do I not say anything at all about the fact I have the only existing copy of your original birth certificate? And if I do send the only one in existence and then you never register with Utah Vital Records, then that means I will never be able to get a copy of it again, either.

Help me, Ms. Feverfew.  What should I do?

Much love,


ETA (March 21, 2013): So I was sadly mistaken. Original birth records are sealed in perpetuity there in Utah. The Utah Mutual Consent registry is ONLY for identifying information. NOT for OBCs. This is particularly troubling since you are now in possession of the only copy in existence, ever.)

19 thoughts on “Help me, Ms. Feverfew

  1. I think it’s too important of a document to send to her parents place. I think as of right now, I would just hold on to it. It might seem like a ploy to make contact again. I don’t know how educated she is on adoption laws but with my daughter she was talking about all the stuff you can find at the court house and she just assumed she could find her adoption papers if she choose to look. She did say not that I actually tried though. I am still hoping for you that someday in the near future she reach out to you.

    • Cristy – I don’t know if she is educated at all about adoption laws, especially since we are talking LDS + adoption + Utah. *sigh* Heck, *I* wasn’t all that educated until just recently, and I have been an adult for 21 years now!

  2. It might seem like an obvious ploy to make contact, yes, but what is wrong with that? That at least suggests you are trying and willing to have a relation with her. If you did not try to make contact with her, it is worse. She has the right to know you have a copy of her OBC… I would not even mention “if you ever want it”, but just inform her matter of fact, now.

  3. Melynda:
    I’m not sure whether you should tell her right now that you have her OBC or not but I definitely advocate NOT mailing it to her – it is way too important of a document to mail to her parents’ or maybe even to her – to me, it seems like something that should only be given in person….It is completely irreplaceable to both of you unless she registers, right? That’s not a good thing to trust to the mail, particularly when you don’t yet know if she wants it or cares about it. (However, I’m thinking you may not live close to her area anymore which I realize complicates face-to-face handoff) I too have my son’s OBC and could kick myself that I only bought one certified copy at the time of his birth before everything was sealed – I really wish I had one for each of us. He falls within a 30 year time period where his OBC is sealed forever in the State of Ohio and I don’t think he can ever get it without an actual court order, if even then. I of course will give it to him someday if he wants it but I do hate that I have to give up the only tangible proof that he was once upon a time my son legally. Good luck to you in thinking this through!

    • Thanks for the advice, Sara. Like you, I wish I had thought that far ahead, but I simply had no idea what the end game would be in regards to sealed adoption records. I am inclined to agree – it’s too important to send in the mail, which is why I have hesitated. And you are correct, it is completely irreplaceable to both of us unless she registers.

      A 30 year window where no one has access, but those born before or after CAN? What kind of totally screwed up law is that??????

  4. I scanned Brit’s OBC that we have in our possession. I sometimes look at it while I am here at work.

    I have always thought the scanned (color) version of the OBC is a great thing to have just in case something were to happen to our original (which is kept as my most valuable possession in her BF’s safe deposit box).

    I sure wish I would have ordered two at the time.

    But at least I have one. Not many of us do.

    • Lisa –

      I, too, have contemplated on the good fortune I have of possessing even one copy of the original birth certificate. Why aren’t first mothers urged to get multiple copies? Why are so many of us STILL not being told about altered birth records and sealed OBCs?

      Oy. It’s too much for me to think about this morning.

  5. I would keep the original one for myself forever, if I had one. But maybe I think strongly on that because I don’t have one?
    I would tell her that you have one, that if she’s ever interested you could scan/copy it for her. She may feel more comfortable giving you an email address to send a digital copy than her physical address to mail a hard copy.
    Why does this conundrum even exist? Anyone (mother/father/child) listed on the birth certificate should be able to get a legal copy of it!! Ghaaaaaa… it’s just too maddening!

    • Anyone (mother/father/child) listed on the birth certificate should be able to get a legal copy of it!! Ghaaaaaa… it’s just too maddening!

      Isn’t it just? I love how they do it in Australia – adoptees have ONE birth certificate with extra lines added for the adoptive parents, thus maintaining the original identity of the adoptee. How absolutely humane is that? I mean, if adoption *does* have to happen, it seems like it would be such a better way of handling things. Why is the U.S. so far behind the curve on this one?

  6. I never got an OBC for my son. I obviously can’t tell you what to do, but in my opinion you should hang on to it. It is the one tangible thing connecting you and I wouldn’t give that up. Yes, it is her birth certificate, and someday if you want to give it to her yourself then I think that would be great, but only if you can give it to her personally. Not as a ploy to see or contact her, but because it is so meaningful that it is too important to just drop in the mail…at least in my opinion.

  7. Keep the original and make a copy to give to her. Copy machines and scanners are so good these days you can hardly tell the difference. The only thing missing on the copy would be the raised state seal. Keep the original since it is clearly so important to you! Someone else may not assign it as much importance and could very well misplace or trash it.

  8. I think you can get a ‘True Copy Attest’ of the one you have. Most banks provide this service– give them a call and ask. It is kind of like a notarized copy– more legally formal than a copy you make yourself on a copier.

    If she is of legal age, I don’t see anything wrong with contacting her through FB and asking if she would like you to mail her a copy or email her a scanned copy. If she is not of legal age, there are concerns of how her aparents might react to you contacting her as a minor. Not that I am saying I agree with that kind of a reaction– I don’t. They don’t sound like very enlightened people.

    I think you should keep the original.

    • Thanks, Reena. I didn’t know about this service – I think I will call my bank and see if they offer it. If not, I will call another and another and another until I do!

      She is 19 1/2 years old, so I don’t have to contend with the “minor” issue. However, her parents are very…uh…er…protective of her. The last time I talked with them right after she turned 18, they essentially told me to go away and never come back, thankyouverymuch. *sigh* I can sort of understand. After all, I am the one who “walked out” on their beautiful daughter (it doesn’t matter my motivation or reasons, that is how they perceive what I did); I am the scary monster in the closet of their home. They are just trying to “protect” her. I guess.

  9. I would let her know that you have the original and would like to send send her a copy. I would be willing to bet she has no idea about how millions of adoptees are discriminated against because they are not permitted to have their OBC’s. I thought I could just walk into the health department and get my OBC when I turned 18. Im now 46, have been in reunion for almost a quarter of a century, and stl have never laid eyes on my own true record of birth.

    I agree- do NOT send it to her adopter’s house. Do NOT trust them.

    Oh, and also- they didn’t want you to go away because you “walked out on her”. (which you did not) They wanted you to go away because of who you are- her Mother. What you have to give her cannot be duplicated by them, and they are threatened by that.

    • Thank you, Linda. I did exactly that last night via a FB message. I also included an explanation as to why it might be important to her in the future and how she can register when she turns 21.

      I value your insight so very much so thank you again.

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