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,

M.

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.)

Utah Mutual Consent Adoption Registry

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

Did you know that since 1987, Utah has an active mutual consent adoption registry? This means if both you and I fill out the forms, send in our birth certificates, and $25, they will share identifying information with each other AND release your adoption records, including your original birth certificate?  Not just for me and you, but if your brothers and sisters want to register, they can as well. Did I mention it has been around since NINETEEN EIGHTY SEVEN?

I know it isn’t perfect by any means, but why haven’t I known about this before? Don’t you think that SOMEONE (ahem, STUPID LDSFS PEOPLE) should have mentioned this little, teeny, tiny tidbit of information to me? Don’t you think SOMEONE should have printed out the forms and said, “Hey – why don’t you fill these out so your daughter can get her original birth certificate?” Oh, that’s right. Because then they would have had to explain sealed records, falsified birth certificates and all that jazz.

1987, people – 19freakin87.  I wonder how many other first mothers who relinquished in Utah know about this registry and have actually registered.  Or how many were just as clueless as I was until about 20 minute ago? Do you know about it? Do you know that you can have access to your original birth records when you turn 21 if your mother has joined the registry? Do other adoptees know about it?  WHY NOT??????

At first I wasn’t going to register – we already know each others name and contact information, why spend the $25 and go through the hassle? I have a copy of your original birth certificate, which I have always planned on giving to you – especially since the tightened security rules will make it nearly impossible for you to get a passport without it. But then the thought went through my mind: Ms. Feverfew needs to have access to it, on her own, independent of me. Just like I am able to do, you need to be able to fill out a form and get your original birth certificate without anyone hassling you about it. It’s your right; your birth right.

So sitting in front of me right now is the form, all filled out. I just need to have it notarized and then I will send it in. 1987. This registry has been around since 1987.  There’s not much I can do to help you along the path you are walking, but this? This I can do.

Much love,

M.

P.S. Edited to add this: I just spoke with an amazing mama who relinquished her baby for adoption in Utah through LDSFS within the last year or so. She has never heard of the Utah Mutual Consent Adoption Registry or the fact that her child can gain access to their original birth certificate ONLY if she registers. Huh. I thought adoption was so “different” nowadays than it was “way back when.” I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same. Babies still loose their mamas, mamas still lose their babies, and no one tells the mothers or the adoptees about being able to access the adoption records or OBC.

IF YOU ARE AN FIRST PARENT OR ADOPTEE FROM UTAH, HERE IS THE PDF FORM . FILL IT OUT AND SEND IT IN. TODAY.

Utah_Adoption_Registry

(Moms – Even if you have a copy of the original birth certificate and the adoptive couple has a copy of the original birth certificate and you put one in a time capsule, YOUR CHILD HAS THE RIGHT TO ACCESS THAT BIRTH CERTIFICATE INDEPENDENT OF YOU OR HER ADOPTIVE PARENTS.  Yes, the physical piece of paper that is an OBC is important, but access to it is equally important, too. Do the right thing. Register today.)

Are Facts Stubborn Things or are Lies “Well-Rounded” Points of View?

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

Good night, why do I do this to myself? I will be sailing along and then on a whim, decide to go drop by the R House, just to see what’s up in Adoption Nirvana. Lindsey, the blog author, recently posted about Steve Jobs’ passing. As an Apple devotee, I thought it was a nice tribute.

Until I followed the links.

The first site she links to is a blog “My Inspirational Quotes.” http://www.my-inspirational-quotes.com/inspirational-stories/steve-jobs-inspirational-story/ This particular blog states:

When Steve Jobs was born February 24, 1955, in San Francisco, California , his unwed mother decided to put him for adoption because she wanted a girl. So in the middle of the night, his mother called a lawyer named Paul Jobs and said, “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?”

Uh….so how much of this story is a fabrication? Well, pretty much all of it.

Let me dissect it.

  1. When Steve Jobs was born February 24, 1955, in San Francisco, California” – all true, but after this point it pretty much falls apart.
  2. “his unwed mother decided to put him for adoption because she wanted a girl” False. According to his natural parents, Steve Jobs was placed for adoption because his grandfather forbade his parents to marry. In short, his grandfather was a racist and didn’t want his white daughter marrying a Syrian.
  3. It was the FIRST set of prospective adoptive parents that wanted the girl and turned down the chance to adopt Steve Jobs. In his commencement address delivered at Standford in 2005, Steve Jobs said, “…everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out *they* decided at the last minute that *they* really wanted a girl.” (Start viewing at 01:14, ends at 01:36.)
  4. So in the middle of the night…” Whew – a bit more truth finally! His future adoptive parents did get a call in the middle of the night. Steve Jobs said, “So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night…” But it most certainly wasn’t from his first mother. It was most likely from an adoption agency representative. While good, decent, and loving parents, Paul and Clara Jobs were no one special – they just got the next baby in the que.
  5. “his mother called a lawyer named Paul Jobs…”  Paul Jobs was Steve Jobs’ adoptive father, but he was not a lawyer. He was, in fact, a high school drop out and a machinist. (Not that there is anything wrong with dropping out of high school – I did myself and now hold a PhD). And to reitterate, it was most likely NOT Joanne Schieble who called Paul and Clara Jobs in the middle of the night. It would have been a representative of the adoption agency calling the next people in line.
  6. “…and said, “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” According to Steve Jobs in the commencement address, this is how it went down so I will take his word for it since it was er..uh…HIS LIFE STORY. And of course, Paul and Clara Jobs jumped at the chance and the rest, as they say, is history.

So there it is.

A little teeny bit of truth mixed up with a whole pack of lies about Steve Jobs’ mother and his life. When I pointed this out to Lindsey and suggested she might want to remove the link to the blog-o-lies, her retort was,

“I do not personally know Mr. Jobs and therefore do not know the intimacies of his adoption story nor do I pretend to. And seeing as his story was reported differently in EACH of the links listed above, I decided to post them all and give my readers a well-rounded POV to read.” (emphasis added)

To which I replied:

But Lindsey, how is a lie a “well-rounded POV”? We have the TRUTH about his life, from Steve Jobs’ *own* mouth. Is it respectful or right to let others reconstruct his truth simply to provide the allusion of a “well-rounded” point of view?

Lies are never “well-rounded” points of view. They are always lies.

Would you stand for the same treatment of your own adoption stories? Would you be perfectly fine with someone posting a bunch of links, some with outright lies on them about your beloved birth mothers, simply to give a “well rounded POV” of view of you or you children’s experience? Let me repeat: Lies are not “well-rounded” points of view, whether they be told about Steve Jobs or about your own children.

You are right, we don’t know Jobs personally and we cannot pretend to know his adoption experience. However, the author of the first blog you have linked to IS pretending to know. By removing the link the blog that perpetuates a lie about his beginnings, you would be honoring *all* adoptees – the only ones who didn’t have voice in the adoption process. LET THEM SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES. Let Steve Jobs’ OWN WORDS stand as a testimony for what happened. It is *HIS* story – what other “point of view” is needed?????? (emphasis added)

P.S. I DID watch the entire video on the SECOND link. I even included the transcription of the text in my comment above. It is the part where Steve Jobs *clearly* states in no uncertain terms that is was the wealthy, educated PROSPECTIVE ADOPTIVE COUPLE that wanted a girl and therefore turned down the chance to adopt him when he “popped out.” To quote: “…everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out *they* decided at the last minute that *they* really wanted a girl.” (Start viewing at 01:14, ends at 01:36.)

And I really feel that way. Adoptees should have the final word on what their adoption story is and how adoption affected them.

I hope that you are able to find your voice and find a tribe of people who will respect and honor your voice – even if the TRUTH makes them feel uncomfortable.

In the words of the immortal John Adams,

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” ~ Argument in Defense of the Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials,’ December 1770

Much love,

M.

Updated: While writing this blog post, Lindsey over at The R House read my response and graciously left this comment in return:

I see what you are saying, Melynda and would be happy to remove that link. Thanks for the comments. :)

To which I say Thank you, Lindsey. I fervently believe adoptees should have the last word about their life and their experience, even if it doesn’t fit our agenda.