Monday, August 3, 2009

On Birth Certificates

It was what you would call a feel good moment-typing your son's name into the on-line soccer registration form. The feel good moment that often accompanies a long awaited arrival.

We have arrived at the age where one is old enough to play soccer.Old enough to mind the coach and kick the ball.Old enough to run the lap in the same direction as the rest of the team. Old enough to feel so excited about the new pink (yes pink) laces for the almost new soccer shoes.

After filling out three pages of essential information, paying the fee, and pushing print, I arrived at the little line that gave me a jolt. "All new members are required to mail a copy of their birth certificate to...". Into the closet, into the flame retardant orange box, I am looking for that envelope that I sobbed into the first time I held it.

I smiled at the little post-it I forgot that I had left there. In beautiful, feminine print with red ink it says; "I hope you have a happy mother's day." Those words from the clerk, in the office in North Carolina who received and processed my request for Sam's birth certificate. The documents from the court hearing that terminated the alleged birth father's paternity rights were the final piece that had to line up in order for that certificate to be produced. And, without it, my petition to finalize Sam's adoption in Maine would not have happened. Her pink script is not indicative of all of our communications, but a testament to her choice to see the finish line for a little family in Maine.

In my hand, I am stunned by how I react to seeing my name on the line where the mother is. Of course I am his mother, now, and from the time that he was thirty-six hours old. But it is not a Mothering Certificate, it is a Certificate of Live Birth. And, having done one of those too--I know how much I deserved a certificate for that! One deserves an ocean liner of them for carrying the child and birthing it too. Her name should be there in addition to mine.. (Of course I know that this was intended originally to protect the birth mother's identity which is not something I am in a position to address here--I am strictly addressing my feelings as an adoptive mother to share the stage with the biological mother's identity.) It is not just semantics, it is the importance of that document from the act of registering a four year old for soccer or school, to getting a passport, or proving that you are who you are.

Unlike most adoptive parents, I managed to procure the original one. So Sam will have both. Records of both of his births. His biological birth, and his birth as my son. They are not mutually exclusive. So, I would like them to both appear on this one all important document.

His birth mother and I share in the joy of his life. We do this actively through letters, emails, and calls. He is who is he is because of her and because of me. I would rename it "Certificate of Live Birth and Parentage." Then, the document could be a constant testament to the triad of adoption.

If only the people at the soccer league knew how much thought has gone into that little photocopy that will arrive in their mailbox tomorrow.

1 comment:

That Blinn Girl said...

I love the idea of a Certificate of Live Birth & Parentage! What a fantastic way to fully acknowledge our triads and something that seems perfectly reasonable and doable to my way of thinking. If only we could convince legislators to see it our way :)