Monday, August 04, 2008


Adoptees have special issues to deal with. It is becoming more and more common for adoptees to have issues with identification. Adoptees who do not have proper documentation that their adoption is legit are being sent back to their own country. There have been several cases all over the country. They don't even have to committed a crime.

Adoptees will start losing rights because we can not prove our birth. The story below is case in point. We are forced by the state governments to be grateful, but we have to jump through extra hoops to prove we are legal citizens of the United States.

Here is the story and the link.

Government agency rigmarole exasperates

Every once in a while, I'm handed an experience with a government agency (and knee-deep, forget-the-logic bureaucracy) that reminds me how fortunate I am to work in the private sector. It's sort of like those screaming kids in (a toy store) that are put on this earth to remind me how fortunate I am to have kids that don't scream at the top of their lungs when they don't get what they want.

I made a morning trip to the local license bureau (one of those fee-offices that are handed out by governors ...) to renew my expired driver's license. In preparation, I looked online at the Missouri Department of Revenue Web site and learned that under the Show Me Proof legislation that was enacted in 2005 you had to show "Proof of Lawful Presence" (with a certified birth certificate), "Proof of Identity" (with a Social Security card) and "Proof of Residency" (recent utility bill, property tax receipt, or most recent bank statement, etc...)

I had a copy of my original birth certificate that clearly showed the original seal, my Social Security card and a recent bank statement. I was set! I pulled No. 12 from the "take a number" dispenser and patiently waited in line. After my number was called, the dutiful young clerk informed me that the photocopy of my original birth certificate wasn't adequate. Since I was born in Greene County I needed to make a trip to the local health department to acquire a "certified" copy of my birth certificate. "But you can see the original seal!" I replied. I got nowhere.

So I was off to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department to get a "certified" copy of my birth certificate. I was certainly relieved to find out that the Health Department was more than happy to accept my recently expired driver's license as proof that I was who I said I was and printed out a "certified copy" (for $15!).

Upon returning to the fee-office there was a much longer wait. I was chuckling and shaking my head at the comical series of events that had transpired, when another frustrated gentleman walked in. He and I struck up a conversation. He had been struggling for two months to get his birth certificate. He had been adopted -- and his adoption papers were "sealed" by court order. He wasn't even sure where he was born. Even though he had his DD-214, honorable discharge papers from the Marines and had had a Missouri driver's license for over 15 years, they insisted he track down his birth certificate. They advised him to call all 50 states. (I realized that in this situation he was the (toy store) kid that was put here to keep me grounded.)

Finally, my number was called. The "certified" birth certificate that the Health Department supplied me (after I had shown them my expired driver's license) satisfied the clerk, and my license was renewed. She never asked for my "Proof of Identity" or "Proof of Residency." I guess those parts of the legislation weren't that big of a deal to her. I sure am glad I don't have to go through that for another six years, but mostly I feel sorry for the veteran who was struggling so to find his birth certificate.

I understand that we all need to make sacrifices to insure our collective safety. But what I was put through and what the veteran is being put through doesn't protect anyone. Obtaining the birth certificate they required didn't require a valid ID, and 2/3 of the identification "proof" weren't even asked for. Okay, back to the private sector now.

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