Original Birth Certificates…..I don’t have one.


Here I am with my 1st Beagle Sophie.  This was an ad that was created in 2004 for an organization I was affiliated with, Nevada Open.  We were, well, still are, a small band of adoptees born in Nevada that had hoped to change the law to allow adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates.  Alas, we were unsuccessful in getting SB 267 to pass, but we were successful in standing up for what we believe is right and fair.


If you are a non adopted person, you may be wondering what in the world I am writing about here.  Well, let me explain.

In Nevada, where I was born and still reside, an adoptee is not “allowed” information about his / her own birth or to have access to their own original birth certificate.  My birth certificate is the one with my adopted name and adopted parent’s names.  I am happy with this certificate, but it is not the original one that the Nevada issued.  I am a grown woman, I feel ENTITLED to having this original document.

In 2000, I formally started to write letters trying to get information about myself from the State of Nevada and Catholic Charities.  I had very little to go on, and being naive, I thought that the agencies involved with my adoption would be able to give me the names and information that I was seeking.  I found out quickly how incorrect I was.

Additionally, I wrote to Catholic Charities in 2001 as I researched and found out that the law in Nevada says I am “allowed” have access to my “non-identifying information.”
I paid the $75 to Catholic Charities for MY information and waited.  It arrived on Feb 8, 2001!  (the current price is now $150)

I was elated and nervous and terrified to open the letter containing all I was “allowed” to know about myself.  I learned the following:

My birth mother’s name was – BARBARA age 28 and My birth father’s name was – BILL age 32.  It gave their height, hair, eye color and where they were from.  It listed their ethnic back grounds.  Not much else was given.

My birth mother had 5 boys, ages 11, 10, 8, 7, 3 years of age.  They all were in foster care when I was born.

My birth father also had 2 children, ages 14 and 12.  It did not list gender.

After reading this information about MY birth family, I remember feeling ELATED that these people actually existed and once lived, and breathed in Las Vegas.  I felt, oddly, connected to the papers in my hands and read them hundreds of times over the years.

Having my non-identifying information only deepened my desire to fight and to search for my beginning, my Genesis on this earth.  I wanted more than the pages provided.  I began to write letters to my State Legislators, State Senators, a Judge I knew, the Doctor who delivered me, but all was for naught, as the Law is the Law.  I testified 3 times and shared my search with others.  I spent countless hours on line searching and registering with on line adoption reunion sites.  None of this effort brought me any closer to knowing my story.

It took a Groupon and a Ancestry DNA test to finally bring me to MY own history.  It was the best $59 I ever spent.




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Robyn Gobbel, LCSW

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