There is talk at the moment on the ability to get ‘Australian’ birth certificates for our Chinese born daughters.

I am just wondering whether this is a good thing or not. I am uneasy about it but can’t quite think it through.

Of course if Lily had a birth certificate it would make things easier for her in regards to being enrolled in school, getting a drivers licence. But is it right just because it’s easier?

There were comments being bandied around about how our childrens adoption certificate is no better than a dog’s registration certificate and that it screams that our children are different. Well they are different. No better or worse just different. Why as adoptive parents whould we ‘attempt’ to hide this fact. And I say attempt because with an internationally adopted child there is no pulling it off. Obviously the two red heads at the supermarket checkout did not give birth to the little dark haired Asian child. Most people accept at a glance that this family is made by adoption. (this has been my experience)

I feel like instead of efforts being made to ‘normalise’ our children and assist them to fit the mold, we should be trying to change the attitudes of the people and society around us to accept that yes adoptions is one other brilliant way to form a family just as having biological children is.

I want Lily to be proud that she was adopted. Not ashamed of it. Is giving her a aussie birth cert that doesn’t draw attention to her adoption just as bad as pretending she is not adopted?

Is this not instilling in our kids early that being adopted is a shameful thing? To avoid discussing it?

Instead of petitioning government offices to issue Aussie birth certificates maybe we should be petitioning them to make starting school and getting drivers licences etc easier for those people without birth certificates.

This would not just assist children of adoption but refugees and displaced peoples who cannot reference a birth certificate.

Just thinking out loud……


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cristina
    May 25, 2008 @ 22:52:14

    Hi Rachel,

    As one of the mums who has just succeeded in obtaining a birth certificate for our Chinese child, I just wanted to clarify the reasons behind this decision. It was not a decision made in order to ‘normalise’ our situation. It is patently obvious to all that she is our adopted daughter, and no piece of paper will change that. The birth certificate does, however, mean that in times ahead when she needs to prove her identity, she will not have to drag out a raft of Chinese paperwork including her abandonment papers. This very private, very personal part of her story (ie: that she was abandoned by her birth parents) will no longer have to be shared with complete strangers. So this is why we fought to get her an Australian birth certificate. Not to make her like us, or to attempt to ‘play down’ her difference, but to ensure that her private story doesn’t have to be shared with others who have no need to know.

    Cristina in Tasmania


  2. RogueQueen
    May 26, 2008 @ 09:58:41

    Hi Cristina

    Thank you for giving me your perspective on the situation.
    It is much appreciated.
    As I said I was just thinking out loud and was not really sure how I felt….
    You have mentioned some very valid reasons.



  3. Janine
    Jun 21, 2008 @ 12:58:07

    Hi Rachel,

    Don’t worry if you choose not to obtain an Aussie Birth Cert for Lily- We enrolled Jade in school using her passport, opened a bank A/c using her passport, all with no fuss at all. My husband was born in India and his birth was never registered. He has no Birth Cert. He had no trouble obtaining his drivers licence as he had his passport and citizenship for ID and also various card from banks etc. He even satisfied DoCS, and that is no mean feat. I can’t see why our children would need a Birth Cert.



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