Sunday 18 February 2018

Rewriting history

Sir -- As an adoptee I found some of the arguments in the article "A scalpel can't rewrite history, whatever the surgery" (Sunday Independent, June 27, 2010) quite entertaining.

The writer is obviously unaware that personal histories in the form of birth records are rewritten every day, and have been for more than half a century. When a child is adopted, the original birth certificate is sealed and a new birth certificate is issued which changes the child's name, and replaces the names of the biological parents with those of the adoptive parents, as if the adoptive mother was the one to give birth. Some jurisdictions allow the place of birth to be changed. Some registrars will change the date of birth as well.

When an adoptee is allowed to obtain a copy of the original birth certificate, it includes the wording "corrected to" with the adoptee's new name, as if the individual's birth history, as originally recorded, was some sort of cosmic mistake that the registrar needed to set right.

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