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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

URGENT Update for Illinois Adoptees from Melisha Mitchell

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November 1, 2011

Dear Friends:

Yes, it's me again. A little sooner than expected...but with important news for all of the post-1946 adoptees who plan to request their OBC's on November 15th.
We learned yesterday from Illinois Vital Statistics that they WILL NOT ACCEPT any OBC Request Forms that arrive in their offices before November 15th. Yes, you read that correctly. They are not going by the postmark, but by the date the Request Form arrives! And, all Request Forms received in
Springfield prior to November 15th are being RETURNED TO SENDER!
According to Vital Statistics, accepting Request Forms prior to that date "would be like breaking the law." I am surprised by this interpretation, but time is of the essence here... As I type this, the checks of hundreds among you who planned ahead, and thought you were going to be at the front of the
class, are weaving their way back to your mailboxes... and you'll soon find out that you've been sent to the back of the line. 
What do do???
If you've already sent your Request Form in, don't panic..just keep reading!
And, if you haven't, below you'll find complete instructions on how to make sure your Request Form is among those that Vital Statistics receives on the morning of November 15th, and not a second before (or after).
Scenario 1:
You've already mailed in your Request Form.
If you've already mailed in your Request Form, trust me, it's on its way back. They have reportedly returned "hundreds" of forms in the past two weeks. If yours is one of them, don't wait for it to come back (hoping they made an exception in your case--they didn't). Unfortunately, returned mail
travels very slowly...November 15th could very well come and go before your envelope works its way back to you. 
Void the check you sent with your original Request Form, if you don't feel comfortable having a $15 check that won't be cashed floating out there.
Otherwise sit tight...and then choose one of the options below for Scenario 2.
Scenario 2:
You have not yet mailed in your Request Form (but you sure would like to learn more about being among those who are being sent to the head of the class).
Since learning about this latest glitch in the unrolling of the second phase of the new law, we have come up with five ways to allow you to make sure that your obc will be among the thousands that will be sitting on Vital Statistics' doorstep on Tuesday, November 15th:
1. You can mail your completed Request Form, along with the $15 check made out to the Illinois Dept. of Public Health and a photocopy of your state ID to me at our offices, 525 N. Halsted, Suite 203, Chicago, IL 60642.  DO NOT USE the PO Box address which appears on the website. I am asking that
Request Forms mailed directly to me be sent via Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation (cost is $5.65 in the U.S.) or via any other method of your choice that can be tracked via the internet (eg. Fedex, if you have a Fedex account). All mailed Request Forms must reach me by Friday, November 11th at the latest to be part of "Operation Pony Express" (see below).

2. You can bring your completed Request Form, along with the $15 check made out to the Illinois Dept. of Public Health and a photocopy of your state ID to in a SEPARATE envelope and hand-deliver it to me at White Oak's offices, at 525 N. Halsted, Suite 203, on November 9th, 10th or 11th, or at the
informational table we'll be hosting in the Thompson Center, 100 West Randolph, on November 8th or November 14th. Drop-off times on the 9th, 10th and 11th will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. all three days. We will be at the Thompson Center between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on 11/8 and 11/14. All request forms received during the 3-day open house and the two days at the Thompson Center will be included in "Operation Pony Express" (more on that after #3).

3. You can join me, along with Rep. Feigenholtz, and film-maker Jean Strauss, and many of those who played a pivotal role in the passage of this ground-breaking legislation. a party being held to celebrate this historic event on the evening of November 14, 2011. I can't yet tell you where exactly we'll be celebrating (but it will be somewhere in Chicago), nor the exact time (6 to 10 is my best guess), but I can promise you that we'll have a lot to celebrate (99.9% of 250,000 original birth certificates unsealed in a single day)!
All of the Request Forms received by mail or in person at our offices prior to November 11th, along with all the Request Forms gathered at the Thompson Center on November 8th and 11th, and all those received at the celebration party on the evening of the 14th, will be hand-delivered to Vital Statistics
on November 15th via what I am calling "Operation Pony Express."

On the morning of November 15th, Rep. Feigenholtz, along with Jean Strauss and members of Rep. Feigneholtz' s staff, will be hand-delivering the hundreds of Request Forms we've gathered between now and November 14th to Vital Statistics. If we can get press coverage for "Operation Pony Express,"
you may even get to see your Request Form, rolling among all those delivered to Vital Statistics that day, on the evening news.  If you'd like to be part of "Operation Pony Express"...and Illinois adoption history ....and are interested in taking advantage of Options 1, 2 or 3 above, please email me at iltreesurgeon@ as soon as possible. 
And, if you'd like to get your Request Form in on the 15th, but without being involved in all the hoopla, you can:

4. Send your Request Form via Overnight Delivery on November 14th, using FedEx or the U.S. Postal Service's overnight service.

5. Walk, drive or fly to Springfield, IL and hand-deliver your Request Form to Vital Statistics on the 15th (you might run into Jean Strauss and her film crew, if you do!). However, be advised that, even if you hand in your Request Form on the 15th, you will have to wait just as long as anyone who chose option 1, 2, 3 or 4 above to receive a non-certified copy of your original birth certificate.

We've been overwhelmed by your response to our free webinars this week! The 2 p.m. Thursday webinar is nearly full (two spots left), and there are five spots left for the Friday, 6 pm seminar. We are looking into recording one of the webinars and making it available online throughout the month of
I will be emailing all those who signed up for either seminar later with instructions on how to find us on Thursday or Friday, along with a Pdf file that includes the materials we'll be covering during the webinar.
Thanks for all the letters of support and solidarity that have been pouring in since Friday night...I'll try to get back to everyone individually once the 15th has come and gone, but it looks like I am going to be REALLY busy between now and then!
If you live anywhere in the Chicago area, hope to see you at one of the events above!!!
Warm regards,
Melisha Mitchell, Illinois Dept. of Public Health

(I know several adoptees in Illinois who are Lost Birds - I send you strength and patience for the journey ahead....Trace)


  1. Hello...and thanks for posting this. However, as the author of the original email, I have one tiny correction: I am not with the Illinois Dept. of Public Health, I head a non-profit organization that offers free and at-cost search assistance to Illinois adoptees and their birth and adoptive families:

    Again, thsnks for posting and helping to get out the word!

  2. Melisha - thank you for this correction and for the wonderful support you are providing! AHO!
    (FYI: I was conceived in Chicago but born in MN.)


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