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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

After decades, Colorado adoptees can see birth records

Most of us can't imagine not knowing where we came from, 
or not having access to something as seemingly simple as a birth certificate.
DENVER - Most of us can't imagine not knowing where we came from, or not having access to something as seemingly simple as a birth certificate.

But for tens of thousands of adopted Coloradans, that document had been sealed for 40 years. Until now.

As of Jan. 1, 2016, all birth certificates regardless of when the adoption took place are available. Because of the holiday, this means people interested in obtaining their original birth certificates will be able to apply starting Monday.
"Forty years of legislative work has finally come to its fruition with the enactment of Senate Bill 51 that passed in 2014," said Rich Uhrlaub, a coordinator with Adoptees in Search Colorado Triad Connection. "What that means is virtually all adoptees who were adopted in Colorado can get access to their original birth certificates."

The birth certificates are being made available now because the 2014 bill included a transitional period before all the records would be accessible.

Uhrlaub says up to 250,000 people could be affected.

"It puts us on equal footing with other citizens who have access to knowing their roots," he said. "It's hard to start your life from chapter two. Most of us were loved early by our adoptive parents, but the first piece of your life makes all the difference in the world in terms of your identity, your story. No, you're not about to marry your sister or your cousins, like things like that."

Betsy Pearce , who was adopted at five weeks old, is one of those who plans to go get her birth certificate.

She didn't go looking for her birth parents. Her birth father found her in 2003.

Betsy Pearce with her birth father (Photo: Betsy Pearce)
"There was just something about meeting him that kind of brought a sense of peace to me," she said. "It wasn't like I've had a rough life or anything. Within seconds of meeting him, I knew I wasn't crazy anymore. Because he kind of got mad like I got mad. I could just tell. There's times where I feel like I can't be consoled and it's an easy phone call with him."
Pearce said she knows who her birth mother is. But she says the woman isn't interested in having a relationship.
"There's just something about being connected fully throughout your life," she said. "I think you just have to have that connection, if that opportunity is there. You have to."

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will start taking applications on Monday (Jan. 4). Uhrlaub said processing will take 30 days and will require a fee of under $40.

You can find the application here: http://1.usa.gov/1OFju9m

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Takeaway Podcast ICWA

What our Nations are up against!

What our Nations are up against!
Survivors, write your stories. Write your parents stories. Write the elders stories. Do not be swayed by the colonizers to keep quiet. Tribal Nations have their own way of keeping stories alive.... Trace

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Indian Country is under attack. Native tribes and people are fighting hard for justice. There is need for legal assistance across Indian Country, and NARF is doing as much as we can. With your help, we have fought for 48 years and we continue to fight.

It is hard to understand the extent of the attacks on Indian Country. We are sending a short series of emails this month with a few examples of attacks that are happening across Indian Country and how we are standing firm for justice.

Today, we look at recent effort to undo laws put in place to protect Native American children and families. All children deserve to be raised by loving families and communities. In the 1970s, Congress realized that state agencies and courts were disproportionately removing American Indian and Alaska Native children from their families. Often these devastating removals were due to an inability or unwillingness to understand Native cultures, where family is defined broadly and raising children is a shared responsibility. To stop these destructive practices, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

After forty years, ICWA has proven to be largely successful and many states have passed their own ICWAs. This success, however, is now being challenged by large, well-financed opponents who are actively and aggressively seeking to undermine ICWA’s protections for Native children. We are seeing lawsuits across the United States that challenge ICWA’s protections. NARF is working with partners to defend the rights of Native children and families.

Indian Country is under attack. We need you. Please join the ranks of Modern Day Warriors. Please donate today to help Native people protect their rights.

where were you adopted?

where were you adopted?

To Veronica Brown

Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.