Adoption . . . the scarlet “A”

So I finally went to apply for my passport this week, and in doing so, came across a glitch . . . my birth certificate was issued more than one year after I was born, and so I need to provide additional “proof” that I was, indeed, BORN and therefore have a legitimate right to a passport.

It’s not the hassle of tracking down the necessary information that bothers me . . . rather, it’s the almost-immediate sense of shame that comes upon me when I’m faced with an incident like this one that reminds me of my dubious beginnings . . .

The woman who was handling my application had to consult with someone else about it, and although she didn’t speak in hushed tones, I felt like she should have as she reported to her co-worker, “She was adopted . . . ”

Yes, that’s right. I was adopted. Why does that word invoke such shame in me and make me want to hide under the counter? Why did I feel so utterly conspicuous, and why did I leave there with a heavy heart?

Of course, I felt compelled to say to her, “I’m not legally allowed to have a copy of my original birth certificate” . . . it annoys me, too, because they’re demanding something that I’m not allowed to have . . . so I have to get a copy of the adoption papers from the county I was adopted in (I had to ask, “The county I was born in, or the county I was adopted in?”), and my passport will likely be even more delayed than “normal” people’s are right now anyway . . .

but then again, as I have stated before, I don’t know anything about “normal”.

One thought on “Adoption . . . the scarlet “A”

  1. OUCH! I have heard of this happening with us before, but I’ve never run across one of us who’ve actually had the unfortunate experience of the passport dilemma.

    I hate the way the hushed tones too, “she was adopted”. Blech. Any type of civil service worker tends to automatically hate us though because we make their jobs more difficult, and have the audacity to ask for our birth certificates because, jeeze, I dunno, they’re ours!??!

    I’m sorry you felt that shame. I wish I could tell you not to, but I feel it all the time myself. So all I can say is, I know. And I’m sorry.

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