by Roy H. Montalvo on Jun 13, 2018 Uncategorized
Worldwide, almost a third of all births aren't registered. Nationally, registration rates vary widely, from 3 percent in Somalia to 100 percent in Bhutan. In some cases, that's because birth certificates don't seem useful to parents. For someone who lives in a remote part of a country that doesn't provide any obvious citizenship benefits, there's not much of an incentive to bother with registering a child.
This happened to Rachel Zients Schinderman, whose father died when she was four. As an adult she was adopted by her stepfather, which triggered the reissue of her birth certificate to replace her father's name with her stepfather's. This was an emotional experience for Schinderman. "No one could take my real father away from me, and someone else wanted to be there for me too," she tells me. Even so, the result strikes her as uncanny. "It is very strange to see [my stepfather's] name there and the age he would have been at the time of my birth." Schinderman understands why birth certificates get reissued upon adoption, but feels alienated by the bureaucratic requirement for such a change. "I just wish I had the option," she says.