by David P. Bell on Jun 13, 2018 Uncategorized
The federal government does not provide copies of birth certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, death certificates, or any other personal vital records. Copies of birth certificates and other personal vital records can only be obtained from the state or US possession where the documents were originally filed. Most states provide a centralized source from which birth certificates and other vital records can be ordered.
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.