by David P. Bell on Jun 13, 2018 Uncategorized
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.
Some logistical hurdles have been tackled with more funding and resources to vital registration systems, or by making registration more convenient for parents. For instance, Tanzanian parents can register their children via text message, and mobile clinics in Indonesian villages bring birth certificates to new parents. The governance and trust issues, however, are more challenging to address.