Requesting my Birth Certificate

I wrote an email to the Intercountry Adoption Board (ICAB) in the Philippines yesterday introducing myself and requesting my birth certificate. It turns out, this significant birth document hadn’t been with my adoptive family my entire life. And, it turns out, I need this birth document for dual citizenship to prove that I was born in the Philippines. So I can re-assert my citizenship in the country of my birth which I feel is an inherent right.

After I sent my email, I received an automatic reply that stated:

Your email has been duly received and recorded. It will be referred to the proper party for appropriate action. Your message is important to us and will be responded to as soon as possible.

Thank you.

Records Section
Intercountry Adoption Board 

It’s been almost thirty years and it’s taken me this long to ask. When I did, I found out that my family possessed a certificate of birth facts. When I went to the Philippines Consulate in Los Angeles last summer to show them my legal documents and apply, my certificate was denied with a momentary glance at the papers and old Philippine passport that I had. I had to go back to Arizona to find my birth certificate and inquire about this to my adoptive mother, who I’ve been trying to gain distance with for years. It was stressful and disconcerting, that I wouldn’t have this document in my possession. I angrily wondered why my family didn’t have this item that was so intrinsic to my identity and proof of being born in the Philippines.

I also didn’t understand why I have to re-apply for my citizenship.

Yesterday after I sent my emails, I thought, does being adopted into another country for a child strip them from their own citizenship of their native place of birth? Why did this happen to me? Why does this happen to any vulnerable child in their birth countries? Why do I have to re-apply to citizenship? Why was that taken away in the first place? My questions led me to realizing how this administrative process has a lot of cultural and social implications that would create grievances for an adoptee later on.

After requesting my birth certificate at ICAB, I went out to my favorite place in the open ranges to meditate. I realized then, how much I missed my natural connections to my birth country, to my heritage and native culture. There are ancient mysteries and missing stories hiding in my brown skin and my soul longs to recollect this. I also realized a grave, quiet and devastating silence within me, that has been lifelong, which echoes from this systematic, governmental erasure of my human past.

Step by step, I will continue to find my way in this world. I will rebuild my identity by recovering what it is I’d lost so long ago. This process takes time. Psychological, emotional and spiritual healing. Patience. A support network of other adoptees. It takes perseverence to see past the cloud of my own mind and find clarity. I hope I receive my birth certificate soon so I can apply for dual citizenship in my birth country of the Philippines. There is so much to do in recovering from my intercountry adoption process.

8 thoughts on “Requesting my Birth Certificate

  1. Dawn

    Hello Stephanie,

    I can relate to this blog. I have been in the process of locating my birth parents. After, numerous emails and various Philippine government agencies, I am still at step 1. One of the many agencies I was in contact with was the ICAB, and that was unsuccessful.

    I guess my question would be. Who should we turn to in order to get our questions/inquiries answered.

    Dawn Wilkerson

  2. Hello Stephanie,

    Thank you for blogging about this particular issue. As an intercountry adoptee, I have been in contact with numerous Philippine government agencies. One of the agencies was the ICAB and it was unsuccessful.

    My question would be. Who and where should interncountry adoptees contact or turn to in order to locate information regarding their birth family.

    Regards,

    Dawn Wilkerson

    1. stephanieflood

      I wish there was an answer. I feel like maybe one solution could be a push for more improved records to be made for a child who had been orphaned or relinquished into the care of people or organizations in another country. Records on the critical social and medical history of the child should be created, citizenship should be protected, and birth records should be secured for every single child going out of a birth country or homeland. There should be more information that should be ready for the child when they become an adult. An adoptee should be able to access this information not through the adoptive family; an adoptee should never need to go through anyone else for permission, an adoptee should be able to access their own records by themselves at any time.

    2. lynellelong

      ICAB is the Central Authority for intercountry adoption in the Philippines. So that means they are the one authority you only need to go via to gain access to your records. They are not an adoption agency but are the government setup to monitor and oversee all adoptions from the Philippines. And they are the ONE place intercountry adoptees should go to for obtaining their documents. Each birth country we are adopted from who is a signatory of The Hague has a central authority. You might find our resources for Searching within the ICAV website useful as it outlines this type of info when you are interested in searching. https://intercountryadopteevoices.com/adoptee-voices/perspective-papers/search-reunion/

  3. Crisante

    Hi Stephanie, I’m an adoptee from the Netherlands and born in Manila. I visited ICAB last year with help of the phippine adoption agency KBF. They were very helpful. Because I was left behind after I was born, I dont have birth certificate as wel. Ilived at RSCC Quezon City for 1.5 years of my life before I was adopted. They still have my file with a lot of more information then my adoption parents have. Is your philippine adoption agency or childs home helpfull to you? You can message me any time through facebook.

    1. stephanieflood

      Thank you Crisante for messaging me, it’s so extremely impactful and relieving to hear from others who have gone through something similar. Right now I’ve just recently reached out to ICAB in the Philippines, my homeland and country of birth, who I’d had contact previously from a past reunion I had with my birth mother in 2012 that had taken place in my original orphanage, in the Philippines. They were of great help then, and now, I’m seeking their assistance again with this issue of citizenship and rising efforts to locate my birth certificate.

      The main issue is communicating via the Internet, via email mainly, and not being able to visit the organization in person to retrieve my birth certificate since the Philippines is located on the other side of the world from me. And, that I don’t know the Filipino language. This will take patience and more good faith on my part! So we will see what the results are. I wanted to share this on ICAV mainly because I know that there are many intercountry adoptees that experience issues similar to this.

  4. Marivir

    I believe for dual citizenship there are 2 ways for it and as adoptees it is not an application to regain your phil citizenship but a recognition of philippine citizenship after you have been granted citizenship of the country where you were adopted. These are 2 different processes. It was right for you to request icab of your birth certificate which i believe is in the visayas ( me and another icab social worker handled your post adoption request years back). It will take sometime to get a philippine statistics authority (psa) security paper (SecPa) copy of your birth certificate but icab will communicate officially with you about this. Just be patient! Other adoptees who request for documents or do request for search may not be as successful due to various reasons but icab will do its utmost to facilitate and assist filipino adoptees.

    1. stephanieflood

      Thank you so much for reaching out and responding regarding this! I am grateful that we are in communication and have made such a wonderful connection from my experience with my reunion with ICAB in the Philippines earlier. This has been very educational and a bit taxing, but I will strive to be patient, as I can only hope for positive results and further communication to continue. Will be looking forward to what the results are! Thank you again for responding!

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