Your story is a very beautiful one to me. I too am Athabascan but unregistered to my tribe, I’m adopted. I was born in Denver, CO to a Caucasian family after my adoptive father retired from the airforce. I know nothing about my real family but I know my ancestors’ spirit still lives within me today.
Just recently, by a fIuke really, I learned the laws in Colorado had changed for adoptees and were no longer Closed. My daughters were going to Turkey with their father (his native country), and needed passports. It took us five years to realize my original name was on my youngest daughters birth certificate. Without proving this was me my daughter would not get her passport and miss an opportunity of a lifetime. Not only that but get left behind by her older sister. I had no clue what to do, I hadn’t had that kind of documentation for years and years (and years).
After going to the local courthouse, local hospital, and Vital Statistics office to np avail I called Denver, Colorado. I left a message explaining my situation at the VS office and wished for the best all. The pressure was on and each day that went by my childrens father pushing me before the deadline.
A few days later I got a call from a very nice young man who told me, (after finding out I was adopted), I could now apply for my original birth certificate. The laws had been”closed” for decades. Meaning an adoptee could be denied crucial information about themselves for decades.
Ten years ago I tried investigating into my adoption but I was told I had to pay five hundred dollars for a court liason to even look at my file. It was the bigget slap in the face and made me feel like I was not even a person for years! And here now I could simply go apply?? It felt ridiculous and unreal. The joke was on me. The topic was exhausting.
Over the years I had moved quite a bit and a few months earlier my Blood Quantum Certificate had come up missing. A document that I had held onto for a greater part of eleven years. My heart felt like it was slowly falling out of my chest. This piece of paper I held onto for so long was now finally playing front and center. It left me crushed when my parents beat around the bush and never provided me another. Who were these people, I wondered angrily. Four months went by and only then did I finally reach down deep and scrummage through piles and piles of papers I had laying around.
I reasoned to myself to fight the good fight thinking it was probably just misplaced but in back of my mind I knew in reality I had threwn away stacks of paperwork after the recent tax season. In reality this was just destiny at work and it would show up when it would show up, I thought. In the past this had happened multiple times before in my life and I had to just stop fighting it.
Then, there it was. Colorado Vital Statistics Office: “as of Jan 1, 2016,” all I had to do was mail in my application . I couldn’t believe it. I had been stressing out beating myself up for ever throwing out such an important paper.
Now only fear stood in my way..
I set the money aside to pay the fee ($60), and it just sat on my desk in an envelope. The fear of more disappointment was almost crippling. In July 2016, I faxed it and now I wait. I waited a half hour outside the UPS store to let it sink in.
Thank you for your story.
Originally, Courtney Ann Jones
AMERICAN INDIAN ADOPTEES: “Athabascan Adoptee Welcomed Home”