Doris Michol Sippel is the author of “Forbidden Family: An Adopted Woman’s Struggle for Identity,” 3rd Edition, available from Amazon. She is the owner of Identity Press.

Doris Michol Sippel was born legitimately in January of 1956. She became a half-orphan at the age of three months when her mother died. At the finalization of her adoption the following January, a Surrogate Court Judge sent orders to change her name in accordance with the 1936 New York State law that requires the creation of a new birth certificate for each child who is adopted. This law assumes that the child was born illegitimately; therefore, adoption legitimizes the child by providing a new mother who is legally married to the child’s new legal father.

Even though Doris had a legitimate father, adoption law provided her with a different legal father, hence legitimizing her unnecessarily. On March 4, 1957, the state issued Doris a substitute “amended” birth certificate in the name of Joan Mary Wheeler, falsely naming her new “parents” as if they conceived, and gave birth to her. By law, as in all adoptions, Doris’s birth certificate was then repossessed, its official certification revoked, and the document was sealed forever.

Both of these acts erased her natural-born identity and family. Legally, she and her family ceased to exist.

Lawfully, Doris became Joan, but that was not, and is not, the truth of her reality. Since her reunion in 1974, she claims both identities: a legitimate bastard in one family and a half-orphan in the other. Her dual identity is real, but the state recognizes only her legally manufactured identity. For this denial of her civil rights, she is supposed to be a grateful “adopted child” forever.

Doris Michol Sippel legally reclaimed her name on June 13, 2016. Her birth certificate is still sealed by New York State.

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