Progress in New York State

On January 15th, just three weeks ago, adult adoptees in New York State were finally, after 83 years, allowed to request a copy of their Original Birth Certificate. Thousands have applied and Facebook groups, both public and private, provide 24/7 support and information to help folks with the application process.

In my memoir, Chapter 9 – Original Birth Certificate, I describe my efforts to get a copy of my OBC. I had no idea what I was doing! In the fall of 1988, after our first trip to Montreal, I decided to try and get my original birth certificate (OBC). My notes indicate that I first called the Montreal Court House. A nasty voice told me my OBC was top secret, that I had a new identity, and referred me back to Ville Marie Social Services. I don’t recall exactly how she knew I was adopted. But I had learned my lesson and tried a craftier strategy with my next attempt.

I kept looking for things that brought my birthmother closer to me. I knew who she was, but I wanted to have proof that she had been pregnant with me and had given birth to me–I craved all tangible connections. My OBC was just that–a single sheet of paper with the name she gave me, my date of birth, and her signature! It was a legal, embossed document that belonged to me! I am thinking a lot these days about my fellow New Yorkers. Whatever the results may be, they now have the right to request a copy of their Original Birth Certificate.

I enjoy making the bookmarks that come with my memoir. It brings back memories of designing and crafting greeting cards when I had my first Etsy shop, Custom Cards By Bonnie. My new Etsy shop, My Adoptee Memoir, has four brand new greeting cards with one of my favorite themes from the book, “there is no one like YOU.” I call them my “identity cards.” The first one has the breast cancer awareness pink ribbon and butterflies. It honors my mom and my birthmother who both died from breast cancer. The next two cards have flower bouquets–one is for Valentine’s Day, the other is a bouquet of Lily of the Valley, my mom’s favorite flower! Each image is hand-stamped and colored with fine-tip markers. The last card has ginkgo leaves from my favorite tree. The leaves are hand-stamped in green. Each listing includes a story under “Item Details.”

My goal is to send a message of support to people touched by adoption and searching for their original identity and family heritage. I also hope to raise awareness in our communities about adoption issues.

Happy Valentine’s Day

“Send a Little Love”

There was a stretch of a few years when I was writing my memoir and also selling my handmade greeting cards in my Etsy shop. Etsy was founded in Brooklyn, NY in 2005 and defines itself on as “an e-commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items and craft supplies.” I named my shop, Custom Cards by Bonnie–my motto was, Send a Little Love.

My mother-in-law was the original family card gal. On birthdays, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter and Christmas, cards arrived from Gram. She signed Love, Ma or Love, Gram or eventually Love, Great Gram, always followed by two little music notes. In the last couple of years of her life, I often made the cards for her. As you can imagine, Gram, I always called her Gram, loved to receive cards from all of us in the family. She would display them on the fireplace mantel and just about every other surface in her house! Cards were very important to Gram, and she was excited to learn about my shop– always encouraging me. When we visited, Gram and I would check out the newest cards in Custom Cards by Bonnie on my laptop.

We lived in Riverhead on Long Island for a few years. Our home was close to the post office where I frequently mailed out card orders. One of the postal workers, Mike, became a favorite customer of mine. He routinely asked me to make cards for his wife—Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and her birthday. He ordered cards from himself, as well as from their little children. Mike always gave me quick, short hints of what he wanted. I loved customizing his cards.

It wasn’t long before I made the decision to close up the Etsy shop and focus on my memoir. Technically, Custom Cards by Bonnie is on a vacation! Maybe someday I’ll reopen it. If you follow this blog, you’ve seen a few of my cards. The goal of the shop, Send a Little Love, is similar to my dream that Young Love, An Adoptee’s Memoir will provide support and encouragement to others searching for family.

Here are photos of a couple of the cards I made for Mike at the post office and for my Etsy shop, Custom Cards by Bonnie.

From Mike’s son, and btw–Mike’s wife loves dragonflies!
Paper punched lace hearts–From Mike to his wife
Paper punched butterfly–“Thinking of You” Etsy card
Handmade card with Japanese Rice Paper for Etsy shop
Graduation Card on Etsy