Update On Adoptee Denied Passport

We’ve got an update on that adoptee who was denied her passport because of irregularities with her amended Illinois birth certificate. As many of us figured, she had to go through international channels to get a German passport as that is where she was born. I am disappointed that the Chicago Tribune is treating this like an isolated case instead of addressing the fact that all adoptees with sealed records have the potential for problems like this.

Vander Woude, 55, immigrated to America from Germany as a toddler in 1955 and was adopted by U.S. parents a year later. For her entire life, she believed the adoption made her a U.S. citizen. She said she has voted since age 18, served on a jury and was issued an Illinois birth certificate.

After the Problem Solver called the DHS to inquire about the delay, a passport official called Vander Woude with the shocking news: Her 1956 adoption did not confer citizenship, as she had believed.

Monday, the German Consulate issued Vander Woude a German passport. Two days later, she applied for an updated green card through DHS. On Thursday, she returned to the DHS office to have her passport stamped, allowing her to return to the United States when her trip is over.

When she returns, she will continue to research her citizenship status. Vander Woude said that, despite what the passport office told her, she thinks that legally she might be a U.S. citizen.

“When I come back, I will try to find out a little more detail into some of this,” she said. “Right now, I don’t want to make any waves or anything. Everybody’s been so nice and so helpful.”

Well, I wish her a lot of luck with that. I’m no attorney, but I know her amended Illinois birth certificate is a legalized sham. She may have a lot of paperwork ahead of her, and may never be considered a “natural born” U.S. citizen.

I wrote the Problem Solver and reporter Jon Yates when this article first came out (links provided so you can too), but didn’t receive a response. As I said, this is not an isolated case. But it’s easier, I suppose, for the Trib to pat itself on the back for having helped this one woman than opening a can of worms on behalf of all Illinois adoptees with sealed birth certificates. Too bad they can’t apply the same prowess they’ve shown over the University of Illinois clout scandal. Why not, I wonder? Perhaps because doing so would put them up against the almighty adoption agencies and professionals, who themselves wield considerable clout.

Amended birth certificates are time bombs waiting to go off but, like Ms. Vander Woude, no one wants “to make any waves”.

Comments

  1. MY ADOPTED DAUGHTER ALSO HAD A SITUATION CONCERNING A PASSPORT. SINCE WE ARE REUNITED I WAS ABLE TO HELP HER WITH ADDITIONAL INFO. I WILL SPARE YOU THE DEEP ROOTED PAIN FOR THE BOTH OF US BUT KNOW IM NOT THE ONLY NATURAL MOM WHO HOPES ONE DAY MY NAME WILL APPEAR ON HER FIRST BC.