Stillbirth Certificate...Finally!!
by Angie Farley

Editor's note: This article originally came to me as an email through my work with the MISS Foundation and the National Stillbirth Society. Angie's story is stunning and overwhelming -- and so many other stillbirth parents will recognize this fight and fire in Angie's quest for her son's birth certificate. Take heart -- if we keep up the fight, state by state, eventually, we'll all sit in the middle of the records office and have our demands met -- just as Angie has here -- READ ON!!


----- Original Message -----
From: angela farley
Sent: Monday, July 01, 2002 10:20 PM

Hi... just wanted to send this scan...

It's a copy of Shawn Jr's birth certificate -- THE FIRST TO BE ISSUED IN LAKE COUNTY INDIANA. After 4 hours of fighting with the people at vital statistics office and having to physically shove a copy of the bill in their faces and make a scene...

They were trying to shove me out the door by telling me I had to get it from Indianapolis, that they did not have the books in which his death was recorded -- then they attempted to appease me with a certificate of a local death and then they came out with a certificate of fetal death! No one seemed to even know what certificate I was looking for until I started shoving a copy of the bill at them in which I had highlighted the title of the certificate was to be "Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth" -- and still they seemed baffled. Baffled, until I told them -- and I quote (being as I have had 12 years to ponder what I could say during such an event I had thought long and hard about it) --

"I may have been able to be run over when I was 16, but I will be dammed if I am going to leave this office without that piece of paper. I have been involved in helping to get this bill passed by letter writing amongst other things, and if you think you will get rid of me that easily, you are so very wrong. You had better get on the phone and figure out where the form is at and how to fill it out because I am not leaving; I have paid the price and paid my dues. This is 12 years in the making and dammit 12 years is a ridiculous amount of time to have to wait to have your child recognized by the state you once called home. I will sit here in this office for a week, a month, a year- whatever it takes but I am not leaving without it. 12 years ago a woman sat in the same chair you are in now and 12 years ago she told me that my child NEVER LIVED and that the state would NEVER issue a birth certificate for him and even chuckled at the thought of a birth certificate for a stillborn child-- "absurd" she said to me then... I promised her I would return and I WOULD get a birth certificate for my son which I am now here to do. So I suggest you figure out where the information and forms you need are at" --

and then I proceeded to sit in a chair that I had moved right into the center of the office and glared at her. It was probably not the most tactful way to deal with the situation, but I knew I would not get anywhere unless they knew I would do whatever it took to get the certificate.

Finally after they magically found the book in which his death was recorded and located the elusive forms for the information to be put on, they brought me the 5 copies I had requested and guess what!?! They were filled out all WITH THE WRONG DATE!!!! They all said July 7th instead of the correct date of July 18th. So after another hour, they finally handed me the 5 copies done correctly on the correct forms.

But I will tell you even with all the hassles, it was all worth it to sit here with this ugly green piece of paper to prove that the state in which I had my son 12 years ago -- finally TODAY -- recognizes that in fact my child lived, although not outside the womb, that he was alive. It's a great feeling to know I have finally been able to accomplish the goal of getting a birth certificate for my son even though that woman 12 years ago at vital statistics told me I would NEVER get it and even laughed out loud at the whole idea of a birth certificate for a stillborn baby! And so for this, I would like to take time to say thank you [to Joanne Cacciatore] for paving the way by getting the MISSing Angels Bill passed in Arizona, paving the way for me to prove that woman wrong!

For more information about the MISS Foundation and the MISSing Angels Bill:

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