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A few months ago, I moved from Oregon to Montana. Moving is a process that often leaves belongings, however important, hopelessly scattered and lost. Someone's diploma might end up shoved at the bottom of a box, underneath the manual for a 1974 Dodge Dart. Luckily enough, during my moving, through either a determined attempt to keep my sanity or through sheer luck, most of my important papers were kept in order. This did come in handy, as I applied for my first ever permit here in Montana, and needed to present a birth certificate.

Although the people at the DMV were happy enough to see it, now that I have examined it on my own, I realize that I do not have a "birth certificate", I have a "Certificate of Live Birth", which is an entirely different beast. This is not my only problem, because after examining my "Certificate of Live Birth", I realize that some of the life story that has been passed down to me might not be totally true and accurate. Here then, is the case that I have been living a lie:

  • The "CoLB" that I have is apparently dated June 4th, 1999. As discussed above, during moving, documents can often be lost, and my mother told me she had lost it years ago, and had to apply for a new one. However, I have no idea why my original is not present.
  • There is no name of an attending physician present, or a mention of a hospital that I was born in. I actually know why this is: I was born in a private home, under the care of a physician. My mother believed that this was a less stressful way to give birth. At least, this is the story that I have always been told, but it also means that no hospital records exist as to when and where I was born.
  • My form (reputedly) lists me as being born in Mount Vernon, Washington, in Skagit County, Washington. Mount Vernon is a small town around 100 miles North of Seattle, Washington. Why this is important will come up briefly.
  • The "filing date" on my "CoLB" is listed as July 7th, 1979, around six weeks after I was born. Why the long delay between my birth and the filing of my CoLB? Even in a sleepy rural town, the bureaucracy should work faster than that.

With the scant evidence I have, there seems to be no way to prove that I was born when I was. Anytime between my birth date and the filing date of the document, I could have been moved from place to place. Also, in the 20 years between my birth and the release of the copy of my "CoLB" I now have, the original document (if it ever existed) could have been tampered with intensively. In addition, Mount Vernon, Washington is very close to the Canadian border, and my mother has told me that she has "lived in Canada before". It seems plausible enough that I was actually born in Canada, and that at some point between my alleged birth date and the filing date of my CoLB, my mother smuggled me back into the United States and passed me off as a native born citizen. There is very little evidence to belie this theory, since the alleged birthing center I was born in would not have the same records as an established hospital. Furthermore, through accident or design, the fact that I only have a 1999 copy of my CoLB obscures what may or may not have happened in Skagit County or British Columbia in 1979.

I can no longer claim, without doubt, that I am a native born American citizen.

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