Dear Editor:

Being a genealogy buff, I was drawn into watching the television show "Who Do You Think You Are?" episode last night about Emmitt Smith's ancestry.

What disturbed me the most was when it was pointed out to Emmitt that purebred horses in the United States can be tracked back all the way to the 1600's in England; but, Smith's family cannot be tracked back that far because the records stopped at the slavery point about 200 years ago. It was discussed how slaves were treated as property and were "bred.” It was disgusting to hear about this barbaric time in our country's history.

However, it infuriates me that even with the horrific slavery in his ancestry, Mr. Smith (with the help of genealogists) was able to trace back his family for 200 years! He even traveled to Africa and visited the area his family's African DNA was believed to have originated from. Why does that make me angry?

Because I can't even go back in my family history to find my biological father. Why? Simply because I was adopted. The only record of me on Ancestry.com is a one line entry on the California Birth Index. It then appears that I cease to exist. My birth name belongs to a ghost now. My descendants will not be able to trace back our family tree past me. It stops with me. My branch was severed from the family tree.

Sealed/amended birth certificates are modern-day sales receipts for adoptive parents that assure them that our (adoptees) family histories, nationalities and cultures are irrelevant. We are legally transformed into living "blank canvasses or slates" during the adoption process and then have new identities painted onto us. We are issued fake (amended) birth certificates with new names and new parents listed on them.

It is 2010. I want the truthful documentation of my birth unsealed NOW. Ownership of human beings did not cease to exist when slavery was abolished. Emmitt Smith seemed to be under the impression that people are not treated like chattel anymore in the United States. He couldn't be more wrong. The horses that recently raced at the Humboldt County Fair have pedigrees, but the adopted PEOPLE in this county, state, country do not.

This injustice and blatant discrimination against fellow human beings continues in the "land of the free" because the non-adopted majority has refused to take a stand against it.

Mara Rigge

Trinidad