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  #1  
Old May 1, '11, 7:54 pm
agapewolf agapewolf is offline
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Join Date: November 5, 2006
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Default Baptism and Adoption

The story goes:

I was born Oct 30, 1974, given up for adoption through Catholic charities and baptized in their care at the New Cathedral in St. Louis within a few days. Then was in foster care for awhile, with my eventual adopting parents. After they adopted me (2+years later) they had a "naming" ceremony for me at a neighborhood parish, along with Godparents. My dad (80) says they poured water, perhaps a conditional baptism (but it was the 70s, so who knows what they were trying). I'm not positive of the water pouring as I'm not completely sure the parent's memory is accurate. They were "told" of my baptism at the cathedral, don't know if a certificate accompanied with me or not at the time.

So... I'm doing some research and called catholic charities, and they have a certificate on file and mailed it to me.

It's a cert from the new cathedral, with a baptism date 6 days after my b-day. It ALSO includes my Godparents from the 2nd round. the certificate was dated in 1977.

Are baptism certificates allowed to be altered like that? I'm a little suspicious. Just seems weird to me.
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  #2  
Old May 1, '11, 8:26 pm
Phemie Phemie is offline
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Join Date: November 27, 2007
Posts: 13,493
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Default Re: Baptism and Adoption

Quote:
Originally Posted by agapewolf View Post
The story goes:

I was born Oct 30, 1974, given up for adoption through Catholic charities and baptized in their care at the New Cathedral in St. Louis within a few days. Then was in foster care for awhile, with my eventual adopting parents. After they adopted me (2+years later) they had a "naming" ceremony for me at a neighborhood parish, along with Godparents. My dad (80) says they poured water, perhaps a conditional baptism (but it was the 70s, so who knows what they were trying). I'm not positive of the water pouring as I'm not completely sure the parent's memory is accurate. They were "told" of my baptism at the cathedral, don't know if a certificate accompanied with me or not at the time.

So... I'm doing some research and called catholic charities, and they have a certificate on file and mailed it to me.

It's a cert from the new cathedral, with a baptism date 6 days after my b-day. It ALSO includes my Godparents from the 2nd round. the certificate was dated in 1977.

Are baptism certificates allowed to be altered like that? I'm a little suspicious. Just seems weird to me.
OK, it's possible that what you had was a completion of the ceremonies. Your valid baptism having occurred at 6 days of age, but with a simple pouring and nothing else, the ceremony (anointing, presentation of white garment & light, godparents) being done after your adoption. I know that if you are baptized in the hospital because you're in danger of dying, the date is entered in the register but so is the date of the completion of ceremonies along with the name(s) of the godparent(s) who are rarely there for the hospital baptism.

As for the date of the certificate, it would be dated when issued and added to your adoption file. That would be after the completion of the ceremonies.
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  #3  
Old May 1, '11, 11:20 pm
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Join Date: September 7, 2004
Posts: 37,470
Religion: Catholic no adjectives
Default Re: Baptism and Adoption

Quote:
Originally Posted by agapewolf View Post
The story goes:

I was born Oct 30, 1974, given up for adoption through Catholic charities and baptized in their care at the New Cathedral in St. Louis within a few days. Then was in foster care for awhile, with my eventual adopting parents. After they adopted me (2+years later) they had a "naming" ceremony for me at a neighborhood parish, along with Godparents. My dad (80) says they poured water, perhaps a conditional baptism (but it was the 70s, so who knows what they were trying). I'm not positive of the water pouring as I'm not completely sure the parent's memory is accurate. They were "told" of my baptism at the cathedral, don't know if a certificate accompanied with me or not at the time.

So... I'm doing some research and called catholic charities, and they have a certificate on file and mailed it to me.

It's a cert from the new cathedral, with a baptism date 6 days after my b-day. It ALSO includes my Godparents from the 2nd round. the certificate was dated in 1977.

Are baptism certificates allowed to be altered like that? I'm a little suspicious. Just seems weird to me.
in cases of adoption, the original baptismal record is amended--not obliterated, the new info is added--to record the new parents. Whenever you ask for a record it will show the new information only. It is likely the date reflects that time, or as a previous poster suggested, supplying any part of the rite that was lacking in the original baptism==anointing etc.
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Whatever the Lord pleases He does, on heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. Ps. 135
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  #4  
Old May 2, '11, 7:31 am
agapewolf agapewolf is offline
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Join Date: November 5, 2006
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Default Re: Baptism and Adoption

Quote:
Originally Posted by puzzleannie View Post
in cases of adoption, the original baptismal record is amended--not obliterated, the new info is added--to record the new parents. Whenever you ask for a record it will show the new information only. It is likely the date reflects that time, or as a previous poster suggested, supplying any part of the rite that was lacking in the original baptism==anointing etc.
What do you mean "show the new information only?" The cert had the original baptism date and first church (cathedral).
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  #5  
Old May 2, '11, 11:17 am
Phemie Phemie is offline
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Default Re: Baptism and Adoption

Quote:
Originally Posted by agapewolf View Post
What do you mean "show the new information only?" The cert had the original baptism date and first church (cathedral).
You were adopted after you were baptized. The original records would show your birth mother's name unless it was recorded as 'parents unknown', a practice I've run into in parish registers before. But once you're adopted and have a new name a notation is added that says "Adopted as John X Doe by Father James Y Doe & mother Sally Brown and the date of the adoption. A new certificate would be issued with the adoptive parents and the godparents but retaining the original date of your baptism which has not changed.
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  #6  
Old May 2, '11, 12:17 pm
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: Baptism and Adoption

Quote:
Originally Posted by agapewolf View Post
What do you mean "show the new information only?" The cert had the original baptism date and first church (cathedral).
It depends, if the adoption was closed, that is the new parents have no birth info on the child, the baptismal certificate will show only the new information. But the next time you ask for a recrod of baptism it will show the new information. I don't know the date of the baptism, or of subsequent supplying the other parts of the sacrament so I can't comment on the date. Is it the "date of baptism" or the "date the certificate was issued" which would be simply the date it was typed and signed.

Your description makes it very hard to understand the sequence of events.

But your question was "can the baptismal record be altered." No it cannot, the original information stays in the book, but it can be amended with notation of changes added: supplying the missing rites, change of child's legal name, change of parent name to the adoptive parent, and so forth. But that record is confidential, and any new certificate will show only the amended information.
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Whatever the Lord pleases He does, on heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. Ps. 135
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  #7  
Old May 2, '11, 1:11 pm
agapewolf agapewolf is offline
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Join Date: November 5, 2006
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Default Re: Baptism and Adoption

Sorry it wasn't clear, I don't know how else to put it. Please ask about what is unclear.

The certificate had both the date of baptism (74) and a date signed (77).

The cert was from the original church. It has my adopted name on it, with my adopted parents. It has my Godparents .

It says "Baptized by: Fr. "smith"..... Date of baptism ... Nov 4, 1974

Then at the bottom ...the signatures : Fr. Smith Date: Feb 24 1977

How can fr. smith have baptized me , then sign it later? It's all so bizarre.
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  #8  
Old May 2, '11, 1:46 pm
Phemie Phemie is offline
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Join Date: November 27, 2007
Posts: 13,493
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Baptism and Adoption

Quote:
Originally Posted by agapewolf View Post
Sorry it wasn't clear, I don't know how else to put it. Please ask about what is unclear.

The certificate had both the date of baptism (74) and a date signed (77).

The cert was from the original church. It has my adopted name on it, with my adopted parents. It has my Godparents .

It says "Baptized by: Fr. "smith"..... Date of baptism ... Nov 4, 1974

Then at the bottom ...the signatures : Fr. Smith Date: Feb 24 1977

How can fr. smith have baptized me , then sign it later? It's all so bizarre.
It's not bizarre. Fr. Smith was obviously still the pastor in 1977 when the certificate was issued after your adoption. He signed it then. You have to realize that when we issue a certificate we don't make an identical copy of the original. We do one up with the information that is in the register at the time and it's signed by whoever is issuing it, usually the pastor but could be the secretary for him. If you requested your baptismal certificate today it would include your confirmation and your marriage and would be dated May 2, 2011 and be signed by the pastor of the Cathedral or the secretary who did it up.
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