KUSA – Samantha Jadin had a happy life as an adopted child, but what she didn't know was that her adoption was not a legal one.
"At the age of 30, I actually found out that my adoption was illegal because my father never relinquished his parental rights," Jadin said.
The revelation spurred Jadin on a mission to help unwed fathers who wanted to be a part of their children's lives but were excluded from their children's birth certificates. Jadin partnered with several Colorado lawmakers, including Rep. Lori Saine (R-Dacono), to push House Bill 1282 this past legislative session. The bill passed and was signed into law in June. As of July, it is now a misdemeanor to falsify information on a birth certificate worksheet, which is used to create a child's official birth certificate.
"We actually decided to put this new law in place and create a warning at the bottom that says if you submit any false information, then you'll [have charges pressed against you,]" Jadin said. "So, even if the father is not present [in the hospital,] we're hoping that mothers will tell the truth."
Jadin says that up to a third of birth certificate forms involving unwed parents is falsified in the state of Colorado. The new law doesn't solely seek to ensure a father is included on the birth certificate. It also makes it illegal to falsify information such as a parent's legal name, birth date or the place of birth of either parent.
The law is not retroactive to punish birth certificate fraud prior to July 2015. However, Jadin is hoping that the new law will help more unwed mothers and fathers to both be a part of their children's lives.
"This is a groundbreaking bill," Jadin said. "Actually it's never been done anywhere in the world."
(© 2015 KUSA)